What is black level in video editing?

To ensure your video renders correctly on different monitors or the internet, it helps to learn to understand color correction, including black level adjustments.

Color levels and color correction are essential concepts to understand, especially for professionals. When you understand levels, you can render your files correctly with the right color to another editor or even export your video correctly for a film screening or the internet. It can get technical, but we’ll cover the basics here.

What are levels?

In video editing, levels refer to the range of values contained in an image file. Each video file is encoded within a specific range of values. There are two main distinctions: full for computer displays and video for video monitors. Full level files encode their image data with values from 0 to 255, 0 being pure black and 255 being pure white. Video range files encode values from 16 to 235, 16 being pure black and 235 being pure white.

Video editing software interprets the level designation based on the input information of your files. When working with video files, it can be challenging to understand why your files look different on different devices. They may look right in your editing software but off a little on another device.

Why black level is important.

Your video editing software will use the value you choose to represent black, or the video black level, along with the white balance to determine the makeup of other colors and how to render them onscreen. Learning to use your video color adjustment tools for video black level and white balance can improve how other color temperatures are rendered on your screen.

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