Up and Running with SpeedGrade CC
Illustration by Richard Downs

Making initial contrast and color adjustments


Up and Running with SpeedGrade CC

with Patrick Inhofer

Video: Making initial contrast and color adjustments

In the chapter on primaries, we went through all the And once it's finished scanning and finding all of my clips, and just until some of those highlights are probably around 100, 95% I think.
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  1. 31m 43s
    1. Welcome
      3m 40s
    2. Where does SpeedGrade fit in a post-production workflow?
      5m 52s
    3. Exploring additional equipment
      5m 34s
    4. Using the exercise files
      9m 36s
    5. What's new in 7.1
      4m 57s
    6. What's new in 7.2
      2m 4s
  2. 46m 13s
    1. Interface overview
      7m 7s
    2. Navigating to media in the Media Browser
      5m 4s
    3. Direct Link vs. Native
      5m 39s
    4. Direct Link on the Mac
      2m 54s
    5. Manipulating the viewer
      5m 44s
    6. Manipulating the Timeline
      5m 3s
    7. Using analysis tools to evaluate contrast and exposure
      6m 42s
    8. Using analysis to evaluate color
      8m 0s
  3. 24m 44s
    1. Importing clips directly into SpeedGrade
      4m 42s
    2. Using automatic scene detection
      5m 53s
    3. Sending a sequence from Premiere Pro to SpeedGrade
      6m 58s
    4. Using an edit decision list (EDL) to conform a project
      7m 11s
  4. 35m 30s
    1. Colorist lingo: What is a primary correction?
      4m 11s
    2. Understanding the 3-Way controls: Contrast
      4m 59s
    3. Understanding the 3-Way controls: Shadows, Midtones, and Highlights
      5m 26s
    4. Understanding the 3-Way controls: Hue and Saturation
      5m 16s
    5. Using the slider controls
      6m 39s
    6. Adding, deleting, and working with primary layers
      8m 59s
  5. 17m 9s
    1. Making initial contrast and color adjustments
      6m 59s
    2. Balancing your shots by removing color casts
      6m 6s
    3. Grading in passes
      4m 4s
  6. 44m 3s
    1. Colorist lingo: What is a secondary correction?
      2m 9s
    2. Colorist lingo: The vignette
      1m 42s
    3. Using masks
      5m 23s
    4. Mask linking
      5m 41s
    5. Maks and layer linking
      2m 30s
    6. Grading layers and grading clips
      5m 29s
    7. Tracking masks and using the keyframing controls
      8m 15s
    8. Understanding the secondary layer
      8m 16s
    9. Pulling HSL keys and limiting with masks
      4m 38s
  7. 13m 13s
    1. Tracking a face
      6m 44s
    2. Keying and grading skies
      4m 47s
    3. Using a mask with a sky correction
      1m 42s
  8. 27m 10s
    1. Copying corrections from one shot to another
      4m 59s
    2. Using the Snapshot Browser
      7m 19s
    3. Using the Continuity Checker
      5m 47s
    4. Using the Shot Matcher
      4m 14s
    5. Saving and recalling grades
      4m 51s
  9. 14m 8s
    1. Understanding the Look layer
      7m 55s
    2. Saving and applying looks using the Look Manager and Look presets
      6m 13s
  10. 17m 8s
    1. Colorist lingo: RAW, LOG, and look-up tables (LUTs)
      5m 5s
    2. Controls for RAW footage
      5m 46s
    3. Understanding LOG (flat) footage and LUTs
      6m 17s
  11. 20m 1s
    1. Setting up a render
      7m 0s
    2. Importing rendered media back in Premiere Pro
      2m 40s
    3. Sharing looks between SpeedGrade and Premiere Pro
      5m 38s
    4. Direct Link to Premiere Pro
      4m 43s
  12. 4m 36s
    1. Additional resources
      2m 36s
    2. Goodbye
      2m 0s

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Watch the Online Video Course Up and Running with SpeedGrade CC
4h 54m Beginner Aug 15, 2013 Updated Jan 24, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Using Adobe SpeedGrade CC, powerful professional color correction and color grading is available to anyone with a Creative Cloud membership. In this course, professional colorist Patrick Inhofer offers a project-based learning experience to get you familiar with the SpeedGrade tools. You'll work three different types of projects through the color correction and grading process, which includes getting projects and footage into SpeedGrade, color correcting and grading shots, and then rendering and outputting shots. Each step of the process is rich with lessons and anecdotes that are applicable to real-world color grading scenarios that editors, producers, and other creatives will face.

This course was created by Patrick Inhofer and produced by Robbie Carman. We are honored to host this content in our library.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the interface and reading scopes
  • Getting clips and projects into SpeedGrade
  • Understanding the 3-way controls
  • Making contrast and color corrections
  • Pulling HSL keys
  • Making secondary corrections and using custom look layers
  • Tracking masks to objects
  • Matching shots
  • Rendering footage
  • Moving timelines between Premiere Pro and SpeedGrade
Patrick Inhofer

Making initial contrast and color adjustments

In the chapter on primaries, we went through all the various controls and the UI on how to make primary adjustments. In this chapter, we're going to take all of that training, and we're going to put it together. To help you understand how we go about the primary color correction process. What we're going to do is load up an EDL, and over several movies in this chapter, we're going to grade a series of shots, going through the primary process, giving you some solid practice time here in SpeedGrade CC.

On working through your primaries. If you have access to the exercise files, you will navigate to the sub-folder EDLs. And we are going to be starting with the Dead Man's Lake_SpeedgradeCC-24 EDL. So I am just going to double-click that to load it up. And now I have to tell SpeedGrade where to find all of this footage. So I am going to highlight my media folder and now I am going to tell it to dig through my folder plus subtree. And once it's finished scanning and finding all of my clips, I'm going to come down here and tell it to load from desktop.

And there you go. SpeedGrade has relinked all of our footage to our EDL. I'm going to press the D key to get us into our viewer. And I'm going to press the A key to open up our Analysis tool, which is showing us our RGB parade. What I'm going to do is play through this shot and see if there's a frame I might want to pick for grading to. Now in this case it's just the side angle wide shot, there's nothing in particular here for me to look at, so just about any frame I pick will be fine. And I'm going to click on the Look tab, and we're now ready to start grading.

What I'm going to do is look at this image and decide, what do I want to do with this image? It is clearly very dark, if I look at it. It's dark, if I look at the scopes, it's dark. My highlights here are around 60 IRE, I really want to bring up these highlights up to around 90 IRE. I'm going to ahead and do that. The other thing I'm going to do is bring down my blacks down to around zero because there are some deeps shadows in here, and even in the reflections on the water, and I think those should be pretty close to pure black. And as we learned in an earlier chapter, the overall offset has a huge impact on the rest of the image, and so what I'm going to do is use the offset to bring down the entire image, and that's going to be the first adjustment I make.

I'm also if, and if I look here and I notice that the red, green, and blue channels are slightly offset. I mean I've got a little bit of a green push here in the shadows, and as you know, with red, green, and blue, when they're, when the similar points are all precisely alligned, they're neutral. So I'm just going to adjust and I'm going to pull away from green to add a little bit more blue and red. And then I'm going to bring down my offset contrast just a little bit more. Having made that initial adjustment, now I'm going to come into my gain, my overall gain, and pull this up, and just until some of those highlights are probably around 100, 95% I think.

I don't think I want it at 100. Notice that the scope is moving, that means there's some detail in here that's getting clipped out. And I'm okay with that. Whatever detail is in there that's getting clipped out is inconsequential to the image and I'm okay with that. This is a decision I'm making proactively. Then the last thing I think I'm going to do in this primary layer is kick up my final saturation. Just to get a look at it, and see what happens if I add more and more, and how does the image look. As I do that, notice that I'm starting to clip out some detail here in the shadows.

What I want to do is come to the shadows and adjust the Shadow Offset. So I'm leaving my highlights pretty much where they are. Getting a better look at just adjusting the shadows and lifting them up a touch. Now, this image isn't done. I don't particularly care for it. It's nice and bright, that's great. But I want to go in there and maybe adjust the mid tones a little bit more and the highlights, and as we'd seen in an earlier chapter on these tonal ranges. You know, there is no highlight in this image right now. If I gray out and go to color gray, there's no highlights.

That's because these tonal ranges are based on the input into this primary layer, again if I turn off this primary layer that's what the image looks like, there are no highlights. So what I want to do is feed the output of this primary into a new layer so I'm just going to come and add plus P for another layer. And now I've got, I go into the highlights and go to the gray out, there we go I've got some highlights in here, at least what I would expect to be a highlight. Alright, so I've got more control over this image across these three tonal ranges.

What I think I want to do is kind of add a little bit more punch to this image I'm going to try something a little different. I'm going to go into the mid tones, and I'm going to pull up this contrast control and just kick up the contrast of the mid tones. Let's see what that does for us. And I'm going to do the same thing in the shadows. I'm just going to kick up the contrast in the shadows Hold down the Shift key to be a, do a bigger move, and I'm clipping out, I can see in the image here that these blacks are just going pure black. I can see it here as well, so in the shadows I'm also going to lift up my offset, to keep those shadows from clipping out to pure black and keep some detail.

And now, I can turn this layer on and off by pressing the little eyeball. Still haven't done what I really want to do to this image, so I think maybe overall I can add a little bit of contrast as well. And there we go, now I'm starting to get the image where I want. I'm going to come back to the shadows and lift up those shadows a little bit more. Keep them from clipping out, so we're going to come up to the highlights and maybe drop these highlights down a touch, keep some of that significant detail from clipping out as well. I'm going to come to the midtones, I'm going to thicken up the midtones that contrast adjustment just didn't do what I wanted it to do so I'm going to come to the midtone gamma.

There we go. Now I'm starting to, yeah, there we go, now this is starting to look more like end of day. It's probably a little too saturated for end of day, so I'll take this final saturation here in the mid tones and just drop it down a touch. I think I am going to come to my overall, and just pull out a little saturation, when I look at the image, it's just looking a little too hyper real, a little too National Geographic. And that's, I think, just the colors being so saturated. I'm going to pull a little bit out. I think we're there. There's still more I want to do with the image. I'd love to work with the clouds a little bit more. Maybe some of this greenery back here.

And add a little bit more contrast into there. I think they're looking pretty good. But, this is my primary correction. The point is, I don't want to do everything all at once. I'm going to save this now. I'm going to call it 0501 DML for Dead Man's Lake, that's the name of this project. End, so if you want to do that, and take a look and see what I've done, if you have access to the exercise files, go right ahead and do that.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Up and Running with SpeedGrade CC .

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Q: This course was updated on 12/20/2013. What changed?
A: This update covers the new features added to SpeedGrade 7.1. There are new movies covering the Direct Link workflow, which allows you to open Premiere Pro projects in SpeedGrade. Also covered are improvements to mask and layer linking, grading layers, and grading clips. We also revised several movies to reflect the impact Direct Link has on managing media, tracking, rendering, etc.
Q: This course was updated on 1/24/2014. What changed?
A: We added one new movie to address the changes in the 12/12/2013 update to Creative Cloud.
Q: Why am I getting the 'File Not Supported' error when reconnecting to the source files in Premiere Pro?
A: If you get the 'File Not Supported' error when reconnecting to the source files in Premiere Pro - this is a problem with the reconnect dialog in
Premiere Pro that Adobe has not yet fixed. Everything is fine with the media and the projects. To get around this 'bug':
1. Open the Premiere Pro project in Premiere.
2. During the reconnect dialog click Locate and navigate to Exercise files > Media and then to the sub-folder of media the dialog is asking for...
3. Here is the trick: You MUST actually select/highlight the first file that Premiere is asking for. The easiest thing is to click the 'display
exact name' button and then *actually click on the file* that matches the name.
*If you don't highlight the file*--navigating to the folder and *clicking ok without selecting the file will give you the 'file not supported' error
each and every time*. You must select the file that matches - Premiere is not smart enough to just figure out the folder contains the file.
This is not something that is unique to this training its just a little quirk of Premiere Pro currently.
After you select the first file all the other files should reconnect - assuming you have 'relink others automatically' selected.
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