Over correction - Color correction

arcorob wrote on 10/6/2004, 2:58 PM
Okay, I am stumped.

I follow a pretty standard process for processing wedding video's. Capture , edit, color correct and render

The color correction (and matching) I do using an external monitor - Sony Trinitron Super fine pitch 550 line 8 inch , just monitor, no sound. I use step by step NTSC setup colorbars to setup the monitor.

So I do my process and many times I find myself doing ALOT of color correction. But I just took some of the raw tapes and copied out to a VHS . As I watched them, they did not look as bad as what I had to color correct. Most of the ones I correct are too dark or too red. Maybe washed out, etc.

So what am experiencing here ?Is my output to the monitor from vegas misrepresenting what is actually there. The bottom line is the final result is always pretty good but many times far off from the original which as I am seeing is not that far off.

This bothers me because now I feel I need to rethink my whole process. Thanks in advance..This board is awesome...


farss wrote on 10/6/2004, 3:12 PM
For color correcting it's not just having a good monitor. The environment in which you use that monitor is just as important. You're making subjective evaluations based on what reference, when you look at the monitor what is your white reference. Even the color of the furnishings in the room will have an influence. And then you need to factor in the 'drift' in YOUR 'calibration'.

Obviously you want to get it as 'right' as possible but I'd suggest more importantly focus on getting it the same. Apart from gross errors if every clip in the one video is slightly too blue or whatever isn't as much an issue as differences between the clips. The human eye/brain compensates all the time, it tends to be more difference driven and it gets very difficult with video, even if you get it 100% 'right' how the viewer sees it is determined by their viewing environment.

musicvid10 wrote on 10/6/2004, 9:13 PM
I did precise color correction (stills) for a living for almost fifteen years. The biggest "gotcha" is staring at the video image too long. The eyes begin to adjust to the correction and then you want to correct more. These are practical, time tested rules. Following them AND developing your native abilities over time will insure success:

1) Keep a daylight balance in your work area. Just ordinary flourescents, or worse, incandescent will not work. Pay the extra for true daylight tubes. The worst thing you can do is work in a darkened room with a monitor. That way the eyes have NO reference and drift like a ship without an anchor.

2) Set up your monitor profile exactly and recheck it every two months minimum. If you are unfamiliar, there are many tutorials and tools available to help you. Degauss your monitor screen weekly.

3) Glance at your image, don't stare. Make a snap judgment (.xx cyan, .xx green for instance) and stick to it. Know your colors. Look away from your monitor often. Apply HALF the correction that you determined. Put it away. Check it again in 4 hours.

4) After 1-2 hours work, take a break. Get some food (yes, blood sugar affects color vision). The eyes tend to want more and more red in the image as the day goes on. What looks great to you at 11 pm will always look dark and red (your words) the next day.

5) Good lighting and careful white balance at the shoot will save you tons of time later (especially if you don't have to rerender). Even if the raw footage looks a little off, it won't look that way to your client. And it won't look off to you when you look at it again in six months. It takes that long to develop objectivity toward your own work. Believe me on this.

6) If you start playing with curves, write down every change you make and render a test for each. Look at them tomorrow. Its easier to go the wrong direction or too much in the right direction than get it right the first time. Making individual gamma corrections involves a huge learning process. Shooting a grayscale at the beginning of each scene can be a big help here.

7) Color correction is like fresno peppers. A little goes a long way.
Grazie wrote on 10/6/2004, 10:04 PM
musicvid - a most excellent and intelligent response. A lot of sensible and relevant information. Thank you - Grazie
musicvid10 wrote on 10/6/2004, 10:12 PM
You're welcome, Grazie. After spending over a decade sitting in front of a VCNA (Video Color Negative Analyzer), I am glad my experience can benefit a few here in the vid biz.
Grazie wrote on 10/6/2004, 10:57 PM
Oh yes, I come from a background of ophthalmologists - my Father, Sister and Brother -in-law, all opticians. . . I've had eye care drummed into my mind from an early age . . . your comments and wisdom about the same are truly apposite.

Sitting for too long in front of these screens is also not good for my body's musculature too. Exercising away from the "chair" is most important. Believe it or not, we were not designed to do this work.

Best regards,

Graham "Grazie" Bernard
musicvid10 wrote on 10/6/2004, 11:14 PM
I had to look up the word "apposite."
Erk wrote on 10/6/2004, 11:43 PM
Musicvid, that's great advice. Substitute "reference tracks" for "daylight balance," and its the same approach to audio mixing that I've had the most success with. These digital tools are great, but you can definitely kind of "fall in" and get lost without a trail of bread crumbs to keep you honest....

musicvid10 wrote on 10/6/2004, 11:51 PM
"but you can definitely kind of "fall in" and get lost without a trail of bread crumbs to keep you honest...."

To me, that trail of bread crumbs is "Save Early, Save Often." By the time I am satisfied with even a minimal project I usually have 7-10 saved veg's that I can go back to if I decide I don't like my latest revelation.
arcorob wrote on 10/7/2004, 8:08 AM
You folks are awesome..great advice.

My strongest goal is the matching, so I hear what your saying about that being most important.

I have experienced that ADRIFT part or EYES fooling me. The other day I had a perfect scene. Happened to stare at the regular monitor for a minute or so with a strong blue field and the next thing I know, when I loooked at the SONY monitor, the faces had a PINKISH tinge !!! Arggg. I thought "what did I touch". I walked away, came back and they were flesh tone again... I realized (and have read about ) surrounding colors, etc.

Its not fair. You calibrate your monitor and software, then your brain and eyes are allowed to drift. I think I will get that Color Implant CHIP from Newegg.com I have been eyeing...LOL

Thanks for the help !! I will look into the daylight bulbs because I certainly have a mix of situations in the area I work. I go from Daylight to florescent, to incandescent to no light...NOT GOOD.