Join Ashley Kennedy for an in-depth discussion in this video Applying warm and cool treatments, part of Introduction to Video Color Correction.
- There are so many ways to go about stylizing your footage through color grading, and when it comes to color, when you decide to cool down or warm up the look of your footage, you're making a decision to visually impact what your audience sees, and ultimately, what they feel. So before we start applying our warm and cool treatments, let's just remind ourselves about what different spectrums of color mean. We know from earlier in the course that our cool colors are greens, cyans, blues and magentas. Make us think of cool climates and weather, calm, comforting emotion or sometimes eeriness and sometimes cold, steely and impersonal environments.
We know that warm colors, our yellows, oranges, reds and magentas, make you think of warm climates, feelings of passion and urgency or softness and warmth, and are often indicative of lively and rich environments. Some of these emotions do contradict each other, but depending on how the colors combine with either lightness or darkness or with saturation and desaturation or with one another, they can start to take on some really interesting and different moods. Let's take a look at some examples from popular films and TV shows that use both cool and warm treatments.
In the "CSI" television series, color palette helps define location and mood between the various series. "CSI: New York" takes on a cool cast. Lost of blues and grays, whereas "CSI: Miami" is very warm, often outright orange. But it's clear that each of these palettes defines a definite style and, in turn, a brand for the entire show. In "Traffic," a movie about drug trafficking, there are three distinctive looks that depict three different, intertwined people and locations.
It's really interesting how Steven Soderbergh uses color not only to provide emotional cues, but also to help the audience keep track of what story they're watching. This was achieved through lighting, lens filters and post-production techniques. One color scheme is from the perspective of a conservative judge in Ohio and has a very cold, steely feeling. Another is from the perspective of a drug lord's wife in California, which has a warmer, diffused, often overexposed, blooming look.
And another is from the perspective of a drug trafficker in Mexico, which has a tobacco-colored, contrasty, grainy feel, which matches the desert environment that they're in. In "Blackhawk Down," Ridley Scott gives the Somali desert a warm, sandy, gritty cast. When we see these warm tones, we, as the audience, know that things are not safe. By contrast, he gives the soldiers' barracks a cool, calming cast, and when we see scenes like this, we feel at ease, and because of that, it creates that much more of a stark contrast when we have to go back out into the warm desert.
Okay, so let's give this a try. I'm going to apply a cool treatment to this scene and also a warm treatment so that we can see how each treatment affects the exact same footage. I'm gonna do this in Premiere Pro. I'm gonna add an adjustment layer above my video here, so let's go ahead and grab our Adjustment Layer and bring it onto V2 and stretch it all the way across. I'm gonna select it. I know we've been working mostly with the three-way color corrector, but to create styles, I actually really like the RGB Curves effect, and so I'm gonna use that right now.
Let's see, RGB Curves. This is broken out into red, green and blue, so if I click control points along the curve and bring it up, then I'm gonna add red, green and blue. If I go down, then I'm going to subtract it, which is the same as adding cyan, magenta and yellow. So let me undo that. We're gonna start with the cool treatment, so we actually want to increase the blues, and typically wanna do it in the upper midtones and the midtones, so I'm sort of pushing that out.
I'm looking at the RGB Parade. As you can see, the blue values are growing. You can see that it's already cooling up. I'm gonna also bring down the red, so we're subtracting red, adding cyan in the upper midtones, as well. It might be hard to tell, but her fleshtones right now are pretty purple. Sometimes when people put cool treatments on, they'll kinda leave it that way, but you do have the option of climbing in and warming up just those fleshtones, which I'm going to show you how to do now.
So let's twirl this up, and I'm gonna add another RGB Curves. To do this, I need to do a secondary color correction, so I'm gonna twirl that down and show my mask. Grab my eyedropper and sample her skin. You can see how purple it is. I'll do the plus sign here and sample. You can see that it's gotten a large part of her flesh tones. I'm going to try to get a little bit more by adjusting my Hue and Saturation and Luma.
Okay, and Saturation. Not too much. And Luma. I'm getting a lot of those values. That's perfect. So I'm happy with that. Now I'll just turn off my mask. You can see how purple it is. It doesn't look that purple when it's in context with the rest of the image, but that's exactly how colors can play (laughs) tricks on you.
So let's go ahead and warm those up a little bit. I'm going to just warm up my upper midtones, and you can see the pink kind of returned to her face. I'll just very gently remove the blue. I usually like to soften that up, as well, so I'm going to just bump up the softness. So now things are looking a little bit better. She's looking healthier, but I still have this blue cast over the image. So this is the before and after.
I'm going to leave this off because now I'm going to apply a warm treatment. So let's go back to our Project pane. Same adjustment layer. But now we'll add a warm treatment, and I'm gonna do it again with RGB Curves. So I'll do the opposite. I'll add some control points in the upper midtones on red. I'm gonna subtract some blue values, so it's gonna go towards yellow there.
I might subtract a little bit on green so that it's going a little bit towards magenta. I think I'm gonna just brighten things up a little bit, as well, in the upper midtones. So let's see what this is looking like. Okay, so we definitely have a nice, warm treatment there. Here is before and after. So I can keep tweaking that if I want, but you can see the difference between putting on a cool treatment and a warm treatment to this exact same footage.
So as you can see, these color temperature changes really do change the way we see the scene, and ultimately, it can change the perception and our feelings about what we're watching.
- Exploring the history of moving images and color
- Understanding color correction and color grading
- Exploring color theory
- Adjusting contrast, color balance, and hue/saturation of individual shots
- Using automatic color-correction techniques
- Establishing shot-to-shot consistency
- Applying color treatments
- Correcting color problems