Color Correction can be the savior you need for a project that requires a bit of help. It has a lot of versatile functionality, but mostly you can use it to iron out any production problems you might have had (for example, a light that changed or the sun going down). People keep color correction as a staple of their digital cinematography arsenal because it can be used to make one shot’s look match another in order to keep the audience engrossed in the storyline and characters, and not focused on the production value. Leave that to the critics.
The best advice that I and many of my peers can give is to do your best to get the look you want “in-camera,” meaning use a combination of lighting techniques, filters and camera tricks to get the tone you want so that you don’t have to produce it using digital cinematography in post. It helps to get as close to what you want as early in the process as possible, and then go back and use color correction to buff out the rest. Going one step further, shoot everything you can within a certain range of your target goal mood in order to allow yourself some wiggle room if you do need to fix something in post.
Outside of fixing a shot mistake here and there, color correction can also be used to give a project its defining nature. I can’t stress enough how every choice you make regarding a shot’s color and tone should be made in service of the story – if you’re not playing with the color for that reason, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. Where would The Matrix or O’ Brother Where Art Thou be without their signature color schemes? These movies’ respective color corrections were delicate choices that impacted the entire success of each film because fans were in love with the look.
Lastly, a big part of digital cinematography is to remember to have fun with it. You have the option to take the source footage from your project and make it look good, all for the sake of the movie itself. Even better, color correction technology can be used by anyone who wants to learn to give his or her projects that extra kick. Most programs are intuitive and easy to pick up, but mastering them takes time and dedication. In the end, it is worth it.
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