Tom asked about the colors in our recent tour vlog, so I decided to go through how it was color graded. I don’t like to watch videos straight from the camera, but I don’t want to spend a lot of time and over color our vlogs either. So I try to find a balance between the colored and the natural look.
The intro scene of the Dog’s Home trip was shot at Sello on a cloudy afternoon. Here’s a frame of the original footage.
As you can see from the frame, I shoot everything as flat as possible with my Canon 60D. Shooting flat ensures that no details are lost during the shooting phase. I have installed the Marvels Cine Picture Style and I use it with its suggested settings. It is a free picture style that makes the footage great for color grading. Installing it doesn’t harm your camera in any way, so feel free to try it out by following these instructions.
Footage straight from the camera looks very dull and it needs to be graded. First step is to add some colors to the image and I prefer using 3 way color wheels to grade videos. The 3 way color corrector in Premiere Pro sucks, but Red Giant’s Colorista Free is a great alternative for it. It has the same color wheels as the more high-end Colorista 2, but as the name says, it’s free!
This time I went for the teal/orange-look that should be familiar from every new movie, like Hunger Games. The key is to grade shadows towards teal and highlights towards yellow/orange.
Here are the Colorista settings I used for this clip. Quite often I use these kind of settings as a preset and fine tune the settings depending on the footage. Now the original footage was too flat so I darkened the mid tones a bit.
The colors are now ready. What I didn’t do on the vlog, but I would try out now is to add shadow/highlight plugin to get some more details to the low and high end. At the same time I add contrast on the mid tones so the video doesn’t become all flat again. Shadow/Highlight can easily destroy your footage completely, as it is very eager to produce halos and other kinds of artifacts, so don’t over do it.
Final step is to add an unsharp mask to get a more detailed image. The sharpening effect may be lost during compression while the video is exported from Premiere and uploaded to YouTube, but at least I did what I could.
Here are the settings for unsharp mask. I use this unsharp mask preset on all of our videos.
To see the colors in action, check out the vlog
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