Shot Matching Workflow

March 27, 2015

Do you have trouble with shot matching while color correcting video? This tutorial will show you a reproducible workflow for any software.


Patrick’s Shot Matching Workflow

Here’s on Mixing Light we’ve talked quite a bit about shot matching. But as I mentioned in my previous Insight about matching shots in Final Cut Pro X, it’s been a challenge to present it in a way that’s repeatable. Why? Well, in case you missed my discussion of this in the FCP X Desert Island Challenge series, that’s because shot-matching is a Left Brain, Right Brain operation. It’s both logical and creative.

For a full breakdown of this Left / Right theory, read the text of this Insight. Which gets us to what I’m doing in today’s video Insight.

I’m answering an email from a Mixing Light member about shot matching

His question is:

Most days we are colour correcting and grading files from different cameras, ie; Canon LOG, Sony LOG, CineStyle, Protune ect and while everything is super flat all the different types of LOG file are slightly different in luminance and contrast.

Would be great to know how you guys approach this as a workflow and your starting point in getting all the LOG files to match before you start your grade.

First, I’ll say that any organized approach to shot matching is the same

It doesn’t matter if your images are LOG, RAW or gamma adjusted to Rec.709 or whatever… 80% of the time our workflow looks like:

1. Set Contrast

2. Set Saturation

3. Set color balance

Don’t worry about shot matching at this point. Just get the individual images to look good on their own. Our first correction is always to see what the shot is naturally giving us and to find how much we need to push it to get it to a good starting point. Sometimes we have to change it up bit because the color balance is so completely wrong that it’s impossible to evaluate contrast and saturation.

With shots that have extreme color balance problems, the other 20% of the time the workflow looks like:

1. Fix color balance

2. Set Contrast

3. Set Saturation

4. Refine color balance

On Log- or Raw- or Flat-recorded images, how you expand contrast doesn’t really matter

You can use a LUT. Or you can use the Contrast / Pivot controls. Or your ‘normal’ 3-Way Color Correction controls. Each will give you slightly different initial starting points, one of which may be easiest to work with depending on the footage and the final Look you’re trying to achieve. For my full thoughts on this, be sure to watch my entire series on color correcting with LUTs.

Once we’ve got each shot looking good on its own then its time to start shot matching. And that’s what I’ll be showing in this Insight.

We’ll do shot matching in both DaVinci Resolve and Final Cut Pro X

I want to show you how my approach doesn’t change and I’ll be using two different projects to demonstrate my workflow. Again, I want to give you an easy-to-follow and reproducible workflow that minimizes Right-Brain, touchy-feely approach to shot matching and maximizes the Left-Brain logical approach since Left-Brain approaches are much easier to learn and adopt into your workflow.

Enjoy the video below and let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!

– pat

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