Perhaps the most powerful skills you can develop as a video editor is color grading. Vibrant, sharp, and cinematic colors instill the mood and feeling that the viewer experiences. The intentional selection of colors is one of the quickest ways to enhance your project.
In this tutorial, you’ll learn the differences between color grading and color correction, the basic terms you need to know to get started, what tools you can use, and you’ll get over 150 recommended LUTs to make this process easier. Let’s dive in!
Part 1: Color Grading vs. Color Correction
It’s important to understand the difference between color correction and color grading. Color correction comes first, and it focuses on making sure the video looks just like a person would see the scene. For example, if you shot a snow-capped mountain landscape, perhaps you noticed that the white in the snow isn’t coming out as brilliantly as you had hoped. Color-correction can help you achieve the white balance you’re looking for.
Color grading comes after the correction and is really the artistic touch. Grading enhances the story by changing the tones of the colors to reflect the mood and emotion that the video is trying to convey. For example, if you wanted to convey a somber mood, you might opt to color grade with edgy, darken colors instead of warm or earthy tones.
Part 2: Basic Color Terms
Before you get into the nitty-gritty of video color grading, it’s important to review some key terms:
- Hue: This is simply the pure color that does not take into account the vividness or brightness factors.
- Saturation: This term refers to how colorful something is. A black-and-white image has a saturation of zero, and the saturation increases as the video come closer to pure color.
- Value: A scale designed to measure value ranges from perfectly black to perfectly white and categorizes light accordingly.
- Lightness: This term is defined by how bright something looks to the eye compared with a completely white item. It refers to object colors.
- Brightness: Technically, this term refers to the perception of light. It is the average lightness measured by considering each individual pixel’s brightness and then dividing by total pixels.
- Luma: This measures the brightness of a video frame and is often calculated with measures of colorfulness or saturation.
Part 3: Color Grading Tools
In order to maximize color techniques, you want to ensure you’re using the best color grading software available. Here are some of the top ones you can use:
This leading video editing software from Adobe Systems helps just about anyone produce professional videos for television, film, and the web.
This application, also from Adobe, helps you add visual effects, animation, composition, and motion graphics during post-production.
This series of non-linear programs from Macromedia is designed to help video editors log and transfer videos onto a hard drive for editing, processing, and outputting.
This color correction and non-linear video editing tool, now developed by Blackmagic Design, is an application that is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. Visual effects and audio mixing are available as well.
Part 4: LUT Downloads to Make Color Grading Easier
Once you have the right software tools for post-production, you’ll also want to consider employing a lookup table or LUT.
A LUT is basically a predetermined modifier to help you go from an original image to a final image based on mathematical computation. This shortcut can save you a great deal of time in the process of video color grading.
We’ve put together some great LUT pack options for you to download. Check them out!
1. Free 5 Edgy LUTS for Premiere Pro
These free LUTS will provide a stylish, trendy look to your web videos or other film projects without worrying about a full-blown color grading effort. Just add these to your Lumetri Color panel and adjust your footage quickly and easily.
2. 120+ Premiere Pro LUTS Pack
With more than 120 color LUTs in seven categories, you’ll have just about anything you need for video color grading in post-production. Use this pack for cinematic, black and white, wedding, special, temperature, or old movie categories. Create stylish, professional social media posts, movies, or videos.
3. Cinematic Color LUTS
With 16 color correction LUTS, this pack will make your videos more saturated and brighter. Whether you’re creating an action video, movie trailer, sports video, or corporate opener, these LUTS will give you just the effects you want.
4. Film Look LUTS
With a dozen presets, this Film Look LUTS pack gives you action-movie type color grading. Use these in any software package that supports .cube LUT files, and watch your footage take on a new life.
5. Film Professional Color V3
Grab 20 professional color presets with this pack. SImply drag the preset to your track for professional quality video. Add cinematic effects to create the modern, stylish finished product with this pack of presets.
When you’re ready to create outstanding, professional videos for your website, social media, or other projects, be sure to learn about color grading to make a cutting-edge difference. With all the technology and easy-to-use tools available today, it’s never been easier to create professional videos with beautifully cinematic colors.