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It's not automatic. What Adobe has done starting with PRE4 is presetting all the effects with some arbitrary value. You just lucked out is all. But you can reset it just as you do with all effects, click the reset button, after highlighting the effect's header. The Color Match effect won't take effect until you click the Match button at the bottom, which is hidden away until you click the little triangle next to the word "Match."
It's beyond me to explain how you should use this effect or explain the components of color and such, but very basically the target eyedropper is for specifying what color you want to change, and the sample eyedropper is for specifying what color you want it to be. You can double click on the color square and it opens up the color dialog. You can use that instead of the eyedropper.
I may have the Target and Sample descriptions mixed up.
Here is the Premiere CS4 explanation:
Someone please confirm that the description of the source and target are backwards. I think the sample is what you want to adjust and the target is what you want it to be.
Robert, Thanks for the help. The explanation in Premiere is better than PE4. I've found the channel mixer effect is also very good for removing the green hue that sometimes is present in underwater video when the camera white balance is off. John