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The Art of Color Correction: Color Grading for Locations and Times of Day
Illustration by Richard Downs

Making sure color is consistent across multiple clips in a sequence


From:

The Art of Color Correction: Color Grading for Locations and Times of Day

with Simon Walker

Video: Making sure color is consistent across multiple clips in a sequence

It's important to have the same color from shot to shot, so that you don't risk taking the viewer out of the story. But they're also things that can go wrong when you're shooting. We've previously looked at the effect of having an erroneous color orange in the background, and how distracting that can be. And it can also be distracting to your audience if you got the wrong color balance on your cameras. I'm using the continuity sequence here, and I've got two shots. One of which was set up correctly with a correct white balance, and other one wasn't. So this white has much more of a blue cast.
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  1. 4m 45s
    1. Welcome
      1m 47s
    2. Telling a story with color
      2m 10s
    3. Using the exercise files
      48s
  2. 38m 20s
    1. What different colors tell the audience
      1m 6s
    2. How our eyes see color
      5m 12s
    3. Making sure color is consistent across multiple clips in a sequence
      4m 54s
    4. Understanding the correct order to apply color correction adjustments
      7m 43s
    5. Working with Premiere Pro and the Colorista II plugin
      7m 55s
    6. Working with Premiere Pro and Magic Bullet Looks
      7m 21s
    7. Making contrast, lighting, and mood changes: A general rule of thumb
      4m 9s
  3. 25m 13s
    1. Understanding how cool color frames emotion
      7m 39s
    2. Stylizing a cold location with color grading
      3m 18s
    3. Understanding how warm color frames emotion
      3m 16s
    4. Stylizing a hot location with color grading
      4m 40s
    5. Isolating and adjusting skies
      6m 20s
  4. 28m 0s
    1. Changing the times of day with color
      50s
    2. Creating an early morning look
      5m 24s
    3. Creating a midday look
      2m 36s
    4. Creating an afternoon look
      3m 46s
    5. Creating an evening look
      2m 34s
    6. Composing a day-for-night shot
      7m 28s
    7. Creating a flashback look
      5m 22s
  5. 17m 17s
    1. Changing colors to match the mood of the story
      28s
    2. Stylizing an office scene
      2m 31s
    3. Creating a bedroom color style
      2m 20s
    4. Designing a hospital look
      3m 13s
    5. Stylizing a morgue shot
      2m 56s
    6. Coloring an interrogation scene
      5m 49s
  6. 9m 26s
    1. Separating characters from the background
      44s
    2. Creating fake depth of field in Magic Bullet Looks
      2m 51s
    3. Creating fake depth of field in Colorista II
      5m 51s
  7. 3m 6s
    1. Next steps
      3m 6s

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The Art of Color Correction: Color Grading for Locations and Times of Day
2h 6m Appropriate for all Jul 03, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Color is a powerful signal in video; it can subtly project emotion, mood, time of day, and location. Learn to manipulate these visual elements in a variety of shots, from interior spaces to outside landscapes, with color grading. Filmmaker, colorist, and experienced editor Simon Walker shows how to simulate a light source and different types of light, and choose an evocative color for your footage to tell the story of a particular location. Plus, learn techniques to change the time of day, the type of room, and the overall mood of a location.

Simon works with Adobe Premiere Pro and the Magic Bullet Colorista II and Looks plugins, but these lessons can be applied to any color correction workflow.

Topics include:
  • How our eyes see color
  • What colors tell the audience
  • Making sure color is consistent
  • Applying adjustments in the correct order
  • Understanding how warm and cool colors frame emotion differently
  • Isolating and adjusting skies
  • Changing the time of day with color
  • Designing interiors like an office, a hospital, or an interrogation room
  • Creating fake depth of field
Subjects:
Video Video Editing Color Correction
Software:
Final Cut Pro Premiere Pro Magic Bullet Suite
Author:
Simon Walker

Making sure color is consistent across multiple clips in a sequence

It's important to have the same color from shot to shot, so that you don't risk taking the viewer out of the story. But they're also things that can go wrong when you're shooting. We've previously looked at the effect of having an erroneous color orange in the background, and how distracting that can be. And it can also be distracting to your audience if you got the wrong color balance on your cameras. I'm using the continuity sequence here, and I've got two shots. One of which was set up correctly with a correct white balance, and other one wasn't. So this white has much more of a blue cast.

When you're shooting indoors with tungsten yellow lighting, and you have your camera set to be shooting outdoors where the light is much cooler, then when you shoot indoors on the wrong white balance, you get this blue color cast. And it's a common production problem. The nice thing is of course that we can correct this inside our editing software. A great way to see the difference between colors on shots is to use the Color Correction workspace. And if I switch to that, then you get the chance to see the scopes in your layout.

This is the reference monitor. If you can't see this particular one, you can always click on the Settings button and choose one of the other scopes. If you select All Scopes, then it shows all the scopes that Premiere provides. For example, I'll show you a close up of this one. This is the YC waveform which shows you the brightest levels in your shot and the darkest ones. By default, it has the chroma switched on as well. But I like to see it without so I can see the brightness at a glance. And there's also the Vector Scope which allows you to see how saturated your image is.

The closer the trace gets to the edge of the Vector Scope, the more saturated your shot is. But the one I use more than anything else is the RGB parade. Because it shows me a red, green and blue channels. And it also shows me if they're balanced. You can see here that this shot isn't balanced. It's got more blue in the highlights and then at top of the mid turns here what you can see quite clearly. And so our job is going to be to just balance this clip and match it with the previous clip.

So I'm going to just zoom out of my timeline a little bit using the Minus keys. So I can see these two shots. And I'm going to jump to the first room of the second shot with the Up and Down Arrow keys. You can jump between shots like that. Right so to apply a Color Correction filter to the second clip, I can go up to the Effects tab and inside the Color Correction folder, I can choose the three way color corrector and drag it on the clip. There is so much quick adjusted type in three and then it limits the choice that filters with whatever you've typed in. So I'm going to drag that onto here and then you need to click the Effects Controls pallet to show you the controls for that filter. And a core concept in color grading in the computer is that the complementary colors, the colors on the opposite side of the color wheels, cancel each other out. What I mean by that is that rather than reducing the blue in this shot. It's quite common to introduce its complimentary color to actually neutralize that color cast.

So I can see here there's lots of blue in the highlights and the mid tones. So I'm going to choose the color wheel here and just push the pin towards it's opposite color which is this yellowy orange. And as I push it towards there, then you can see that the blues in the highlights are being reduced and the reds are being increased. I can do the same in the midtones as well and that balances those general midtone levels. And you can then go ahead and start to tweak with the slider on the control here.

And this is a process which takes more than a few minutes to do. Balancing shots is one of the core disciplines of a colorist. And they would go through it and spend some time. Carefully crafting each particular grade. But, what I'm going to do is just show you what I can do within a few seconds to show you the general concept of balancing these colors together. And moving the color wheels so we can get, there we go, in a few seconds I've got something which is much more balanced than the previous shot. Here's the before and after, so I'm going to turn off the filter here. Here's the blue shot, which doesn't match at all with the previous shot. And here is the one with the Color Correction applied, which balances much more.

So this essential concept of balancing colors and manipulating colors is something we come back to time and again during the course. As well as the idea of actually looking at your shot whilst having one eye on the scopes, to seeing what the colors are doing in each particular area and highlights, mid-tones, and shadows on each particular clip.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about The Art of Color Correction: Color Grading for Locations and Times of Day.


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Q: Do I need any plug-ins or additional software to perform the color grading work shown in this course?
A: This course demonstrates techniques that will work in any color grading software, including the built-in 3-way color corrector tools in Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, and Avid Media Composer.  However, the author uses some plug-ins for Premiere Pro in this course.  While you can still get similar results with other tools, you may wish to try the same tools used in the course.  If so, you can install Colorista II and Looks by Magic Bullet.  There are free trial versions of these plug-ins available at the Red Giant website at https://www.redgiant.com/downloads/trial-versions/registration/magic-bullet-colorista-ii/.
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