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Advanced and Secondary Color Correction

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/15/2010

Learn about a more advanced type of color correction, which aims to focus in on specific objects within a given image.

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    Creative Editing

    Color Correction is one of the standards of aesthetic editing. It is next to impossible to get the contrasts in every image to match exactly what you would like the audience to see. To use color as a creative element in your project you almost always have to alter it in post-production. Within more advanced Color Correction fields you focus on details more, including clip specific and selective color correction.

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    Secondary Color Correction

    Many editors refer to this type of color correction as secondary color correction, because it comes after the first round of color correction. To achieve this you tend to use the same color correction applications that you have done before, such as the 3-Way Color Corrector in Final Cut Pro. Every editing program is different so you will need to look into your own software application to see the specifics of where to find the appropriate color-correcting tool.

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    The idea of this type of Color Correction is to isolate a specific object’s colors and alter them in contrast to the rest of the image. For example, say you want one person to appear slightly brighter in a scene than the rest of the characters. This type of color correction would be done by matting the specific segment out of the rest of the image and then altering it using a 3-Way Color Correction. You are going to have to use the most advanced color altering tools your editing software has because you will need to get the full range of possible colors for it. Likewise you are going to have to use other effects and tools to change the borders of the specific object in the image. Again, this is different with different options, but usually Soften, Edge Feather, and Edge Thin tools should be the most effective.

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    Many Reasons

    This can be done both for function and effect. Since film can be used to create an alternative reality you do not always have to be bound by the rules of realism. You can make the grass a hyper-real color of green, or make the villain’s skin radiate a purple-blue. Try deciding the overall context of the scene and then use colors that you correlate with that emotional tone.

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    Editing as Art

    Editing is just as creative of a process as writing or directing a digital video project. Make sure you bring your imagination to the editing station and don’t just approach it as another technical aspect. This is your chance to really control what is on the screen, and color is just another part of that.