November 14, 2017

Watch: 5 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Color Grading

Color grading can be tricky, so try to avoid falling into these common traps.

Color grading your footage is not like adding an Instagram filter to your photos, though many beginners treat it as such. The process is long and frustrating, not only requiring a lot of patience, finesse, and understanding of color theory but also knowledge of how to avoid common mistakes. Luckily, Matti Haapoja of TravelFeels names five of them in the video below to help you set yourself on the right path when working on your grade in post.

We've all made these mistakes before, but the good thing is that knowing about them is half the battle. They're all relatively easy to avoid or correct. 

  • Your footage is bad: Color grading starts way before you head into post. Making sure your footage is captured correctly is the first step in getting a solid grade, so make sure you're exposing your images properly. (If you can, shoot in log so you have more to work with later on.)
  • Using weird colors:  This is where some knowledge of color theory comes in handy. Understand that certain colors just don't go well together, while others were basically made for each other. So, grab a color wheel, look at some color palettes, and get cracking.
  • "Going oompa loompa:" Many newcomers are guilty of going hog-wild on their grades: oversaturating colors and generally just going over-the-top. At least when you're starting out, try to make your grade look as natural as possible.
  • Not color correcting:  No, color correcting and color grading are not the same thing, and chances are you'll need correct any issues your footage has before you add any LUTs, like adjusting saturation, color balance, and contrast.
  • Forgetting to color match: Making your clips look uniform is certainly a mark of a professional, so make sure you color match them so they all look like they're a part of the same sequence.

What are some other common color grading mistakes? Let us know down in the comments.      

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1 Comment

Doing work experience at a small production house, the first thing that my supervisor told me was "Use the scopes to get the blacks black and whites white". Basic correction, but not doing it can ruin your grade (unless super deep blacks or blown out highlights is a specific look you're going for).

November 18, 2017 at 7:32PM, Edited November 18, 7:32PM

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