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Shortcut for color balancing many different talking heads on same light grey background?

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Douglas Frey
Shortcut for color balancing many different talking heads on same light grey background?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 2:04:03 pm

I recently shot one of the "No More" style of videos for domestic violence advocacy - many different talking heads on a light grey background. I used the same tungsten light set up and have perhaps 20 people appear. After editing, I switch from person to person with each delivering a line. However, I neglected to fix my camera's white balance, so it automatically white balanced for each new person according to their skin color, clothes, etc. Now with all different people spliced together the color of the background appears to change with each person. Is there a quick way to fix this? I've found myself to be rather inept with the color balancing in X as I do not have much experience with it. Many thanks!



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Oliver Peters
Re: Shortcut for color balancing many different talking heads on same light grey background?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 3:48:38 pm

There is no quick fix for this problem. I've had to fix a similar situation and it required a lot of painstaking work in Resolve to get right. And Resolve was the only color correction tool that I use that could handle it. Nothing in an NLE, and not Color, SpeedGrade, or Symphony.

You end up having to do tracked masks around all the people and then grade the background separately from the people (mask interior). Simply trying to correct for a consistent background means that skin tones will be skewed in very unacceptable ways. Resolve was critical because its 32-bit float processing let me do extreme corrections that weren't clipped at in-between stages.

My situation might have been worse than yours, since the producer wanted a consistent bright white background. They used different local DPs in various cities. At some locations the DP had lit the seamless paper with colored gels, making matters worse.

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Shortcut for color balancing many different talking heads on same light grey background?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 5:01:10 pm

[Oliver Peters] "At some locations the DP had lit the seamless paper with colored gels, making matters worse.
"


Ouch. Nightmare scenario Oliver. Hope the producer paid handsomely for their sins.

It's many days late and many dollars short, but I'll still mention that camera "auto" controls are only a blessing for true beginners. Fixed gain, iris and color balance, and then just tweet the lights for the individual subjects is the only dependable way I know of to do this kind of "frankenbite" multiple talking head shoots.

I feel your pain.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Craig Alan
Re: Shortcut for color balancing many different talking heads on same light grey background?
on Aug 15, 2015 at 1:37:31 am

Interesting, Bill. So much easier to adjust the exposure levels of your camera, after setting your lights and framing your shots, even manually. Not sure why it matters if the b.g. does not stay completely the same. And for your suggestions to work you would need to be very sure that none of the light on the subject spills on your b.g.

But I will keep this suggestion in mind if I ever need the b.g. to appear identical from shot to shot.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Noah Kadner
Re: Shortcut for color balancing many different talking heads on same light grey background?
on Aug 14, 2015 at 6:24:21 pm

If the BG is evenly lit enough you could try keying it out entirely and replacing with a single new graphic. But it greatly depends on what you're working with.

Noah

FCPWORKS - FCPX Workflow
Call Box Training


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Craig Alan
Re: Shortcut for color balancing many different talking heads on same light grey background?
on Aug 15, 2015 at 1:30:02 am

Doesn't grey appear too much within images of people/clothing?

Maybe you could do a rough mask around each subject but leave enough of the recorded grey so you don't have to worry about edges and bleeding and so forth. Or maybe every other shot rotate between two different color tones.

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Bret Williams
Re: Shortcut for color balancing many different talking heads on same light grey background?
on Aug 15, 2015 at 4:27:36 am

The auto balance in X seems to look for white and neutral areas (just like any white balance, manual or otherwise) does. Might as well highlight them all and press cmd option B. A long shot for sure but yea never know. Sounds like the perfect test for Apples hyped color matching engine that has NEVER done squat for me. But maybe something which auch a consistent bgrnd would work.


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Craig Alan
Re: Shortcut for color balancing many different talking heads on same light grey background?
on Aug 17, 2015 at 3:54:52 am

color matching. that actually is worth a try. and if FC's doesn't work then for sure a color correction app should do it. I assume you might have to go back over each clip and adjust the levels a bit based on what the matching does to each image but it should in theory get it within a close enough ballpark.

Bret, since you are not a fan of FC's color matching feature, what program would you recommend?

Mac Pro, macbook pro, Imacs (i7); Canon 5D Mark III/70D, Panasonic AG-HPX170/AG-HPX250P, Canon HV40, Sony Z7U/VX2000/PD170; FCP 6 certified; FCP X write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Bret Williams
Re: Shortcut for color balancing many different talking heads on same light grey background?
on Aug 17, 2015 at 6:55:02 pm

I haven't used any other color matching apps. Why don't you try it and see what happens? Maybe it'll work with such large areas being the same (wall). Also try auto balance that I mentioned and see if they all come out matching.


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