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Tutorial: Use Colour Correction in iMovie

Use iMovie’s correcting tools to produce true colours under different lighting conditions and boost weak colours

MainUse iMovie’s correcting tools to produce true colours under different lighting conditions and boost weak colours

If you shoot with an incorrect White Balance (WB) setting your footage may suffer from a blue colour cast. Shooting in artificial street lighting can make skin tones look too orange and over-saturated. The old iMovie HD could let you tweak a shot’s colour saturation and hue, but you had to spend time rendering the colour changes. Invariably the rendered colours would look different to those in the preview, making colour correction a hit and miss affair.

The new iMovie ‘09 let’s you change colours in real time and what you see is what you get! You can warm up or cool down colours with ease using a variety of techniques. Use iMovie’s correcting tools to produce true colours under different lighting conditions and boost weak colours.

Tutorial files for this project can be found here

Picture 1

1: Show advanced tools
For additional colour changing options go to iMovie>Preferences. In the General preferences
section tick Show Advanced Tools.

Picture 2

2: Import clips
Go to File>Import>Movies and select ‘Cold.mov’. Drag it into a new project. The white balance was set for indoors so the outdoor scene looks too cold.

Picture 3

3: Warm up
Double-click on the clip to open the Inspector. Click on Video and set the Red Gain to 125%, Green Gain to 81% and reduce the Blue Gain to 58%.

Picture 4

4: One-click wonder
Click Revert To Original. An alternative way to warm up the shot is to click the cursor on a blue tinted object that should be white, like a boat’s hull.

Picture 5

5: Cool down
Import ‘Neon.mov’. The skin tones are garishly orange. Set the Red Gain to 68% and Blue Gain to
119%. Boost Exposure to 131%.

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6: Make less noise
The camera’s increased gain setting had added lots of nasty picture noise. Drag the Shadow Levels slider to 3% to darken the shadow’s grain

Picture 7

7: Cool it
Fine-tune the colour temperature by tweaking the white point to cool things down a tad. Drag it
towards the blue section of the colour wheel.

Picture 8

8: Colour boost
Import ‘Saturation.mov’. To bring out this shot’s purples, greens and blues go to the Video Inspector and drag the Saturation slider to 130%.

Picture 9

9: Cross-processing
For more creative colour control import ‘Flags.mov’. Push Green Gain to 136% and reduce Blue Gain to 85% for a cross-processed look.

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