Pro Tips, Tutorials

Change the Scene Using Lumetri Color


Transforming a scene from one tone to another looks complicated at first glance. However, there are several ways to make the process simple and easy. Instead of dropping in a LUT and calling it a day, you can use the Lumetri Color effect in Premiere Pro to customize your look and tone in more detail.

First, you’ll notice the clips we’re working with are bright, sunny, and cheerful; we plan to turn them into a colder, darker dramatic scene. First, you’ll have to make an adjustment layer, which is a layer where you can apply effects that will impact everything under it on the timeline. Create the layer, then place it above your footage layer.

Now we can add our Lumetri color effect, which you can find in the “effects” window. Drag that onto the adjustment layer.

Once it’s applied to the adjustment layer, select the adjustment layer and open the “effect controls” window if it’s not open already. You can see all of the controls in this panel, which we’ll go over in more detail further down. In general, this is a good place to play around and figure out what works for your scene.

Since we’re going for a dark, cold scene, I can first change the temperature to make it a bit colder and bluer. I can also turn down the saturation a bit. Whites, shadows, and highlights are also good ways to get the look you want.

Once you’re happy with this section, move on to the “creative” section. For our clip, we only adjusted the vibrance and turned it down a bit to get a more bland color for the clip. You should experiment here to see what you like best, bearing in mind that tweaking these settings too much can cause the clip to instantly look fake, unnatural, or over-corrected.

The “curves” are next. Your curves help control the RGB waveforms and the brightness of your clip(s) with more detail. The diagonal line or “band” going across the curve starts in the bottom- left (shadows), then ends in the upper-right (highlights). You can click anywhere along this line to create a keyframe and adjust that section of the footage’s color/brightness.

To start, focus on changing the overall curves. Click on the white dot or make sure it’s selected, then click right in the middle of the white line. You can then drag this line up or down to see how it affects the footage.

As you can see, that starts changing the clip’s brightness and contrast. You can create as many keyframes as you want in order to make your adjustments, so feel free to play around with curves here to make it look how you prefer. You can then click on the colored dots to further adjust the scene for those waveforms. For example, we can still see a lot of greens, so we can click the green dot and adjust it individually.

Continue to make adjustments as you prefer to get the look and tone you want. Then move down into the next area.

The last color correction section is called “HSL secondary.” The HSL secondary gives finer controls of specific colors and is typically done after the primary correction. To adjust a certain color, click “set color” and select whichever one you want to adjust. We will be adjusting the green in our footage. Now click “show mask” to see what colors are selected.

You can widen or narrow the selection by dragging the H, S, and L sliders. We can also adjust the saturation and temperature of the colors selected.

And finally, we can adjust the vignette to add some dark edges. “-1” is a good amount to start with, but feel free to adjust as you see fit. Midpoint and Roundness will help you shape the vignette. Feather makes a nice smooth transition between the dark edges and the rest of the clip.

Once you reach a satisfactory final result, toggle the visibility on the adjustment layer to make sure you still like it.

The only thing left to do is to apply these adjustments to the rest of your footage in the timeline. You can simply extend the adjustment layer over whatever you want to change. This works well if the clips are all relatively similar-looking already.

However, if you’re using many different types of footage, you may need to adjust each clip. In this case, use the razor tool to cut the adjustment layer to fit the footage after you’ve extended it over the relevant sections. You can also right-click to copy these adjustments and paste them on all sections of the adjustment layer by using the “paste attributes” function. Be sure to check only the effects you want to paste.

Now let’s compare what we had in the beginning to what we have currently. The changes gave us the more dramatic look we were hoping for.

Head over to Pond5 to license footage that you can use to test out these techniques. There are also thousands of free assets available to download at the Pond5 Free Collection.

There is so much more for us to discuss about the Lumetri color effect. So keep an eye out for future tutorials where we will cover audio adjustments, presets, applying matches and more.