In this lesson from David Bode's How to Color Correct Video in Premiere, you will learn how to "white balance" your clips.
White Balance Challenges
Most of the time, when you think about color correction, you want to know: How do I correct the colors because the white balance is off? Maybe the clip was shot under some strange or low-quality color temperature lights. Maybe the white balance was set wrong on the camera.
These are all common problems that you will likely need to deal with. Here are a few ways to handle them.
Adjusting White Balance With the Three-Way Colour Corrector
First, a Color Checker is a great tool you can use as a reference color target to help determine the correct values in your clips. To use a color checker, simply include a clip of one in your footage, as indicated in the image below. You can use the black, gray, and white values in the colour checker to pretty quickly get a nice white balance in a clip.
Start by opening the Three-Way Color Corrector found in Video Effects. Zoom in on the clip to 200%. Grab the shadow white balance color picker and click the dark part of the image. Then grab the midtones, click the middle gray, and then grab the highlights color picker and choose the white.
Adjusting White Balance With the Fast Color Corrector
The previous method may not give you 100% correct results, but it will put you closer than you were. Next, go to the Fast Color Corrector, also found in Video Effects, grab the white balance there, and click on the middle grey square.
Alternatively, if you didn't use a color checker, but there is something in your image that is pure grey or pure white and not clipped—or is very, very dark grey and doesn't have any color in it—you can also use the color pickers in the Fast Color Corrector to correct the white balance.
Essentially, with these two effects, you can get a pretty accurate white balance in a matter of seconds.
Adjusting White Balance With Lumetri Color
You can also just eyeball the image and say okay, this looks way too orange, and just push it towards blue and maybe a little bit of magenta.
Then you could use the Color Wheels and push the shadows more towards blue or cyan to balance out the image even more, because if the shadows look too warm, that kind of skews your eyes.
When you look at the before and after, you can see there's a massive difference between the two images.
You have to use a little knowledge of what lights look like and which direction to push it. It basically works on opposites. If the light is too orange, you push it more to cyan blue. If it's too green, you push it towards magenta.
Adjusting White Balance Using the Crop Effect With Lumetri Scopes
Another strategy you can use to adjust white balance is to use the Crop Effect with Lumetri Scopes.
This clip with colored pencils was shot under some low-quality, compact fluorescent lighting, resulting in an image that is too green.
Grab the crop effect and drop it on your clip, and then click on it and use the bounding boxes to isolate the whitest-looking part of your image. In the example below, the whitest part is actually light grey.
Click Zoom, and that's going to fill the image with the light grey section. This will make it easier to read the Lumetri RGB Scopes.
When you look at the zoomed-in image and the RGB scope, you can see that things look a little bit green. To correct this, use the basic white balance correction and push the slider towards magenta, and then bring the green down and bring the red in the blue up a little bit. The goal is to try to level out the red, blue, and green scopes to make the colour a true light grey.
When you are satisfied, take the crop effect off to check the before and after results. You can see in our example that the before image definitely looks green, and the corrected image looks better.
There you have it: four different strategies for adjusting white balance effectively in Premiere Pro.
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