Join Robbie Carman for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding color correction, part of Getting Started with Apple Color.
Welcome back. In this short lesson, we are going to take a look at the reasons why we are color correct in grade footage. This might seem like a no brainer but I think it's a good idea to get on the same page by what we are trying to accomplish with the color correction process. Of course, you may have your own reasons for correcting your footage like, making it look as bad as possible because you are really fed up with the project; that's an issue I can't really help you with. What I can help you with is understanding the correction process a bit further. Correcting for problems. As a general rule of thumb, color correcting is about 70% fixing problems and probably only about 30% of the sexy stuff, creating looks.
But what are those problems? Well first we have contrast problems, we have color balance problems and these are the problems that people think most of when they think about color correction; a blue clip versus a yellow clip and so on and so forth. We have saturation problems where we have clips that are under- or over-saturated. We have problems with broadcast legality. Now broadcast legality are issues that a clip is not suitable for broadcast, maybe because it's too bright, it's too saturated and so on and so forth. But different broadcasters have different rules about this and it's something that we need to pay attention to.
So what are the Contrast Corrections? And what are those specific tasks that we need to do? Most footage needs some degree of contrast adjustment. Even if it's a nice shot, chances are it might to need to have it's contrast adjusted; little brighter, little darker, and so on. Contrast corrections fix under and over exposed footage. Contrast adjustments can also be used to create looks. So in another words, if you want to have a scene look like it was shot at night, you could adjust it's contrast to make it darker or you could brighten it up to make it look like it was shot at noon time. Contrast adjustments generally happen before color adjustments.
Color balance corrections. Well, color balance corrections range from primary corrections like, improper white balance to secondary corrections like, adjusting the color of skin tone. Saturation Corrections are corrections that fix under or over saturated footage. You, probably, all have seen footage that has somebody with a red shirt on and that red appears to bleed into other colors. Probably, because it's over saturated. And I am sure you have seen a clip that is flat and dull. They might look that way because it's under-saturated. `Broadcast Legality; well, as I said most broadcasters have rules about contrast, saturation, and other technical aspects of the footage. And adhering to broadcast aspects is something that we always want to do. Now if you are asking yourself, well hey, I am never going to be broadcasting something, why do I need to do it? Well, even if your footage is not intended for broadcast, it's a good idea to adhere to these rules. Because if you adhere to them, chances are your footage will look better because these rules were established to make footage well, look good.
Another aspect of the color Correction process is creating looks. And when we create looks with the color correction process, what we are really talking about is the sexy part of color correction. This is the part that everybody always thinks about, you know, the Matrix or Steven Soderberg with his blue looks. And it really is the sexy part of the process. But it's only a small part of it. A large reason that modern color software is so complicated and as feature rich it is, it's for the specific task of creating looks. Years ago, color correction was done with just a couple of knobs on a simple little piece of hardware. Today applications like Color provide us a lot of options mainly for creating looks. When you create a look, it's a really combination of primary and secondary corrections. That's important to remember.
Continuity. Well, a large part of a colorist's role is creating a visual continuity, having one shot match another. Often the term scene-to-scene color correction is used to describe this process. And continuity corrections apply looks in a consistent and logical way. And what I mean by that is, let's say we have a show that has an interviewee and the interview appears three times. Well, the first time that it appears, it's blue; second time it appears, it's yellow; and the third time, oh! I don't know. It's super saturated. Obviously, those three clips don't look like they are the same clip. So when I apply Continuity adjustments, I am performing corrections so all of those clips look like they were the same clip.
So correction versus grading; this is something that you hear a lot about. These terms are often used interchangeably, although some people, the color geeks out there, like to use the word grading all the time. But sometimes there is a difference. Grading can refer to applying looks while correction can refer to merely just fixing problems. But as I said, they can be used interchangeably. The important thing to remember though is that in Color, corrections refer to adjustments made in a room while a grade refers to sum of adjustments from all rooms. Let me say that again. In Color, corrections are adjustments happening in individual room while a grade refers to the sum of adjustments made from all rooms. That's an important thing to remember.
Next we will take a brief look at color correction in Color versus Final Cut Pro because after all, you might be wondering what this whole Color app is all about.
- Topics Include:
- Understanding the color-correction process
- Comparing Color to Final Cut Pro
- Understanding how Color thinks
- Making primary corrections
- Making secondary corrections
- Sending files back to Final Cut Pro