Not everyone knows what a colorist does unless they’re involved in the post-production flow. In fact, most don’t know it’s the colorists job to bring a film to life in full color!

Whether you’re studying to color your photos and videos better at home or already working in a busy NYC or LA video production company, here are tips on how you can become a better colorist.

The Difference Between Color Grading and Color Correction

These two terms are often used interchangeably. Most film studios or film enthusiasts talk about them as if they are one and the same thing, but here’s the breakdown:

Color Grading is the process of adjusting the color of a video or film for any reason, whether it’s technical or creative.

Under color grading is color correction. It is a type of color grading where colors are adjusted to correct for mistakes or to make the video or film appear more natural and real. Color correction begins on set when the cameras are adjusted for white balance settings.

You can do color grading and color correction using programs like After Effects and Premiere.

The Colorist’s Job

Your job as a colorist is to fix and adjust the hue, tint and color of the final product. Colorists often work together with the director and cinematographer to make sure the final product results in what they envisioned. Color correction can be a time-consuming process and not all productions can afford to go through every single cut. It’s often the colorist is the last person to work on the film with the director before anyone else sees it and ensures there’s a seamless blend to the overall film.

Tips on Becoming a Better Color Corrector

  1. Always Get the Right Equipment

Thanks to modern technology, a colorists’ tools have become more convenient. You need to have a good quality computer so you can do your work with ease. Usually, it’s enough for computers to handle Premiere and After Effects. Of course, if you’re working for a production company or studio, you might find yourself having specialized mixing consoles. Computers should go together with a great color grading monitor. Some colorists even have elaborate projection setups that mimic the look of a movie theatre.

  1. Form A Particular Set of Skills

As a colorist, it’s important to have the ability to communicate well. Remember, you’re working with a director or cinematographer to achieve their vision of what the video or film will look like. You need to understand what they are asking for. Colorists are highly technical and need to be familiar with the technical details of software along with how colors affect the human mind.

  1. Seek More Education

Your job as colorist doesn’t end after learning the basics. In fact, you should continue to expand your background and learnings. It’s not uncommon to find colorists who have film degrees or art degrees. You should make it a point of continuing your learning as well. Keep your skills fresh and always learn what the latest software is used.

  1. Keep Practicing

If post production work is what you’re working on but want to move up to the coloring room, then you better keep honing and practicing your skills. While this goes true for nearly everyone, it’s important to be fully aware of your current skills and capabilities and keep improving on them through constant practice. Try new techniques while building your portfolio. It will only serve you best in the end.

  1. Connect with Peers

Make room to get to know or hang out with other colorists. Find online forums, participate, learn from them and more. There are a variety of production communities you can find online where you’ll find a group of people who share your passion for coloring.

While color correction may be a process that even the most ardent film buffs don’t even know exists, it is important for serious filmmakers to know and understand how this process is crucial to their projects.

Serious professionals and veterans will tell you that color correction can make a huge difference. If you want to get into this position, whether you’re currently at home doing your own thing or working in some capacity for a production company or studio, it’s always good to find ways to improve.