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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.
Robbie Carman: So Rich, in previous movies, we took a look at using the NLE. Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robbie Carman: To do some color correction on this this back-lit scene. We jumped over to Adobe SpeedGrade but really it could have been any dedicated color tool. Now in this movie, we're going to talk about using a tool I don't think a lot of people would think of for fixing shots like this, and that's using Adobe After Effects. Rich Harrington: Yeah and After Effects has its own tools where we can relight or you can actually use third party plugins, and so we'll do 2 things. I'll show you something that's After Effects specific. And then I'll show you some plugins that work over in any NLE, including Final Cut 10, Avid, etc.
Robbie Carman: Cool. Rich Harrington: So let's start with something After Effects specific, which is we can actually add a light. And we could add ambient light to this scene. Let's just reset that, so it goes back to a white color. But what I'll do is I'll lower the overall intensity of the scene And you'll notice when we first do that. Nothing happens, because we have to make that layer, 3-D. Robbie Carman: Hm. Rich Harrington: But then, we can add a virtual light. And, I could toss in something like a spotlight. And adjust it's intensity, but let's just add that to the scene.
And you see that essentially, we've got a post production light. Robbie Carman: So you actually have 2 lights in there. Rich Harrington: Mm-hm. Robbie Carman: The first light was just sort of darkening up that whole scene and now you're using that second light to sort of reveal the person again much in the same way that in the movie we did on SpeedGrade, where I added a vignette around the subject to kind of darken the outside of, have our viewers eyes focus more on him. Rich Harrington: Yeah, which works well here, and notice I could adjust the darkness here. All I essentially did. Was I darkened off the shot first with the ambient light, then I added this in and this gives me pretty cool controls.
Robbie Carman: And you can feather it off a little more. Rich Harrington: Absolutely. And so, you can get the nice blending. But what's a little different here than doing the vignettes is this actually works in 3D space. So, you can point that a little bit more and it's a little more directional if you want to get top lighting Or if you want to feel more like the light source is coming from the bottom shooting up, I find it's, Robbie Carman: That's really nice. Rich Harrington: Easier to be able to shoot, and basically, we added a virtual light. Robbie Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: To the footage. Robbie Carman: That's really cool. Rich Harrington: So that's one thing, and I actually do this a lot, particularly with keying projects, I'll toss those things in, but Let's get rid of those lights for a second and take a look at some third party stuff.
Robbie Carman: Okay. Rich Harrington: Now Colorista, you mentioned this earlier. Is from a company called Magic Bullet. Robbie Carman: Yeah. Rich Harrington: A very popular tool. And, what we could do is things like, you know make some overall adjustments to the primary exposure. Lightening or darkening to fill that in, and it did pretty nice, a little Highlight recovery, and but just like you did before, we do have the ability to actually add a mask. Robbie Carman: Yep. Rich Harrington: So there's the ellipse and what would you do to this? Robbie Carman: Yeah, I'd try to just center it around him. yep, something like that.
Exactly. And, you know maybe just feather it off a little bit more on the feather size control there, just to feather it off. Rich Harrington: Yep. Robbie Carman: Just a little bit, so we have some nice soft edges around it. Rich Harrington: And then we probably need to invert this right? Robbie Carman: Yeah. Rich Harrington: So it affects the outside? Robbie Carman: Yep. And I'll just invert that and then come back up and darken the exposure on the outside there. Just so we're a little bit more focused. And again, how much you do this is. To taste. I know some clients that I work with, if I ever use the v word, V for vignettes. Rich Harrington: Whoa. Robbie Carman: They're just like what are you doing. Like I'm not going to have that.
The best vignettes are obviously the kind of ones that are invisible. And adding softness to the mask as well as not darkening the edges. Too much also helps. Now the other thing that Rich, that we can do, we don't have to do it now but I'll just, I'll just bring this up, is that you can also do things like blur the outside of a vignette as well. So sort of simulate depth of field which is nice. Rich Harrington: And I think that worked nicely there. I mean, if I toggle that effect off and on. Robbie Carman: Yup. Rich Harrington: We clearly have a better exposure on him and we've guided the eye to the center of the frame. Robbie Carman: Absolutely. Rich Harrington: Now that was Colorista. There is actually a whole collection of digital lighting plug-ins I like, from a product called Light.
And this is available as a standalone app from Digital Film Tools. And they make this for just about everybody, or it's bundled in with Tiffens Digital Effects Package. Robbie Carman: Cool. Rich Harrington: So you can get it either way. And this is available for Avid, Premier, After Effects, Motion, and Final Cut. Robbie Carman: Wow. Rich Harrington: And so, they have just a couple, I'll show you a couple different ones. They have an ambient light one which is pretty easy. And what it's essentially doing is it's boosting the overall light in the scene. But you notice how. Different areas are being affected a little bit.
Robbie Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: And that's kind of nice how it really gets in there and you've got the ability to actually add a little bit of a color cast if you wanted to shift it one way or the other to compensate for a particular look. Robbie Carman: I mean you gotta love one button, one click color correction. That's great. Rich Harrington: And then we have the equivalent and we've talked about reflectors on a previous issue but we actually have, and let's open up their interface here, we have the equivalent of gold reflectors in post. Or the ability to just do the simple silver side.
Robbie Carman: Yep. Rich Harrington: And if you look at that as the split screen You know, let's just drag that over. That's a pretty big, nice change of filling that in. Robbie Carman: It is. Rich Harrington: So that's just, Robbie Carman: And you could position it however you want. Yeah, it works great. Rich Harrington: Yeah, and I really like that. What they have here is the ability for you to make a selection, and so when you set that to selection, you adjust the range And so then, whatever is white, is going to be affected and then you just move that position through. So there, I've got him selected but not the window very much and so when I look at that output now.
Robbie Carman: Yeah, you boost the color of his shirt, that kind of stuff yeah. Rich Harrington: Yeah, it's a lot easier to really refine what's being processed. And that's just showing you, you know, we can see those 2 side by side, the difference. And I like having that range control. Now, those are really cool ways of sort of doing that, and they add, you know, relight controls, which have some softness, But there's 2 that I love. Robbie Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: One is eye Light. And Rob, what's an eye Light. Robbie Carman: Is it a light on the eyes Rich? Rich Harrington: It, it, it is. And I know it sounds simple, but it's one of the hardest things to place in production.
Robbie Carman: Yeah, I know in, in the field it really is. Cause it you know, it starts to end up looking a little, little weird and little, little funny. But yeah, this is kind of a cool a cool thing that you can do. It, its because when people. Are looking at people, we connect with people via their eyes. And when peoples' eyes are kind of lost in shadow and hard to see, we kind of lose something there. So that's for sure a great way to do it. Rich Harrington: And so we can blend that there a little bit on the face, and that just allows us to really pop the eyes out. Now It could push the color, we could adjust how bright it is.
I over did it a little bit there, but let's back it off. But just a subtle amount to pop the eyes is doing okay. Robbie Carman: Yeah and this is something that I do all the time with dedicated color tools. I'll put a saw, a shape around somebody's face and just brighten them up just a touch so we see more detail in their face. Rich Harrington: But my favorite, and I think you're going to have to admit that this is cool is the equivalent of digital gobo lighting. So, let's go to the interface here so we can see the custom interface. And I love this. I use this in my photo work all the time. We're probably not going to. Robbie Carman: Just remind people Rich what a gobo is. Rich Harrington: Well, a gobo is a cut out shape.
And so here's a very cheesy one that says" knock out" for boxing. But a lot of times, they could be soft scribble patterns or dots. And so, there we have a pattern of dots on the wall, and let's brighten that up, but then what will typically happen is that people will defocus that a little bit. And what you end up getting is what we would refer to as modelling with a T, and you basically get a little bit of displacement or dapper on the background. Robbie Carman: Yeah, it adds a little bit more dynamic contrast to the scene. I mean, the thing I would just be weary of doing this is that sometimes this can kind of give you that kind of Barbara Walters, you know kind of promiss kind of effect which might be a little cheesy, but it's a very, it's actually I'm pretty surprised how well it looks and how well it works.
Rich Harrington: Yeah. I'd avoid some of things like the holiday decorations which are here for some of the, sort of the. Photo backdrops and use some of these more traditional ones that are very common. And you can sort of adjust those in, fix the overall brightness, and then you do have full control here over how blurred it gets Robbie Carman: Mm-hm. Rich Harrington: And you have DVE controls which allow you to adjust. So, I could go ahead and adjust the scale of the y there. And what I think I've done nicely there is I've basically relit the backdrop.
Robbie Carman: Yep. Rich Harrington: Now I would still light him, but this is giving me a nice way of really refining that and I could go ahead and stack this if I want. You could add multiple instances of the effects. And this is just often used to relight a scene. Particularly the backdrops is most common. And this one of those situations where a lot of times, if you're on-set, the gaffer would light the backdrop, putting an interesting pattern back there or something to break it up, maybe some slats. But you can now do this in post if necessary.
And it does open up a lot of options here. Just avoid some of the more cartoonish ones, and instead Take a look at some of these things that are like foliage patterns or more slat type patterns, and those work very, very well. Robbie Carman: Very cool. Well, so I think you can see that using third party tools in After Effects, and, by the way, the thing I'm most surprised about is that a lot of these plugins work in multiple platforms. Rich Harrington: Yeah. Robbie Carman: Whether it's an NLE or After Effects or Motion, that kind of stuff, which gives you a flexibility, also a nice thing. You know, if you want to jump between different apps, you have the same set of tools.
But this is just another way that I think you can see that we can enhance the scene in the shot, that was really kind of a difficult one to deal with being back-laid, and having those mis, mixed exposures. And using that on Wii. Using a dedicated color tool, or using some third-party filters, is a great way to be able to fix these shots in whatever method that you're comfortable with. Rich Harrington: So remember, the combination of good production techniques with good post techniques will give you great results.
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