We are going to teach you how to color correct and then color grade your footage, it’s going to make the world of difference not only to the way you edit, your footage, but to the way you shoot your footage, because if you understand what can be done In post, then, you know how to film better, on the day with the editing in mind, so let’s jump into the computer and break this down. If you take only one thing away from this video, it is this color correct before you color grade. Color correction concerns. Your saturation contrast and white balance adjustments. This gives us the starting point and the base upon which we can build our color grade, which gives us the look, be it that vintagey look or the blockbuster look whatever it is. But without our nice platform, our solid color corrected base. Color grading is more difficult, so let’s colour, correct first, this shot, you will see, is an example of good footage. We have well balanced exposures. It was captured well at the time. The colors are, however, extremely unappealing to look at because it was shot on the mavic air 2s in the d log profile, which is uncontrasty and unsaturated. So we need to fix that inside final cut pro 10 here. The first thing, i’ll do is add back some saturation. I like to do this first because it lets me see what colors i’m working with with that. Then we can make any white balance, adjustments, which is unlikely to be necessary if you’re doing drone footage during the day.
But if you want to warm it up or cool it down a little bit add or remove some blue from the mid tones of the image. With that done, let’s work on our contrast. Now we need an objective measure of contrast: that’s not influenced by the brightness of our screen, our eyesight, so on and so forth. So in final cut pro 10 here we will bring up the waveform on this chart. You can see the y axis scale ranges from 20 to 120.. Now zero is your black point and 100 is your white point? Everything else is shades of grey, essentially we’re color, correcting this image, we’re, not grading it so let’s correct our blacks down to zero and let’s correct our whites up to 100. You can see as it stands, that everything is squashed down in the middle somewhere between 25 and 75. You could say, because we have that flat picture profile, let’s stretch it back out in the exposure section of our colour board, let’s grab the highlight slider and pull those whites up to 100.. You can see that if we go too far, we clip out the whites and we go above 100. We don’t want that here. We’Ll do the same with the blacks and we’ll pull them down. So we can just see the fringes of that waveform touching the zero line. Look at the before and after we’ve just made saturation and contrast, adjustments and already we’ve got an image that looks so much better.
If your editing software doesn’t have a waveform, it might have a histogram, and it gives you similar information showing you black points, zero and white points at 100., it’s, not quite as indicative, but definitely use it if it’s available. We can take this process one step further and add some contrast within those black and white points that we have now defined. This can have a really strong impact on the look of your footage, we’re going to do this by way of a curves adjustment in the bottom left. We have our black point and in the upper right we have our white point. Those points correspond with the black and white values that we set using the exposure tab in our color correction tools. Earlier, the really cool thing with curves is having set those black and white points. If we make adjustments on that curve, we can adjust the contrast of the image without further modifying the white and black points, so we don’t risk further, crushing those blacks or blowing out those highlights. So we can target certain elements of contrast within those predefined, black and white points. Let me demonstrate on this shot here. We want to add some contrast to the whole image, so let’s grab the curve in the middle it’s, the middle of the mid tones. If you will and pull the curve down – and you can see that we are adding some contrast to the middle of the image – we’re lowering the midtones but we’re – not crushing our blacks or blowing out our highlights, those points are locked by our previous exposure adjustments.
If we feel in this case that we’ve brought the exposure of the shadows down a little bit too much, then we grab another point and just raise it ever so slightly but again, we’re not moving those black or white points that were predefined. Earlier. Look at the before and after and see the way the waveform jumps we’ve stretched out the contrast, but we have not exceeded 100 on the whites and we’ve not gone below zero on the blacks. Now we have a fully color corrected clip and, to be honest with you, you could stop there, but let’s take a look at some of the color grading tools to try and put a look on this footage within the color board. We can go into the color panel and we can modify the shadows mid tones and highlights if we pull one of those sliders downwards, then we remove the color. If we pull it up, we add the color. It can be an effective way of minor color adjustments. I find it a little bit clunky, so let me show you the hue saturation and luminance curves. These look extremely intimidating, but they’re. Really not here is the color. So here versus hue means we’re going to pick a color and change its color q versus hue hue versus saturation means we’re going to pick a color a hue and change its saturation and hue versus luma means we’re, going to pick a color it’s hue and we’re Going to change its brightness it’s luminous let’s, try and modify the color of the greens in this image using the hue versus hue.
So we click on that little dropper. Take it over to the image and click on the greens. There. You can see it’s selected three points on the hue versus hue line that’s our range of greens – if you like the middle point being the middle of those greens, grab on that and move it up or down, and you can see we can make some pretty dramatic. Color adjustments let’s just take the edge off those greens a little bit, make it a little bit more rusticy and you can see the difference before after that’s a color grade. Let’S modify the saturation we’ll use. The dropper again identifies a similar three points on the hue versus saturation line and we play around with the middle point increasing the saturation before and after look what happens if we use the hue versus luma we’ll select those colors again and for the sake of example, Let’S drag up that midpoint and we can brighten the green tones within the image. We can add another hue versus saturation color and we can target the colors of the sky. This time let’s grab the hue versus hue dropper, and actually, what you can do is select a range of colors if it’s more helpful. In this instance, we drag a little circle on the blue sky and surprise. Surprise identifies three dots on the blue section of the hue versus hue curve. So what i’d like to do here is go for that teal sky.
Look, i think the color looks nice, but the sky is getting a bit too much attention. So we’ll go down to the hue versus saturation curve. Similar process and we’ll just drag the saturation down a little bit for a more muted tone. It’S. Quite a strong look: i’m, not saying it’s the only way to grade this clip, but i like it, you know it’s a little bit different and it has a style to it. So now that you understand the process, let me show you how to grade this clip in seconds. Let’S add some saturation back, so we can see the colors in this shot. We go across to the exposure tab and pull our shadows down to roughly zero and let’s push our highlights up, in this instance a little bit above a hundred i’m, making a judgment here i’m allowing those clouds to blow out a little bit. So i can get a brighter exposure on the ground, let’s go into our color curves and add back some contrast within those predefined black and white points that we have already set and that’s our color correction done. It already looks great to me to be honest with you, but if you want to play around with the colors a little bit further, one way to do it is with a lot look up table. These have been all the rage on youtube for a while. Now we have our own luts that we use that target the colors specifically so, provided you know how to do the color correction, and you know how to stretch out that contrast, add back the saturation and modify the white balance.
If need be, our luts will modify the colors, so we require you to have a little bit of an understanding to use these luts, but you’ll get much better results as a consequence. So if you take aaron, for example, it makes a color adjustment within those predefined black and white points. It doesn’t break the image. There’S no point in going to all the trouble to color correct your image to then throw a lot on it. That gives you some ridiculous contrast and saturation adjustment that you have to unwind. To my mind, luts should be colour adjustments, not contrast and saturation adjustments. It took a few minutes to explain, but now you can color correct and color grade any footage, not only any footage from any drone, but any footage from any camera and any color profile for that matter. You know how to color correct first and then you can modify the colors a little bit for your grade if you so wish. This is something that we cover in quite a lot of detail in our drone cinematography masterclass. The last 70 minutes of that eight hour course is in a video editing workshop. Where we provide you with some clips, we show you how to edit, we show you transitions. Various tools and techniques to better edit, including the color correction and color grading, so do check out.