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

Working with Premiere Pro and Magic Bullet Looks


From:

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

with Simon Walker

Video: Working with Premiere Pro and Magic Bullet Looks

One of my favorite color correction programs is Magic Bullet Looks by Red Giant Software. And we'll be using this a number of times over this course to make certain adjustments and corrections. So I wanted to show you how to apply it and where to find it inside Premiere Pro. It's a plug-in so it lives inside the Effects tab. And if you go down to Video Effects, here it is Magic Bullet Looks. So I can drag it onto a clip, and then apply it. So, interestingly though, I just wanted to show you another concept.
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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

Working with Premiere Pro and Magic Bullet Looks

One of my favorite color correction programs is Magic Bullet Looks by Red Giant Software. And we'll be using this a number of times over this course to make certain adjustments and corrections. So I wanted to show you how to apply it and where to find it inside Premiere Pro. It's a plug-in so it lives inside the Effects tab. And if you go down to Video Effects, here it is Magic Bullet Looks. So I can drag it onto a clip, and then apply it. So, interestingly though, I just wanted to show you another concept.

Here is a clip to which I've already applied an instance of color Arrestor, and now I've applied an instance of Looks. And you can stack multiple filters on top of each other, but a really good discipline to get into is making a color correction for a clip. And then applying, Magic Bullet looks to an adjustment layer because usually looks is involved in making a stylistic grade. And is very useful to be able to have the flexibility to manage your grade with an adjustment layer. So, what I'm going to do is actually delete this from this clip, and show you how to make an adjustment layer.

So, I'll just delete this adjustment layer there. And you can create adjustment layers either by going to a New Item button and pressing Adjustment layer or from the File menu. File > New > Adjustment layer and the Adjustment layer automatically recognizes the resolution of your current sequence and the time base. So I'll click OK. And then from the Project panel you can drag on the adjustment layer to your clip, and then trim it to suit.

So now I'm going to go back to the Effects holder, drag on looks onto the adjustment layer. And on this layer underneath, I have put an instance of colorista two with the highlights. So I've made my technical correction on this shot. Now, if I select the adjustment layer inside the Effect Controls tab, I can hit Edit Look and bring up the Looks interface. One of the reasons why I like Magic Bullet Looks so much is the huge range of tools it has. You can make the Tools drawer pop out just by moving your mouse over the Tools area here, and then you can see all the tools that Looks uses. They're arranged in these five sections.

And they're processed in the same order. And this group of sections echoes the real life processes you'd go through when you're setting up a shoot. But some of these tools are generic color corrections so here in the subject area, is a three way color controller. And, it's just the same one as in Colorista. It's been borrowed from Colorista, or at least the technology's been borrowed. So it's very familiar to use. You can increase the highlights by dragging on the luma control here. Decrease the shadows and then you can also drag the color pin over to tint an image. In this case, make it either warm or cool.

And then you can reset each parameter up in the tool controls. In this case my brightness adjustment has already been made. And this is being echoed by the RGB parade up here. Which showed that I'd already increased the brightness on the clip underneath. So what I want to do here is to give a slight artistic look to this image. I'm going to push the Highlights towards orangey warm color here. And then I'm going to move the Shadows towards purple to give her a very flattering look. Here's the before and after.

Here's the button you use to turn on and off the tool. And here's the balanced image. And here with the stylistic image we got the red channel is much higher than the green and blues because we've been pushing the colors toward orange and purple. You can stack multiple tools together in the tool chain. I'm going to choose a diffusion tool from the Mat section. And I'm going to scroll down and choose pop hits. Here we go. And this has the advanced targeting just the highlights.

We'll turn it off and on. You'll see very subtle glow around her face here. And that's because the diffusion is being applied to the highlights only. I can drag down this parameter and then the diffusion is being added to more of the image. Here's the before and after. And this is a subjective decision you have to make about how much diffusion you want in a particular shot. I think here I'd like to limit it much more to the highlights, maybe about 80 or 90 or so. Just to give a nice flattering look.

And then what I want to do is focus the viewer's attention on the center of the image. So I'm going to go to the Lens section and get out my old favorite, the Vignette tool. Which is very easy to drag the controls on the screen and to move it around and to change the spread, for example. And then also change the strength. And this is a classic tool to be able to subtly focus your viewers attention on the center of the image. Here's the before and after.

And if you deselect the tool like this then you remove the screen controls so you can see the image. And if you want to look at what the whole grade looks like compared with the untreated footage. You can click on the Tool Chain button here, and that turns off all the tools at once. And there is a shortcut for this. It's the Backslash key, which I'm pressing now, and that's located on your keyboard, typically around where the Return key is. And having the keyboard shortcut makes it very fast to be able to switch this on and off without having to move your mouse across the screen.

Over the next few chapters, I'll be looking at some more of the tools over in these different sections. But for now I'm happy with this particular look and I'm going to press Finished here. And this look is applied to the whole clip. Here I'm scrubbing through the clip because it's been applied to the whole of the adjustment layer. And the really nice thing about adjustment layers is that they affect all the clips underneath. So you can drag out an adjustment layer. And see what the effect is like to the underlying clip. So I'll just turn off my audio a second.

Here is the clip underneath with the look applied to it because it's underneath the adjustment there. And here it is without the effect. So this standard practice of adding a technical grade to the clips on the first layer, and then adding a stylistic grade to an adjustment layer. Means you can save a lot of time when the editor or the client comes back and says please can you adjust this look. Because you can just go into the adjustment layer. Click on the Edit Look button and jump back into looks and make some changes. we've got a preview image of the second clip here because that's where the play head was located.

I go back to the original clips, it was located over here. Alternatively, if the client says that the look's too strong, can you adjust it? You can just drag down on the opacity layer here. And changing the opacity on the adjustment layer applies less of the effect to the clips underneath. So we've made a number of color corrections, some to the underlying clips, and some to the adjustment layer. And all these color corrections combine together to form a grade.

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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