10 Things to Remember Before You Start Color Correcting

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I had an opportunity to attend a two-day color correction and grading workshop recently and I wanted to share a few basic tips that are important to keep in mind before you start color correcting your own project. In another post, I discussed the difference between color correction and color grading. But for this post, I will use the term color correction to apply to both processes.

  1. There are two main components of color correction: a) fix a problem; b) create a look
  2. If you can, use a client monitor with its own waveform.
  3. Black on the IRE scale is 7.5% not 0%
  4. 235 RGB is considered video white; 16 RGB is video black
  5. Always correct the worst shot first.
  6. The one thing that has to look right is skin tone.
  7. Assume that everything you color correct will be broadcast, so keep your levels broadcast safe.
  8. Don't auto white balance by picking the brightest spot in the frame. That spot may not be white. It may just be overexposed. 
  9. Set the baseline grade, then go back to match shots, and then finally apply your look across the entire scene.
  10. The look you apply should be motivated. What is the reason behind your grade?

What other color correction tips do you have? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section.