The process of going from a flat shot to a pro looking video actually gets done in three steps that we’re explaining below. Any other hierarchy in doing these steps will have negative results on your video so follow the steps in the same order.
The first step to begin thinking about the color of your video and determine the style starts from the production stage. That’s where you choose your picture profile in the camera to record with. The picture profile in a simple term is the parameters that form the characteristics of your image in general. So when you set the camera at RAW recording, you’ll get uncompressed footage that literally is just data and needs to be translated into a video later on. So footage like this gives you the most flexibility to add colors and change them as you like.
Another common picture profile is Log profile that is flat in terms of colors but is rich in terms of shadows and highlights. So when you record the video at Log, you should give it some colors in the post in order to make it watchable. A negative point of using flat picture profiles is that you have to work on it in the Correction stage more than other profiles. While there are some picture profiles like the standard Rec709 that gives you footage that is very close to what the human eye can see and therefore its range of colors are realistic and needs less correction. Each picture profile has got its own pros and cons so based on your need or style, you can switch between them in your camera menu.
Once you choose your picture profile and get your footage, you need to make it as close as possible to what you have in mind. This gets done by changing values for white and black levels, exposure, contrast, and white balance in order to correct its differences with the real colors of the subject. Another purpose of doing color correction for your footage is to make sure your shots look consistent in terms of lighting and all the other primary factors mentioned before. Once you do the color correction, you’ll have a good base to create your final look and mood on it. Below is an example of turning your video a little dark in the edges by using the vignette effect. As you can see the artificial tree is meant to be the center of this image and get the most attention, while everything around it is darkened. This darkening technique that is called vignette, is a step of color correction where you play around with darkness and light.
Now that you’ve normalized everything in your video, it’s time to give a special look that creates a special feeling and mood. You’ve definitely noticed that colors are usually different in movies and there’s a special visual mood that is aligned with the story and genre. Most of what you see in those movies are created in this stage of coloring a film. In this part, you choose whether your film to be dark and gloomy, bright and lovely, blue and cold, or any other color combination that comes with a special feeling. It’s at this stage that you can use LUTs to inject the colors you want and then play with the values to get the best look.
The values you can play with in order to best edit the colors of your image, whether you use LUTs or just inject the colors on your own, are known as HSB and consist of color Hue, color Saturation and, color Brightness.
Film Looks – LUTs Color Presets Pack
What we just walked through is the main process of setting and creating colors for a video. Whatever your purpose of making a video is, you should do the color process as all the professionals suggest. But as colors are formed by extremely complex compounds, just changing some primary values might not get you the final result in some cases. So this is why each editing software has got some special tools to manipulate colors professionally, and this sets them apart in terms of color preciseness.