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Old August 12th, 2007, 11:30 AM   #1
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Color work

I'm wondering if anyone would care to share how they "treat" their edited footage in post production. Specifically, I'm interested in color work techniques - everything from how folks tweak their saturation levels or maybe add a gaussian blur to a particular clip to an across-the-board Magic Bullet-like treatments.

I'll say straight up, too impatient for his training DVDs, I thought about just titling this thread "Hey Patick, how do you do your color work?" Aside from that being too long, the truth is I've come to admire the work of many on this board and know there's a ton I could learn from a lot of you.

So how 'bout it -- who wants to share some tips and tricks for finessing footage once its on the timeline?
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Old August 12th, 2007, 12:10 PM   #2
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I was using Sapphire Plugins "Film Effect" but it took forever to render. Now I'm using simple "Levels" adjustments and a slight (very slight) "Glow" on the footage to help make it pop abit. I really liked the "Film Effect" but took too long and it puts grain into the video which if i'm shooting HD why put grain into it....
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Old August 12th, 2007, 12:32 PM   #3
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I also don't like alot of the canned film effects. I generally bump up the contrast a bit but I could also use some pointers to make the footage a bit more film like. I have used a vignette effect to darken the corners (ever so slightly) and I think it gives a nice effect but otherwise I'm not sure what else to do with it.
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Old August 12th, 2007, 12:56 PM   #4
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u HAVE to experiment over and over, it's the way i personally learnt about arty colour alteration's got to the point where i despise seeing non-white-balanced stuff, something you can fix so easily with colour practice

it's a case of playing around with RGB levels, a quick way is to move your mouse around with the RGB curves (graph-representations), experiment by de-saturating a little, then decreasing the reds and greens, but pushing up the blue for example.
You can also get into primary and secondary colour correction if you really want to spend time on it. but bear in mind you can get carried away with perfection so watch the clock!

there are often so many ways of doing things
example: a quick 'warm filter'
- increase the yellows in the colour palette
- a low-opacity orange-fill layer above your footage (u may need to bring out the contrast, or levels of the footage though)
- decrease the blues and bring up the reds
- play around with layer screening: make an orange-fill layer but use 'soft-light' screening

magic bullet is just a quicker, fool-proof method of the above. I tend to choose a preset (particularly liking the bleach-bypass type presets right now), then manually changing the gamma, pre and post saturation, and finally the warm/cool level.

if you're not sure of the behaviour of colours, just experiment in photoshop with these:
- R, G, B curves (separately)
- colour balance
- replace colour
- photo filter

and remember, it's SO easy to over-do that glow/diffuse-glow/white's better to use something like that sparingly so the viewer looks forward to seeing can get really boring to see them in every shot

also, i'm learning quickly that vignetting, although easy to do, should only really be used to bring emphasis to a subject, or when the corners/sky need darker contrast. i've seen a demo recently that used vignetting on practically every shot, it really didn't look right!
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Old August 12th, 2007, 02:14 PM   #5
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Anybody looking to go really deep into color work, I would read Richard's post over and over until it makes sense to you. You can do most of the color work you see in wedding work with a combination of what he mentioned. The trick is really learning what to use when and how much of each.

I have moved away from the soft glows and vignettes and am drawn more towards the simple and clean straight cuts with slightly surreal or filmic color work.

I've downloaded Magic Bullet and while it is an awesome set of plug-ins, the render time seems to be longer than the filters I use, and I can recreate practically every look they offer (or at least the ones I like) with a series of native FCP filters. The key is learning to combine various filters and really working within each filter to get part of the look your after.

A good part of what I do now is dragging and dropping my own custom filter sets which I have been making in various proportions to work for every type of such (even ones where the white balance was too orange, or too blue, as an example). Its great to be able to do both primary and secondary color work all in one quick drag'n-drop.

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Old August 13th, 2007, 02:01 AM   #6
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Patrick...NOOOOOOOO!!! u don't need Magic Bullet!! uninstall it right now! :)
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Old August 13th, 2007, 02:42 AM   #7
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As Patrick stated, if you really want to go deep into color work. Read what Richards written over and over again.

You should also, If you want to know how just the pros would have done with something you filmed. Maybe link to a 3-5min clip and ask nicely if someone would tell you how they would of color treated it to give it that certain look.

That would give you a starting point, an idea what to strife for when coloring your clips with the setup you have. Then implement what Richard said in all your future clips. Just a thought.

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Old August 16th, 2007, 09:07 PM   #8
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Good tips from Richard. I agree with Patrick in using your own custom filters. Just play around with a clip get the look you like and save it in your favorites. You have to spend a lot of time in front of your computer experimenting.
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