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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.
The first of the video scopes that we'll take a look at is the Y-Waveform Monitor, which allows us to see and measure the luma or light and dark values of an image. It's very important to know and correctly set your luma values, because the human eye is extremely sensitive to accurate blacks and whites. Having a dingy white or a muddy black is not only unappealing to the eye, but it also throws off the entire luma palette of the image. Our overall goal is to expand the tonal range or variants from black to white.
So let's take a look at how we can best set our white and black values. Right now, we are in Source/Record mode and we want to launch Color Correction Mode [00:00:412.07] by pulling it up from that toolset. And we have three windows that pop-up. The top window is a triple monitor that displays a number of different things. We can set these as needed. Right now we have a video scope in our left monitor called the Y Waveform graph. We have an image and we have our third one that's empty.
The second window here is the Color Correction tool. It's where we are going to be doing all of the adjusting to correct our image, and the third window is our sequence. And the point where my blue position indicator is indicates what the current image is or what the images that we are correcting. The Y Waveform graph as well as any other graph or image can be populated via this pull-down menu above the monitor. Each one of these monitors has this. This graph represents tonal range. You can't see these numbers very well but I assure you if you had a larger screen with more real estate you would be able to expand them to be able to see them.
But trust me that this says 16 and this says 235. 16 is the value of the video black, while 235 is the value of video white. This is the trace of the image or the signal. What I want to do is make sure that all of the black parts of my image approach 16 and all of the white parts of my image approach 235. We read it from left to right and from left to right. So his shirt right here is represented by probably these values here and it's nowhere near 16, so we want to bring those down and the white part of the window here should probably be white and that's represented by this part right here and again, it's not accurate.
We need that to be a up near 235. Right now it's hanging out down here. So we will stretch the blacks to black, we will stretch the whites to white, and that will help a lot. The first thing we are going to do is attack out blacks. We do so via this Setup control down here. As I move this setup control, if I move it down; the image gets darker, as I move it up the image gets lighter. You can see that the whole video signal changes at the same rate. So what am I going to do is bring it down, so that my blacks approach 16.
I don't want to go below 16 because then I have illegal values of black and that will not work because they cannot be broadcast. So we want it to be just above 16, like so, and already the image is quite a bit darker but as you see, it also affected my white values. I'm going to go ahead and bring those up via the Gain control. I am just going to grab this parameter slider and drag it up and you can see both the image brighten as well as the trace approach are 235 mark and we will keep going up.
All right, that's pretty good. However, look what happened. Our blacks rose too high. So we have to go back down. It's a little bit of a dance, as we go back and forth with our Gain and Setup until we have the appropriate tonal range, and we are getting pretty close here. We have the blacks just about where we want them. I want to go a little bit higher on the whites. And we are not going to go right at light because this can be slightly below. And we are looking a lot better here.
Okay, so now what we want to do is look at our midtones. Gamma represents our midtones and we want to know is this image too dark, is it too light? Do we want to make it darker, make it lighter? Well, if I made it lighter, you can see that it really lightens up the whole image a little bit too much. Also if we make it too light, you can see that there is added grain to the image. Therefore I think I will make it look a little bit darker and tweak my Gain just a little bit more and we're looking good.
So now we have a really nice tonal range. We have got our blacks at black, we have got our whites at white, and just to show you how much of a difference we have made, I am going to click on the Dual Split display and it actually shows the before and after. If you want to look in the Dual Split display as an actual split screen, you can do so by dragging this over. But I usually like to have it full screen so it's a toggle from before and after.
You can see that it's a tremendous difference. Correcting an image's luma values already does wonders because the human eye is so perceptive to tonal range of black and white. So with our luma corrected image, let's proceed to the next step where we take a look at removing color casts.
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