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Premier Pro & After Effects Color Correction Workflow - Question

Situation: I have a scene which has about 20 clips in it. After shooting the first ten, my lights went a little wonky, and I had to change the bulb. This affected the overall color of the subsequent shots. The first ten tend to lean toward a reddish hue, where the last ten are more yellow. After a couple of tests, I've determined that I can correct the color issue using After Effects.

I've got a working edit in Premier Pro of the scene using uncorrected footage.


What is the best workflow for color corrections using PPro and AE?

Is it best to do it one clip at a time using the dynamic link function and correct each clip on it's own in AE?
Is it best to select the whole scene (all 20 clips) and bring it all into AE to color correct, and if so, is that something that should be done using keyframes to indicate where color correction should stop or change?
Or, since it's pretty much the first half of the edit, select only the 10 clips in PPro and adjust those 10 in AE using dynamic links?

Just looking for a solution that's going to be the smallest headache later on when I go to render out the entire film. Thanks!

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I colour correct each shot and save it as a lossless QT mov. But I wrote down the settings I used in AE so I can do them the same. If I loaded 20 shots in at once, and saved them as one lossless QT mov file, it would be too big to move or back up. I had that problem when I combined just 3 shots in HD into one file.

Thanks Nick - After seeing the way Premier Pro seems to slow down playback when linked to an AE file due to rendering, the method of having a pre-rendered file in the editing program seems to be the way to go.

Slightly off topic - how does image resolution compare with video resolution?

I've been using your method of opening an image sequence in QT and exporting as a .mov, and I end up with a video file that is 1534 x 1022 px (I'll crop later to a 3:2 aspect ratio, but the 1534 will stay the same). Is this a good resolution to work with for the end result, or should I strive for higher resolution video files before getting too far into the post process? I just want to make sure I don't have something that's going to look subpar if/when it gets shown on a larger screen than what I'm working with at home.

I know once this thing is done, I'll have tons of room for improvement, but still want to get as much right this time around as I can.

I meant a 16:9 aspect ratio.

I would stick with standard resolution video formats, like HD 1920 x 1080, or 1280 x 720.  I use 1080p as my master, but often upload to YouTube or Vimeo at 720p.  Those are 16:9 formats, but I see that you are using a 3:2 ratio - why is that?  My original files are all 3:2 from my DSLR, but I crop and resize them to 1920 x 1080 pixels for editing.  

With my tutorials, image size and quality is not as important, so I usually edit those at 1280 x 720 and don't have a higher resolution copy.

You are ahead of me with the "dynamic link" - I guess it  works between Adobe programs like AE and Premier to update to the latest version of the clip?

I did do one animation exercise at 3:2 ratio, but I had to letterbox it to fit the 4:3 video format.  And later when 16:9 became the standard shape on Youtube, it gets pillarboxed (black on the sides) to fit the wider screen.


Oh, your correction wasn't showing when I replied, I see now.   I would still go with the larger 1920 x 1080 if possible.  But my editor (Final Cut Pro 6) was slowing down and having trouble playing uncompressed HD. I had to go to Apple Pro-Res to get it to play in real time, but it handles 720p more easily, so maybe that is a reason to work smaller. 

You're correct about the AE to Premier dynamic links. You open from the editing suite into AE, make an adjustment, save it, and back in Premier, it shows you an updated version of the clip - it's just that the clip has to render every time you want to watch it and it slows playback down significantly, or can - probably depends on the speed of the hardware.

Regarding the aspect ratio, I just wanted to check that what I currently am working with will have a high enough resolution to be able to crop to an aspect ratio of 16:9 (don't know where I got that 3;2 number, brain fart i guess) without any real resolution problems. Seems like the resolution I currently have (1534 x 1022 px uncropped), will still allow me to get a 1280 x 720 file when done (and cropped), but for the HD 1920 x 1080, I'd have to start with a higher resolution.

In any case, my question got answered. I'll probably have to go in and get larger video files that will accommodate the higher res. Good to know up front rather than after the whole project is done.

Thanks for taking some time to help me understand.

You'd be better off either:

a: Using a built in Premiere effect (like "Fast Colour Corrector", or "RGB Curves") to colour correct the clips, which will render much faster. I prefer this option for colour correction, because Premiere has reference scopes to measure your colour values, and AE doesn't.


b: Finishing your edit in Premiere, then opening After Effects and choosing Import>Adobe Premiere Pro Project. This brings your whole edit over to AE. This is a more typical post workflow, where you do all your editing with the raw footage, lock the picture edit, then do your colour and effects work.

Forgive my ignorance on this, but when you say "locked picture edit" - does that mean it's rendered out into a single movie with all your edits in place, but without cut points?

If using B, how does it work with my above scenario? Half of my clips need the color grading - is that managed with keyframes for the portion that needs color adjustments, or does the importing split it out into several different compositions in AE along the lines of the edit file?

I'm delving into unfamiliar territory with the editing/post stuff - sorry.

What you're saying sounds like it would normally be called "proxy editing" (also known as "bait 'n switch), but because PP prefers to edit natively, it's not very easy to set up a proxy editing workflow within Premiere to make the color timing work easier to do after exporting the project to AE. While keeping to the "native editing" workflow it forces upon you, you would want to change the preview quality to a lower setting, just to see it all play back smoothly in AE and for critical analysis, only occasionally look at the full quality preview. Additionally, you can render lower quality clips of the changes you want to see- not the whole thing, but bits and pieces so you can see how it is progressing. It's kind of a pain to do that, but when you're at the mercy of a computer's CPU limitations, it's the only way to go.

When it comes to editing, color correcting, and putting together the entire film, I would do it scene by scene because shots have to be compared for consistency and a film can have completely different color schemes from one scene to the next- the only required constant being that the brightness, contrast, saturation, and gamma levels must match to keep it from looking too much like you cut in parts of a different format entirely (the unintended "Frankenstein's Monster" effect). I prefer to work with the audio track the same way- scene by scene- again, for continuity considerations.

Any time you use proxy editing, you can go as low as you want to while still being able to see enough detail to do the color corrections. When native editing, you absolutely have to have a high resolution image- at the very least, letterbox it to 16:9, since that is all anyone will ever see later. Then edit the heck out of the high res file -> export to After Effects-> watch/render low quality previews whenever possible to catch any mistakes and get an idea of what you are looking at. If you were on a PC and using Vegas, it would be easier to render proxies, do the color correction work, and then replace the low res file you just color corrected with the master video. Vegas is set up to do proxy editing and makes it very easy. I think it's up to Version 11 or 12 now. I had access to PP and AE and ended up going back to Vegas because of its ease of use. Surprisingly, the project's producer was okay with this. He recognized an editor can do their best work if they know the software.

To Don: I'm not talking about proxy editing. After Effects does have a good proxy editing feature, but that doesn't necessarily apply to Aaron's situation.

Aaron: In the "B" scenario, when you File>Import>Adobe Premiere Pro Project, AE creates a composition that is nearly identical to your Premiere Pro timeline. You'll see when you try it for yourself. All the shots will be separate and trimmed, and any layering or scaling you've done in PPro will transfer as well. You would then apply your effects to only the clips you need to, and render out from AE. At this point in the process, you shouldn't need to play your film in real-time, because all your editing decisions have already been made.

Got it - makes perfect sense. Thanks guys for all the help!

Evan- Gotcha. I didn't think you were talking about proxy editing,  that was just a general overview of the options someone has when editing: Proxy (offline) and Native (online). Never got AE to work for me, so wasn't sure about that workflow. Could only speak from experience using PP, Final Cut, and Vegas. Just offering what worked, is all. You would know Adobe products and their workflows better than I do.

At this point, I'm not stuck with any particular option. I was just curious about recommended workflows because I'm almost to that point, and want to make sure I'm doing it efficiently with the software I have at my disposal. In almost every case, there are many ways of doing things, so I like to hear other ways of approaching problem solving.

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