Join Chad Perkins for an in-depth discussion in this video What is SpeedGrade?, part of Learning SpeedGrade CS6.
Hello, my name is Chad Perkins, and I'd like to introduce you to Adobe SpeedGrade. SpeedGrade is a color-correction, or in other words a color grading application. It's extremely professional and it has tons of great benefits and features. And typically in a workflow we use SpeedGrade at the beginning of the video editing workflow, or at the very end, and we'll look at both of those. But let's just go ahead and jump right in. I have this drive here called Scarlet. It's where I store footage from my red scarlet camera. It's an external USB 2.0 drive.
So, this is not an internal drive. And I want to use this intentionally to show you, that even in the worst of circumstances, how great of a job SpeedGrade does. So, I have this selected and I'm looking here at this browser, called the desktop in SpeedGrade language. And this is showing me, basically again, like a file browsing system. And I'm only seeing sequences from selected folder cuz that is what I have selected here up at the top. But if I drop this down, and choose sequences from folder and subtree, then after giving it a second, it finds 130 files.
See, It didn't have any footage in this root drive but I had a bunch of subfolders that had files. So just by changing this I can now see all those files at once, which is ridiculously helpful. And I see little thumbnails of them here, I get details. And I want to draw attention as well, that this is not just your run of the mill SD footage nor is it HD, but some of these files, such as this one 4,096 by 2160 pixels. This is a 4K footage clip. And so what I'm going to do is apply it to my timeline, add it to my timeline.
I could do that by double-clicking it or by clicking the little plus icon here and that adds it to my timeline. But I'm still looking at my browser, which is actually a pretty good thing, typically because I want to add multiple footage files usually to my timeline. But what I want to do here is get to grading this. So, I'm going to go away from the desktop to my monitor. I could do that in one of two ways. I can click this little Monitor tab here in the upper left-hand corner of the interface or I could press the letter D on the keyboard a couple times and there we go. Now I'm not seeing anything because I don't have my current time indicator here.
So I just go ahead and click, and there is my little time marker. So I have this clip here, and again this is 4K raw, red footage. 16-bit raw and if I press the Spacebar, you'll see it plays back in real time at 4K being played of an externalLAUGH USB 2.0 drive. This is incredible. You'll also notice that before I do anything I have my little histogram here and I can select my scopes from this area.
I have a vector scope. I have a wave 4 monitor and of course I have my histogram which I can toggle on and off. I actually prefer my histogram to be on my left side of my screen so I could come over here to this little arrow and click that. And we'll jump to the left side and I can even expand it if that is what I desire. So there that is, and now let's go ahead and jump in and start grading here. I'm going to perform what's called a first light grade. Often times when you first get footage in, it's good to do just kind of a basic gray.
And that way when you have clients or producers standing over your shoulder you have something better for them to look at. Often times they don't catch the vision when they see a flat image like this and so a first light perhaps is going to help them see that. So I go over to the Look tab here and you see that I have, I'm just going to go ahead and extend this up just a little bit. And we have a bunch of controls that look like they're grayed out. But realistically, what SpeedGrade does is it kind of grays out most features just so that it doesn't get in your way. But as soon as I put my cursor over one of these, you see that it instantly lights up and let's me know that it's ready for action.
So I have off-set Gamma and Gain, essentially I'm going to use these to adjust the shadows, mid-tones and highlights. But for deeper control I can go, not just to the overall controls but I can adjust the shadows independently, the mid-tones and the highlights independently as well. We're not going to get the hardcore in just this one intro movie so I'm just going to keep this on overall for right now. And this little widget is actually pretty cool. I actually like this. If you don't like it, you can use these color sliders by clicking this button here.
Or you can use numeric values, but again I'm going to go back to the color wheels. Ideally this works best with a color wheel controller, like a track ball. But I'm going to use just a regular old mouse here. If I click and hold my mouse down, you see I get a color wheel. And as I click and move this around, the adjustments are very subtle. You probably can't see it on my screen, but you can see it in the histogram that my colors are changing. Now that's again if I'm clicking and holding the left Mouse button down. But while I'm holding the left Mouse button down, I can adjust my scroll wheel.
And again, it's very subtle. And you kind of have to look at the histogram to see what I'm doing here. But I can adjust the offset or the luminance of the offset using the mouse wheel while my left Mouse button is held down. So it's a little bit tricky with your fingers trying to do all this stuff but it allows you a lot of control. One thing that it's good to note is that the controls and speed grader's very subtle. So you could be scrolling your mouse a lot, or dragging your mouse a lot, and it will only make very subtle changes. I'll go over to here to gain.
I'm going to adjust that next, adjust my highlights. I could again from the top of my histogram see that I don't really have all my highlights adjusted where I want them to be. I want them to be brighter. So, I'm going to click once and with my Mouse button held down, I'm going to scroll my wheel mouse down. Now if I go crazy with this, I can also click and drag on this little icon as well. But let's say I go crazy with it. I may go way over the top, but I I blow up the highlights a little too much. I can click on this little tab here to reset those highlights. And I inadvertently tweaked this a little bit, I really didn't play with the colors of my highlights, but I did.
And so I get this icon, I can click that to reset the colors as well. So they go back and actually I'll just click on this little arrow here, until my highlights are about where I want them to be, which is good. And I'll click on Gamma and brighten that up, just a little bit. And now we have a better looking image, and it looks very subtle, but what I can do is preview the before and after by pressing zero on the numeric keypad.
So here is the before and here is the after. So, there's still some stuff I might want to do to this. I could go over to my temperature controls and scrub this to the right to warm this up even more. Kind of like the nice, warm look. And if it's moving too subtly for you, you can hold the Shift key down and then it moves much faster. So, be careful that you don't over do it if you have the Shift key held down. You might also want to add little bit of contrast, very little contrast. And then just like color correction works, it's a very push pull type thing, you do one adjustment and then you go back and then do more. And then you go back to the shadows, back to the highlights, back to the midtones. And it's kind of this juggling act as you kind of go back and forth between these different controls.
And now as I press Zero on the numeric keypad, we have a bigger difference. So, you might not be able to get a producer to sign off on this while you're editing but this is a little more palatable. Now I'm just going to go ahead and clear out this timeline and start from scratch. And we can do that by clicking this little X icon on the right-hand side of the screen. Click that, confirm that, and I'm going to go back to my desktop and I'm going to open up another clip here. Let's start with this one and then go back to my monitor here.
And then we have this clip. And what I was doing before, if I click on the Look tab, is I was making changes. And those changes applied to my Primary layer. But what I can do for even more flexibility is apply a grading layer. This is akin to an Adjustment layer in After Effects or Premiere. And I have a little bit more flexibility there. So let me show you what I'm talking about. I'm going to go over to my Timeline tab. And in the setup tab, in the timeline elements area, in the grading section here there's a little icon.
I'm going to click and drag this over my layer. And that creates a new grading layer. So I'm going to click on the grading layer to select that. And now I want to go back over to the look tab, I have the same controls but now this is going to apply to the grading layer and not to the clip. Now with my grading layer selected, I'm going to come down here to the bottom of the Loop panel. And we have these little folders here almost, of different loops that we can apply it's kind of a Quick loop. So I'm going to apply Cinematic one I'm going to double-click and this applies it to my grading layer because that was selected.
And I might go into the Gamma for example and brighten up the Gamma of the clip. I'm just going to click this little triangle and move it to the right, brighten that up just a little bit and it gives it this cool super contrasty cinematic look to this image. And I'm going to go back to my desktop here. And I'm going to add another clip to my timeline by clicking the little Plus icon here. And then I'm going to go back to my monitor. We can see the clip here in our timeline. And as we move over to this clip, we can see that this clip does not match this clip.
And actually what I'm going to do is I'm going to drag this back here. And I'm going to actually create a second play head. And I'm going to do that by clicking on this right icon on the right side of the play head. Holding the Cmd key on the Mac or the Ctrl key on a PC and dragging, which creates a second view here. So what I'm going to do is click on this grading layer. And I'm going to, on the right hand side of these little arrows, I'm going to extend the grading layer. Now once I let go you will see that now all the stuff that we did to this grading layer has been applied to this clip as well, everything below it.
So this is great if you have multiple clips in the same scene and they all need a basic coating of contrast or a basic coating of highlight adjustment. Or whatever you're going to do creative grade. You can apply this to a separate grading layer. You can have multiple grading layers if you want to as well. So, a great feature from SpeedGrade. And again, the, the multiple play heads allows you to kind of make sure that your footage works from clip to clip that your grades are consistent. So I've talked about how you use color grading on a first light situation where we would grade and then we would output for editing. Which we haven't done yet but we'll talk about in just a moment. But another thing we can do, we can import a timeline from another program. I'm going to go ahead and delete this timeline by clicking this X icon again. And clicking yes.
From here we can click this Open button here, open SpeedGrade project which we'll do in just a moment. But this is how you'd open an EDL if you had an EDL from your NLE. And we could also open up .rlcp files which are SpeedGrade project files and I made this one with the help of Adobe Premier. So in Premiere I have my video here that I'm working on, my edit. I can choose File > Send to Adobe SpeedGrade, it takes a little bit to render, and then it creates this project file.
So then I can open this up, in SpeedGrade and then all of my edits come in to the timeline just as they were in Premiere for further grading. Even my audio clip, that's what this green bar is and if I want to disable the audio I can just click the little speaker icon. And I could click on one of these clips, go down to the loop panel and make adjustments as before. I'll drag the mid-tones down to blue just so.
There is an obvious difference here maybe take the highlights to yellow and give it creepy look for some reason a maximize that. And there we have a little grade from the clips that we had in Premiere which is great and again I can still use those. Grading layers and apply a color grade to multiple clips at once, easily using that grading layer. And when it's all done and time to output our files. We go to the Output tab in the upper right hand side of the screen.
And outputting here is very simple, we just click folder here, under the folder we click a destination, we click a file name, which is important, we need to do that. I'm just going to say test but we need to have a filename or else we cannot render it and we choose a format. We have some really professional formats here. I'll just say DPX and we can choose whether we want to do it offline, which if we've done a first light we might want to do a lower quality offline render. Or we could do the final finishing after we've done editing and we want to do the color grade, and this is like our last hurrah, last edit.
We would select Online Quality, and then we're all done, click Render. And that's the intro to Adobe SpeedGrade, this incredible application that is so full-featured and a really welcome addition to the Adobe post-production family.
- What is SpeedGrade?
- Understanding the interface and workflow
- Saving projects
- Rendering from SpeedGrade
- Working with footage
- Grading basics
- Blending grades
- Using looks
- Masking footage
- Fixing problem shots