In this video, learn how to make your videos look even better with simple color adjustments.
- The raw footage that comes off a camera is rarely what goes straight onto a screen. Usually, it goes through a process called color correction or color grading and HitFilm can do all of this, particularly when working on minimal budgets with, perhaps, reduced lighting equipment and simple cameras, color correction and color grading can be very, very useful. - [Narrator] Take a look at this shot of me for example, this was the green screen shot I used as an example in an earlier chapter. Although the green screen has been successfully removed, I can't help but notice I look a bit gray and tired.
While this may be an inevitable consequence of working in video in England, the color tools in HitFilm give me a chance to do something about it and I don't even need to go outside and spend time in the sun. Allow me to demonstrate. In the effects panel, I'm going to find the curves tool. It is likely to become your new best friend. I drop it onto the green screen clip on the timeline, in the controls panel you can see it here, listed after the color difference key and spill removal effects which I added earlier which are handling the green screen removal itself.
Opening up the curves effect revels it settings. I'm just going to adjust my interface layout so that I've got better look at the curves interface and at the viewer. So what I'm seeing in my face here is an overall lack of warm colors. The skin tone is very greenish. If you've used the curves effect in software like Photoshop, you already know how this works, but in case this is the first time you've seen one, the main thing to understand is that the graph here represents the brightness of various channels in the image. When the line is a 45 degree straight line this means that nothing's been changed.
You can see the black on the y-axis corresponds to black on the x-axis. Mid-gray on the y corresponds to mid-gray on the x and so on. The x-axis actually represents the original value and the y-axis represents the newly adjusted value, but at the start of course we haven't changed anything. What we can then do is start to adjust this line, mapping one value to another. So if I move the top right point down halfway, it results in white becoming mid-gray.
If I take it all the way down the entire image becomes black because everything, every single area of brightness has actually been crushed down to black. If I drag that top right corner to the left, the whole image instead get brighter because the mid-gray's on the x-axis are now being mapped directly to pure white on the y-axis. This crunches everything up blurring out the bright areas and losing detail. Where curves become actually useful is in subtle adjustments and in creating gentle curves.
For example if I click and drag straight down here, I can create a curve, where by the dark gray on the x-axis is mapped to a slightly darker gray on the y-axis. If I make a similar move at the top right here by adding a point and moving it straight up I take the light grays and make them somewhat lighter. Of course the black to white gradient on the curves graph actually represent the brightness of the clip so the result is that the contrast has increased. If I toggle the curves effect on and off with this checkbox, you can see the difference it's making.
The curves effect creates a more impactful image with richer, deeper blacks and brighter highlights, but without changing too much else in the middle. I'm still looking a bit pale and green around the gills though. I'll fix this by changing the channel setting from RGB which stands for red, green, blue, ie. your seeing all the channels combined together, to just red. This means that instead of effecting all of the colors in the channels at once, I'm only going to be effecting the red channel. Now I'll click to add a point and shift that red curve up a touch around about here, this area represents my skin tone which is fairly light in this shot.
My face now certainly looks warmer, but it's a bit too red infused. I'll add another point here and drag it down which will suck out some of the red in the darker shadowed areas allowing some of that green hue to seep back in. Let's head over to the history panel so that we can compare the before and after. So clicking here in the list will remove both of those last two curve edits, returning the red channel to its original state. I look much greener and less healthy, this is probably a more honest depiction of me.
Clicking back at the end of the list returns to that warm healthier appearance. You can see how important that second point on the red curve was though, if I go back just one step in the history list, with just a single point everything got far too red, but with two points colors remain natural. If I now switch off the curves effect entirely, the difference is quite startling and somewhat alarming actually. In the original shot I look like I should call an ambulance, while the curves adjusted shot is much more pleasing to the eye if I may say so myself.
The subtle changes I made here are called color correction and if go for something more stylistic that's where color grading comes in where you more overtly change the look of the video. Now if you want to go down that route my main recommendation would be to keep making your adjustments until you think it looks cool and then drop everything by about a third because often the initial setting you do are far too extreme and when someone else comes to watch the video it will be a bit too in their face. So always drop it down by about a third to get it to a nice balanced point.
- Getting started with HitFilm Express
- Setting up a camera and lighting
- Making a shooting checklist
- Shooting on a green screen
- Transferring from camera to computer
- Converting video formats
- Importing videos into HitFilm
- Using essential editing techniques
- Using multiple tracks
- Making color corrections
- Working with keyframes and composite shots
- Creating titles and lower-third captions
- Exporting and sharing video