How to Recreate the Color Grading of ‘The Last of Us’ in Premiere Pro

HBO’s The Last of Us has been a smash hit for the network, with its recent season one finale drawing a season-high 8.2 million viewers, despite premiering against the Oscars. The television adaptation of Naughty Dog’s popular The Last of Us PlayStation game has proven popular for many reasons, not the least of which is compelling and cinematic visuals.

Much of a television show or movie’s look and feel relies upon its color and, therefore, its color grading. The process of adjusting the colors of video footage, known as color grading, is manipulating and adjusting colors in a video to affect the mood and elicit a desired emotional response. The difference between a scene being warm or cool can drastically change the feelings it evokes.

As seen by Fstoppers, YouTube channel Premiere Basics created an Adobe Premiere Pro tutorial aimed at replicating the impressive “The Last of Us” color grading technique.

Jordy Vandeput, CEO of Cinecom and star of the video written by Tymon Reynders, wanted to demonstrate his video editing skills and show HBO that he should fill its vacant colorist position for the highly-anticipated second season of The Last of Us.

Premiere Basics The Last of Us Color Grading

Vandeput used Premiere Pro’s Lumetri Color and Lumetri Scopes tools to do so. These tools make it straightforward to color-grade a video to match a reference. It’s even possible to put the video that’s being edited next to the reference video in the Premiere Pro workspace.

After showcasing the tools required for color grading to match two videos in Premiere Pro, Vandeput highlights a video editing plugin called CineMatch. The tool uses proprietary “Sensor Matching” technology to make color grading faster and easier.

Premiere Basics The Last of Us Color Grading

This is far from Premiere Basic’s only YouTube tutorial video about color grading. There are 10 excellent tutorials available in this dedicated color grading playlist.

For readers who can’t get enough of The Last of Us, Premiere Basics also has a tutorial teaching viewers how to create the creepy introduction sequence from the show.

There’s a lot of overlap between videogames like The Last of Us and photography and videography. Last year, PetaPixel spoke with virtual photographer Frederic Verdickt about the skills he uses to capture beautiful images in games like The Last of Us.

Some, like interdisciplinary artist Sam Bulleit, even bring virtual photography into the real world. Bulleit created actual cyanotype prints using clever virtual photography skills in the PlayStation game Ghost of Tsushima, a game well-known for its highly immersive, realistic camera tools.

Other games even utilize photography as a major narrative and gameplay element, including the Season: A Letter to the Future. To learn more about that game, read PetaPixel’s in-depth review.

Image credits: Premiere Basics