COLOR CORRECTION and COLOR GRADING explained with use of the Lumetri color tools in Premiere Pro

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How to color edit or color grade your footage and give it a cinematic look? In this article / tutorial I will explain how to do color correction and color grading with the Lumetri color tool within Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2017 and newer. Yes, only premiere Pro CC, because it’s not available for any other/older version of Premiere Pro.

Lumetri color tool is a new feature which is a very good, but not perfect, replacement for the more advanced tool Adobe Speedgrade. Still it is a very welcome improvement to the older effects within Premiere Pro, which I never used, simply because they didn’t work good enough for me.
But before we start we first we have got to understand the difference between color grading and color correction.

Wikipedia describes color grading as “… the process of altering and enhancing the color of a motion picture, video image, or still image either electronically, photo-chemically or digitally”. In this case electronically or photo-chemically is not relevant, because I will only focus on digital editing software in this article.
I would describe color correction as the first phase of color grading. Color correction is the process to correct any deviations from its standard appearance. It’s about balancing out your colors, making the whites actually appear white, and the blacks actually appear black, and that everything in between is nice and even. Color correction may include corrections or fixing of the following:

  • Exposure problems
  • White balance problems
  • Repairing excessive ISO noise
  • Increase contrast from LOG- or Flat- recorded images
  • black-, white- and gamma

Once your footage is corrected you can start color grading to further enhance your footage by changing or manipulating the visual tone of an entire film. So color grading is the creative process after color correction. In the color correction process you correct the image and give it a natural or realistic look, and color grading ads an emotion to the picture by adjusting tones to create a certain look and feel.

Below some (extreme) examples of the difference between color grading and color correction.

Let’s get it started!


Inside Premiere Pro, go to Window>Workspaces>Color, or use Alt+Shift+4

You will get some new panels, the two extra panels we will use for this tutorial are

1. Lumetri Color

2. Lumetri Scopes

There are a lot of scope to choose from, I will explain these 2 above showed scopes later on in this article.
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Inside this panel you will find multiple control sections to adjust your footage.


In this control panel you can do basic color correction. You can fix the white balance, tone and saturation.


This section mainly serves as a color grading control panel. You can add a look preset to your footage, also called a LUT (Loop Up Table) preset and adjust the intensity of that preset. You can also add extra effect to the footage with the other adjustments like faded film and vibrance will increase the saturation while protecting skins tones.

If you want more information about LUTs, you must watch this video

What Is A LUT? - Color Grading LUTs Explained With Cats!

In the curves panel you can make adjustments to luma levels or adjust colors individually. You could add a so called s-curve to increase the depth or contrast of the image.

Below image shows you the representation of line points in de curves control.

•The black point is the darkest pixel in the image.
•The white point is the brightest pixel in the image.
•The midtones are the distribution of all tonal values in between the black and white points.

Adjust the curves line for a RGB channels and you will get the following result:
Blue – > Drag the line up and you will get more BLUE, drag it down and you will get more YELLOW
Green – > Drag the line up and you will get more GREEN, drag it down and you will get more MAGENTA
Red  – > Drag the line up and you will get more RED, drag it down and you will get more CYAN

In the curves section you will also find the hue and saturation curves control wheel.

This allows you to make subtle adjustments based on specific hues. In below example we increase the green hue



As you can see, the green color is more vibrant, but still subtle enough to give it a natural look.


The color wheels sections provides control over the Shadows, Midtones and Highlight pixels. The sliders give you control over your luma and these wheels act as secondary color controls. The wheels adds a color tone or wash to that portion of the image instead of shifting the color balance.

On the Lumetri scope wave form (which we will look at later on in this article) the Shadows can be found in IRE scale range around 10 – 30, the midtones range 30-70 and highlights somewhere between 70 and 90.


HSL (Hue, Saturation, and Luminance) secondary gives you the tools to select a color or luma key and apply a secondary color correction to it. HSL Secondary is commonly used after primary color correction is complete. The goal of an HSL Secondary is precise control over a specific color, not the overall image. In this example we are going to adjust the color of a rose.

Starting point

Set the color to the red color range, adjust the sliders

And the select color/Gray option to see the matte key

Set the color wheel to yellow and this is the final result:


And the final one is the vignette section. This does exactly what it sound like… it adds a white or black vignette to your clip. You can adjust the midpoint, roundness and feather. An example of an added
vignette to rose clip:


Inside this control panel we can select several types of waveforms, histograms, vectorscopes etc… but I will just look at two of these in this article. We could spend a lot more words on this topic, but the main goal here is to use them in addition to the lumetri color control panel.
The first one is the waveform Luma.

This displays a waveform monitor for viewing luminance information. How to view this waveform graph? It’s pretty simple left to right on the footage is the same as left to right on the graph. On the Lumetri scope wave form (the Shadows can be found in IRE scale range around 10 – 30, the midtones range 30-70 and highlights somewhere between 70 and 90.

The second one I want to mention is the ‘ RGB parade’ .

The RGB Parade shows the three color channels (Red, Green and Blue) side by side in a single scope. This graph can be read as follows:

  • Left to right on the footage is the same as left to right on the graph for each of the three color channels.
  • The vertical scale from top to bottom shows the intensity or the strength of that color channel at the appropriate part of the video image – brighter parts are shown at the top and the darker parts are shown at the bottom of the image on a IRE scale of 0 to 100.

You can use both graphs to see if your shot is out of balance and needs corrections.

This video is made with Adobe Premiere Pro CC (Try, buy, download or upgrade Adobe Premiere Pro CC now! )

Microphone used for my voiceover: Rode NT USB (

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