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This course is part of a series that looks at Documentary Editing from the point of view of 3 different editors in 3 different editing applications. For more insight on editing documentary projects, take a look at Documentary Editing with Avid Media Composer and Documentary Editing with Final Cut Pro X.
- Interpreting a creative brief
- Logging interviews and other footage
- Pulling selects and presenting ideas
- Building sequences and scenes
- Creating title graphics
- Animating images
- Adjusting b-roll shots
- Tightening clip timing
- Compressing and exporting multiple files
Skill Level Intermediate
So far we've taken a close look at all of our video media. But I want to do a similar thing and take a close look at the stills that we have to use, these are archival scans that we've made in an archive. Here you see are three original scans, they are in the original scans folder in the exercise files. I want to open all three of these in Photoshop where we'll do this work, so I'm going to right-click and just Open With and choose Photoshop CS6. You can see all three of our scans lined up in Photoshop, and in this case, my work involves two things, one is an analysis of the content, what do I really have here that same sort of logging thinking, but the other is actually some technical prep to make this more usable in our Timeline in Premiere Pro.
Now I like to do a little light prep at the beginning just to make things easier to work with, but make no mistake I'm not trying to do the final Photoshop work on these scans. That will come later, but these are so rough and ragged looking that I want to do a little bit of preliminary work just to make them easier to edit with. Often that starts with cropping, sometimes you might want to use the actual headlines but in this case, I'm not interested in any of the words, I'm really just interested in this picture of BD. So with our Crop tool I'm going to start by just getting the part that we want here.
And I am going to go close to the edges here, I'm not interested in getting any of that white edging, but I'm also not wanting to cut it off. So, right there is how I want to crop it, and we'll go ahead and crop it. You can see that we're quite a bit bigger here, but I'm not going to worry about that now, I'm not going to resize this, I might take a look just what is its size. So it's pretty big but for the moment I'm not going to change its actual size, what I will do is make it 72 dpi, so we can do that without resampling the image and just plug-in 72.
By the way, if you're unsure about this part at all, go ahead and check out that Photoshop Essential Training, lots of great information. We can't go too deep into Photoshop here, but it's such a useful tool. So we've done Resolution, we've done cropping, now I want to look a little closer and try to get the look of this just a little more visually pleasing. It's not going to be easy, but I think we can make an improvement. I can go one step closer, there we go. So first I'm going to duplicate the layer so I have my background pristine in case I need to go back to it.
And on this new layer I want to apply a Gaussian Blur, but I also want to stay nice and organized so I'm going to call that Blur, and then we're going to add a Gaussian Blur, and the reason for this is we're going to eliminate this effect we're getting from the printing. Let's take a look at his face, there we go. And you can see with a one pixel blur we go between the original and the blur, and you can see right away we're not distracted by all that stippling.
So you might edge this up a little bit more or a little bit less, and we're just looking for the point where it's not soft but we can see the contrast better. So before, after, I would say that's a real improvement, and I would also say we're not going for perfection here just improvement. So go ahead and say OK. I want to do a couple more things but I want to do them as what are called Adjustment layer. So if we do want to go back and tweak layer we won't have rendered this altogether, we'll still have these open layers to play with.
So go ahead and add an Adjustment layer for Brightness/Contrast. And so with a little more contrast we can start to bring BD's features out a little more and just play with the brightness. I'm not sure if it's a little darker or a little brighter, but it looks like a little bit darker plus a little extra contrast and again we've made an improvement. I always like to do sort of the before and after eye test to make sure I'm doing no damage. So it's before, after and things are starting to look better.
I want to do one more thing, and it's just a preference thing, you might do it now, you might do it later, you might do it not at all, but it's adding a little bit of a Sepia tone. I want these to look kind of old, and they already look old but when we put that sepia color in, it really indicates what we're talking about. I'm noticing that I don't have access to a lot of my color effects, and that's probably due to the mode of the photograph, so let's check that out and see if we indeed need to switch from Grayscale to RGB.
So that's going to be a good idea for video anyway, but in this case, we're never going to be able to add the Sepia tone, which of course is a color, in Grayscale mode. So we do need to be in RGB color, and we don't want to merge. So now everything looks the same but we've changed the mathematics underneath, and I can just simply go to one of my photo filters to try Warming, I kind of like Sepia, and then we can see how much we put in there.
You can see it's really a light effect, even up at the top it's still not that dramatic. But we don't want to be all the way up there, maybe in the 70 range. Okay, this look that we have here is going to be much more usable than we had before, and that's all we're really going for now. Granted we're probably going to have to go back in later and do some more doctoring, but let's just save this off, and let's save it as a different format and a different name, because this is the file we're really going to use for editing. So I'm just going to do File > Save As and although these started as TIFFs in our original scan, I want to save them as Photoshop documents.
That means all of my layers and adjustment layers will stay intact, and if I decide that the Sepia is not exactly what I want it's going to be very, very easy to go in there and change it. Scroll this down so we can see where we're saving, and what you'll see is if you're following along we already have a folder for treated images. If you're not working with these exact files, go ahead and make yourself a new folder to save these in. And in this case, I'm not going to resave because I already have BD_MS_sepia. That's what I would save it as, but in this case, Cancel because it's already there.
Moving on to my next scan, many of the steps are going to be exactly the same. So we start with the crop, and as I look closely I'm basically making an editorial decision right here and now, which is I'm going to use this top one, and although I know these ones are here I'm not even going to bother with the ones down below. I don't think they're very strong images, and I can always go back and get them, but I'm not going to bother to prepare them at this point. I'm just going to do our crop, going to check our Size.
More than what we need we can always go smaller later, but I do want to make it 72. And now this part is pretty interesting because the next couple of steps we can probably pull from the one we've already done. So I can go over here, and if I just break this tab off, and I'm noticing I haven't done my blur yet but the order doesn't even really matter, I can take my two filters, move them over, you see I get that nice highlight and of course I get a note that I've again forgotten to change its mode, not a big deal.
RGB mode, grab the Filters from BD, now we've applied them, let's go ahead and do our Blur. Again the Blur is a filter not an adjustment layer, so it's just Blur and Gaussian Blur. This stage is likely to be a little bit different as well, we're still set on 1.1 Pixels of Blur, which is what we had the first time. When we get a good spot to see something like his face and again before after, I actually think this one could blur a little more and still be improved.
Yeah, I think something like that would be fine. So now you can see that I've got a similar look on this one as I do on the one of BD. Neither one is absolutely perfect, but we can always go back and make adjustments. If I look at my last scan, when I take a close look at this, this is the only photo that I think is really truly interesting. Close-up of the apples, back of the old timey look is not that interesting to me. This one is interesting, but it's not as good as the one I just looked at.
It's very similar to someone selling food, and I feel like this is a better shot if I'm telegraphing that idea. So when I look at this one my judgment is basically not to bother for now. I know I've got some more old timey shots of the market, but I'm not going to bother doing this work at the moment. So what we're doing here is partly technical preparation in Photoshop, but it's partly editorial as well. We're seeing what we have, we're treating what we think we want to use, and we're also eliminating some things that are less important to us.