Color correction is foreign to many of us.  How do the pros get their images looking so rich and beautiful when mine still look kind of plain by comparison, even though I’m using a pro camera and everything?  Well, the answer lies in knowing how to use your software–there are many different ways to correct color and it can take years of practice to master.  You can use it to make the images pop, sure, but some of the reasons people may want to color correct or grade their video footage is to give it a certain look to enhance the mood or feel of their video.

Color Correction in Adobe Premiere

The footage you captured should be as “flat” as possible, i.e., no filters or saturated camera settings.  Each camera is different, so test it out to find your ideal profile setting.  It’s important to get the ideal footage in-camera first, and different projects may require different settings.

In the above video, VScreen shot the footage using a Canon DSLR with the Neutral Picture style.

  • In Premiere, find the clip you want to add color to on the timeline and double-click it.
  • Click the Effects Control tab.
  • Search for Fast Color Corrector, and double-click it.
  • When the effect loads in the Effect Controls window, it’s going to give you a ton of options.  Scroll down to the White Level and click the eyedropper icon.
  • Find the brightest/whitest area of your picture and click the eyedropper there.
  • Now go back to the Effect Controls window and go to the Black Level eyedropper.
  • This time you’ll be finding the darkest/blackest part of the image and click the eyedropper on it.
  • If you want to do more to the image, you can go to the Gray Level and use the eyedropper to identify the neutral colors in your scene.  However, you don’t always have to do this and you can actually mess up the picture using it.
  • You can also adjust your Color Level Settings: you can intensify the colors or add richness to your look.  The left corresponds to the blacks in the scene, the right corresponds to the highlights.

Boom–you should have an image that pops compared to the original footage.

Want some more Adobe Premiere tips?  Try these out:

Fixing Shaky Footage

Sin City Effect

View The Full Video Transcript

Hey I’m Stephen Schweickart with this episode of the Reel Rebel and today I’m going to help YOU get the most out of your footage by color correcting with “Fast Color Corrector”.

To get the best results, the footage you capture needs to be as flat as possible. This means no fancy filters or saturated camera settings. Each brand of camera is different, so test your settings until you find the ideal profile setting. Don’t think that you can just ignore everything I’ve taught you so far– lighting still matters! Producing everything “in camera” is still your ultimate goal, and each situation you shoot may require a different setting as a result.

Fire up your Adobe Premiere and let’s get started!

Here at VScreen we shot this using a Canon DSLR with a Neutral Picture Style

  • • Double click the clip you want to add color to on your timeline… Then click the “Effects Control Tab”
  • • In the “Effects Tab” below that search for “Fast Color Corrector” and double click that effect.
  • • When the effect loads into the “Effect Controls Window” it assaults you with options. DON’T PANIC! Just scroll down to the “White Level” and click the “Eyedropper” tool.
  • • Find the brightest and whitest section of your frame and click there. In this case it will be this white section outside of the window here.
  • • Next, goo to the “Black Level” eyedropper tool and do the same thing ONLY this time find the darkest or blackest section in your shot. Here it will be the bottom of the table leg
  • • If you want to do a little more you can select the “Gray Level” eyedropper and use it to reference the neutral colors in your scene. Don’t think you always have to do this and you can make things worse by referencing the wrong color.
  • • I’ll undo that and select a better color like this one here and TADA! Tragedy averted once again!
  • • You can also adjust your color level settings. You can intensify the colors or just subtly add richness to your look. The left corresponds to the blacks in your scene and the right corresponds to the highlights.
  • • With all the changes you’ve made you can now look at the before and after. Notice that the colored footage is more vibrant looking with an increase contrast that makes the image pop.

This is just the tip of the Color Correcting iceberg, anymore and I might just melt your brain! We don’t need that! What we do need is you in one piece and clicking that subscribe button below. Our next Video Jedi training session is just one week away and you won’t want to miss that one!