Translating Color Correction and Grading Techniques into Hitfilm

MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast

Hello all,

I love cinematic looking footage and have been striving to learn how everything that goes into it obtaining it.  It's more than just wide angles and shallow depths of fields.  In that quest I've always flirted with Color Correction and Color grading and in fact did a tutorial on color grading hit Hitfilm many years ago.  As my knowledge has increased I realized certain limitations and things that I am missing.  I am working my way back to filmmaking I've come back to 1 of the 2 software that showed me how accessible this is, Hitfilm.  The other software was Vegas, when it was under Sony, but I dare not dream the dream of dreams just yet.  I am hoping that I can get some of the other users and maybe @Triem23 or @simon to help me workshop how to translate certain techniques to hitfilm.

 

Color Correcting is easy to do on flat/log footage, because you have a higher dynamic range available.

Video exposure is important and you need a light meter or false colors minimum.  A histogram or parades are useful, but how do you know if your skin tones are properly exposed? I was just using a histogram and got lit footage off of a BMCC that didn't look stunning.  When I researched light levels/f stops/ light meters/false colors and applied what I had learned my footage came out leagues better.  Things looked "HD" in that manner that most Planet Earth footage looks amazing, even though a lot of it was shot on cameras from more than 10 years ago.

 

So here are 1 tutorial for Resolve and I would like to copy those techniques into Hitfilm.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcFPJOLTFP0&t=23s

 

 

Taking that into hiftfilm here are the steps I think I have. Anything in Bold i'm not sure is right or if there is a better way.

1) Desaturating the image with Hue , Saturation and Lightness

2)Turn on Scopes

3)use Curves on the RGB channel to create some contrast

4) Use the Three Strip color to increase the color output of RGB channels (In the resolve tutorial they use a RGB mixer)

5) Make the media I have a composite shot.

6)To address a color cast issue(since we don't have primary bars) use Color balance with preserve luminance on.  Not sure about luminance mix from the tut.

7)  Use Hue Matte to grab  the skin tones.

8) Duplicate the footage, bring it to the bottom level and disable the matte.

9)Make a mask on the Matte Layer and make the bottom footage invisible

10) since Hitfilm does not have log wheels, which are just like regular wheels but less cross over when adjusting the Shadows/Mids/Highlights, use Color Balance again?

This is where I am stuck as I am not sure what imitates the Low Range, and high range features in the log wheels.

 

Any thoughts, tips or suggestions would be appreciated.

 

 

Feature Request:  Support CinemaDNG, Red and Blackmagic's Raw Codec.  Working with higher quality codecs should be possible in Hitfilm because the cameras that use those codecs are actually a lot easier to get.

Comments

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,292 Ambassador

    I'll want to watch the tutorials first (later) before I address most of your questions. I have thoughts, but first want to see what's being done in Resolve.

    As to exposure, a safe rule is to aim for specular highlights, in sunlight, on skin to be right around 80%. This leaves headroom for light/bright objects. You can check this yourself by pulling in sample clips from movies and checking with Scopes. Remember  Hitfilm's Scopes let you set a bounding box to limit the area of screen sampled, so you can dial in on details (There's a two-part Scopes tutorial on the FXHOME YouTube channel. Part 1 is really solid, part 2 ain't my best - in the edit I accidentally chopped out an important section of instruction that clarified the examples were more about pushing how far color correction could be pushed than doing a "final look.)

    The 80% highlights guideline is rough. Really dark skin might require more exposure, really pale people less. Beware really dark people wearing really light clothes - I once shot an outdoor interview with a Nigerian man in white. The choice was to blow out his shirt or lose his face. I had to expose for his face. 

  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast

    Scopes in post are nice, but scopes and false color during production are crucial.  Save a little work in post if you can.  They are comparing finished shots and in the 3rd video how you can go about getting that on set

     

     

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,723 Ambassador

    @MichaelJames Good info!  Never really thought about using false color to analyze lighting.  Thanks for posting this.         

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,292 Ambassador

    @Stargazer54 me either  Probably because that's relatively new and we were used to Scopes and Zebras! 

  • Stargazer54Stargazer54 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 2,723 Ambassador

    @Triem23 Yeah.  Scopes and Zebras . . . . that's so "analog". ;)

  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast

    Lol well I was never going to spend money for a fancy light meter and I didn't understand the purpose of them until now.

  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast

    I saw this video and it stuck out to thanks to the new information I learned.  Kind of breaks down the problems with using a histogram for exposure.

     

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-v1xwcLcMQ 

  • MichaelJamesMichaelJames Website User Posts: 2,038 Enthusiast
  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,292 Ambassador
    edited April 2019

    Thanks for the tag. Honestly, I totally forgot to watch these, so I'll download now that I'm thinking about it! 

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator Moderator, Website User, Ambassador, Imerge Beta Tester, HitFilm Beta Tester Posts: 18,292 Ambassador

    Sorry, Michael, had a bad month  here.

    Ok, the "never use Histogram video is wrong. Never use a Histogram if you have better options, but it's better than nothing, and might be all you have. The workflow he's disparaging is the incorrect use of the Histogram, anyway. It's to control/direct clipping, mostly.

    False color can be recreated in Hitfilm with Color Cycle or Color Map. Both these effects and False Color work by forcing a displayed hue into a Luma range.

    The skin flow workflow can be adapted to Hitfilm, but I need to be actually in Hitfilm to properly work it out. Half of the translation is mere terminology - it's a bit of both Hitfilm and Resolve using different "exclusive" terms for the same technique. This means effect A in Resolve is B in Hitfilm  and, even though the name and interface is different, the underlying effect is identical. 

    The other half is workflow. Nodes/layers are different beasts. The main thing is each adjustment node has its own little console with several controls all in there. Wheels, Curves and a numeric form of Levels, among others. What I'm seeing basically needs to chain some Grade layers together. Basically a Grade per node. Good thing is  once it's done it can be saved as a Comp Shot and reused. 

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