Color Correction for Video: Using Desktop Tools to Perfect Your Image Paperback – Oct 27 2008
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"Whether you are a film student working on an Avid, a motion graphics student working with After Effects or Final Cut Pro, a professional using a da Vinci 2K, you need this book. Wonderfully structured and illustrated, this book is unique in its approach and focus and will provide invaluable insights on the art of color correction. The design of the book has improved ten-fold, providing tips, tutorials and glossary terms in support of important concepts. As a bonus, the DVD includes video tutorials and sample exercise files. I look forward to working with this new edition of Color Correction in my broadcast design and motion graphics classes."--Dominique Mertens Elliott, Professor of Broadcast Design and Motion Graphics at Savannah College of Art and Design
"A serious overview of color grading for moving images.The new edition has been expanded by about a third with the addition of a quickstart chapter, beefed-up chapters on tool concepts and advanced tutorials, and infusions of advice from color experts throughout."--AETutsplus.com
About the Author
Steve Hullfish produces and edits trailers, TV spots, promos and DVDs through his company, Verascope Pictures, which serves high-end clients: Universal Studios, NBC Television, DreamWorks, HIT Entertainment, Jim Henson Entertainment, VeggieTales and others. He has also co-edited two feature films for Sony/Tristar: Courageous and War Room. His 30 years of producing and editing TV shows and spots have garnered many national awards, including a national Emmy as part of the editing team of the Oprah Winfrey Show. He has co-written four other books including Color Correction for Digital Video, Avid XpressPro On the Spot, The Avid XpressPro Editing Workshop and - most recently - Avid Uncut: Workflows, Tips, and Techniques from Hollywood Pros. He is also in demand as a color correction and editing trainer for clients including NBC Sports, Major League Soccer, Turner Networks, The Versus Network, Southeast Television, Whole Foods, Avid, Tektronix, and the Children's Television Network.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The authors targeted a wide audience. I found the book extremely useful, and the closest I have come to being a video professional is being paid for a few wedding videos, and making occasional software programming contributions to an open source NLE. On the other hand, the proper use of high end equipment is covered enough that I can see it being useful to someone starting out as a full fledged professional colorist.
I liked that the authors didn't pick a favorite NLE. They gave examples from all the major players and made sure to point out the differences so you could accomplish the tasks on any software. My particular NLE of choice is not one on their list, but I was still able to apply what I learned without any difficulty. For example, my NLE does not currently have an RGB parade available, but the authors provided alternative methods of getting the job done without one. I also found most of the information readily applicable to still photography, which is another of my hobbies.
I liked that the authors gave equal weight to the technical and artistic aspects of color correction. Yes, they showed how to fix an image shot with the wrong white balance or underexposed, but they also talked about the way people perceive color, how to achieve certain looks like the C.S.I. Miami look or day for night, why realistic color isn't always the "correct" color, and so forth. The authors took examples from actual films and changed the color to illustrate how the feel is affected.
All the examples from the book are available on the included DVD-ROM to try on your own, interestingly enough including the script from an oft-repeated example to help illustrate how the color and the story were meant to interact.
The one weakness of the book is it covers so much that it can feel scattered at times. However, this is most apparent when reading it cover to cover the first time. The authors successfully cover the topics so well that this isn't an issue so much when using the book as a reference while working.
Someone who is not willing or able to learn a fair bit of technical jargon will not be able to follow this book, but very little prior background knowledge is assumed. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is willing to put in a little mental effort in exchange for a great improvement in the quality of their video.
Besides, the authors cover the more expensive video editing suites like Final Cut Pro and After Effects. They also recommends you use a waveform monitor, a gadget that can set you back several thousand dollars.
Finally, color correction requires time, something most people putting some video together don't want to spend.
But for the 2% who really want to turn out a perfect video, with colors that spread the tonal range and are balanced, this is the book. It is a tutorial, essentially, that takes you step by step down the road of color correction, beginning with setting up your color reference levels which takes 30 pages to describe!
Next come 16 pages on setting up and calibrating your monitor. There are also a couple of illustrations of pro video color correction workstations that will make you realize that you probably don't have enough money to equip yourself well.
Now we have 43 pages on using your scope - that umpteen thousand dollar scope - well. Scopes are also emulated in many video software editing packages. I've had some experience using scopes for this purpose and can tell you that this chapter is terrific, packed with the lots of very useful information.
Chapters 4 through 8 are the real meat of the book: the actual "how to do it" of color correction. It is interesting, but it will also show why only existing pros and those who want to be colorists or serious filmmakers do this. It is a lot of work, takes lots of time and, as the author so aptly sums it up, it is a skill that must be practiced. In short, most of us are simply not going to do this often and if we do, we'll be relearning it every time.
But pros and those who want to become pros will find the information presented in these tutorials invaluable. The accompanying DVD is essential.
Finally, the author provide an interesting chapter on the history and role of the colorist which was fascinating to me. Color correction for video is a very recent phenomena and the transition from color corrector to colorist is quite interesting. A chapter on vision and color therapy rounds out the book.
Again, this book is not for amateurs, other than those like me who enjoy learning about all facets of a technology even though I know I will never have practical application for the knowledge. The authors close with an overview of popular higher-end editing packages and describing their color correction capabilities. I learned things about my software that I never knew before.
Aspiring video professionals will find the book and its extremely well done tutorials very worthwhile and they are the audience the authors are talking to. The rest of us can just drool with envy at the editing suites pictured here.
Having said that, it is important to understand what this book is and isn't. This book is not a general purpose book about editing digital video...it IS a book fully focused on filling a much needed niche in color correction. For anyone that has ever struggled with black and white balance or gamma...this breaks it down into practical step-by-step instructions on how to derive the right results - reliably. It also goes into extensive detail on how to read and use histograms - while this might be bsic for experts, I've actually had opportunity to struggle extensively with these same issues when working on several projects a couple years ago...in fact, a book, website, photographs and video were all to be created for a roll-out...imagine my surprise when the beautiful web graphics looked like green algae once in print and couldn't line up with DV etc..
This walks you through how to color correct, match various clips with one another especially useful when editing, how to analyze colors plus much more. The back of the book even includes a section on how vision works and how to use color creatively to enhance (or elude) normal vision.
Keep in mind,this book is not a 'how to use' specific programs although it refers to most major editing programs such as Avid etc...however, if you are searching for information on how to use your desktop video editing suite keep looking.
I do agree with orangekay's review regarding the layout and graphic design of the book: the highlighted pull quotes resting above the very sentence that is being quoted (this happens on multiple occasions) is a bit distracting and very poor design.
Here's a chapter breakdown:
1. Getting Started with Color Correction
2. Analyze This - Your Monito
3. Using Scopes as Creative Tools
4. Other Methods to Analyze Footage
5. Colorists' Tools - Primary Color Correction
6. Secondary Color Correction
8. Advanced Color Correction Tutorials
9. The History and Role of the Colorist
10. Vision and Color Theory
11. Built-in Software and Plug-in Capabilities
I'd recommend this book for anyone seeking an in-depth guide on the principles of video color correction, but that isn't expecting a step by step, software specific, tutorial filled book.
What did annoy me beyond belief is the way the content was assembled--particularly the typesetting. There are pull-quotes everywhere, frequently right next to the text being quoted, with insufficient spacing between the lines making everything look extremely crowded. What's worse is that on several occasions they forgot to apply any sort of special formatting to visually distinguish these pull-quotes from the body text, so you end up reading the exact same sentence twice in a row for no reason whatsoever. I've seen issues of "Highlights for Children" that were more professional looking than many of these pages.
I also felt as though the author neglected to give ICC profiles enough attention. Granted, they are seldom used in pure video workflows, but there are an awful lot of folks out there compositing still images into video content who need to know how to soft-proof against the right destination space in Photoshop so they aren't surprised by the color shifts they see in their ICC-unaware video software. Surely that should merit a pull-quote of its own somewhere.
All things considered, the information is generally quite good, and I wouldn't dream of discouraging anyone who thinks they might need it from picking up a copy, it just seems a little pricey for what you get in terms of fit-and-finish. Somebody get this publisher a copy of "Real World InDesign," pronto.
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