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DV Filmmaking by Ian David Aronson

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Chapter 16. Color Correction

In this chapter

How Color Functions in Video, an Overview
Audiences’ Subconscious Response to Color, and How You Can Make Use of It
Making Your Video Broadcast Safe

Color is one of the first things people notice when they watch your film, whether they’re conscious of it or not. As explained in detail later in this chapter, color functions on both aesthetic and emotional levels, deeply and immediately influencing the way each viewer responds to your work. Color is also a particularly complex technical process, and like many other aspects of filmmaking, if your project contains problems with color, your audience will notice right away.

The human eye and brain constantly work together to compensate for color differences in the world around us. If you leave a room lit by a standard household light bulb and walk outside into midday sunshine, you might not notice that the color cast of the ambient light around you changes from a yellow tint to a blue tint, but a video camera would certainly record the difference. (For more on color temperature and the importance of white balance, see Chapter 4.)

Color varies depending on lighting conditions, camera equipment, and even time of day. Audiences notice when the color cast of a shot doesn’t match the color in the shots that come before and after. Skilled directors can use color differences to separate multiple threads in a story—as Zhang Yimou did in Hero and Steven Soderbergh did in Traffic (both films are described ...

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