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Motion: Adding Lighting Effects in Post demonstrates how to use any version of Motion to easily add animated lighting effects to existing footage. Going beyond basic techniques, Chris Meyer shares his personal experience and uses many examples to teach the best way to select and fine-tune lighting clips to enhance a variety of underlying shots. He presents techniques for subtle enhancements that will help hold the viewer's attention while adding production value to virtually any shot.
- Selecting the right footage for the right lighting effects Transforming images with lighting and color correction Using vignetting to set the scene Adjusting blur for a subtle change
Skill Level Intermediate
Here is my gear footage again, nice, strong, vertical composition. Here is a lighting layer I would like to try on it. Nice, strong, vertical composition. Problem is there's a lot of colors in here, including colors that don't compliment the underlying footage. I will also try a mode like say Overlay mode. Just too many colors are happening. I can go ahead and try a different mode like Soft Light and it's not quite as severe, but I saw blues and purples coming in here and it may be a little too psychedelic for what I like.
So let's go ahead and remove the color from that lighting layer. I'll select it. Apply Filter > Color Correction > Desaturate. Now, you will notice that it's a simple set of grayscale values instead of this bright colored layer. I can go ahead and back it off a little bit, take a little bit of the color back in, or let it be grayscale. Then I see my Motion's Desaturate plug- in does give me a few different options such as picking specific color channels to use. But the default of picking up NTSC Luminance works really well for this particular footage.
Now, I'll select the layer and go pick a mode like Overlay and now I just have animated lights and shadows. I don't have those psychedelic rainbow sherbet colors anymore. It makes this layer work a lot better. I find that it's too strong? I can either try a less severe mode like Soft Light or back off the Opacity to change how much the lighting effect is going on. So desaturating the color out of the clip is another way of making it a more appropriate lighting layer for whatever source you are using underneath.
Let's go to another example where color is my problem, but in a different way. Again, there is my gears. Keep in mind this sort of rusty background color that I have got. Here is lighting layer. Say I like the motion of the lighting layer. I think it's very interesting and fascinating. I would like to try it out. However, it's predominantly blue and turquoise, not the color of the background layer. If I go ahead and choose something like Overlay mode, you will see the colors don't really work. We have these blues and turquoise blending with the reds. It's kind of fighting it to be honest.
Like the layer. Don't need it to be grayscale. I just need it to be something other than blue. So I'll select it, do Add Filter > Color Correction, and do HSV (Hue Saturation Value) Adjust. Once I have got those selected, I'll just start bending the Hue until I have got an end result that I like. Now, I'm playing in a range of yellows, oranges and reds that seem to be more appropriate and more consistent. Let's go ahead and look at that layer unmolested, Normal. Now, you see what color range I'd bent it around into, we'll do some highlights and so go ahead and pull some of those highlights out of it if I need to, maybe something in that color range.
Now when I go back into a mode such as Overlay or Soft Light, I just have nice animated colors that compliment my background rather than fight my background. Let's look at another example. I'll pause this one. Here is a woman working out again. She has a predominant orangish, pinkish cast to her. So maybe that's what we should be using. When I select this layer as a lighting layer, I say well I have got a lot of oranges and pinks in it, might work. Let's go ahead and put in something like say Overlay mode. Initially looks good, but then when the blues come in, it just starts looking like a rainbow sherbet psyche-dilly all over again, and it's not so appropriate.
We could find it by trying different modes or we can reduce the color range of the lighting layer. We don't want it to be grayscale; we still want some colors. But let's make sure they are appropriate colors. I'm going to pause for a second so you can see what I'm doing. Take this back from the beginning. I want to go ahead and set this back to Normal, so you can see the original colors of this layer. I'm going to apply what I refer to as a tri-tone type of effect. It so happens that Motion calls what I would refer to as tritone 'Tint.' Tint has a very different meaning in other programs, but inside Motion, it's basically a color to use to help shift your footage, to shift the middle colors while keeping the bright areas and keeping the dark areas intact.
You can choose what color that is. What color should we use? Well, let's use something from our underlying footage. So I'm going to turn off my lighting layer for a moment, select the Tint effect and Eyedropper my underlying original footage. Let's go ahead and pick up some of this orangish tone from her shoulder and say use that for my Tint. Turn my lighting layer back on again, you will see I now have a more appropriate matching color, and now I can try modes such as Overlay. Now, I have a very rich complimentary color to her, which animates and does give me some color shifts, the color shifts that match the original scene.
They don't fight the original scene. You can go ahead and play around with the Tint color a little bit more because we want to see what works better. Go more red, go more yellow, try out a few things. But I would like to start with a color that came from the underlying footage just to make sure I'm starting up in the right family. So that's a way of further bending the color of your lighting layer to be more appropriate for your particular shot.