Skintone grading HDSLRs.
We were shooting lots of interviews lately and I wanted to deliver the best results possible with my footage. Color grading is essential to me for every production, but this time I wanted to put extra effort into achieving great skin tones. Here is a before and after grading: (roll over the image to see the before and after)
With my Canon HDSLRs (Canon 5D MK II and 7D) I am shooting in the standard picture profile with the contrast setting turned completely down which gives the image a little more dynamic range. To lift shadow areas and crush bright areas even further I use the free Shadow/Highlight Plugin from Lyric Image Control. You can download it here
Since I have a quite flat image right now I can reapply contrast. 3-Way Color Corrector works very well for this but I am using an old preset from Magic Bullet Editors (which isn’t available anymore) called “LS Max Contrast”. Magic Bullet Editors has been updated to Magic Bullet Looks which also has a preset called “Max Contrast” but in my opinion they aren’t the same.
Last thing to do is to color correct skin tones. With the process of killing contrast and reapplying it, in frequent cases skin tones come out bad. I fire up my vectorscope which has the wonderful feature of a reference line for skin tones built in. (See the white arrow in the screenshot here)
With the 3-Way Color Corrector limited to just the skin tones I can push the skincolor towards the skintone line in the vectorscope. In the example above I had to push a little bit towards yellow. The result at first sight might look a little bit yellowish, but thats just because you have been used to looking at reddish skintones. Hold your hand up to the image and you’ll see that the skintones are correct.
The skintone line in Vectorscope is your friend!
One quick tip when color correcting skintones: If you want to limit the vectorscope display to a specific part of the image, just use the crop tool in the motion tab of the clip to crop the image to just the area where skintone is visible. That way you can work specific on your skintones and when you’re done just remove the crop.
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- 4.9.10 / 10pm