Color Correction vs. Color Grading

Have you ever wondered how movies manage to make scenes look otherworldly? To set the tone and mood of a movie,  Movies often use color correction and Grading techniques. These two processes are similar, but what’s the difference between them?


In this article, we’ll explore both terms so that by the end of the reading, it should be more accessible than ever before knowing what something means when seeing their logos everywhere!


Read on to know the difference between color correction and color grading.


Colors are used in movies to create a particular atmosphere. Footage from cameras doesn’t always make it onto the screen, ideally. Color correction and color grading are often needed for editing purposes, where they adjust colors according to what viewers will see best at their desired viewing experience level.


Color Correction vs. Color Grading


When it comes to color correction and Grading, there is a lot of confusion about what these terms mean. But suppose you think about them in more straightforward terms than video or photos. In that case, they make sense- Color Correction happens before any Grading does where colors are adjusted for brightness contrast, etc., while called ‘grading’ usually refers only to the process where one enhances certain qualities like skin tone according to an idea/ preset template found within computer programs designed specifically for this purpose.


What is Color Correction?


Color Correction


Color correction is a technical process that changes overall color in line with human perception through hue, saturation, and brightness adjustments. It corrects any technical errors such as inaccurate white balance or exposure settings which can lead the viewer’s eye astray when they’re trying to watch your video on their phones!


Ways to Color Correct


Some of the steps needed to fix color on a fundamental level are very simple. To make the necessary adjustments, you will have to go back and forth through each step. That’s why it is essential for you as an installer or designer-in-training (or both!) with this task on your plate at one point or another–to know how everything works together!


Adjust white balance


White balance is the process of achieving true white in an image or video to make other colors fall where they should. There are three main temperatures that light can be: warm, calm, and neutral-balanced (think snowy conditions). So adjusting your screen’s tint means adding more warmth by raising shadows while reducing highlights by putting something like grays over them; making everything seem less intense but still okay because it has depth – this would look similar if you took away all color from a photo except their outline which remains clear even though we cannot see color anymore!


Tweak exposure


The exposure of a photo or video is the measure by which we adjust its brightness and contrast. We do this to ensure that our highlights are bright enough but not too overbearing; while simultaneously avoiding casting an underexposed shadow on any parts with no light available for them (weird).


Use the Three-Way Color Corrector


This tool allows you to control hue, saturation, and brightness within one interface. It’s an efficient way for videographers to look at different looks for their footage by dragging points in each color wheel. The three wheels can be either highlights or mid-tones with shadows controlled by shifting them side-to 6a>5b towards green on the left-hand side. If adjusted correctly, red should appear yellowish/orangey (depending upon the desired effect).


What is Color Grading?


Color grading is a complicated process of adjusting colors in photos or videos to create the desired look and feel. It sets up this final product for better presentation, so it’s essential to work!


The artistically inclined will use their skills with a color correction before going into stylized adjustments like those seen on an old film reel that gives off emotions such as sadness due to its lighting conditions (low light).


Ways to Color Grade


Color grades add a new layer of color to existing values and do not change them.


Apply split toning


Split toning is a quick and easy way to apply color to your lights, darks, or highlights in an image without affecting brightness. You can easily change the tone of an entire video shot by adding different colors on certain areas that need their specific properties altered!


For example, you could make skin tones look more naturalistic by using one shade to highlight something bright. At the same time, another will darken them down nicely without impacting other parts too heavily– this also works well if there are people with lighter hair against black outfits since we’re used to seeing such contrast between light & darker shades within those types of scenes often enough.


You can use split toning to create a more sophisticated tone by adjusting the hue and saturation in different parts. You will also need to utilize the balance feature so that your highlights are not too light or dark while balancing out all other tones with appropriate dividers between them for maximum effect!


Use scopes


Each shot must match and look similar across different screens when working with video. There is no point in spending time color grading footage only for someone else to see your hard work differently on their screen because of environmental factors like brightness or contrast ratio (which can change depending upon what device they’re using). Scopes provide accurate exposure information so that videos will have constant levels.


There are four primary video scopes to use:



Histograms can be a helpful tool when it comes to demonstrating the distribution of luminance within an image. However, you should use them wisely – they don’t tell us which pixels are light or dark in this case!




A waveform is a powerful tool for colorists, directors, and producers. It shows where highlight details are in your image or footage, which can be used as guides when setting exposure levels on set so that you get accurate results with the final grade.


The waveform display provides critical insights into how best to handle individual components within an HDR encoded asset without sacrificing any vital information about scene content like luminance distribution throughout all three channels- Red (R), Green(G), and Blue(B).


RGB parade


RGB Parade is a three-channel waveform that allows you to adjust the curve specific for each color. If you want less red in shadows, only those waves will be affected and vice versa with green or blue channels as needed!



A vectorscope is a color wheel that can adjust hue and saturation in an image or video with pinpoint accuracy. It works together simultaneously, ensuring greater conformity across shots.


Using LUTs for Color Correction and Color Grading


Video editors and photographers use LUTs (or Lookup tables) to alter the colors in their footage. They can do this through several adjustments such as gamma correction, saturation level, luminance, etc. All have been preset using information stored inside LUT files for quick access during post-production work or live streaming sessions online!


The LUT is a handy tool for colorists. When combined with precision and customization, it can create a look that’s tailored to your specific project requirements in seconds!


For example: if you’re looking to grade footage captured on film stock but need the correction applied before converting into video format (which will result in changed hue), then using log normalization would be best suited because this type of lookup table provides accurate results regardless of what kind/version conversion process has been employed-whether HDR or Log’.




Color correction and Grading are essential processes that take movies and photoshoots from their raw beauty to vivid, spectacular worlds. The colors in your footage will be more vibrant and accurate on a monitor that has been professionally calibrated. If you want to get the most out of every shot, ensure this step is taken before sending it off for post-production work!

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