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Living Color: Premiere Pro 2.0 Color Correction Made Simple

Part 3 of the tutorial series, the Fast Color Corrector By Charlie White

The color correction engine was completely rewritten in Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0. As a result, Premiere Pro 2.0 can now handle 10-bit video, and all the color space is processed using sophisticated 32-bit floating-point operations. But all that complexity under the hood doesn’t mean that it’s difficult to use. In this tutorial we will work with the Fast Color Corrector, specifically designed to handle most of the color correction needs for a variety of situations, and was also designed to work in real time.

For this tutorial, we’ll be working in a preset workspace included with Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 called, predictably, color correction. To get to that, click on the Window menu at the top of the screen, click Workspace, and then select the fourth item down from the top, Color Correction.
Look at the right side of the screen, and you’ll see the program monitor on the top right, and on the bottom right there will be the reference monitor. At this point, the reference monitor is showing the same thing as the program monitor. We don’t need to see this same video twice, so let’s put some scopes in our reference monitor instead. On the upper right hand corner of that reference monitor, select the fly-out menu, which is the small triangular icon. When you click on that, you’ll see a number of options, and among these are various scopes.

Select All Scopes, and what you'll see are four RGB scopes including (clockwise from upper left) YC waveform, vectorscope, RGB parade monitor, and YCbCr parade monitor.

Keep in mind, with this user interface you can resize these panels, so click and drag to make them a size where you can easily see those scopes. Although we won’t be specifically using these scopes in this tutorial, keeping these scopes in view while you’re color correcting is a good habit to get into—they’ll help you keep the colors within what’s called “legal” limits, in other words, within the limits that our television system can handle.

Let’s start by placing a clip on the timeline. If you have a shot with a white balance problem, that would be the best one to use to illustrate the power of the color correction routine we’ll use in this exercise, but if you don’t have a clip such as that, any clip with some white areas in it will do. Place that clip on your timeline, and we’ll apply the Fast Color Corrector to it.

On the left side of the interface, where it says Effect Controls, click on the Effects tab. In the "Contains:" window, type the word color. You'll see that all the effects that have anything to do with color are now shown. Keep this technique in mind -- whenever you're looking for something in that Effects window, just start typing its name in the "Contains:" window and you'll narrow down all the possible choices.

The first item in the color correction folder is called Fast Color Corrector. All you need to do to apply it is to drag that fast color corrector icon and drop it onto the clip that you want to correct on the timeline. Once you drop it on the clip, it’s applied. While we’re in that section of the interface, on that same left side, click on the small dots on the effects control tab. Let’s drag that tab over to the next part of the interface to give you more room to work with it. 

In the effect control panel, at the bottom you’ll see the Fast Color Corrector sitting there. Twirl down the little triangle to the left, and then you’ll see all the controls including the color wheel for the Fast Color Corrector. Take a look at some of the controls, and wander around a bit if you wish, but what we’ll be focusing on in this exercise is a really quick, fast and easy fix to the problem of this shot not being white balanced.

(Click graphic for enlargement) About four items down from the top of the Fast Color Corrector, you'll see a little white square with an eye dropper next to it with a label to the left called White Balance. All you need to do to correct the shot that's not properly white balanced is to sample something in the shot that is, or is supposed to be, white. What you're doing is telling the software that this is white, correct everything else based on this. First, click anywhere in the program monitor where your footage is.

(Click graphic for enlargement) In the center bottom of the program monitor is a Zoom menu, where you can select 200%, so you can zoom in and see your video more clearly. Once you're zoomed in, scroll the scroll bar at the bottom until you can see the whitest part of that frame.

To correct the clip’s color, go back to the effect controls and select the eyedropper next to where it says White Balance. Your cursor will turn into an eye dropper, and then hover it over a white portion of your program monitor. You’ll notice the little color swatch next to the eyedropper over at the white balance area changing color as you hover it over different-colored  areas. Once you find the whitest part of the frame, go ahead and click.

You’ll see a subtle but noticeable change in the video frame. Boom! It’s been automatically white balanced. In that zoom pulldown menu we changed to 200% before, go back to Fit, and you’ll see that the entire shot has been color corrected simply and easily.

Pretty powerful, huh? If you have an entire sequence that’s been shot with the same camera (and with the same faulty white balance settings), you can copy and paste this color correction into every single clip in the sequence. To do that, right-click on the clip whose attributes you’ve corrected and select Copy. Then right-click on the clip into which you would like to paste these attributes and select Paste Attributes. This is a simple way to do fast, quick and easy color correction. It operates by using 32-bit floating-point arithmetic and it works in real time as well. In our next tutorial, we’ll get into the three-way and secondary color correction.

Looking for the other parts of the Premiere Pro 2.0 Tutorial Series? Here they are:

Part 1:  Premiere Pro 2.0: Clip Notes, The Editor's Friend

Part 2:  Hot Shots with Premiere Pro 2.0: Multicam Editing

Part 3:  (you are here) Living Color: Premiere Pro 2.0 Color Correction Made Simple

Part 4:  Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0: Three-Way Color Correction

Part 5:  DVD Authoring from the Timeline

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Related Keywords:color correction engine, rewritten, Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0, 10-bit video, color space, 32-bit floating-point operations, tutorial, Fast Color Corrector, real time

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  • Living Color: Premiere Pro 2.0 Color Correction Made Simple by DMN Editorial at Jan. 26, 2006 8:04 am gmt (Rec'd 6)

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