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Tutorial: BorisFX Continuum 2019

Paul Schmutzler demonstrates how to add nighttime drama and excitement to mundane-looking daytime shots by applying and customizing effects found in Adobe Premiere Pro and BorisFX Continuum 2019.


This is Paul Schmutzler. Today I am going to show you a brief tutorial on how to take a pretty mundane, middle of the day, straight, harsh sun shot and turn it into something that looks like it's shot at night and is a lot more dramatic. The tools that I'm going to use are Premiere Pro 2019 as well as Boris Continuum plug-ins 2019.

Here's the shot we're working with. I shot these drag racing clips last summer and as you can see, it's the middle of the day, it's high sun in the middle of the summer down here in Tennessee, so the lighting is really harsh. There's high contrast. The light is straight down on top of this car, which makes the front and underneath just look really bad and dark. I could spend a lot of time bumping up the color and contrast on this to make it look nicer, but I decided to do something completely out there instead, and just make this look like it was shot at night.

If a car drives at night, it typically uses headlights. Of course, a lot of race cars don't use headlights. This one, you can see, actually has blanks where the headlights would be in this Mustang. But I decided I want to make it look a little bit more dramatic, so I'm going to add headlights.

So this is what we're going to do. We're going to take this shot that looks pretty dull, and we're going to make it look like this when we're finished. Looks a lot more interesting, catches your eye a lot better.

Making Color Adjustments in Adobe Premiere Pro

The first thing I did was duplicated the clip and put the color that I wanted to on it. And I just simply used Lumetri Color, which is here. And then I used the Blue Day for Night setting, and then I just tweaked it. So I went under the other Settings, like under Basic Correction. and made a few adjustments to make it look a little closer to what I wanted. And this is basically what I ended up with. Now let me turn off the lights for now and show you what it looks like without it first.

So there's my shot without the headlights, as you can see, putting that Day for Night filter on there make the places where the headlights should be almost disappear into black, but that's okay. So what I did was, I needed to put the lights in place without this filter so that the tracking could see it better. So I disabled my Lumetri Color and now it has better contrast here where the lights are so it makes it easier for the tracker to find it.

Adding Light and Tracking in Boris Continuum 2019

Then I needed to find a light source in Boris Continuum 2019 that actually looked like it could be a headlight. So we'll go back under Effects, and then I searched for Lens Flare, BCC Lens Flare.

When you have Boris installed on your machine, when you go to search for things, everything begins with BCC. So it's very easy to find just those effects.

I knew I wanted the Lens Flare, so that's what I typed in the search box. And then I dragged one onto here as an effect, so there's the right headlight. And the way I got that there was a couple of steps.

First of all, remember that Boris is the maker of the Mocha Motion Tracking plug-in, which is extremely powerful. It's available as a standalone product. It works with After Effects, it works with Premiere, and it works with several other NLEs. So I knew this shot begins static because this is the burn out before the car actually takes off on the race. So this is where he's warming up his tires. The car's going to move from a frame right towards frame left and closer to the camera. So I knew I needed to use a motion tracker to follow that to make it as accurate and realistic as possible.

I opened up Mocha, but just by clicking this within that particular effect that I applied to this clip. Once Mocha opens, you can see where I've placed my tracker. So I basically used this tool right here, which creates an ellipse. And I just drew a circle, basically where the headlight would be, and then I made sure that everything was tracking within, you know, approximate range of where it should be. And then I just used the forward tracking, so what that'll do is, just like you would find in Premiere Pro or After Effects, the tracker basically just looks at all the pixels, looks for contrast, and it follows the clip as it moves, and then when that object begins to move, it tries it's best to stay on top of it.

So I'm just going to skip through here and show you what it tracked. And it did a very good job of staying on the light. You can see it shifted a little bit to the right there. It's more on the fender than it is on the actual light bulb, but it stayed very close, and we don't have to have this perfect, and I'll show you why in just a few moments. So eventually the light actually goes off-screen, and once it did that, it gave me an error and said it's failed because that object is no longer visible to it, so it can't keep tracking.

That's fine, because again, it's off-screen. If it's off-screen, and it's supposed to be an actual headlight we want it to disappear and not be visible after the car leaves the screen. So after I did this for the right headlight, I did the same thing for the left headlight because the car shifts a little bit diagonally, and you'll see that when we watch the clip at full speed.

The lights aren't moving at the exact same rates, so I couldn't just duplicate this effect and shift it over, so that it was two lights. Although they technically stay in lockstep because the lights are on the same plane, they don't move visually on the frame in the same way, because your perspective changes a little bit as the one headlight becomes closer than the other and vice versa.

So I actually applied an entirely new effect of this Lens Flare. I went into Mocha, and as you can see again here, I have tracked the second light. So this is the left or the passenger side light. And again, it tracks it as far as it can, and this one leaves the frame before the other one, so it ended slightly earlier in the frame and as you can see, it's still trying to track here, but I've already lost it. And again, that's okay. And I'll show you why. So let's close out Mocha.

Once we get to that part in the video, let's skip forward there. Alright, so right about here. This is where the first headlight, passenger side, begins to go out of frame. So once we get to that point, I found the exact frame where the light actually began to leave and the key frames clearly were off and started to jump around.

As you can see, I have my keyframes pulled up here where I started to adjust the offset. This is under the Tracker Settings, so if the light was placed on-screen in the top left of the frame, but it needs to move to the right and down, I would use this offset, the X and a Y, here and here, to move it over and down. So the motion tracking it would still follow, but it would be starting from a different point.

Think of this as like an anchor point. Sometimes, when you place something on the screen, you move the anchor point around depending on whether you want the object to be anchored on the side of it or in the center. In this case, I'm essentially moving the anchor point to the side. So again, when it hits the edge of the frame here, I need to change the X offset, and in some instances, the Y offset as well, that way it actually travels offscreen at approximately the same rate to look realistic.

The other thing I did was, because of the lens flare that shows up in this shot on the screen, as you can see up here, I wanted that to go away because if it's out of frame it should be hitting the lens and causing lens flare. So what I did was I went up here to the Global Intensity, which essentially is just is like opacity, and again, I set a few keyframes, and as it goes out of frame, it begins to drop off until when it's finally out it's at zero.

So that lens flare is no longer on-screen. And then what I did for the right headlight was the same thing but slightly adjusted based on the actual movement of the car. So you can see, about right here, is where it starts to go out of frame. And again, I did the same thing, I offset it X and Y, depending on what would make it look realistic. And then I tapped that Global Intensity down to zero with a few key frames so it sort of fades out as it moves out of frame. So what you end up with is something that looks kind of like this. So there you go, those move out of frame.

Then the piece de resistance was making it look like it was actually at night because why would you use headlights if it was day on a race track. And the final product actually looks like this.

So that's how to make a boring, daytime shot look like a dramatic, night shot and turn on headlights that don't even exist on a car using Premiere Pro 2019 and Boris Continuum plug-ins with Mocha Pro.

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