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How to Color Correct a Video

Whether you’re filming on your phone or on a DSLR, no camera can fully capture colors like our eyes do. Tweaking and refining colors in post-production is vital to enhancing any video. Major live action and animated film productions even have colorists. These colorists ensure that a film’s colors and final look are reflecting the tone of the overall feeling and tone of the film’s story.

What’s the difference between color correction vs. color grading?

While these two terms are sometimes mixed up or used interchangeably, they are notably different. Color correction should fix and unify contrast, brightness, saturation, and white balance, to match the look of the real world.

Color grading is used to stylistically convey the intended emotions of a scene. You might grade a happy celebratory video to look warm and happy. In contrast, a grungy drama might be graded with a cooler, de-saturated tone.

It’s important these steps are done in order, so you can color grade from a neutral place. Overall, correction adjusts tones and lighting for accuracy, while grading is an artistic tool for creating a unique look.

How to color correct in Adobe Premiere

Begin by calibrating your monitor to make sure its color settings are as neutral and accurate as possible. Then, open up your project in Adobe Premiere Pro and find the Lumetri Color panel.

To edit all your clips at once, create and apply your edits to an Adjustment Layer track above your video. Applying all of your edits to this layer will affect the layers underneath, while not “permanently” impacting your original footage. Or, you can click Source at the top of the Color panel, which turns blue when activated.

Step-by-step through Lumetri color tabs

The initial first goal when color correcting is to normalize the footage as much as possible. Ideally, footage would be shot with somewhat flat, undersaturated, neutral lighting. When footage is too bright or too dark, vital visual data can be lost, making color correcting very difficult. Adjusting each setting is unique to every video, so it’s important to understand each modifier to accomplish your desired outcome.

In the Basic Correction tab, adjust your white balance with the Temperature and Tint sliders. Or, use the white balance or “WB” Selector eyedropper tool to tape on something that should be white in your video. If white objects ended up looking more orange, correcting those areas would help make white objects look more realistic.

Use tone sliders to adjust exposurecontrasthighlightsshadowswhite levels, and black levels to balance your lighting and shading.

In the Creative tab, sharpnessvibrancesaturationluminance, and color wheel tint tweaks can enhance your video even further. If you’d like to add a ‘Look’, they can apply a filter over your footage with adjustable intensity.

After applying these edits to your entire project, re-review and ensure all colors are exactly how you want them. RGB curves are a great way to make individually fine-tuned adjustments to whites, reds, greens, and blues. So if your subject’s skin tones are a bit too red, pulling down the red curve can even them out.

Automatic color matching feature

The Color Match tool can directly compare the looks of multiple shots for color and lighting consistency. Just position the playhead on a clip that you’d like to change, select ‘Comparison View’, then choose your reference frame. After analysis is complete, click ‘Match’ to instantly adjust the clip.

What are LUTs?

LookuTables, or LUTs, are quick color correction presets used for automatically applying specific color correction settings to your video. These are often used especially for videos filmed on cameras known to produce slight tints. Applying a LUT during export can fix a rendered video that looks a little more dull than how you imagined.

Want to learn more?

Color correction is an artistic and technical process that can subtly, drastically, or creatively stylize your videos. Interested in creating your own video or learning more from our team of video experts at Explainly? Reach out anytime to schedule a video consultation!

Technical Terminology in Video Production

Animators, editors, and film experts of all kinds use a vast vocabulary of terms during video production. Whether you’re brand new to the video world or a seasoned expert in need of a refresher, the following terminology is a must-know! Frame Rate The frame rate refers to the number of frames per second (fps) that a camera captures or that a video displays. While 24 fps is typical, 25, 29.97, 30, and 60 fps are all also common for different purposes. Higher frame rates result in larger file sizes and are not always necessary. However, depending on your video's purpose, it can provide more crisp, appealing movement. Color Correction vs. Color Grade Color correction is the vital process of adjusting the colors and tones of a video in order to remove off-color casts, brighten light objects, and to darken dark objects. After color correction, color grading is the adjustment of a video’s colors in order to achieve a specific aesthetic effect. Audio Mix / Audio Production During the final stages of production, the team mixes a video's individual audio tracks to balance dialogue, music, sound effects, room tone, and more. Rudimentary audio mixing can be done within some basic softwares, but fine tuning can be achieved in post-production softwares such as Adobe Audition & Adobe Premiere, or Logic Pro. Resolution Professionals use resolution as a term to describe the length and width of pixels. High resolution looks better but results in larger files. Compression lowers resolution slightly, but it’s usually negligible between 4k and 1080p. Even 720p is good enough for most phone screens! Compression Beautiful high res video often means large files! To avoid taking up storage space, and to post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and more, use compression. Compressing videos can minimize file sizes while preserving key qualities by removing unnecessary, redundant, or non-functional data from your video file. While it does take a bit of time to reduce the amount of data in a video file, compression is usually recommended for online uploads because of the time and storage it’ll save you later. Bitrate (Mbps / Kbps) The amount of data used per second in a video defines the bitrate or data rate. Bitrate affects the way fast-moving objects look, and can also contribute to overly large file sizes. We stick to 10 to 16 Megabits-per-second VBR/CBR as a high-quality bitrate for most HD videos. Rendering & Exporting Exporting a video means combining all clips, images, sounds, and effects into one final file. This final file can be in formats like .mov or .mp4. Although, professionals also sometimes refer to exporting as rendering; a render typically describes the real-time view within the editing software. This gives you an idea of what your export will look like. Most computers cannot view high-quality renders in real-time. This is why high processing power is essential for a video production studio. Codec & Container All video files are made up of two parts: the codec and the container. Codecs are different specific algorithms that compress and decompress all data contained in a video file. This is necessary because most videos contain elements that are too large to result in a playable final video. Different codecs used in softwares like Adobe Premiere, Adobe Media Encoder, Adobe After Effects, iMovie, or QuickTime will determine which media players can play back a video. Here are a few common codecs and which file formats they work with: X264 compresses H.264 standard HD videos FFmpeg works with formats including MPEG-2 DVD and MPEG-4 files DivX works will certain MPEG-4 files Different codecs result in different video qualities and different containers, such as MP4, MOV, and AVI file types. ProRes 422 can be great for high-res archival purposes. Although, you can’t go wrong with H.264 for most types of online videos! File Types Video file types and formats - made up of the codec and the container - define the type of computer file that a video is stored as. Different file formats have different purposes, so it’s important to choose the correct type for different projects. MP4 (MPEG-4 Part 14) is the most common video format, preferred by Apple, YouTube, and many social networks and devices. However, it has a slightly lower definition than other file formats. MOV (QuickTime Movie) files generally have higher quality output, which unfortunately comes with larger file sizes. MOV files are ideal for high quality viewing in QuickTime, on TV, or on YouTube. AVI (Audio Video Interleave) is one of the oldest video file formats used today. Fun Fact: it was created in 1992 for Windows operating systems! While AVI files are large, they provide some of the highest-quality playbacks. Plus, they work with nearly every Mac, Windows, and Linux web browser. Other formats like WMV, AVCHD, FLV, F4V, SWF, MKV, WEBM, HTML5, and MPEG-2, all have purposes for different devices and viewing platforms, such as DVDs, website embeds, and streaming services. Ready to learn even more? Reach out to the Explainly team with questions anytime at www.explainly.com/contact-explainly!

Customer Service in Video Production

Customer service is extremely important when clients are vetting which agency they want to partner with. At Explainly, we provide all of our clients with ‘white glove’ customer service. Meaning that we work in tandem with them to become an extension of their team, whether it be marketing or internal communications. All our project managers are equipped with the tools to provide seamless project management service to every client, even down to tailoring our communication styles to meet our clients’ preferences.

3 Tips to Utilize Animation Source Files

All digitally animated videos are created in softwares like Adobe After Effects, Adobe Animate, or ToonBoom Harmony. But no matter the software, there is a series of data, drawings, and files that make up every project. These networks of interconnected data, known as source files, collect files, working files, or art files, can enable edits or tweaks for years beyond a project’s completion. Wondering how you can utilize your animation source files? Here are three main steps to better understand your project files!

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