Importance of Color Grading in Video

Color is simply defined as light waves that bounce off an object or light waves that are emitted from a particular source. These light waves are perceived by our eyes as color. Color and sound are quite alike. They both exist in their specific spectrums.

But, apart from adding visual appeal to things, colors, like sound, have an emotional and psychological impact on the human mind. 

This is exactly why color plays a key role in visual communication, especially video. So, when producing your video, you really need to pay attention to color. There are technical and creative aspects concerning the usage of color in video. 

When working with color in video post-production, the term commonly used is “color correction” or “color grading”

Color grading/correction

When one mentions color grading, it is often discussed in the context of the technical aspects concerning video production. For example, it is necessary to broadcast white as white and black as black. Other than that, it is also necessary to pay attention to how chrominance and luminance are shown on video. 
This is where the “white balance” mechanism comes in. The purpose of this mechanism is to make sure that colors appear as they are on video. So, a part of a scene or image that is white must be shown as “true white”. This is achieved by setting the white balance in accordance with the light source, which can be natural or artificial.
In cameras, the white balance is set before taking a shot. However, in celluloid film, white balance depends on the lens filter and the film stock used. As for digital film, everything is done on the camera.  If not corrected in the beginning, white balance can always be adjusted during post-production. 
This is the first and most basic step in video color correction. The actual grading begins after this. So, why is color grading so important?

Color grading video

Let’s dig deeper…

As stated earlier, color does have an emotional and psychological effect on the viewer. It can help establish a certain tone or even help viewers determine the time of day. Colors also play a role in how a scene is read or perceived. 

For example, single shots can be executed as day time shots or night time shots. What this means is that a shot taken during the day can be simulated to appear as a night shot. This is a technique known as “day for night”. The technique can be executed using the camera’s in-built filtering function or through the grading process during post-production. 


Color is known to elicit emotions as well. This adds another dimension to the scene. It helps viewers see beyond the dialogues and the action taking place. Colors can direct you to specific spots on the scene, where the director wants you to focus on. 

Color can also make scenes really stand out and seem more enhanced. In fact, color can also be used to alter the scene. For instance, adding a simple sepia tone can convince viewers that the scene depicts another time period. 

At times, color grading can also be simply used to make a style statement. 
Color grading is basically a form of art and as a result, it often remains subjective. As viewers, we might see images that are pleasing or disturbing to the eye. Continually watching such scenes and gaining an in depth understanding of the story during the same time can make it seem as though the film is occurring in real life. 

Great examples

When it comes to the use of color to set mood, there are some films that stand out more than others. For instance, Tony Scott’s Domino is one such film. The film makes use of specially developed yellowish green hues at high contrast to convey the effect of the desert heat, which is a recurring setting throughout the film. The colors also add to the film’s intense action scenes. 

Similarly, in the King’s Speech, directed by Tom Hooper and filmed by Danny Cohen, we see the use of blue hues. These blue hues were chosen to convey the sternness of British royalty. 


Sometimes, random experiments or actions can lead to the creation of something beautiful and stunning. However, such cases are the exception; not the rule. When it comes to creating videos and images, a lot of thought and attention goes into the process. 

Even when choosing colors, directors and editors spend considerable amounts of time deciding on an appropriate mix of colors. There is a lot of science involved in creating beautiful art. The fact is we don’t realize this because, most of the time, things are kept very subtle. 

Most of these color alterations are processed by our subconscious minds. In some cases, the color grading maybe so apparent that it might provoke our thoughts and have a profound impact on our perceptions. 

So, the final point here is that color grading can have a serious impact on your video productions. I would be a smart move to further study the areas of color psychology and color grading. This will help you understand how you can leverage these techniques in creating effective videos for your viewers/customers. 

With the proper use of colors in your advertisements, promotional videos, and other video products, you could be opening up doors to several unique opportunities.