Clients sometimes ask me what color correction is, and why it’s important.
Color correction, color balancing and color timing, is the art of manipulating the color of the film or video. Often times this is done to convey mood, bring attention to characters and to create a pleasing aesthetic. All Hollywood films and TV shows are “corrected”. What the camera shoots and what you, the viewer will see as the final product, are never the same. Editors and Colorists will manipulate contrast, saturation and balance to create the “look” or “color profile” of each shot. Often times the DP (cinematographer) will have a separate monitor on set with a look programed into the video feed so the client or director can see, in real time, a rough idea of how the final color will look.
One popular technique used widely in Hollywood today, is the emphasis of skin tone along with the teal colors in the shot. The theory is that when the skin tones, orange, red, tan, etc.. are emphasized they are complimentary with blue and green. By accentuating skin tones in the highlights and teal in the shadows, these complementary colors cause the characters to “pop out”. Thus drawing the viewers’ attention to the character or the focus of the action. A great example of this popular coloring method is in “Transformers”.
Often times a cool blue or bluish green wash is used in horror films and psychological thrillers. This blue tone conveys a feeling of uncertainty and emphasizes a cold unease. The viewer automatically feels uncertain because of the tonal range. There are no skin tones, everything is cold. Unlike above, when blue was only in the low lights, the horror look covers everything in blue. The wash tints skin tone, hair color, foreground and background. The below examples are from “Saw” and “The Ring”.
The point is this: Here at Allied Pixel, we are shooting with some of the most technically advanced cameras on the market. This camera forces us to manipulate the color in post. Sometimes clients and viewers do not realize what goes into the post production of video. Unlike the old days, its not just about editing anymore…its about color now too. Below are a few before and after examples of some recent projects. You can see on the left is how the footage comes out of the camera. Its flat and dull. We transformed that flat image into an aesthetically beautiful picture. Which would you prefer…a final video that has not been properly colored and has zero personality, or the Hollywood treatment?