Shooting in Log: The Importance of Color Correction

Color correction is everywhere – every photo you see in magazines, every show and movie on Netflix, even your Instagram filters are a form of color correction. On phones you only have so much color correction that can be done, but professional equipment opens up many different color grading directions. At KC, we shoot most of our video content in log. Shooting in log records what the camera sees logarithmically, which means it captures as much data as possible, rather than capturing specifically for the human eye or a video screen. Sometimes this means that the video playback on set looks somewhat foggy or washed out. But why?

The luminance values (or the mathematical values of lights and darks in an image) are true to their exact values in the scene being shot. Because our eyes take more detail from dark and light areas, this looks muddy and washed out to us. The advantage of shooting in log is that it gives a lot more control over that correction process since we have more data to work with. Though that means we need to correct, or grade, our footage to make it aesthetically pleasing.

Color correcting is how you enhance or alter the color of a video. It’s how cinematographers adjust the colors of their footage to achieve a visual mood or tone. The first step in the color correcting process should be to normalize your video clips. You need to fix the contrast and saturation to take advantage of all of the information recorded. Once your clips have been normalized, you can move on to step two and color correct the video. If your exposure is bad, contrast is missing, or white balance is off, the actual color grading will be far more difficult. After your color correction is completed, you can then color grade your footage; this step can be done either manually or with a LUT. Doing it manually will provide you the most control but could take longer. Using a creative LUT can save time and add consistency, but only if all of your clips are color corrected well. Finally, you will perform a final color adjustment to make sure everything looks correct. Check out the photos below to see the before and after of a few different KC video projects.