An in-depth tutorial on color correction using Curves inside of After Effects and Photoshop. This method explains how to color correct most any footage "by the numbers". It's a bit of a science that requires only a minimum amount of understanding of RGB values.
Please bestow a ♥ like or leave a ✉ comment if you have questions!
You can skip the introduction if you so choose: 0:45 - Before and After (Full Color Correction Example Here: vimeo.com/14400218) 1:09 - Color Correction After Effects Tutorial Start 12:37 - Edit your color corrected footage in Premiere! (Dynamically Link the CC'ed Footage)
Using Photoshop for color correction is really a lot easier than you may think. In this tutorial, the method is very simple and fast - NO rendering multiple frames, NO importing video files into Photoshop, and easy access to making color changes.
This tutorial is a tad long at 15 minutes - please bear with me as I fully explain the techniques here! (It was recorded it in the middle of the night. :) Hopefully you will find the techniques in this After Effects Color Correction Tutorial helpful. UPDATE 3/31/11 - I have re-uploaded this tutorial as I have redone the intro.
✏ Choose areas that are large enough to sample and don't contain color casts or Chromatic Aberration
✏ Remember to use common sense. If the colors are just not looking right, either sample a different area or adjust to your liking.
✏ Your footage may have different areas of brightness or color shifts throughout the video. Animate your Levels for differing brightness, and animate your Curves for differing color where needed.
✏ Sometimes having crushed blacks or blown highlights are okay - especially in video. Keep this in mind when working with the Levels effect and don't worry if you have either of those in your final result.
✏ If you have the opportunity, use a gray card somewhere in the image - so that later in post, you can reference that neutral gray midtone for color correction.
✏ IMPORTANT: If you are using CS5, make sure you are using the Eyedropper Tool, NOT the Color Sampler Tool. Thanks to Ryan Yakich for the heads up.
RGB Color Correction Values Reference (also at 9:54):
Highlights ✏ 245
Midtones ✏ 135
Shadows ✏ > 12
✏ Rotate around your subject - your axis of rotation should be around the subject in the photo.
✏ Choose subjects with little background detail to achieve the best Pixel Motion effect.
✏ Keep the motion between images very, very subtle. Practice rotating around your subject once or twice before you take the picture.
✏ Remember to have your camera on manual EVERYTHING: Aperture, Shutter, Focus, and White Balance. This will ensure the fastest multi-burst from your camera (DSLR or point-and-shoot). If you are shooting at a higher ISO, turn off in-camera noise reduction.
✏ Rename your files to numbers or alphabetical order - After Effects sometimes won't create a proper JPEG sequence with filenames such as "IMG_9738.JPG". In this example, I renamed my photos by chopping off the first 5 characters (making the filename "738.JPG") with a file renamer.
✏ Resize your images to your output WIDTH (1920 for my project). I created an action in Photoshop that automates everything. This will speed up your overall production and processing time.
☞ You can also use this method by zooming into your subject (instead of rotating) while shooting the images. Do this by either zooming with the lens, or physically stepping closer to your subject. Remember your manual focus here.
UPDATE: How to resize your photos/images:
✏ Download my Photoshop preset: http://bitly.com/resize-for-1080p-HD
✏ Follow the included instructions
REMEMBER that the photos you run through this Photoshop action WILL be overwritten. What I do is create a new folder called 'resized', copy my originals into it, then run the Photoshop action on the 'resized' images folder. After that, I chop off the first five characters of the filename with a file renamer such as File Renamer Basic (http://bit.ly/File-Renamer-Basic).