Video Editing

What is color grading and its different styles in film?

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.video editing processColor grading is one of the important parts of the 

It's one of the parts of the process that can make your video content stand out from the rest of what's out there, and help you make a name for yourself in the video production world. But what is color grading? And how does it work?

Color Correction Post Production Photo

Read on to learn what is color grading and what to do to you improve your color grading.

What is color grading?

Color grading is the term for the process of changing the colors in a piece of video content.  As opposed to color correction, this isn't done to fix a problem or correct a mistake in coloration.

Instead, it's done to create a mood or for other stylistic purposes. However, you do usually use the same tools and techniques for film color grading as you would color correction. 

Why is it important to understand color grading?

It's important to understand color grading because it's an important tool you can use to transform your video content. Some different color grading styles you may want to consider trying out include:

  • Cross processing

  • High contrast

  • Low contrast

  • Color pop

  • Bleach bypass

  • Blue washed

  • Orange washed

  • Highly saturated

  • Minimal saturation

Of course, you can always invent new and exciting ways to use color grading to change up your style.

Experimenting is always an important thing to do when you're getting into the world of video production.

When to apply color grading to photos and videos?

If you're looking to stylize your content, you'll probably want to include color grading in your photo or video production process.

You can use color grading to change settings between different scenes in your film. For example, you can use sepia tones or black and white when you flash back to previous points in time, so the audience can easily tell when there's a change in time or location.

You can use color grading to change the mood and add suspense to different scenes. The brightness of a photo or video can bring light and change the atmosphere of a scene, or create a darker or grittier mood. 

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Some directors will use specific color grading techniques across all their films, to create a particular style and make all their films feel cohesive together. Or, directors will switch color grading film techniques to match the atmosphere they are trying to create in each individual film.

Color can also be used to highlight specific aspects of the set design, hair, or makeup. For example, if a character has a specifically brightly-colored piece of clothing or hair, such as in Hard Candy with Elliot Page.

This could be for symbolic reasons, to flesh out the story, or simply because it happens to look cool.

How to use color grading?

Color grading is a great way to make a splash when you're creating different forms of video content. But, you want to make sure that you're using these tools correctly.

Ensure that your footage can handle the type of color grading you're attempting, and render everything very carefully. Always make copies of your projects, backup everything, and save and often as possible.

But, how do you figure out how you want to stylize your video content? Luckily, there are tons of different examples you can check out to get ideas for your own work.

Some exciting color grading examples you may have seen in television and film before include:

  • The different eras and settings in on Disney Plus

  • Greenish hues and shades in the Matrix series of films

  • Pastel shades in Wes Anderson movies, like The Royal Tenenbaums

  • Different shades of red, black, and gray in Deadpool

  • Cutting between Kansas and the Land of Oz in The Wizard of Oz

  • Black and white and red in Schindler's List

  • Blue highlights in Blue is the Warmest Color

  • Differences between scenes in When They See Us

  • Different colors in different eras in Moonlight

  • Cool shades to set the mood in Birdman

Clearly, color grading is an important part of our film and television production processes. Watching different content can help you come up with different ideas for your own color grading needs.

How is color grading used in social media videos?

Color grading can be used when you make different forms of social media content, too. Color grading is often used in TikTok videos for stylistic purposes. This is especially useful when cutting between different scenes, and trying to show that they are taking place in different times or locations.

You can also use color grading in different sorts of Instagram photos and videos. If you're doing a fashion spread, for example, using different color grading techniques can help the clothing and accessories stand out in different ways and draw in audiences that may be scrolling through their feeds or Discover pages.

These aren't the only ways you can use color grading to create amazing social media content. There are so many different ways this technique can help you bring your content creation to the next level.

Use color grading in your next video project

Now that you know how to use color grading, you'll be able to produce the best video work possible. Start practicing with different color grading tools and options ASAP to get started on your new journey.

Do you want to learn more about the wonderful world of video production and editing? Check out the rest of our video editing glossary for all the help you need.

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