Join Maxim Jago for an in-depth discussion in this video Sharing media with Adobe SpeedGrade, part of EPK Editing Workflows 03: Color Correction, Visual Effects, and Finishing.
The color correction tools in Premiere Pro are really extraordinary for a nonlinear editing system. But of course, it can't compete with Adobe SpeedGrade, which is a dedicated finishing, grading application. Now the workflow for sending your Premiere Pro project into SpeedGrade is super easy. It used to be a lot more complex, but nowadays SpeedGrade has the Premiere Pro project file support built into it natively.
That means you can open a Premiere Pro project directly. In fact, not only can you open a Premiere Pro project directly, you can actually send the project from Premiere Pro and hand it over in a single step. So, let's do that, right here. I've got my main sequence, and I'm ready to send this over. And in fact, now that we're going to move into the territory of grading, I think I'm going to make a back-up copy of my sequence. So, I'm going to go into my master sequence. going to right click, duplicate.
I'm going to rename the copy, and let's call this Pre-grade, just so I know this is the version that we're working with. And I'm going to put that, let me just resize a little. I'm going to put this Pre-grade copy into my backup sequences bin. And now, I know that if I ever need to go back to this point, I've got a kind of an electronic paper trail inside my Premiere project. So, here I am. I have my sequence active. I'm going to go File, and I'm going to choose Direct Link to Adobe SpeedGrade. You'll notice you get a dialog box asking you if you want to save changes. I'll say Yes. And Premiere Pro's going to close the project, hand it to SpeedGrade, and SpeedGrade is going to open it. Now, it's important to just highlight this is what's happening, because only one application can have the project file open at a time. So now, in SpeedGrade, I have a very familiar looking timeline.
It's the same clips that we had in Premiere Pro. And you'll notice that most of the functionality of SpeedGrade to do, well, in fact, all of the functionally to do with controlling the contents of the timeline, moving clips around, specifying frame rates, that kind of stuff, it's all grayed out. I can't click anywhere on these controls. And this is a good thing because it means that all I can do is work with the look of the clips. What I can do is turn off visibility. You can see I can make layers visible or transparent.
And I've got pretty much everything else inside the application. I've got looks, styles, all these kinds of things that I can apply to clips. Now, what I wanted to show you, just in this initial bit of the video, here, is how to make an adjustment. And I'm working on a screen that is relatively small for SpeedGrade. And that's because we want you to be able to see these videos on a relatively small screen yourself. On a full resolution monitor, things don't look quite as compressed as they do here.
But if you're not familiar with SpeedGrade, here's what we're looking at. Right at the top, we've got a viewing monitor that should be fairly familiar to you, play, pause, play backwards, and so on. In the middle of the screen, we have a timeline panel. And this is where we can see our Premiere Pro timeline. You can see I'm unable to make this top part of the screen any bigger. Normally, you would be able to expand the viewing monitor a little on computer screen that's a little bit taller. Next down from the timeline, I've got the so-called look controls. On the left, I've got something akin to an effects panel. So, any adjustments you make, you can make to multiple layers of color adjustment here.
And by default, every clip has one which is referred to as a primary color correction adjustment or a primary look. In color correction terminology, a primary effect is one that adjusts the entire picture. A secondary effect, and you can see I've got a little plus S down here, is an effect applied only to a selection of pixels. And that selection is usually based on a specific color range or a luma range or a saturation range and so on. A very simple example of that would be to make the sky, that is already a bit blue, a bit more blue. And you'd use secondary color correction to pick out the blue pixels and adjust them. We're going to make a primary adjustment. And you'll notice here, I've got a timeline with a playhead. And I can click at the top or the bottom of that playhead. And as I move the playhead from clip to clip, you can see the entire clip is highlighted. Any adjustments I make are going to be made to the whole clip unless I add some keyframes. And I'm going to start, I think, with, where are we now? We've got this great shot here. Let's say I want to work on this one. I'm just going to click on the top layer. This middle pink rectangle is the adjustment layer that I added in Premiere Pro. And you can assign grading adjustments to an adjustment layer in speed grade in exactly the way that you would in any other kind of clip, which is a, a really nice feature. And I'm just going to work on this shot for now. And I'm going to look down at the bottom. I've got preset looks. I'm not going to use those. I'm just going to collapse that bit of the interface. And then, it's very, very discreet, but there's a little triangle here that will allow me to hide my snapshot functionality, which is for taking little image grabs of things as they are, as a reference, and my masking functionality.
Again, this is for constraining color adjustment in a particular region of the picture. Annotations is grayed out because annotations or adding comments and notes to the timeline would involve modifying it. And we can't do that in SpeedGrade. By the way, all of these limitations only apply because we're opening a Premiere Pro project. If you open SpeedGrade on its own and bring some clips into it, all of the functionality is there. There's no limitations in the functionality of the application included with Creative Cloud. But I'm just going to get rid of this bit. We don't need it for now. I can bring that back anytime by clicking on the little triangle. And now, if I scroll down a little here, you should begin to recognize these three color wheels.
Now they're very low color intensity in the interface unless you hover the mouse over them, and that's because SpeedGrade doesn't want to influence your perception of color, your relative perception of color. Everything's very, very muted. You'll notice that these three color wheels are called Offset, Gamma, and Gain. And these are just different terms used to describe exactly the same thing as shadows, midtones, and highlights. So if I want to make an adjustment to say, the midtones, or Gamma, as it's called here, for this shot, all I have to do is make sure that the clip is highlighted, and click in the middle of this color wheel, and drag.
Now, what you'll notice when you do this is that the movement is very, very slow. SpeedGrade is designed to slow down the mouse when you click on these controls. And that's a good thing because if you're working with a proper color controller, a desk, a control interface, you'll want these adjustments to be very subtle. I'm going to make this a pretty obvious one. I'm going to pull all the midtones over to blue. And I'm going to take my shadows, and I'm going to pull those up towards red and maybe, yeah, I think red. And then I'm going to take the highlights and pull those over towards the red as well.
There we go. And so, now I've created this rather unusual look with my midtones. You can see in the sand there, elbow of her dress, that kind of thing has this blue tint, but everything else is very, very warm. And in the simplest possible terms, that is SpeedGrade. We open the project by sending it in from Premiere Pro. In fact, you can open a Premiere Pro project from directly inside of SpeedGrade, make any adjustments that you want on a clip by clip basis, and then send it back. And if I want to send this project back to Premiere Pro, I click on this button right at the top left, Direct Link to Adobe Premiere Pro. I confirm I want to save the project.
I say Yes. SpeedGrade closes the project. Premiere Pro opens it back up. It takes a moment to find the media. And now here is our clip with the adjustment. And if I just zoom in a little bit, I'm pressing the plus symbol on the keyboard here, and select this clip, you'll see in our effect controls panel, there's a Lumetri effect applied. And in fact, it's the Lumetri effect in Premiere Pro that allows you to assign a lookup table file, a LOT, a .look file, one of these file based color correction adjustments that are generated by, pretty much, any high-end grading application.
And SpeedGrade is one of those. This Lumetri Effect actually only has one control, and it's this. It lets you browse to the file you want to use for the color adjustment. And what SpeedGrade has just done is make that color adjustment, store it as a file, and give it to this effect. And so, the functionality is completely compatible with the effects engine inside of Premiere Pro. So that's how you send projects from Premiere Pro into SpeedGrade and how you get them back again.
- Assessing your video footage
- Repairing and color correcting media
- Warming and cooling clips
- Shot matching
- Workflows with Adobe Premiere Pro, SpeedGrade, and After Effects
- Combining creative visual effects