How to Correct Color and Apply Filters in Marketing Videos - dummies

How to Correct Color and Apply Filters in Marketing Videos

By Kevin Daum, Bettina Hein, Matt Scott, Andreas Goeldi

Color is a vital tool to shape the emotional impact of a marketing video. Movie professionals spend countless hours tweaking the color balance of their productions. The same scene can feel entirely different in warm, lively colors compared to cold bland ones.

Video cameras aren’t as flexible as the human eye. They struggle to adapt to different lighting conditions. Sometimes pictures look too dark or too bright, and in other cases, the camera exaggerates strong colors.

Fortunately, a little color correction (included in most modern video editing programs) can fix these problems. You can find the typical color correction tool, such as the iMovie video adjustments inspector, in other programs, too.


To optimize the look of a video in iMovie 11, follow these steps:

  1. Activate the Video Adjustments Inspector.

    Select the clip that you want to color-correct and press V or choose Window→Video Adjustments from the menu.

  2. Start the built-in autocorrection.

    To start the built-in autocorrection, press the Auto button first to attempt to find a good color balance automatically. (The iMovie 11 program correctly balances the color surprisingly often.) If this strategy doesn’t work well enough, try the other settings.

  3. Modify the exposure.

    To make the picture look more vivid, the Exposure option lets you increase the intensity of the highlights (the brightest parts of the video picture) to become even brighter.

  4. Change the brightness of the picture.

    The Brightness option lets you adapt the overall light level of the picture — helpful for brightening up elements when a shot is too dark.

  5. Fine-tune the contrast.

    The Contrast option modifies the difference between the brightest and darkest parts of the picture — useful to boost shots that look flat.

  6. Optimize the color saturation.

    The Saturation option lets you determine color strength and vividness.

    Consumer video cameras tend to exaggerate their colors anyway, so reducing saturation can sometimes make the video picture look more professional and movie-like.

  7. Change the color balance.

    The White Point option lets you change the entire color balance to a different base color.

    • If you want a cool and corporate look, for example, select blue.

    • If you need more warmth, try orange or red.

  8. If you aren’t happy with your work, go back to the original settings and start over.

    You can reset all values at any time by clicking the Revert to Original button. Color correction involves experimenting with different settings — even the pros continually tweak the look of their videos.

  9. Click the Done button to apply your changes.

Watch your video on at least two or three different screens. A computer monitor displays colors quite differently from a big-screen TV, which, in turn, displays colors differently from a projector connected to a laptop computer. Optimize your video’s look for the type of screen that most viewers use.

Many editing programs let you choose additional video filters (or video effects) that you can use to give videos an interesting look. Certain filters can be good starting points to tweak the look of your video.

Try running your video through the different treatments to see whether it has impact on the way the video makes you feel. You may find that it creates the emotional connection your prospect was hoping for. Remember, though — less is typically more.

In certain editing programs, you can speed up or slow down footage. Apart from dramatic slow-motion effects or silly, Benny Hill–style, slapstick speed-ups, this feature can be useful to better fit a particular shot into the timing of an edit. Subtle changes in speed are barely noticeable to viewers, but can make shots look more interesting.