In this walkthrough, we've shared the basics of Adobe Speedgrade, a powerful color grading application that will keep your project looking consistent and professional.
What is Adobe Speedgrade?
Part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, Speedgrade is a cinematic tool for color grading. Typically used at the beginning and end of a project, it's designed for color correction, mastering, dailies, and much more.
Here are a few handy features that you'll find in the latest version of Speedgrade CC:
- Grading Layer Grouping (combine grading layer adjustments into a grouped stack, and save them for future use)
- SpeedLooks (preset color palettes that simulate the look of 35mm film)
- Curve Adjustments (located in the Effects panel, the RGB Curves and Hue & Saturation Curves allow you to enhance or reduce any segment of the color spectrum)
Using the Shot Matcher
With just one click, Speedgrade CC can match shots so that they have the same look. This is extremely useful when you've applied color grading to a shot, and you want subsequent shots to have the same settings.
First, click the "2-Up" button above the Timeline to show both shots on the screen. This allows you to do a quick comparison between shots, so you can see what the second shot is missing.
You now have two playheads that you can adjust, so drag the second playhead over a frame that you like. Finally, click on the Shot Matcher icon above the right side of your Timeline (it looks like a color wheel). Speedgrade will analyze the frame location of your second playhead, and use it to transform your second shot. After applying Shot Matcher, you can select any shot and refine the colors manually, for even more control.
Analyzing Shot Brightness
Adobe Speedgrade CC also makes it easy to analyze shots with the Luma Waveform scope. Press the A key to access these analysis tools. The RGB option allows you to see how colors fall in the tonal range, including their brightness level.
To isolate the brightness measurement (i.e. Luma), right-click on the scope and choose "Switch to Luma". Now, the waveform scope will change to a monochromatic view. This is useful for measuring contrast ratio and brightness between multiple shots.