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In this course, author Ashley Kennedy demonstrates basic and intermediate video editing techniques in Avid Media Composer. The course explains how to build sequences, mix audio, apply effects, and color-correct footage. The course also shows how to create titles, manage and output media, capture and import footage, and troubleshoot common post-production issues.
The first of the videoscopes 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 whites and blacks. Having a dingy white or a muddy black is not only unappealing to the eye, but it also throws off the rest of the values in your image. All right! Let's take a look at our luma values. Let's go ahead and open up our Color Correction tool.
We can do that by pressing on this button in the timeline, which looks like three monitors, or we can come up to Windows > Workspaces > Color Correction. Let's go top to bottom here. We have our three monitors, and in the middle monitor is the image that we are correcting. We can populate anything in each of these monitors. So if you click on this pulldown menu, you can put in the previous shot in the sequence, the next, two before, two after, or any one of the videoscopes.
So we've got Y Waveform selected and if you wanted to, you could also populate something over here. We're not going to do that right now, because we're going to focus on one thing at a time. And in the middle here, we have our Color Correction tool. There's a lot going on and a lot of controls, many of which we'll go through. Just so you know, we also have a Curves tab, but this is a little bit more complex, so in this course, we're going to focus in the HSL tab. Finally, at the bottom, we have our sequence. Right now, we only have one shot in our sequence, but if we had an entire sequence, it would all be here.
But we would just be parked on the shot that we were correcting. All right! So we have our Y Waveform monitor fired up, and we have everything else in place. We're ready to look at our luma values. Also, due to the resolution that we're recording in, you can't really see these numbers, but I have a reference image that I'd like to look at. Here at the bottom, we have video black at 16 and at the top, we have video white at 235. So the goal is to set values in our image that are supposed to be black down at 16 and values in our image that are supposed to be white at 235.
Everything in between are our midtones, so we can weight them more towards white or we can weight them more towards black. Over here on the right side are just the percentages of luminance. So we have 0% luminance, which corresponds to black, and a 100% luminance, which corresponds to white. So with that, let's go back into Avid and take a look at our image. We want to make sure that the black values in our image come down to 16. We also want to make sure that the white values in our image come up to 235.
Now, let's go ahead and identify what those black values are and find them in the waveform. We first have to know how to read this waveform. And basically, we're just looking at the image from left to right, and it corresponds with the luma values from left to right in this monitor here. So the values over here that are peaking at 235 correspond with these values here, which is where the light is glinting off of the coat rack here. And our dark values, which pretty much hover all across, represents the dark values here in her dress, as well as the shadows behind these clothes.
They're all resting around here, but really they should be resting down here, around 16. So those are the first two questions; Where in the image is black, and how far do I have to bring it down, and where in the image is white, and how far do I have to bring it up? So we're going to start with Setup. Setup controls our black point. If we adjust Setup to the left, we are bringing down our blacks, and notice that our waveform adjusts accordingly. So if we bring this down, you can notice that the waveform will approach 16 and if I want finer adjustments, I just hold down Shift while I drag to the left and we get really fine adjustments here, because they are quite pronounced if you don't do this.
So now we have our blacks right here along 16 and we're already looking better. The way that we can see where we came from is by clicking on this monitor here called Dual Split. And we can either look at it half and half or what I like to do is drag this all the way over, so that we can toggle the before and after. All right! So Setup controls our black point. We've brought our blacks down to where they should be.
Now we have to look at our whites. We have a white hanger back here, and again, we have the light glinting off of the coat rack here. One thing about light glinting off of metal or water or glass: these are called specular highlights, and you want to make sure that you don't measure those at white. They're actually brighter than white. So you want to pick something in your image that is actually white, which will go with this coat hanger, and use that. All right! So we want to make sure that this goes above 235 if possible.
So we're going to use our Gain, which is going to control our white point, and we'll bring that up. So it's looking pretty good. Again, it's okay that our specular highlights are peaking above 235. But notice that our blacks got brought back up. So you kind of have to go back and forth. It's a little bit of a dance. I'm going to bring that back down to 16. Oh, too far! Notice that when you go too far, you get an indication in the waveform that it becomes white and you've gone below 16.
This is a problem because these produce illegal luma levels, and they'll be refused if you try to broadcast it. So let's go back up, and that looks pretty good. A little bit higher with our Gain. And I'm just moving my controls just a little bit to get this exactly right. All right! Let's do a before-and-after. Before and after. Like I said, fixing luma can fix the image drastically, and we're already much closer in getting this to look the way it should.
The last control I want to talk about is Gamma. This controls the midtones. So if I generally want to lighten the image or generally darken the image, I can do so with this slider. So if I want to lighten it up just a little bit, I go to the right with my Gamma. And just keep in mind, you want to keep your blacks at 16, so you might have to adjust that, like so. All right! So as you go forward tweaking your Gain, Gamma, and Setup values, make sure that you continually monitor that with the Y Waveform and you will produce a really nice result in getting your luma values where they should be.
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