Why Photoshopping or grading is important for video
As video becomes more popular with people, including professional photographers, I thought I would do a quick post on grading which is the equivalent of Photoshopping images or running them through Lightroom.
Before I continue, have a look at this cool video that 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:
- Colour saturation
- Contrast etc
Leaving the footage this way screams “home video” or amateur which is great for family videos but not good for commercial or professional work.
You are able to make some home video clips look more professional using various techniques in most pro editing suites such as Avid, Sony Vegas, Adobe Premiere Pro or Apple’s Final Cut but it can be difficult and you may not end up with the desired result.
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 GH4 for example give you a great head start by allowing 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 depth of field with consumer video cameras 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:
- Low contrast
- Low colour saturation
- No sharpening
This will make your images as close to “RAW” as possible leaving a dull image which makes grading easier with more possibilities for adding your personal touch.
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.