Tutorial: Getting Creative with Grass Valley EDIUS 6.0
Posted Aug 17, 2011

Grass Valley EDIUS 6 on EventDV.tvIn this tutorial, I'm going to show you some of the tools within EDIUS that will make you more creative and more efficient, including creating custom filter presets and building complex projects using multiple nested sequences. This will help you be more productive on your timeline and get your projects done more quickly.

Creating Custom Presets
Let's begin by creating a custom preset. The purpose of creating a custom preset is to store a combination of effect settings that you create on a regular basis so you can easily get to them all the time. It's also a great way to keep them organized.

The first thing we're going to do is go to the Effects palette and create a folder where we'll put all our new presets that we're going to create during this tutorial. To do so, go to your root and create new folder there. I'm going to call mine "BagOfTricks" (Figure 1).

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 1. The BagOfTricks folder added to the Effects palette

Next, I want to move mine up, but I can't move it up right now because this lock is turned on. If you try moving any of these folders around and EDIUS won't let you, it's because you've got the lock turned on. Once you turn that off and open it up, you can move it up. Stick it at the top of your Effects palette. This will allow you to put all your new presets right here in your bag of tricks. They'll always be at the top of your Effects palette and easy to get to when you need them.

The first custom preset I'll show you how to create is a look similar to the bleach bypass that you find in a lot of effects collections such as Magic Bullet Looks. I like to use the bleach bypass look a lot of times when I'm doing a flashback to an earlier point in time or even to an earlier point in a day where someone is remembering something that happened to them earlier in the day or in their lives. It's sort of a washed-out, desaturated, and very contrasty look. I use it on a regular basis and it really looks pretty good as a flashback.

To begin building a preset, go to the Effects palette, scroll down to your Color Correction filters, select Color Balance, and drop that on your clip. Next, open up the Properties either by double-clicking Color Balance or using the Open Setup dialog. All we're going to do with this filter is just turn the Saturation down by -40. As you can see in Figure 2, the image on the left has gotten a little bit less saturated.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 2. The original image with the Saturation decreased by -40

The next thing we'll do is select a YUV curve and drop that on the clip. Open up the Properties for the clip and add a bit of an S-curve to enhance the whites and crush the blacks. The results look pretty good, as you can see in Figure 3, so let's click OK.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 3. The clip with the S-curve added to enhance the whites and crush the blacks

The next step, believe it or not, is to use EDIUS' Soft Focus filter in a way you probably haven't thought to use it before. Begin by dropping the Soft Focus effect on your clip, then go to Properties, and set the radius at 20. Next, select the Blur and turn that just a little, down to about 14. We don't want a really blurry look for this effect. Finally, turn the Brightness down so the image isn't washed out. In this example, I'll turn it down to 7, to get the look shown in Figure 4. Once you're satisfied with the look, click OK.

Grass
Figure 4. Here's how the clip looks with the Soft Focus filter added.

Finally, you'll want to go to Color Correction, select the Three-Way Color Corrector, drop it on your clip, and open it up. In this clip, I need to start by adjusting the blacks. I'm going to drop my Saturation way down and my Contrast way down, then do the same process on the whites. After I click OK, as you can see in Figure 5, we've got a somewhat washed-out and contrasty look, very similar to a bleach bypass look.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 5. Behold-bleach bypass!

If you want to see what the clip looked like before, you can highlight all of your filters and click on one of the checkboxes to deselect them all. As you can see in Figure 6, the image was very saturated and colorful, and now it's very washed out and contrasty. That's pretty much the bleach bypass look that we wanted.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 6. Compare the bleach bypassed version to the original, shown here.

Now that we're happy with the look, all we need to do to create a preset out of these settings is make sure they're all selected, then right-click them and, when the pull-down menu appears, choose Save as a Current User Preset (Figure 7).

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 7. Saving as Current user Preset

When you go back to your Effects palette, you'll see that EDIUS has added the preset to the palette, but placed it in your Color Correction set of filters. You can see in Figure 8 that it's got a U on it; that means it's your user preset. Seeing the U there is an easy way to know this is the one you just did. To move your new custom filter preset to a more accessible spot in the folder you created at the beginning of this tutorial, drag your scroll bar up, take your new filter, and drag it into BagOfTricks (or whatever you named your folder). Finally, you'll want to change the name of the preset to something that will identify it, such as "Bleach Bypass."

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 8. Our custom preset filter has a U by it now

Now you have one useful filter in your bag of tricks. Let's move onto another one.

Clean Up Blemishes
This is kind of a neat little trick that I learned recently, involving a situation that most of us have encountered many times doing client projects with lots of faces in them. I have a clip of an older gentleman and I want to use some filters in EDIUS to clean up some of the blemishes on his skin (Figure 9), and make it look less aged-looking. I'm going to take 10 years off of this guy's face. In EDIUS, it's a very, simple process and it's something you can do very easily in your HD footage after you create the user preset we're going to build in this tutorial. Once it's in your Effects palette, you can just drop it on a clip and make it work.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 9. We're going to take a few years off this man's face.

To begin, go up to your video filters and select the filter called Chrominance. Most people use the Chrominance filter for is to do a color pass-for example, if you want to have all yellow flowers and everything else in the scene black and white. We're going to use some of that same principle, but we're just going to use it to affect the look of the man's skin.

Click Show Key so that everything in white is what you're working with. In our example, obviously his skin is not selected, his coat is (Figure 10). So I'm going to double-click on his skin until I get it. Next, I'll go to my Color Luminance area, and dial the range down to where I'm just dealing with mostly his skin. Once you've got the skin you want to clean up selected deselect Show Key.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 10. Currently, his coat is selected, not his skin; we need to click until we select his skin.

Next, we need to take something that's going to act on that skin. Remember that the skin was selected, so we need to come back to our effect and we need to use something on the Inside Filter. Scroll down and find the Smooth Blur. Open the Smooth Blur setup dialog and dial it up as much as necessary to make the skin look softer. To get the look you see in Figure 11, I changed the Smooth Blur setting to 10. As you can see, his skin looks much smoother and much cleaner. Turn this filter on and off to can see the difference in how smooth his skin looks. Nothing else has been affected. His hair is still crisp and all the strands are sticking out. Just his face has gotten much softer and smoother.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 11. Skin is smoothed out; everything else in the image is unaffected and as sharp as before.

Now it's time to save the preset. Take the filter-there's only one this time-right-click it, and select Save as Current User Preset once again. Now if you come back to your Effects palette, you should see this preset there in your Video Filters palette. Scroll back up into your folders, drag the new filter up to BagOfTricks (or whatever you named your folder), then click on the new filter and change the name. I'm going to call mine Smooth Skin (Figure 12).

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 12. Our new Smooth Skin custom filter preset added to the Effects palette in our BagOfTricks folder.

One more note on the Smooth Skin filter: Obviously, not everybody's skin is the same color. Complexions are different; colors vary. To adjust for these variations in skin tone next time you use the preset, drop it on your clip, and then open the Properties and just reselect the skin of your subject's face by using the Show Key function discussed earlier. Once that's done, click OK. You've already got your smoothness dialed in. You've already got all the other background work done. Regardless of the skin tone you're working with, you can still apply the filter in a matter of seconds.

Making Your Colors Pop
Let's wrap up this tutorial with one more custom filter that I call "Color Pop." I use this on almost every clip I edit. I also use a nested sequence, to make it very easy and efficient to make all the colors in my project just pop a little and make them richer. It's very simple.

Once again, we're going to use a filter in a way you may not have thought to use it. That's the creative part of EDIUS. I'm going to use the Old Movie filter. I know many people find this one cheesy. But I'm not going to use it the way it was designed. I'm going to use some of its abilities to trick it to do what I want.

To begin, I'm going to place the Old Movie filter on my clip and open the Properties. I'm going to turn off every option in here except Border Darkening, as shown in Figure 13. This will darken the border just a little and give the clip a filmlike vignette. It also makes your colors much richer. I use a darkening amount somewhere between 50 and 60. You can adjust it to your own preference. Once you've dialed it in as you like it, then use the same functionality we've already covered to create a user preset, put it in your "BagOfTricks," and rename it accordingly. We will use the ColorPop filter we created a little later.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 13. Creating our ColorPop effect with the Old Movie filter, but using only the Border Darkening property.

Creating Transition Presets
Now let's create a few transition presets. EDIUS 6, for the first time, allows you to create presets out of your transitions so that they have a pre-/custom-defined length to them. In previous versions of EDIUS, you could save a transition as a preset, but you couldn't save a defined length to it. You always had to start with the default length and make adjustments from there each time you used it.

To begin, find a few clips where you want to add a transition. By default, EDIUS makes all your transitions 1-second long (this can be modified if needed). Drop a one-second dissolve right on a cut in your timeline. Next, zoom in on the timeline so you can see the transition easier (Figure 14).

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 14. The EDIUS timeline zoomed in to show the transition up-close

I like to create about a 10-frame dissolve that gives my straight cuts and my project a much softer feel to where the transitions are not quite as harsh. Place your cursor right on top of the green line in the middle of your transition. This is the actual cut point. Use the arrow keys to move back 5 frames. Then drag the left edge of the transition to snap up against the cursor. Then do the same to the right side of the cut point. You now have a 10-frame dissolve.

In your Information palette, you should now see the dissolve you have added. Just right-click on it and select Save as Current User Preset, just as we did with our filters. Thereafter you'll find it in your Transition palette, where you can drag and add it to your BagOfTricks (or whatever you call your custom preset folder). When I rename the transition, I include the number of frames in the name so I have a visual reminder of how long it is (Figure 15).

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 15. The custom transition stored and named with the number of frames included

The next transition preset I want to create is one I learned how to create on the Grass Valley forums. Another user posted this concept and I found it very usable. It's basically just a simple white flash that ramps up and down really fast. One way we could do a white flash is to create a white matte and put it over a cut point. This will create a hard flash that could be harsh on our viewer. I'm going to begin by using a transition available in EDIUS called the Alpha Custom Map (Figure 16).

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 16. Choosing the Alpha Custom Map transition to begin

Find the Alpha Custom Map and drop it on the cut point between 2 clips. Again, EDIUS defaults to one second for transition length. This transition I want to make a 6-frame transition, so I use the same procedure to adjust the length as in the previous section. Set it to 6 frames, then go to the Information palette to open the Properties. You will want to make sure your transition is highlighted so you can view the Transition Information palette. Open the Transition Properties. Let's adjust it a little. Drag the sharpness all the way to -99 and drag the acceleration to 100. Set the Use Colored Edges to white (Figure 17). Click OK, and your transition is completed.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 17. Set Use Colored Edges to white

When you play through this transition, you'll have a softer ramp up and down to a white flash. It's much softer and easier on the viewer's eyes. Once again, I'm probably going to use this filter multiple times so I'm going to save it as a user preset and add it to my BagOfTricks. I call it WhiteFlash.

Using Nested Sequences
We have now covered custom filters and transitions. Let's look at a few ways you can use sequences and nested sequences to make your workflow more creative and efficient. In Figure 18, you can see I have a number of sequences along my timeline.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 18. A timeline with multiple sequences

The sequence in Figure 18 shows I've got 3 title tracks and each one is a circle within a circle within a circle. If we were to look at the information on those clips, we can see that our Layouter has been key framed to give some motion to each layer of circles. This sequence can now be "nested" as a clip within in another sequence.

Now let's go back to our Key effect. As you can see in the Key effect sequence, I've got my Nest_2 sequence being used. I've got my sequence 1, which is actually an edited multicam sequence of drums shot with 8 different cameras. Underneath that is a color matte with a gradient on it. The top layer is our Nest_2 sequence with the circles (Figure 19).

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 19. The Nest_2 sequence

I've added a Track Matte keyer to the keyer track set to Luminance. You can see how all the layers are working together to create a nice intro to our edited piece.

For the last piece in this tutorial, I'm going to create a new sequence called "Final." If this was a project and I was creating a multi-piece project, I would create it for my workflow in multiple sequences and then just drop all of those on the timeline as individual clips. For this project, I'm going to take the key_effect sequence and drop it in as its own clip (Figure 20).

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 20. The key_effect sequence dropped into the timeline as its own clip

If I were to modify any of the original content in the key_effect sequence, those changes would be reflected in the one that I put on my timeline. Next, I'm going to add sequence_1, which was my 8-camera multicam edit, and drop that on my timeline. That's a fairly long clip. If I don't want to use it all I can cut it just as I would a regular clip right on the timeline. I'm also going to add the Mask sequence from our first tutorial (http://vimeo.com/25454871) and put it on the end. Now all three portions of smaller projects are on the timeline and it was much easier to manage because I built each section (Figure 21). I've used my sequences to more easily manage a project. It's one really easy way to make massive projects flow easier.

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 21. A complex project built from sequences

Remember that Color Pop filter we created earlier and placed in the BagOfTricks folder? Here's how I use it at the end of a project. First, I use the lasso to highlight all my clips and drop the Color Pop filter on them all with one drag-and-drop function. By doing this I just made all the colors in my project "pop" a little more (Figure 22).

Grass Valley EDIUS 6
Figure 22. The project with the Color Pop filter applied

It's a really creative way to use a simple function in a filter that maybe you hadn't thought to do before, and quickly apply it to everything on your timeline to give all your colors just a little bit more pop and make it look a lot nicer in your project.

That wraps up this tutorial. I hope you enjoyed seeing how to use custom presets and transitions and also nested sequences to boost your creativity. I like to tell people that EDIUS is a playground and all I'm just giving you what you need to get you on the merry-go-round or the swingset. There's lots more adventure out there at the playground, and you just need to dig into EDIUS and find out how to use all the tools at your disposal to be creative beyond what you thought was possible.

Philip Hinkle (philip at frogmanproductions.com) runs Madison, Wis.-area video production company Frogman Productions. A 2008 EventDV 25 honoree and nationally recognized EDIUS instructor, he won a 2008 WEVA CEA Gold in the Social Event category and a 2006 4EVER Group AAA Diamond. He was a 2009 WEVA CEA judge and a featured speaker at WEVA Expo 2009. He is co-founder and vice-president of the Wisconsin Digital Media Group.