5 Best Video Color Grading and Correction Software in 2022
Color can make or break video footage. Using the right hues in your film is essential to portraying your desired mood, ambiance, and symbolism to your audience.
While you can control the colors of props and clothing in your film, you can’t always dictate how those hues will appear on film. That’s where video color correction and color grading come in.
Color correction is the process of altering colors in film to reflect how the human eye sees those hues in real life. Meanwhile, color grading videos is the act of manipulating colors to reflect your desired mood or tone for the footage.
The best color grading software and color correction software make it easy to adjust the colors in your film, even if you have no experience using color correction tools. To help you discover the best program for your needs, we’ve put together this list of the five best programs for color correction and grading.
Read on to learn more about these programs and how to color correct your video footage.
- What is Color Correction?
- What is Color Grading?
- What is Color Theory?
- What is Color Match?
- What are Video Filters?
- What are LUTs?
- How Do I Color Correct and Color Grade?
- How Do I Color Correct on My Phone?
- How Do I Change and Replace Colors in My Videos?
- What Features Should I Look For in Color Correction Software?
- Should I Pay for Color Correction Software?
- Can I Color Correct Using an App?
5 Best Color Correction and Grading Software
ColorDirector is a color correction software with a range of advanced color grading tools and visual effects that you can master without any prior color correction experience.
ColorDirector’s tools can make it easy to make the hues in your film look realistic. The program includes several illumination tools that you can use to change the lighting in your footage, add light rays, and input lens flares to alter the film’s overall mood.
This software also features powerful effects you can use to take your color correction game to the next level. For example, you can use selective editing to gain more precision over your color alterations. You can also turn any background into a green screen, then overlay footage onto the green screen to change your backdrop instantly.
One of ColorDirector’s coolest features is its instant color matching tool. This tool allows you to replicate the color style from any reference video with a few clicks of a button.
Overall, ColorDirector includes all of the tools and features you need to craft stunning color grading effects within your footage. Even better, ColorDirector packs all of its tools into a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate interface.
2. DaVinci Resolve
DaVinci Resolve is an editing program that includes tools for color correction, visual effects, and audio post-production. This all-in-one program features a range of high-quality tools you can use to adjust the colors in your footage.
DaVinci Resolve features primary color wheels that make it easy to adjust the highlights, shadows, and mid-tones within your footage. Changing these parameters manually gives you complete control over the final coloring within your film.
If you’d rather not alter your colors manually, you can take advantage of the program’s auto-balancing features. These tools allow you to balance the contrast and color within your footage with a click of a button. You can also use DaVinci Resolve’s FX plug-ins to apply preset filters to your footage.
Additionally, the program includes tools that can allow you to balance and match colors across several video sources. If you shot your footage on different days, for example, you can use these tools to ensure that your lighting and colors stay cohesive.
This program uses 32-bit image processing, allowing you to achieve high-quality professional results. However, if you are only looking for a tool for color correction and grading, you may feel a little overwhelmed using this comprehensive program.
3. Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro is a professional video editing program featuring tools and effects to edit audio, speech, visuals, text, and color.
Premiere Pro offers basic and advanced color grading features to suit your editing preferences and needs. To start, you can use the program’s Lumetri Color panel to adjust white balance, skin tones, and other basics. This tool allows for one-click corrections, simplifying your process for editing videos.
You can also use Premiere Pro’s color presets to apply cohesive color effects to all of your video footage. You can choose from the program’s basic color presets or create your own adjustments, then save them within the software for future use.
Premiere Pro also features color matching tools. You can use color wheels to adjust the shadows, midtones, and highlights in your footage, then utilize the color matching option to edit similar shots with a single click.
Additionally, you can expand Premiere Pro’s built-in color tools by adding plug-ins, such as Magic Bullet Looks.
Adobe Premiere Pro includes a vast selection of features, but it is one of the most expensive programs on the market. If you’re looking for a program specifically for color grading and corrections, this program may be too broad for your needs.
4. Final Cut Pro
Final Cut Pro is the professional video editing software from Apple. This program includes a range of video editing tools and features, including various tools for color correction and grading.
When you first import your video into the program, you can apply color correction effects to balance your hues and tones. You can use a color board, color curves, and hue/saturation curves to adjust the colors within your footage.
Along with these color correction tools, Final Cut Pro also includes several intuitive color grading effects. For example, you can edit your video in standard color spaces or HLG color spaces.
Final Cut Pro also features advanced tools for color grading, such as keying and masks. If you’re familiar with more advanced color editing, you can use these tools to step your color effects up a notch.
While Final Cut Pro is a professional video editor, it does not include as many advanced color grading features as other programs.
5. VEGAS Post
VEGAS Post is a post-production editing program compatible with the VEGAS Pro video editing program. VEGAS Post features all of the post-production tools you need to adjust your film’s sound, composition, transitions, and colors to enhance its overall quality.
The VEGAS Post interface includes a comprehensive Color Panel that you can use to apply a range of color effects to your footage. This panel consists of three sections, each with different color controls. For example, in the first section, you can load camera LUTs or other LUT files to apply color grading from a template.
The second section includes color curves, HSL sliders, and automatic white balance tools. Meanwhile, the third section has more advanced color adjustment tools, such as Bézier masks and Broadcast Colors filters.
While VEGAS Post is not quite as user-friendly as other programs it includes several tools that should suit a range of color correction and grading needs.
Best Video Color Correction Software Free Download
Applying color grading and color correction effects to your videos is an essential step in enhancing your footage during post-production. The colors within your video can either elevate or take away from the overall tones and moods you’re trying to portray. As a result, being purposeful about your color palette can make your footage look more cohesive and fine-tuned.
However, choosing the right program for your color grading needs is also important. Some programs make the color correction and grading process easier than others, saving you time while delivering professional-level results. If you’re searching for the best video color correction software, we recommend ColorDirector as our top choice.
ColorDirector includes an impressive selection of basic to advanced color tools, making it easy to give raw footage the color quality of feature films. The program’s interface is also easy to navigate, allowing you to master its tools and features quickly.
Download ColorDirector for free today to try out the program for yourself and see the impressive color effects you can apply to your videos.
Color Grading and Color Correction FAQs
1. What Is Color Correction?
Color correction is the process of using software to alter the colors and contrast within a film to make it appear natural and unprocessed. Often, cameras do not accurately capture the tones and colors in the real world during filming. As a result, video editors need to adjust these colors manually to make the film look more natural.
Color correction is also necessary to keep a film’s coloring cohesive across multiple clips. For example, videographers often film videos and movies over several days or weeks. Color correction tools can help balance the colors across each clip to ensure that everything looks even and complementary.
2. What Is Color Grading?
Color grading is the process of adjusting the colors in a film to create a specific mood or tone. For example, if you’ve ever seen the first “Twilight” movie, you may recall that the film has a blue tint, giving the movie a mysterious, cold feeling. The “Twilight” creators produced this effect through color grading in post-production.
Before the digital age, color grading was known as “color timing,” referring to film colorization during the physical developing process. Today, however, you can achieve high-quality color grading effects with computer software.
If you want your video footage to appear cheery and warm, you may apply a yellow or orange filter over the film. In contrast, if you’re going for a futuristic, technical appearance, you may use cooler tones to mimic LED lighting.
While color grading goes beyond simply applying filters to your footage, its overall purpose is to set the tone in a film and make the footage more visually appealing.
3. What Is Color Theory?
Color theory refers to the rules and science behind color, including both how humans perceive color and how colors visually mix with and contrast each other.
The color wheel is at the foundation of color theory. This wheel acts as a visual representation of colors, arranging them according to wavelength. Colors opposite each other on the wheel are complementary colors, meaning they cancel each other’s hues when combined.
Knowing color theory can allow you to adjust the colors within your film to create the right balance, contrast, and temperatures for your desired tone.
4. What Is Color Match?
In video editing, color matching is the process of making the hues and tones throughout your footage look cohesive. The best color correction programs, such as ColorDirector, make it easy to match colors with a few clicks of a button. With ColorDirector, you can even import a completely different video and automatically match your footage to its color scheme.
5. What Are Video Filters?
Video filters change the hues and tones in video footage. If you’ve ever applied a filter to an Instagram or Snapchat photo, you know how these tools essentially work. Filters slightly alter the colors in photos and motion pictures to achieve specific styles.
Most video editing programs include built-in filters that you can instantly apply to video clips. Using filters is an excellent way to save time in the color grading process.
6. What Are LUTs?
LUTs, also known as Lookup Tables, are essentially color grading templates. These tools allow you to apply a predetermined color template to your footage, streamlining your editing process.
7. How Do I Color Correct and Color Grade?
The process of color correcting and color grading is a bit complex and takes some time to explain. We recommend checking out How To Color Correct and Color Grade: The Ultimate Guide for an in-depth look at the process.
8. How Do I Color Correct on My Phone?
If you’re looking to edit casual videos to send to your friends or post on social media, you may want to complete your color correction from your phone instead of transferring the footage to a computer. You can color correct on your phone using the PowerDirector mobile app.
Simply follow these steps to use the color adjustment tools in the PowerDirector app:
- Import your footage into the PowerDirector app.
- Navigate to “Adjustment” at the bottom of the screen.
- Click brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, temp, tint, or sharpness.
- Use the slider on the right-hand side of the screen to increase or decrease these elements to your liking.
Check out our recent article, 3 Tips for Color Correcting and Color Grading on Your Phone / Tablet [iOS & Android], for more information.
9. How Do I Change and Replace Colors in My Videos?
You can also use ColorDirector to swap out specific video colors. Here’s how you can achieve this effect with the Color Replacement tool:
- Navigate to the Effects tab, then choose Color Replacementin the Color Effects dropdown.
- Use the eyedropper tool to select the color you would like to change.
- Adjust the color settings to achieve your desired hue.
10. What Features Should I Look For in Color Correction Software?
Color correction programs can include a range of features. If you’re unsure what to look for in a high-quality program, we recommend searching for these specific features:
- Professional color grading tools
- Built-in filters and LUTs
- Color adjustment sliders
- Sparkle and twinkle effects
- Green screen effects
- Smart selections
- Color matching tools
- Mask effects
- An easy-to-use interface
ColorDirector includes all of these features, allowing you to optimize your color correction and grading processes.
11. Should I Pay for Color Correction Software?
The best color correction programs cost at least a few dollars per month. Free programs typically do not include the high-quality features you need to achieve professional-level corrections and grading. Or they are incredibly complicated and not appropriate for beginners.
However, some programs, such as ColorDirector, come with a free version that can allow you to try out their features.
12. Can I Color Correct Using an App?
You can use mobile apps to color correct video footage. While mobile apps may not allow for as much precision as desktop programs, they can still get the job done in a pinch.
If you’re looking for a mobile app for color correction, we recommend using the PowerDirector app. This app features several color correction tools, allowing you to adjust: