Colour Correction vs. Colour Grading
When you film something, you’re not just stuck with the colours you filmed. You can either influence the colours by lighting it a certain way when you capture it, or you can use post production techniques to tweak the colours and light. Similar to how you can edit photos in Photoshop, we use Premiere or After Effects to edit the look of video.
Most of us see in colour – an infinite spectrum of hues, shades and tones. Digital cameras have to capture as much of that spectrum as possible when you press record. Because cameras can’t replicate exactly what our amazing eyes can see, sometimes there are deviations from what is “correct” and we have to colour correct the video. The process can also be used to cover mistakes in lighting, or optimise footage that was captured in less than optimal conditions!
Colour Correction is the process of correcting the colours in the footage to make them as close to the real environment as possible – making sure that whites are white, blacks are black and skin tones aren’t odd. The aim is to making everything look real and clean.
Humans are programmed to instantly pick up on when skin tones are wrong, it’s one of the first signals we get from another person about whether they are healthy and well. You don’t want your audience to spend the whole time being distracted by the presenter’s peaky complexion when all you needed to do was adjust the white balance!
Colour Grading is a creative post production process that can alter the mood of the shot or the whole visual tone of the film. You can build on the corrected footage to change the feel of the lighting and colours with cinematic looks. Depending on how much of an impact you want to make this process can be lengthy. The colours tend to be more atmospheric and extreme. You can make a shot look warmer, scarier, bleaker, grittier, colder, like it was shot on an old film camera, or even like it was shot at a different time of day.