This lesson is exclusive to members

Adobe Premiere Pro - Advanced Training

How to use a Color Correction chart in Premiere Pro

Daniel Walter Scott

Download Exercise Files Download Completed Files



We’re awarding certificates for this course!

Check out the How to earn your certificate video for instructions on how to earn yours and click the available certificate levels below for more information.

You need to be a member to view comments.

Join today. Cancel any time.

Sign Up
Hey there, in this video we're going to get a little bit fancy with our color card checker. So use this one, use the grays as well, to help with tone. We'll use it to help get consistent skin color, and a bit of consistency across different footage, let's jump in. 

So the files we want is called 'Color Card 01' and '02', bring them in, you'll notice that I use the word, I spell the word color with a 'u' sometimes, without it it's tough, where I'm from, where I grew up, where I live now, is all, these 'u's in 'color', but everything in Adobe doesn't use it, and so keywords, I need to be sometimes without the 'u', sometimes without, it's a bit of a mess, but that's why, people correct me about my spelling all the time, online, but anyway, that's why--

So we're going to start with, actually let's dump all of-- both of these into one single one, they're the same Frame Rate, they're the same 4K size, so we can dump them straight in there. So this one first, that one, second, and there's a little color book. In all honesty I have only just started using this, and it is really useful. So if you are an advanced user of this, and you're like, "Hey, that's not exactly how that thing gets used," I've done my research, I'm using it, but there's, I'm the most experienced with these color cards, but they're worth going in here, because yeah, they're really--

I'm finding them really useful. So basically what you need to do is, if you're in charge of filming, is to get the talent, this talented man to wave them around, can you notice that I'm kind of like jiggling them, let's play it through, watch. We're going to do two things, we are going to decide, we're going to get the white balance right, and just in the shot, the skin tone, we're trying to get the colors right just in one shot, but we're also going to try and match shots. 

So it's a different part of my office, different lighting, I'm going to try and match these two in terms of colors, which is always tricky. So what I want to do is try and get it, so that-- just kind of using my left and right arrows, remember, to move frames, I don't want it to be all shiny, let's use that shortcut, the shortcut, shortcut doesn't work, unless you've clicked on the Program monitor, to move the hand, and I'm just using my left and right arrow. That is not good because there's dark at the top, and it's light down here. 

So we're trying to find a way where it's not reflect-- so the bad, bad, bad getting better, you're looking for a consistent, that looks pretty consistent to me. It's consistent across the whole thing, so that's what you're trying to do, you're trying to find something-- now I am in the habit of not waving it enough, I think that looks pretty solid around the outside. So I need to get in the habit of doing that better, so what we're going to do is, I'm going to mark this, so I'm just going to hit my M key on my keyboard, you can see, it's marked it, on the clip. If yours ends up here, it doesn't matter, it depends, if you have the clip selected or not. 

So we've got a marker there, so 'M' on the keyboard, and yeah, just so we can go back to that spot, and if you do nothing else, all you do is use the White Balance Eyedropper, and we know that's white, because the person who sold it to us told us it's perfect white. We can click on that to get our white balance, and what we might do is, let's open up the Scopes for RGB, to see whether there's an adjustment here, so let's have a little look. 

You keep your eye on this part and wait, I'm going to reset it, I've already reset it, ready, steady, can you see, just a little shift and balance. So this is, like I've set up this camera okay, so there's not a big change here, but there's a bit of a shift from red to blue now, perfect. If that's all you do, that's fine, and what you will find is, gray is actually, probably a better color to use the white balance, even though it's white balance it's probably better to use gray, and, it's more, like the problem with white is that, it can get clipped out, can you see there, it can get smooshed at the top, the outside of range, and what I mean by that, let me show you.

It's got whites, the whites can kind of blow out right, you can go like this, and there's no more whites, but there's still a gray in there, look at them, still hanging in there, just, because there's a little bit of gray, but whites have all gone crazy mad. So that's why gray can be a lot more useful. Let's reset that. 

That's why it's the big giant gray one. It's also very big and giant, and gray because-- what you should be using this card for, is calibrating your camera, your camera will have a way, well, depends on how fancy it is, but you'll have a way of setting the kind of the grays, there'll be an option in here, and you can tell it, that these are different percentages of grays, this is 50% gray, so you tell your camera this is 50% gray, for sure-- and your camera will make adjustments based on that. 

I very rarely do that, I should, I end up using a lot more in post. which one am I using? Well, I'm using a company called, it's called Data Color, this one's called the Spider Checkr, with no 'e', 24. I think the 24 is 24 squares, you can get different sizes, there's, my simple research, there was kind of two companies, this one called X-Rite Colorchecker, and this Data Color Spider checkr. They have lots of other tools for calibrating monitors, and doing sorts of, all sorts of other fancy stuff, but this is a good kind of way to get started into color correction. 

They're not super expensive, you can see here, they are kind of expensive for a colored bit of paper, but hey, they're not going to blow the bank, like I think my one was about, I can't remember, I think I paid about 50 Euros, it's about 40 something US Dollars at the moment, so they're not ungettable, and do you need them? No. I was hoping this was going to save all my problems, but it helps definitely. So that's the easy way, just use the Eyedropper tool, that's a great way of doing it, let's get a little fancier. 

So here, I'm going to make a mask around it, because all my, you know, my Scopes are showing me everything. What I want to do is isolate just this part. So I'm going to go to my 'Effect controls', find my 'Opacity', I'm going to do a big old rectangle in the middle, it's in the wrong place, drag it up, no, that's dragging my whole thing. It's funny, all Adobe products are amazing, it works on Artboards, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro. What am I doing? It's just moving the clip, back to 100%, as my 0 key, it's because I'm trying to drag it with the Hand tool. Don't drag it with the Hand tool, Dan. 

Let's see what we've got, yeah, it's fine. So drag it with the Selection tool, click on your 'Mask', I'll leave this in there because these are tricky to use. Now it's working, so I'm going to get it close, I'm going to zoom in, '+', '+', '+', 'H' for the Hand tool, that's all right. Now we've made it better but not perfect. So back to my little arrow tool, Selection tool, and I'm going to grab this, my finger is going to be in the way, it's hard to get good help. So with this one here I'm just going to go, my pencil, add a couple of extra points for-- let's try and fix that, try and grab a bit of that out of there, cool. 

So I'm isolating this, and let's have a look in the Scopes now. Can you start to see, see the little dots here, you can start to see that I've got pure white and pure black, let's make it bigger for you, let's turn off the-- RGB Parade. So that should range from about the top to about the bottom, it's pretty close. So my exposure there is actually pretty good, I don't need to do much adjustments, but that's what you can use. You can look at these and they should step along in even increments, don't try and do that, if you're trying to do this, and you're like trying to--

Can you see, I can adjust this to try and get them to be evenly spaced. It doesn't work that way, like the way the color information and the Bitrate works is, it's not a way of just going, instantly force them to be, 100, 80, 60, you can just see, whether it's slumped to one side, and make some adjustments, and just be another aid to help out. The reason is, because you can see, that's, that mid gray there, actually I probably need this one as well. I'm probably missing the middle one, I am, there he is there. Look, he just appeared, so there's my mid gray, so he should be mid in what we're doing here. 

So where are my middles, let's look at maybe the, remember the exposure can shift big chunks like that. Anyway, that one there is useful-ish, is a kind of a visual. Where I find it most useful is skin tones. So let's turn off our mask, click on it, delete it, and let's play along in a little time here, till I turn the card around. So it's good to turn both these around, I'm going to use my left and right arrow, find something that looks good, remember, holding 'Shift', and using your left and right arrows will do big chunks, so you can kind of get it close. I feel like somewhere in there, looks good. 

Again, bloody talent, holding on to the edge of the card, covering up this here, the skin tone. So this is like 'a' skin tone, not 'the' skin tone, light skin, dark skin-ish, it's more that you can be consistent, because what I can do now is I can take this shot, and instead of trying to use my faces, there's so many different kinds of textures. I got a bit of a tan on my forehead but not under my chin. So there's-- I have different tonal ranges, you can use this for consistency between this, between different talent. 

You might have somebody who has a darker skin tone, lighter skin tone, it means that you can just use this card, for generic skin tone, and use that to match it, or this one here. So we're going to use that technique we looked at before, we're going to do the same thing, we're going to grab our little rectangle. I'm going to zoom out, click in here to zoom out, and we'll get close. I'm going to add a little marker down here as well, 'M' key, so I can come back to it, get close, get you close. 

It's really hard working this far out, that's why I did that little interlude in the last video. It's a little bit tough to-- such a Pro. We're getting in there, we can do this. It just zooms to the center of the clip, and that's just Premiere Pro, there he is there. Is this close enough? I feel like it's close enough. So don't hold it right on there, try and hold it on the edges. So the nice thing about this now is we can go back to my Scopes, and remember, we can use my Lumetri Scopes, and just see where this color is. 

Now my one hasn't worked yet, get reset again, I find, clicking this and this seems to do it, and you're like, "Woo-hoo," look at that. It's bang on, so I don't need to make-- if I'm looking at my skin and going "Oh, is it too rude, is it--," am I someone like-- I can look at this, and go, "Ah, it's fine," like it's right along that line, nothing to worry about, and move on. It's a way of checking, and if it's wrong, back to our kind of Temperatures and Tints, and we can start kind of adjusting it, to kind of get it a little bit closer. So I'm going to reset both of those. 

Now what's probably the most useful about this card, is consistency across different shots. This one here-- I move cameras around, I move lights around, yeah, there's different shadows. So what we can do, just a simple way, is back at this one, we can say, we've used our-- actually, we've done our white balance, with the-- what's wrong there? I can do my white balance there, so I feel like it has done something, was quite warm, it's kind of neutralized it. Let's go over here and let's find that same card, using the colored one in this case, and I'm going to use the white. 

Now my trouble here is I didn't use a particularly-- I didn't angle it the right way. So I need to angle it down so it's not catching the light so much, but the white here looks pretty good. I'll use my Eyedropper tool and click on this one. How much changes has it made, does it look-- so I'm going to add my marker there, 'M' key, and yeah, there to there, I don't know, do you feel like it's consistent here? I do. There's different, it's a different shot, but we can get in closer with our masks, but that's a nice quick way of matching shots. 

Now this brings me to a point about, we're going to get into shooting raw footage a little bit later, but in this, at the moment, can you see, at this point, on this Grey card, let's zoom in, let's click in the box, hit '+', can you see what's going on there, all these boxes. So this is like some of the drawbacks, the huge drawback, when you are color correcting, already compressed footage. We talked about it earlier, mp4s or h.264, is a codec, that gets used, because it's really small, to get to that size, to give you a nice small size, it has to do this kind of clumping of color blocks. 

From a distance, we can't tell it, normally, but because this is such a strange color, this kind of mid gray, it's really obvious here. Happens with gradients as well, without it, it all looks fine. If I get rid of all of this, that looks like a perfectly good image, and that's the benefit of an mp4 or the h.264 codec. It makes everything look fine, and keeps the file sizes smaller. 

So the exact same file in say Prores, as a codec, I've got it here on my machine. The reason I can't give it to you is because it's nearly a Gigabyte, just for that one short little thing. So I'm going to add it, let's find the similar place, you can see the grays, the difference between-- I'm going to add a marker between that gray and that gray, it's night and day, not sure if there's a pun, but anyway, you can see the bit depth and the compression, is not as it-- not as hardcore, so we can see a lot more of this. This is me shooting on a camera with-- I'm not--

I haven't got my camera maxed out, it's not on, like as good as it can do, because I'm, you know, I'm shooting for a specific thing, I'm shooting for YouTube often, so you can-- this is when you're like, "Oh, why is it like a lot bigger file size, and it looks the same?" It kind of looks the same, but there's a lot more information in here. So when I'm doing my kind of white, clicking the grays in here, there's a lot more information, a lot more accurate information, whereas obviously doing it here, if you pick the wrong block, you're going to get a very different look from image to image. 

So that's something you'd be mindful of, if you are using this color card, and you're using h.264 or some other highly compressed codec, you're going to get mixed results. So quality aside, let's pretend we've got really great footage that we're working on, what we're going to do is, I'm going to show you-- we're going to use this Luma Scope again, and it appears, to show you how to work with colors. So cross shots, so in this case, let's say I got here, see these colors here, all of these, cyan, magenta, yellow, red, green, blue, these all appear here in my--

Let's turn the waveform off, it all appears here in my Vector scope. So see these dots here, this is a good way of knowing whether your image is in the right-- the color correction is right, the blues are meant to be blue, the yellows are meant to be yellow. So what we can do here is, we can use the same trick, use our, what are we going to use, Pen tool, I'm going to go, bang, that was terrible, close enough. So do that one, it's not showing up, two masks going on, let's delete the first one. 

So my Mask 02, I'm going to get it, so that it is, I'm going to zoom in a bit, '+', '+', '+', Hand tool, '+' again, Hand tool, we're going to get in the corners here, let's grab my Selection tool, again, this is not probably the best angle for that card, because it's catching a bit of the light, but you'll kind of see what I mean. So I'm going to do that, I'm going to probably get rid of the feather, I'm ready for the Vectorscope, that hasn't updated, check it out, look at that. 

So that guy there is showing me, the reds are heading towards red, which is perfect, the magentas aren't quite right, the blues are perfect, the signs are a little off, and the green's a little off. Now in this case, because I'm not holding it the right way around, I am not going to rely on this heavily, so be careful when you are filming, to make sure that you do get a great shot to pick from, and what it's really good for is, you can then go on to another clip, make another mask. 

So let's do that, I'll speed this up. So you can see, this one, reds are good, magenta's a little bit off, the blue, the sign's a little off, so at least they're consistent. So consistency is what we want more than, complete 100% scientific accuracy. I'd probably be looking at moving the yellows, and adjusting the temperature a little bit. It's a bit of a balance, like I've found, it's very hard to get these all exactly perfectly done, mainly because of my recording abilities, or at least holding the card, but you can start to see, at least they're consistent. 

Yellows are maybe a little bit saturated. Now this Vector scope here, this is the limit, so you shouldn't go past this, anywhere inside of this is great, in terms of richness, but you can kind of see in here, the yellow is the strongest color here. So it is as far as it needs to go, if it ends up way out here, you've got a problem, you need to back off whatever that color is. 

So that is it for using the Color Checker Card in Premiere Pro, to kind of help do the tonal ranges, with the grays, and whites, and blacks. It's also really useful for a consistent skin tone, and helps you get some consistency across multiple shots. All right, on to the next video.