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Fixing Weird Overexposed Glitches

I’m currently putting together a new color grading breakdown for two dance short films I worked on and while scrubbing through the shots I remembered a glitch I was proud to have fixed at the time!

In a particular scene, there is a dancer performing by the water under light rain. I lowered the highlights and gave the scene a desaturated cyan look that muted most of other colors. The result was dark, eerie and moody… which was exactly what I was looking for. It worked great on every shots except for one, and I didn’t want to scratch off the look because one shot could handle it as much as the other ones.

Graded screenshots from the scene:

color grading screenshots

Ungraded screenshot of the problematic shot:

ungraded shot

Color Grading

My first reflex was to lower the highlights, but I knew it would bring out the glitch barely visible in the sky. If you look closely, you can see a weird pink/magenta shape near the dancer’s head and in the top right corner. I’m not a camera expert and would have to research to understand exactly why this kind of aberrations happen, but I have seen it a couple of times with Red footage and managed to fix it almost every time. Maybe the values in this area were too bright and the sensor had some kind of malfunction. Who knows… but what is done is done and the colorist has to fix it. When you don’t push your footage too far in the grading room, you can usually get away and not worry too much about it. But in my case, I had to drastically change the image in order to match it to the other shots of the scene.

Here’s what happened when I started playing around with the footage:

color grading glitch

This pink haze is out of this world and I absolutely do not want to have this in the sky.

Quick Fix

The solution is quite simple. Use the keyer to select the glitch and change its color so that it matches its surroundings. In my case it wasn’t too hard to pull a decent key since the glitch had a much higher saturation level than the rest of the image. It’s also important to blur your matte just enough so that you don’t see the color patch.

Here’s the matte:

keyer matte

And here’s the fix:

sky glitch color grading

Conclusion

If you ended up on this page because you had a similar issue, I hope this quick tip fixed your problem or at least corrected a reasonable part of it! Keying is a very powerful tool and I use it almost everyday. Experiment without boundaries and try to find how it can enhance your own images. Don’t forget to do a quality check afterwards though… the keyer sometimes look amazing on one frame, but can look horrible during playback!

Cheers!

Charles-Etienne Pascal is a freelance digital colorist working in Montreal, Canada. His line of work mainly consist of advertising, but he also very much enjoys grading music videos, short films and documentaries. Chuck likes photography, motorcycles, travelling, bouldering, guitar and of course color grading.
  1. DeonvanZyl (@DeonPhoto) Reply

    Great!

    Looking forward to the breakdown too.

    D

  2. Jacken Reply

    Hey. Can you give me some feedback please? Sorry for asking. It’s ok if not but I would be very thankful if you find couple minutes and give some critique. Thanks!
    https://vimeo.com/86310760

    • iseehue Reply

      Hey Jacken, drop me an email at cep@iseehue.com and I’ll leave you some feedback as soon as I can :)

  3. Dylan R. Hopkin Reply

    Hi, first I would like to say that I love your site. Nice see colourists that share their thoughts.

    The dreaded “magenta highlights” on RED footage is something I also have fought against while grading. I used the same keying + desat highlights trick previously.

    BUT. . . there is a better way.

    There is a parameter the RED-RAW settings called “DRX”. This slider can be used to rebalance the colour-shift in the upper-highlights. I use this as the main way to correct the issue at hand.

    http://www.red.com/learn/red-101/redcine-x-grading-tutorial
    The DRX slider stands for “Dynamic Range Extension,” and attempts to recover clipped highlights wherever only some of the color channels are blown. The effect is subtle though, and doesn’t restore full color information, but can be helpful with slight overexposure by fixing color shifts in the extreme highlights.

    I hope this was useful B.)

    // Dylan
    Colourist
    dylanhopkin.com

  4. Dylan R. Hopkin Reply

    Hi Charles,
    Great site you have. I love to see colourists who share knowledge.

    I though I would share a different way to fix the RED “magenta-highlight-glitch”.
    I too used to fix this glitch in the same manor as you show here.
    In fact there is a dedicated parameter for this in the RED-raw settings.
    It´s called DRX. This saves the day for most of these RED-related problems.
    DRX shifts the balance between the colour channels at the very top of the highlights.

    Check out “The DRX-slider” on this link:
    http://www.red.com/learn/red-101/redcine-x-grading-tutorial

    Cheers

    // Dylan
    Colourist
    dylanhopkin.com

  5. Dylan R. Hopkin Reply

    Sorry for the double posting. The first post I wrote did not popup in my web browser after I pressed “post”.
    Feel free to delete one of them B.)

    // Dylan

    • iseehue Reply

      Hey Dylan!

      That’s great, thanks so much for sharing this. I will definitely try it out. Nice of you to jump in and share an alternative way to fix this problem… it’s always interesting and valuable to get the opinion of other skilled colorists. And I browsed your website, nice gradings mate!

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