A Guide To Colour Grading

Before continuing with the subject of this article, I would like to acknowledge that the reason this article has been long over due is to the amount of exciting work that has been happening recently. There will be some case study articles to be released in the days to come and I cannot wait to share the behind the scenes info with you. Now onto the subject of this article, colour grading.

Colour grading is a post-production effects based process for your film or video project. The creative process of your project means having complete control over the look and feel of your images, colour being a part of this process.

Before continuing with this article, let us take a step back to something I mentioned in my previous article on The Guide to DSLR Video…The Picture Style. The picture style is the final outcome of what you are filming, and the information you can work with in your editing suite. In this article I will specifically talk about what you can edit when it comes to the information of light and colour captured in your images. This is why the Neutral Picture Style or the Technicolor Picture Style is a popular use among camera operators, because the style provides a dynamic range of image information to correct and adjust afterwards.

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Primary Colour Grading

The first thing you want to make an adjustment to is what’s called the primary adjustments. This is the actual correction part of the process, making sure the light is balanced. In colour grading tools, a histogram should be visible, to aid you in making these adjustments. I always find starting with the dark areas helps. For dark areas you want the bottom peak of the information in the histogram to just touch the baseline. Then with lighter areas, you want the peak of the information in the histogram to just about touch the 100 line. There will always be some overexposed areas with the whites, so it doesn’t have to be exact. Have the video showing to make sure it looks correct. As an extra tip, I find making the image black and white helps as a guild to getting your definitive contrast between light and shadow, and then restore the colour afterwards.

Don’t change colour saturation until you are ready to move onto the secondary colour grade. The last thing you need to do before moving on to this is to correct any colour balance issues. Is there too much of a singular colour in your image, is it too green or blue. Using the three colour wheels in your toolbar, make adjustments to balance the colours in your image.

Secondary Colour Grading

Now that your image has been corrected, it’s on to the secondary adjustments. This is the aesthetic process of your colour grading, the design of how your image is meant to look and feel. Let’s look at your image as a whole, how colourful do you want it to be. Colour grading also has an emotional effect over your audience. Desaturating the colour will give an expression of sadness and gloom, where as high saturation in colour can uplift the mood of your audience.

Now I want you to break down your image into every single colour that is there. Which ones do you want to be more saturated and which ones do you want to be less saturated, or not in there at all. Your colour grading tool can allow you to achieve this. Using a mixture of markers, geography and colour wheels, you can manipulate your image to get a balance of the only colours you want in your image.

In summary you can make the colour in your film or video look the way you want by:

  • Balancing the light and shadow in your image.
  • Correcting the reds, greens and blues in your image.
  • Making changes to the saturation in your image.
  • Break down your image into objects and their colours, which ones should change and be enhanced.


A Guide To Video Editing

Hello

2 Bee Videos have been away for a couple of weeks due to a big project in the editing suite. It is now complete and I will be releasing a case study article about the project sometime soon. Now that I’m back it’s onto this week’s main article.

 

So you have finished filming your content, now you’ve got to cut it together. In this article I will go through the processes and techniques professionals use to create the structure of their final film and video projects.

An Introduction To Video Editing
The way your video is edited together is something that should be thought through in the pre-production process when choosing how you are going to capture your subject on video. We all process information sequentially, so the job of the video editor is to make the audience forget they’re looking at a screen filled with a series of images and concentrate on the fact that they are watching a story. In summary the video editor has to hide the fact that they have created cuts, this is called seamless editing. This is done by joining two separate shots that have a physical or emotional connection between them. So if you make a list of shots contained in your video, you are also creating cut points and how the video is edited together. It’s important to know how your shots will be cut together before you start filming.

Before I move on and talk to you about the different kinds of cuts between shots, I should mention one more thing. Just like when I mentioned in my previous article about framing shots and how it has an emotional effect on it’s audience, the same is said for video editing. If I have less frequent cuts and/or a long shot duration with no cutting, then the video gives a slow expression. This intention for not cutting very much is perfect for scenes of a calm nature because the slow nature of the editing matches the emotion of the scene. It’s the same for more frequent cutting, lots of cuts between shots gives a fast expression and is perfect for past paced action scenes because the fast nature of the editing matches the emotion of a fast paced action scene.

Before, On & After
Most cuts in film and video happen around a specific action within the frame. Simply put, you can cut before an action, on an action or after an action. Each way of cutting effect the emotional outcome of how an audience reacts emotionally to the scene and the story.

Match Cutting
Match cutting is a technique in which two images that have a physical likeness are cut together. Edgar Wright is a brilliant film director and a master when it comes to staging shots for the edit. A good example of match editing from “The World’s End”, the use of empty pint glasses on a table outside during the day with someone walking past frame is used to cut into the next scene starting with someone walking past frame to reveal full pint glasses on a table inside during the night. The two shots are framed perfectly so that the table and pint glasses physically match the same space they occupy on screen, as a way of transitioning from one scene to the next.

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Using The Frame Or Camera
Using the camera and frame in order to make a cut is a great way of making seamless cuts. This is done by matching the movements of the camera or frame from one shot to the next. A great example I’ve used previously is the camera swipe cut. This is using the camera to pan quickly in one direction at the end of a shot, and then continue the same movement at the start of the next shot to create a transitioning cut between the two.

Cut-in & Cutaway
A cut-in and cutaway edit is the cutting together of two shots with the same angle but at completely different lengths. The use of and effect of a cut-in edit is to identify details that the camera cannot see from a distance, and the visa versa for a cutaway.

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Scene Transitions
There are two typical uses for transitioning from one scene to the next. The first is cross dissolve, involving blending the end of one shot to the next with a fade. The other is to fade the end of one shot to black, and then fade from black into the next shot. The effect of both these transitions shows the movement of time and space in the story.

Using Light
The use of light can be used create edits also. Most commonly a crescendo in overexposure at the end of one shot and cutting into an overexposed shot ascending in exposure. The effect has a thriller intention with the film’s audiences.

Editing On Sound
Using sound as an edit point is also used to create effective cuts. Usually in a dialogue scene the cut is made on the moment the sound of the other person starts talking, not before, to create a more seamless cut. Matching sounds from one shot to the next is also a good way of editing between two scenes.

 

In summary you can make a great edit for your video or film using the following kind of editing techniques:

  • Cutting Before, On or After an action.
  • Creating a Match Cut using two shots with a physical resemblance.
  • Using the Frame or Camera to create an edit point.
  • Enhance details by using a Cut-ins & Cutaway.
  • Using cross dissolves and fades to create Scene Transitions.
  • Using Light or overexposed shots to create edit points.
  • Editing On Sound to create seamless cuts.