Color Grading for Filmmaking: The Vision, Art, and Science | Dandan Liu | Skillshare

Color Grading for Filmmaking: The Vision, Art, and Science staff pick badge

Dandan Liu, Documentary Filmmaker | Cinematographer

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17 Lessons (52m)
    • 1. Course Intro

      2:10
    • 2. Class Materials

      0:39
    • 3. Seeing Nuances in Color

      1:45
    • 4. Eye Training Exercise

      5:54
    • 5. Storytelling and Color Grading

      1:16
    • 6. Science of Color Grading

      0:27
    • 7. Order of Operations

      0:58
    • 8. Step One: Color Correct

      6:22
    • 9. Step Two: Shot Matching

      5:29
    • 10. Step Three: Skin Tones

      4:05
    • 11. Step Four: Color Grading

      4:36
    • 12. Stylized Example

      6:43
    • 13. Step Five: Polish and Export

      2:44
    • 14. Storytelling and Color Examples

      3:53
    • 15. Bonus: Vectorscope

      3:01
    • 16. Course Conclusion

      1:22
    • 17. Exciting Updates

      0:34
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About This Class

Color grading has been the filmmaking world's biggest kept secret.

How do you subtly shift your colors so they transport us even further into your story?

How can color grading transform your footage into a work of art?

While there are many courses out there that teach you how to use color grading software, there are no courses out there that address comprehensively the creative and streamlined process for professional color grading. 

This course shows you how, addressing both the art and science of color grading for filmmaking. The course is divided into three parts: seeing color, using color for storytelling, and implementing a technical 5 step process to translate your vision into reality with Adobe Premiere Pro Lumetri Color. 

By the end of this course, you will have all the knowledge and a complete roadmap needed to develop your color grading sensibility and implement a look into your film. 

Transcripts

1. Course Intro: Hi everyone. As you probably know by now, my name is Dandan and I am a professional filmmaker whose work emphasizes cinematography and deep storytelling. In my own filmmaking journey, the biggest mystery to learn was color grading. Even as someone who works as a professional in the industry, color grading is such a secret world. How do you make images that look like this? Although there are many courses out there that'll teach you the technicals of using color grading software, like DaVinci Resolve and Adobe Premier Pro, there are no courses currently that'll teach you comprehensively the art and creative process of color grading. How to see subtle shifts in color and use them to serve your story to make your film more cinematic and powerful. This course will open up the secret world and teach you both the art and science of color grading for filmmaking. First, we will train our eyes to see color in subtle ways. Then, we will step back and look at how you can use color intentionally to serve your story. Finally, we'll go over the technicals where I will teach you a comprehensive professional method you can use with Adobe Premier Pro to translate your envisioned look into your film. By the end of this course, you will have all the knowledge and a complete roadmap needed to color grade your film and have yet another powerful tool in your filmmaking toolkit to craft beautiful, strong films. Let's get started. 2. Class Materials: For this class, you'll need a few things. First, you'll need to download a free trial app of VSCO on your phone, which is basically a more extended artistic version of Instagram. You will need a photo shot in daytime with patches of black and white. For the technical part, I'll be demonstrating with the Adobe Premiere Pro geometry panel, which most of you all probably have. But all these principles can be applied to any color grading software like Davinci Resolve. 3. Seeing Nuances in Color: Part 1, seeing color. The first step to any good color grading, is to train the eye to see subtle shifts in color in your image. Rather than just putting a whole color wash to your entire image, which will look freaky. You'll want to distinguish between putting color in the highlights, midtones, and shadows of your image. Let's talk about those. If you look at the entire exposure, or brightness range of your image, highlights represents the parts that are the brightest, midtones are the parts that are in between, and shadows are the parts that are the darkest. In color grading, you specifically tweak the colors, contrast, and saturation, of these three different areas to get a specific look. If you use [inaudible] , or Instagram filters, they are basically color grading templates that designate certain colors, contrast levels, and saturation levels, and the highlights, midtones, and shadows. For example, the classic Hollywood look, has orange highlights, and teal shadows. Seeing the subtle color differences is undoubtedly the trickiest part of color grading, and one that takes time to develop. However, I created this exercise to kick-start your eye training. 4. Eye Training Exercise: For this exercise, you'll need a free trial of VSCO downloaded as an app on your phone. You'll also need the photo you chose, shot in daytime with normal exposure levels and white and black spots in the image, like this one I'll be demonstrating with. Once you've downloaded the VSCO app and have your chosen photo, open the app up on your phone and import your photo by pressing the plus icon on the right, clicking on the photo and hitting Import. Then make sure that single photo is highlighted and open up the filter's workspace by clicking this icon on the bottom. Right now you should be on the single photo view but if it's not, you can change it by clicking the little polaroid icon on the left and hit the one with the multiple grids. Now you will see your photo applied with all these different types of filters. If you scroll down, you will see that there are many, many and they are actually color-coded by filter families, which have similar characteristics. For example, the KP's in lilac here, all belong to one filter family. Choose one that looks a little stylized and click "Save. " Save it to your camera roll. Do this for a minimum of four filters that are different from each other. Now, you can open up your camera roll, which will have your original photo and you're recently saved versions of this photo with the filters applied. Click on one and notice what is happening to the image from the original. With each filter, ask yourself these questions: number 1, what is happening to the highlights, number 2, what is happening to the midtones, number 3, what is happening to the shadows, number 4, what is happening to the contrast levels of the image and number 5, what is happening to the saturation levels of the image? I've saved four different versions of this photo, each with a different filter and we'll compare them side-by-side going over our main questions. For the first example, as you can see, the highlights turn magenta and the shadows turn blue. The darker the shadow, the darker the blue becomes. The midtones are in a lighter shade of blue. The saturation levels seem to be more intense and the contrast looks like it stays at similar levels. With the second example, here the highlights, shadows, and midtones look like they've stayed the same. The saturation levels have decreased, which gives the original image a sepia wash. The contrast level seem to have reduced as well. Version number 3. Here the highlights and midtones look like they have stayed the same tone. The shadows have gone more in the blue direction. The saturation levels have clearly increased and the contrast levels have increased as well. Version number four. Instantly, you can sense that the image feels cooler. The highlights have become a typewriter, as you can see in the dog's coat. The midtones took on a green tinge and the shadows are more green. The saturation has increased a little bit and the contrast levels are similar. Here are two bonus comparisons. Version number 5. The highlights have taken on an orange tone. The midtones also took on an orange tone and the shadows look like they've stayed similar. The saturation levels have increased and the contrast looks like it has increased slightly as well. At first glance, the image feels cooler. The highlights in the cool range appear to have taken more of a blue tone, while the highlights that are in the orange range seems to have kept their warmth. The midtones appear to have taken on a blue tone, while the shadows appear to have moved in the violet direction. The saturation levels have increased and the contrast levels have increased slightly as well. Don't fret if you are unsure of what is happening specifically in your image. This skill takes time to develop and it'll develop even further as you actually engage in the color grading process that we will address later. For now, it's just important that you recognize the differences between the highlights, midtones and shadows. If an image is low contrast, neutral or high-contrast, and if an image has low saturation, normal saturation or high saturation. 5. Storytelling and Color Grading: Now that we've prepared the eye to detect the important parts of color grading in an image, let's talk about how we can use color grading to serve a story. Before starting to color grade, ask yourself what mood, emotional themes, or psychological undertones you'd like to enhance in your story through the color grading. Build a lookbook of stills from films that are similar to your visions and critically look at their color grading choices. For example, do you want your film to have a classic blockbuster feel with teal, shadows and orange highlights? Do you want it to have a vintage summary, nostalgic feel with warm colors and low contrast? Do you want it to have punchy blacks and high contrast? Do you want it to have a muted feel with low contrast, milky blacks and low saturation? Do you want it to look natural? Thinking about these intentions is critical because they'll act as the guiding compass as you actually delve into the color grading process later on. 6. Science of Color Grading: So now comes the technical part of the color grading process, where I will show you a five-step method you can use to translate your vision into reality. For this process, I'll be demonstrating with Adobe Premiere Pro and all the steps will be located in the lumetri color panel. 7. Order of Operations: The biggest mistake I've seen in filmmakers, is that they tend to throw around the color grading haphazardly, dialing in the look as they go, which usually results in an overcooked grade. This is analogous to putting on too much makeup, which looks fake, and detracts viewers attention away from your story. To avoid this, I'm going to present you all with a five-step order of operations for color grading, which looks like this. Number 1, color correct, number 2, match color, number 3, fixed skintones, number 4, add visual style, and number 5, polish. 8. Step One: Color Correct: To demonstrate step 1 with color correcting, I brought up two shots in sequence from Nicky's doc that I had a lot of trouble with in terms of color correcting. As you can see, the first shot is very underexposed. It was actually taken on a different camera than mine by a B camera operator from up top. This shot then goes into this one, which as you can see is also underexposed. To set up our color interface, we are going to use the Lumetri Color panel. First, you can find this by going to "Effects", and typing in Lumetri Color, then dragging this effect onto the clips that are problematic, which in this case is both of them. After you've dragged the effect onto your clip, then go to the Color workspace. As you can see, it's just much more conducive to any color work. You have the Lumetri Color panel here, and here you have basic correction, which should look like any photo editing interface you find on your phone or on Adobe Photoshop. Here you can add in a lot, which we will address in a later step. Here is your White Balance, and here you can address the exposure, general contrast, highlight, shadows, blacks and white levels, and also the saturation. This one we're going to be using quite extensively, as well as the Color Wheels. As you can see, this gets more fine tuned by breaking down the color and the luminous levels or the exposure levels of the Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights. These two panels are what we're going to use the most, but I will touch upon the other ones as we go along. Let's bring the shots back to a natural baseline. I'm going to go back to my basic correction panel and start with this clip. As you can see, it's very underexposed and it was show on a flat picture profile. If you shot on a flat picture profile, the first step is to bring the contrast levels back by bringing the black levels up. That looks like a good baseline conscious level. We're now going to also bring back the exposure. Now that we've brought the contrast level back, and we have adjusted the exposure, now let's deal with white balance. If your whites look a little off, what you can do is click on this "White Balance" selector and click on a white spot in your image, and the software will automatically calibrate for any glaring white balance issues. Usually this works like a charm. Oftentimes, however, when you do the White Balance selector, it can over-push your colors in certain directions that don't look quite natural. When I see this clip, however, the white balance still doesn't look quite right. If you find that this is the case, this is a time to play around. First, try with the basic correction, which will affect both the Highlights, Midtones, and shadows equally. I recommend adjusting temperature, and pushing it in the opposite direction of the color cast. Or if that doesn't work, then working with the tint. If that doesn't work, then you'll want to go into the Color Wheels and play with these until your colors look more natural; which is what I'm going to do. I want to push it in the more yellow direction which actually looks pretty good. But as you can see, the shadows still look really blue, and the blacks, they don't look black. What I'm going to do is I'm going to go to my Color Wheels and match and work with the Shadows, Highlights, and the Midtones until I can get a more natural even pallet. First, let's look at the Shadows. They look very blue to me, so I'm going to push them in the opposite direction, in the orange direction. As you can see, now the blacks look more black. This sidebar that you see on the left is actually the luminous values, so it affects the brightness levels. Here, I find that the shadows are still a little bit too bright, and I want to bring them down a little bit, so I'm just going to bring them down just a tad. As you can see, it's a very subtle change, but the blacks now look more black. That looks like a much better starting point. If I compare it with how it looked before, that's what it looked like before and now it just looks so much better. To recap, we first brought back the contrast levels from our flat picture profile, then we adjusted the exposure, and then we adjust the white balance. Now, I'm going to color correct the second image which as you can see also looks very dark. This was not shot on a flat picture profile, so I'm just going to go ahead and up the exposure levels until the brightness looks good, like that. Let's also play with the White Balance selector. There we go. 9. Step Two: Shot Matching: Once you have looked through the individual shots and corrected them in terms of color and exposure, now you want to look at the shots in relation to the whole sequence and make sure that there are no shots that are breaking the sense of continuity in terms of the color and the exposure. In other words, you want to make sure that all of the shots look like they were all shot in one environment, from one camera in your sequence. Here we have the shot of Mickey. She finishes her match, and as you can see, these two shots don't really match. This one is much more warmer, and then it jumps to this one and this one's much more cooler, and It feels like they were shot on two different cameras. Let's work on matching these shots. When you match shots, you want to choose one as a reference image. Typically, you choose your wider shot because it has much more color information and sets the setting. I'm going to go back to this wider shot, and a helpful tool is a reference window, which will pull still from the shot, which you can use to compare as you are color-grading the other shot. To do that, go to "Window" and click on "Reference Monitor". As you can see now, you have a very handy reference to use as you are adjusting the color of the other shot. The side-by-side comparison shows that they're very different. The first thing that I'm noticing is that this shot is a lot more cooler. I'm just going to warm that up a touch just like that. As you can see, it's already matching a lot more than it did previously. Now, I'm noticing that the blacks in this image, the blacks in the wide shot look very different from the blacks in this shot. The blacks in the wide shot still look like they have a blue tinge. I actually prefer if the blacks look truly black. I'm going to go back and I'm going to play with the shadows and reduce the illuminance. This shot also looks a little bit more saturated. I'm going to go to my Saturation and I'm just going to reduce it here. Keep playing with the settings namely the ones in the Basic Correction panel and the ones in the Color Wheels & Match, until you create a sense of continuity that is believable as you cut in between these two shots. There we go. That matches quite well. With shot matching, you don't need to match the color exactly from shot to shot. You just want to make sure that it's continuous enough so that we don't notice a jarring cut. However, it's really important that you do match the black levels really well. To demonstrate why, I'm going to change the black levels of this shot so that the blacks are a little bit more milky. As you can see, when I jump from this shot to this shot, it's quite jarring, and it looks like the shots were taken from completely different environments. You really want to make sure to keep an eye out for the continuity of your black levels. 10. Step Three: Skin Tones: After you have created a neutral baseline and all of your shots match in the sequence, now's the time to tweak skin tones. Skin tones are the area in your image that you want to really watch out for because if skin tones are off then your whole image will look off. Here I have an interview shot and we're going to check to see if it's skin tone is normal. To check whether your skin tones are in the natural range, there's a very helpful tool called the vectorscope that'll help you see where you need to push these colors in your skin tones if they need any adjustment. To do this, first open up your lumetri scopes and if you don't find it here, you can go to window and turn it on by clicking lumetri scopes. Make sure that the vectorscope YUV is turned on and it should bring up a graph that looks like this. This is basically a map of all the color values in your image. To make that clear, for example, if I push the temperature way down to the blue range, you can tell that the color values in the image have all moved toward the blue quadrant in the spectroscope. Likewise, if I move it towards the orange range, look what happens. The colors are changing in real time and moving towards the orange quadrant. For skin tones, what is really fascinating is that no matter what your ethnicity is, all skin tones lie on this line between the yellow and the red quadrant called the flesh line. You'll want to check to see whether the skin tone in your image lies on that line. To do this, go to your effect controls and under opacity create a little mask that will contain a sample of your skin tone. Then look at your lumetri scopes and you can see that it has isolated the color values of the masked area. As you can see in this sampling the colors of skin are a little too much on the yellow range and they don't really hit the red quadrant. What I'm going to do is I'm going to push the colors a little bit more into the spread direction by going to the lumetri color panel and going to color wheels and match. Because skin tones are mid-tones, to avoid affecting the other colors in my image, I'm going to just push the mid-tones a little bit in the red direction until the values in the vectorscope lie on the flesh or the skin tone line. Like that. There we go. It just took a very small change and now when I go back and remove this mask, you can see that the skin looks much better as does the whole image. This was before and this was after. Go ahead and check your skin tones and tweak them as needed and I will see you in the next step where we will actually start playing with color to build a specific look. 11. Step Four: Color Grading: Now that you have your base grade and your skin tones oil in check, you have really good foundation to start playing with color and use it to enhance certain moods and tones of your story. To approach color grading, there is an easy way, and a more complex way. The easy way is to find a lot or look-up table online, which is basically a color grading formula that you can apply right away, that will give you a specific look. There are tones of free layouts out there. If you go this route, definitely take time to look through, and see the different moods, and styles available out there. Once you download a lot, it's very simple to upload. In your geometric color panel, you just go to "Input Lut" and then "Browse" and then choose one and see how it changes the look, and the feel of your image. However, because this is a color grading course, I recommend that you first try to play with a different color parameters, especially the colors, and the mid tones, highlights, and shadows to create a style while also training your eye to pick up these nuances. For example, here I have the opening shot of the Mickey Dark. What I like to do first is keep in mind the mood I'd like to enhance. This is already pretty realistic, but I'd like you to feel a little bit more dreamy as if you have entered into the past, and I like it to feel a little bit more mysterious as well. What I like to do is I like to open up the color wheels and match. A good rule of thumb is to incorporate color contrast, which is when there are colors on the opposite sides of the color wheel present in your image. For example, you could push opposite colors into the highlights and shadows. For example, as seen in the classic Hollywood look where they push teal in the shadows and orange and the highlights. Here I'm going to play around and I'm going to push some blue into my shadows and see what that does. Cool. As you can see from the original, it already looks so different. To me this gives it a dreamy feel, which is what I'm looking for. Now, let me try to push the highlights in the opposite direction. I will push it in the orange direction, see what that does. I like how that brings out her face a little more than in the previous. It also brings out the red in her eye liner and on her lips. Now let's play with the blacks little bit and see what that does. If I lift the blacks a little bit, like that, it adds a touch of surrealism, which is what I like. As you can see, when you color grade, you just make these very subtle changes to your image to see whether it pulls it in a direction that enhances the supplied or the feel that you are going after. As you play, you will see that your eyes will start to pick up the differences between the highlights, shadows, and mid tones. As you play, you'll notice the color grading really is an art of nuance. Go ahead and start playing with your color grading. If you have a reference look, pull that up and try to adjust your own colors, contrast levels, and saturation of your image so that it matches the look that you are going after. 12. Stylized Example: For another example, I am going to use a more stylized reference from one of Wes Anderson's films. I've pulled up the reference here as you can see. I'm going to try to match this shot that I have of the farmer to the color grading of this reference image. Let's start with the basic correction, and as you can see, it's really underexposed, so I'm going to increase the exposure. Comparing the two, you can tell that in the reference image there are a lot more yellow tones, especially in the highlights as you can see in the sky. This one is more cool and this one has a yellow veil on it. Now I'm just going to be playing around with all of the tools that we've looked over all ready, until these two images match. First, I'm going to address the temperature and warm it up a hair. As you can see, warming it up didn't really do much, because this image when warmed up, it's a little bit more on the magenta side than on the yellow side. I'm actually going to bring it back, and play with the color wheels and match. First I'm going to address the highlights, because that's the most obvious to me, and I'm going to push it in the yellow direction like that. Then they can tell that the mid tones and the shadows are also pushed in the yellow direction. I'm going to play around and see whether that brings a closer match. We're getting there. As you can tell now, the highlights in the sky they're almost the same. But the one on the reference image appears to be a little bit cooler. We are going to go back to the Basic Correction, and I'm just going to move it down a little bit like so. As you can see now, the sky matches pretty well. Then go back to the color wheels and match and now try to match the grass a little more. The shadows seem to be a little bit darker, so I'm going to push it down, and there seems to be a tad bit of contrast. The highlights seem to be a little bit more pronounced, so I'm going to bump it, the exposure up a little bit, and there we go. As you can see, the process is very similar. First you have to ask yourself all of the questions we've been asking. What is the difference between my shot and the reference shot in terms of the colors in the highlights, and tones shadows, the contrast levels and the saturation levels. Then you have to play with the basic correction and the color wheels and match until you get a good match. These two I consider are a good match. However, if you want to take a hair bit further, I see here in the reference image that the highlights that there is a little bit of red undertones to them. Because I already like where my highlights are already, and I don't want to affect the other parts of the image, now is a good time to use the curves. Curves are a way for you to get very precise. As you can see, the curves, there are four types. One is the luminance level. This one is your basic exposure, and the way you read this curve is that the zero point here are blacks. This is the shadows than the middle part is the midtones and the upper part are the highlights, while the point up in the corner here represents pure white. For example, if I added a point here and moved the bottom part, as you can see, it's only affecting the black levels and it's raising the black. The blacks are becoming less dark and you get less contrast. You would use this luminance curve, if you wanted to tweak the exposure or the brightness levels of very specific areas in your image. Then you have the red curve here which affects the amount of red in the shadows, mindtones and highlights. This is actually what I want to use a little bit to add a touch of red to the highlights. I'm going to add a point here and here, just so I don't affect the shadows and the midtones. I'm just going to add a little bit of red to the highlights, not by much. There we go. Right now, I see that the colors match really well after making that change, and you could do the same with the green and the blue channels as well. 13. Step Five: Polish and Export: Now you want to go through all of your shots which have been colored, graded, and stylized. Like in step two, you want to make sure that they are cohesive within the sequence. Adjust any shots that break continuity. If you find that everything is cohesive. Now is the time to add a film grain if you wish. For those who don't know what film grain is, it's adding a little bit of grain detail to the texture of your image so that it emulates film stock more than digital. If you're interested in this, I will show you how. To do this, you can download a film grain live or use a plug-in for Adobe Premier called film convert. If you have downloaded film convert, then you should find it in your effects panel. Here we go. Add it to the clip. Then to work with film convert and your affects controls panel, the film convert pro workspace should be there. As you can see, there are many things you can do. Here, there's all of these film stocks that you can choose from. As you can see here, it's already adding some grain and you can control many things like the amount of grain. 100 percent is for 200 percent, you can really see and know just looks like noise now. Adding grain can also be a fantastic way to create a binding element that creates more cohesion for all of your shots. Then once you're finished, it's time to export. Since Vimeo and YouTube are notoriously known for having kodaks that compress your footage so it loses a lot of color information. I recommend exporting your footage with Apple ProRes HQ, which is a bigger file size or it's lighter component, Apple ProRes LT. This will retain more color information than the standard.H64. 14. Storytelling and Color Examples: Color grading is very subjective, and it's hard to say that if you push colors in this direction, then it will create these emotional undertones for your story. It really comes down to trying a few color grading schemes and seeing if that fits your particular story. However, to help you get some ideas, I found a fantastic tutorial by the verge, which provides a really great overview on some of the color grading schemes found in movies today. Some film critics believe that you can oftentimes glance at movies' color treatment, and instantly tell its genre. Desaturated colors for apocalyptic films, blue cold tones for horrors, fluorescent greens for sci-fi, yellow tones for film based in a desert; saturated, vibrant red tones for comedies and for everything else epic, blue and orange. Drama, blue and orange. Bio, blue and orange. What emotion are filmmakers trying to lead us towards with this pair of opposing colors, and every other color treatment for that matter? Consider the mood ring, the hues of emoji or even aura photography, like music in an elevator, or a doctor's waiting room color has the power to influence how we feel without even noticing. Film directors have exploited color connection for decades. In fact, there's a rule book of emotions that colorists, the people who manipulate the colors of film, follow. Our response to color varies depending on culture and contexts. But here are a few examples of familiar emotional applications of color. Color grading is the process of applying misunderstanding of color and its power by altering and enhancing the color of emotion, more still picture, either electronically, photo-chemically or digitally. Back in the day, filmmakers could only achieve a stylized look if they committed to using filters, or if they spent a ton of cash to alter specific colors, frame-by-frame. You've seen it's a wonderful life, but have you seen it's a wonderful life in color? Now that everything is shot digitally, color grading is less expensive, more accessible and flexible. "O Brother Where Art Thou" was the first movie to be entirely digitally color graded. The story took place during the Great Depression so cinematographer, Roger Deakins applied a warm sepia tone to the whole movie to make us feel like we were in a Dirty Thirties. Since then, digital color grading has become a standard practice for filmmakers and one color grading trend that seems to be taking over Hollywood is blue and orange. There are a lot of theories out there but one leading theory is that this color treatment makes actors pop against the background. On the color wheel, skin tones are mainly in the orange range, and the complementary color of orange is blue. So when you take your orange tone to actor and then push everything else into the opposing color range, this contrast leaves you with the Hollywood look. Now that you understand the basics of color grading and some of its more common uses, you can try for yourself using a variety of easy-to-use apps, such as the iOS app VideoGrade. We decided to test out these color grading theories with some of our own footage. We picked a shot and gave it different treatments to explore how much we could change the mood of the scene. You be the judge. Of course, it's not as important to know how to manipulate color as it is to know how color can manipulate you. 15. Bonus: Vectorscope: As a bonus lesson, I wanted to go over one more scope that could help you detect the color values of your image more quantitatively instead of just relying on your eye. We've already addressed this vector scope, and now I want to show you something else that could be helpful called the RGB Parade. As you can see, you have red, green, and blue. All of digital colors are comprised of a mix of these three colors, red, green, and blue. This graph shows you the amount of each color in the red, green, and blue channels, with zero representing pure black and 255 representing pure white. This is especially helpful when you are white balancing, because if things are properly white balanced, your red, green, and blue channels should look roughly the same. For example, if I pushed blue into the image, you can see that the blue channel went up. That would give you an indication that you would need to normalize the image by bringing this channel down so that all of them are similar. Likewise, this can be incredibly useful for you to detect black levels. Remember, you really want to make sure that your black levels all match in the shots in a sequence, and look what happens when I crush the blacks. Did you see that? The channels then touch zero, and that means that there is pure black in the image. If you use this parade as you go from shot to shot, you can monitor whether the bottom line of these three channels are roughly in the same position. On the other hand, 255 represents pure white, so if I overexpose my image, you can see that the red, green, and blue channels are clipped at 100 and this means that your image has overblown areas where there is last digital information. Besides white balancing and matching black levels, using this parade can also help you see what is going on in a reference image that you choose, looking at it's proportion of red, green, and blue, and seeing if you can replicate that in your own image. 16. Course Conclusion: [MUSIC] Congratulations on finishing this course. I hope that by now you feel like you have new seeing superpowers, and a clear road map needed to color grade your film to empower your story even further. This skill will take time to develop. But if you keep practicing and following this method, you'll soon be able to see nuances and color and exposure and control them to expand your creative toolkit. Please post a before and after version of a still from your film on the class projects page so we can see what look you created and get inspired. If you have any remaining questions, please post them on the discussion page as I am here to support you and invite you to check out my other courses, like my popular art of revision course, which presents a powerful six-step method to fix the common weak spots of your film, building its clarity, momentum, and power. Thank you so much for taking your time with me, and happy color grading. [MUSIC] 17. Exciting Updates: Hi everyone. I have two exciting updates. The first is that I have created a course map that links all of my filmmaking and editing courses in sequence, so you can confidently advanced as a filmmaker. The second update is that I've started a one-minute newsletter which is curated inspiration and high value insights on film making, creativity, and the art of authentic living. Checkout both of these on my course instructor page.