Premiere Pro Color Grading – Working with Vignettes to Control the Eye

April 14, 2016

Step 3 in our 'Premiere Pro Color Correction Protocol' is to control the viewer's eye. Learn how—by working with vignettes and custom masks.

The Premiere Pro Color Correction Protocol – Part 3

In this series you’ve seen me emphasize ‘working in passes’. I advocate you focus your initial efforts on solving the initial problems you have with a shot, including setting white- and black- points, fixing color balance and setting saturation. Then, I advocate that you focus on shot matching… maintaining the ‘invisible edit’ by ensuring the shots play down seamlessly, one after another. Finally, it’s time to focus on everything else—including making sure the viewer is always looking precisely where you want them to look.

You don’t always have to explicitly control the viewer’s eye.

Especially on scripted projects where the on-set crew had time to set lights, a good DP will naturally light a scene to force the viewer’s eye where she wants it. But on documentaries, corporate jobs or videos of your nephew on a trampoline; there is no time for such niceties and the image is very cluttered with details that aren’t important. In that case, you want to be much more proactive with your color grading.

This Insight shows how I handle ‘controlling the viewer’s eye’ in Premiere Pro CC.

Specifically, we’ll be working with vignettes using the Lumetri Effect… but NOT with the built-in Vignette tool. In fact, I don’t even mention it in this Insight. I find that the built-in Vignette is much too predictable. I prefer more organic shapes, customized to the subject I’m trying to isolate and force the viewer to look at.

You’ll see how I like to handle creating masks, my favorite control in the Lumetri effect when I’m doing Vignettes and how a little prep work in naming Presets can be a great organizational tool, especially as this ‘working in passes’ workflow gets busy with many filters in your filter stack.

As always, got questions or comments? Scroll to the bottom of this page and ask away!


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