Film School: Intro to Colour Correction

Film School: Intro to Colour Correction Image Source:

Learn how to use scopes to manage colour in your video.

Colour Correction comes before Colour Grading. This entry is about correction – to learn about grading, head here and here too.

Reading the Scopes

First off: here’s a handy four-minute explainer about the Vectorscope, which is crucial in colour correction (via LensProToGo):

Don’t let the title fool you – this is a slightly longer (but still under 10 minutes) overview of the steps in which scopes are used (via Cinecom):

Working with Scopes

In this video tutorial from Surfaced Studio, Tobias seeks to demystify Scopes, and how they, moreso than just your eyes, are used to “read” colour in image. Importantly, Tobias offer tips (in Premiere Pro, but which can be applied in any software) with a focus on the order in which to take on colour (my notes follow the video):

Premiere Pro Advanced Colour Correction Tutorial by Surfaced Studio

What to do:

Film School: Intro to Colour Correction
Levels in RGB Parade (source: Surfaced Studio)
  • Colour Correction happens before Colour Grading
  • Make each clip looks its best, individually
  • Make the clips look consistent, collectively

How to do it, one tool at a time:

  1. Levels – highlights (Gain), mids (Gamma) and shadows (Lift)
  2. Waveform (Luma) – first look at the image in grayscale, to ensure it takes advantage of the full brightness/contrast range, from blacks to whites
  3. Parade (RGB) – the same grayscale range idea repeated, but this time in each individual colour channel
  4. Vector Scope (YUV) – together with the Parade scope, tells you where on the RGB spectrum the colours in your image are most distributed.
  5. Colour Corrector + White Balance – how to “drag” the colours of the image in the general direction you want (which, at this stage, is usually towards the most neutral, balanced point possible)
  6. Correcting Skin Tones – using the “skin tone line” in the vector scope

Using a Colour Chart

Caleb Pike from DSLR Video Shooter demonstrates colour correction using a colour checker:

In this demonstration, the white balance is set incorrectly:

Skin Tones

On that final point in the Surfaced Studio tutorial: once you’re more familiar with working with scopes, you’re ready to colour correct skin tones. Here’s a collection of tutorials:

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