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Color Grading: 5 Styles to Enhance Your Videos

Understanding various color grading styles is crucial to making your videos even more engaging. Depending on the technique used, it’s possible to alter people’s perception of a scene entirely.

However, it all hinges on the saturation and opacity used. That’s why it’s essential to be acquainted with the styles these techniques fit into. That’s precisely why we’re here: to introduce you to different styles that will assist you during your editing process.

In our article, you’ll get to know three styles that will make your videos more vibrant, dramatic, or enhance their contrast. So, don’t wait, dive in!

1. High Key: One of the most whimsical styles

The first color grading style for you to apply to your video is High Key, utilized to bring more vibrant colors to your edit. Here, we’ll adjust the saturation, and for that, the curves tab in your editor is your best tool.

Within Adobe Premiere, this can be easily accessed when setting up a color grading style. In other editors, the procedure can be carried out similarly, so you shouldn’t encounter any difficulties in this regard.

In any case, when you access the curves tab in your editor, you’ll see that there’s a hue and saturation curve, as well as a luminosity and saturation curve. This is where you can make the colors more vibrant.

In the hue and saturation curve, you’ll define what will receive more color and what will be in the background, with fewer colors. But be very careful that the skin tones of people in the scene, if there are any, do not appear too intense.

That’s because it can make your edit look very artificial, and that’s not the goal here, despite this being a more whimsical style. Vibrant colors do not necessarily imply something unreal, so be careful with the skin tones you use.

As for the luminosity and saturation curve, the name itself explains what this curve represents, and you’re entirely free to experiment here. However, remember that the focus is contrast, so in general, the brightness is higher than usual.

High Key is a color grading characterized by bringing more brightness to the images, without losing detail. Moreover, as we’ve mentioned, the colors are vibrant, so it’s important that the images have total clarity.

All in all, this style is often used in couples’ photoshoots, as it helps to highlight both people and the surrounding environment. Furthermore, because of the brightness, it also conveys a sense of “fun” and warmth, making the image more “cozy.”

Additionally, it’s frequently used in children’s photos, where we always see extremely colorful toys and settings. It’s because of this color grading that these photos and videos seem so lively, so don’t hesitate to make use of this technique.

2. Bleach Bypass: Adds a Touch of Drama

Another commonly used color grading style is the Bleach Bypass, utilized in film to add more drama to the scene. Here, we’ll make use of black and white, typical of more tense moments in cinema.

To convey this feeling, the first step to be taken is to decrease the saturation to the minimum possible until it becomes black and white. After that, you can make effect control alterations through the overlay mode of the used editor.

In Adobe Premiere and most video editors on the market, all of this can be done quite practically. Through the overlay mode, you can adjust the contrast, shadows, and other important points for increased drama.

The opacity can also be increased, as it’s important to ensure that more tension is added to the scene. However, feel free to make other changes, but remember that the objective of this style is to bring more suspense to a recording.

Therefore, shadow control, which aids in such scenes, is very important to achieve your goals. In any case, this is one of the simplest styles to use, so major adjustments aren’t necessary to reach your objectives.

3. Hot Day: The color grading for those seeking contrast

Lastly, let’s discuss the color grading style known as Hot Day, which many editors also refer to as Golden Hour. The aim of this style is to convey the idea of a sunset, hence, using warm colors is essential.

Here, once again, we’ll make use of curves to achieve our editing goals. The first step is to increase the color temperature, and for that, we recommend increasing the orange color a bit (to 20, but it depends on the editor).

Additionally, enhancing the contrast between the objects and people in the scene is a crucial point and cannot be overlooked. To do this, add a bit of red into the shadows to make them more pronounced, but without straying from the warm tones.

As for the sky, if it’s in your image, make sure to use a color closer to green, which is also natural, but not cold. Remember that the goal is to convey the idea that the filming took place during a sunset.

Another important caution when dealing with the Hot Day style is concerning the skin tones of those in the recordings. They might appear too red or green, either because of the shadows or because of the sky.

Hence, precision is necessary when making these adjustments, and, as we said, just add a hint of color. If not done correctly, your image may end up looking very artificial, so take extra care with this point.

4. Teal and Orange: A Classic Hollywood Trick

A widely used color grading style in Hollywood is the Teal and Orange style, offering the benefit of high contrast and depth. The principle behind this style is that human skin tones fall within the orange spectrum, and the color teal is its complementary color on the color wheel, making the subjects stand out against the background.

To achieve this look, start by adjusting your midtones towards orange, focusing on maintaining natural skin tones. You’ll then offset this by pushing your shadows towards the teal or cyan side. This creates an engaging and vibrant look without making your subjects appear unnatural.

Remember, moderation is key. If pushed too far, this look can appear overdone and unrealistic. As always, try to maintain a balance that works for your specific project and aligns with the mood and narrative of the scene.

5. Black & White: The Timeless Classic Color Grading

The Black & White color grading style is not just an absence of color, but a timeless technique that evokes a different set of emotions in the audience. It focuses the viewer’s attention on the forms, textures, and contrasts within an image.

To create a black and white look, first, desaturate your image completely. Then, adjust your contrast to your liking. Higher contrast often gives a more dramatic, classic film look, while lower contrast can feel softer and more dreamlike.

Don’t be afraid to play with the individual color channels in your black and white grade. Even though there are no true colors in the final image, adjusting the red, green, and blue channels will affect how their grayscale equivalents appear, allowing you to further tailor your image. For instance, pulling down the red channel can darken skin tones and bring more attention to your subject’s eyes and other features.

Each of these styles is a tool you can use to tell your story in a unique way, shaping the viewer’s experience to match the tone and feel you’re aiming for. As always, experimentation is key, so don’t be afraid to adjust these styles to fit your vision.

Final considerations

Alright folks, that brings us to the grand finale of our color grading extravaganza! It’s been a technicolor ride, hasn’t it?

We’ve journeyed from the high saturation vibrancy of the High Key style, making our world pop like a bag of Skittles on a summer day. We’ve tiptoed through the dramatic shadows with the Bleach Bypass, making us feel like we’re secret agents in a black and white noir film.

The Hot Day or “Golden Hour” style had us reminiscing about those long, languid sunsets where the world seems bathed in honey, right before the bees come home.

Our Hollywood-inspired detour with the Teal and Orange style was like walking the red carpet, making us the center of attention against that cool, contrasting backdrop. And oh boy, didn’t the Black & White style take us back to the golden age of cinema, with its timeless grace and evocative charm?

Just remember, with great power comes great responsibility, so while you’re painting your videos with these myriad hues, don’t forget the golden rule of color grading: Balance, my friends, balance. We’re creating art here, not a psychedelic mishmash of a unicorn’s dream (unless that’s what you’re going for – no judgment!).

So there you have it, you daring directors of hue and saturation! Strap on your grading gloves, wield your color curves with courage, and dive headfirst into the technicolor pool of video editing. But, most importantly, have fun with it!

After all, the world is your canvas and these color grading styles are your palette. Now, go forth, and paint your masterpiece! Oh, and don’t forget to drop by our blog for more video editing wisdom! Until next time, keep those color wheels spinning!

What is color grading in video editing?

Color grading is the process of enhancing the color, saturation, and contrast of your video footage to create a desired mood, emphasize certain elements, or establish a visual continuity across scenes.

What is the High Key color grading style?

High Key is a color grading style characterized by its vibrant, bright, and saturated colors. It is typically used to enhance subjects and surroundings, often resulting in footage that feels more joyful, warm, or inviting.

How does the Bleach Bypass style affect video footage?

The Bleach Bypass style is used to give a scene a more dramatic feel. It often employs high-contrast black and white color grading to create a sense of tension or suspense.

Can you explain the Hot Day or Golden Hour color grading style?

The Hot Day, or Golden Hour style, aims to capture the warm, inviting feel of a sunset. It often utilizes warm tones, particularly oranges, and high contrast to give the footage a sun-kissed look.

What's the principle behind the Teal and Orange color grading style?

The Teal and Orange style is popular in Hollywood because it leverages the complementary relationship between these two colors. Human skin tones fall within the orange spectrum, and teal is its complementary color, creating a high-contrast look that makes subjects stand out against the background.

What does the Black & White color grading style achieve?

The Black & White style isn't just an absence of color. This timeless technique evokes a different set of emotions, focusing the viewer's attention on the forms, textures, and contrasts within an image.

What should I consider when applying color grading styles?

It's important to maintain balance when applying color grading styles. While these styles can significantly enhance the mood and feel of your video, going too far can make your footage appear overdone or unrealistic.

What color grading style should I use to make a scene look like it was filmed during a sunset?

The Hot Day or Golden Hour color grading style is a great choice for achieving a sunset look. This style employs warm colors and increased contrast to evoke the feeling of a sunset.

Can I use color grading to make my subjects stand out in the video?

Absolutely! The Teal and Orange style is a perfect example of this. By pushing your mid-tones towards orange and offsetting with shadows towards teal or cyan, you create an engaging and vibrant look without making your subjects appear unnatural.

How can I learn more about video editing?

We regularly publish articles about video editing, including tips, techniques, and tutorials on our blog. Feel free to visit it for more information!