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In Premiere Pro CS4 Beyond the Basics, Adobe Certified Instructor Chad Perkins explains how to take video editing from simple nuts and bolts to an art form. He shares tips for shooting video in the field to get the most from a subject and get the best footage for a project. He demonstrates how to build a project through the careful use of cutaways, pacing, and suggestive edits. He covers special effects, color correction, and keying and compositing, integrating all these concepts as he builds a music video project from scratch. Exercise files are included with this course.
Earlier in this training series, we covered color correction extensively. We dug pretty deep in there, but what I want to show you, in this movie, is not the how, which we already know by now. But what I want to show you, here, is exactly what I did, and why I did it. Now truth be told, one of the real reasons why I am not showing you exactly how I did what I did is because I did a lot of this color correction in Adobe After Effects instead of Premiere, as much as I hate to admit that. As you'll notice in this project here, we see the sequence called For DL to AE.
Now, what I did, as I took the master sequence where I edited the music video, and I nested this Master sequence inside of another sequence, and this cryptic language means that this is For Dynamic Link to After Effects. So I nested this sequence, so I can just stick this one clip in, and right-click on it and say, Replace With After Effects Composition, which opens this up in After Effects for editing. Now I think as devotees of Adobe Premiere Pro, you are entitled to know the reasons why I used After Effects and I'll cover that here.
First of all, let's look at the before and after in this sequence here. So here is the before clip, and here is the after clip, so pretty big difference there. Let me show you the first thing. It's a little bit too dark. I like to shoot on the dark side, because often times when you are shooting video, the overblown highlights are a dead giveaway that it's video, and also once you blow out the highlights and you have pure white, and you have lost detail in the highlight area, you can't get that back. But oftentimes, if your footage is just a little bit too dark, then you can kind of restore some of that in post-production.
Now as with most things in my life, I tend to overdo things just a little bit. So it's a little bit too much on the dark side, and when you shoot video in dark areas, oftentimes you'll notice that there is a lot of noise and it doesn't look good. As I scrub this here, look at his arms and you could see this noise pattern just kind of jumping and dancing around. Maybe if I play that back you can see that. Now it's a little bit too fast, but as I scrub this here, you could see just the noise on his arm and other shadow areas on his shirt, it's just jumping around and it doesn't look good at all.
So if I want to brighten this up, it's actually going to bring out the noise. So what I wanted to do is go into After Effects, and use some complex remove noise algorithms to clean this up. If I scrub this, you'll notice that his arms and his shirt are now smooth. That kind of gives a nice, softer, cleaner look too. So if you see there is the rough version with noise, and there is the brightened version that is nice and smooth as baby's bottom. Now you'll also notice that I added a vignette to this.
You can see that it's dark around the edges. It's not dark there. However, as mentioned before, this is something just as easily done in Premiere. Another thing that I did is I simulated depth of field. Depth of field is when you have a nice lens typically, and you are able to create blur at different distances from the camera. So you might have these guys in focus, and then the background all blurred out. Now our camera is a Panasonic HPX-170, which is the successor to the popular HVX200 camera.
It's about $6,000-7,000 camera, and to get this extra clean look where the background would be blurred, it's an extra like two grand. So instead of forking out the two grand, like the cheapskate that I am sometimes, I went into After Effects and I created a mask and I just added this blur in by myself. So this is kind of a do it yourself Poor man's Depth of Field effect. Now it's not true depth of field and you can kind of tell around the edges here that this is in sharp focus, even though it's farther away than these other buildings that are very blurry, and I probably apply little bit too much blur here, in retrospect.
But it's kind of like the blur vignette. It definitely focuses your attention right here on these guys and at first glance, and with quick cuts, it does have a more cinematic film type look to it. So, again, here is the before, and the after there, and you can't really do that type of thing here in Premiere. Now the last thing, obviously, I changed the color here. There is definitely a blue tint and then here it's definitely like an orange, a little warm feel to it. But if you'll notice too, I really went in and customized the midtones, and highlights, and shadows.
For example, if you'll look at this guy's shirt here, in between the green line, what suppose to be green lines, with these white lines, and actually if you were to take this little swatch of this color into Photoshop, it sees kind of like a darker blue grey. So what I did in After Effects is I brought that out, and you can see that not only did I remove the blue colorcast that was there, but I brightened up considerably, which makes the green pop out. That's one of the very few vibrant colors in this whole frame, and that really calls your attention to these guys in the middle, which, again, is the whole point of why I am doing a lot of what I did.
And while this is still a very contrasty image, Yyu can see that I did lighten up the shadows just a little bit. This is very dark and I brightened it, put a little bit of orange in the shadow areas. So I brightened up some shadows and I brightened some midtones. The highlights I pretty much kept where they were for the most part. If you will notice the sky, for example, the sky really didn't change all that much, comparatively. So there is a little bit more of an orange tint or rather less of a blue tint, but as far as luminance, it really didn't change all that much compared to how much everything else changed.
Let's look at another example from earlier in the video, actually. So here is the original footage and then I did the same kind of tricks and then here is what the end result looked like. This footage was much more noisy and grainy, because it was way too dark. So we had again more that junk we've to deal with and so when I wanted to brighten the footage, it was very difficult. So I needed a lot of noise removal, so it looks very smooth, probably little bit too smooth. If I had to do it over again, I would've brought in some extra lights, but I still do like the crazy contrast that we get from the leaves, where there is bright sunlight, and then dark shadows.
It kind of creates a very interesting light play on our subjects here. But we have the same elements. We have blur of the background, we have vignetting around the edges, and we have the same type of deal with the shadows lightened, and the midtones lightened, and the orange color cast, make things kind of like warm and vintagy looking, kind of edgy. One other thing that I had neglected to mention, if you see here, this is the original shot in full frame and everything, untouched, uncorrected, and you will notice that in he After Effects version, there are bars at the top and the bottom.
This is probably not really standard. This is just something I like, I love the cinematic look where it's just really, really wide screen to me, like the wider the better. It just looks so sexy, like a big old awesome movie or something. I don't know, I just love that look and so I faked it and made it look more cinematic by adding these bars, which again, gives us the impression that I am shooting on a wider sensor than I did. I am really using video sensor, and just HD video, but with the bars it just looks all of that much more cinematic.
Again just like the vignette, just like the blur, it does more to draw you into our subject. So when you look at this, your eye might not initially go to our subject. Your eye might wonder all over the place here. There is a lot going on. It's very busy and in this shot, it's definitely narrowed down. Your eye goes right there. Everything else is blurry. It's saying, "Hey nothing to see here. Don't look here. There is nothing "good to look at over there." And then these guys, it's just like, yup, that's exactly where your eye is drawn to. So again, to sum up the difference from the original, we removed grain, I added a vignette, I added some blur to the background, added the bars top and bottom, did some color adjustment to bring out these colors, bring out the midtones and make them a little bit brighter.
I also colorized the shadows and the overall piece giving it a warm tint, and that's what gets us from here to here.
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