Kdenlive Video: Color Grading Protune Footage

Following my motto «a picture lies more than a thousand words» I produced a short video tutorial: color grading Protune footage. I'm demonstrating my technique on a short but vivid autumn scene. My goal is to achieve almost the same result as if filmed without Protune and thus with the camera-integrated automatic image processing.

While working on the specific video effect set to reproduce the genuine GoPro video look I noticed something interesting going on color-wise inside these cams...

As usual, I'm demonstrating my grading tricks using the famous open source non-linear video editor Kdenlive. But even if you don't use Kdenlive you should be able to transfer the knowledge gained here to other video editing software, as long as it offers the required basic tools. That's what I like about Kdenlive: everything is comprehensible, there aren't any prefabricated fast-food effects that want to keep us users in the closet.

The Color of Autumn

In the end, I was lucky one weekend to take advantage of the beautiful Autumn evening light and the season colors of Nature. These are perfect actors for a small color grading tutorial. Actually, I wanted to check my set of video effects against what GoPro's in-camera video processing does ... and then noticed that GoPro seems to play some more tricks to give footage produced with their cams a distinctive look, so people will more easily recognize it.

So ... when even a single image already lies more than thousand words, what do we expect from a crowd of moving images?!

Grading Protune footage in Kdenlive (view on YouTube)

I'm not exactly sure but my analysis is that the image processor of the GoPro HD Hero 3 increases saturation especially of red color tones. This isn't simply boosting the red channel. Instead, GoPro gives especially red tones a special treatment. This avoids a red tint, yet gives the impression of more vivid colors. Of course, your mileage may vary. At this time, I'm unable to fully reproduce the effect I see in the non-Protune footage, but my emulation is quite satisfying and doesn't eat too much rendering resources. You can judge for yourself from 1:27 in the video on.

If any reader knows more about what GoPro does or has a better effect stack at hand, I would be glad to hear more about it. I'm sure other readers would also like to know.