Join Ashley Kennedy for an in-depth discussion in this video Correcting and adjusting skies, part of Introduction to Video Color Correction.
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- Okay, we've done a whole lot of work on people in this chapter, and so now let's step back from that a bit and take a look at something else that's very common in color correction, and that's the sky. You know since the sky is this great, wide, expansive space, and since it's everchanging, and can really alter its appearance during the progression of a shoot, there's a lot to consider. Now I do have several shots of the sky and the ocean here. Okay, so we're going to take a couple of different approaches. As you can see, this shot is pretty flat and pretty blown out. It'd be great to add some contrast and saturation back in.
And even if the sky wasn't a brilliant blue this day, we can still play around with making it a more robust blue for our purposes. So I'm going to just start by performing a standard color correction with the Three-Way Color Corrector. And we're gonna start by setting our Tonal Range. Down with our shadows, and our highlights are pretty much right at 100, but I'm going to look at what brightening things up does, as well as darkening things.
I think I'm gonna brighten them up and then come back down with my shadows to maintain contrast. Okay, now let's go to RGB Parade. Check that out. I think we're okay here. We might wanna go a little bit up in the blue in the highlights, and in the shadows. Okay. And I'm gonna go to Vectorscope, and notice that it's pretty desaturated. It's also pointing towards this region of the vectorscope, which is the opposite of what we have been seeing.
And that's just because instead of looking at human skin tones here, we're looking at all this sky. So let's bump up the saturation. And my master saturation and my midtones. Alright, so things are looking better. Here's the before and after. But I'd still like to really reach into those blues and bring them out more. So I'm gonna add another color correction effect, and let's go down to secondary. And Show Mask, and let's grab those blue values.
And let's just tweak that a little bit. Okay. So we've got most of the blues in our sky. Go ahead and turn my mask off. And let's see what Tonal Range Premiere Pro has for the sky.
Okay, so we're looking at midtones and highlights. So I'm gonna come up to my midtones and go towards blue and bump that up, and same thing here. Alright, and now I'm gonna come down and soften that a little bit. And that's looking pretty natural. I might even want to bring my saturation up a little bit in those midtones.
Alright, so let's take a full before and after. So before, and then after initial adjustments, and then after the secondary adjustments. Alright, now let's go down to this clip here, and I wanna make some similar adjustments. I'm gonna bring back my Y Waveform, and Three-Way Color Corrector, and bring down my shadows a little bit, and bring up my highlights a little bit. Take a look at my midtones.
That's brightening. That's darkening. I think I'm gonna go a little bit below zero on this. And let's check out our RGB Parade. Think we're pretty neutral there. I'm gonna go to Vectorscope. And again, let's go ahead and bump up the saturation. Here we've got a little bit more in the yellows, and that's the sand on the beach, but we also have all of our blues in the sky and the water. I'm gonna grab a secondary and correct this sky as well.
So let's see about setting a mask for these blues. Okay, we have a little bit of water here. I think I'm gonna try to include that and open up our Luma as well. Okay, so let's now check out what the Tonal Range is on that.
We're at almost all in the highlights, but a little bit in the midtones, so let's take our highlights bring them up toward blue and same thing with my midtones. And we wanna soften that. If I wanted to treat the sand color on the beach a little bit differently, I could put another secondary, or I could just put a mask, which I think I'll do now.
I'm just gonna grab the Four-Point Polygon Mask, and we'll put it over this section of the beach, and we're gonna feather this mask a little bit, so it's okay that it's rectangular for now. So I'm gonna bump up the feathering, and now I'm just gonnna come down and see what just increasing my midtone saturation does. Alright, and now let's just take a look at everything from beginning to end.
There's before. Here's after initial adjustments. Here's after secondary. And here's after my mask adjustment on the beach. So you have a lot of flexibility when you're dealing with skies. But as you can see, using secondary color correction and using masks can really help isolate the area you wanna adjust. Now I have this shot again, and I've already performed the initial adjustments, but I want to show you how you might want to use Blend Modes to stylize shots, and sky shots are often a good candidate for this. Okay? This is kind of a one-off procedure. You shouldn't do this every time, but you can achieve some pretty cool effects.
So what I'm gonna do is duplicate this and drag up, and we do that by option dragging or alt dragging on a PC. And I'm gonna select this, and then I'm gonna come over to my opacity. And I'm gonna come to Blend Mode. Now a Blend Mode is gonna change the way these two clips blend together. So it's gonna make this clip transparent in a certain way, depending on what I choose, the blacks and the whites and the grays all get blended in different ways. Now when you wanna fix lighter footage like skies, you generally wanna try one of the Darken Blend Modes, okay? And most of the time, you wanna start with Multiply.
It's usually the go to Darken Blend Mode. So I'll try this out. I'll switch to Multiply, and you can see things darkened up a lot, and you can see the detail came back into the sky, but generally it's too dark, so what you can do is actually bring your opacity back down until you like it. I should probably by looking at my Y Waveform. Alright, so here is nothing, here is full. I think I'm gonna play with something maybe in the 50, 60 percent region. You can also try some of the other Darken Blend Modes.
Multiply is kinda your go to, but then Linear Burn is a good second option. It's a little bit more intense. Okay? And then, here's Color Burn, kind of the most intense of all, but you can always go for a look, like this is a really interesting look I think, and then if I wanna dial it back a little further, I can certainly do that. Okay, so again, this is much more creating kind of one off stylistic effects, but Blend Modes can really help you make these interesting looks. Alright, so that's correcting and stylizing skies. They certainly have their own challenges, but it can be fun to dive in with secondaries, masks, and blend modes in certain situations.
- 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