How To Color Correct footage from your Canon 5D or 7D with After Effects

November 11, 2009

The Canon 5D, Canon 7D, Nikon D90, and Nikon D5000 put the ability to shoot high quality video in the hands of so many photographers. The footage looks great, but it lacks contrast and finish. Watch this tutorial to learn how to color correct, grade and finish your DSLR footage in After Effects.

Thanks to Brock Nordstrom for the Canon 5D footage!

Tutorial Focus:  

  • The camera I shot on was the 500D

    also I used Stu Maschwitz’s really neat settings for the video footage (best for when you’re going to be colour correcting the footage:

  • I was just messing with this kind of thing yesterday! Great tutorial, thanks!

  • nick u got a nikon D500 but you can only shot 5 min st 720p and 20 mins standard which is a bit crap, but its good for beginners.

  • You love your blues.
    I need to get me one of those 7D’s they look awesome.

  • Hi Nick,

    Nice tutorial but I wonder why this should only be usefull for Dslr cameras 😉 If the image is flat enough it works with every camera on the planet I guess. The most techniques I knew already, but it was good to refresh them. The levels tip to lower the output blacks is really cool, I always used that to be broadcast safe but never in an artistic way – stupid me! Here is a tip for you to make comparable screenshots in the AE viewer:
    With Shift+F5 – Shift+F8 you can do several screenshots and recall them with F5-F8. Great if you have an costumer in your neck sitting who wants to see differrent styles.

  • Hi Nick,

    Again great tutorial! But isn’t it sometimes a better way to do color correction in photoshop?

    • How are you CCing in PS a video for real…?

      I prefer the MB Colorista for this kind of problems and always shooting my video in the EX-3 with the low contrast and low saturation.

      But the simplest things are the same just not in a package. 🙂

  • great tut nick! thanks, and nice microphone man!!

  • Yes.. all that, or you can use Film Magic Pro from VideoCopilot 🙂

  • Nice tips – thanks 🙂

    But you REALLY need to go 16 bit.
    You are destroying those images big time.

  • I just shot an ICP video and I assure you that there will be no Colorama used in post. We did get to shoot with the Phantom Gold which was totally bad ass!

  • I love using AE as a photo editor. Tons of great filters/effects/color correction plug ins.

  • “Unless your making an ICP video”

    I just got my 5D in the mail today and checked on your site for any updates. The stars aligned.

    Thanks for the tips n’ tricks Nick.

  • hi Nick,
    when I was watching this great tut, I was also wondering about Broadcast colours.

    Is there any chance you could give some tips on that as well?

    thx a lot !

    • Don’t really use broadcast colors. Unless someone says. “the levels aren’t legal” 🙂

    • thx for the answer, I had some trouble using full reds last year, got overblown and blurry, from then on I started using the Broadcast colors from AE.
      Difficulty was that you see it in the render played on LCD, not so much in AE on the monitor.

      Keep up the great work !!!

  • Nick that tute was bad ass! I use the 5D at work… Now I need to borrow it this weekend and play with this stuff. Seriously though, that was a very, very useful bit. I know it’s douchey to ask you to do stuff but how would you feel about talking on colour grading for green screen stuff? It would be great to hear your perspective on that… Thanks again man.

  • nice – sometimes saves time = bringin a still into photoshop if ur just colourcorrecting a photo say

  • damn!

    that’s one amazing tutorial like always!

    i might drop a little tipp in here on how to make a neat little effect with the vignette thing:

    i use to make an adjustment layer with a mask on it ( just like you did ) but instead of a black solid i drop a CURVES ADJUSTMENT on it and clip the black’s all the way down until it fits my needs.

    that way you get a nice darked out edge with some nice details in it that would get lost if you do it with a black solid.

    hehe, thats it.

    thanks for the great tut!

    greets from austria

  • I find it interesting that you have a microphone setup in front of you now…Andrew Kramer influence?

  • Desaturating color image with hue/saturation is just sucks, because its initialy makes wrong destibution of RGB channels in BW. Its better to use Set Channels instead.

    • For example, make simple color gradient (Ramp) and then desaturate it with Hue/Saturation – its flat gray. Now use Set Channels instead – its gray, but it still will have gradient.

  • How exactly do you use Set Channels for this?

  • hi gorrilla

    any chance you know how to do this same effects in FCP??

    best wishes for this year man

    great job this page

  • A video i shoot in Jamaica with the 5D and cc with apple color.

  • hey man please hoy to make this effect that his video has like the black texture and those white ligth please man

  • What if you have to colorcorrect a whole movie, do you have to render out each scene seperately from AE and then import it to premiere and get everything together?

  • Really great tutorials! Learning lots of stuff, ur explinations are fun. I got a question if u can help me out: i got a canon 5D and using SOny Vegas for the edit, what is the best exporting options so i dont lose quality as it was on the raw footage. I tried lots of renderings and ended up with messes on the quality. Im making a music video and i really want it to come full HD as i shotted on the camera, any suggestions? Really appreciate ur help! thanks!

  • please help me how to the best ( 5D Mark 2 VS 7D ) ???

  • I get pleasure from, result in I discovered exactly what I used to be looking for. You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  • Great tUtO!
    What do you export the file to in AE after you’re done?
    Do you CC each clip from FCP ?

  • `nice original file looks the best

  • thanks for this tutorials

  • Quick question, if the footage I shot on a Canon 5d, indoors using tungsten lights on brown skin came out with a really orange tint is it reedemable? Is After Effects the best software to use for this? Any specific tutorials that you may know of to help me or can the one above be applied in a general sense to any situation even if the footage I’m working with isnt necessarily flat but bad color?

  • thank God for this, i m really grateful, cos its so helpful to me.

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