Sunday, August 16, 2009

A good week for learning

It's been a minute since my last post, but a lot has been happening behind the scenes.

As I mentioned on a previous post, I had used the Canon 5D MK 2 for a clients welcome video for the web. While this was easy to set up and use, it was not so easy to color correct. I'm a big fan of the perfect skin tones in both still and motion work, and when things are off, it really take away from the image or movie. To date I've seen a lot of footage that did not look real to me, while clean color can be achieved, it can be a long process in some cases.

Since the 5D does not shoot RAW motion, you don't have the advantage of using a RAW processing software to make changes and clean up your image without destruction, with RED, it is such an easy process. Using RED Alert is similar to using C1 Pro for still work. You first make sure you have a gray card in your image (and make sure it's in the key light source and not shaded), then bringing that info into RA, you place your square pointer on the gray and click on the WB (white balance tab). Your image will instantly shift to neutral, and all of your RGB values will be very close in value. From that point on, do not touch or move your color temp or tint sliders, those are set!

Now you can get creative because your image is neutral.

I've also been learning FCP (Final Cut Pro). For those new to it, there is a large learning curve, but there are many places with free tutorials. YouTube, Creative Cow, and Lynda.Com all have video tutorials on how to edit your project start to finish.

My one wish it that FCP had tools for color correction like those found in Photoshop. I had a background I wanted to clean up as pure white without globally effecting the entire image. While this is possible it has to be done one frame at a time, and let's see, at 30fps for a 2 min pieces that's three thousand six hundred frames. Well, that's not my idea of fun. Hopefully future releases of FCP will give us tools to help gray (white) balance an image easier.

In the mean time, if you are shooting a project with the 5D, light as well and as clean as you can. Shoot a gray card, under each light temp change, and keep it simple.


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