Video Color Correction

Color Correction for Movie Post Production.

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Color Correction refers to an editing process by which all the colors of the movie match, shot to shot, and scene to scene. That the colors are full resolution, the blacks are black, and the whites are not overblown.
Back when I started working full time in the big L.A. Post houses, the Colorist was the highest paid person at the company. They had the “big chair.” They would spend at least a couple of weeks doing the color correcting on a big budget feature.

Today the era of the big post house has mostly faded into memory and most movies are produced, shot and edited by a small group of people or possibly by one person alone. Often these lower budget films are made by people who do not understand the value of true color correction. I have been doing movie and television Quality Control for 33 years so this is something I deal with all the time. I see a “Colorist” listed in the end credits and wonder why the black levels are high (a very common problem) which makes the blacks in the picture look grey, and makes the entire picture looked “washed out.”

Color Correcting Movie

Another common issue I see in QC of many films is overexposed or “blown out” whites. This is where the whites in the picture are so bright that they wash out or “contaminate” the images around them. Often this is the result of low foreground lighting. When shooting a low budget movie (or sometimes not so low budget) incorrect or insufficient lighting is common. It will force the cinematographer to have to “open up’ the lens to full aperture to make up for the low light. Accordingly This will make the close up area in the scene well lit. However if the background was brighter than the foreground (example: looking outdoors through windows in a house) the background will be blown out. This is will appear as pure white with no details whatsoever.

Another issue is muted colors. Color is measured on a Vectorscope, which has a Circle on the graticule of the scope. The color signal (chrominance) cannot pass beyond the edge of the circle. If the signal comes to the edge of the circle without going over, the colors in the picture will be full and vibrant. Often I see a movie where the entire feature shows signal on the Vectorscope not even going half way out to the edge of the circle, this makes the colors look dull and muted.

These are issues that can be fixed or improved with proper color correction. Many movies do not bother going the extra step to fix Color correction problems. Unlike many audio problems, many video problems are considered of moderate to minor importance. Acceptions are rejectable bad video levels. (ie Waveform monitor Luminance and Black levels.) Filmmakers often on a budget of both of time and money have to take care of the rejectable issues in the QC report first, The color correction often gets left behind. The price and time of proper color correction is also a big factor here.

At QC Central we can work with you to improve the color of your film. After a quality control report we can identify specific areas that may need color correction help the most, or work out a way to re correct the entire movie. With our QC services we offer the best prices and fastest turnaround in the industry to go with our 30 years+ experience. Please contact us anytime for more information on Color Correction for Movie Post Production.