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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
One of my favorite color correction programs is Magic Bullet Looks by Red Giant Software. And we'll be using this a number of times over this course to make certain adjustments and corrections. So I wanted to show you how to apply it and where to find it inside Premiere Pro. It's a plug-in so it lives inside the Effects tab. And if you go down to Video Effects, here it is Magic Bullet Looks. So I can drag it onto a clip, and then apply it. So, interestingly though, I just wanted to show you another concept.
Here is a clip to which I've already applied an instance of color Arrestor, and now I've applied an instance of Looks. And you can stack multiple filters on top of each other, but a really good discipline to get into is making a color correction for a clip. And then applying, Magic Bullet looks to an adjustment layer because usually looks is involved in making a stylistic grade. And is very useful to be able to have the flexibility to manage your grade with an adjustment layer. So, what I'm going to do is actually delete this from this clip, and show you how to make an adjustment layer.
So, I'll just delete this adjustment layer there. And you can create adjustment layers either by going to a New Item button and pressing Adjustment layer or from the File menu. File > New > Adjustment layer and the Adjustment layer automatically recognizes the resolution of your current sequence and the time base. So I'll click OK. And then from the Project panel you can drag on the adjustment layer to your clip, and then trim it to suit.
So now I'm going to go back to the Effects holder, drag on looks onto the adjustment layer. And on this layer underneath, I have put an instance of colorista two with the highlights. So I've made my technical correction on this shot. Now, if I select the adjustment layer inside the Effect Controls tab, I can hit Edit Look and bring up the Looks interface. One of the reasons why I like Magic Bullet Looks so much is the huge range of tools it has. You can make the Tools drawer pop out just by moving your mouse over the Tools area here, and then you can see all the tools that Looks uses. They're arranged in these five sections.
And they're processed in the same order. And this group of sections echoes the real life processes you'd go through when you're setting up a shoot. But some of these tools are generic color corrections so here in the subject area, is a three way color controller. And, it's just the same one as in Colorista. It's been borrowed from Colorista, or at least the technology's been borrowed. So it's very familiar to use. You can increase the highlights by dragging on the luma control here. Decrease the shadows and then you can also drag the color pin over to tint an image. In this case, make it either warm or cool.
And then you can reset each parameter up in the tool controls. In this case my brightness adjustment has already been made. And this is being echoed by the RGB parade up here. Which showed that I'd already increased the brightness on the clip underneath. So what I want to do here is to give a slight artistic look to this image. I'm going to push the Highlights towards orangey warm color here. And then I'm going to move the Shadows towards purple to give her a very flattering look. Here's the before and after.
Here's the button you use to turn on and off the tool. And here's the balanced image. And here with the stylistic image we got the red channel is much higher than the green and blues because we've been pushing the colors toward orange and purple. You can stack multiple tools together in the tool chain. I'm going to choose a diffusion tool from the Mat section. And I'm going to scroll down and choose pop hits. Here we go. And this has the advanced targeting just the highlights.
We'll turn it off and on. You'll see very subtle glow around her face here. And that's because the diffusion is being applied to the highlights only. I can drag down this parameter and then the diffusion is being added to more of the image. Here's the before and after. And this is a subjective decision you have to make about how much diffusion you want in a particular shot. I think here I'd like to limit it much more to the highlights, maybe about 80 or 90 or so. Just to give a nice flattering look.
And then what I want to do is focus the viewer's attention on the center of the image. So I'm going to go to the Lens section and get out my old favorite, the Vignette tool. Which is very easy to drag the controls on the screen and to move it around and to change the spread, for example. And then also change the strength. And this is a classic tool to be able to subtly focus your viewers attention on the center of the image. Here's the before and after.
And if you deselect the tool like this then you remove the screen controls so you can see the image. And if you want to look at what the whole grade looks like compared with the untreated footage. You can click on the Tool Chain button here, and that turns off all the tools at once. And there is a shortcut for this. It's the Backslash key, which I'm pressing now, and that's located on your keyboard, typically around where the Return key is. And having the keyboard shortcut makes it very fast to be able to switch this on and off without having to move your mouse across the screen.
Over the next few chapters, I'll be looking at some more of the tools over in these different sections. But for now I'm happy with this particular look and I'm going to press Finished here. And this look is applied to the whole clip. Here I'm scrubbing through the clip because it's been applied to the whole of the adjustment layer. And the really nice thing about adjustment layers is that they affect all the clips underneath. So you can drag out an adjustment layer. And see what the effect is like to the underlying clip. So I'll just turn off my audio a second.
Here is the clip underneath with the look applied to it because it's underneath the adjustment there. And here it is without the effect. So this standard practice of adding a technical grade to the clips on the first layer, and then adding a stylistic grade to an adjustment layer. Means you can save a lot of time when the editor or the client comes back and says please can you adjust this look. Because you can just go into the adjustment layer. Click on the Edit Look button and jump back into looks and make some changes. we've got a preview image of the second clip here because that's where the play head was located.
I go back to the original clips, it was located over here. Alternatively, if the client says that the look's too strong, can you adjust it? You can just drag down on the opacity layer here. And changing the opacity on the adjustment layer applies less of the effect to the clips underneath. So we've made a number of color corrections, some to the underlying clips, and some to the adjustment layer. And all these color corrections combine together to form a grade.