Colour Correction

If there’s one hack I’ve learnt when colour correcting, it is that there is no hack.

I’ve been flailing somewhat over the past week to try and get my head around the process of colour correction. As a complete amateur (my experience lies in photography), the process is proving far more involved than I initially anticipated.

Despite several attempts at colour correcting my book trailer, based on Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, I’ve ended up getting in such a flustered state and just wiping all of my progress to start anew. Today was the fourth time I’ve sat down to a daunting Premiere Pro screen, with absolutely no more progress than I had week ago. I attended a video editing session which helped greatly, but my brain seemed to filter out everything useful by the time I got to work on my own project.

I decided to take a breath and take it slow. I have the tendency to jump ahead impatiently, but today I spent time really concentrating on the basics: white balance, exposure, saturation, and so on. The benefits of taking my time could be seen almost immediately. Using several online sources for guidance, I managed to create a consistent look throughout the different shots. This has provided a solid basis with which to build upon. I then applied the Ultra Key function, applying a Colour Matte across the sequence. At present, I’ve used grey, since ‘filmmakers use warm colours to convey positive emotions, while high contrast and dark tones emphasise the bleakness of film noir plotlines’ (Xue et al, 2013: 255). Improvements on this will come later, once I’ve mastered (somewhat) the basics. The aim with the trailer is to evoke a feeling of melancholy accompanied with discomfort. Xue et al., provide a useful chart of the labels of colour styles (see Table 1 below) as guidance.



I’m still in an experimental phase, but I’m taking it in my stride. The lesson here is that some things just take time, and that’s OK. Below I’ve uploaded stills of two particular shots which I’m still working to improve

hannah 3

the bell jar


Above – Perhaps the most challenging shot of the film – the green screen was being reflected by the golden foil on the cover. The mustard background ages the shot which feels appropriate due to the time period it was written and set in. The figs allude to the previous shot sequence.

Below – This shot is proving difficult. There appears to be a white outline on Hannah’s silhouette and the shadow on her legs being cast by the typewriter has been problematic.


Sources Used

Leirpoll, J. 2018. ‘The Complete Guide to Premiere Pro Color Correction’ Insider. Available at: [Last accessed 9 November 2018]

Xue, S, Agarwala, A, Dorsey, J & Rushmeier, H. 2013. ‘Learning and Applying Color Styles From Feature Films’ Pacific Graphics, 32(7), pp. 255-265

Video School Online, 2015. ‘Green Screen: How to chroma key in Adobe Premiere Pro’ Video School Online. Available at: [Last accessed 9 November 2018]




Published by Nel Jade

Research interests include domiciliary care, visual methods, affect and emotional geographies.

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