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The Complete Guide for Creators: Color Grading Explained

Color grading is a common practice used in post production video editing. This process consists of practices that allow for the colors in your video to create a certain mood or feeling. Color grading allows for creative expression in the form of color cohesion, where the video can be tweaked to achieve consistency with your color palette. Whether you are looking to create a mood that matches a certain product or want to mimic the overarching theme of your brand style, color grading can be a powerful tool when used correctly in video editing.

Why Color Grade?

When storytelling or portraying a brand identity, color can be a powerful tool. Color grading allows creative freedom in the way a final video production looks to consumers. Because different colors portray different moods and evoke a variety of feelings, color grading videos can have a strong impact on the way the audience will react to the messaging. Color grading is a stylistic effect that, if done correctly, can have a drastic effect on the way that your message is portrayed in front of a target audience.

How to Color Grade

When deciding to color grade, there are a number of factors to consider in achieving color cohesion. Because pictures and videos are composed of a variety of layers, there are different ways to color grade visual content. The following examples are just a few that any video creator should pay attention to if they are choosing to color grade:

  • Curves – Curves of a video are responsible for the highlights of an image, as well as its shadows. By adjusting the curves of a video, you are able to change the undertones of the content and have the ability to subtly adjust the color effects that come through.
  • White Balance – White balance is responsible for shaping the warmth or coolness of your video tones. This tool is an excellent way to change the overall mood of your video, from emotions evoked by cool tones to the feelings created by warm color hues. 
  • Color Match – Color match takes your current video and matches the color style to a reference image. By color matching, you will be able to copy the look and feel of an example visual, and create the same mood in your own video production.
  • Contrast –  By working with the contrast of a video, you are able to adjust the relativity of darkness to lightness. This can be an effective way to change the mood of your video, by changing the brightness or darkness of the overall visual.

Color grading is a popular tool used by creators who want to develop a sense of emotion in their video production through color. Because video production is such a visual craft, the tones and use of color in the content can have a great impact on the way people perceive a message. To create certain feelings among an audience, videographers can rely on color grading as a way to connect with their consumers’ emotions. Understanding the different reasons for and ways to color grade a video is an important step to video editing in the professional world. 

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