As a video editor, I find color correction one of the most exciting areas of video post-production. I consider it an invisible art—vitally important, but most viewers have no idea that it happens at all.
So what is color correction, and why is it so important? The easy answer is that it’s a manipulation of the color in an image during post-production. Usually color correction is performed to maintain a consistency in color tones throughout a film or video. But very often, manipulation of color can also be used as a storytelling device. Films like The Matrix, Traffic, and O Brother Where Art Thou? are great examples of films that used a unique color treatment as a major storytelling element. Color correction is a standard process in filmmaking and video production, and easily as important to a production’s quality as sound and lighting. The lack of color correction is a common reason that amateur video can look low quality or unfinished.
Like most tasks in video production, color correction requires practice and planning. How do you learn it? First, learn to color correct for consistency across your project. Chances are, you didn’t shoot all of your scenes at the same location, time, or with the same lighting setup—and as a result, the color tones in your shots may be different. I recommend starting with one of the many courses on lynda.com that cover color correction and editing applications (listed below).
Next you should learn to create specific creative styles with color correction. Although the courses listed below get into stylistic topics, they focus mostly on software tools and correcting for shot-to-shot consistency. So I’m pleased to announce that next week we’ll be launching the first course in a new series titled The Art of Color Correction with author Simon Walker. Simon brings along some high-profile teaching partners: Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Renoir, and Hopper. I hope I’ve piqued your interest. I’ll post again when that course releases; until then, check out one of the courses below to prime yourself for The Art of Color Correction.
Color correction tools
Premiere Pro and Adobe CS users:
• Up and Running with SpeedGrade
• Color Correction with Premiere Pro CS5.5
• Premiere Pro: Color Correction and Enhancement
Final Cut X and Final Cut Studio users:
• Color Correction in Final Cut Pro X
• Color 1.5 Essential Training
Avid Media Composer users:
• Color Correction: Creating a Polished Look in Avid Media Composer
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