COLOR CORRECTION & COLOR GRADING Basics in Premiere Pro CC 2021 | Dennis Schrader | Skillshare

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teacher avatar Dennis Schrader, Freelance Videographer and Creator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

14 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. 00 Intro

    • 2. 01 Definitions

    • 3. 02 White Balance

    • 4. 03 Daylight vs Tungsten

    • 5. 04 Using Greycards

    • 6. 05 Mixed Lighting Situations

    • 7. 06 Exposure

    • 8. 07 Lumetri Scopes

    • 9. 08 What to blow out

    • 10. 09 The color grade

    • 11. 10 Non Destructive Color Grade

    • 12. 11 Color Grading with LUTS

    • 13. 12 The Assignment

    • 14. 13 Less is more!

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About This Class


The Email Script that got me 3 Real Estate Video Clients in 3 Days!: 

My Personal Folder Structure for Video Projects (Ready to Use!): 

Understand the Basics of Filmmaking PDF (Free Download): 

The Camera Gear I use and recommend:

Color Correction and Color Grading are some of the most important skills to have your video look amazing. They are also some of the most popular topics on YouTube so to find good advice can be confusing.

Here is what you learn in this course:

  • How to set white balance
  • How to correct white balance
  • How to fix the problem of mixed lighting
  • How to find and use LUTs for Premiere Pro
  • Use Lumetri Color to get the perfect Exposure
  • and lots more!

I made this course to give you the fundamentals, that you need to be able to deliver paid work and to have a starting base to get creative from.

Lots of "newbies" (including myself years ago) just dive head first and over-grade the sh** out of their images. This will save you from this mistake so you can make controlled mistakes.

Because now you know the rules!

Meet Your Teacher

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Dennis Schrader

Freelance Videographer and Creator


Hey guys! My name is Dennis - I am a one-man video production company based out of Hamburg, Germany. I love sharing my experiences with others so they can do the same!

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1. 00 Intro: Do you want to learn how to go from something like this to something like this? Then this class is made for you. Color correction and color grading are some of the key things to master if you want to make beautiful looking videos. My name is Dennis, and I'm a professional freelance filmmaker based out of Germany, and I will teach you about the basics off color grading and color correction. We will talk about when to use which white balance and down to correct it if you made some mistakes during the shoot, how to fix the problem of mixed light sources and also how to use lots to easily get amazing color grades that fit exactly to the vision for your video or film project. I remember when I started out that I saw a bunch of videos on YouTube and tried out different things, but I was never really sure what's actually important to focus on what was maybe just some bad information. So I just went on and made my own mistakes, and by the way, you should, too. But with this class, you will be equipped with real life industry knowledge of what clients like and what works and freelance filmmaking. You know, there's a lot of advice out there, and this one here is for you. If you really just want to know the tried and true fundamentals, how to get started and not make some of those amateur mistakes that I made when I started out. If you want to learn how to do all this, I'm excited to see you in the class. Take care. 2. 01 Definitions: lesson number one. What is color correction versus color grading? So, first of all, I'm excited to dive into this class with you. And let's start out with some quick definitions because I think it's important to always know what we actually talk about when we say color correction and color grading, and we use all those different terms. So what's the difference between color correction and color grading after one shooting? Different lighting situations, different scenes, different day times? The image we get is not always perfectly. It's not always the same. Sometimes things need to go fast, and we don't have time to dial in the perfect settings. And then things happen. The image might have color cast. It might appear a little bit too warm, a little bit too cold, kind of unnatural, and it also might be just a bit too dark or a bit too right. And that's exactly what color correction means is bringing the image back to the normal. Or let's just say the natural, and we do that by adjusting a few things. Actually, in camera is the best way or in post production, and look, the goal here is not yet to have any kind of specific look that you might want to have later. The goal is more to prepare the footage for putting a look on top of it in the second step if you want to. And this is especially important if you have any kind off generic lutz that you want to use . You know basically the filters for video because they often don't work with wrong exposure values or white balance, because then they would not work well for many different cancer footages. Instead, they're made toe work with corrected footage because that's always representing the natural colors. And therefore you can create a replica wreck republic edible. You know you can get the look over and over again in different kinds of footage. Just which brings us to color grading and color grading. ISS, giving the video a certain look. So one more time color correction is more for science with clear right and wrong. But color grading is really where your personal style and aesthetic comes in. You can make things look more dark and dramatic. You can make things look more happy and light, and that's called grating. So now let's do a quick refresher on white balance 3. 02 White Balance: so the first step to color correction already starts at the shoot. You always always want to go as close as you can to the desired image already in camera and one especially important setting. There is the white balance. So as you know, the white balance setting in your camera basically tells it how to interpret different light sources in different you know, light temperatures. More, More importantly, it balances out the light. So, for example, if you shoot in a very warm light, you might use the setting off 3000 Calvin. Okay, so the white and all other colors, for that matter appear like they actually should appear. Not like orange or, you know, with color caste. Likewise, if you film in normal daylight, you will be more around 5600 Kelvin because that represents the color temperature off daylight. So again, then everything looks natural with that setting, especially when filming compared to taking raw photos, it's important to get the white balance as close as possible to the reality or to the desire setting, because it's really, really hard to correct. Totally wrong white balance, even if it's raw video codex. So that's an important setting to remember 4. 03 Daylight vs Tungsten: Okay, here we are in Premiere Pro 2020 with a few short clips that I shot a few days ago in the park. I have already imported them into the project, so let's go ahead and drag them into the sequence and take a look. All right, so let's first take a look at the white balance. Like you already know. Different white balances are made for different lighting situations. So, for example, we're outside in the middle of the day in the park, and it's a little bit cloudy, so white balance should be set at about 5600 Calvin. That works for this situation. So now let's change to a different scene and see how 5600 Calvin looks, for example, in a typical indoor scene where the light is a little bit different. So usually indoor lighting is a lot warmer than daylight, and that has an influence on how the image looks. Obviously. But the thing is, the camera still thinks it's operating in daylight because that's still what the setting is . And that's why the color is so often everything looks orange and wait to warm. Now, if we adapt the white balance to the new environment. We set it to about, let's say, 3000 to 3500 Kelvin, and this represents the very yellow toe orange indoor kind of lighting that it's also referred to as tungsten lighting. So now we have a better image and everything looks normal again. And the white appears white, every colors represented correctly, and that's what we want. All right, so let's say we just finished filming an indoor scene, and now we're going outdoors with daylight, and we forgot to change the white balance, which obviously should never happen. But let's imagine for a second. Obviously, you would instantly notice that already in the monitor of your camera, everything will appear orange. But you know, whatever. At the very latest in the color correction, you will see that something's totally off and you'll have to do the best to get the image. You know that you want out of it. So the thing that we have to do is find a spot in the image that is a neutral gray or should be in a neutral gray okay, gray or white ish kind of thing, and said it is the new white balance point meaning. By doing this, you tell the software, which is Premiere Pro, in this case that this particular point you were pointing at should be white or great. And with this basic starting point, the software will calculate all the colors of the whole image based on this one single point being white or great, you know. And as we can see, it works to a certain degree. But as we said that image quality is not the same as if you had recorded the whole clip in the correct white balance in the first place. Let's compare. And this is why you should always work on having the best in camera white balance that you can have. It really makes sense to try different spots in the frame when you try this correction method to find the one that gets you really the best results. Because what premier is doing here is actually taking a few pixels around the selected point to make an average off that and calculate the changes. If you want a slight adjustments, just drag the sliders in the elementary color manually until it looks more natural 5. 04 Using Greycards: through. This method obviously depends on a neutral white or gray appearing your friend. But what can you do if there is no gray or white in all your image, Another way of having gray in your frame. It's using a great card already when shooting the video. So if you prepare well, then you can take a great card like this one here on your shoot. And you know, just in every scene before you hit record or before you start seeing you put that into your camera frame so you have it captured in the lighting that your subject actually will be in . So you have a reference point that you can click on in the color correction to balance the white balance. Now the thing is that in the situations where you have time to do that, like in a studio or space where you control the light, most likely you might also have the time to just make the correct white balance or just set the lighting as you want. But again, those cards are small, and they come in handy if you remember using them, and it doesn't really take that much time. I mean you could just, you know, boom. That's it. You know, Boom, that's it. Like it doesn't even need to be sharp is just need to be the color in the frame. So this is how you can fix white balance quickly. 6. 05 Mixed Lighting Situations: But now, if you pay close attention, you can see another problem with white balance and mixed lighting situations, especially in mixed lighting situations, because we can see that there's a little blue shimmer coming from the window. Can you see it? You see? And that's because we set the white balance to the current temperature off the indoor lighting while the outside lighting the daylight obviously still shines at the same 5600 Kelvin, which creates different color temperature and a different effect in the final video. And that's what makes it look blue, you see. And that's actually one of the most common challenges that you will have to face when you should video, because you don't always have control over all the lights that come into your scene. Sometimes you will have to deal with daylight on. Sometimes you will have to deal with indoor lighting, and you don't always have the chance to have your own lighting. That perfectly matches the lighting of the surrounding or you don't have time to match the existing lighting to your lighting. But at the end of the day is always the goal to get the best in camera white balance in every single situation so that you have to do, you know, the least amount of correction later on. And that's because, like I said, changing white balance and color correction is possible to a certain degree, but the image will start to suffer very, very fast. So what do we do with this particular problem in this example? So let's take a look at this clip. Obviously, this is from a recent real estate shoot that I had, and we can see here on the right side that there's definitely some blue. So how could we get rid of this blue? Because the white balance in the shop was probably around 6500 Kelvin exposed correctly for the inside. I'm sorry if you can hear that, but that's my cat eating. But anyways, there's a There's a good way to fix that blue shimmer coming from the window here. So the way we do that as we go to Premiere Pro and then on the right side H s l secondary and then you see all different kinds of colors here, what we do is we choose, which is click your blue okay, and then you scroll down and then you have saturation. And now look at the image and look what happens when we drag the slider back and lower the saturation. Uh huh. So look at this. Saturation is almost zero. And if you look closely, you will see that all the blue is gone and that it's actually almost like gray. But in this case, right, if you look at the image like this, you will see that here around the chair, things look a little bit great. But nobody will notice that that's where the blue us, you know, because there shouldn't be because there shouldn't be any blue. And in this case, when you de saturated, or you can also work together with this and make it more warm to match the indoor lighting , you know, that's also an option to have the blue appear more warm. So that way you only fix the outside and it could make it. You can make a combination of both of those, but basically, now, if you look at this is fixed like it's not distractingly blue anymore, and examples like this where it's just background information, anyway, that you have to change. This is a great way to, Ah, work with mixed lighting situations where you have basically no chance to have the correct white balance, because either it's for the inside or it's with the outside, and this is how you can fix it very easy. 7. 06 Exposure: So that's done. Let's talk exposure. How do we know if the exporters too high, too low or just right? So here is well, the goal is to achieve the look that you saw when you were there in person. It's not necessarily the goal to make everything right and, you know, super visible, because think about it. If you are in a dark situation, you know, at night or something. The goal is not to make everything appear super bright like in daytime. It's to make it look like it actually looked in reality when you were there. So that being said, let's look at some techniques to get things right. Option number one is Just look at the image while adjusting. You know, obviously you can just drag the exposure slider up and down until you generally like what you see. You can also just the shadows and the highlights for more nuanced and specific changes, you know. But the problem with that is that you could easily end up actually crushing the blacks or whites to the point where the information and either one is lost. So to avoid that from happening, what we have to do is, you know, use the tools that premiere pro really gave us on. And for that, let's take a look at elementary scopes. 8. 07 Lumetri Scopes: a Z. You can see there's lots of different options also for fixing colors, for example. But in this case, I like using the way form and the way from type at Louima. And what we see here is a representation off our current frame. The width represents the image left to right, and the white access represents brightness off that particular spot in the image. So while looking at your image, we try to raise the highlights to about 90 maximum and decrease the shadows to about 10 and all that while looking at your image. And that's basically the rule. And then you take a look and just further because, honestly, what you see is always more important than you know what some kind of way form or number tells you. But you know, that's a good general work flow to reach correct exposure in that sense. All right, so let's take this clip as an example. So we go to elementary scopes and then we see Louima. Okay, so now we can see we have a good starting image because we can instantly see nothing is going to 100 which means nothing is over. Exposed to the degree that we can't get it back. Nothing is clipped in the highlights and we can also see nothing is touching the zero. So nothing is so under exposed that we have no information left. So what that means is that we can now work with this very well. So, like we said in the beginning, we can bring the highlights about 2 90 while we're watching the whole thing, by the way, and in this case, it was recorded unlocked profile. So we also have to bring back some contrast. But anyways, we go. We look, take a look at the highlights here, and then Let's see what happens if we bring them up a bit. Maybe something like this, and you can see it's basically around 90 here. You know, don't go too high. And then we look at the look at the, um, the shadows and we see what happens if we drag him down a little bit. Not too low. You see, in the rule that because that's what makes a kind of art, the rule is that you don't go below zero or maybe even below 10 and you don't go above 90 and you definitely do not go to 100. Like if there's something really bright, you might go over 90. But you don't go about above 100 if you can help it, and then the rest. You know, it's basically up to your liking. You know, you can go very high. Contrast. You can go lower words. It's a taste question to some degree as well. But this is basically a you know, this is a very well balanced image, I would say. Yeah, nothing over exposed. Nothing under exposed. Perfectly fine. You can make it. Maybe a little brighter overall. Lower the highlight. So it doesn't clip at all? Yeah, something like this. 9. 08 What to blow out: So when filming, you will be faced with having to make a decision. The goal is obviously always to have nothing in the frame clip, but sometimes you will have to make a decision off what you want to expose for them. Explain. So especially with the popular DSLR or mirror less cameras or even the more affordable cinema cameras or actually any camera. At some point, you will not be having enough dynamic range to capture the very brightest on the very darkest areas at the very same time in the same frame. So you will have to lose information somewhere. So let's say you feel a subject against the window where daylight is coming in through, so you're filming into the light. That means you can either exposed for the window and the outside or you can expose for the subject. And my personal point is, you should always obviously, I mean, if there's no big reason why not, you should expose for the subject and one for the background, but one role. Does that really play in color correction? Well, the thing is this sometimes you will come across a clip, whether important subject in the clip will be perfectly visible, but the background will overexposed in some way. Usually, when you're outside run and gun, you don't have any filters or something. And that's almost a philosophical question to some degree. But in my opinion, most of the time, depending on the level of production quality that you really need, the subject being exposed is enough and all you need, especially if you don't have that much time. You know you need to delete clips just because some parts of the background are blown out. You know, I shoot lots of event videos, for example, and it happens all the time that something might be happening. I have to film it and I don't have time, or I don't get it done fast enough to change whatever the aperture changed my nd filter and then, you know, I got the shot. The subject is exposed, but something is blown out. The sky is blown up, and honestly, if it generally looks OK, doesn't matter. You know, to me, it doesn't matter. Obviously, it's a different story. If you have a very high production value and you can repeat shoots, you can, you know, redo the take and not make the same mistake. But if it's a time sensitive thing, I would rather use the usable shot over not using any shot up or it's that being said, I actually want to show you an example off pretty much one of my favorite charts that I've ever gotten, which I captured on a barbecue event. And there's this guy who looks like you want someone to look that goes to a barbecue event like this beard. This cowboy hat, you know, Rocky kind of looking guy, not Rocket, but like Rock Music E. And this example was one where, in order to expose the guy correctly, you know, I needed to go brighter. And so now I got the shot. And here you go. I think I have a moment in the final video where have this frame right now that you see right now and obviously the sky is completely blown out, we can go into the luminous elementary scopes and take a look. You know, even if we bring down the highlights, you can bring them down. But there is no information over here completely gone, and, you know, that's that's obviously unfortunate, would be awesome if it would be the perfect blue sky. But first follow wasn't was completely gray and gray skies like the worst. I mean, it's nice when you don't have it in the frame, but if it's in the frame, it looks just white, Um, and this is an example of a shot that I would have never, ever, ever left out. Obviously, if the clients has something else, that's a different story. But I personally would always take that shot because just so perfect, like this guy's so optimal. I need to have him in the video and it would be said to not use the shot because it's technically not perfect. And it doesn't live up to the the standards off how to expose a new image correctly. So that's what I mean when I say rather used to clip that you have, if it's good, then abandoning it just because the exposure is not perfect 10. 09 The color grade: So now the color correction is done and we can start applying. Look to our image and the goal of color grading is to achieve a certain look that supports the whole project. So and also to make it look according to your vision for the whole video, you know? So if you wanna have it look like a thriller, make it look something like this. Make it look something like this. If you're shooting something that you want to look like a love movie, then shoot it. Something like this. And if you wanted to look like some, you know, news anchor TV production that a super bright and looks like CNN news make it look something more like this. And if you wanna have something that looks like the Lord of the Rings, then shoot something that looks like the Lord of the Rings. So try to be intentional about your great, because just trying to make it look cinematic or copying your favorite travel. Youtuber. It's also just an easy way to completely mess up your video because, you know, everybody does that. And like I said, the goal is also to bring your video together. So it doesn't look like just a sequence of random clips that all look totally different from each other. So let's go back into Premiere Pro and apply a simple color, great toe our video. 11. 10 Non Destructive Color Grade: all right, so here we have our color corrected clips, and so the idea is to create a look that brings all the clips together. We wanted to apply to all of the clips equally, and so we could go into each clip and make the same adjustments until we're done right, and that would totally work. But it's a really bad idea. And here's why. First of all, we always want to work non destructively, so whatever you choose to do in color grading, we want to be able to adjust that later on without messing with the whole color correction that we've done to that specific clip you know that we might have done before, even the color grading. So the best way to do this is to work with adjustment layers because, you know, since the color correction is on a clip to clip basis and the color grading is supposed to bring it all together, you will obviously apply the same color grading toe all the clips so you don't have to make clips specific changes, so you can just use a adjustment layer and pull it over all the clips at the same time. And that way, it's known, struck awfully and you're safe a bunch of times 12. 11 Color Grading with LUTS: So now we start changing the look, and here it's basically all up to you. I recommend looking for some movies or videos that you like and try to emulate color grading, maybe just for practicing or if you have a look that you want to apply to your video and start playing around with it in order to get the lucky one for your specific video. And a good way to start is also to use lots. I use lots all the time. Lots are basically presets or looks that you can apply instantly to get a pre made color. Great to a certain degree. And for that we go into the creative tap and choose one of the luds. You can Google free Lattes Premiere Pro to find lots of good stuff, really for free. Or you can just purchase lots from some of your favorite filmmakers and then adjust the intensity and start tweaking things until you like the result. Depending on the project, I usually click through all of my lots until I see one that I like. And if it's a really high level production, I might do the whole thing myself. But for most intense and purposes. It's just really fast and efficient and sufficient toe work with the lots and not overuse them. 13. 12 The Assignment: All right. The Simon for this class is toe upload the before and after off your favorite color correction in color grade. And show me what you did with your footage. Maybe your favorite color greatest one where you actually rescued a wrongly executed shot. Or maybe you combine perfect in camera settings with great and subtle color grating to achieve some kind of special Look, I want to see your color greats. So go ahead, upload them, upload some screenshots and tell us exactly the changes you did and how you achieved your look. Looking forward to seeing your work. 14. 13 Less is more!: So now you've learned some basics about color, correction and honestly, guys, I have to say Mawr is really less for most of you working in professional environments or mostly shooting things like talking heads, interviews, you know, some beer. Oh, the basics are what will give you a nice looking a professional looking video. Always remember, make sure to capture the best possible image in camera already and then make the necessary changes in the post production. I hope this broad you a lot of value. If you have any further questions, let me know and I see you guys in the next class.