Basic Shot Matching
I have a simple question... I have tried google with no luck and I know there is a simple answer to this simple question. But please educate me.
I have an interview sequence I shot .R3D. It took much longer than expected and the daylight shifts a lot and the daylight balanced light I used began to create some strange green cast. Anyway... I'm having a God Awful time matching the shot.
What I need to know I have one shot that has been graded perfectly, I love the way it looks and I'm trying to match the other shots to it. This is the shot with the correct light,
Is there a way to use a power window to isolate a portion of the scene that6 is generally pretty neutral (from the nice shot akine that up with the same portion of the scene in the shot that's off and color balance those portions until the overall balance of the shot matches and I continue grading from there?
Is what I'm saying making sense? I hope I'm explaining myself right. I feel like I saw a video with someone doing this 2 years ago.
Well, you've basically described the essence of what color-correction is. The process requires you to match one shot to the next so they flow seamlessly. There's no automatic or magical way to do this (even Auto Match has its limitations) beyond time, skill, and experience.
Still frames and scopes, plus a calibrated monitor, will help quite a bit. Power windows may or may not be necessary depending on what's happening in the scene. But if it's a natural light change, then I would guess it affects all of the scene and not just the actors in it.
Thanks for the reply!!!
It's a very strange gamma shift towards the mid shadows that is preventing me from getting a good starting point so I can manage the grade.
If I can just find a way to balance both shots at some neutral point I feel like I can flow from there.
One important thing to remember is that Shot #1 (say, the interview subject) and Shot #3 (interview subject an hour later) are never going to be seen back to back. There will always be a shot inbetween them. The match does not have to be 100% in order for the audience to buy into it.
I'm reminded of the famous story about Michael Bay, who is very hostile to the idea of matching to still frames in color. His point (which is an interesting one) is that you have to see the entire scene in context, not as individual shots. Only the DP and the colorist are going to be aware if the two shots aren't precisely matched. As long as it works in context, it doesn't matter. As directors have reminded me before: "my audience does not have a still store. Move on." I'll still make it a 95% match if I can, but life changes, the sun changes, cameras change, things are never 100% perfect.
If the two shots are cut back to back, then and only then it absolutely has to match.
It's a narrative with a scripted interview... Actor took a REALLY long time to nail his lines. So... Yes they are back to back.
In that case, you gotta work and just figure out how to match it as best you can. If it takes windows and masks and keys, so be it. Crap happens.
Don't try to do this all in one node.
try this workflow.
You have the color you like...save that as a still
you now need to make all your later interviews match your initial interview before it had any correction added to it.
Go back to the shot you like, and remove all the correction from it.
save that as a still.
load up shot 2 and do a wipe between shot 1 and shot 2. Get shot 2 to match shot 1 (pre correction) You say the light is turning green, so try removing some green from shot 2. Get it balanced as best you can
when you think you are there, select your still from shot 1 coloured, and append it to the shot 2 node. Tweaking now takes place on the first node in that tree, or you could add another node, but it should be before your shot 1 appended nodes.
Thank you so much for the DETAILED and instructional response. I semi took this approach but not quite to the T as you described which seems to be an extremely more efficient way of doing it. These adjustments would be made pre contrast, right? The only issue, when judging the initial state and attemting to match it, it was a bit difficult because I was in RedLogFilm. My eyes were having a difficult time seeing the differences.
I really don't understand the Green tint and where it came from. It seems as though it had become reproduced once we lost daylight and used a 5600 softbox to kind or recreate it and just couldn't get it out without shifting other hues in the wood background.
I'll show you where I want to be and my best fixes, you can possible let me know a better approach I could have had in addition to your awesome nose one fix. The First is where I wanted to be, the next are my issues... The Node Tree got pretty complicated here.
I'm obviously not looking at this on your monitor, but based on the 4 grabs you've posted, i'd say you've done a hell of a job.
I'm looking at the red and white in the flag
the black in his jacket
the red in his tie (sure #2 is a bit dark...)
the candles in the bg
yes i see a bit of shift in the wood behind him, and on his face, but there is a point where you start obsessing.
As the colourist, you are staring intently at his face, and it has frustrated you, but the viewer doesn't get that opportunity. They see it once, as an overall view.
The cuts must go from cu to ws to cu no? They aren't jump cutting from wide shot to wideshot are they? I'm with Marc. The audience isn't going to notice the problems as long as the shot changes.
I was expecting to see a little green man on screen.
Have you split screen between the faces and tried one final node to reduce the green on his face with a window?
Yes, that is EXACTLY what I did with the last node. I didn't do split screen, just reference wipe back and forth. For some reason, every time I go into split screen, after selecting the correct shot, and grading it, when I playback my timeline it always seems to have shifted something else. So being frustrated I left it alone...
Shots are all cut between wide n close... No jump cuts at all... Also cut to a ton of b-roll narrative shots in between.
I isolated the skin and added a power window, then I tried to add pink with the gamma wheel, then push towards orange, then Id play around with those same color combinations in the opposite direction with the gain wheel until I got as close as I could without going FULL JERSEY SHORE, sometimes having to revert back to green when things got too intense. Finally when I got in the color ball park ish, I'd drop down the saturation, because every time the colors got way too intense. I still haven't learned how to properly grade skin tones.
But you and Marc have both eased my worries, hopefully once this video hits the web and iPhones fingers crossed that nobody will pay attention to the color shifts.
Once again, thank you for the tip earlier. I'm going to religiously use that as a grading technique matching shots before I do a contrast adjustment. That was a HUGE tip.
[Ashley Smith] " we lost daylight and used a 5600 softbox"
Sounds like the culprit.
So you are dealing with a mixed-temperature cross-light. If you do a lot of industrials there will be plenty of opportunity to reconcile 3200 practicals against 4500 fluoros with 6500 +/- 200 or so (daylight spill) depending on whether its a sunny day or miserable outside, or you ran out of set time before the end of the page.
The challenge is and always has been to drive the overall balance down the middle and then bend the rest to your will. If the green is that pronounced, then a cascaded node with a qualifier needs to be blended in. I would be careful with RGB ball-and-ring corrections, though, when it really sounds like a phase/hue deflection might pull the tone around far enough. Actually very similar to de-spilling a greenscreen.
There may be those who remember Fuji Reala negative stock, which was an attempt to minimize cross-talk with mixed-temperature sources (particularly fluorescent)... with moderate success. Although it always seemed counter-productive to me that their marketing always seemed like the image in question had almost been reduced to black and white. Yeah, sure, that's how you get rid of the green.
"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.