Color Correction and Color Grading, - what's the difference?


When it comes to working with your footage to manipulate color, there are two main types of color manipulation: color correction and color grading. They might be similar in their process, however there is a difference in how and when they are used.

As of today, color correction deals with technical aspects and adjustments made to exposure, white balance, ISO, and contrast (expanding contrast from log/flat recorded images). In other words, we need to cover mistakes made with camera settings and pull more information from log/flat profiles. Most often every image needs one of these corrective actions to be applied as it will help to create cohesion between shots.

After correcting the initial image problems, we can move to change the aesthetics of the footage and if we want to change the entire visual look and style. This is where you create more detailed color profiles, match the shots, remove distractions, use shape masks and apply different looks (day-to-night, flashback and other cinematic looks).

Technology has literally changed every aspect of the way any filmmaking process operates. Terms that are often used to describe the main stages have also changed over the past decade. As long as you know how to employ the color management workflow you are set for success.