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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.
As much as we hate to admit, as human beings, we have a tendency to overdo things a little bit sometimes. This is especially true in the case of color editing with video. One of the bigger problems when dealing with video with this is that when these colors that are maybe too saturated or too bright are displayed on screen, they create really weird artifacts and just don't look right. So, we have these things called Scopes, which are kind of like dynamic charts that show us live feed about how our colors are doing and how our brightness levels are doing.
We're going to talk about the two most common scopes, Waveform Monitors and Vector Scopes, here in this movie. We can access these by going to the Program Monitor and going to these three circles right here, the Output dropdown and clicking that. Now, we're typically looking at the Composite Video output, but as you can see, there are a host of options to choose from. Now, the first one we're going to look at is YC Waveform and it's a little bit confusing, and I'll explain what this means in just a moment. However, this is a little bit tough to work, because now our original footage is gone.
So, I am going to take this Output back to Composite Video and this is another instance where I like to use reference monitors. Go to the Window menu, open up your Reference Monitor and, in this case, we actually do want to Gang this Reference Monitor to our Program Monitor so that as we move in tandem, we're seeing the same frames. So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to go back to the first frame and on the Reference Monitor, I am going to click the Output dropdown and change the view to YC Waveform.
Now what we're seeing is the waveform readout of this particular frame. And you'll notice that as we scrub in time, the waveform monitor and the reference monitor changes to update what's going on. Now, although this chart seems a little weird and a little spacey, it's actually fairly simple to understand. Here we have the IRE values. Basically, this is the specs of allowable brightness for video from zero, with this dotted line here, up to 120.
Typically, you want your values to stay between 7.5 to about 100. So, we want to make sure that we don't go over bright or too dark. The way this reads out is like this. From left to right, the Waveform Monitor gives us a readout that correlates to the left to right values of our image. So, in other words, the right side of the monitor represents the right side of our footage, left side of the monitor represents left side of our footage and so on. The height of this chart represents the brightness of those parts of the footage.
So, you'll notice that on the left half pretty much, of the footage, it's just pitch black and so we have a flat line, down at the bottom, and then we have a little bit more brightness in the guy's shirt a little bit, not too much. And then over on the right-hand side we've some blown out highlights and so we have a big spike in the right side of our waveform here. And as I scrub in time, you'll notice that the footage pulls out and then as we start to see this arm here, this is another little spike in brightness, so we're seeing a little spike in brightness here on the left.
And then we start seeing some holes of light, like right here. About in the center of the image, there is a little bright spot, and so right here, we have a little tiny spot, not very wide, but it's very bright. So, it's very tall. And again, as I move in time, and there are more bright spots, you see these little speckles up here indicating which spots are bright. Now, what I could do is go into the Effect Controls panel and add something like the Fast Color Corrector effect, if I wanted to.
And we could go in and perhaps take down some of that brightness, maybe go to the Output Levels and take down Output White and we could go back to our Reference Scope and see that this is now a little over 80, instead of a little over 100. So, if we're finding those a little bit too bright, we could still adjust the luminance here with the Input Levels and we'll talk a little bit more about this in upcoming movies later in this chapter. But if things are too bright, we can take down Output Levels to make sure that we're not blowing out our highlights.
This a little bit extreme. I have taken it down too much, but here you get the idea of that's how to do that. To see another example, we could go to the hand for cutaway DJ clip, in the next clip here. And we could see that the brightest part of the image is this part of the paper here about in the center, little bit of spike here with the yellow in the center and you could see that indicated here as well in the Waveform Monitor. The Waveform Monitor is for checking luminance. It's for checking brightness values only. It doesn't give us any information about color. For color we typically go to something called a Vectorscope.
So, I'm going to go to the Output dropdown in my Reference Monitor. I'm going to change this from YC Waveform to Vectorscope. The Vectorscope is even a little bit more odd looking and unintuitive than the Waveform Monitor was, and basically this is a circular readout of the color spectrum. So, here we've a little R representing Red, little G representing Green, little B representing Blue. So, we have Red, Green and Blue and in between that we have Cyan, over here at the bottom, Magenta and Yellow. So, we've a lot of yellow gravitating this way and so it's kind of moving off more towards that direction.
So, the more saturated a particular color is, the further along in that part of the chart it will be. So, if we had a lot of bright green, then the graph would go down this way because this is green. And the more saturated the green was, the closer we get to this edge. As you could also in our footage, we have some blue in the pen and some blue in her jacket and that's also showing up here, some little speckles of blue in our Vectorscope. And you could also see, if I'm going to disconnect the Effect Controls panel, put that in its own little floating window here, if we open up the Fast Color Corrector effect, which I've already applied to this footage, and go to Saturation and increase that, we'll see the yellow on the right-hand side here, getting more saturated and we can also see that expand on the left-hand side.
Typically, the rule of thumb is that you don't want these colors to go beyond these little markers. As you can see they're different for each color, but those are indicating what is safe for broadcast. So again, if I make this like this bright, then we don't see too much of a difference between the last level of yellow and this level of yellow, but our Vectorscope is telling us, Hey! That's not going to look good when broadcast. We want to rein that in until about that where the green speckles don't go past these little indicators.
Vectorscopes are also really good for calibration. If we go to this next clip, which is actually Bars and Tone, which you can generate by going to the Project panel and going to the New dropdown and just choosing Bars and Tone, we have these calibration bars. We also have an audio tone, but it's kind of loud and annoying, we don't really need it in this movie, so I threw it away. As you could see here, some basic colors, and then when we look at our Vectorscope with these bars showing, we could see little dots that perfectly represent where these colors are. So, we've the Red block, as we're seeing this red dot here and the Magenta block and the Cyan and the Blue and the Green. So we're seeing all of these colors here, represented as dots on the Vectorscope.
So, in our case here, we can use this to kind of get a rough idea of where a perfect Red should be. So, this right here would be seen as kind of like an ideal calibration quality red and we could see that right here in these little squares, so that might give you a target to aim for. Oftentimes when outputting for broadcast or for a client, they might have you have a few seconds of bars and tones like this at the beginning of the video, so they can calibrate their monitors and display devices based on the Vectorscope and the Waveform Monitor to make sure that they're displaying your video correctly.
I should also point out that a lot of these features are in Adobe OnLocation, used for video production, so that way you can calibrate your camera based on some of these tools, while you're in the field. That's how I use basic scopes, your Vectorscope and your Waveform Monitor. It's not something, to be honest with you, that I use every second while I am working in video, but when I'm doing color correction, I'm making sure that my colors and my brightness values fall within the appropriate specs, if I'm going out to broadcast, just to make sure that I don't have any unexpected ugliness in the end result.
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