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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old June 28th, 2007, 12:22 PM   #1
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Color work- before and after

Lately I've moved beyond simply correcting the exposure and colors of my footage to enhancing it via the use of color, curves, and subtle glows. As I make more and more custom presets and use them more often, I look back at my old stuff and it looks so bland in comparison. I thought it would be neat to share the first 30 seconds of a highlights clip I am working on, before and after the color work. Everything was done in Final Cut Pro with 2-3 rather simple filters stacked together.

Here is the clip:

http://smcouples.com/Samples/colors.mov

I'de like to know how much of a difference you find between the two- small, medium, or large?

Patrick
www.still-motion.ca
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Old June 28th, 2007, 12:52 PM   #2
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Wow. First of all, I'd be happy with the first one (but that just shows the value of getting it right when you shoot!). But you're right, the 2nd half with enhancements is really nice. I would say there is definitely a big difference, but if your client saw the first, they'd never know the difference. What's the time investment to add the filters?

Would you be willing to share some advice? I'm a newbie. I basically have only been using "color corrector 3-way" on my footage. I know there is so much more I can do but I'm just trying to give the footage a little more depth. I also tend to add some saturation to help the colors "pop".

Excellent work.
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Old June 28th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Moreau View Post
Lately I've moved beyond simply correcting the exposure and colors of my footage to enhancing it via the use of color, curves, and subtle glows. As I make more and more custom presets and use them more often, I look back at my old stuff and it looks so bland in comparison. I thought it would be neat to share the first 30 seconds of a highlights clip I am working on, before and after the color work. Everything was done in Final Cut Pro with 2-3 rather simple filters stacked together.

Here is the clip:

http://smcouples.com/Samples/colors.mov

I'de like to know how much of a difference you find between the two- small, medium, or large?

Patrick
www.still-motion.ca
First off Patrick, I must say that your camera work and use of lighting is excellent. Nice Glidecam work as well.

The 2nd clip deffinitely has more lift to it.
I find, it's those subtle touches like tweaking the color (adding a bit more saturation) or boosting the whites that can make a great impact to your video. I always boost my saturation in most of my clips up a bit to add more pop to them as well, as I find it can really give some nice lift and richness to my clips as it does to yours.

I also noticed that you used some BW clips to break up the monontany which worked well. Using some glow is great to give a softer/richer feel to the clip and really worked well with your BW clips as it sould.

The shot I like personally the best was the color corrected sillouette shot against the window. It looked like it was BW except for some yellowing around the window frame. I thought that it gave it a very nice feel to the clip.

Overall I thought that you hit the nail on the head well with the second clip, which had much more richness and romatic feel to it with the lift to the picture.
Effects seem to be a dirty word with some people (as most seem to think of effects as spinning transitiions and such). But what everyone has to realize that anything done subtly in moderation can make all the difference to the finished product. Especially color and lighting and good audio. Those are the things that most people will never notice, but will always appreciate.

The only thing that might have given the clip more life would have been some audio commentary to go along with the music. Like the bride talking about her wedding day. I'm really getting into the storytelling end of using audio with my clips lately.
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Old June 28th, 2007, 02:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Michael Liebergot View Post
Effects seem to be a dirty word with some people (as most seem to think of effects as spinning transitiions and such). But what everyone has to realize that anything done subtly in moderation can make all the difference to the finished product. Especially color and lighting and good audio. Those are the things that most people will never notice, but will always appreciate.
Very well said. Thanks for such a thoughtful post. I don't think many people realize how much you can do with the footage to enhance it without it looking over-processed.

Regarding the audio, I agree with you totally. I will be going back after the clip is finsihed and adding in some voice overs. When I posted this, I only had the first 30 seconds done, at which point I'm not even looking at the audio- but I've almost got it finished up now.

Patrick
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Old June 28th, 2007, 02:56 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Paul J Carey View Post
What's the time investment to add the filters?

Would you be willing to share some advice?
Thanks for the post Paul.

I have diffeerent bins in my 'Favorites' and each bin contains a different pile of filters with various settings etc, so I can go and grab a bin and drop it on a clip and it will apply 2-4 filters. As I add more custom presets, it just becomes a matter of picking the right one. Many shots take seconds to correct as I can just drag and drop. Others take some tweaking, so maybe 15-25 seconds a shot. It took a while to get all the presets figured out though.

For filters, I would check out nattress.com and buy his simple curves filter. It really does a much better job at adjusting exposure vs the 3-way color corrector, and it is pretty easy to use. You can then use the 3-way color corrector to add tints to certain area of your image and change the saturation, as you do now. The RGB balance filter is also very powerful and tough to master, but an awesome tool when you get it to work.


Parick
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Old June 28th, 2007, 05:45 PM   #6
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I would say the difference in the two clips is large. The great camerawork and editing aside, the 2nd clip just oozes more emotion because of the coloring and the glows.

I use mostly the "3 Way Color Corrector" to adjust contrast and color saturation, and I sometimes use Joe's Filters for glows and such. I'm thinking about getting a book called "The Encyclopedia of Color Correction", which I guess is written specifically for Final Cut Pro. You might want to check it out.
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Old June 28th, 2007, 06:34 PM   #7
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Travis,

I started with the 3-way color corrector as well, and it mad a big difference for some shots, but once you start working with some of the other filters, it is very hard to go back.

I'de be interested in finding a book for color- the new final cut studio program.

For anybody interested, I have the full highlights clip up on our blog now at http://www.stillmotionblog.com

This clip is pre-35mm adapter though, so its not nearly as exciting, from a cinematography point of view, as our current stuff.

Patrick
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Old June 28th, 2007, 06:45 PM   #8
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Yeah, I'm finally upgrading to Final Cut Studio 2 from Final Cut Pro 3 sometime in the next few weeks. I can't wait to try out Color.

That book I mentioned is written by the guy who does the documentation for Apple's film and video applications, and it's new enough that it might address Color specifically, but I don't know for sure. It got 4 out of 5 "diamonds" from July 2007 DV Magazine.
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Old June 28th, 2007, 06:49 PM   #9
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Yeah, I'm finally upgrading to Final Cut Studio 2 from Final Cut Pro 3 sometime in the next few weeks. I can't wait to try out Color.
.
Wow, that will be a huge upgrade. If your keeping yourslef busy with editing, I can see the new studio cutting edit times down by quite a large percentage. FCP3 doesn't even have multicam- I can't imagine working without it.
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Old June 28th, 2007, 08:15 PM   #10
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Definitely. I'm assuming there will be a bit of a learning curve, but in the end it will be worth it.

I'm also upgrading my computer from a 4-year-old 1.25GHz DP G4 with 1.25GB of RAM to a brand new 2.66GHz DP G5 with 4GB of RAM. That should make a pretty big difference too. I actually own Motion 2, but it can't run on my current machine, lol.
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Old June 28th, 2007, 08:56 PM   #11
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colour, IMO, is the most important part of anything.
Natural colour is ok for those "doco" styles, but this isnt

Colour grading, in this industry,is now a very common and normal practice, Have a look at some of the greater artistic directors out there, like Bane, Spielberg, Guillermo Del Toro etc etc and if ur feeling rather experimental, have a look at Xfiles (Kim Manner in particualr) and CSI miami for some realy trippy colouring.
You will find that most, if not all, have gone into the heavy use of colour grading.

Despite what soem people think about effects, FILTERING like this isnt necessarily an effect. Thre are effects, such as soft focus and blurs which all have their place, but there are also effects which have no place in "cinematic" wedding piece.

Effects SHOULD be used to emphasise a scene or help enhance the mood of said scene. To many, having the effects are an invitation to lose focus on the content, as no matter what effects you have, content will always be king.
People tend to forget this.

In this case Pats examples here, colour grading like this makes a difference in how our work in general is percieved by the general public.
Consider how much work a photographer does to make each shot "pop"
Now consider that not only do we need to make our work pop as well, but to also keep continuity in tact and coherant for the story. In many cases, exposure and white balance change, in turn, we must ensure that our work, despite these adaptations, remains coherant.Colour is the FIRST thing that people notice.
Take away all the wow factor glidecam and 35mm shots, and your still only left with colour.

I have created, over a period of 6 years, over 2000 presets specifically designed with particular looks.
Apps like MB2 also work a treat and give u access to elements which cannot be access through a standard filter.
Also, RedGiant are now offering Colourista for $99 bux, so the options are great but i find the best response and the highest level of satisfaction is when you create your own

In time, for many people, they will KNOW what look theyre wanting to achieve, so stuff like this takes very little time to create.
The key is to know your tools and understand what each can do.
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Old June 29th, 2007, 02:07 PM   #12
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dang

I keep jumping back and forth to see them side by side. I eventually opened it in VLC and quicktime so I could play the uncorrected side by side to corrected.... but VLC doesn't loop right for some reason so I did the old "copy paste" trick and opened both in QT and set them to loop while staggering the two clips.

I notice so much more when looking at the two side by side. I would say the difference is at least medium and of course an improvement. The untrained viewer will cognitively not know what is different at first but they will be able to feel the difference.

jason
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Old July 1st, 2007, 05:22 PM   #13
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The difference

The difference was noticeable, especially on shots that involved skin tones, but really everywhere. The shot that stands out in my mind is the the closeup of the bride's lips being painted - her face looks so much better in the "after" shot. Similarly, the groom's face looks a lot less pinkish.

Of course, the question on everyone's mind is "how did you do it?" At the moment, I'm thinking that adding more yellow/beige to skin is part of the trick, but I really don't know enough to say.

If I was picking nits with anything, it would be the echo in some of the voiceovers in the full version, but as you can tell, I'm an audio geek and wish I knew a lot more about color correction. :)

Best,
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Old July 1st, 2007, 09:50 PM   #14
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Hi Elliot,

I tend to agre with you about the echo in some of the audio. That was done as a last resort to mask some noise. I already extracted as much as I could but the vows were still noisy. I would normally just cut them out, but it was a request by the couple, so I figure dI would hide the noise and live with the echo.

The color work is a combination of adjusting the curves to brighten the whites and darken the blacks, as well as a color filter that lets me add different colors to different ranges in the images, such as just the darks.

Patrick
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