Color correction is an area of post production that many people outside of video production don’t know much about. Here’s an example of how color correction (CC) can help turn a good shot into a great one, from our Brad & Stephanie Rakes wedding.
Before Color Correction
Pic 1 shows a raw image from our GoPro Hero 3 during the ceremony. The Hero 3 is a great little camera, but you’ll notice the image is somewhat flat and desaturated. To make it more vibrant and colorful, I loaded up Magic Bullet Looks (a CC plugin) and layered some effects.
Color Correction Interface
Pic 2 shows the Magic Bullet Looks interface and the various effects I applied – for this shot 8 total, although usually less. You can perform simple tweaks like exposure, color balance, and saturation levels, and more complex adjustments; check below for what those 8 effects do. Each adjustment can also be individually assigned to different stages of the image capture process, including the subject (in the scene itself), the lens, the camera,and post production. The order the effects are stacked alters how the image is processed.
1. Cosmo – To soften skin tones and lessen wrinkles.
2. Diffusion – For a soft, subtle glow.
3. Spot Exposure (selected above) – For creating an artificial light source that can be manipulated like a real light. In this case, the area behind the minister was actually overexposed, so I used a “negative” f-stop to darken that area of the frame.
4. Vignette – To gently darken the edges of the frame to accentuate the important stuff.
5. Warm/Cool – For color balancing. You can adjust along the red/blue and green/violet spectrums.
6. Lift-Gamma-Gain & 8. Curves – For tweaking the brightness and tone of the highlights, mid-tones and shadows, and adding individual color tints to each.
7. Ranged Saturation – Similar to normal saturation, except you can manually adjust the saturation levels for highlights, mid-tones and shadows.
After Color Correction
Pic 3 is the final, color corrected footage. It’s warmer and more saturated then the original, with sharper highlights and richer shadows.
The Extra 20%
Capturing a pristine image with the camera itself is most important, but color correction really helps lend that extra pop and create a consistent look across a video project