Grading in corporate video production

Eoin Dowdall
Creative Director

Not to say that we’re old farts, but in our combined felt 100 years of video production there are a number of questions that regularly keep popping up in conversations with clients. In an attempt to make corporate video production easier and more transparent, we’ll be trying to clarify some of these mysteries over the next weeks here in our blog section.

One of the most common questions we get asked (just after ‘How much is a video?’, but we’ll get to that later!) is:

What is grading in video and film production?

Grading (often also called colour grading or colour correction) is the process of altering and enhancing the colours of the project. By that I don’t mean that we’ll change the presenter’s trousers from blue to green in postproduction, but more the overall look and colours of the film. This might be giving the film a sepia tint, or perhaps making the colours more vibrant, or bringing out certain colours or for example making a film look darker. Have a look at this video, which is a good visual example of different grades on the same clips:

Here at Kartoffel, every video we work on gets a basic grade for free. This is enough for most videos, but every now and then a project comes along that really calls for super special treatment and the finished video has to look ultra slick, glossy and cinematic. And that’s when we suggest more than just a basic grade.

The question that usually follows the ‘what is grading’ answer is ‘why is advanced grading so expensive and do we really need it?’

Let’s start with the former: the cost of advanced grading depends of the duration of the video and the amount of shots in the film, but typically starts at a few hundred pounds. The reason for the comparatively steep price is firstly that a good colourist will have spent years honing their skills, and secondly that professional grading equipment is seriously, ludicrously expensive.

Is it worth it? Absolutely. Good grading makes any project look more professional, glossy and better – it will stand out positively.

Do you need it? Well…this depends on your budget and the project. Advanced grading is the cherry on the cake and if you want your video to absolutely look the part then you need to consider grading. But advanced grading might be a bit overkill or simply out of question if you’re on a tight budget and your video is the most basic talking heads video. The most important thing, whether or not you decide to go for and advanced grade or stick with a basic one, is that the content of the video is brilliant. Luckily, that goes without saying at Kartoffel Films!

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