5. February 6, 2012

Color Correction in iMovie '11

Opening Items

  • Project 1 rough draft posted by February 27
  • Project 1 comments posted by March 5
  • March 5 Project LIVE Meeting
    • At the District Office (Pine and Willow Rooms)
    • Free work time (get help on your project in real time)
    • Feel free to bring 2-4 students to keep them involved
    • Meeting is optional unless you are a veteran who wants a full year's Project LIVE credit (and be in the end-of-year drawing) and have already missed one meeting (you can only miss one)
  • iVIE Final Submission April 1, 2012
    • Date may change
    • Better to be ready earlier
    • Details later on submission guidelines
  • EYMF Submissions begin March 1, 2012

Film Featurette and Resources:


(Last Name: A-F)
 Tom and Brad (next to Shannon)
 Samantha Molly Randy Cindy Stay here for Color Correcting basics in FCP X
 Kellie Crystal Dana Olivia 
Initial Corrections
  1. Work on your own or, if you prefer, work in groups of 2 or 3.
  2. In iMovie '11, create a new project.
  3. From your Events, select three clips, roughly 4 or 5 seconds each, and add to your project. Don't worry about how well they go together. In fact, make them as different from each other as possible. You might choose clips that have an obvious need, but you'll be surprised how much you can improve a "good" clip.
  4. On the first clip, click on the Actions Gear and choose Video Adjustments.   You can also double-click on a clip, either in the Project or the Event Library. See below for an explanation of the controls in the color adjustment window.
  5. If you have a good neutral (white, black, gray) place to select from in the Viewer, click on it with the eyedropper to set the White Point (this should remove any color casts present. You can click numerous places to get the most pleasing result. If you can't find a good result, click Revert to Original and skip this step). Tip: When you film, begin each clip with a clapboard; besides telling which scene/shot it is, it gives you white or black (sometimes gray, too) to use the eyedropper on. Guaranteed neutral color.
  6. Go to the top of the top of the Video Adjustments window and work down to correct the video's color. If necessary, review the Color Correcting with iMovie '09 movie above (iMovie '11 is the same).
    • First fix the Histogram (shadows and highlights to the beginning of the mountain, but don't be dogmatic. Let your eye be the guide)
    • Experiment with Exposure
    • Experiment with Contrast
    • Experiment with Saturation
    • Brightness is seldom useful
    • Add more/less Red, Green, Blue if needed (Tip: reduce the green amount on green screen clips that aren't perfect (showing sparklies); you may be able to salvage it
  7. Click on the Audio tab and set the volume to zero.
  8. Do the same for the other two clips (Tip: if the other clip(s) were shot under identical settings as the first, click on the corrected clip and choose Edit > Copy. Then click on the identically shot, but uncorrected, clip and choose Edit > Paste Adjustments > Video; fine tune if necessary. For tonight, you may want to do them all manually for the experience). 
Create a Before/After Sequence
  1. With three color-corrected clips in the project, ⌘-click on each to select all three.
  2. Hold down the Option key while you drag a copy of the three clips to the end of the project, so you have the sequence of three clips in the project twice.
  3. On the first three clips, open the Video Adjustments window of each and choose Revert to Original to remove the color correction.
  4. Re-organize your clips so you have an uncorrected clip followed by its corrected version; repeat for the other two.
  5. Play your project to see a Before/After sequence: three uncorrected/corrected clip pairs.
  6. Extra Credit: Place a Before text element on the first of each clip pair and an After on the second. Tip: you can Option-drag a formatted text element to another location. Make one Before, one After, and Option-drag onto the clip where you want it for the others.
  7. Extra Extra Credit: Add a music bed to the sequence.
Publish your Work
  1. Choose Share > Export Movie > Medium.
  2. Drag the clip onto a thumb drive and deliver to Frank if you want to share with others (we won't have time to show all; we'll take volunteers).
  3. Return by 5:15.
  4. Be prepared to discuss the good, bad, and ugly.

Color Adjustment Window (iPhoto and iMovie)

Below is an explanation of the various controls in the color adjustment window. I've also included the iPhoto version because they are so similar. Differences between the two are pointed out. Get a PDF version of it here.

Tom Borer,
Jan 13, 2012, 9:36 AM