Following the success of our previous article on Colour Grading, we're diving deeper into the practical aspects of Color Correction, Balancing and Grading.
This article aims to guide you through the process of utilising Colour Correction to balancing all the footage in your sequence before and adding a final grade to your film, with a focus on how different colours can really affect your faint film and impact audiences emotionally.
"The colourist acts as a translator between the filmmakers and their audience, to make sure no message is lost"
Start small. Keep it simple. You've shot some footage. Its a few different camera angles. Maybe some Interior and Exterior. Could be some ambient lighting has caused a colour cast (Sunlight, halogen, LED, they all have different colour temperatures and will impart a colour cast to your raw footage).
So put it all on a timeline and let's get busy with the basics, colour correction and balancing... then we can apply a final grade once everything is consistent!
Understanding the Basics: Exposure, Brightness, and Contrast
Before we get into colour balancing, it's crucial to understand the difference between exposure, brightness, and contrast, as they are often misunderstood or used interchangeably.
Colour Balancing: Levels and RGB Settings
Colour balancing is the process of neutralizing any color casts and ensuring that white appears as true white. You can adjust the levels and RGB settings to achieve this. Levels help you set the black point, white point, and mid-tones, while RGB settings allow you to individually adjust the red, green, and blue channels.
See the end of this article for a quick "How to" guide for Adobe Premiere Pro users
The Art of Adding a Grade
Once your footage is colour-balanced, you can proceed to add a 'Grade'. This is where you can get creative and use adjustment layers and colours to evoke specific emotions or moods. For example, using a teal and orange colour scheme can make your characters stand out against the background, a technique commonly used in Action Films.
The Ansel Adams Effect: Adjust your Black Levels for maximum impact
Ansel Adams, a pioneer in photography, was known for his mastery in exposing for shadows. In filmmaking, manipulating black levels by either pulling up the blacks or crushing them can create a dramatic effect. Pulling up the blacks adds a faded, vintage look, while crushing them adds depth and richness to the image.
The Role of a Colorist
In the world of filmmaking, the Colourist / Colourist is often the unsung hero who brings a director's vision to life. Armed with an in-depth understanding of color theory, psychology, and storytelling, a Colourist meticulously adjusts hues, tones, and shades to evoke specific emotions or highlight critical moments in the film.
As Jet Omoshebi aptly puts it, the colorist acts as "a translator between the filmmakers and their audience — to make sure no message is lost" (Filmsupply Blog).
Colour Theory in Filmmaking
Understanding colour theory is crucial in film production, as it allows filmmakers to create a specific mood or emotion through the use of colour. This useful article by FILMD gives some good insights - colours like red can evoke emotions like love, passion, and danger, while blues can evoke feelings of calmness and sadness.
Filmmakers will often use color schemes like monochromatic, analogous, and complementary to create a specific mood or tone. Try it on your footage and discover the difference each makes.
The Wrap Up
So what have we learned here?
To learn more about these techniques Join The ISA. Our Diploma Course, amongst all the stunts and action acting, also dives deep into Film Making and Editing for Action Sequences.
Quick Guide: How to Colour Correct and Balance in Adobe Premiere Pro (Mac) Before diving into creative colour grading, it's essential to colour correct and balance your footage. This guide will help you navigate the process in Adobe Premiere Pro on a Mac, focusing on three different types of clips: interior, exterior, and night-time.
Step 1: Import Your Clips into the Timeline
About the Author
Gavin Martin is Principal of The International Stunt Academy and a recognised authority in stunts, film, and human performance. With a scientific approach to dissecting techniques and enhancing performance, he's equally passionate about the art and psychology of Stunts, Acting, Performance and Film-making. Before joining The ISA, he worked globally as a Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Creative Director, collaborating with many of the world's leading brands and innovating in digital film and production techniques. Known for his targeted coaching philosophy, Gavin is an agent for rapid, effective change. He values progress over accolades and pushes hard for the rapid and effective changes that moves us all forwards.
This blog os co-authored by The ISA Team