- One of the biggest challenges about getting good at color correction is that there's a lot of vocabulary, and everybody seems to use these words kind of differently. I thought it'd be a good idea right at the start of this title just to define a few things and a few words and phrases that I'll be using throughout the rest of this title. You can always come back to this movie as a reference if something that I say later on doesn't make sense. Let's start with a couple really simple things. First, is White and Black Point. When I say White Point or Black Point, what I'm referring to is the brightest or darkest portion of the shot.
This can be easily seen on a Luma waveform. Contrast; when I say that word, what I really mean is the difference between the brightest and darkest portions of a shot. A shot that doesn't have a lot of contrast can be thought of as flat or not having a lot of punch. A shot that is high contrast will have a big difference between it's darkest point and it's brightest point. Clipping and crushing are related concepts. Clipping generally refers to the loss of detail. When people use the word Clipping, most of the time, they mean Clipping white detail; the brightest portions of a shot tend to go to pure white and there's no detail.
You've seen this before: on the top of somebody's head or a window that's completely blown out. A related concept is the idea of Crush or Crushing. This is specifically loss of detail in the shadows. Sometimes the phrase, Crushing the Blacks, is used. What this means is: a purposeful way or purposeful kind of approach to destroying detail in the shadows for creative reasons. I'm a big fan of the phrase, Tonal Range, and when I use that throughout this title, what I mean is: the entire tonal range from black to white or dark to light.
Everything that we do in color correction happens in the tonal range. Is it a bright red or a dark red? A bright blue or a dark blue? That's the entire tonal range from dark to light or from black to white. A phrase that you often hear is Color Balance. What does that mean? Color Balance is simply the mix of colors or hues in a shot. Equal mixes of colors generally indicates Balance. We can have Balance at different portions of the tonal range. You can have a shot that's Balanced in the shadows, but out of balance in the highlights, so it's important, when you talk about Color Balance, to also reference where in the Tonal Range; the brightest parts, the darkest parts, or the portions in the middle.
Hue and Saturation are related concepts. Hue is the actual colors that are present in a shot; blue, red, green, and so on, whereas Saturation is just the intensity of a particular hue. Now, one thing that really throws off people is: is it Color Correction or is it Color Grading? I tend to use these terms a little interchangeably, but if we're gonna be definitional about it, I think it makes sense to think about a Correction as a single tool or a single action. For example, you might bring down the highlights in a shot; that would be a Correction, whereas a Grade often refers to kind of the sum of all the Corrections that you might make on a shot to develop it's final look.
Now, when it comes to vocabulary, there are a lot more terms that are relevant to the world of Color Correction, but these are some of the terms that I'm gonna be using throughout this title. And again, if something doesn't make sense in a later movie, just come back to this movie to kind of hear it's definition.
- How people see
- Creatively and technically evaluating a project
- Interpreting your client's direction for a project
- Estimating how long a project will take
- Six stages that happen in a color correction workflow
- Timeline level grading
- Building a correction and look toolkit