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This weekly course covers the most common questions videographers encounter when shooting and editing with DSLR cameras, from choosing a frame size and frame rate to understanding moiré. Authors Rich Harrington and Robbie Carman will also help you understand the impacts of compression and the difference between cropped (or micro 4/3rds) and full-sized sensors in cameras, and much more. This continual FAQ guide is a handy way to find the answers to the questions that plague you the most.
Rich Harrington: Rob, you are an expert at all things color grading, and, you know. He's going to be shy, but let me tell you. He makes his bread and butter doing this. His job is to take people's shots that look okay, and make them look great. Or even, let's be honest, like oh, we could never use that shot. And then, Rob throws voodoo magic at it and it turns out looking pretty good. So I'm going to put him on the spot here. And I just sort of jokingly said, well why don't you take the worst shot and make it usable? And without flinching, because probably that's what he does all the time, he's like, okay.
Rich: So Rob, we're in speed grade. And this, I can safely say, is a terrible shot. Robbie Carman: Yeah, I'm sure in this shot full screen, so you get the full effect of it. And yeah, we discussed this previously. We got nice exposure on the windows back there, previously, you know. Nice and exposed properly, but we got nothing in him. We see a little bit of his face, but. Rich: Yeah. Robbie: This is looking horrible, and I'll be honest with you, Rich, this is something that I get from clients all the time. Hey, we got this shot, you can make it work, don't worry about it. And obviously, I won't go into, we should make this a little better onset, but let's see if we can fix this.
And yeah, and in, in this in this movie, I'm actually using a w speed grade, but we could be using DaVinci Resolve. By the way, DaVinci Resolve Lite, free app that you can download as well. Rich: Yep, and Speed Grade included in with Adobe Creative Cloud Robbie:That's, that's right. Rich: So, if you've got it, you've got it as well. Robbie: Right. Now, just be aware that this window is a little small here, just because we're running on a bit of a reduced resolution to record this tutorial. But what I'm going to do on this shot, is I'm actually going to first just verify my scopes again, by hitting my analysis tools. And then, I'm going to go to one Scope Layout. And let me right-click and show my Waveform and, yeah, that's verifying what we saw in a previous movie, back over in Premiere Pro.
Rich: Yep, our three windows and not much else. Robbie: Right, exactly, so we know it's dark. So, what I'm going to do is come down to my Look tab here. And I'm going to come to this Primary layer. Now, every shot is going to have a default Primary layer; a Primary layer is a layer that affects the entire shot. And over here in my color controls, you'll notice that I have four different areas: Overall, shadows, Midtones, and Highlights. I don't even need to mess with the shadows, midtones, and highlights. These categories, or these tabs, allow me to have finer control over that part of the tonal range.
But what I really want to do here is just make a broad, sweeping correction. That's going to sort of fix everything. Rich: So sort of start big. Get it in the ballpark, and then refine it? Robbie: Correct. So I'm going to come here into my mid-tones control, and I'm going to drag up quite a bit. Rich: Wow. Robbie: Something like this. Right? So, I'm getting a little bit more of that mid-tones back into him. And let me do the same thing in the highlights. We'll brighten that up just a touch. Let's go back to full screen to see how that looks. Rich: That's a lot of information there. Robbie: Yeah, now the thing you'll notice about it is that you can see if you look closely that there's some gray going around you know, on the shot.
I, nicely refer to it as grain, but it's not grain. It's just noise, okay? Rich: Yeah, this was not the, this is because it was shot at too low light, and the shadowy areas tend to really pick this up. Robbie: And this is a problem with fixing shots like this all the time. Is that you not, oftentimes, you need to go back, and do a noise reduction pass, with tools like video. Or the magic bullet, and noise or things of that nature. But we've gotten exposure back into a more usable place here. Now, just like we saw back over in Premiere, we've lost a little saturation here, so I'm just going to come over to my final saturation parameter, this guy right here.
I'm just going to hold down the Shift key down and drag up, so this goes a little faster. To return some saturation to that. That's looking better. And as I said before, the thing that was bothering me about the shot was it kind of had a little bit of a greenish color cast to his face. Rich: Yeah. Robbie: It was just sort of the lighting of the room, kind of the green in the background there. So, all I'm going to do is come into my midtones, because that's where most of my skin is going to exist is sort of in the midtones, and just add a touch of sort of red kind of to that, to, we neutralize that just a touch. Let's see how he looks again. Rich: And, basically, since there was green, you dragged opposite of green.
Robbie: Right, that's how you neutralize a color cast for that part of the tool range. So this is looking better. But, the thing I hate about this, to be honest with you, is we've lost all that kind of dynamic look to it, right? I want it to look a little bit more, I don't know. Cool right? So, one of the things I'm going to do on the shot is something that I do all the time to fix these kind of problematic shots. Rich: By the way, way to speak like a client. Could you just say more like MTV? Robbie: Right, right. Rich: And Instagram. Robbie: Right, right, right, well we're not even going that far we just want to make it look a little more dynamic. I'm going to click on this button right here, to reveal additional area of the speed grade interface.
And I'm going to go to my mask controls here. And I previously added, or created a mask here. And if I go into my full screen mode, this mask is just centered right around the subject, right there. And what I want to do is come back over here, to my primary to my layers, rather, and add a new primary layer. And I know it's a little kind of intuitive, right, because in speed grade, when you have a primary layer, you think that's affecting everything, well, mask were actually applied to primary layers. But what I'll do is just keep the straight in my head, and I'll just call this outside mask.
And what I'm going to do is click on this button right here to attach the mask that i created, to this layer, but this button is going to allow me to have any correction I do, to affect the outside of the mask. Rich: Okay, so we can knock down the outside edges a little bit? Robbie: Right, exactly. So, what I'm going to do now that I'm applying, affecting the outside, is I'm just going to come into my highlights control here, and drag down, just a touch, maybe a little bit more. Rich: Mm-hm. Robbie: And the result, if I toggle that on and off, is you can see that I'm just kind of focusing my viewers' eye a little bit more into the center of the screen.
And, if I go back to full screen here, you can see that there's a little bit of fall off. Now, how much I do this is totally subjective, you know, what my client wants, what the mood's like. And the same thing goes with my overall exposure. I might darken this up just a touch. But I think if I go back and show you, toggle off these other layers here Here's the original, which we started with. Rich: Yeah. Robbie: Yeah Rich: Yeah. Robbie: Yeah, there's, there's that. Rich: I'm not proud to have been involved with that shot. Robbie: Yes, and then, you know and then we have this. I think you gotta say that this is not awesome, I wouldn't say that this is going to win.
You know, award for best-looking shot ever, but it's totally much more usable and after all, at the end of the day that's a lot, a lot of times what color grading's all about is sort of putting a band-aid on a bullet hole to make something passable and make it usable. Rich: Well, I think you did that efficiently here. I'd like, just for my own, I'll just say it, ego, could you take 60 seconds and make the good shot look great. So, I could feel that. Rich: We really nailed this. Robbie: Sure, so we'll get back out of full screen mode here. And let's go down to the shot that we did all, all the lighting and all that kind of stuff too.
There we go. Rich: Okay, so it's looking much better already. Robbie: Yep, let's look, let's just take a look at this full screen. Okay, looks pretty good. Thing I'm noticing about it is the, the blacks look to be a little crushed there. Rich: Yeah. Robbie: And again I think I might want to do some more of that focusing on on the subject to focus a little more in. So, let's go back out here, and I'm going to come in to my offset control, which is this guy right here, which for all intents and purposes it operates a little differently than the blacks or the lift control in most other NLEs.
But it will allow me to lift my blacks just a little bit. Rich: Nice. Robbie: So, I'm getting some more detail back in there. And if I look at that. Rich: Yeah. Robbie: You'll notice that I can have a little bit more in his hair. Down here is not so much crushed. Rich: I like how the edge of the guitar is coming out better now. Robbie: Yeah, absolutely. And, we'll do that same thing with the mask again. Let's just come over to my mask controls. And of course, if I wanted to be really detailed about this Rich, I could actually come in, and actually draw my own custom mask, so I'm not. You know, centered around a you know a circle or a square, or something like that.
But actually, for speed's sake, I'm just going to add a regular mask or bignet mask right there. And just turn on the Mask widget right there. And we'll make this a little bigger. And we'll soften the edges on this. Just a little bit. Rich: It's fairly intuitive looking. Robbie: Yeah. This widget just allows you to do things like position, adjust, scale, rotates, skew, all that kind of stuff. And just like we did before, I'll simply come over back to my layers, I'll add a new primary layer, attach the outside of that mask and we'll come in and we'll focus down.
Just touch on the outside of the mask so we're focused a little bit more into him. Rich: Nice little vignette. Robbie: Yeah, nice little vignette. And if I wanted to take this over the top, Rich, I could do a lot of cool things here inside of Speed Grade to add sort of the feel of it. For example, I think what I want to do on this is actually go ahead and add a LUT layer. And in the LUT, we have a new feature sort to to speak ready to add films stocks. I think I'm going to choose one of these sort of Fuji Kodak stocks here. Yeah, that's, that's a little too much. Let's go back to the other one, and it's looking very good but obviously it affected my original primary correction, I'll just go back and lift those blacks one more time.
Rich: Wow. Robbie: Now let's take a look at that, full screen. You definitely have a much more dynamic look. Rich: That's looking great and certainly one of the main benefits of using that. And that LUT is just a lookup table. Robbie: Right. Rich: And essentially it's a way to make one shot, one type of technology look like it was shot on a different film stock or gives it sort of a universal look. Robbie: Yeah, translating from one color space to another or emulating film stocks, and that kind of stuff. And again, you might not want it on there. You can turn it off and go back and adjust your corrections that way. But I think that, you know, taking a look at this, this was, you know, an enhanced shot.
Definitely stylized, definitely a little, you know, contrasty, but I think it works for this music video. Rich: All right, well Rob, two things I'd like to say. One, Rob has a bunch of speed grade training available. You could find him out there. We've got some up here on lynda.com, and he also does blog about this. Rob is an expert on this, and I encourage you, if you're interested in learning more about Speed Grade, or Resolve, to check him out. But, we're going to come back and take a look at a third-party plugin, just to show you how there're even more options when it comes to enhancing your look.
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