Color Correcting Video with VSCO Film filters

I am not associated in any way with the team at Visual Supply Company. I was not paid to write this, I simply have a love for the product, the results that can be had and would love to share the steps I took to use this color grading solution. Here is the final cut from the video (above) in the screen cast tutorial.

Please note, this is not a quick process, and the process is exceptionally similar regardless of NLE, just replace the word Project Manager in Premiere with Media Manage from FCP 7 and you’re golden. Also, keep in mind, this was my workflow with the beautiful VSCO Film filters, there might be other more effective ways of getting in and out of Lightroom 4 (as it’s just on a the brink of being discovered as a killer/fun color correction solution). VSCO did their own quick tutorial that rocks it, but doesn’t dive into specifics as far as workflow, so here’s a little more in-depth view from the process I used on my San Diego Creatives film / you can also see another example in Fin Art ::

Step one :: Cut entire film and lock edit. This is important (and hopefully will change in the future if Adobe is hearing our voice, and will add the ability to grade with presets in Premiere or Speed Grade), I needed to be locked on my edit before going into LR4, as making changes after this point mean’t exporting/correcting individual clips which can lead to a lot of time spent watching bars crawl across your screen.

Step two :: Export entire project using Project Manager (Project > Project Manager). The way in which you complete this step determines how long your export will be out of LR, so if you are planning on doing an overnight process, choose Collect Files and Copy to New Location. If you need to do it as quick as possible, choose Create New Trimmed Project. The difference being, when you relink back in Premiere, the first choice will still have the ability to edit within those clips (slip through the clips), where as the second choice is locked with no ability to change length for timing, music, different emotion, etc. Only check the sequence that you want to export, pick a destination and hit ok. (Keep in mind, thanks to Chris, we now know that FCPx does not have a trimmed clip option. It also has a different option to export // choose Duplicate Project + Used Clips Only)

Step three :: Import clips/project files into Lightroom 4. Import all the clips from the Project Manager exported folder.

Step four :: Edited clips using VSCO Film. The whole kicker with editing video in LR4 is you can’t edit in the Develop tab, you’re limited to the Quick Develop under the Library tap. Use the Saved Preset tab to select the VSCO filter you prefer and then you’ll be able to make other minor tweaks to dial things in using the limited controls to get exposure, white balance, saturation and a couple other settings where they need to be (note: holding alt/option will change vibrance into saturation).

Step five :: Export clips.  Select H.264 under the video tab in the export window, Max under quality. The naming scheme is important for the next step. Name them exactly how they were originally named and dropped them into a different folder. Then hit export and walk away (depending on the size of project, this can take a really long time).

Step Six :: Relink Clips. Before you open the project again to relink, first go into the finder and change the location of the original source files, so Premiere will ask to locate the clips. At that point, ‘replace’ them with the new files that were processed in Lightroom. (Update thanks to Erwan) Keep in mind, if you were originally working with ProRes files in FCP, you may want to reconvert them back from H264 to ProRes after coming out of LR4 (here’s a quick tutorial on how to use MPEG Streamclip for the conversion). The reason for that is because H264 isn’t a native codec that FCP can handle, so you’ll be dealing with quiet a bit of render time to preview the grade before final export. And expect export to take a little longer to chug out the conversion. Here’s a quick  

And that’s it. My project was color corrected in Premiere and awaiting final export. It’s not a quick way to color correct, however, it’s unique and beautiful. You’ll notice that you lose the grain you normally see in the VSCO film when you apply it to photographs. I used Gorilla Grain to add a little bit back. Graded another fun piece with VSCO film for Happyolks here, but didn’t use the Gorilla Grain if you want to see an example without.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Cheers -

 

  • Chris Mathews - Thank you so much for posting this. I use Final Cut Pro X, and I am trying to find out how to not only lock my timeline (which after some research, it doesn’t look like I can), but also how to export my project like you did in Premier. I can’t find the Media Manage you speak of, but I am still looking.ReplyCancel

  • Chris Mathews - Ahh! I found it, in Final Cut Pro X, you need to Duplicate your project, choose Duplicate Project + Used Clips Only. Then you can edit the clips in the folder it creates in LR4. Apparently FCPX doesn’t offer the ability to duplicate the trimmed clips only, so if you have a lot of clips in your project, this will take up a lot of space and time.ReplyCancel

  • Shaun - Hey Chris – thanks for the insight about FCPx, I was referring to FCP 7 when I generically said Final Cut Pro. Sorry about the confusion, I’ll update the tut with your finding. Appreciate the comment!ReplyCancel

  • Chris Mathews - Glad I could help, thanks again for providing great information to the video community.ReplyCancel

  • Thomas - Thanks a lot guys for this great insights… I’m also working a little with color correction in lightroom. One question – why don’t you import the “raw” video files out of camera in lightroom and then go to premiere afterwards? What’s the clue about using premiere before and after?

    thanks a lot
    cheersReplyCancel

  • Shaun - Hey Thomas – thanks for asking. The idea is that when we shoot b-roll, the majority of the time we shoot anywhere from 15-20 minutes up to an hour and a half two hours. There are some gigs, where we shoot b-roll for a few days to get a certain action or because it’s in different cities/states, etc.

    So because the export and workflow of LR4 with video is really slow, color correcting the entire batch of say 100+ clips of all the b-roll we shot might take a couple days. It becomes much more practical to lock the final edit in Premiere, and then only color correct those 15-20 clips that end up making it. Saves a ton of time in the scheme of things.

    Cheers!
    SReplyCancel

  • Erwan Cloarec - Awesome blog post. Really helpful. One question: what is your experience with VSCO presets on video? For exemple, I shoot all my footages on very flat pictures style, would that effect how well the presets is applied? Did you play more with curves afterward? And technically after exporting from LR4, do you need to recompress files again to prores, since they are now H264?ReplyCancel

    • Shaun - Hey Erwan –

      Thanks for the questions! Appreciate you taking time to go through the blog and continue the conversation.

      1) I shoot everything on a modified Neutral setting (see post here for reference), and it seems to work great. VSCO is all about fading the highlights, so it seems to embrace the blown out feel. With that said though, I tend to shoot as flat as possible to perserve every ounce of detail/latitude possible. You can always crank the highlights/shadows in post. And yes, if needed, applying a grade before going into VSCO is highly recommended as it’s nice to go into LR with a base line of consistency throughout your shots.

      2) It depends, if you’re working in Premiere, simply “replace” the footage, preview and export. In FCP, you can do the same, but because the program natively doesn’t work well with the H264 codec (requires rendering to view), you won’t be able to preview the correction and it may take a bit longer on the export. So converting back to ProRes after LR export might save some chugging time on your processor.

      Thanks again Erwan! Let me know if that helps. Cheers – SReplyCancel

  • Erwan Cloarec - Awesome, thanks replying that fast. I’m working on FCP7. I am going to experiment a little bit. I usually shoot on superflat picture style, so far it doesn’t seem to be working very well with VSCO. I am going to try playing with those in Magic Bullet after applying the preset and see if I can reveal more of the colors/contrasts.ReplyCancel

  • Erwan Cloarec - Hey Shaun,
    I was not able to export my clips through Media manager via FCP7.
    My final edit is ready, but somehow when i try to export via media manager, either one massive video (of complete final cut) is exported, or just a project .fcp file…
    Would you know what i am doing wrnog?ReplyCancel

    • Shaun - Just sent you an email! Thanks for the question -ReplyCancel

  • Gary Breece - Hey Shaun,

    Thanks for the tutorial. When transcoding to ProRes after LR export, are you using MPEG Streamclip? For every clip I export from LR, when I bring it into Streamclip, I get a “can’t prepare movie” message. Any thoughts?

    Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Shaun - Hey Gary –

      Sorry to hear you’re having issues. I do use MPEG, using batch. I am not sure what the “can’t prepare movie” message might be coming from. I’d double check the files when they export from LR in your finder and make sure they were exported properly. If you open them in QT, and hit command-I, you should be able to confirm that your settings are right. Also, checking to make sure they are playing would be a solid start. I can’t imagine MGPEG having issues with video that is in working condition.

      With that said, I’d double check your output settings in LR4. Compare with the last photo above.

      Let me know if that helps –
      Cheers,
      SReplyCancel

  • Greg - Thank so much for posting this blog! I do have a question however. I am using FCP7 and would like to export my edited sequence as individual clips to import to L4. Is there a way to do that as a batch export or do I have to each clip one at a time? Also… they are currently in apple prores format. Do I need to export them as h.264 for L4 and then back to pro res for final cut? Thanks again for your help.ReplyCancel

    • Shaun - Hey Greg –

      Thanks for checking things out. Yep, there’s a way! Read back through this tutorial and it will run you through the export process for FCP7. You use Media Manage to export. That will deliver your clips individually trimmed into a separate folder for you to import into LR4.

      And no, you don’t need to render out H264′s. I actually highly suggest you don’t, as the more times you render files, the chance of quality damage also goes up.

      Let me know if you have any more questions –
      Cheers,
      SReplyCancel

  • JR Clubb - Thanks! Can’t wait to try. Both your docs look great. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • Jerel - Hello there Shaun!

    Any news from VSCO if they’re going to release a plug-in for FPCX or Premiere? You also might want to check this group: http://vimeo.com/groups/168960 dedicated to color grading videos using VSCO film + LR4.

    Again, Thanks for sharing! Keep up the good work.

    Cheers,
    JerelReplyCancel

    • Shaun - Hey Jerel – thanks for the question. I think in order for VSCO to release a plug-in, it would take a serious team of dedicated developers, especially if you’re talking about a multi-platform piece of software. I am not associated with the VSCO team at this point, and have no insight as to whether or not they are working on a solution but I think the better thing to push for at this point is that Adobe finds a way to enable users to use Lightroom Presets in Premiere. Or better yet, in their newly acquired SpeedGrade. Remember VSCO is still looking to push VSCO Cam to Android, asking for a video plug-in would be pretty tough.

      Thanks again for the comments Jerel –
      Cheers,
      ShaunReplyCancel

  • Adam K. - Will exporting in the media manager via FCP7 include text? Or do I need to grade in LR4, take back into FCP7 and add text ? Thanks so much!ReplyCancel

    • Shaun - Exporting via media manager will not include text, but you’ll have to bring it back into FCP to export regardless. So edit with text, export and grade in LR4 and then relink the clips and export in FCP7.

      Cheers –
      SReplyCancel

  • Adam K. - Shaun,

    How long should I expect this process to take in lightroom? I have a 15 second clip in LR4 right now and im going on 2 hours. The export bar has not moved at all. Thanks.

    AdamReplyCancel

  • Adam K. - Sorry for another question, but I’m actually receiving this error message and can’t seem to find a fix anywhere.

    Its popping up as soon as I go to export in LR4

    [/Volumes/BuildDisk/builds/DynamicLinkMediaServer1/main/shared/adobe/MediaCore/Backend/Make/Mac/../../Src/Sequence/Sequence.cpp-1315]ReplyCancel

  • Josué A. - Hi Adam,

    I had the same message and after a lot of research and some hairloss,i was wondering if it’s coming from the video that i imported…

    I use to convert my files to apple 4.2.2 with E-movie plugin in FCP7 to have the best workflow (as Shaun said fcp doesn’t work well with H264) but i always keep the original footages somewhere.
    Lightroom can import my converted files in 4.2.2 but can’t export them (with or without VSCO presets applied) :
    [/Volumes/BuildDisk/builds/DynamicLinkMediaServer1/main/shared/adobe/MediaCore/Backend/Make/Mac/../../Src/Sequence/Sequence.cpp-1315]
    and when I use the original footage everything works fine (exported in H264 max)

    So i think the best way to color grade video on Lightroom is to use H264 clips as it is generally the format of video straight from cameras.

    I will move to Premiere now as i don’t need to convert my 5D clips to be able to work smoothly.

    Thanks again Shaun for this useful Tuto, really bring me light in my choice of editing software combine with VSCO.

    Cheers.

    Josueaton.comReplyCancel

  • chris - Hi there, I have the same issue as Gary, were when exporting from MPEG it says ‘can’t prepare movie’. Files play fine in QT and my settings seem the same as yours for export from LR. Any other ideas?

    Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • adrian yap - Hey,

    I have a quick question.

    If our original file is .MOV format , after exporting from LR4 it will be convert into .MP4.

    What do you guys do to relink the files? ( or do you guys link it manually )

    Cheers. ( Really helpful article btw! appreciate it)

    AdrianReplyCancel

    • Shaun - Hey Adrian –

      Thanks for the kind words, really appreciate it. Two options, you can manually relink all the files (now .mp4′s), or reconvert them back into .mov files using MPEG Streamclip or similar. Both take the similar amounts of time, but the latter requires less busy work.

      Hope that helps!
      Cheers,
      ShaunReplyCancel

  • Ion - Hi again Shaun,
    Regarding the entire process (from importing 5D MKII movie shots in Premiere to relink clips) is there any possibility that in the future to make a screen video capture and to post it as a tutorial ? It will be very helpful, I’m sure that there are a lot of guys dreaming at this :)

    I am pretty new in video editing but really want to learn from scratch your technique.
    I appreciate it,ReplyCancel

    • Shaun - Hey Ion – I’m actually working on it now. Should have something up soon. Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Ion - I just watched your video tutorial Shaun.All clear now .A BIG THANKS!!! for your time, support and patience with newbies.All the best,ReplyCancel

  • M - I don’t know why, but when I try to apply a preset, I get a window that some develop settings are not supported for video files, thus making the change minimal. What am I doing wrong?ReplyCancel

    • Shaun - Yes, the first time you apply the effects, a display will pop up telling you that you won’t be able to apply all of the effects to your video that you can to your photos. For example, you won’t be able to apply grain, vignettes, and so on to videos. Still part of the limitation that Adobe is hopefully working on. But for things like the grain that VSCO applies, it would end up being stuck while your video is moving (because it’s static), which would just end up feeling like you were looking through a dirty view finder. If you want to add a bit of grain, I’d check out Gorilla Grain when you get a second. Rad stuff.

      You can check that ‘Don’t show again’ button on the pop up window, and you’ll be good to go. Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Film and Video Grading Tutorial using VSCO Film in LR4 - Doobybrain.com - [...] filters (oh, here’s another one too) and now Boytoycreative has posted an actual tutorial on how it’s done. Yay. Must try [...]ReplyCancel

  • Alex - Thanks for this! Just found it via a Google search. Love your work with Happyolks :) ReplyCancel

  • Jasper - Hi Shaun,

    Love the tutorial you made! Just checking, do you color correct in Premiere (sharpen/equalise colours) and then export into LR4 to grade with VSCO? or do you simply push everything after cutting into VSCO to colour correct and grade (sharpen etc).

    Sorry for all the questions!ReplyCancel

    • Shaun - Hey Jasper – thanks for chiming in. I cut in Premiere, balance/tweak any clips that may be off the deep end, sharpen and then export. The application of VSCO is purely the last thing I do. Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • Jasper - Thank you so much for the clarification Shaun! :) ReplyCancel

  • Jasper - Hey Shaun,

    I have tried the two methods, one being exporting the whole video and using project manager to export the clips.

    Basically if you use the project manager (collect files and copy to new location) and export the clips none of the effects will follow with it… So you’re actually color correcting and grading it in LR4 right?

    But if you export the sequence, like you did in the video, all the effects like (sharpening + corrections) will follow…

    Is there any way which i can use the project manager to bring forth all the effects that are in the clips? :) ReplyCancel

    • Shaun - Hey Jasper – our workflow is such that you color grade in LR4, then bring the clips back into premiere and apply all effects. If you’d like to export with the effects on the clips, you can export the entire sequence and grade it that way. I don’t know if there is a way to use project manager to export all clips with effects. Cheers!ReplyCancel

  • adam - hi i followed your tutorial to grade my film into lightroom, but when i export it nothing happens and i spend hours waiting for it to export and there is no progress made, what do i do?ReplyCancel

    • Shaun - I am really sorry Adam. You should contact Adobe directly for issues with the program/system. Cheers -ReplyCancel

  • Konrad - how to lock the final edit in Premiere?ReplyCancel

    • Shaun - It just means that you are done editing the picture and simplify the timeline to a single line of clips rather than multiple levels, selects, etc. Cheers -ReplyCancel

  • miles - My LR4 won’t let me edit video, its displaying a message: “some development settings are not supported for video files”. How can I fix this?ReplyCancel

    • Shaun - hey miles – thanks for reaching out. i wish i could help, not being an adobe employee, i can only suggest maybe reaching out to them directly. good luck! cheers,
      shaunReplyCancel

  • Justin Francis - Hey Shaun, I realize I’m a little late to the party here. But I just want to say thanks for your post + all the information about your workflow. It encouraged me to give VSCO a try for video grading. Ultimately, I came up with a different workflow – I exported a JPG sequence from After Effects, arranged each shot in its own folder and then imported to Lightroom. While it adds a couple of extra steps to the process, it dramatically reduces render times and it also allows you to use the entire range of tools/presets that VSCO and Lightroom have to offer.ReplyCancel

  • Denis - Now cheating vsсо with film presets for lightroom from small company called http://www.reallyniceimages.com Seems they do this analog magic a bit better with their second generation of presets.ReplyCancel

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