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

Telling a story with color


From:

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

with Simon Walker

Video: Telling a story with color

Color forms are significant part of how we interpret scenes in video. Different colors can suggest different moods. If we see muted colors with dark green or dark blue in the shadows, it can suggest tension in the scene. Which is something we'd see as part of a thriller or an action movie. Whereas bright saturated primary colors, give the impression of a much happier more positive mood. A lot of effort is made by the lighting, costume, location, and set-dressing departments to introduce specific colors into the scene to reflect the story being told in the script. But the great thing is, that we can also simulate colors and lighting conditions in post-production.
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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

Telling a story with color

Color forms are significant part of how we interpret scenes in video. Different colors can suggest different moods. If we see muted colors with dark green or dark blue in the shadows, it can suggest tension in the scene. Which is something we'd see as part of a thriller or an action movie. Whereas bright saturated primary colors, give the impression of a much happier more positive mood. A lot of effort is made by the lighting, costume, location, and set-dressing departments to introduce specific colors into the scene to reflect the story being told in the script. But the great thing is, that we can also simulate colors and lighting conditions in post-production.

We can use standard editing software to change the colors along after the footage has been shot. This means that at the editing stage, there's another opportunity to add a creative treatment to a scene. To reinforce the mood being suggested, or even to change it. For example, for story reasons, it may be necessary to change the time of day for certain sequences, a classic example of which is to shoot during the day then treat the footage so it appears as if the action is taking place at night. Simulating color and lighting also means that shots filmed at different times of day, or even at different locations or shot under different lighting conditions, can be matched. Or given a similar color treatment so that they can be cut together seamlessly, suggesting that all the action was filmed at the time, at the same location. So if your script calls for multiple scenes, set in a variety of different locations.

It can be much cheaper to simulate the lighting conditions of those locations, rather than to physically travel to them. But I think the most interesting part of the use of color, though, is to support your story. You can use colors to set a mood and communicate what your protagonist is going through all without using dialog. You can also use color to separate characters from their backgrounds. To make it easier for the audience to see what they are doing. Or even mix them in with their surrounding. It's very common to see certain characters or locations treated with a signature color.

So you instantly know as a viewer, which location or which setting is being shown on the screen.

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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