Managing a Shot’s Corrections Using Multiple Rooms

Color's interface for correcting and manipulating the color of your shots is extremely flexible. While each room has individual controls that are tailored to specific kinds of operations, some functions do overlap, and the Primary In, Secondaries, Color FX, and Primary Out rooms collectively contribute to the final appearance of your piece. How you use these rooms is entirely up to you.

At minimum, the grading of every project involves the following steps:

  1. Stage 1: Optimizing the Exposure and Color of Each Shot

    See Stage 1: Correcting Errors in Color Balance and Exposure for more information.

  2. Stage 2: Balancing Every Shot in a Scene to Have Similar Contrast and Color Balance

    See Stage 3: Balancing All the Shots in a Scene to Match for more information.

  3. Stage 3: Applying a Creative Look to the Scene

    See Stage 5: Achieving a “Look for more information.

  4. Stage 4: Making Modifications in Response to Client Feedback

    See Stage 8: Making Digital Lighting Adjustments for more information.

These steps can all be performed within a single room, or they can be broken up among several rooms.

Doing Everything in One Room
  • Excluding special operations such as secondary color corrections and Color FX, each of these steps in the grading process can be performed via a single set of adjustments within the Primary In room. In fact, for simple programs that don't require extensive corrections, this may be the only room you use.

    This is especially true for projects where the director of photography and the crew worked to achieve the desired look during the shoot, leaving you with the tasks of balancing the shots in each scene and making whatever adjustments are necessary to simply expand and perfect the contrast and color that you’ve been provided.

Grading Across Multiple Rooms
  • You can also distribute the different color correction steps outlined above among multiple rooms. This technique lets you focus your efforts during each stage of the color correction process and also provides a way of discretely organizing the adjustments you make, making each change easier to adjust later. For more detailed information, see Grading a Shot Using Multiple Rooms.

Grading a Shot Using Multiple Rooms

One common color correction strategy is to break up the various stages of correction you apply to a shot among several rooms in Color, instead of trying to do everything within the Primary In room. This can focus your efforts during each step of the color correction process, and it also provides a way of discretely organizing the adjustments you make, making them easier to adjust later once the client has notes.

This section suggests but one out of countless ways in which the different rooms in Color can be used to perform the steps necessary to grade your projects.

  1. Stage 1: Optimizing the Exposure and Color of Each Shot

    You might start by optimizing each shot's exposure and color in the Primary In room. As a way of prepping the project in advance of working with the client in a supervised session, you might restrict your adjustments to simply making each shot look as good as possible on its own by optimizing its exposure and balancing the color, regardless of the later steps you'll perform.

  2. Stage 2: Balancing Every Shot in a Scene to Have Similar Contrast and Color Balance

    After optimizing each clip, you can balance the contrast and color of each shot to match the others in that scene using the first tab in the Secondaries room. If you select the Enable button of the Secondaries room without restricting the default settings of the HSL qualifiers, the adjustments you make are identical to those made in one of the Primary rooms.

    Important: If you're using a secondary tab to affect the entire image, make sure the Previews tab is not the selected tab while you work. If the Previews tab is selected, the monitored image is modified by the selected Matte Preview Mode and may exhibit a subtle color shift as a result while the Secondaries tab is selected. Clicking the Hue, Sat, or Lum Curve tabs, even though you're not using them, lets you monitor the image correctly.

  3. Stage 3: Applying a Creative Look to the Scene

    Now that the shots have been optimized and the scenes balanced, you can focus on specific creative issues using tabs 2 through 8 in the Secondaries room. You might use these tabs to apply a creative look, or you could go further and make specific digital relighting adjustments. At this point in the process, you can also use the Color FX room to further extend your creative possibilities.

  4. Stage 4: Making Modifications in Response to Client Feedback

    Once your client has had the opportunity to screen the nearly finished grade of the program, you'll no doubt be given additional notes and feedback on your work. You can use the Primary Out room, which up until now has remained unused, to easily apply these final touches.

    Moreover, because each step of the color grading process was performed in a specific room of the Color interface, it will hopefully be easier to identify which client notes correspond to the adjustments needing correction.

    The steps outlined above are simply suggestions. With time, you'll undoubtedly develop your own way of managing the different processes that go into grading programs in Color.