How To Give Your Video A Cinematic Look – Colour Grading

Everyone wants their video to look like something straight out of the cinemas. There are many aspects to making your footage look ‘cinematic’ and one important step in the process are colour correction and colour grading. I discussed colour correction at length in my last tutorial. Today we will look at Colour Grading.

Colour Correction 01 - Correction vs Grading

It is important to first correct any colour issues with your footage before you move on to colour grading. Otherwise it’s like putting fresh paint on your walls without a proper undercoat.

Also note that colour grading can technically ‘break’ your colour correction again, but that’s ok; properly correcting any colour issues beforehand ensures that we have the best possible starting point when it comes to grading our footage.

What is Colour Grading?

Colour Grading is the process of creatively altering the appearance of your footage to give it the desired emotional impact. You might want a scary movie to look dark and gritty whereas a comedy should probably look more colourful and happy. How you colorise and style your footage has a huge impact on how the audience will experience it. For example, here is the same scene, once made to look warm and friendly and once made to look all scary and dark.

Colour Grading 01 - Good and Evil Walter

It is important to note that there are no hard and fast rules or set steps that you can follow to get the look you want, because the look you want depends on your personal taste and the style you are going for. Therefore in this tutorial I will take you through how I colour graded our Zombie Hunter VFX short film as well as our recently released short film Mario’s Magic Mushroom.

While I will use Adobe After Effects for this tutorial, you should be able to follow along with any other video editing or visual effects compositing software as long as it offers you effects to control the colour of your footage and apply some creative effects.

Let’s get started!

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