One of my favourite parts of editing my wedding videos is colour correcting and grading. It is the process of making adjustments to the exposure, colours and contrast, which is what makes footage pop.
Footage that comes straight out of a professional video should look drab, flat and under-saturated. It’s actually quite painful to look as a video editor. However, it means that the footage is more flexible – essentially it’s easier to adjust when it comes to colour grading.
Colour grading typically comes quite late in the process of making a film, after the sequence of clips has been cut and put to music. There are a few steps that I take to colour grade footage. The first thing that I do is make some basic tweaks, so that the exposure, contrast and saturation of all the clips are similar across the board. Then comes the satisfying part… applying a LUT.
A LUT is similar to an instagram filter. It’s a one click correction, which adjusts a variety of different aspects of the images appearance including exposure, contrast and colour specific saturation. I create them by taking a screenshot of the footage and edit it in Lightroom, which is photo editing software. Once the screenshot is edited, it can be turned into a LUT (it’s kinda boring, so I won’t discuss it in detail! Plus there’s loads of examples of how this is done on YouTube if you want to find out how to do it yourself!).
I create LUTs for various scenes e.g. one for outdoors, one for the reception, one for the first dance. Once the LUTs are created you can apply them to multiple clips with the click of a button.
LUTs are great, because they save time and they also ensure clips look the same, colour-wise. They should make the footage pop without going overboard. In my opinion, footage shouldn’t look over-saturated or over-processed, because it takes the viewer out of the film. Natural colour grading also doesn’t age and I want to make your film timeless.
When I grade footage I aim for warm skin tones, rich colour, deep greens and good contrast. However, I am flexible with my approach. Each wedding is different and so is my approach to how I colour grade.
At Alex & Gautam’s wedding the Hindu ceremony was full of vibrant colours, especially the flowers and Hindu elements. My aim was to maintain the vibrancy of the decorations, without them being a distraction. Sometimes that meant de-saturating some of the most intense colours to ensure the image felt well-balanced.
I hope you enjoyed that insight into how I colour-grade. Do you think I did a good job colour-grading Alex & Gautam’s fusion wedding film? Let me know in the comments.