How to Color Correct in Adobe® Premiere Pro®


Lesson Info

Color Calibration Gear

Other tools that I use. These are little monitors. I can turn this on. I was gonna hook it up to the camera. Don't know if I wanna take the time doing that, but maybe we'll do this a little bit later so you can see it, but I wanted to talk about that is that all of these higher end monitors serve many purposes. First of all, they can be calibrated, okay? What does that mean? Well, you look at a TV and you walk into an electronic store and you have all the TVs, they all look slightly different in color, they all look slightly different in luminance. Sometimes the contrast is different. They're all way too bright. They're all way too colorful, because when somebody goes in to buy a TV, they say, "I like that one, because look how "good the colors are and how bright that is." That's not necessarily truly color balanced, okay? So you wanna be able to have your monitor, whether it's a fields monitor or your computer monitor, balanced to neutral so when you're color correcting, you're gettin...

g the accurate colors when you're using your eye. If your monitor is a little too pink, and you color correct to your eye, your images may be a little too green, which is the other side of the color wheel, okay? If your monitor is too bright and you're using that as a reference, your images may end up being too dark because you're saying, "Oh, this looks good to my eye." So basically, being able to have a monitor, a field monitor that you can color balance, will give you more information, as well as a computer monitor to do that also. And I'm gonna talk about one more thing with that in just a moment. With most of these, and let's see if I can power this up, 'cause I said I'm not going to, because I am so impatient I don't wanna wait the three seconds to power up my monitor. But we will all benefit from this, and it's a little bit shiny, so if I'm getting glare, tell me. I have no input. Do I have anything on here? No files. Why? Because I put a clean card in. So you get to experience me plugging this all in. And this is how I would actually work on the field, because there are a couple of things you wanna keep in mind, and I know we're talking about color correcting and Premier Pro, but guess what? You do this work first, you're gonna be in a lot better shape. So I have this camera. Just gonna plug it in. And this will affect, this will allow me to determine everything from if I have the right luminance levels to if I have the right color space. So let's see what happens. Let's see if there's magic. You know what's wrong with this image? It's the lens cap. And I think I am on manual. Let's see if I can... Okay, so there's an image. I wanna actually go to the right one, which is video. I was shooting this on manual, so I just need to switch that out. We get to see another view of our studio audience. And our crew. There we go. So can you guys see this in the booth? This is no reflection? I hear the sound of dead silence, the nodding of heads. Okay, good. The other monitor is just used as a tripod. Is that focused? So, what does this allow me to do in the field? Get my two students here. There we go. It allows me a lot of things. First of all, with a lot of monitors, I can bring up information. I can bring up a waveform, okay? So this can tell me if, you know, part of my image is too bright or too dark, if I'm losing any detail because it's getting blown out. So if it's over 100, I can make sure my black levels are good. So this gives me the scope while I'm shooting, which is the same scopes that I will be using when I process my image, so I'm getting that information and I know that it's correct in the field. I can look at this several ways. I can look at this broken up into the red, green and blue. So I can see if there's a color cast. That's your RGB parade. And then I can also look at targets to see about saturation, so a lot of the same scopes I'm using, I would be able to access here and make sure that my image is good. The other thing that this allows me to do, and I'm going to go ahead and turn off that area. And these vary, you know, you can get $200, $300, up to $2-3,000 for these in the field monitors. But it does have something great that is not to do with color, but is critical to your shot, which is focus peaking, which is when something is sharp, you're gonna see, I don't know if you can see it from there, you'll see little red lines around it. It uses contrast. But I can also do zebras. So the nice thing about zebras, and you can do this in your camera. If I have overexposed an image, you will see those little zebra stripes. And let me actually go to manual and do that. This is how I work all the time. Here we go. Nice 1.8, and we'll go ahead and change our ISO. (mumbling) Would you mind telling us one more time the manufacturer of that monitor? Oh, absolutely. This is an Atomos Shogun, and Atomos makes a variety of monitors. And as a matter of fact, this is one of their higher end ones because I can actually record directly to here instead of recording in the camera. I record to an SSD card, and I'm gonna make a point about what that advantage is in just a moment. Let's see if we can get some blown out images here. So that's pretty blown out, and if I turn on my zebra striping... I mean, we can tell it's blown out, but it really will tell me what's blown out. Now, you can do this a lot of times in your camera and one of the things about doing it in your camera is you'll see there's a setup that says you'll want to see zebra's at 70%, 80%, 85, 90, 100, and there's different reasons to set those zebras at the different numbers, and as long as you know when the zebras come in, it's gonna help your shooting. That's something like, I know people who have borrowed somebody's cameras and their zebras are set differently. The three numbers that I like to work with: 90. That means I'm getting close to losing detail in my highlights because I'm about to get blown out, so I can just kind of get there and dial it up a little. 100 means I have peaked. Anything above 100, I am losing all the details in my luminance, in my whites. Why would I use 70? 70 is generally skin tone, so if I want to make sure the luminance values of a person's face are accurate, I will set it to 70, and when I see the zebra striping on their face, I know that I have balanced this image for their skin, and their face isn't gonna be too dark and it's not be too bright, so those are the big things I work with. Some cameras, depending on, they don't have zebras, but they do have the little black and white flashing areas where sometimes it's overexposed, so leverage those things. Yes? The 70% for skin tones, is that just for the whole range of skin tones? Like, would you and I have the same, like, 70%? So the question was, is the 70% for the whole range of skin tones? It will vary, and this is a crazy thing about skin tone. We'll see in our scopes, the color of everybody's skin for the most part is the same color. We just have different luminance differences, okay? So where the color is, is actually on the scope. Now, there are slight variations, but it's really within, you know, like, 5%. So skin color, you can easily match, and you saw basically the variations on that chart, but after that, it's just luminance. Some people have darker and lighter. So yes, you do need to take into account some people are darker skinned, some people are translucent, so, you know, if you know the person is translucent, you know, you might need to accommodate for that. But for their skin tone, if you set it for 70%, you should be able to see features and detail in their face. Okay, so even though two people next to each other, if you set it for 70%, you may look at one person's face, who's darker skinned, and they're not getting the zebras and the other person is, and then you may open it up for this other person and they get the 70%, now they're probably balanced, but this person is now glowing, you know. So that goes back into lighting, and that's where you start flagging things off. And I've had situations, especially, you know, I've done some sport interviews and I have people that are, you know, just like completely different complexions and I've had to flag it off so the transparent person doesn't get hit by the light and the darker skinned person gets the light that they need, because that's one of the things. You know, reality, our brains will automatically adjust. If I'm talking to two people and one has a dark complexion and one has a fair complexion, when I'm looking at the dark complexion person, my brain says, "Oh, open up your iris. You look like a person." I talk to the transparent person, it says, "Put on sunglasses." No, it says, you know, and it just, our brains adjust. But a camera can't do that, so you're gonna do that with light and you're gonna do that with color correction. Ideally, if you can get the best quality image, it's a good start, and then what you may end up doing is, that secondary color correction that I talked about earlier where you get the scene balanced, and then you may isolate each of the individual people and balance the luminance values of their faces and make one person brighter and make the other person a little bit darker so that the reality has been changed, but our perceived reality is what we expect. Which is, I can see the detail on both of those faces. Okay, so that's just some of the things, but the fact that I can get this information here, some of these monitors, if you shoot log, and I want to show you... Let's see if I can get this back to being balanced again. I think there's this crazy thing called auto. Yeah, there we go. Crazy thing called auto. So, and this is interesting. If you look closely, we can see the scene is balanced, but obviously, we're getting blown out, and that's because a lot of cameras have little overrides where you can say, oh yeah, I wanted to stop higher or stop lower, so there we go. But if I switch to log, and these are generally settings on your camera, they're called picture profiles. You might see them as that. And, so let's see there. So this is log. Where's my two people? There we go. And I don't know if you can see this image. You'll see it when we work with footage. It looks really flat and low contrasting. And if you look at it, you go, oh God, that's horrible. And if your client looks at it, you know, I just realized that I could be looking over my shoulder and see what you're seeing, and that's just, but I have the thing backwards. There we go. So it looks a little bit, well, actually it looks a little bit better here than it should, but once I put a LUT on it, once I put a correction on it, it will bring out the colors. It'll really pop, and I'll actually get greater dynamic range. And with some monitors, you can actually go in. Alright, a good shot of nothing there. That's what this clicker is for. Oh, if you use the clicker... Oh, no, no. No clicker. Voice of God. No, I was just using it as a stand. (laughing) Okay. So we go here. And some of these, you can actually apply the LUT to the image, and I don't know if you saw that, but it knows that I was shooting Sony S-Log2, so even though this is what I'm recording, I can make my monitor show me what it will look like once I throw a filter on it. So those are some things to keep in consideration when you are shooting an image. This is an expensive one. This is, I think, $1,500, but it does record, you know, it does so many fancy things, and it records, like, 4K at, like, super high resolution. This one's, like, $150, and it doesn't have a recorder, so this one, brand is a Feelworld. F-E-E-L-W-O-R-L-D. And, again, this will show me zebras. It'll show me contrast focusing so I can make sure everything is sharp. I can also go to specific colors and see a histogram. So you don't have to spend a lot, but you do have to spend a little. The last thing I wanna talk about in reference to calibration, and the way we're gonna be working this, we'll get a little bit into the color correction is the first half is, like, shoot smart. Understand the language. Second part is, let's make the magic work and actually do some correction. But if you don't know what you're talking about, it makes it harder to do. I said calibrate these. So these are generally pretty good to start with, but one of the things that you might want... Some people call these color monkeys. This one is an X-Rite. Actually this is the same brand as my color charts. This allows me to calibrate my computer monitor or one of these monitors so it is accurate, okay? It can look at ambient light, it can look at the light, and basically you put it right on your screen. Or if I was here, I would put it on the TV, and I'd plug it into my computer, and their software, and it brings up all these different colors, and it creates a profile that you can apply so that, when I look at that image, it's neutral. It's not too bright, it's not too dark. It doesn't have a color cast on it. This is extremely valuable if you're doing serious color correction, and these, I think, run about $150. So, I mean, you are spending some money when you're color correcting, but it makes a world of difference. And so that way, when I'm color calibrating using my computer monitor, my eye is not being fooled because I've changed the gamma or the luminance is off. So these things are very valuable in your setup. I wanna talk a little bit about the editing environment. Now, I will see if I can find my little tripod here. So that's shooting for easier color correction. Before we (mumbling) I don't have a slide for this because I didn't wanna go into such detail. When you're color correcting, it is important to keep some considerations in mind. We talked about making sure that your monitor is neutrally balanced. You also need to technically make sure your room is neutrally balanced. And I'm a realest here. I would say most of the people watching this course are not gonna go out and build a color correction suite in their house or their office. But just take some of this information and file it away for the little things you can do. When you look at a bright color or a color against a different color, your eye perceives it differently. So that's why a lot of times when you're color correcting or you're working like in Premier, you can really dim all the colors in your sequence, and you can just, you know, it's mostly a black background. Because you don't wanna fool your eye. And in real heavy duty color grading suites, it's pretty close to black and white except for the actual images that you're working on. Because otherwise your eyes adjust. The other thing is, if I'm color correcting, and I'm in a room that has a big, blue wall, and my computer is here, my brain is gonna start thinking that's whiter, and now when I look at my screen, it's gonna interpret those colors differently. My brain will interpret those colors differently. So it's very important when you color correct to try to be in a neutral room with daylight bulbs, okay, which match most of these screens, which are a daylight. It's like 6500 degrees. In an ideal situation, okay? Something neutral. Worst case scenario, if you're color correcting, have something neutral gray in the room, because every so often you need to reset your eyes. You know, you're looking at the screen, you're looking at the screen, and guess what? Remember how, at the beginning of this session I said you walk outside, you look at a piece of paper, it looks white? If you keep looking at an image on your screen, your brain will automatically color balance, and it will look normal. When in reality, if you look at your scopes, it doesn't. So every so often you need to look off and close your eyes and look at something gray and let your eyes and brain reset and then go back and continue grading your image. So that's one of the key things. Also, depending on if the light changes in your room, okay, you have a room, it's a beautiful picture window, and the sun is setting, the way the color is changing in the room will affect the way you perceive colors on the screen, okay? So, maybe you wanna pull the shades with some of these. For instance, with this one, if you leave this out once you've calibrated, it can look at the color temperature of what's happening in the room and can adjust on the fly, so if you're in different color environments with the same monitor, you can adjust the profile. So they're just things to think about. I can honestly I have sat on a plane with weird lighting and done some basic color correction to get a project out, and it was fine. I did use the scopes. But if you're doing critical color grading, these are just some things that you may wanna consider when doing this type of work. I'm gonna take a breath for a second and see if there's any questions from the world? Yeah, I had a question that came in here from Malia who wanted to know is there any way that I can replicate that process using my iPhone as a monitor? Are there any apps that could replicate that, or do you recommend buying a dedicated monitor? Depending on the iPhone. Really, one thing that's kind of cool is the latest iPad Pros. Apple was very stringent with the quality of the color that they put out for accuracy, and you have a better chance to neutralize, but in general, there might be some apps out there for the iPad Pro. The earlier iPhones weren't as critical for color balance. Probably the next generation, I think even the 7s, do give us a greater palette. Some things to consider when you're looking at, some computer monitors are not as good for color as other ones. Some are really designed for that, like the Hewlett-Packard DreamColor. HP DreamColor monitor. It's very color accurate, and can be tuned to be color accurate, and it has a deeper color space, and we'll talk a little bit about that but you'll hear terms like 8 bit color, 10 bit color. This is the number of colors that it can reproduce, and the higher the number, the more accurate the color is that's coming off of your screen. Because, for instance, a lot of these cameras can shoot 10 bit, 2 to the 10th, and they give you much more accurate colors. And if your monitor does not, only 2 to the 8th, it's, you know, 25% of the colors. Another question? I think we're good. Any questions here in the room? Cool. It's dangerous to ask questions. I go into long-winded answers. But long-winded, yet hopefully useful. Wanna talk, I think that's all the gear stuff that I wanted to talk about. I just wanna make sure that I don't... Sometimes I just go on these random tangents, and you guys are dragged along with me. And sometimes they're really useful. But yeah, we talked about your room, we talked about your eyes, we talked about resetting. I will mention this again, but while we're in the resetting your eyes, another good thing to do is when you're color grading, is to turn the correction off and on again. It, one, helps reset your eyes, and two, it kind of shows you where you've come from and where you are. And this is the danger of getting too deep into color correction is you can get 95% there really quick and then spend hours on that last 5%. And a lot of times, you don't need to do that. Probably about 8-10 years ago, I was teaching a color correction course for one of the video apps. It was before Premier had this great color corrector, and there were eight people in the room, and seven of them were video editors, and everybody's introducing themselves. They're like, "I've been an editor for 17 years." You know, "I've been an editor for this broadcaster "for 12 years," and like, everybody's going around, and I know this, this, and I know that, and then the last guy, very quiet, he goes, "Well, I'm not really an editor, "but I've been," and this was back in the day, "I am a Da Vinci colorist." Okay, and at the time, that was like, for a colorist, was like (angelic falsetto) and everybody in the class who was like saying this, they're going, "We're not worthy. We're not worthy." Because this is a guy who was using technology and had a skill that was amazing. And one of the most profound questions... The question wasn't profound, but the answer was. They said, "So, you know, you're color correcting a TV show. "How many shots do you normally do per hour?" And he goes, "I usually knock out about 400 shots a day." And we're like, whaaa? 'Cause, you know, people get so used to focusing on, like, "I gotta get this right." They're spending 15 minutes on each shot. Get close. You probably don't need to get perfect. If you're doing a theatrical film, yeah, it may be six to eight weeks of color grading, but for a lot of what we're doing, you just wanna get it so people don't have green faces, so skies are relatively blue, so they can see the image, and so that they match, but don't kill yourself. And that's why it's good sometimes to turn it off and turn it on again, the filter, because you can see how far you've come. It does reset your eyes.

Take the mystery out of color correction in Adobe Premiere Pro. Led by Abba Shapiro, this course will show how to use Premiere’s powerful Lumetri Color Effects panel. He’ll show you basic and advanced color correction techniques. You’ll learn how to read and use Premiere’s Video Scopes to better judge and correct your video; as well as how to use Premiere’s pre-installed looks, and create looks of your own, to stylize your video.

This course covers:

  • Understanding Color And Contrast
  • Reading Video Scopes
  • Basic Color Correction Techniques
  • How to use curves for fine-tune adjustments
  • Using the hue/saturation wheel
  • Legacy Color Effects
  • Creating A Look

Abba will show how to use masks to isolate your corrections to specific parts of an image and even put these corrections into motion with Premiere’s key framing and automated tracker tools.

Whether you need to fix the color in a shot, match the colors between two shots, or give your video an overall look - having a deep knowledge of Premiere’s color tools will allow you to get the job done and done right.

Software Used: Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2017



  • I've been filming/editing language learning videos recently and thought "The free tutorials on YouTube are cool, but I wish I could pay an expert to just clearly explain white balance/color correction to me. How to confidently read the scopes, etc". Lo and behold, a few days later this course appears out of nowhere! It delivered all the basic stuff I wanted, clearly explained. I particularly liked the encouraging advice - if you get 95% there (regarding getting the 'perfect' balance), be happy with that 95% and keep moving forward! Thank you!
  • In a few of his examples, what he color corrects, does not look like the final version that he shows at the end. (the clip that was pre-color corrected before he took the stage). I don't know if he was nervous and didn't remember what he had done, or something else, but I felt like he floundered a bit. I wasn't super impressed with his content. Sorry
  • This class was well organized and Abba explains the lessons in a friendly, easy to understand way. It's obvious he enjoys teaching.