Color Correction for Film and Television

Color Correction for Film and Television: Notes from the Adobe Premiere Pro Users Group Meeting 15Apr2020.
This is by no means a comprehensive summary of the event. It’s a few notes and a few extra links for a deeper understanding.

The presenter “Jason Bowdach is a professional colorist, finishing artist, and post production workflow engineer based in Los Angeles, CA. Jason’s immense passion for storytelling using light, shadow and color is evident in his work, which spans the gamut from commercial projects for clients such as Adobe and Google, independent feature films bound for the festival circuit, and immersive VR experiences seen all around the globe. Jason runs PixelTools, a company dedicated to improving the color grading process and workflow.” – San Diego Adobe Premiere Pro Users Group

When applying a Lookup Table (LUT), consider where is the clip coming from and what is it intended to do?

  • Optical/technical conversion (some LUTs are for technical conversion)
  • Creative look
  • Combination of both

(LUT (known as Lookup Table), is a term used to describe a predetermined array of numbers that provide a shortcut for a specific computation. In the context of color grading, a LUT transforms color input values (camera) to your desired output values (final footage) – StudioBinder).

Importing Clips

PremierePro is expecting a Rec. 709 space gamma 2.04 image. Highly recommended that you use the import LUT from the manufacturer. Apply the appropriate technical conversion LUT from the beginning for best results. (For example, this presentation uses a LUT downoaded from RED website.)

ITU-R Recommendation BT.709, also known by the abbreviations Rec. 709, BT.709, and ITU709, standardizes the format of high-definition television, having 16:9 (widescreen) aspect ratio. The first edition of the standard was approved in 1990.”

Balancing the Clip

Color Correction for Film and Television warm summer scene.
Warm Summer in a city scene.
  • Don’t just look at the shot, take the context in to 
  • Don’t take all the warmth out of a warm scene
  • You may want to work on this with curves and work on the highlights before applying LUT
Color Correction for Film and Television problem shot.
Sunset didn’t match other shots.

Keep in mind the order of operation

Shot needs more - Color Correction for Film and Television
This shot should be more punchy.

This should be more punchy. More red than green than blue on scopes.

Basic Tab

  • Can you pull more out of the image. 
  • Tweak temp to cooler

TIP: You can take temp control way beyond 100 if you type it in manually

Creative tab

  • Balance out shadows 
  • Add contrast to separate shadows and highlights before tweaking shadows > tweak shadows to just above crushing

TIP: There are masks in Effects panel for each LUT

Order of Operation for Color Correction

  1. Adjust contrast, black/white, highlights/shadows, gamma
  2. Saturation
  3. Color Balance

Play clip several times, find hero frame, and play it back several times during process

Hue vs Curves (PP Curves Panel)

  • Hue vs Hue: Select a hue and adjust with another hue
  • Hue vs Saturation: modifies a hue with saturation
  • Hue vs Luma curve: can be destructive
  • Luma vs Saturation: you’re going to love this, can reduce saturation in just highlights, just shadows, or both
  • Saturation vs Saturation:  can decrease saturated colors (that might fail QC) and increase sat in other areas
Enhanced - Color Correction for Film and Television
Enhanced version.


Jason Bowdach
WFH2020 for 30% off
Twitter @jbodacious 

Pricing Color Grading for Film and Television Services

Jason prefers to market himself as an independent colorist, and prices his services just under facilities pricing. 

The Blue Collar Post Collective is an accessible and focused grassroots initiative supporting emerging talent in post production. 

Should you use Color charts on set? Depends on camera and situation.  Sometimes they can be helpful, but not necessarily needed.

Tips for Editors handing files to a Colorist to minimize problems

  1. Minimize tracks and simplify the timeline (before XML export)
  2. Organized (label ex. Underscore for color)
  3. Communication (reference movie with burn-ins of timecode as DNX or ProRes, can see frame for frame)
Full San Die

O’Connell Design is a consultancy offering creative services in Animation, Motion Graphics, Cinematics, and Visual Effects for film and television.