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In Avid Media Composer 5 Essential Training, author Ashley Kennedy demonstrates basic and intermediate editing techniques in Media Composer, one of the most widely used nonlinear, video editing systems. This course covers how to build sequences, mix audio, color correct footage, apply effects, and troubleshoot common post-production issues in Media Composer. Exercise files accompany the course.
There are also some automatic functions in Media Composer's Color Correction tool. These shortcuts can be very handy, but it's important that you use all of the knowledge of manual color correction so that you don't autocorrect incorrectly. Let's take a look at where we came from. This is the correction that we applied in the previous four movies and you can see all the adjustments here, our black, white, and mid-tone corrections, as well as our chromo wheels that have corrected our color cast and blacks and whites as well as adjusted our skin tones.
Let's bring it back over to the uncorrected image and we'll start auto color correcting. We are going to take the same exact workflow, starting with our blacks and whites, which is why I have the Y Waveform populated, and we are going to start with our blacks. The Auto Color Correction buttons are right here. So I am going to press Auto Black, and it brings all of my darkest values towards 16. I am now going to choose Auto White. It's going to bring my lightest values up towards 235.
which it does, and notice that it also kept my dark values where they were supposed to be. If you remember, when we had to manually do this, we had to do some tweaking. Now, I'm going to undo that by hitting Ctrl+Z or Command+Z if I am on a Mac, and I am going to look at this button here, Auto Contrast. Now, Auto Contrast does the same thing as Auto Black and Auto White, but it does it at the same time. So I am going to click Auto Contrast, watch both my image as well as my Y Waveform, and there you go.
Next, I am going to display my RGB Parade and just as before, we have a little bit high red values on our blacks, green and blue are in line, and we have a little bit low blue values on our highlights. Again, red and green are in line. So Auto Balance is going to attempt to correct that and I'll go ahead and just press Auto Balance. Watch both the image as well as the RGB Parade and it looks better. We have removed our color cast from our blacks and whites.
Now, let's take a look at how this compares to the manual correction that we applied before. This is the auto correction. This is the manual correction. They are similar but I think you would agree that the manual correction is better. So my advice is if you use Auto Color Correction, don't rely upon it for the final product. Use it as a baseline grade so that you get yourself to a good starting place and then tweak accordingly from there. Now, if I'd like to set this process to a specific button to do all at once, I can certainly do that.
I am going to come into my Settings, and go to Correction, choose the Auto Correct tab, and I am going to choose HSL Auto Contrast because we want to fix the contrast first, just like we did here, and then I am going to Auto Balance. So this is telling me that when I apply this effect, it's going to correct the Contrast, it's going to correct the Balance, all in one effect. I am going to go ahead and remove this, so you can see this in action. If I go to my Effects palette and I choose the Color Correction effect within the Image category, I'll go ahead and just apply it to my segment and everything is done at once.
Again, we will want to tweak further so that we can get a really nice correction like this, but it's a great starting place. Once you have a good idea about how Color Correction works, you can use some of these automatic functions to help speed up the process. Remember, always use your eyes when auto color correcting so that you make the right decisions about how the corrections are applied.
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