August 30th, 2011 by shawnmontano
Thunder is the 3rd story on my Editor of the Year entry. This is an effects driven story. You just don’t really see the effect. That’s what you want when you use effects, to have the viewer not see them. When you go to a movie and the effects aren’t believable the effects become a distraction and the audience isn’t watching the story, they are saying to themselves “That’s not real.” Effects affect viewers. Think about that next time you want to go overboard with effects.
I’m a big fan of NFL films. The stories they create are simply visual candy. I wanted to create a film effect for the story on Thunder in the spirit of NFL films. I wanted to create my own look and feel as well. I have an effect on every clip in this story. It’s not flying boxes. It’s not crazy wipes. It’s not picture in picture. It’s something WAY more subtle. I’m creating an entire feel for the story. What I’m doing is never distracting to the viewer which is what editing is all about. I created a feel for the story. Â A simple feel.
Our story for this post is Thunder, which can be found on my Youtube page (http://www.youtube.com/shawnmontano)
The story starts off with shots you would see at the beginning of a Bronco game.
Fireworks going off.
The Broncos running onto the field.
You’ll see the first 14 shots in the story I applied a motion effect. All these shot are at 50% speed. Now when you motion affect a shot it tends to create a film effect all by itself. I didn’t want to apply a motion effect to every clip, I needed to do something else to the video.
At [:22] Thunder and the video is moving at 100% speed. This shot is is a screen-grab in the finished story.
This shot is of the original video.
I suggest you click and open each picture to see the difference in the two screen-grabs. Toggle back and forth between these two shots. Notice the differences?
I’ve done several things here. The one most noticeable is I ‘crushed’ the blacks, meaning I darkened areas more than they originally were. See the blue on Thunder’s face mask and the blue on the rider? Â They are a rich blue deep blue in the original video. In my treated video they are a very deep blue almost to the point to being black. Look at the NFL films logo, same thing there. Original video is that rich deep blue. The affected video is still blue but closer to black than in the original video.
Now look at the whites like on the banner in the background or the whites around Thunder’s exposed head. Notice how much richer the quality of the whites are. Look at the smoke from behind Thunder in the upper left. It has a slight blue tint to it in the original video. My affected video it’s much whiter.
It took me a while to achieve the exact look I wanted for this story. Just ‘crushing’ the black wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to enrich the whites as well. It was mostly trial and error. If you’re going to create a look like this I suggest you play around with how I’m about to explain how I did this. From what I did you could create an infinite amount of looks for your video.
So how did I create this look. First of all I’m sure there are many more ways to do this. This is simply one way, my way. The first thing I did was create two video layers for this story. The second layer being identical to the first layer as you see here is this screen-grab, click on it to see it bigger.
Here is what the first layer looks like all alone.
I’m currently editing on Final Cut. But the way I did this can be achieved on other non-linear systems as well. I applied a 3-way color corrector to video layer one. Â I color corrected the shot like I would normally do. Then AFTER I color corrected I turned the saturation ALL the way down so the shot turned black and white. Â You’ll notice my screen-grab is not entirely black and white. Â I’ll explain that in a minute. Here’s a screen-grab of what my color corrector looks like with levels if you want to try an imitate the look.
You’ll want to play with your black levels, the midrange levels, and your highlight levels. That’s the 3 slider bars below the color wheels. Notice my black levels are slightly lowered, my midrange levels are up significantly and my highlight levels are lowered slightly.
Then I moved to the identical clip on video layer two.
The first thing I did with the identical video on layer two is drop the opacity to 50% so the I could see through video layer two and down into video layer one. Now it can see both clips together but manipulate each layer independently. Doing this allows for greater control of your final look.
The clip I have on video layer two I add the 3 way color corrector onto that clip. Again I color correct like I normally do. Once I get the shot color corrected the way I like, I started to drop the blacks levels on this clip. Then, I played with the highlight levels (that’s the slider bar underneath the white color correction wheel). Here’s a screen-grab of what that color-correction looks like.
I went back to the clip on video layer one and started increasing the saturation on video layer one so just a hint of color appears. This really brought out the flesh tones on people. You don’t need to increase the saturation too much as you can see here.
As I went clip by clip I made several adjustments. Depending on the video I often decreased midrange highlight levels where as on other clips I increased levels. This is really just how I did it on a few clips. Once I got my look I needed to tweak each clip and I’m sure you will too.
So in review.
- Create your story.
- Copy all of your clips on video layer one and paste them on video layer two
- Add a color corrector 3-way onto the clips on video layer one
- Color correct to your desire
- Using the slider bar lower your black levels slowly, you won’t need to move the slider much
- Increase your midrange levels using the slider bar below the mids color wheel
- Drop opacity on the clips on video layer two
- Add a color corrector 3-way onto the clips on video layer two
- Color correct to your desire
- Lower your black levels
- Increase/decrease your mid levels
- Increase/decrease you highlight levels
I hope you can take what I did for this story and apply it to something you do. I love to take a look at what you do with this idea. Send me a link I’d love to see your work. Thanks for reading.