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How to Color Correct Video Saturation in Adobe Premiere Pro

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Read Time: 3 mins

In this lesson on Saturation from David Bode's How to Color Correct Video in Premiere, you will learn how to adjust the saturation of your clips.

There are several controls you can use to correct saturation in an image. Each is useful for different problems in your clips.

Saturation Controls

In the example below, the clip was lit with lower-quality compact fluorescent lamps that don't reproduce all of the colours present, so the colours need more saturation to make them look correct.

Saturation ControlsSaturation ControlsSaturation Controls

Select Color in the workspace toolbar to open the Lumetri Color panel. There are some saturation controls here, like the saturation slider, which you will find underneath basic corrections.

Saturation ControlsSaturation ControlsSaturation Controls

When you move this slider, you can see that it makes things look more saturated. The problem is that if you push this up too much, the red pencils will look hyper-saturated, and down here in the scope you'll see there is some clipping.

Vibrance Controls

You do have other options you can try for better effects. For example, the vibrance control allows you to adjust the saturation so that clipping is minimised as colors approach full saturation. This setting changes the saturation of all lower-saturated colors, with less effect on the higher-saturated colors. Vibrance also protects skin tones from becoming over-saturated.

Vibrancy ControlsVibrancy ControlsVibrancy Controls

Three-Way Color Corrector

The Three-Way Color Corrector found in the Video Effects panel offers different saturation controls and is another way that you can adjust the clip. There is a master saturation, a shadow, a mid-tone, and a highlight saturation, and they each work best under different conditions. 

Pushing up the master saturation in the example image below creates an effect that looks the same as the first saturation adjustment example. The shadow saturation, on the other hand, is going to do something a little bit different. Its effect is more similar to what the vibrance control does, but it's really only affecting the shadows in the image.

Three Way Color CorrectorThree Way Color CorrectorThree Way Color Corrector

Sometimes, you need to combine effects to get the right impact. For example, push up all the saturation and maybe pull down the mid-tone saturation to recover some of the clipped red areas. Then you can push up the saturation in the shadows, but beware that if you push things up too much in the shadows, you might get some nasty artefacts.

Hue Saturation Curves

There are other ways of adjusting saturation a bit more selectively. Let's look at another example. This image looks really desaturated because of the time of day and the weather conditions. If you use the saturation controls on this image, they won't be effective because there is an object in the upper left side of the image that is already hyper-saturated, and that's going to look overblown and start clipping out if the saturation is increased. 

Hue Saturation CurvesHue Saturation CurvesHue Saturation Curves

So for images like this, it would be better to use Curves, which can be found back in the Lumetri Color panel. There is a Hue Saturation Curve that makes it easy for you to target key colours in an image. For example, you could choose to saturate the greens in this image by adding two or more points and expanding the green area out to saturate the trees without affecting the reds. You can also do the same things with the blues, the oranges, and any other colour you want to punch up without affecting the red. 

So those are some ideas that you can use to adjust the saturation and help the overall color correction of your shots.

More Premiere Pro Resources

Here are more top Premiere Pro tutorials and resources to try from Envato Tuts+:

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