Color Correction: Contrast
Let's take a look at understanding contrast. So this was the gray image. And if I want to go ahead and play with contrast, I want you to see what happens to the scope. I'm gonna use the, we're gonna start using the Lumetri Color filter to explore what changes we make and how they affect a neutral image like the gray scale gradient as well as a true image. So looking at the Lumetri Color filter, it's kind of stacked if you look at this, there's a basic correction. If you click on it it opens up and you have some controls. And here, you know, there's a couple ways to look at this, they designed this with a lot of flexibility that you could just go from top to bottom, or you could just use some bits and pieces. So we're gonna walk through it and test some images. So the basic thing here is I can do a white balance sampling, so if I just want to do a general, quick sense I can tell it what's white. And we'll explore that. I can also manually work with, you know, what's the temperature, is ...
it too blue, do I want to add a little more gold to it, is it a little more on the red side, do I want to change the hue a little bit or the tint? And then I can also work with different elements within the frame, and as I scroll down, you know, exposure is how bright or how dark it is overall. You might want to bring up the exposure. Contrast, again, is dynamic range. So let's take a look at a couple of these sliders and see how it affects the image and how it also would affect our scopes here. So if I go ahead and I select this, now when I start making adjustments here, so if I make this brighter, I'm gonna just go with exposure. As I open this up, we notice that what's getting whiter, this is starting to approach 100% white. Premiere is gonna try to keep you from over blowing your luminance, okay? If you're not sure what you're doing, it's trying to protect you and as a matter of fact, with a lot of the color correction, you'll notice there are defined limits to how far you can push the correction. And that's intentional because, it's for the masses and they don't want people to break their shows, because people have a tendency, I mean how many times have you walked into somebody's house and their TV is like so super saturated and they're like isn't my TV great? It's like, no! Real life does not look like that! So they tried to protect you so there is a limit. An upper and lower limit to some of the controls here. So I just want to see what happens when I increase and decrease exposure. And you can see how it affects the different wave forms. I'm gonna go ahead, if I double click anything it resets it back to the default. If we look at contrast, you start seeing that curve with a higher contrast and a lower contrast, now it's not as easy to see with the gray scale, so let's go ahead and look at contrast on this image which already is a low contrast image. Okay, this is a beach image. Technically, this was shot, the video version of Camera Raw. Okay, there's a lot of different flavors, this was the Sony flavor, it's called S-Log, and again the whole point is to increase the dynamic range, they crush certain areas, they use a mathematical formula to crush it, and then they give you that same mathematical formula to open it up again. It's called a LUT, it stands for lookup table. We're probably not gonna go any deeper than that because it will blow up your heads. We have plenty to cover in the hour with just regular color correction, don't need to know about LUTs, but I intentionally shot this very flat, it's very low contrast so I can see that a couple of ways. First of all, it's dark. Okay, it's sunset so it can be a little dark, but I may want to open this up a little bit, okay? So I may want to go and work with my exposure. And then I may want to open up the dynamic range and use various sliders, I can also look here, this is my contrast. And ideally, you want that to be a nice mountain range from the top to the bottom, equaling a nice number of black dots to white dots, or black lights to white lines. Dots, lines, I forget these words after awhile. This is our RGB, we look, it's pretty equal. You know, maybe a little more red, but that's natural, okay. And then we also see in our vector scope, it's not super saturated, but it is going towards the red. And as a matter of fact, you know, we saw with the little dots earlier, you never want to see your color go beyond this frame, because that will be super saturated for your viewer, it will look really bad. So it's a guide there, those little, those little squares that you kind of saw earlier. So let's take a look at our scopes as we look at how we can repair or fix this image. So I may want to open up the exposure and if you notice as I do this, it lightens up the image. My wave form goes more towards the middle, it hasn't really expanded, but it's right in the shot. This is a little more balanced. I think this is good, now as you make an image brighter, you actually lose saturation in an RGB color space. And as you make it darker, it has a sense of being more saturated, so it looks a little even more washed out than it was before. But we know that, we expect that, we're looking to fix that. But really I want you to see how we fix it and what happens to these scopes. So we opened up the exposure. I'm gonna be very dramatic with the, some of these sliders here. And I don't be, mean dramatic by being like, dramatic, it's like, and I want you to do this. When you play with a slide and want to figure out what it does, slide it all the way to one side and the other side, see a dramatic change so you can understand what's happening, so if I take and I work with the contrast and I bring it to the left, lower contrast, do you see how the dynamic range has, is even less, it's compacting here and here? So there's not a lot of difference here between the brightest and the darkest area, so if you describe a shot as having very low contrast, maybe you shot it on a cloudy day, it doesn't have that punch that you might want to make it pop, maybe that's a look you want, but generally you usually want to expand the contrast range. So I'm gonna swing it to the other side. This will widen up the contrast. And it's starting to look a little bit better now. You know, there is a little more definition here. I do want to point out they limit you to 100. If you go beyond 100 to the actual number, you get a virtual slider, you can notch it up to another 50, okay? So if you need to push it up a little further, you can do that. So this is where we were. And take a look at both the image and the scope. It's starting to look a little more interesting. It's starting to look a little more exciting. And I've just done a few tweaks. Maybe I don't want to always push the contrast that much but we are gonna push it with this one. And the next thing I wanna do is I wanna still expand my dynamic range. And I need to remember to zoom in more frequently because I don't want you guys to go blind because this is very small so I now can go over here and I want to work with my blacks and my whites, I want to make sure that the blacks are nice and rich and they hit that zero point, okay? If that's appropriate, obviously I'm shooting the sky, you won't do that. And I want my whites, I think there's definitely some really highlights in there, I want them to be maybe in the 80, 90 area. And that's gonna expand the dynamic range and give a different look or feel to my image. So let's go ahead, I'm gonna bring the blacks down. And I'm gonna eyeball it, I can see it but I want this just about to touch zero. Without getting crushed, you know, I don't want so much at the bottom that you'd lose all the detail in the shadows. And I'm gonna go ahead and bring up my whites. To brighten up the scene, and we're seeing right there that I'm expanding the dynamic range already. Now when color correcting, it's always good to look at the before and after to remember where you came from, and where you're going. That was our before, a couple sliders this is our after. Already an improvement. Now I opened this up a lot, and I want to change my highlights a little bit, I don't wanna, I want white but you know, I want the highlights to be a little less bright. So I'm gonna bring those down. And I want to open up the shadows, and I'm gonna bring that to the right. Now let me explain, you know you have black and white and shadows and highlights, what's the difference? Technically, the blacks are working with a large chunk of the dark area. And the whites, the large chunk of the light area. The highlights and the shadows, think of them as stepping inside a little bit where you're working with the nuance of not the quite black areas and not the quite white areas, so you can play with those and still keep the blacks nice and rich and the whites nice and clean, but the highlights and the shadows allow you a little more nuance and flexibility with the stuff that's kind of stepped inside a little bit. So that's why you want to work with it, so and that's why I like to use the blacks and whites to really stretch it out, and then regain some of that information. So there we go, we have our image. It's pretty washed out because we have lightened it enough, and so I could go in here and I could grab my saturation, and when I work with saturation, I want you to notice what happens right here. Because that is what is judging how saturated an image is. If I go to the left to make it more black and white, that becomes a dot. There is no color, okay? If I move it to the right, I can push it up, it's actually pretty saturated if I do anything more it's gonna actually get ugly saturated. I actually don't like to work with saturation. Saturation is nasty because it's equal across all the colors, and it tends to look artificial. I say that because there's a good solution in the next box that we're gonna open up. Okay, if I only had saturation, I might deal with it but I might tweak it a little bit but I do want you to see how it filled this area up, it didn't affect my luminance here at all, okay? It's only dealing with the color information. I'm gonna notch that back a little bit because I know I'm gonna fix it in the next area. So let's go back and grab our saturation slider. Now, I haven't done any white balancing, I'm not sure if this even needs white balancing, it's a challenge. If I wanted to try to white balance it, and this could be very dangerous, I'd go ahead and I can click the eye dropper and I can select what I think would be white in the scene. Now the challenge is is that there probably isn't a lot that's white, but the thing you have to consider when you are selecting what you want to white balance, you want to pick something that is technically neutral gray that probably has a color cast from the scene, so it's gray but it might be a little blue gray or a little yellow gray. You don't want to go for that brightest area, that bright white area, because there's no color information there. Okay, so it's not really gonna fix it right, you want to pick something where there's a shift in the tinting of the color in a gray area. So I'm gonna kind of guess that the sand might be gray. And it does a little bit of color balancing. What you'll notice when I click on that eye dropper is it goes back to the original colors before any correction so I can click it properly. And then if I clicked on the sky and said that was white, you see how it just completely blows things away? It doesn't know, it's doing its best guess. So occasionally I'll use this, but for the most part I'll look at my scopes, remember what the scene looked like, I could manually tint things, I could say you know something a little less blue, I want it really to be a nice sunset. And I'm kind of creating a field here if I'm doing it that way, if I double click that these will return to their default, I'm not gonna worry about color balancing at this point, so again we've kind of fixed this scene. I checked looking at the before and after. It's a little better, I want to actually do some more work with this, so I can step down through this and use some of these other filters, I'm gonna just use one and then we're gonna actually look at some more practical scenes and maybe come back to this. Is the next thing is the creative, if I click on creative it brings up another set of controls, okay, so the basic has closed up and now we're focusing on this. And some people just stop at this point because you can go ahead and they have all these great little like looks that you can apply to stylize your image. And as a matter of fact, it's a huge list. Okay, so if you want to just give something you know, a basic look from one and you look at all these and you know film noire, high def, high dynamic range, you can say do I like that? No, I do not like that. You can step through and look at them as an icon and then if you want to apply one you just click in the middle. So it's kind of a start point, you know I'll click that. A little bit blue. I'm gonna switch this back to none for the time being. And I want to work with a couple of the other sliders. So the big one that I like here is this one called vibrance. And for those who are familiar with vibrance from either LightRoom or Photoshop, I think of this as smart saturation. What it does is if something is not very saturated, it focuses on adding saturation to that area and if it is already very saturated, it doesn't increase the saturation as much with the slider, so it's, it only saturates the less saturated areas, or desaturates, you know, the highly or heavily saturated areas. Additionally, it tends to lean towards two things, or my understanding is that it doesn't pop blues a little bit more, because skies are blue and everybody likes blue skies to look nice. And it also doesn't blow out faces and make them look like that orange as much. So we don't have faces here, we have sky but it's a sunset sky, but I do think vibrance is going to go ahead and enhance this, so I'm gonna just slide it up a little bit. And it's blue and I'll probably fix that later, but at least it's not getting that really ugly oversaturation, there is again another saturation slider. There are some redundancies. The other thing I really like about this is there's now a sharpening slider, okay? And a lot of times that helps my image pop. Remember with sharpening it doesn't make something blurry in focus, it gives the appearance of something being sharper by increasing you know the sharpness of the contrast between dark and light areas. Though there are some really scary, and I say scary in the most positive light, effects and plugins in Photoshop that can fix some of these. The blur, the motion blur thing in Photoshop, not motion blur, but it looks at focusing an image by the vector of the smear of the, like if the camera moved, and then calculates what that direction was, and then fixes it and sharpens an image, and it's crazy. I've actually run it on some old, you know, 1920 photographs, and it's like, it made it sharper and clearer without creating this artificial like, edging thing. The Photoshop can do crazy things, and I love that. Crazy good, like a fox. Okay, so, but we now have sharpening and vibrance. And I tend to use that and I don't use all the other tricks. I don't want to create faded film, and I want to, you know I just want it to work. In addition, one of the things you can do, and this is really nice, is you can also modify the color of the shadows and the highlights, because sometimes you want to pull shadows to be truly dark or black or you look at the highlights, and you know they're tinted a little bit but you don't want to change the entire color of the scene. And that's what these two circles allow you to do. So if I look here and I say you know what, I want a little less blue in my sky. I would click on the center, and I would drag it in the opposite direction of the blue. Okay, and you'll notice it has gone from a hollow circle to a solid circle, and that tells me that I've made a modification, okay? So I can go ahead and I can tint, you can see as I can move this around. And it's mostly working the highlights, but things do overlap, and the same thing I could go into the shadows and say you know what, there's a lot of blue in there. I'd pull it to the opposite direction. I have successfully made this very ugly. And to fix it, all I have to do is double click and it goes back to the center and I see it being hollow and I know that I have turned off that parameter. And again, there's a little redundancy. You know, you can change the tint down here, and the reason you have it in multiple places is you might have done a tweak here, and then you did some tweaks here and it modified some of the tweaks up there, and so you want to fine tune it, so you do have additional or what would appear to be redundant sliders. Now, what I want to do is I want to step out of this and go into a more natural shot, and look at color correcting some of the images. And something that you may have that's not so flat. So I remembered that I was going to talk about this. This is a shot, not that I forgot about it but imagined this in an earlier class. I shot some stuff of Niagara Falls through the hotel window. And it was tinted very blue and it was just like okay, I want to go enjoy the falls and I set up my camera. I didn't pay a lot of attention. If I got something, great, if I didn't, I got to go down and see the falls, so probably I'm somewhere down in the water drowning at this point. But if we look at this image, it is too dark. It is too blue, and I can really improve this. So going back here, and this is something that's interesting I want to point out that if I look under the effects control tab, there is no Lumetri Color filter on here. But as soon as I touch any one of these buttons, at any one of these sliders, it applies that filter to the clip. So I'm gonna go here and just tweak exposure a little bit. As soon as I let go, look, we have a Lumetri Color filter. That's how it gets put on, now you can also put this on, you can find this inside of your effects tab. Just type Lumetri or go under color. And you can add multiple ones, so if you want to layer your color effects, if you need to tweak something and then tweak something else, you can stack them. But right now, let's just get a good feel for how to use one color filter to fix this shot. So I just want to point out it's there, all the changes I make with the sliders I can see here. The other thing I do want to point out is there are little stop watches next to every one of these sliders. So you can change color over time, so if the sun is setting, if the light is changing, if you want to fake a sunset, if you want to change the tint, maybe this is a classics, you're shooting and you're video taping, video taping? You're recording to your media card, and you walk from inside to outside and inside it's 3200, outside it's 56. There's a moment that maybe it looks blue. Because it hasn't auto white balanced yet, so you may actually want to key frame the color correction to compensate as it adjusts you adjust. So I just wanted to point out that's where you would see the little stop watches, it works exactly the same as all the other key framing that we're learned, or have been exposed to. Again, let's sit down and see what we want to do. I look here and I could open this up, I did open this up a little bit with the exposure. I just, I knew it was a bright day. I want to look at my contrast. And I just want you to see as I open this up and close it, so you know, overcontrast is not good either. You know, you have these really dark blacks and bright whites, so you know, you want to look at something aesthetically pleasing. As I brought up the contrast here, I do realize that I want to open up my shadows. So I may open up, and these all slightly affect each other, usually I would do whites and darks, but I'm gonna do that, bring this down. I'm looking at my scopes as I do this, and sometimes I do this without scopes, but really the right way to do it is with scopes. Looks a little bit different on the computer monitor than it does here, but it's opened this up. It's much better here, I don't really want to push it, but I can tell you right now, it looks too blue to my eye, but even if my eye was fooled, I can see there's a lot of blue in my RGB parade, and I can look over here at my vector scope and see that there's a lot of blue that shouldn't be there. Okay, so this is a case where I might go ahead and say you know, I want to white balance. I'm gonna go ahead and click on one of the clouds, or click on the water, so again this is when I clicked, and it remember goes back to what it looks like without any of my modifications. And I click and I say does that look better? No it does not. So guess what, I would keep trying different areas until I get what feels right. I can also work with my sliders, I'm gonna give it one more shot, I'm gonna look at the clouds here. Looks a little better, I can turn it on and off to see what it is, but oh yeah, it actually does, you know again, this is, you've got to not only turn it on and off, but you've got to be patient for the computer to catch up. Okay, so here it's on, there it's off. I wasn't waiting for the computer to catch up. So obviously it has made it different with the auto white balance, but I could also work with these sliders saying a little less blue, a little less green, I think it's actually pretty good, I don't want to mess with a good thing. And maybe I'll even open it up a little bit. So again, I've fixed this and if we go ahead and we play this, it's a lot better than what it was out the window.