It is common that we recognize the term “color correction” when talking about video clips for more professional productions. But there is another term that is sometimes used interchangeably and is confused with the first. We are talking about “grading” which is the reason that brings us to this post. What are the similarities and differences between these two? Here we tell you.
First things first, what do we talk about when we say “color correction”?
Well, it turns out that this is a fundamental element of both design and visual storytelling. Its use has to do with our sensory experience to describe objects, express emotions and evoke a response in the viewer.
In fact, it is very common that color palettes are defined in productions and this is no coincidence since color is one of the protagonists in video production. Historically, artists have used this element to create a work environment and bring their work to life with a specific theme.
So what is color correction? It is a process whereby each individual clip of a video footage is modified to match the entire variety of shots. So that the color temperature of the shots match each other. That is, the colors are balanced: the whites will appear truly white and the blacks really black so that everything is visually pleasing and uniform.
Color grading or gradation
In counterpart when we talk about grading, we refer to taking what has been done with the color correction and taking it further. With this other action the video is modified for specifically aesthetic and communicative purposes.
After the edition and colors have been harmoniously accommodated in the video, the story can be further modified with the manipulation of colors in order to give a new visual tone.
What will we achieve with grading?
You could say that grading is an art in itself that is used to emphasize moods or achieve a certain style in the way of telling the story. This can make a very considerable difference to give, for example, an aspect of violence in a specific scene. Or to achieve a sad scenario of a very lively landscape. In addition, it should be mentioned that the effect does not have to be highly visible to cause the desired impact, a subtle degree of color may be sufficient.
A little history
We can find grading practically from the beginning of the cinema. In 1922, Murnau altered the negative for his film Nosferatu during the development to get the result he had in mind so that he could impact the audience with gloomy scenes.
Some famous films that have used this technique are: The Godfather, the famous Coppola tape uses orange tones for his scenes, both indoors and outdoors. It should be noted that when this warm color appears, it usually precedes the death of a character.
A current example is the acclaimed Chernobyl series that gives an ancient look to the streets of Russia in the late eighties, last century. Possibly to report the decline caused due to this unfortunate accident.
Currently it is not necessary to work in a production house to be able to do a grading practice, but it is available to anyone through various softwares. Probably the most popular is Da Vinci Resolve, developed by Blackmagic Design that is already on version 16 and you can find it for Mac, Windows and Linux.
The great advantage of this program is that a single system can edit, correct the color, as well as finalize projects. In addition, it adapts to any resolution so it can be used both in a recording set and in a small studio or even large film productions. Some of the most valuable items you can get through this software are:
– A wide variety of styles
– Grading from RAW files
– Exceptional primary corrections
– Precise secondary corrections
– Framing with optical quality
– Exclusive YRGB color space