Color correction is often one of the most overlooked and misunderstood parts of the post production process for indie filmmakers. Colorists are the unsung heroes in the film industry, much like a mastering engineer in the music industry. The goals of color correction vary based on the film’s needs. It is important to understand that no successful film is ever released without a great deal of time, energy and money being put into this part of the process.
Balancing Your Footage
The main goal of color correction is to optimize all the footage. The film making process is long, even when you have ideal lighting, there are subtle shifts from scene to scene, even shot to shot. So the first goal of color correction is to optimize your footage and create a balanced look, so each shot in the scene looks as if it was shot at the same time.
The Films “Look”
Another goal of color correction is to create the film’s “look.” The look is an artistic choice by the film’s creative team and helps to set the mood or tone of a film. The look can sometimes be selected based on the films genre or the subject matter.
Other Goals of Color Correction
Color correction can also be used for creating special effects. A good example can be seen in the film “The Schindler’s List” and the shot of the girl in the red dress, which isolates one color and converts the rest of the scene into black and white.
Color correct can help fix white balance issues that may occur because of the wrong camera settings or the mixture of different color temperatures in the scene.
Color Correction can help fix footage that has exposure problems.
Color correction can help draw the audience attention to key elements within the frame. This is often used to emphasize people, props or other elements as needed.
Below is a video showing some great examples of the results of these color correction techniques.
With all the latest technology and the growing number of cameras that are shooting Log and RAW formats, the use of a great colorist has never been more important. RAW format gives the colorist greater flexibility during the color correction process.
So remember, if you’re looking to create stunning film, no matter what camera used for production, the goal of color correction is to get the most out of your footage.