Using Adobe Lightroom to Color Grade your film.

This is a short how-to demonstration of the before and after process of color grading using Adobe Lightroom. If you come from a photography background and enjoy the comfort and wonder that is Adobe Lightroom, then you’ll love this technique I use to capture that same look while editing my film projects. There are numerous ways to color grade films but it’s important to understand the basics first.
 
This technique is based around Lightroom. It starts with grabbing a still image from your movie or any film that you find has the desired look you are going for.
 
You can accomplish this in Photoshop, however I find it much more streamline using Lightroom’s built in tools. I must stress that this is just a brief overview and requires a basic knowledge of both Lightroom and Premiere. A more in depth how-to will be posted at a later date.
 
To begin, I started in Adobe Lightroom with a single RAW Still image from my film. I exported a single images as a TIFF from my Premiere Pro timeline to be exact.
 
I then imported this TIFF image into Lightroom and spent some time adjusting the basics like color temp, curves, whites, blacks, etc. When I achieved the desired look, which was a warm tone with vibrant primary colors. I exported the result as a PSD file (JPG is fine too).
 
Then, I used this website to convert the PSD file to a TARGA. https://image.online-convert.com/convert-to-tga
 
TARGA files are common in the post-production and visual effects realm. They are highly detailed files that store loads of color information. SpeedGrade works exclusively with TARGA’s when using still images to match footage.
 
Once in SpeedGrade I color matched the TARGA file to the original ungraded still image. There is a great tutorial on how to do that here by YCImaging. The point of this step is to match the “look” of your still image and apply it to your ungraded footage. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDggYIV0DJw
 
The results won’t be exact, but you can use SpeedGrades color tools to adjust things like color temperature, contrast, etc…
 
I then exported the resulting LUT (.cube) file out of speedgrade. Make sure to save the .Cube file to either your desktop or inside the Lumetri “Creative” folder. Restart Premiere.
Apply that LUT in the “Creative” section of Lumetri Color!
 
If you have any questions or want to learn more about color grading, contact me at kenneth@dawtc.com. We have some great workshops lined up for this fall season and it would be great to have your feedback!
 
Film: GOODBYE, ESTHER Written and Directed by Jared Thomas Colorist: Kenneth George

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dotandline

A creators blog about all things art, animation and visual storytelling.

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