Color Grading 101 : Getting Started Color Grading for Editors, Cinematographers, Directors, and Aspiring Colorists book cover
1st Edition

Color Grading 101
Getting Started Color Grading for Editors, Cinematographers, Directors, and Aspiring Colorists

ISBN 9780367140052
Published October 21, 2019 by Routledge
222 Pages

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USD $46.95

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Book Description

Written both for students and working professionals, this book walks readers step-by-step through the foundations of color grading for projects of any size, from music videos and commercials to full-length features.

In this clear, practical, and software-agnostic guide, author Charles Haine introduces readers to the technical and artistic side of color grading and color correction. Color Grading 101 balances technical chapters like color-matching, mastering, and compression with artistic chapters like contrast/affinity, aesthetic trends, and building a color plan. The book also includes more business-focused chapters detailing best practices and expert advice on working with clients, managing a team, working with VFX, and building a business. An accompanying eResource offers downloadable footage and project files to help readers work through the exercises and examples in the book.

This book serves as a perfect introduction for aspiring colorists as well as editors, cinematographers, and directors looking to familiarize themselves with the color grading process.

Table of Contents


Introduction: "Why Doesn’t My Footage Look as Good as Other People’s?"

Overview: What is Color Grading, Exactly?


Tech 1: Hardware, Software, Monitoring

Art 1: The Story as Guide

Quiz 1


Tech 2: Codecs and Pipeline

Art 2: Color Plan

Quiz 2

Practice 1


Tech 3: Basic Primary Grading

Art 3: Basics of Additive Color

Quiz 3

 Practice 2


Tech 4: Matching

Art 4:  History and Genres

Quiz 4

Practice 3


Tech 5: Curves, Shapes, and Keys

Art 5: Protecting Skin Tones

Quiz 5

Practice 4


Tech 6: Tracking and Keyframing

Art 6: Clients and Decision Making

Quiz 6

Practice 5


Tech 7: Plugins, Noise Correction, and Heavy Processing

Art 7: Commercials

Quiz 7

Practice 6


Tech 8: Mattes, Alpha, Composites, and Cleanup

Art 8: Music Videos

Quiz 8

Practice 7


Tech 9: LUTs and Transforms

Art 9: Portfolio Building

Quiz 9

Practice 8


Tech 10: Onset Workflow, Panels, Dailies and Online/Conform

Art 10: Building a Business

Quiz 10

Practice 9




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Charles Haine is a filmmaker and entrepreneur who has worked in the motion picture industry since 1999. He has been teaching color grading since 2008. That same year, Haine founded the production company Dirty Robber, which has gone on to success in feature films, shorts, and commercials. Haine has also colored music videos for bands like My Chemical Romance and Fitz and The Tantrums, spots for brands like BMW, Ford, McDonald’s, Chevy, and ESPN, and countless short and feature films including Leslie Libman’s DisCONNECTED and Adam Bhala Lough’s Hot Sugar’s Cold World. Haine is currently an Assistant Professor at the Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema at Brooklyn College, and was formerly an Associate Professor at Los Angeles City College. Haine is the author of The Urban Cyclist’s Handbook in addition to another book published by Routledge, Business and Entrepreneurship for Filmmakers. He is currently the tech editor at


"Color Grading 101 is an easy introduction to color grading for new and aspiring colorists. It is full of excellent advice for embarking on a career as a colorist and I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about the responsibilities and craft of our profession."

—Kevin Shaw, President of Colorist Society International

"Color correction is often the most misunderstood stage of the filmmaking process. It can be daunting, confusing, and even in some cases, completely forgotten. This reputation often derives from its traditionally over-complicated explanation and arduous approach by its masters. In Color Grading 101, author Charles Haine walks readers through this crucial post production process in a way that is grounded, universal, and personable. Whereas most books on the subject matter are geared solely towards aspiring colorists, this work is intended to serve a multitude of crew members on all levels."

—Matthew J. Pellowski, Film and Television Director and Showrunner

"Everything you wanted to know about color grading but were potentially afraid to ask! A great ‘101,’ helping anybody interested in color grading to get to grips with an often-misunderstood area. Written with panache and a ‘no-nonsense’ style!"

—Charlie Watts, Avid Certified Instructor; Principal Lecturer and Course Leader, School of Film, Media and Communication, University of Portsmouth