What does a color corrector do

Color Correction and Color Grading: Why This Glossy Polish Is A Must For Film Projects

Color processing is an integral part of every moving image production. We from the LINGNER.COM moving image team want to know why this is the case and what it is all about.

Christian, what exactly do you mean by color processing?
Christian Laurin: After editing, color processing is a very important part of post-production and, strictly speaking, consists of two steps. First: a color correction or color adjustment. Here the different scenes that were recorded in different rooms, lighting situations or with different camera systems are adjusted so that it later becomes a uniform film. Second - and this is where the real magic happens - color grading. That is the artistic and creative part, in which each film gets its individual look, its personal mood.

Does every video really need such a two-step color manipulation?
Christian Laurin: Yes, always. Sometimes the differences between the source material and the final product are very clear, sometimes they are more subtle, but in any case the video is instinctively perceived as being of higher quality. In other words: a clean and good color processing makes a huge difference in the perceived quality of a film.

If you lit the scene correctly on the film set, you need less color correction in post-production, right?
Natalie Kölbl: The good work of a cameraman and his lighting technician is definitely noticeable for the colorist in the phase of color correction. The adaptation of the light color, the brightness distribution and the intensity of the color is not only shorter, the color gradations and the possibilities in color grading are also greater.
In difficult lighting situations, however, a longer processing time cannot be avoided afterwards. Especially when taking pictures where the sun is used as a light source. It can be the case that in one shot the sun is covered by a cloud and in the next the sunlight falls through it. Common cameras have suitable settings for difficult conditions or special requirements for the look of the film. This makes the image look very low in contrast. After the cut, the colors are made to glow again.


Unprocessed “low-contrast” original image

Image after color editing

Color correction ok, but what does it mean to create the right look?
Natalie Kölbl: With the look you can give the film a certain mood or the desired touch. The look is a tool that should not be underestimated to support the message of a film. In this step, too, you should ask yourself what the film is actually supposed to express.

Extract from the color grading software DaVinci Resolve

Can you also transport a company's CD with the look?
Fabian Borst: You shouldn't overdo it with the look. The art lies in using this stylistic device in such a way that it is perceived subconsciously rather than disruptively. Supporting the film's message is therefore its primary task.
For example, if you have blue and orange as your company colors, it is not exactly beneficial to “grade” all the images you have taken in this direction. That would be more likely to be perceived as disturbing and maybe even counteract the message. In order to convey the corporate design of a company into the moving image content, the graphic elements are much more suitable, such as social highlight texts, which nowadays already play an important role in moving image content.

Sounds like an exciting topic that we should also take a closer look at, but back to color: How long does it take to optimize a minute of film?
Natalie Kölbl (laughs): You can't say that across the board. The duration can vary widely and is mainly dependent on two factors: recording quality and the desired look.

Isn't that all possible nowadays with simpler means, see Instagram filter?
Fabian Borst: Nice Try! Instagram filters are a great tool for generating quick looks. But of course it is no substitute for the professional workflow. On the one hand, the step of color adjustment is missing here completely and on the other hand the selection of effects is very limited.
We are happy to show what makes individual color processing really special using examples in our Color Reel, just take a look.

Thank you for these exciting insights.

Christian Laurin: Moving Image Producer
Fabian Borst: Creation of moving images
Natalie Kölbl: Editing / Film Design / Color Grading
Mareike Markheiser: Color Grading