Join Maxim Jago for an in-depth discussion in this video Automate color correction, part of Media Composer 8.7 Essential Training: 101.
- [Instructor] Media Composer famously has powerful color correction tools. In fact there are whole courses dedicated just to working with color. But you don't need to understand all of the tools in order to benefit from some of the color correction special effects available. I'm going to show you a really simple workflow to just at least begin the process. I'm in a sequence here called automate color correction, so I suppose you can guess where we're going with this.
And it's a very simple sequence. It's 10 clips and then another 10 clips, and we're going to go to the effects palette and in here I'm going to start typing the word color, for color correction. And the effect I'm looking for is right here, color correction, it's in the image category you can see here. And you'll notice this is a regular effect, although in fact in Media Composer, if you want to make color correction adjustments, you'd normally do it by going to the color correction mode. And it takes you into the three-up display version of the Composer window and we've got our color correction controls, and I just want to show you here if I go to the menu where, in these controls, we can specify the way that we're going to apply the effect to the clip, I'm going to choose the regular color correction effect option.
Got some automated selection options there, but we'll skip those for the moment. And I'm just going to go to the Curves controls here, and I'm going to make a really obvious adjustment, there we go, bright green. And I'll close this window, in fact, let's go back here to our source record editing. Now I've made that not particularly subtle adjustment, you can see that we do indeed have a regular color correction effect icon applied to the clip. I just wanted to show you that icon. Let me just resize this a little.
And I'm going to remove the effect. Okay, so before applying the color correction effect, which by default, won't do anything to our clip, it's just going to make the effect available, it's pointless really, we're going to preconfigure our color correction automation. To do this, we're going to go into the settings and in amongst all of our settings here, we've got an option called corrections. We'll just double click to open this up. And you can see we've got options for which sections of the color correction tools will be available, which tabs we'll have, we'll have control over the units to be used, and so on and so on and so on.
What I'm looking for here is autocorrect. And as you can see from the description, this is saying when applying color correction from the effect palette, perform the following options. What this means is if we apply the color correction effect to a clip, as I just did, instead of just leaving the clip as it is, and letting you go into the effect and change the settings, Media Composer's going to analyze the content and apply some adjustments for you, which you can then go in and modify.
This is absolute genius on the part of Avid, and because the control here is part of one of the regular settings, we can duplicate the setting and set up one of more of these ready to use when we want to. Let's walk through this, I'm going to cancel here. And I've got my correction settings selected, and I'm going to right click and choose Duplicate. In fact I'm going to make a couple of these, just select this again, right click and duplicate.
Remember we can rename these, so I'm going to call one of these HSL, hue saturation and luminence, and the other one I'm going to name Curves. Okay, now all I have to do is set them up, so I'm going to go into the HSL option, I'm going to set the autocorrect, and I'm going to first of all have the effect adjust the contrast for the clip that I apply the effect to, and then I'm going to have it adjust the balance.
And I'll leave that for now, that's okay. Then I'm going to go into the Curves control, and this time I'm going to do curves, auto, balance and then contrast. Now I must admit, this probably seems like a very specific order in which to apply these effects, or these adjustments. The reason I know the order in which these adjustments should be applied is that I've read the manual, and if you look up in the user guide for Media Composer, it'll tell you that if you're going to use color correction automation when you're setting up Curves, you should generally apply a color balance adjustment followed by a contrast adjustment, and the other way around when you're using the hue saturation and luminence controls.
If you're just starting out as a video editor, my best advice is not to worry too much about the specifics of the names of these color correction controls, and exactly how they operate. Thankfully, when working with video, the key thing is to know that you like what you see. You can always apply an adjustment, check it out on screen, and if it looks right, it's right. There are some technical delivery standards required, particularly for things like broadcast television, or even for a DCP, or digital cinema projection.
But if you're producing content for the web, genuinely you are looking at the delivery screen, and if it looks right for you, it'll look right for everybody else. Okay, so I'm going to click okay on here, and I've got to choose one of these options, and that's why we've got two groups of clips. I'm going to show you, first of all, by selecting the Curves correction option. Let's go back to our effects palette and let's try this on one clip first of all. I'm going to take the color correction effect and drag it onto the third clip here in the sequence.
And right away, you can see that Media Composer has increased the contrast and it looks to me like we're a little bit punchier in the color saturation. That was our Curves adjustment. Now I'm going to go to another clip, let's take this one. I'm going to enable the HSL adjustment, I'm going to go back to my effects, going to take this color correction effect and drag it onto another clip. And again, it looks to me like we've got deeper shadows here and I think the net result of that is the color looks a little deeper, but it doesn't seem to have pushed the color saturation up too much.
If I go to our color correct mode now, I'm going to see if I can pull these controls up out of the way. You can see the clip that we applied the HSL adjustment to has HSL enabled, and there are some not massive pretty small adjustments made, but nonetheless, some adjustments made to this clip. If I switch over to the third clip, you can see here there's a Curves adjustment. And you can see some control points added here to the curves. So again, I appreciate that when one first looks at these interfaces, these controls, it can be a little bit overwhelming, there's just so many buttons.
There's just so much information. But the good news is, if I just go back to my source record mode here, and remove these two effects, you don't necessarily need to understand how all of this technology works to get a result. Here I'm going to lasso across the first 10 clips in my sequence, and having selected them, I'm going to double click on the effect and now I've got the adjustment applied to all 10. Then I'm going to go back to my settings and switch over to the Curves adjustment.
Going to lasso the clips here, go to my effects, double click, and it's applied. The beauty of this also is that you can use this automation to help you learn how color correction works, because Media Composer isn't just applying that blank effect that you won't necessarily be able to understand. It's applying adjustments that you can go and look at in the color correction mode to see what fixed the shot. We'll just go back to our source record mode here.
So that's how to apply automated color correction adjustments in Media Composer. One little thing to remember is to go back to your settings and select the default option if you don't want to apply automated adjustments every time you add the effect.
- Setting up the editing environment
- Creating a new project
- Importing media
- Finding, organizing, and linking clips
- Building a sequence
- Editing and trimming
- Adding transitions
- Applying segment effects
- Combining effects
- Applying freeze frame and motion effects
- Creating titles
- Exporting video projects