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It's much easier to shoot your video consistently than to try to balance the color in post production, Tom. In fact, getting all your clips to match in post production is nearly impossible!
It sounds like you're shooting your video in a controlled environment (your studio) and that you have control over the white balance on your camcorder. In a perfect world, you'd set the white balance for your studio and its lighting manually and then use the same settings every time.
Otherwise, do you have any idea why your auto white balance is giving you different color readings in exactly the same space with exactly the same lighting? It must be setting its white balance on something that is different.
If you must work with the footage you've shot though, it sounds like you've got two choices:
1) Manually balance your colors for each clip by either using the Image Control settings on the Properties panel or by using one of the Adjust effects -- as I said, a very challenging effort
2) Not worrying about it. After all, it's the content (this is a how-to video) your audience will be concerned with.
I think that I'm not experiencing color/hue shift as much as a change
in brightness between clips that were recorded over time.
Part of it is probably from breaking-down & re-setting up my "studio"
and likely not getting my lighting in exactly the same postion every
Luckily, I can place titles with black backgrounds between the clips
so that they are not back-to-back and more difficult to compare.
I wonder if I should focus on a gray scale or some other graphic to
set up my camera's exposure level prior to shooting?
Now, I've done a lot of pro-audio recording .. and the most frequent
gauge that I've seen used is A-B-ing the finished product with another
"album" that has known good sonic quality.
Maybe, that's the only reference I can use for video as well? Such
as a commercially produced DVD?
I thought that there might be a Premiere tool that could help ..
Yes, manually white balancing on a consistent image (such as a white sheet of cardboard) would ensure constant video tone.
Meantime, if all you need to do is brighten or darken your clips, that's relatively easy in Premiere Elements. Right-click on the clips on your timeline and select Show Properties. Then, in the Properties panel, open the settings for Image Control and adjust the brightness and contrast.
If the lightness differences between your clips is minor, this should work.
You might want to pick up either a Macbeth Color Checker, or Kodak Stepwedge. Both can help you do color correction and Levels, as they will give you a Black Point, a White Point and an 18% Gray Point. These are quite inexpensive and can be shot in your lighting setup at the head of each Clip.
Not sure exactly how the Color Correction in PE works, but in Pro, you can apply 3-Way Color Correction and then use the Eyedropper to set your three points. If going to DVD or broadcast, you might wish to adjust the IRE values to match.
I'll look at Color Correction in PE, but Steve will probably beat me to the punch with his knowledge of PE.
Sounds like an excellent suggestion, Hunt! Color correction is not one of Premiere Elements' strongest features.
I did my exploration and see exactly what you mean. I would miss my 3-Way Color Balance greatly. Most of the Adjust Effects are Auto, even Levels. No an Eyedropper Tool in sight. Hm-m-m, time to explore PE more.
Sorry to take this thread off on such a tangent. I think that one could use the sliders and their eyes (on a calibrated monitor) to get close, but my method would not apply. Thanks for the information and correction.
Thank you all, for the information!
I was unaware of these Color Checkers, but they do look like a
good idea. (I think NASA uses something like them for their
Mars probes & photographs!)
My color has been fine, and when I watch my videos on my computer
LCD monitor, they look good too.
It's just when I play back my DVD on my old-fashioned Sony 27" CRT
type TV, the video looks rather pale or light compared to network TV
or a commercial DVD.
So, I perceive my problem as one of reference(s) level.
I do have a nice test-target from:
I wonder if I could use it and manually adjust my Exposure level
to insure that I see all the gray shades in the gray scale by
manually adjusting my Exposure on my camera.
Another problem that I think I understand better is that in my
last shoot, I was getting day-light bleed through a window that
was causing my lighting to be too bright and I was getting some
"burn" in my images.
Of course, I don't think that Premiere can correct burn, 'cause the
data is just not there anymore :-)
But, Premiere looks like it can easily adjust for overall brightness.
I suspect, like audio recording, it's best to "get it right" on
the camera/microphone end of the project rather than in "post"?
Yes, it's best to get it right, rather than just say, "oh, I'll fix it in post." Stop by a fabric store and tell them you are looking for a heavy black cloth remnant. Tape that over the window.
Now, I haven't shot any product video, but spent a lifetime doing product still work. My studio was almost as dark as my film loading room. Everyone had to carry flashlights, so they didn't trip over any cables. When shooting, I wanted 100% control of all lighting. When working in the client's assembly plant, where there were permanent emergency lights, etc., I'd actually build a tent of black cloth over the entire product, going all the way back to the camera. One can never have too much black cloth!
While learning that PE did not have a 3-Way Color Corrector (still sorry about that), I did see an Effect "Match Color." I have not used it, but wonder - would that help in your case, where you have established a "perfect" scene, and then wish to "match" others to in with regards to density and color? Maybe Steve, Robert, Ann or some real PE guru can answer that question. I don't know that I have appropriate footage to test it out. Your's might be ideal, just to see what, and how well, it does.