Color Correction in Avid

Overview

This guide aims to show you how to access the Color Correction tools in Avid Media Composer and how to use them in your project. We also encourage you to take a look at our articles on Color Correction and Scopes for further information about  the process of Color Correction as well as the links below in Additional Resources.

The Color Correction Workspace

To access the Color Correction Workspace in Avid, go to “Windows” in the menu bar at the top of the application, select “Workspaces” in the drop down menu, and click on “Color Correction.” Alternatively, you can click on the 4th option (the one that looks like a three frames of film) in the Edit Mode Toolbar.

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This will bring you into the Color Correction Workspace. A few important things to note about the layout of this workspace:

  • The Composer Window (#1) is now split into three different panels. The panel in the middle is by default the Record Window, but both it and the panels to the left and right can be customized to show scopes, the clips before/after the one you are currently color correcting, or even the entire sequence.
  • The Color Correction Window (#2) below the Source/Record Window is where you’ll find the controls to color correct your footage. Next to each tab, group of controls, and individual control is a square. These squares turn blue after you use a control. Clicking on a square will toggle on/off the control or group of controls. To reset a control or group of controls that you’ve used, hold down ‘Option’ and then click on the square.
  • In the Timeline Window (#3), the clip that you are applying the correction to is the one that your playback head is over. A clip that has had a correction applied to it has a dotted green line appear at the bottom of the clip in the timeline.

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Scopes

The Scopes can be added to the panels in the Composer Window at the top of the application.

  • To add or change scopes, click on the downward-facing arrow at the end of the top left row in each panel.
  • In the dropdown menu that appears you can select different scopes

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Remember: Each panel can only show one scope at a time!

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Luma Controls

The Main Luma Controls are found in the Color Correction Window under the “HSL” Tab.

  • To access the Luma Controls, go to the HSL tab, click on “Controls,” and then make sure that “Master” is selected.
  • The Luma Controls are to the right and labeled as “Gain,” “Gamma,” and “Setup”
  • To adjust luminance with these controls, drag the slider to the left and right, click on the left or right arrows, or enter a numeric value into the text box on the control.
  • When toggled on, the final control (Clip Low-Clip High) will clip the luma values of your clip that go beyond the legal range of 0 IRE (16 bit) to 100 IRE (235 bit)

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Color Wheels

The Color Wheels are also found in the Color Correction Window under the “HSL” Tab.

  • To access the Color Wheels, go to the HSL tab and click on “Hue Offsets”
  • To adjust chrominance with these controls, click and drag the “+” sign in the middle of each wheel.

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Adjusting Saturation

The Main Saturation Control is found in the Color Correction Window under the “HSL” Tab.

  • To access the Saturation Control, go to the HSL tab, click on “Controls,” and then make sure that “Master” is selected.
  • The Saturation Control is the second control on the left side of the panel
  • To adjust saturation with this control, drag the slider to the left and right, click on the left or right arrows, or enter a numeric value into the text box on the control.

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Curves

The Curves are found in the Color Correction Window under the “Curves” Tab.

  • To access the Curves, go to the Curves tab.
  • There are four curves: one each for the red, blue, and green color channels, and a “Master” curve to adjust luminance
  • To add a point to the curves and make a correction, click on the line and drag.
  • The Luma Controls and Saturation Control can also be found and used in the Curves Tab, and will reflect any changes made with them in the HSL Tab.

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Saving/Removing Corrections

To remove a full correction from a clip, click the “Remove Effect” button while the play head is hovering over the clip in the timeline.

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You can can also save corrections that you have made and apply them to other clips. In the top right toolbar the second button shows a little rectangle with a black, green, red, blue, white gradient. Click that button and drag to a bin to save that correction. You can then rename the correction. Click and Drag that correction to another clip to apply it.

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Additional Resources

Lynda: Touring the Media Composer Color Correction Toolset

A step by step guide with Exercise Files detailing the Color Correction tools in Avid.