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Color correcting footage

From: Up and Running with DSLR Filmmaking

Video: Color correcting footage

Chad Perkins: In this tutorial, we are going to look a little bit at color correction. As I have mentioned several times before, I really like to shoot flat, in other words I don't want really dark shadows. I don't really want bright highlights. I want it look as washed out as possible, like this image here, and now I could show you a little bit more closely why I like that. I am going to apply the Levels effect, I am here in Adobe After Effects. Again, you don't have to be here, but this is a good way to kind of describe and show you what I'm talking about here. So I apply the Levels effect, and I have this histogram that gives me a readout of my shadows, midtones and highlights.

Color correcting footage

Chad Perkins: In this tutorial, we are going to look a little bit at color correction. As I have mentioned several times before, I really like to shoot flat, in other words I don't want really dark shadows. I don't really want bright highlights. I want it look as washed out as possible, like this image here, and now I could show you a little bit more closely why I like that. I am going to apply the Levels effect, I am here in Adobe After Effects. Again, you don't have to be here, but this is a good way to kind of describe and show you what I'm talking about here. So I apply the Levels effect, and I have this histogram that gives me a readout of my shadows, midtones and highlights.

As you can see here by the flat level, we really don't have too much shadow detail here, and we don't have much highlight detail. Everything is washed out, which again, is great. So I can drag this slider in, the Input White triangle and I could drag it until there is data here. Do the same thing with the shadows, drag the Input Black, until we reach some information there. And then I could adjust the Gamma slider, which adjusts the midtones, which I got to the right, make that a little bit darker.

And now--actually maybe this is blown out a little bit next to his hair here. But now we have a good balance of color. We could play with the midtones a little bit, but the point is, is that we have room to play with the highlights here. We could see all the detail in the sky, and we could see all the details in the shadows in his shirt, so nothing is crushed or blown out. So even though these cameras have a really limited dynamic range, because we shot so flat, we have a lot of room to move this around before it starts looking ugly.

Of course then we could apply may be a Curves effect and really get into a more detailed color correction where we maybe go to the Red channel and make this a little bit more warm, or we could maybe go to the Blue channel, make this a little bit more cool if we wanted to, or we could go back to the Red channel and suck some of the red out if we want this to be more like intense, like Hollywood action movie or something like that. But again, because we shot flat, we are going to have less problems.

There is a little bit of a highlight here, again, it's driving me nuts, and so I might want to take down the Highlight Correction a little bit just to smooth that out, but again the point is, is that we have a lot of flexibility here because we shot so flat. Now let's look at another example here where I didn't shoot quite so flat. I didn't have all of the filters that Brian was talking about where I could get rid of some of that light, and it was like a really quick situation where we didn't have much time to shoot, so we just kind of, what they call, run -and-gun, where you are just going to grab the camera and go for it.

So what's going on here is that if I reset my Histogram, we can see that the highlights here are already blown out. We already have pure white in our image and a lot of it. So we can move our shadow endpoint here, the Input Black slider in and that gives us back our shadow detail. And we could also darken the image using the Gamma slider and now it looks a lot better. So here is before and after.

But the problem is, is that his red shirt is a little bit glowy. It's bouncing off the light in a weird way and it's the most eye-catching thing in the whole shot. And I can tone that down a little bit with the Output White slider as we talked about, but it really doesn't do too much good in this case. So we're stuck with a shot that probably could be better, but again we really don't have the flexibility because when this image was captured, there was just too much in the way of highlights, and so, we have this posterization here, this like hard edge where the highlights blow out and again we have this way too bright red here in his shirt and there's just not much we could do.

So I hope that now that we have gone through some of these color tools a little bit more closely, that it's a little bit more clear why it's so important to me to shoot a flat, washed-out image.

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This video is part of

Image for Up and Running with DSLR Filmmaking
Up and Running with DSLR Filmmaking

43 video lessons · 25807 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
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  1. 2m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 25s
    2. About the camera used in this course
      45s
  2. 11m 35s
    1. Understanding photography
      44s
    2. Understanding aperture
      1m 51s
    3. Trade-offs with aperture adjustment
      2m 32s
    4. Understanding shutter speed
      1m 26s
    5. Trade-offs with shutter adjustment
      2m 41s
    6. Understanding ISO
      44s
    7. Trade-offs with ISO adjustment
      1m 37s
  3. 6m 37s
    1. Understanding sensor size
      1m 19s
    2. Protecting highlights and native ISO
      1m 24s
    3. Getting a custom white balance
      2m 27s
    4. Focusing for video
      1m 27s
  4. 9m 24s
    1. Using lenses
      1m 51s
    2. Understanding wide lenses
      2m 39s
    3. Understanding long lenses
      2m 32s
    4. Getting shallow depth of field
      2m 22s
  5. 12m 34s
    1. Using graphs to gauge exposure
      2m 1s
    2. Recording audio
      2m 42s
    3. Using a clapperboard
      1m 13s
    4. Shooting a "flat" image
      51s
    5. Using custom color profiles
      54s
    6. Shooting slow motion
      1m 19s
    7. Getting a beautiful shot
      3m 34s
  6. 13m 33s
    1. Why use Premiere Pro for editing?
      1m 21s
    2. Transcoding video
      2m 29s
    3. Combining video and audio streams
      2m 7s
    4. Cleaning up noise and adding grain
      3m 26s
    5. Color correcting footage
      4m 10s
  7. 6m 1s
    1. About DSLR pitfalls
      30s
    2. Avoiding rolling shutter
      51s
    3. Avoiding moiré
      1m 6s
    4. About limited latitude
      1m 56s
    5. About extreme compression
      1m 38s
  8. 7m 27s
    1. Why you need a monitor
      58s
    2. Using a viewfinder
      52s
    3. Stabilizing your camera
      1m 43s
    4. Moving your camera
      35s
    5. Using a follow focus
      37s
    6. Using a matte box
      1m 8s
    7. Using neutral density filters
      1m 34s
  9. 1m 17s
    1. The future of DSLR video
      54s
    2. Final thoughts
      23s

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