In this walkthrough, we've shared how to use Adobe Speedgrade color correction to transform your video footage.
The Basics of Color Grading
Color grading is a specific form of color correction, which creates a neutral video clip. This means if there are grey colors in the clip, they will actually appear as grey. Speedgrade also allows you to select a distinct style for your grade, so that it matches the video's subject matter.
Adjusting the Temperature
With your clips loaded in Speedgrade's Timeline, press the A key to show the analysis tools. To help with your temperature adjustments, we recommend using the RGB parade scope. If you only want to show this scope, click on the drop-down menu below the analysis tools and choose "1 Scope Layout". Then, right-click on the display and choose "Parade".
The RGB parade shows a red, blue, and green waveform, and these let you know what's happening in the video. For each waveform, the top area measures the highlights, the middle measures midtones, and the bottom measures shadows.
Depending on your creative goals, you can compare the current video frame with your RGB parade to see how warm or cool it is. Typically, warm video has a large red waveform, while cool video has more blue.
To neutralize the video temperature, select the Overall tab and start adjusting the Temperature slider. If you move the slider to the left, the red increases and blue decreases; if you move it to the right, the opposite happens. You want to find a Temperature setting that balances the RGB waveforms as much as possible.
Finally, press the 0 key to compare your temperature adjustments with the original video.
Using the Advanced Controls
Speedgrade color correction is as simple or complex as you want it to be. Once you've made initial temperature tweaks, you may need to adjust the green waveform so that it's more balanced with the red and blue. Just move the Magenta slider until your green waveform matches with the other two.
For even more control, you can create a new primary layer by clicking the P icon at the bottom left of the screen. This allows you to isolate the color correction process into separate layers, so that they can be enabled and disabled at any time. Any changes you make to the primary layer will affect the entire image, though.
Adding Highlights, Midtones, and Shadows
Finally, it's time to make subtle tweaks so that you showcase the entire color spectrum. In the Overall tab, click on the outside wheel for Offset (i.e. shadows), Gamma (overall light), or Gain (highlights).
If you move the Offset wheel to the left, your shadows will increase. Meanwhile, if you move the Gain to the right, your highlights will increase. Lastly, you can bring back some warmth by choosing the Midtones tab. Click the Gamma wheel in the center, and drag it to the upper-left corner to boost your midtones.