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Tutorial: Shot Comparison & Color Matching Tools Using Adobe Premiere Pro

Clear Online Video's Stjepan Alaupovic demos the new shot matching tools in Adobe Premiere Pro's Color panel.

Welcome to this tutorial on exploring the shot comparison and color match features released in Adobe Premiere CC 2018. This new set of tools allows you to compare the looks of two different shots across a sequence of shots, and match colors while retaining skin tones with a single click.

I'm a big fan of keeping things simple in post, yet I'm also capturing most footage these days with flat color profiles, which requires color grading. I'm really happy with the results of color grading flat footage, but it can be a time-consuming process. I'm excited because Premiere Pro’s Color Match panel offers a quick and easy to use toolset that can streamline the color grading workflow.

In Figure 1 (below), you can see I've got two different shots of an interview subject. The shots were recorded with two different cameras, two different lenses, and two different settings. Let's use the color match tools to make these look more consistent with each other.

Figure 1. The two shots we’re trying to match

Working in the Lumetri Panel

The options for color matching can be found in the Lumetri panel of the color workspace in Premiere Pro (Figure 2, below). Make sure you've updated to the latest version of Premiere Pro to see these features. Choose the color wheel's Match menu to display these tools.

Figure 2. Color matching options in the Lumetri panel

Next, select the Comparison View button at the very top of the window. This allows you to compare a reference image to another shot selected for color grading. You can scrub through your sequence in this timeline to use any image as reference point. You can then navigate to a point in a project timeline to view the shots side by side (Figure 3, below). The clip you have selected will be the one that gets the actual color grading applied to it.

Figure 3. Comparison View

Applying the Apply Match Option

One quick way to let Premiere Pro do some of the work for you is to select the Apply Match option (Figure 4, below). Premiere Pro will analyze the two images and get some of the basic groundwork done for you. By default, the tool uses face detection to match up skin tones.

Figure 4. The Apply Match option

Now, with any color grading, it can be a push-pull process, meaning there are still going to be some tweaks that you'll have to make in order to make things look their best. However, with a few simple clicks, I got a lot of work done by Premiere Pro, and it matched up skin tones with this workflow (Figure 5, below). You can further fine-tune the shadows, mid-tones, and highlights in the color wheels in the same panel. You can also adjust the lighting intensity with toggles next to each color wheel.

Figure 5. Apply Match result

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