Join Abba Shapiro for an in-depth discussion in this video Exploring basic color correction, part of Creating a Vacation Video with iMovie.
In this next movie we are going to take a look at basic color correction, to make sure that all of your footage looks as best as it can be. And you color correct for several reasons. Let's go ahead and step into 05_01 and talk about some of the reasons you may want to color correct your images and actually go ahead and fix them. Now I have three sets of images here: I have a shot at the pool which is a little bit overexposed and I want is to punch. I also have the scuba shots which are a little green and don't have enough contrast, I really want them to match this shot here, and finally, I have the zip lining which was shot with two separate cameras, so the green background looks a little bit different.
The whole point of color correcting your footage, is not just to have it look better, but have it look the same as you cut from camera to camera or shot to shot. You don't want to have your viewers suddenly say, wait a second, that doesn't look right. That's a little bit too yellow. And stop watching your show and start worrying about the footage. So let's step back to the very first clip and open up the Video Adjustments Inspector. Now you can do this by simply clicking on the cog drop down and choosing Video Adjustments. The keyboard shortcut for this is simply the letter V for video, and we'll be using that keyboard shortcut for the rest of this movie.
Now at first this may seem a little bit confusing with all these sliders and dials and graphs that you're looking at, but it's actually pretty easy to make just a few adjustments and really improve the look of your video and your still pictures. So looking at the shot Ian jumping into the pool, it looks okay, but I think it can be better. First of all it seems a little bit washed out. So in most cases adding a little bit of black and shadow to the image will really make it pop, and that's what these two sliders here allow you to do.
By moving this slider from the left to the right, I'm actually adding a little more deeper shadows to the image and the image pops a little bit more. If I grab the slider on the white, it would actually blow things out and I tend not to use this very much because it doesn't give me the look that I want. So go ahead and slide that back and keep the slider here, in my case at 11%, but the best thing to do is just play with the slider until the image looks the way you want it. The next thing I want to examine is Exposure and Brightness.
So this basically says, was my camera overexposed or underexposed and again a little bit goes a long way. Now brightness kind of complements this, and as I move this left and right I can actually pull down some of the luminance in the image and it's starting to look exactly where I wanted to be. When it comes to contrast, if you move the slider to the left you get a lower contrast image and it actually looks a little bit washed out, kind of like a cloudy day. Punching up the contrast just a little bit will increase the dynamic range, or how dark the darks get, and how light the brights get, and again can enhance the look of your shot.
Saturation is always nice, but something to keep in mind is the more you saturate an image, a lot of times the darker it will feel. So go with just a little bit of saturation, otherwise your footage will look unrealistic. For now I think we're in pretty good shape with this image, but whenever you are color correcting it's always important to remember where you came from and see where you are. Now in this case I am going to simply hit Revert to Original, which will turn off all of my corrections and then I'll do an Undo to bring them all back in.
So this was the original image, a little bit more washed out, and now by hitting Command+Z and bringing back all my changes, I see an image that has a little bit more punch. Now let's move forward to look at some of the underwater footage. I'm going to go ahead and click on the second clip in my Timeline, and by leaving my Video Inspector open, it automatically updates so I can adjust this image. Now this image needs a lot more work for it to really pop. First of all, I want to make sure that my blacks are really, really rich and I can see that here there's no blacks in this area.
So if I move this slider over, it already starts to make my image look better. And a little bit of contrast is going to help with this image too, so now it's a lot richer. The other things that I may want to do is turn the water from green to blue, because as light filters through water, it has different wavelengths and the first thing we lose is the blue and then we lose our red, and ultimately you just get this washed out green look. So I am going to go ahead and I'm going to remove some of the green to turn the water a little bit bluer.
If I wanted to, I could play with the red a little bit, adding a little more red into the image and as you see these three mountains are starting to line up. I don't want them to line up perfectly because that's not going to give me the image that I want, but this is a lot closer to the way it really looked to me underwater; a little bit of saturation and I think I am there. Let's go ahead and do what we did earlier by reverting to the original and now undoing to bring back all of our adjustments. As you can see this image with just a few adjustments has a lot more punch.
So let's go ahead and play this clip back to see how the entire one and half seconds look. (video playing) Well I agree with the diver, it's the thumbs-up on the color correction. Now I need to color correct some other shots there were also taken underwater and instead of reinventing the wheel, I can simply copy and paste. Let me go ahead and close this window so you can see a little bit better what we need to do. This shot here is again too green, so instead of bringing up that Adjustments window and moving all the sliders, I'm just going to go back here, select the clip and press Copy, Command+C. And then I am going to go over to the clip that I want to make the changes to, right here, and let's kind of pick one where he comes into frame, and I am going to go back up under the Edit menu where we got our copy from and I am going to paste my adjustments, and in this case, I'm going to paste my Video Adjustments to paste the color corrections that I tweaked in the first clip onto this clip.
As you can see, it immediately adjusted and now it looks a lot more blue. If I wanted to refine that, I could simply press the V key, open up the color corrector on this specific shot, and maybe add a little more contrast and a little more black. So color correcting from one scene to the next is really easy. Let's look at one more situation where you may want to color correct. I have two different shots here of zip-lining. This one was shot with one camera and this was shot with a different camera.
And as you can see this one's a lot greener and has a lot more punch. So I want the other three to match this one. So I am going to step back to this shot here where I can see the grass, open up my Color Adjustments Inspector by simply pressing V for video, and then I am going to go ahead and punch it up by adding a little more black to the area, bringing the exposure down a little bit, and punching up the saturation, maybe a little more green and a little less red, because I don't want to see this too much.
If I want to compare how that looks to my next shot, I can just toggle back and forth and I can see if they match or if they don't. Now as I go back here I see that maybe the saturation is a little bit too hard, we'll open up the shot a little bit, little more brightness. So as you can see these two shots match a lot closer. I want to show you one more color correction technique on this very last clip. This clip is obviously way too yellow. What happened was the camera did not determine the proper white balance of the shot, or perhaps it was shot late enough in the day or early enough in the morning that the color temperature was a little bit different than it was at high noon.
I can very easily balance any of my shots by simply clicking on the white point adjustment and then I get a little eyedropper. I can tell iMovie what's truly white in this shot by clicking on something white in the area. Now it's important you choose something that's kind of neutral white. You don't want to choose the sky because that's pretty blown out and there is not a lot of color in there already. You want to pick something that's like a light gray that's affected by the colors in the shot. So by clicking here, I can very quickly turn what was off-color to accurate color.
Once you're done, go ahead and close your Inspector window, watch your video and see how well it matches. (video playing) The color corrector is incredibly powerful tool in iMovie and once you play with it for a few minutes, you'll see how easy it is to use and how quickly you can make all of your footage look better.
- Capturing the moment
- Adjusting settings in iMovie
- Cutting and editing the video
- Reducing background noise
- Adding and mixing music
- Cropping or fitting a photo to the video frame
- Correcting color
- Stabilizing shaky video
- Creating a split screen
- Changing video speed