How and why you need to colour grade your video footage

Mar 8, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How and why you need to colour grade your video footage

Mar 8, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Colour grading seems to be the buzz term for video these days. It didn’t really exist until O Brother, Where Art Thou? but it quickly became standard practice. Colour grading helps to set the mood and feel of your footage, as well as make it more pleasing. When you’re using multiple cameras, colour correction and colour grading is almost a must just to help them all look like they belong to the same project.

But how do you do it? In this video, Matti Haapoja goes through his colour grading workflow in Premiere Pro. He explains why you need to do it, and how, with some great timesaving tips, as well as the reasoning behind his choices, along the way.

YouTube video

Matti’s colour grading workflow is heavily based off LUTs. LUTs are very handy. They’re sort of like presets for video. Some are designed to simulate certain types of film, while others simply go for a nice custom aesthetic to give a certain mood or feeling. Some help to increase vibrancy and colour and others help to tone it down.

There are so many LUT packs out there now, and Matti uses his own Cine LUTs 2.0 package as his base. Once the LUT is applied he goes through and tweaks the contrast, colour, saturation, highlights, shadows and contrast to get the clip just the way he likes.

Personally, I use multiple cameras from different manufacturers. They all see colour and contrast slightly differently. So, my standard practice is to apply a correction LUT to get them as close as possible to each other. Then on some projects I’ll make an overall grade to help mask slight diferences between them. I prefer to do my colour grading in DaVinci Resolve, and then export out LUTs to import into Premiere Pro that don’t require any tweaking.

No one workflow is the best for everybody out there. There are many different ways of doing colour correction, but the more we know about, the more options we have and the easier we can find one that works best for each of us.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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