In our News & Technology segment , Mark and Derek discuss two powerful video editing computers: Gateway's Beefy F-X-530 workstation and Alienware's latest laptop with a 400-GB Hard Drive Capacity....They'll tell you how to enter Apple's Insomnia 24-Hour Film, aptly named because you'll be up all night working on it!
In our Tips & Techniques segment... John and Mark look at some simple ways to work with your color correction tools.
This week's "Take 20" with Jennifer and Charlie takes a look at "Encroachment".... a haunting Video that has a different spin on the suspense genre by producer Riley Harmon.
Video Color Correction Tools
John Burkhart: Welcome to the Tips and Techniques segment. Today we're going to talk about color correction. With Mark Montgomery, and John Burkhart.
Mark Montgomery: Yeah, this is the second vidcast you've been on?
John Burkhart: First.
Mark Montgomery: Oh, first! This is your first. Welcome!
John Burkhart: Thank you.
Mark Montgomery: Who knows what segment is going to come first. This will be your first Tips and techniques segment. Topic was, we’re talking about color correction. Which is something that usually we try to avoid, right, as far as correcting…
John Burkhart: Yeah, I mean, there are two main reasons why you need to change your color, of the video that you’re taking. One being technical reasons, such as the incorrect white balance set while you’re shooting. And the other being artistic reasons which is, you know, something that you want to specifically looking feel for your image.
Mark Montgomery: Right. And this is actually a timely subject, because I’ve got an e-mail from a workshop attendee who came to Chico and learned the basics of video production with us, went out and produced another video. And I watched it and they had problems with their shots looking glueish. And that’s a, it can be result of the white balance indoors, and then taking your camera outside, and not white re-balancing according to those lighting environment.
John Burkhart: Yeah, it’s extremely common thing to do and it’s probably the most common use of color correction, I mean.
Luckily, we tend to try to let our viewers, encourage our viewers to avoid using the automatic settings on their camera for their focus, and exposure, but, white balance is one of those settings that does a pretty good job at holding, you know, the correct white balance. Especially if you’re working, say, with mixed light, you’ve got indoor, you’re shooing indoors, but there’s a bright sunny beam coming through a window. Usually the auto white balance works pretty good for that.
Mark Montgomery: Right. So, auto is pretty good, but manually doing it is better. If you happen to mess up somehow and you bring in footage that’s not properly white balanced, what do we do about that?
John Burkhart: Well, we can change the color balance, and usually correct it to make it look like you intended to appear. It’s a fairly simple operation and most non linear editing systems now have the ability to switch color balance fairly easily, usually using sliders for, you know, you can get as technical and as intricate in the color correction as you want, but the very basics are pretty simple to use.
Mark Montgomery: Right. Usually it’s either about jotting down your red, or your blue values.
John Burkhart: Right.
Mark Montgomery: Unless, I mean, you’ve got something really wickedly wrong with your color balance.
John Burkhart: It happens from time to time.
Mark Montgomery: Yeah. And there’s also artistic need to change the color of your picture for artistic reasons.
John Burkhart: Yeah, for artistic reasons you might want a little warmer red look for, say, romantic scene. Another thing you do is a typical office shot where you’ll tint the color a little bit green, so it makes you feel uneasy and a little bit bored and on edge. Which, you know, sets a specific mood for a specific office scene.
Mark Montgomery: Right. So, part of colorization is creating that mood and that atmosphere, and that can be, yeah, a lot of different things you can make, something scary or warm, and soft and fuzzy, or annoying like a green hue.
John Burkhart: Yes, exactly, exactly.
Mark Montgomery: I think a lot of to movies that stick out into the viewer’s mind, like the Matrix,
John Burkhart: Yeah.
Mark Montgomery: Three Kings, or some other ones that use a lot of color timing to really…
John Burkhart: Well, I mean, there, those are really obviously strong examples, but generally it happens so subtly that you don’t really notice it as much. And that can even be more effective if you tweak it just a little bit.
But, another artistic reason you would use to modify the color balance is if you’re trying to match footage from specific time or place. Like you want to replicate an old news reel, or early TV video broadcast with a lot of contrast, and so those are other artistic effects you can use white balance controls for.
But, yeah, if you’re good at color correction, it’s probably the most sought after expertise in post production colorist is generally the most high, generally the highest paid person in the building. And, it’s really kind of a prestige job, to have under the line stuff.
Mark Montgomery: Yeah. But lucky for us we can actually do it at home with most of ours
John Burkhart: Yeah, and of course, the best way to learn to do it is just to explore and tweak the footage that you have on your own. And just continue to play with it until you get the look and feel that you like, and then, you know, after a while, you’re able to replicate those just by, you know, knowing your controls and knowing your specific software.
If you want to get more in-depth information on color correction, there are, you know, books published on it, DVDs published on it, it’s a very hot topic for a video related learning.
Videomaker actually has its own DVD and it teaches you the basics of color correction. Take a look at the clip from it here.
COLOR CORRECTION AND EFFECTS
Brian Peterson: In this project we have a shot that’s a little blue. This one was shot with a white balance off a little bit. So, what we’re going to do is color correct. You can do this in one of several different ways. Color balances is what we’re going to use. Drag it down.
But before we get into the details, just a caution. If you have a scene that’s a little too dark, or little too light, try to fix the levels before you do color balancing and make it a lot easier. As you can see, these color balance slider start at 100, sometimes they start at 0, but normally they’ll be right in the middle.
We slide red to the light, you’ll see it gets a little red, and a little bit of green, and blue we want to pull out just a little bit, and, hey, we got lucky there. There, that looks good.
Using color filters to correct some wrong colors is one thing, but the real fun begins when you use your color controls to add effect. So, take the color actually away in this case.
We shot some footage yesterday. We’re going to take away the color out of this and actually make it look like an old time movie. So, there’s a few ways we can do it. If your particular program has some black and white filters, you can drag and drop that, maybe you even have a sepia tone filter, you can drag and drop that as well.
We’re want a little bit more control. We’re going to take the color balance and actually drag and drop that. That gives us a bit more control. First thing we do, of course, is black and white. Drag saturation all the way to zero. There we go, black and white.
Now, if you have contrast control, if you recall back in the days when they had really old films, it was just like lighting dark, and let’s take that contrast and pump that a little bit. And then, finally, if you’ve got your hue control, play around with that a little bit. Just a touch of saturation back, so you’ve got a sepia tone effect.
Mark Montgomery: Well, thanks for watching. Go to our website if you want more information about other resources.