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How do I match exposure/color of a single clip with two exposure values?

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Mike ImamHow do I match exposure/color of a single clip with two exposure values?
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 9:18:46 pm

Hi all,

Can't seem to find another post with this specific problem: I was filming a baby for a music video using my Canon T2i. While video was rolling, I did some fine-tuning and brought my shutter speed down mid-clip. I'm now in After effects and need to match both segments of the clip so the lighting looks even.

I thought this would be simple to do in post but apparently not - I tried playing with levels, curves, exposure and brightness/contract individually, but nothing seemed to be able to get the exposure/lighting to match, as well as bringing in the background details of the lower speed portion of the clip. Is there a setting that can compensate for this? Any ideas would be much appreciated as it's my only decent take (working with babies is unpredictable and challenging).

I figured this wouldn't be too tough as I know exactly the speeds I moved to/from, so I thought AE could easily reproduce my camera's standardized increments somehow?

Thanks!
Mike


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Dave LaRondeRe: How do I match exposure/color of a single clip with two exposure values?
by on Mar 15, 2012 at 9:34:24 pm

Yeah, I understand that shooting with babies isn't exactly a Day At The Beach. However, by adjusting your camera mid-stream, you painted yourself into a corner, as you now realize.

You can try AE's Color Stabilizer effect, and you can also give Color Finesse a shot; there are tutorials on its use here on the COW by Andrew Devis.

I can't guarantee either will work, but they may be able make it better. Not perfect, better.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Walter SoykaRe: How do I match exposure/color of a single clip with two exposure values?
by on Mar 16, 2012 at 1:33:20 pm

[Mike Imam] "I tried playing with levels, curves, exposure and brightness/contract individually, but nothing seemed to be able to get the exposure/lighting to match"

If you could post a couple stills of the two clips you're trying to match, you might get some advice on how to proceed.


[Mike Imam] "as well as bringing in the background details of the lower speed portion of the clip"

You could try using ReelSmart Motion Blur [link] with negative settings to remove motion blur, but I suspect you'll be better off adding motion blur to the portion of the shot with the higher shutter speed.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Walter SoykaRe: How do I match exposure/color of a single clip with two exposure values?
by on Mar 16, 2012 at 1:32:56 pm

[Mike Imam] "I tried playing with levels, curves, exposure and brightness/contract individually, but nothing seemed to be able to get the exposure/lighting to match"

If you could post a couple stills of the two clips you're trying to match, you might get some advice on how to proceed.


[Mike Imam] "as well as bringing in the background details of the lower speed portion of the clip"

You could try using ReelSmart Motion Blur [link] with negative settings to remove motion blur, but I suspect you'll be better off adding motion blur to the portion of the shot with the higher shutter speed.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Mike ImamRe: How do I match exposure/color of a single clip with two exposure values?
by on Mar 16, 2012 at 2:35:37 pm

Walter, Dave - thanks for the tips. Some feedback:

- I tried both Color Stabilizer and Color Finesse but neither seem to be doing the trick.

- Walter, as per your suggestion, here are the two stills:





The goal here is to get frame 1 to look like frame 2.

As you'll see in the pics, the shot is on a tripod and is static (no panning or camera movement whatsoever), which is why I feel like there could be a simple solution. It hard to see as there is heavy jpeg compression on the images, but a lot of the detail that is present in frame 2 is lost in frame 1 because my shutter speed was lower in the first frame. This is all very evident in HD and the difference is much more dramatic than it appears to be above.

One thought: since the background does not move and outside of a balloon there is very little movement in the shot, is there a way to simply "grab" the color/contrast/exposure values from frame 2 and apply them to frame 1? I.e. I'm looking for a way to copy and paste said values. There must be a way to do this, no? I'm not locked to After Effects as I also have Photoshop and Final Cut Pro in my workflow, but not sure if either of those would help at all (never mind that this is an AE board).

Any additional suggestions?

Thanks again!
Mike


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Walter SoykaRe: How do I match exposure/color of a single clip with two exposure values?
by on Mar 16, 2012 at 2:45:24 pm

If there's very little background motion and the shot is locked down, you might be able to layer shot 1 above shot 2, then draw a quick mask to reveal only the parts that change -- presumably the baby and the balloon. Add a bit of feathering to the mask to help it integrate better. You'll have far less color correction to worry about.

It looks like shot 1 is a bit blown out, so recovering those highlights may be tricky. If there's still a little information in at least one of the channels, you may be able to get some definition back through some creative channel swapping.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Dave LaRondeRe: How do I match exposure/color of a single clip with two exposure values?
by on Mar 16, 2012 at 2:51:36 pm

[Mike Imam] "...is there a way to simply "grab" the color/contrast/exposure values from frame 2 and apply them to frame 1? I.e. I'm looking for a way to copy and paste said values."

Sorry, not really. No matter what you use to make the change, you're going to have to eyeball it. AE has no clue how your camera was set up, nor is there a way to tell it how it was set up.

Furthermore, you're going to have to ANIMATE the changes you make to the movie over time from your camera's initial settings to its eventual settings... and the changes in that interim may look pretty goofy.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you face an uphill battle with no easy solutions.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Mike ImamRe: How do I match exposure/color of a single clip with two exposure values?
by on Mar 16, 2012 at 3:21:51 pm

Wow, not the best news, but I certainly appreciate the help from both of you.

Walter, I thought of the masking solution but wanted to see if there was a way to avoid laboriously keying out the background. Looks like I may be forced to do that as it's it's the only way to ensure the levels match perfectly - unfortunately I'm not a pro with color correction and it's quite a complex endeavor, so I'll have to dig into the skill set I'm equipped with.

Thanks for the support! If anyone thinks of any clever solutions in the interim please let me know.

Best,
Mike


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Walter SoykaRe: How do I match exposure/color of a single clip with two exposure values?
by on Mar 16, 2012 at 3:30:21 pm

[Mike Imam] "Walter, I thought of the masking solution but wanted to see if there was a way to avoid laboriously keying out the background."

There may be no need to laboriously key out the background. A loose, soft mask may go a long way.


[Mike Imam] "Looks like I may be forced to do that as it's it's the only way to ensure the levels match perfectly - unfortunately I'm not a pro with color correction and it's quite a complex endeavor, so I'll have to dig into the skill set I'm equipped with."

Is there an editorial solution? Can you insert some shot or effect in the middle of the clip to break it up so that the shot doesn't need to be completely seamless?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Mike ImamRe: How do I match exposure/color of a single clip with two exposure values?
by on Mar 16, 2012 at 3:41:15 pm

Thanks - will definitely try the loose mask technique first. I also thought of a possible editorial solution, but it's not elegant. Feels like I'm crowbarring it in - something I'm sure anyone who's done editing feels at some point. I'll see how the masking goes and use my editorial as a fallback...


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