Colourists make sure that the overall colour for a film is balanced across all scenes and provide advice and creative input into the overall look of a production.  Colourists should understand the psychological effect of colours in order to enhance the narrative of each production.

Riviera © Sky Films

Skills required to work as a colourist

  • considerable videotape experience
  • in-depth knowledge of cameras and cinematography
  • understanding of basic editing techniques
  • understanding of properties and requirements of both analogue and digital production
  •  initiative and problem solving skills
  • diplomacy and sensitivity when working with clients
  • excellent oral and written communication skills
  • a high level of organisational skills
  • ability to work effectively under pressure
  • ability to motivate self and others
  • effective team working skills
  • precise attention to detail
  • advanced IT skills
  • knowledge of the requirements of the relevant health and safety legislation and procedures

Ways to become a colourist

No specific training or education is required to be a colourist though many will have relevant technical degrees in broadcast operations, production or broadcast post-production.

Colourists may begin their careers are runners in post-production facilities companies, before progressing to other roles such as telecine or quality control and developing their skills and experience.

Job role and responsibilities

Colourists must ensure that all shots within a scene match by balancing colour saturation and luminance from shot to shot. They should be able to distinguish and correct colour differences within scenes and offer original creative solutions to any picture-related problems, e.g. under- or over-exposure or day-to-night corrections. They also must document, file and report and related project information to producers and project managers and make sure all work is saved and backed up. 

Find out more about working as a colourist

Organisations and websites:


  • How Video Works, by Weynand & Weise
  • Video Editing and Post Production, by Gary H Anderson
  • Digital Editing with Final Cut Pro 4, by Mamer &Wallace
  • Digital Nonlinear Editing, by Thomas Ohanian
  • Editing Digital Film, by Jaime Fowler
  • The Technology of Video & Audio Streaming (2nd Edition), by David Austerberry
  • Video Systems in an IT Environment, by Al Kovalick

Some other job roles in post-production

Back to post-production