Join Chris Meyer for an in-depth discussion in this video Correcting white balance issues, part of Premiere Pro and After Effects: Enhancing Production Value.
Have you ever gotten footage that is otherwise nice, but it just has an undesired tint to it. Maybe it was shot underwater, or you're seeing atmospheric conditions, such as a blue sky. Or maybe it was shot with a wrong color temperature, or maybe the DP got a little too creative with filters. Regardless, you want to get rid of that tint, and you want to get back to the original glory of the colors in that shot. How do you do it? Well, you could spend some time doing color grading, or you can use this nifty trick that takes advantage of the relatively obscure divide mode.
Now, in this case, I have things in this scene which should be white, such as the sand along the bottom of this coral reef. But right now, it has a bit of a blue tint due to the fact it was shot underwater, and took on some of the tint of the water as well as the blue sky above. To quickly get rid of that, follow these steps. First off, I'm going to go back and place my solid colored clip on top. I'm going to use an all-black clip in this case, but you can use all white. And I'm going to temporarily turn it off. That's because I need to see the colors underneath.
I'm going to take that clip and apply a tint effect to it. That's because I want to give it the color of my off color white. Apply a tint to the black solid, and say change the black in that solid to a color in my footage that should be white, such as maybe this area down here. Okay, time for a little bit of math. You don't need to know this math, this is just to remind you that what they try to teach you in elementary school was actually worth while. Any number divided by itself is one.
Two divided by two is one. One divided by one is one. A half divided by a half is one. Well, that same principle applies to color. If you take a pale blue and you divide it by a pale blue solid, the result will be one, or 100 % luminance pure white. I'll turn on that layer on top. That is the blue tint I'm trying to remove from this scene, and I'm going to say divide that blue tint out of the footage underneath.
And the result is this nicely restored shot where whites are indeed white, but also of the other colors are vivid and true as well, because we've removed that pale blue tint from every pixel in this footage, not just the white ones. This was the original shot, this is the cleaned up shot. If you find the correction to be too much, you can go ahead and blend it in by blending the opacity of that layer on top. Or if you think you've got the wrong color, you can turn it off and go choose a different color.
Such as maybe that section over there. Turn the layer back on, I think that might be a little washed out, I'm going to go back to my original correction and preview this clip. And that looks pretty nice, I think I'll stick with this. Let's go ahead and run through those other examples just to reinforce the workflow and how easy this is. I'm going to go back to that sky, where these geese flying overhead, and what am I going to pick as the white? I do have some white clouds there, and I also have some white on the tails of the geese as well. I think I'm going to go for the white cloud in our final pay off scene and restore that to pure white.
And I'll place my black video on top, extend it to the length of the clip I'm trying to correct, turn it off for now. Choose the tint effect, apply it to that black video. Eyedropper, the map black two color, and click the color I wish to restore to being pure white, which in that case is this color. And set the blend mode for that layer on top to Divide. And suddenly I've restored a nice white set of clouds, and a pink sunset, and a nice blue sky.
Before. After. And again you can blend this to taste if you want a little bit more of that dusky feeling in the tent that was originally in that sunset. There's full correction. There's original. There's somewhere in between. And you can even key frame at a past hue value. Let's do another, I'm going to open up that sequence. It looks like either it was shot with a filter or maybe just shot at the wrong color temperature, obviously we're indoors. Looks like we got fluorescent lights all around, that may indeed give us that blue tint. Black video on top, extend for as long as I need for the clip, turn off.
Effects, tint it, map the black to what I think should be white, such as these white walls or white staircase. Looks like a clean modern design. I bet all those supposed to be white, I mean certainly the lights are supposed to be white. That's the color I'm trying to get out of here Opacity > Blend mode > Divide. There's my cleaned up shot, before and after. So there is a very quick, simple way to correct the color balance or color temperature in shots.
This course was created and produced by Chris and Trish Meyer. We are honored to host this content in our library.
- Compositing footage shot on black
- Tinting and color-balancing footage to change its mood and unify multiple clips
- Adding a filmic glow
- Introducing artificial lighting to add mystery and interest to a scene
- Relighting existing footage
- Using the Warp Stabilizer and Rolling Shutter Repair to smooth out wobbly shots