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How to Color Correct Video Efficiently in Premiere Pro

In this lesson from David Bode's How to Color Correct Video in Premiere you will learn best practices for working on your footage.

In the video editing process, it makes sense to know when to color correct your footage. If you color correct too early, you may be doing extra work because you may be color correcting video that you're never going to use or may trim out.

Video Editing Workflow

So, in general your video editing workflow should look something like this:

  • Import
  • Organise
  • Trim your clips
  • Assemble a rough edit
  • Refine your edit
  • Mix audio
  • Color correct
  • Color grade
  • Finalize
  • Export

These steps are not locked in stone. There's some fluidity there, but it makes sense to push color correction to one of the last things that you do because, as said, you don't want to be color correcting footage that you're not going to use in the edit.

Now, if you find working on clips that are badly in need of color correction too distracting, you can do a little tweaking of certain clips once you've assembled a rough edit, but generally, you do want to leave major color correcting until much later.

Right Order for Color Correcting

The basic order of tasks once you are in the color correction mode is:

  1. Exposure
  2. Saturation
  3. White balance/color temperature

The most important thing is to work on the exposure first. Doing a bunch of color modification, and then adjusting the exposure, can lead to problems because once you start pushing the exposure around, you may reveal some more color issues that you need to re-tweak. So it makes sense to set your mid, black and highlight points get them dialed in first then take care of saturation and color temperature.

Optimum Order of Operation in Color Correction

For the optimum order of operations between color correction and color grading, here's the recommended steps:

  1. Remove artifacts and denoise
  2. Adjust your exposure, i.e. set your blacks, mids, and whites
  3. Adjust saturation
  4. Adjust white balance/color temperature
  5. Re-lighting using power masks, power windows or just regular masks depending on the application
  6. Add gradients, diffusions or lens filter type effects
  7. Add vignettes
  8. Move on to color grading
  9. Add film stock emulation, grain or noise
  10. Resize and sharpen

Now, every clip is not going to need all those processes done, but the general takeaway is that color correction comes before all of that other stuff like noise and grain, color grading, vignettes, diffusion or lens filters, etc.

More Premiere Pro Resources

Here are more top Premiere Pro tutorials and resources to try from Envato Tuts+:

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