Photoshopping (Grading) for Video

Why Photoshopping or grading for video is important

Video is without a doubt becoming more popular with people, including amateur and professional photographers. So I thought I would do a quick post on grading for video. Grading is kind of the equivalent of Photoshopping images or running them through Lightroom.

Before I continue, have a look at this cool video below. This shows the "before and after grading" footage from the independent feature film "The House On Pine Street".

Pretty cool huh? In comparison, clips that come out of a standard handy-cam or home digital video camera are much akin to those images taken with a point and shoot camera.

The camera itself does all of the processing for you:

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    Sharpening
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    Colour saturation
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    Contrast etc

Leaving the footage this way screams "home video" or amateur. That's fine for family videos but not good for commercial or professional work.

Get the professional look

You are able to make some home video clips look more professional using various techniques in most pro editing suites:

  • Avid
  • Sony Vegas
  • Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Apple's Final Cut

However, it can be difficult and you may not end up with the desired result.

Choose your video camera wisely

Before you even think about grading a movie or clip, you would do well to start with a different camera. DSLR's or mirrorless cameras like the Panasonic GH5 give you a great head start. They do this because  in most cases, they allow you to shoot with a shallow depth of field.

This already sets you apart from the handycam look as it is nigh-on impossible to get shallow DOF with consumer video cameras. That is unless you use an adapter or play around a lot in post production.

The next thing to do is to set your camera's recording settings as flat as possible with respect to things like:

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    Low contrast
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    Low colour saturation
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    No sharpening

This will make your images as close to "RAW" as possible leaving a dull image. Having a flat, dull, grey-looking image makes grading for video easier. It also gives you more possibilities for adding your personal touch with regards to the overall look and feel.

You can add more contrast and colour to suit each clip and overly sharp video clips don't always look better or suit the project.

I will leave it at that for now but I will post some video grading tutorials at some point in the future. Be sure to sign up to our newsletter to be alerted of new tutorials, news and content.

About the author

Nick

Professional photographer and videographer for more than 30 years and all round photography, video and gadget geek. Shooting ground and aerial wedding, stock and commercial photography (and video) in the UK and Europe.Please note: As an Amazon Associate and affiliate for other companies, I earn from qualifying purchases from some links used in this website. You don't pay any more but the commissions earned means I can keep adding to the website and offer free training etc. I.e. they pay my costs. Thank you.


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