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Summary

I'm making an artwork and here's how it goes in a nutshell: A fictional movie scene that was (1) shot on film in the '60s, (2) restored in VHS format in the '80s or '90s, and (3) restored again in a digital format in the present day.

Now, from that second bit onward, here's how I assumed it went in practical terms: In the '80s or '90s, the movie (my artwork) was restored in a VHS format (with PAL standard) by a telecine machine using the release print. At the present day, the tape was restored in a digital format by an RCA-to-USB converter that connects the VCR to a computer.

In order to simplistically replicate this process, I've been trying to split my material up into 3 separate YUV channels and work from there intuitively, since I believe it's the luma and chroma signals that make up this analog video effect, before the video gets automatically decoded back into RGB (correct me if I'm wrong). This is where the question comes in: What's the proper way to separate the YUV components of my clips for this particular effect?

Additional info

  • Here's the current state (top) and a rough sketch of the desired result (bottom): enter image description here enter image description here
  • I want to separate the channels like this (I might be wrong): enter image description here
  • I'm currently using Adobe Premiere Pro 2017.
  • I'm not looking for plugins or jumping to other softwares.
  • I've tried:
    • Separating 3 clips of Red-Luma, Blue-Luma, and Luma components onto 3 video tracks using Channel Mixer effect: The math way. I skipped because it returned an image that looks pink tinted, although there was an RGB-to-YUV conversion formula involved.
    • Separating 3 clips of Red, Green and Blue components onto 3 video tracks using RGB Curves effect: The intuitive way. I skipped because it was obvious that I was working on RGB components instead of YUV, although there's one tutorial using this method.
    • Separating 4 clips of Red, Green, Blue, and Luma components onto 4 video tracks using RGB Curves and Luma Curve effects: The intuitive way. I'm considering this because it returned the image back to normal.
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  • I appreciate that you're trying to replicate the look by replicating the actual process that created it, but have you considered just colour grading the material so it matches? A lot easier to get right.
    – stib
    Sep 29 at 3:43
  • I have, but I personally feel uncomfortable dragging just the sliders and eyeballing, it's like trying to draw a human figure while knowing nothing about the anatomy. I'm not trying to be perfect, I'm only finding ways to separate the channels and work from there intuitively, since I believe that would do the heavy lifting to get the effect. Doing like what you said would be the last resort if there're no better options.
    – Mr. K
    Sep 29 at 9:18
  • Yep, that's why scopes have been a thing since forever.
    – stib
    Sep 30 at 2:00
  • Doing what you are asking is like building a hovercraft to save yourself having to catch the bus. You're going to have to go down a far deeper rabbit hole of colour theory and investigation into how colour is encoded in video, all to save yourself from having to do some colour grading. This situation is exactly why tools like Lumetri are built-in to Premiere.
    – stib
    Sep 30 at 2:05
  • I'm not disagreeing with that. The point I'm trying to make is, I'm doing the best I can to balance out between simple color grading and involving in technical details.
    – Mr. K
    Sep 30 at 2:59
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Here's the current image (left) side by side with the desired image.

enter image description here

To get there I opened up lumetri scopes and tweaked the RGB curves until the LHS matched the RHS -ish.

Here's the histogram before:

enter image description here

and after:

enter image description here

This is how the curves looked. Could probably do with more work, but basically I'm reducing the exposure mostly in the blue, and also taking out some of the blacks, particularly in the blue and green.

enter image description here

I ulso reduced the saturation, moreso in the lighter parts of the picture

enter image description here

To do it justice it needs some film grain, and some softness. PP doesn't have a built-in grain effect, and its noise effect is pretty feeble. I added about 7% noise and a 5.6 px gaussian blur. If I was to round trip to AE I'd go for the grain effect there, and possibly some camera lens blur.

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  • There are some bits that I'm curious of. Why did you (1) tone down the exposure in the blue, (2) take out the blacks in the blue and green, and (3) reduce the saturation in the highlights, all without touching the rest?
    – Mr. K
    Sep 29 at 12:08
  • Basically I was going off the histogram. I just moved the curves until the LHS matched the RHS. I've edited the answer to include the before histogram as well as the after.
    – stib
    Sep 30 at 1:55
  • If I was a better colourist I could probably do it by eye, but since human colour perception is unreliable, the histogram is an objective and easier way to judge colour.
    – stib
    Sep 30 at 1:59
  • Just to be sure if I get this right. The idea is to get an image with the desired result and try to match it with scopes?
    – Mr. K
    Sep 30 at 3:01
  • Yes, Scopes show you what is going on with the colour in an objective way. Human colour perception is so easily fooled that it's hard sometimes to judge colour effectively. This is fine if you're just after a look, but when you're trying to match colour between shots they're essential.
    – stib
    Oct 2 at 3:53

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