Learn how to adjust the color and luminance in video clips, correct video that’s too dark or too light, or set the levels to meet broadcast requirements.
You can find the color- and luminance-adjusting effects in the Color Correction bin inside the Video Effects bin. Although other effects also adjust color and luminance, the Color Correction effects are designed for making fine color and luminance corrections.
You apply the Color Correction effects to a clip the same way you apply all Standard effects. The effect properties are adjusted in the Effect Controls panel. The Color Correction effects and other color effects are clip-based. However, you can apply them to multiple clips by nesting sequences. For information about nesting sequences, see Nest sequences.
When correcting color, it’s useful to use the Vectorscope or waveform scopes (YC Waveform, RGB Parade, and YCbCr Parade) to help you analyze the chroma and luminance in a clip. You can view a scope in a separate Reference Monitor that’s ganged to the Program Monitor so that you can check your video levels as you make adjustments.
For information about scopes, see Waveform monitors and vectorscope.
The following procedure is a general overview of applying the Color Correction effects. Read on to know more about making adjustments using the specific controls.
If the clip is already selected in a Timeline panel, you can drag the effect to the Video Effects area of the Effect Controls panel.
(Optional) Use the Tonal Range Definition control to define the shadow, midtone, and highlight areas in the clip.
Only the Luma Corrector, RGB Corrector, and Three-Way Color Corrector effects let you apply adjustments to a specific tonal range.
(Optional) Click the triangle to expand the Secondary Color Correction controls if you want to correct the exposure for a specific color or range of colors. Use the Eyedropper tool or the other Secondary Color Correction controls to specify the colors to correct.
All Color Correction effects have Secondary Color Correction controls except the Fast Color Corrector effect and Video Limiter effect.
Use keyframing to animate your color correction adjustment. This is especially useful when the lighting changes in a clip. See also Adding, navigating, and setting keyframes.
For more information, see Video Limiter effect.
The Fast Color Corrector and the Three-Way Color Corrector effects have controls to quickly balance colors so the white, grays, and black are neutral. The adjustment that neutralizes the color cast in a sampled area is applied to the entire image. This can remove the color cast in all colors. For example, if an image has an undesirable bluish cast, when you sample an area that should be white, the White Balance control adds yellow to neutralize the bluish cast. This yellow adjustment is added to all the colors in the scene, which should remove the color cast in the entire scene.
Select the clip in a Timeline panel and apply either the Fast Color Corrector or the Three-Way Color Corrector effect.
If you only want to affect one color or a specific range of colors in the clip, use the Secondary Color Correction controls in the Three-Way Color Corrector.
The Gray Balance control adjusts the sampled area to become a neutral gray and the Black Balance control adjusts the sampled area to become a neutral black. Like using the White Balance control, these adjustments affect all the colors in the clip.
You can also click the color swatch next to the eyedroppers and use the Adobe Color Picker to select a sample color.
The Fast Color Corrector and the Three-Way Color Corrector effects have automatic controls for making quick adjustments to the luminance in a clip.
Auto Black Level
Raises the black levels in a clip so the darkest levels are above 7.5 IRE. A portion of the shadows is clipped and the intermediate pixel values are redistributed proportionately. As a result, using Auto Black Level lightens the shadows in an image.
Applies both the Auto Black Level and Auto White Level simultaneously. This makes the highlights appear darker and shadows appear lighter.
Auto White Level
Lowers the white levels in a clip so the lightest levels do not exceed 100 IRE. A portion of the highlights is clipped and the intermediate pixel values are redistributed proportionately. As a result, using Auto White Level darkens the highlights in an image.
The Fast Color Corrector and the Three-way Color Corrector effects offer Hue Balance and Angle color wheels and a Saturation control for balancing color in your video. Color balance is just what its name implies, balancing the red, green, and blue components to produce the desired color of white and neutral grays in the image. Depending on the desired effect, you may not want the color balance in a clip to be completely neutral. Perhaps you want an intimate family scene to have a warm (reddish) color cast or maybe the scene in your crime documentary requires a cool (bluish) color cast.
When making adjustments with the color wheel and Saturation control, it’s useful to open a Reference Monitor to view the Vectorscope ganged to the composite video in the Program Monitor.
The color wheel adjustments offer the following adjustments:
Rotates the color toward a target color. Moving the outer ring to the left rotates the colors toward green. Moving the outer ring to the right rotates the colors toward red.
Controls the intensity of the color introduced into the video. Moving the circle out from the center increases the magnitude (intensity). The intensity can be fine-tuned by moving the Balance Gain handle.
Affects the relative coarseness or fineness of the Balance Magnitude and Balance Angle adjustment. Keeping the perpendicular handle of this control close to the center of the wheel makes the adjustment very subtle (fine). Moving the handle toward the outer ring makes the adjustment very obvious (coarse).
Shifts the video color toward a target color. Moving the Balance Magnitude circle toward a specific hue shifts the color accordingly. The intensity of the shift is controlled by the combined adjustment of the Balance Magnitude and Balance Gain.
The Saturation slider controls the color saturation in the video. Moving the slider to 0 desaturates the image so only the luminance values show (an image made up of white, grays, and black). Moving the slider to the right increases the saturation.
Although the following procedure uses the color wheel adjustments. The same adjustments can be made by entering numeric values or using the slider controls in the Fast Color Corrector and Three-way Color Corrector effects.
The Three-way Color Corrector effect lets you make separate adjustments to the three tonal ranges using individual wheels for the shadows, midtones, and highlights.
The curves adjustment of the Luma Curve and the RGB Curves effects, like the Levels sliders in the Fast Color Corrector and the Three-way Color Corrector effects, let you adjust the entire tonal range or just a selected range of colors in a video clip. But unlike Levels, which has only three adjustments (black level, gray level, and white level), the Luma Curve and RGB Curves let you adjust up to 16 different points throughout an image’s tonal range (from shadows to highlights).
Opening a scope in a Reference Monitor that’s ganged to the Program Monitor lets you view the luminance, chrominance, or both values as you make the curves adjustments. If you’re using the Vectorscope, there should be minimal green shading in the areas outside of the center of the scope. Areas outside the center define the level of color saturation.
Adjusts primarily luminance. Keep in mind that adjusting the luminance does affect the perceived saturation of the colors.
Adjusts both color and luminance.
If a clip is selected in a Timeline panel, you can drag the effect to the Video Effects section of the Effect Controls panel.
You can add a maximum of 16 points to the curve. To delete a point, drag it off the graph.
As you make adjustments, watch carefully for banding, noise, or polarization in the image. If you notice any of these, reduce the value you are adjusting.
Jeff Sengstack explains how to adjust color channels using RGB Color Corrector and RGB Curves effects in this lynda.com tutorial -- Premiere Pro: Color Correction and Enhancement.
The Fast Color Corrector and the Three-way Color Corrector effects have Input Levels and Output Levels controls to adjust the luminance in a clip. The controls are similar to the ones in Photoshop’s Levels dialog box. In the Fast Color Corrector effect, control settings are applied to all three color channels in a clip. The Three-way Color Corrector effect lets you apply the levels adjustments to the entire tonal range in the clip, a specific tonal range, or specific range of colors.
If the clip is already selected in a Timeline panel, you can drag the effect to the Video Effects area of the Effect Controls panel.
Black Output slider
Controls the resulting output of the shadows. The default is 0, where the pixels are completely black. Moving the slider to the right specifies a lighter value for the darkest shadow.
White Output slider
Controls the resulting output of the highlights. The default is 255, where the pixels are completely white. Moving the slider to the left specifies a darker value for the brightest highlight.
If the YC Waveform is displayed in a Reference Monitor, adjust the Black Output and White Output sliders so the maximum black and white levels of the waveform are within 7.5 to 100 IRE. This ensures that the levels are within broadcast standards.
Black Level eyedropper
Maps the sampled tone to the setting of the Black Output slider. Click an area in the Program Monitor that you want to be the darkest value in the image. You can also click the color swatch to open the Adobe Color Picker and select a color to define the darkest shadow in the image.
Gray Level eyedropper
Maps the sampled tone to a medium gray (level 128). This changes the intensity values of the middle range of gray tones without dramatically altering the highlights and shadows. You can also click the color swatch to open the Adobe Color Picker and select a color to define the medium gray in the image.
White Level eyedropper
Maps the sampled tone to the setting of the White Output slider. Click an area in the Program Monitor that you want to be the lightest value in the image. You can also click the color swatch to open the Adobe Color Picker and select a color to define the lightest highlight in the image.
Black Input Level slider
Maps the input black level to the setting of the Black Output slider. By default, the Output black slider is set to 0, where the pixels are completely black. If you’ve adjusted the Black Output to 7.5 IRE or higher, the darkest shadow will be mapped to that level.
Gray Input Level slider
Controls the midtones and changes the intensity values of the middle range of gray tones without dramatically altering the highlights and shadows.
White Input Level slider
Maps the input white level to the setting of the White Output slider. By default, the Output white slider is set to 255, where the pixels are completely white. If you’ve adjusted the White Output to 100 IRE or lower, the lightest highlight will be mapped to that level.
You can also adjust the Input and Output levels by scrubbing the underlined text or typing a value for Input Black Level, Input Gray Level, Input White Level, Output Black Level, and Output White Level.
You can use the Adobe Color Picker to set target colors in some color and tonal adjustment effects. Clicking a color swatch in an effect’s controls opens the Adobe Color Picker.
When you select a color in the Adobe Color Picker, it simultaneously displays the numeric values for HSB, RGB, HSL, YUV, and hexadecimal numbers. This is useful for viewing how the different color modes describe a color.
In the Adobe Color Picker, you can select colors based on the HSB (hue, saturation, brightness), RGB (red, green, blue), HSL (hue, saturation, luminance), or YUV (luminance and color difference channels) color models, or you can specify a color based on its hexadecimal values. Selecting the Only Web Colors option configures the Adobe Color Picker so that you can choose only from wheelbase colors. The color field in the Adobe Color Picker can display color components in HSB, RGB, HSL, or YUV color mode.
A. Selected color B. Color field C. Color slider D. Adjusted color E. Original color F. Color values
Displays all hues in the color slider. Selecting a hue in the color slider displays the saturation and brightness range of the selected hue in the color spectrum, with the saturation increasing from left to right and brightness increasing from bottom to top.
Displays all hues in the color spectrum with their maximum brightness at the top of the color spectrum, decreasing to their minimum at the bottom. The color slider displays the color that’s selected in the color spectrum with its maximum saturation at the top of the slider and its minimum saturation at the bottom.
B (in the HSB section)
Displays all hues in the color spectrum with their maximum saturation at the top of the color spectrum, decreasing to their minimum saturation at the bottom. The color slider displays the color that’s selected in the color spectrum with its maximum brightness at the top of the slider and its minimum brightness at the bottom.
Displays the red color component in the color slider with its maximum brightness at the top of the slider and its minimum brightness at the bottom. When the color slider is set to minimum brightness, the color spectrum displays colors created by the green and blue color components. Using the color slider to increase the red brightness mixes more red into the colors displayed in the color spectrum.
Displays the green color component in the color slider with its maximum brightness at the top of the slider and its minimum brightness at the bottom. When the color slider is set to minimum brightness, the color spectrum displays colors created by the red and blue color components. Using the color slider to increase the green brightness mixes more green into the colors displayed in the color spectrum.
B (in the RGB section)
Displays the blue color component in the color slider with its maximum brightness at the top of the slider and its minimum brightness at the bottom. When the color slider is set to minimum brightness, the color spectrum displays colors created by the green and red color components. Using the color slider to increase the blue brightness mixes more blue into the colors displayed in the color spectrum.
As you adjust the color using the color slider and color spectrum, the numeric values change to indicate the new color. The top rectangle to the right of the color slider displays the new color; the bottom rectangle displays the original color.
The Luma Corrector, RGB Color Corrector, and Three-way Color Corrector effects let you define the tonal ranges for the shadows, midtones, and highlights so you can apply a color correction to a specific tonal range in an image. When used along with the Secondary Color Correction controls, defining a tonal range can help you apply adjustments to very specific elements in the image.
A. Shadow threshold B. Shadow softness C. Highlight softness D. Highlight threshold
It’s best if you make the adjustments while viewing the tritone Tonal Range display of the image.
The amount of falloff depends on the image and how you want the color correction applied to it.
You can also define the tonal ranges by changing the numeric values or moving the sliders for the Shadow Threshold, Shadow Softness, Highlight Threshold, and Highlight Softness.
The Secondary Color Correction property specifies the color range to be corrected by an effect. You can define the color by hue, saturation, and luminance. The Secondary Color Correction property is available for the following effects: Luma Corrector, Luma Curve, RGB Color Corrector, RGB Curves, and Three-way Color Corrector.
By specifying a color or range of colors using the Secondary Color Correction, you are isolating a color correction effect to specific areas of an image. This is similar to making a selection or masking an image in Photoshop. For example, you define a range of colors that selects only a blue shirt in an image. You can then change the color of the shirt without affecting any other areas of the image.
The hue defined by the sliders can also be changed by dragging the upper or lower hue bands.
A. Start softness B. Start threshold C. End threshold D. End softness
Applies a Gaussian blur to the selected area generated by the Secondary Color Correction controls. The range is from 0 to 100, and the default setting is 50. This control is useful for softening the application of the color correction to selected areas so that it blends with the rest of the image.
Thins or spreads the edge of the selected area generated by the Secondary Color Correction controls. The range is from –100 (thin, sharply defined edges) to +100 (spread, diffused edges). The default value is 0.
If you need more control than the Color Replace effect offers, use the Secondary Color Correction controls in the RGB Corrector, RGB Curves, and Three-way Color Corrector. These controls let you apply changes to a single color or a range of colors.
To quickly remove color in a clip, apply the Black & White effect from the Image Control bin of the Video Effects bin.
If the clip is already selected in a Timeline panel, you can drag the Channel Mixer effect to the Video Effects section of the Effect Controls panel.
The Color Pass effect lets you isolate a single color or a range of colors. Adjustments are made in a dialog box showing the Clip Sample and Output Sample. You can also adjust the Color Pass effect properties in the Effect Controls panel.
If you want to color correct a single color or range of colors in a clip, use the Secondary Color Correction controls in the Color Correction effects.
The selected color appears in the Output Sample.
To animate this effect, use the keyframe features in the Effect Controls panel.
You can control the fine details of blurring, embossing, sharpening, and other effects by applying the Convolution Kernel effect or one of the convolution presets based on it. Convolution Kernel, and the presets based on it, overlays a matrix of numbers onto a matrix of pixels. You can set the values for each cell in the matrix using sliders in the Effect Controls panel, and you can use keyframes to change these values over time. To achieve a desired effect, it is often easier to apply one of the convolution presets and to modify it, than to apply and modify the Convolution Kernel effect itself.
Convolution presets are found in the Effects panel’s preset category in a sub-category called “Convolution Kernel.” In this sub-category, there are presets that all have “Convolution Kernel” at the beginning of the name.
If the clip is already selected in a Timeline panel, you can drag the Convolution Kernel to the Video Effects section of the Effect Controls panel.
Each of the settings that start with the letter “M” represents a cell in a 3x3 matrix. For example “M11” represents the cell at row 1, column 1. “M22” represents the cell in the center of the matrix.
The effect is applied to each pixel in the clip, one at a time.
You can use up to five lights to introduce creative effects. You can control such lighting properties as lighting type, direction, intensity, color, lighting center, and lighting spread. There is also a Bump Layer control for using textures or patterns from other footage to produce special effects such as a 3D-like surface effect.
All Lighting Effects properties except Bump Layer can be animated using keyframes.
You can directly manipulate the Lighting Effects properties in the Program Monitor. Click the Transform icon next to Lighting Effects in the Effect Controls panel to display the adjustment handles and Center circle.
If a clip is already selected in a Timeline panel, you can drag the Lighting Effects directly to the Video Effects section of the Effect Controls panel.
Turns off a light.
Shines light from far away so that the light angle doesn’t change—like the sun.
Shines light in all directions from directly above the image—like a light bulb over a piece of paper.
Casts an elliptical beam of light.
If you have more than one light, Center circles for each light appear in the Program Monitor. Clicking a Center circle displays the handles for a specific light.
Moves the light using X and Y coordinate values for the center of the light. You can also position a light by dragging its Center circle in the Program Monitor.
Adjusts the length of an Omni light or Spotlight. You can also drag one of the handles in the Program Monitor.
Adjusts the proximity of a Directional light’s source to the Center circle . A value of 0 positions the light at the Center circle and floods the image with light. A value of 100 moves the light source far from the Center circle, decreasing the light falling on the image. In the Program Monitor, you can also drag the light source point to adjust its distance from the Center circle.
Adjusts the width of a Spotlight. Once the light becomes a circle, increasing the Minor Radius also increases the Major Radius. You can also drag one of the handles in the Program Monitor to adjust this property.
Changes the direction of a Directional light or Spotlight. Adjust this control by specifying a value in degrees. You can also move the pointer outside a handle in the Program Monitor until it turns into a double-headed curved arrow , and then drag to rotate the light.
Controls whether a light is bright or less intense.
Adjusts the size of the Spotlight’s brightest area.
The Light Type determines which Lighting Effects properties are available. Make sure to click the Transform icon to display a light’s handles and Center circle in the Program Monitor.
Ambient Light Color
Changes the color of the ambient light.
Diffuses the light as if it were combined with other light in a room, such as sunlight or fluorescent light. Choose a value of 100 to use only the light source, or a value of –100 to remove the light source. To change the color of the ambient light, click the color box and use the color picker that appears.
Determines how much the surface reflects light (as on the surface of a piece of photographic paper) from –100 (low reflectance) to 100 (high reflectance).
Determines which is more reflective: the light or the object on which the light is cast. A value of –100 reflects the light’s color, and a value of 100 reflects the object’s color.
Increases (positive values) or decreases (negative values) the light’s brightness. A value of 0 is the default brightness of the light.
A bump layer in the Lighting Effects lets you use the pattern or texture from a clip to control how light reflects off an image. Using a clip with textures like paper or water can create a 3D-like lighting effect.