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Saturday, March 19, 2011

••◊ 5D mark II in camera color correction

I had a thought the other day. Since the 5Dm2 codec is so fragile, why can't I just create a custom picture style that gets a little closer to final color correction? At the heart of all Hollywood color corrections are two tweaks. First, saturating skin tones and playing with lightness of skin - to make everyone have that freshly tanned at the beach look. Two, drive the backgrounds toward the complement of skin color (aqua? turquoise?). Unfortunately the Canon Picture Style Editor doesn't quite give you the flexibility of a light/mid/shadow HSL color correction, but it can do a little bit to get you there.

The first step for me was developing something that approximated skin color and also the complement color. The lazy man's way of doing this is to open up Synthetic Aperture's Color Finesse in After Effects. All I had to do was tweak a solid color until it matched the standard skin tone line on the vectorscope. Easy. Then it was a matter of taking that same color and rotating the hue down to the complement line. At each point I recorded an RGB value of the solid color.

Next, we take those RGB values and input them into the Canon Picture Style Editor application. Turn up the saturation on the skin tones and the background. It helps if the talent is lit with a slightly tungsten light in the first place so the background is already kind of green-ish blue. Below you'll see a picture with the before/after tweaks (click on picture to enlarge, as usual). Notice that Brooklyn is much more tan looking now and the background is more saturated toward the green-blue complement color of skin with just two color correction points. The picture was white balanced using her shirt.

So what's the downside here? Well, typically in Hollywood films the shadows are shifted from neutral toward the green/blue color. The Canon Picture Style Editor software doesn't really give you that choice because it doesn't do lightness specific tweaks, nor shifts from neutral to a color. However, what I did is limit the green/blue adjustment mainly to the desaturated colors so it doesn't drift too far into items more fully lit in the foreground (likely to be more saturated).

This clearly doesn't work as well as true color correction, but it is a low budget technique to possibly pre-color correct footage from the 5Dm2 when used properly. Just be prepared to live with the cooked in results.

1 comment:

Groupdmt said...

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colour correction

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