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Color Correction Trends in TV and Film: What’s New and Exciting

Color grading or color correction plays a crucial role in the visual storytelling of films and TV shows. It helps create a certain mood and atmosphere, enhance the storytelling, and even convey emotions or personalities of the characters. Throughout the years, color grading has evolved, with new trends and technologies emerging. In this blog post, we will be discussing the latest color correction trends in TV and film that are sure to captivate audiences.

  1. HDR Color Grading

One of the latest trends in color grading is HDR color grading, which expands the dynamic range of a video. Firstly, what is HDR color grading? HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, which refers to the range between the lightest and darkest areas in an image. HDR color grading works to expand this range, resulting in more realistic and dynamic colors.

HDR color grading is becoming a popular trend because it offers several benefits. One of the biggest benefits is that the final product looks more lifelike and cinematic. The colors pop more vibrantly and the contrast between light and dark areas is more noticeable. This trend is particularly popular in film and television production because it allows creators to add more depth, richness, and detail to their final products.

So, how is HDR color grading achieved? HDR requires specific hardware and software to produce the desired results. The footage needs to be shot in a format that allows for HDR grading, such as RAW footage, which captures more information and detail than traditional footage. The editing software then uses specific HDR grading tools to adjust the colors, contrast, and tonality of the image. Without the necessary hardware and software, HDR grading can’t be achieved.

One of the most significant benefits of HDR color grading is that it increases the dynamic range of the image. The expanded dynamic range results in an image with more detail, contrast and vibrancy. This means that HDR grading allows for more flexibility in post-production. For example, if the original footage lacked detail in the shadows, HDR grading could bring it out, revealing more information than was previously available. This level of flexibility allows creators to have more control over their final products and improve the overall quality.

HDR color grading allows for a wider range of colors and contrast, creating a more vivid and lifelike image. HDR color grading can be seen in shows like Stranger Things and movies like Wonder Woman 1984.

  1. Retro Color Grading

Retro color grading has become increasingly popular, particularly in TV shows set in past decades. This trend involves using color grading techniques that mimic the film stocks and cameras of the era. Retro Color grading is a color correction technique that simulates the past era’s photographic film stocks and colors. This technique is widely used in music videos, movies, commercials, and social media content. The retro color grading trend can be traced back to the 1960s and ’70s, where films used brighter colors, shadows, and gradients to create a unique and appealing look. This technique is still popular in modern times, as it adds a vintage and moody feel to any video.

One of the advantages of retro color grading is that it allows filmmakers and videographers to create a unique look and feel that stands out from the crowd. It adds depth and character to any video, making it more memorable and appealing. Retro color grading often features a blend of warm and cool colors, which enhances the video’s mood and creates a nostalgic and sentimental atmosphere.

The process of retro color grading involves adjusting the saturation, contrast, brightness, and hues of the video. Filmmakers can use presets or create their own settings to achieve the desired look. They can also add film grain and vignettes to recreate the look of old film stocks and photos. Retro color grading is a great way to add style and personality to any video, as it offers a wide range of creative possibilities.

Retro color grading has been used in numerous music videos and movies, with footage shot on modern digital cameras and then color graded to look retro. This trend attracts young audiences, as it offers a glimpse into the past and creates nostalgic feelings. Popular shows that have used retro color grading include Mad Men and Stranger Things.

  1. Warm Color Grades

Warm color grades can convey emotions such as happiness, joy, and optimism. This color grading trend involves using warm tones such as red and orange to create a positive, inviting atmosphere.

  • Color Psychology and How It Connects with Warm Color Grades

Color psychology is the science of how colors affect our moods. Most warm colors like orange, yellow, and red induce positive feelings. Orange is associated with enthusiasm, joy, and warmth. Yellow creates feelings of optimism, happiness, and brightness while red conjures up emotions of love, passion, and energizing. Understanding the psychology of color allows us to implement these color shades towards creating a mood.

  • How to Create Warm Color Grades on Videos

There are several ways to achieve warm color grading in your video footages. We can up the temperature and tint levels to give the footage a blue-orange color. We can also use the “Midnight Sun” LUT, evident mostly in outdoor footage. Furthermore, we can add a warm vignette, a warm tone, and warm color palette, providing a unique and comfortable experience.

There is something magical about warm color grading, especially in storytelling. When correctly implemented in the color grading process, we can enhance our craft, creating a unique experience packed with emotions. Warm color grades can be seen in feel-good movies like La La Land and romantic comedies like When Harry Met Sally.

  1. Desaturated Color Grading

Desaturated color grading or the “bleach bypass” trend involves reducing the amount of saturation in a video, creating a more subdued and realistic image. Desaturated Color Grading is a process of removing color from an image to create a Desaturated look. The process involves reducing the color saturation of an image, so its colors appear muted or washed out. This technique is used to create a particular mood or aesthetic for a film or video. The Desaturated look can evoke a feeling of sadness, loss, or bleakness, which makes it perfect for dramatic or melancholic films. However, de-saturation can also be used to create a vintage or retro feel with a more neutral color palette.

In recent years, we have seen this trend become more mainstream in the film industry. Many notable filmmakers like Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, and Ridley Scott have used Desaturated Color Grading in their films. One famous example of Desaturated Color Grading is Mad Max: Fury Road. The film feature’s muted earth tones that create a sense of barrenness in the post-apocalyptic landscape.

The trend of Desaturated Color Grading is becoming increasingly popular in the world of social media content creation. Creators are using the technique not only for cinematic looks but also for promotional images, product shots, and influencer photography. Brands are paying attention to this trend as it seems to connect with younger audiences and generate engagement. This technique is often used in post-apocalyptic films and TV shows such as The Walking Dead and The Hunger Games.

  1. Vibrant Color Grading

Vibrant color grading involves using brighter and more vivid colors to create a lively and dynamic image. One reason why vibrant color grading makes sense is because of the advancements in modern camera technology. Today’s cameras are capable of capturing more colors and wider dynamic ranges, which allows for more creative freedom in post-production. The trend also owes its popularity to the rise of social media platforms like Instagram, which favor bold and saturated images.

Another factor contributing to the trend is the need for fresh and novel creative ideas. As filmmakers and content creators compete for audience attention, using vibrant color grading techniques can help make their content stand out. By using more vivid colors, filmmakers can create visual stimulation that captures the audience’s attention and entices them to explore the narrative.

There are different approaches to achieving vibrant color correction, and it depends on the project’s objectives. Some go for a full-on, bold, and saturated look, while others strike a balance between the natural and the vibrant. The key is to use color grading to enhance the overall aesthetics and storytelling. Filmmakers can use color to create contrast, evoke emotions, and even reveal the characters’ personalities. This trend can be seen in action movies like John Wick and comic book adaptations like Thor: Ragnarok. Vibrant color grading is often used to create a sense of energy and excitement.


Color grading is continually evolving, with new techniques and trends emerging every year. From HDR color grading to warm color grades, and retro color grading to vibrant color grading, color grading plays an essential role in storytelling and visual aesthetics. As audiences continue to demand more engaging and visually stunning content, color grading will continue to play an increasingly critical role in the film and TV industry. Keep an eye out for the latest color grading trends, and get inspired to create something beautiful and exciting.

Work with C&I Studios for perfect color trends in TV and film, and elevate the visual appeal of your content to new heights

Our dedicated team of color grading experts at C&I Studios is well-versed in the latest color trends and techniques, ensuring that your TV show or film stands out with vibrant and compelling visuals. We understand the power of color in storytelling and can tailor the color grading to evoke the desired emotions and atmospheres for your project.

With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to perfection, we ensure that the color grading seamlessly integrates with the overall aesthetic of your production. Whether you’re aiming for a bold and dramatic look or a subtle and natural feel, our team can deliver the perfect color scheme to enhance the visual impact of your content.

Don’t settle for mediocrity when it comes to color in TV and film. Choose C&I Studios for a collaborative partnership that ensures your project benefits from the latest color trends and impeccable attention to detail. Contact us today to transform your visual storytelling with the perfect color grading expertise.

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