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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.
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.
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