How to Create Cinematic Color in Premiere Pro CS5
Creating cinematic color
We're now going to look at how to use the Fast Color Corrector effect to create cinematic color. So, let's go ahead and go to the Effects panel, do a search for the Fast Color Corrector effect and apply that to our footage. Now, if we were doing a documentary, or something based in reality, maybe a Reality TV Show or something, these colors are fine. These are very realistic. There's a good balance of highlights and shadows. There are some black blacks here and some pretty white whites and everything in between. So, it's really pretty good, right out of the gate.
But if we were using this footage to tell a story, then we would want to change the colors a little bit to fit the mood of the story. So, let's open up the Fast Color Corrector effect, and we're going to look at this Hue Balance and Angle. If we want to add a certain tint to this, at first, we're going to make this look kind of nostalgic and warm and friendly. So I'm going to go ahead and click on this circle on the inside of this bigger circle, and I'm going to drag this up to the warm areas. You see it's going to take on whatever color that we pick here around this wheel and the more we drag it to the edge, the more intense the color tint will be.
So I'm going to drag this to the edge there, and this is looking good as far as colors go, but it's a little bit too intense. So I'm going to scroll down a little bit to Saturation and take this down considerably, maybe to about 60 or so. So basically, we've added this nice, warm tint to what's going on, and we've made it kind of nostalgic by removing some of the saturation. But this is not completely black and white. We could still tell that these leaves were originally green, but there is this kind of warmhearted nostalgia with this clip. So already, just looking at a frame of this, we're telling viewers how to feel about this particular clip.
Again, with the documentary or with the Reality Show, you might not want to be so heavy-handed. You might not want to try to force the viewers to feel a certain way about your subject matter. But when you're telling a story, a lot of times this can help shape things. If we go back up to the Fast Color Corrector name of the effect, there's this little fx icon, so we can click this to turn it off and on. So, here's the before the Color Correction and then after the Color Correction. Pretty cool effect! Now, let's take this in the opposite direction. Let's go ahead and click the Reset button. Let's go ahead and spin this so that it's going to be a dark, spooky place, which is going to be kind of challenging, because this looks just kind of like a friendly, artsy, crafty type place, but we can do it with our colors.
So, I'm to go to Hue Balance and Angle, and we're going to take things in the opposite direction. So instead of being kind of orangish magentaish up here, we're going to go the opposite side where we're going to make this kind of cyan. So I'm going to drag this down to this corner. That's looking mighty creepy already. We could take down the Saturation a little bit, and already this is looking much more frightening. Now, if we wanted to make things even more intense, as far as color tinting goes, we can take this little line that's in the center of the circle, it doesn't really look like too much, we can click and drag that down towards the end.
You could see if we drag this all the way here, it's going to be completely just cyan and black and white, essentially. So if we take this down so it's just kind of a little bit more of a tint there, that's looking pretty good, and then we might want to go to our Levels area here and drag this Midtone slider over to the left. We can create this really dark, creepy place here. Then we might want to go to Saturation. One of the things that's important to keep in mind here is that as you're doing cinematic color correction, it's usually a back and forth.
So we might play with the Levels a little bit, then play with the Saturation a little bit, and then go back and fiddle with the color, as we keep pushing and pulling all these different aspects, all of our footage, until we come up with the final product that we like. So now, I'm liking the Saturation, but I feel like I've lost a little bit of the greenness, the cyan-ness that I like. So I might want to take this line out to make this a little bit more cyan, but again, that color tint might be a little bit too intense. So again, we'll kind of tweak this and go back and forth. But the point is that we've created something that is much more dark and much less welcoming than it originally was.
So if we could go back here to Fast Color Corrector, click the fx icon, the before, happy, friendly. After, not so much. Now we're going to delete this really, quick. Let me just show you one thing very fast. I'm just going to do a search on Corrector, and you could see that there are several Corrector effects, with the two most powerful being the Fast Color Corrector, which we've been looking at, and the more powerful older brother of the Fast Color Corrector effect, the Three-Way Color Corrector effect. Now, typically, I use the Fast Color Corrector effect. It gets me most of what I want. But the Three-Way Color Corrector effect really is the more powerful of the color correctors, and actually probably is the most powerful color correction tool in Premiere.
I'm not sure that this is really that great. A lot of times as I'm fiddling with this, it just ends up looking kind of weird and not getting me the results that I want. But we still can use this to adjust shadows, midtones and highlights, using these three wheels, and that's why it's called the Three-Way Color Corrector. So we might want to add some cyan to the shadows, and you see that as I do this, the guitar, for example, goes from just being like a regular black or a warm black to being kind of like a cyan. Again, a lot of times, I get this type of look where it's kind of poster-ized. So you've got to tone it down a little bit, and tweak it in order to get what you're looking for.
So, I generally just prefer to use the Fast Color Corrector, but this is here for you to play around with and explore as well.
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