Start Editing Film With These 5 Video Color Grading Tutorials

Joshua Lockhart 23-05-2012

video color grading tutorialEven during the days of black and white film, auteurs would do their best to hand-color each frame with beautiful tints that transformed their movies into rainbow-filled reels Why Hulu’s Cable Subscription Requirement Is A Harbinger Of Things To Come [Opinion] An alarming New York Post article has stirred up a hornet’s nest by suggesting that Hulu will be slowly moving towards a business model that requires authentication. In other words, users who want to watch... Read More . However, as time went on, color itself became a standard in film, but this time, these were true-to-life hues rather than creative tones. Even still, editors eventually found ways to use these colors artistically to create dream-like Wake Yourself Up Like Never Before Using Onlive Clock If there is one thing that I constantly struggle with in my life, it's waking up. I've tried everything from putting my alarm clock across the room, to using alarm clocks with some of the... Read More environments.


Below are a few color grading tutorials to get you (and me) started with editing Getting Creative With Some Simple Photo Effects In iPhoto '09 [Mac] With each version of Apple's premiere photo editing application, iPhoto, it seems the company tries to make the application as accessible and user friendly as possible for people who are not professional or even serious... Read More . They certainly are basic, but they also seem fun as well. If you already know a lot about coloring, please stick around to share some of your trade secrets.

The Basics of Color Grading

video color grading tutorial

In this video from the series Shoot Your Friends, you’ll discover the basics of color grading and color correction. The video really doesn’t go into too much depth, but it explains the basics of using a “flat” picture setting for your camera as well as how to bring out the details of your image. From there, our hosts explain how the standard three-way color corrector on editors Check Out VFX Studio, The Most Fun Photo Editor I've Ever Used [iOS] There are plenty of photo editing and sharing applications on iOS. There are apps to make you fat, apps to make you look like a zombie and apps that will give your picture that hipster... Read More work, but that’s about as far as we go.

I’d view this tutorial as a mostly a platform to jump from when learning basic color grading. Granted, I’m not a colorist, for it’s a skill that can only be learned in secret ninja dojos in Southeast Asia… But really, color grading is tough, and that’s why colorists make a whole lot of money. Fortunately, this tutorial (and the others) are targeted at those of us who want a quick fix to get by.

The Sin City Effect

video color grading


So I’m sure a lot you out there may have an idea of how to pull off the iconic Sin City color style. However, this tutorial (demonstrated with the legendary Final Cut Pro 7, may it rest in peace) will teach you the accurate basics of pulling it off. Realistically, it’s just a matter of letting a certain color show through, but there are always going to be a few minor tweaks when working on anything like this. This tutorial will show you what tweaks those happen to be.

As I said, this is a Final Cut Pro 7 tutorial. However, what I have noticed is that these tutorials tend to go cross-platform. Pick and choose the details that the tutorial provides and adapt them to your own color correction system.

The Vintage Film Look

video color grading

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Basically, you’ll learn some of the tips and tricks with the vintage look, but I encourage you to adapt your own methods with this one. As you may know, in order to get a legitimate vintage film look, you should have some film burns or light leaks scattered on the video itself. You can actually download a few free film burns here.

The “Blockbuster” Style [No Longer Available]

video color grading

The so-called “blockbuster” style that this tutorial from Digital Cinema Foundry has to offer is an attempt at reaching the quality of most major motion pictures in theaters these days. The focus is moving the shadows towards blues and the highlights towards yellows, and when done properly, the image comes out quite nicely.

I’d compare the color quality to films such as oh… Transformers What Motivates People to Record and Upload Pirated Movies and Music? What do release group members get out of uploading the latest episode of Game of Thrones? We talked to a few and found out. Read More , but without the high contrast or stronger emphasis on yellow. In essence, it’s all about the clash between the yellows and the blues, and the author describes this as being a recent development in film. Now, you can bring it to your own little movies.


The Bleach Bypass Effect

video color grading tutorial

The bleach bypass effect is perfect for war films due to its contrast, but it’s been used in a variety of other ways of well. With that said, Andrew Kramer from Video Copilot has yet another tutorial, and it’s all about the bleach bypass color style. What’s nice about this tutorial is that it’s incredibly easy to use, and you will likely have it done in just a few minutes or less.

Note that this tutorial was done on an earlier Windows operating system, and it doesn’t appear to be in 16:9. Never fear, my friends. The tutorial will work just fine.


Honestly, color grading is still foreign territory for me, and above are just a few things that have helped me out recently. I know that there are lots of color styles out there, and I’d love to get a good look at them.


If you don’t mind, would you tell me some of your favorite color styles? Do you have any good coloring tips?

Image Credit: msconnors

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