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T351 Week 14 - Fall 2014

Advanced Techniques for Post-Production

Reality Check/Announcements

  • Aim to have a rough cut of your project by the end of this week. This will give you a few days to fine tune. By the start of lab this week, there will be no more camera checkouts. We'll watch Final Projects starting promptly at 9AM in lab next week.
  • Next week during lecture, we'll review for the final exam and take care of the class evaluations. Come and you will definitely get a better grade!
  • Don't forget to turn in the Multimedia Exercise! It's a 10-point exercise due by 5PM Monday, December 8th. We'll be checking to see if you used the right codec and that your video is displaying with the proper aspect ratio.


  • AV Monitoring, Analysis & Color Correction
  • Post-production tips
  • 2k & 4k

Audio/Video Monitoring, Analysis & Color Correction

When shooting video we are primarily concerned with four things:

  • Framing
  • Focus
  • Exposure/Contrast
  • Color

When we're editing video we can't do much to fix bad framing and focus, but we can adjust the exposure somewhat and make adjustments to the color. When I'm finishing a video I almost always go through fine tuning luma levels and making color adjustments.

Relying on a computer monitor may be convenient, but it doesn't provide objective, real-time feedback as to luma/chroma levels or indicate audio gain and phase. Professional edit suites typically have waveform monitors, vectorscopes, and audio monitoring as part of the package.

Additional field monitors provide a way to objectively make sure you are getting video that's technically sound. Before using them make sure that they are setup properly. SMPTE color bars are a good place to start.

Color - SMPTE color bars (generated from a camera or an edit system) should look like this:

On a waveform monitor you might see something like this:

Note the IRE values of the various colors. Remember that the maximum legal, allowable value for broadcast video is 100 IRE. The blackest black for digital video is 0 IRE.

The vectorscope display should look like this:

Editors need to contantly make decisions requiring accurate color and luminance data.

Video reference monitors will provide bad feedback if not setup properly. Here's a good article on how to setup your monitor from Apple.

ikan D7w image

Jim's Portable Edit Setup:

When I'm traveling light and need to edit, I rely on my MacBook Pro with a 2nd monitor. To monitor my video I use a small 7" monitor- the ikan D7w (pictured above). The reason I use this one is that it's got a built-in waveform monitor, and vectorscope. It has both HDMI and HD-SDI loop-through inputs and is large enough to provide critical info for focusing but small enough that it can be attached to a camera.

Premiere lets you add additional monitors. Once one is plugged in go to Premiere Preferences / Playback. You'll want to check the box under "video device" next to your monitor.

Under the "Window" menu you can choose "Reference Monitor" to open an additional monitor if needed.

Basic Color Correction & Finishing

Color correction is the process of enhancing the visual appearance in regard to hue, saturation, and contrast.

If you want to create videos that can be broadcast, it's important to understand at least the basics of color and gamma correction.

For TV, it's imperitive that luma levels don't go above 100 IRE and that the audio is consistent with the delivery specifications of the station. Here are some sample technical delivery specifications for broadcast TV:

Be sure you know how to perform basic color correction in whatever software you use.


Sadly, applying effects to a group of clips is a weakness of Premiere. One can copy and paste attributes but this is kulnky.

Final Cut Pro

In Final Cut Pro you can use the "Levels" effect to adjust the gamma curve. You can turn on the "Show Excess Luma" which indicates areas over 100 IRE. The "Threshold" effect is an easy way to limit excess luma.

Adding & framing graphic info - Even though the move to 16x9 HD broadcast happened back in 2009, many are still offering 4x3 SD content. Commercial work often needs to comply by using a 4x3 center cut safe zone. In the example below 4x3 guides have been overlaid into FCP's existing 16x9 safe action and safe text guides.

The image above shows a 4x3 mask placed underneath FCP's 16x9 safe action and safe text guides. Many video cameras have a variety of viewfinder guides you can toggle through.

Here's a link to a 15-second spot that had to fit inside the 4x3 safe action and safe text areas:


Dedicated Signal Monitoring

Professional editors used to have to spend $5,000-$10,000 for dedicated monitoring gear. Now it can be had for about $700 (+ the price of a PC) with Black Magic Design's Ultrascope. There are two versions: a PCI card version and a dongle which you can use with a laptop in the field. The display looks like this:

It provides:

  • RGB Parade
  • waveform monitor
  • vectorscope
  • histogram
  • audio levels & spectrum
  • video monitor
  • error logging

Error logging is a huge feature. It automatically looks for non-legal video and audio elements. You essentially: turn on the logging, start playing your footage, and go to lunch (let the entire program play and be logged). It records the errors and the time they happened.

If you are interested in learning more about color correction and preparing programs for broadcast I highly recommend Scott Carmichael's Finishing class.

Post-Production Techniques

Remember the CyberCollege Editing Guidelines!

Additional reminders, tips and things to consider:

  • Always start and end in black
  • Spend time with the graphics and visual design aspect of your videos. Come up with a "look" or visual treatment for your graphics. Consider the colors and textures you might use for time and place identifiers in a science fiction story. Or the treatment you might give a documentary on a haunted victorian mansion. The look and feel of your graphics should be consistent throughout the entire video.
    • Red Giant Magic Bullet "Looks" is an inexpensive plugin for editing system that provides enhanced looks. It can be applied to a single shot or an entire scene.
  • Spend time with the sound design aspect of your videos. Be sure your audio levels are consistent throughout your sequence(s).
    • I usually suggest editing with audio in mind first. In other words listen carefully to how the inerviews, or other elements flow from one to the next. I also lay down music in my first pass, as I'll often cut to the beat and use it to set important moods.
    • Edit B-roll to the natural phrases of dialog, or to the beat of the soundtrack
    • Sounds can be used to "justify" video edits.
  • Be sure to avoid jump cuts & flash frames

Post-Production/Editing Resources

2K, 4K & Ultra HD

HD is great but there's something even better: 2K and 4K. Check out the wikipedia entry on it.

Here's a pretty good visual comparison of the various formats: http://www.manice.net/index.php/glossary/34-resolution-2k-4k

2K provides only slightly more information than HD. 2048 pixels per line compared with 1920. But the format was embraced by the digital cinema industry. The Phantom Menace introduced the world to Digital Cinema. Digital Cinema is not about production- but the distribution of theatrical content. Digital Cinematography is about film production using digital tools.

Most have ignored 2K and focused on 4K, which essentially provides 4 times the information as HD.

Just as HD comes in varying pixel dimensions for broadcast and recording 4 comes in different sizes as well. Most variations of 4K have 4096 pixels per line.

Back Magic Designs unveiled a few new cameras at NAB which created some excitement.

4K might already be heading towards obsolescence. 8K is right around the corner.

Ultra HD - Defined as any "ultra" high-definition formats, which currently includes 4K and 8K.

Indiana Motoring Update

Program premiered Sunday night. Will air again several times throughout the month.

Here's a link to the 26:46 version: https://vimeo.com/112699899 (You can ask me for the password - I just can't post it here :-)

Overview: asked to produce the show. The main challenge was that we were covering an actual event and the production had to happen over a single weekend, concurrent with the agenda. The show was held the first weekend in October. The show had to be completed 5 weeks later.

Was asked to have an on-camera host and to have the option to make it serve as the first episode of an Indiana Motoring series.

With that I wrote a treatment with the host's part scripted in advance:

Treatment/Narration (PDF)

I had to setup all of the interviews and "drive and talk" sequences in advance, weaving the production of those elements so they'd mesh with the agenda of the event. (We also had to provide some coverage of the event.) It was like a puzzle (I like puzzles.)

Production Schedule & Notes (PDF - for public viewing - phone numbers elminated)

The last document not shared due to privacy concerns is the contact list. Everyone I spoke with- potential interviewees, subject matter experts, etc. were logged in a document.

Production was a lot of work but we did it- thanks to careful planning and two great camera crews.

Main challenges in post:

  • Making a longer version for the membership campaign
  • Finding historic images (the Library of Congress was a resource)
  • Smoothing out uneven exposure/gamma/color
  • Smoothing out technical inconsistencies in audio- the host's audio & MC (event announcer), which was piped through a PA.
  • Making the rough cut screening & closed captioning session deadlines


Engineering & Troubleshooting ------------------------------------

What is the life span of video gear?

The hard drive your latest labor of love is on and everything you have in your kit will break and is eventually destined for the junkyard. It’s a fact. – It’s a matter of when. When do you think it’ll break? When it’s sitting on the shelf? Probably out on a shoot. When you’re shooting b-roll or interviewing the Mayor?

Jim’s Double Backup / Plan B (for important shoots have two of everything) I bring extra microphones, bulbs & cameras etc.


Every camera operator and field engineer must know how to troubleshoot

Audio is the most common problem but video can be vexing.

Major Audio Troubleshooting Principle: Swap connectors & the problem moves. This would mean the problem is toward the source. If you swap cables and the problem doesn’t move- it means the trouble is towards the destination. This technique can help you pinpoint problems.

Virtual Problem Scenarios – These are actual problems you may encounter.

How many steps will it take you to find:

Bad Audio

  • No sound from lav
  • No sound from shotgun
  • Really soft audio from mic
  • No sound from mic

PS: Audio hum- don’t run power cords near or parallel to audio cables. If you must, cross wires at 90 degrees.

Bad Video

  • Image is dark in the viewfinder
  • Viewfinder looks out of focus
  • Shooting inside and the picture is too dark.
  • Shooting outside and it’s too light
  • Shots seem to go out of focus



  • 2K
  • 4K
  • Broadcast Safe levels
  • Color Correction
  • Digital Cinema
  • Digital Cinematography
  • Ultra HD
  • Waveform monitor
  • Vectorscope







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