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Old April 14th, 2009, 10:36 AM   #1
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using Auto Levels, Auto Contrast, ect

Just wondering how often people apply the video effects such as "Auto Levels", "Auto Colors" to their videos? Do people use these, and do they also do other color&contrast corrections to most of their clips? I am fairly new, but have a nice 3 chip camera (Canon XHA1) but expected the quality of my footage to be better than it is. I'm thinking maybe applying some of these adjustments is the solution.

Thanks,
Scott
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Old April 14th, 2009, 11:05 AM   #2
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Welcome, Scott! I shoot XHa1 also, have two comments: (1) most footage needs some color and contrast correction, particularly if you shoot in uncontrolled situations (i.e, out of a studio). This is just a basic part of the edit process. The Premiere tools you mention are very much like their Photoshop counterparts, so if you have Photoshop experience you'll feel at home. Many people like the 3-way color corrector as their basic tool, I believe.

(2) The XHA1 is very customizable for color, contrast, gamma, all that good stuff. Most of us (we have 4 users) have made custom setups for the way we expect our videos to look (and no 2 of us agree on what that should be, LOL<) You can play with these settings and see what works for you. My basic setting increases midtone contrast and shadow detail just a bump and a smidge of extra color saturation, for example. See the manual for details, too complicated to go into here. Bottom line is if you don't like what you are getting you can set the camera up to your taste. And then make what corrections you need for variations in the scenes you are shooting in the edit process. Best wishes / Battle Vaughan/miamiherald.com video team
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Old April 14th, 2009, 11:44 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick response and great info. I didn't even think about tweaking custom setups in the camera itself, so I'll have to experiement with some of that.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 05:01 PM   #4
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In my experience "Auto anything" leads to "Automatic disaster" in PP. Manual is the way to go, but the best way is to avoid CC as much as possible by using custom presets as was pointed out to you.
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Old April 19th, 2009, 05:27 PM   #5
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Auto is rarely the best, also if you are using auto settings on your XH-A1, they could be causing alot of the problems with your footage. I know mine has alot of trouble with auto gain.
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Old April 20th, 2009, 07:32 AM   #6
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I'm with Harm and the rest on this. I've never used auto anything in PP. Remember, creating compelling video is a creative process that comes from you. Using an auto setting takes that away from you.

Camera presets can be big boon here but be careful. I'd recommend starting with some of the tamer ones, note the results and work from there. In certain cases, shooting with some of the more "radical" presets like VIVIDRGB can make your footage look like you're living in a cartoon world.

Used carefully, presets are wonderful tools.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 08:05 AM   #7
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Some of these auto color, contrast and levels can be very useful......in Photoshop.....on a static image. Sometimes it just get's it right and you have a perfectly color corrected photo. Sometimes it get's it wrong and it looks horrible.

These same filters in premiere are a waste of time as they continually guess and adjust as the video plays so the effects changes over the course of the video.......I never use them though I do confess to trying them a few times before giving up. What would be nice is if you could us the regular "non auto" filters but have access to a button that would momentarily "Auto" everything. Then you could use it as a baseline by moving to the area of your clip that you think represents the general color and tone, hit auto once, see how it looks and if it guessed close enough you can use it at that exact setting for the entire clip.

Of course, I suggest this more for event and free form work. I would never recommend this for narrative and scripted pieces.
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