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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.
Shooting video at night is typically something that most people try to avoid. For one, people usually are exhausted at the end of the day. They don't want to extend their workday out until the night. Also, it gets very costly because you have to bring in special lights. So it's just huge, expensive, laborious mess that people usually don't like to fiddle with. So instead, they use the age-old adage, fix it in post. So, oftentimes, what we need to do, as editors, is create what they call a Day for Night shot. So it's a shot that was shot during the day and it's our job to make it look like it was shot at night.
So I have here this footage, this random footage I shot on the rooftop of the building in Seattle, just this crane and some buildings. I want to give you some pointers, just in case you do shoot your own footage or some things to watch our for, or if you have a choice of what type of footage, maybe just like you have to make an exterior, to look like it's night time and you have your choice between different exterior shots. Here are some things to look out for. Number one in this shot, the sun is very strong. So all the buildings that are pointing towards us are very bright on their face, and then they're shadowed on the sides.
That's a dead giveaway that a Day for Night shot is fake because that's really hard to get rid of. So if you can, try to get a shot that's overcast. So all of the sides of the building, and all the light sources to be kind of nondescript, and that's usually how the way things are at night. Beware also of any other things that might giveaway that it's daytime, for example, really bright reflections and glints and highlights and things like that that are very obvious that it was taken during the day. Now, we're using this footage, even though it's kind of technically bad footage, because the sun is bright here, as I mentioned, and there are shadows on the sides because if we play our cards right, if we fiddle with the colors just right, then we could kind of make it appear that this is just kind of moonlight, and this is just the direction of the moon at the current time.
So the first thing I want to do is apply the Fast Color Corrector effect. We're going to do this just because we don't really need complex color adjustment here. I'm just going to drag this center of point of our Color Wheel, just drag it to blue. What I'm trying to do here is create a night-night time shot. But you might want to create kind of like a sunset, day for night shot, in which case you probably want to tint things more orange, even a little pinkish, but I'm going for a straight night shot, so I'm going to do blue.
I am also going to take the Saturation level down to about 50. Now this does not look like a nighttime shot at all yet, but I'm just using the Fast Color Corrector effect to get our colors where they need to be. That is looking pretty good there for what it is. So now I'm going to go and apply the RGB Curves effect after the Fast Color Corrector effect. Open this up. And we're going to be working, again, just with the Master Curve here. Now the first couple of things we're going to do are probably the most important, and they're kind of quirky.
I'm going to go to the Highlights, on the right-hand side here. Now I'm going to drag this straight down. What that's going to do is it's going to make it so it changes the brightest highlight in the image. So it really didn't darken everything so much as it just made the brightest point, no longer quite so bright. So if we had it where it was, then all of these little white spots would kind of be dead giveaways, because usually you don't get that bright of highlights at nighttime. So we're deadening our highlights.
Next, I want to kind of crush the blacks. At nighttime, there is a lot of things that are very dark. So typically, in a full day shot, we wouldn't want to crush the blacks, because you want details in the shadows, but oftentimes, at night, you can't get those details in the shadows. So maybe that's a little bit too extreme on both of those points, but just to show you what that's doing. Next, I'm going to grab the middle of this curve, and just drag this down so it darkens all of those colors generally. Now, if we take a step back and look at this , we have a pretty good Day for Night shot.
Maybe these highlights do need to come down a little bit, darken those up a little bit, and pull this down a little bit more. I'm looking at this color right here on this building, still a little bright for moonlight. That's a little too dark, somewhere in between those two extremes, maybe the shadows are also too extreme here, lighten those up a little bit by dragging that bottom point to the left. Now as you can see, it's just a little bit of fiddling. But I think that we have a pretty believable night shot. We might want to go in and lighten up these shadows just a little bit, or we could probably just leave them there as well.
Again, it's according to taste, what you might want to do is have some reference images, maybe go to an image search like Google or Bing and do an image search on just what buildings look like at nighttime, or moonlit buildings, and look at some of those properties, and try to adjust the settings so you can replicate that effect. So here is the beginning. We change the color and the saturation, and then we applied the Luminance Correction there. I'm just going to go ahead and double- click this clip in the Project panel so we can see the before and the after.
So what we're looking at here is the same frame from the same clip. This is before our adjustments, and this is after our adjustments. As you could see, the difference is night and day. Get it? Night and day because it's day for night. Okay, terrible joke. On to the next chapter. But this is basically an easy, quick way to save tons of money in production by doing these effects, and faking the night shot by using these effects that are in Premiere.
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