How to Color Grade Video in Adobe Photoshop
Yes, you read that right. This is indeed a short tutorial on color grading video in Photoshop. Unconventional? Yes, but it is effective. Not too long ago I was having a conversation with the other Fstoppers writers when the conversation of quickly color correcting video footage came up. Without the hassle of Premiere, Speed Grade or any other grading software, was there a simple way to make adjustments that were easy and intuitive? I believe the answer is Photoshop.
I decided to share this with you all after the other staff members mentioned they didn’t even know this was an option in Photoshop. Not only is it an option, I use it relatively often when I want to make sure a set of video clips all look identical (like when I have three clips from three camera angles from an interview). After trying it, they agreed it was a great quick way to grade footage. Because this technique uses Photoshop layers, it’s easy to just drag the layers over to each clip and I can rest assured everything is identical without putting much of any thought into it.
Here is how you do it:
First, open a video file in Photoshop. Then, in the lower right hand corner, add an adjustment layer.
Add as many adjustment layers as you want, and adjust them to what you like.
After you have what you’re looking for, just go to File -> Export -> Render Video. Select the export settings you want, and you’re done! I told you this was quick!
If you’ve lost sight of what you are trying to achieve, you can cheat by using the “Auto” modes, or you could even use them from the beginning. In the video I mention using the “Adjustments” panel, but you can should just do a global change (shows how much I use “Auto” right?). As a general rule of thumb, I never 100% trust any “auto” mode, but it is useful as a starting point.
Yes, it’s minor, but that’s how it should be. I do aim to get it as close to correct in camera as possible and only use Photoshop (or Premiere) to make minor adjustments. That’s not to say you can’t make make drastic changes… you absolutely can if you have to!
The downside to this technique is that it can take a long time to export graded footage. Because of that, it’s tough to do this for hundreds of clips, so I would reserve this for a select few clips that need that special touch.
HINT: Try converting the video to a smart object. That opens even more doors for you!
Have any of you used this function in Photoshop? Would you? Let me know in the comments below, and happy editing!