Showing posts with label Canon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canon. Show all posts

Color Correcting "This Sacred Place"

The setting was stunning: an old rural church in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. Built in 1883, the Old Lynn Church had hosted many performances over the last 100 years. But for the last two decades, it was home to some of the world's most renowned singer-songwriters. 

This Sacred Place: The Story of Old Lynn Concerts tells this part of the Old Lynn story. 

As a concert venue, the sound is spectacular in this church. There is something warm and comfortable about the way the sound envelopes the audience, bouncing here and there off the walls and the tin ceiling, providing a pleasant reverb. In terms of lighting----well, that proved to be a bit of a challenge. This was apparent especially as the light from the early evening that was coming in through the stained glass began to change, darkening the room. 

Lighting is crucial to any endeavor at story-telling; a live concert is no different. "White Balance" is necessary to adjust the camera's sensors to the light in order to train the processor to adapt for the conditions. This usually involved pointing the camera at a white-colored board and pressing a button to set the color temperature to its most natural look and then adjust manually as needed. Color is measured by temperature --- not too different from the "daylight" bulbs and "soft white" bulbs that you buy for your fixtures. They are graded by temperature in the form of Kelvin (K). A "soft white" bulb is about 2700K, whereas a "day white" bulb is around 5000K. There is more blue in daylight and more red in soft white. 

Prior to the start of the show, all three Canon cameras used to film This Sacred Place were white balanced for the conditions at roughly 6 pm when sunlight was still streaming through the windows. The light from the windows was more natural, thus blue-light heavy. The artificial light that lit the stage and the room was incandescent; thus, more red in tone. This made the shooting of the room very difficult for the camera. The mixture of different light sources tends to mess with the camera's imaging processor. As the show started and the cameras were rolling, the light changed. And so did the way the cameras processed the color. As the filming progressed, the adjustment of the white balance was not possible without jeopardizing the final product and thus making digital color-correction more difficult. 

The raw footage of This Sacred Place was not uniform in its look, due to the placement of the cameras and how the artificial light at those locations was interpreted differently by each camera, especially when the natural light from the windows diminished. Overall, the end result was footage that was tinted red; more so as the night progressed. No worries. Digital imagery can easily be manipulated. 

Post-Production of any film involves color-correction. This is the process of changing the palette of the film, and making sure that all shots match each other in temperature, tone, and saturation. This can be a tedious process, especially if an editor has shots from different cameras at angles with different lighting. 

I edited the film in Adobe Premiere Pro, which is a timeline-based editing system. This robust program has the Lumetri Color Panel which provides a host of options for color correction. For each clip, an "adjustment layer" was used to modify the color settings for that clip. The adjustment layer applies color correction and effects to the clip directly below it on the timeline. 

Temperature, exposure, saturation, and curves were all adjusted to my liking. I also added a slight vignette, as well. I liked the way that looked and provided a retro feel that fit nicely with the setting and narrative. 

Before any of the color correction could happen, however, the film had to be edited and placed in the timeline in the order that the narrative required. Then the audio was mixed to also provide some type of uniformity in tone and volume. The color correction was the last phase of the project. 

In the end, the concert footage contained in This Sacred Place: The Story of the Old Lynn Concerts looks more natural than the raw footage revealed. The adjustments in Premiere Pro lowered the red tint and boosted the blues in the spectrum. The muted blacks were raised through a boost in contrast and the saturation of the colors was increased to provide a look that more closely aligned with what the audience actually saw that night.