How to Use Color Correction in Your Videos

Chances are, if you’re making a video of any length, you didn’t shoot the entire thing in one take. Whether you use multiple shots in the same location, or if you shoot at multiple locations, each shot will look a little different than all the other ones. This is where color correction comes in.

1. Use it to match color temperature.

It used to be that only a few very talented people knew how to color correct film, but now every video editing software has the tools you need. The biggest use of color correction is to match color temperature across shots. That means taking all those different shots you have and making them aesthetically similar.

This gives the video a uniform, professional look.

2. Use it to fix washouts and shadows.

Both light washouts and deep shadows can be used as part as a visual style (just take a look at J.J. Abrams), but for the most part, you’re going to want to fix your washouts and shadows in post.

Color correction is a great tool for helping balance out the light in a shot. By adjusting the white filters, you can bring out the colors that had been washed out. By balancing the darker tones, you can lighten up what was hidden in shadow.

3. Use it as a storytelling tool.

Aside from balancing out a video and fixing certain lighting issues, color correction can also be used to add some visual flair to your video. By making certain colors pop out and by increasing/decreasing color warmth, you can create a very specific visual tone.

Director Wes Anderson does this in all of his movies, taking a color palette and uses it as the visual guide. The Matrix did it as well with all its washed out greens, and the new Mad Max highlighted its desolation with orange and blue.

Making videos is a rather difficult task, but nowadays there are a lot of great, easy to use tools at every filmmaker’s fingertips. Color correction is one such tool that allows you to balance a video’s color temperature, fix lighting issues, and create a visual tone using color filters. Take advantage of these tools and see what new things you can do with them.

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Anthony Mauro is a San Francisco State graduate who splits his time between the Bay Area and San Diego. He spends his free time thinking long hair is cool, playing video games for an online audience, and writing short stories, comic books, and novels.

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