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Simon works with Adobe Premiere Pro and the Magic Bullet Colorista II and Looks plugins, but these lessons can be applied to any color correction workflow.
- How our eyes see color
- What colors tell the audience
- Making sure color is consistent
- Applying adjustments in the correct order
- Understanding how warm and cool colors frame emotion differently
- Isolating and adjusting skies
- Changing the time of day with color
- Designing interiors like an office, a hospital, or an interrogation room
- Creating fake depth of field
Skill Level Appropriate for all
Having depth of field with magic bullet looks to a static shot is very useful. But the problem with our characters onscreen is that they tend to move and here our actress moves from the left to the right through the shot. So if we added a static frame or a static soft edge vignette then she would move in and out of it. So, this would be a job for the plug-in Colorista rather than Looks in this instance, because you can animate vignettes. I'm using the Colorista II sequence, and I'm going to apply Colorista to this shot.
In the secondary and in the master sections of Colorista, we have the ability to apply a mask. I'm going to use the secondary section because that has the Pop tool that I'm going to use to soften the outside of the mask. One of the important things to do when you're applying a mask to Colorista is to set the filter, because then you see a preview of the onscreen controls. And I'm going to go down to the mask area, the secondary power mask, and I'm going to turn on the ellipse. And now we can see it on screen.
We can drag on the onscreen controls to re-size this, and I'm going to re-size it to suit her face and reposition it also to cover her hair. So the idea is I'm going to blur everything outside this vignette. So I need to invert the mask here. And then go up to the pop control, inside the secondary section. And set it to a negative value so everything is being slightly smoothed. In fact, I'll set it to 100% and then switch the filter on and off, so you can see the effect.
You can see on her shoulders here and on the shoulders of the waiter as he passes. This is more of a subtle blur at this level, rather than out and out blur. The Pop tool is analyzing the edges and slightly softening them. So I can experiment with the amount of softening by sliding the Pop tool. But I'm going to leave it 100% for now and just see what happens as she moves and the waiter moves through the shot. Okay.
So what I need to do, is I need to set a key frame for the position of this vignette at several stages during the shot, so I'll choose the first one. In fact, the whole thing can move over slightly, and brought a bit more tightly in. I'm going to check that my feather size is around about 40 or 50, which means that the blur gently starts at the edge of this vignette. We can see this here. It's a very, very subtle effect.
Here it is with no effect. We could see the sharpness of her hair. And here it is with the blur. And this is good because what we're trying to do is add an effect to the shot without advertising the fact that we added an effect. We want to slightly focus our attention on the main character here. So this position is more or less working, let's try she moves there so let's just set a key frame here. I'm going to set a key frame on the center position of the mask which is here. I'll turn on the ability to make key frames which automatically adds a key frame at this point in time.
Then, as I move forward, move to the right there. Move the whole mask. It automatically adds key frame for me. Then I can move back again, move it here, that's another key frame, and so on. So I just go through and work out where she's going to finish up rather up there. And then work out where she's going to move back to, right there. Okay so as we move through the shot here, it's automatically moving the vignette for us.
Now this is an interesting effect because our waiter moves around her as he reaches the same plane as her shoulder in real life he would be in focus. If we were doing this effect in camera. And there's an interesting balance between doing something in post and doing something in camera. You could make an argument that doing it in camera makes it more technically accurate, but doing it in post-production does give you a chance to be able to change your mind and subtly alter the scene. Our intention here in this scene is to focus our attention on the main subject.
So you could totally make the argument that it's good that our waiter isn't coming into focus. But these decisions do depend on a lot of things. They depend on the budget, the sort of camera you're using and how much time you've got to set up each particular shot. So it is of course a matter of choice in your particular production. The nice thing though about making a mask like this is that we can then perform color correction outside the mask. So we can further exaggerate the attention on the main subject by bringing down the shadows outside the mask and keeping her in a virtual pool of light in the middle of the shot. And I'll just finish off by deselecting the tool and then scrubbing through the shot here.
So we definitely know as an audience where to be looking at on this particular image. So as filmmakers, we do want to draw attention to the areas that we want our viewers to be looking at, but we do have to cross-reference this with budget and the ability to do it either in-camera or in post production. But I still think it's nice to be able to perform these small little tricks on the timeline relatively quickly.