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Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0: Three-Way Color Correction

Tutorial series, Part 4 By Charlie White

Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 has a new color correction facility thats been rebuilt from the ground up. In the previous tutorial we covered the user-friendly Fast Color Corrector. In this next tutorial, well dig deeper into the color correction tool kit, exploring some of the more powerful features that are included in this new nonlinear editing application from Adobe.

For this next exercise, what you need to do is find a video clip where there is an object in the frame thats brightly and fairly uniformly colored. What well do is single out that color and make fine adjustments to it while leaving all the other colors in the frame alone. To do this, we will use Adobe Premiere Pros newly-enhanced secondary color correction capability.

The first thing well need to do is apply the three-way color corrector. Set up your interface for color correction, as we did in the previous tutorial by going to the Window menu at the top of the screen. Click Workspace, and then select the fourth item down from the top, Color Correction. That way we will both have the same interface in front of us. 

Start out by putting your chosen clip on the timeline. Well go get the proper color correction filter to modify the colors in this clip. To find the color correction filters in Premiere Pro, go to the effects panel on the left and type the word ?color in its entry field. Youll see all the color correction tools unfold before you.

Just beneath the Fast Color Corrector and the RGB Color Corrector, you'll see the Three-Way Color Corrector. Once you've located that, drag that filter to the clip you'd like to work with on your timeline, and drop it on that clip to apply it. Then, in your effect controls panel, locate the three-way color corrector there and twirl down the small triangular arrow next to it so you can see its full, expanded interface.

First, well define the area of the image that we want to color-correct using secondary color correction, and then well actually perform that color correction. Use the scroll bar on the right of the effects control panel and scroll all the way down to the bottom where youll see the very last item at the bottom, Secondary Color Correction. Twirl down the triangle next to the words Secondary Color Correction, and then go back to the scroll bar on the right and scroll down so you can see these particular controls.

The section of the controls labeled Center is where we will use eye droppers to select the range of colors that we'll correct with the three-way color corrector. Click on the first eyedropper, the one on the left (not the one with a plus or the minus icon next to it). The cursor will turn into an eye dropper. Then, click that eyedropper on the brightly-colored area of your video that sits on the timeline. Find a part in the frame that you would like to isolate. When you click on that. You won?t see anything happening yet--all you've done is made your first color selection.

To get a clearer picture of the range of colors youre selecting, well take a different view of this clip. Use the scroll bar to move back up to the top of the color corrector. The first pulldown menu at the top says Output, and by default it says Composite (see graphic below). Pull down this menu and the third option youll see is Mask. Click that and take a look at your program monitor now.


What youre seeing is a representation of which specific parts of that shot have been selected?thats the area that will be color corrected (see graphic above). Well need to expand that selection to make sure were getting all the varied shades of whatever color you selected.

Scroll all the way back down to the bottom of the color correction panel, and again youll see the Center controls. What we want to do now is add to that selection, so now select the middle eyedropper, the one with a plus icon, and incidentally, now you can see it automatically switches back to Composite for you. Go ahead and sample a darker shade of the color that you selected. Youll probably see an improvement in your selection.

Youll probably have to go back to that little eyedropper with the plus icon in click it again a couple of times and then select another shade of that same color. Eventually, youll get pretty much all the area youd like to color correct included in your selection. If you accidentally select the wrong place? if you go outside of the area where youd like to be color correcting, just click on the eyedropper with a minus sign next to it and you can go back and subtract that from your selection. When youre satisfied that you have a good mask for your color correction, go back up to the top of the controls for the three-way color corrector and  change your output back from Mask to Composite.

What you'll see in the very center of these wheels is a small circle, so first drag the circle in the midtones wheel (the middle one of the three) towards the 11 o'clock direction, toward orange. What you're seeing in the program monitor are the midtones in that selection starting to adjust toward orange.

The way the controls work here inside the color correction tools of Premiere Pro is that you drag the circle out to specify the hue. The other control is the little crosshair in the middle. You can move that up and down to increase or decrease the amount of gain you get. The feedback is instantaneous with this.

Try doing the same thing with the other two color wheels on either side of the middle wheel, which allow you to control highlights and shadows, making sure youre getting all those different ranges. You can see that what were doing is tweaking the color of a colored object in the shot without affecting anything else.

As you can see, the secondary color corrector and three-way color correction tools offer you precise control, much more so than was possible before in Premiere Pro. Because all the color processing is happening in 32-bit color space, youre getting the highest possible quality results with Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0.

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:  Living Color: Premiere Pro 2.0 Color Correction Made Simple

Part 4: (You Are Here) Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0: Three-Way Color Correction

Part 5:  DVD Authoring from the Timeline

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Related Keywords:Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0, color correction, rebuilt, tutorial, color correction tool kit, nonlinear editing, secondary color correction, 3-way color correction, Adobe


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