How to Use the Premiere Pro Color Match Tool

Premiere Pro March 9, 2019 3 min read

This tutorial is going to look at Premiere Pro’s Color Match tool. This tool basically gives you a one-click solution to try and match up the color between two pieces of footage. So let’s jump right into it and take a look!

How To Match Color in Premiere Pro

Identify Your Clips

First, jump into Premiere Pro. Now, let’s say you have two pieces of footage on your timeline that you want to match the color between. Right off the bat, you might be able to tell that the color is off between them.

This can be a big problem in your videos because when you cut from one clip to another, and the colors are very different, it can feel very much like a mistake and not a stylistic choice. It can also be distracting to your audience, so how do you match them up so that they feel like one cohesive project?  

One-Click Fix

Fortunately, Premiere Pro has a one-click color matching feature that can do almost the whole job for you. Start by finding the color matching feature by going to Lumetri Color, and then going down to Color Wheels & Match. Once you drop it down, you can see the Color Match section just below.

Use the Comparison View

Click on the Comparison View, so you can start working with this feature.

Here you can see a layout that gives you a reference clip, and a current clip. You’re going to want to find a clip that you are most happy with. This is known as your “reference clip” located on the left of the two in the comparison.

This will be the clip that stays the same, and that you’ll use as a template to change the color of the other clip with.

Choose the Right Reference Clip

There are a couple of different ways that you can go about choosing the reference clip. You’ll notice that you have a slider down at the bottom of that frame on the left. You can scrub through to review your current timeline and then stop on any reference frame of your choice.  

One tip to have a little more control is to find the particular frame that you want on your real timeline. Once you’ve found it, copy the timecode from above the timeline, and then paste it into the timecode below the slider for the reference clip. Now, you should have exactly the right frame for your starting reference!

Select the Clip Requiring a Color Change

Next, you’re going to find the clip that we want to change the color to match the one on the left. This is easy, because it works by just taking the current frame that you’re over with your playhead. Once you find the right clip with your playhead, you’re ready for the next step.

Changing the Views

If you wanted to play around with particular ways of viewing your clips, there are three ways that you can view your reference and current clips side by side. You can change these using the icons under the slider in the comparison view.

The first view called side by side, and you can also view them with a linear divide either horizontally or vertically. If you select either of these, you can move the divider around to see more or less of a certain clip. Cool, right?

Ok, so now you have the reference and current clips set up to go, so what do you do next? Well, truthfully the hard work has already been done. There are just two more things to double check.

Face Detection

Go over to your Color Match section and look at Face Detection. If there’s a face prominently displayed in your footage, then leave this checked.

What this does is ensures that a special degree of care is given to skin tones when matching two pieces of footage. This is because, fun fact, no matter who you are or what color your skin is, all skin tones will appear somewhere in this small region of the color wheel.  

If there’s no face prominently displayed in your shot, like in a landscape for instance, then you should uncheck Face Detection so that Premiere Pro isn’t searching for something that’s not there.

Apply Match

Great! You’re ready to go ahead and hit Apply Match.

You can see right away that this does a great job of matching the color between two clips. If you do a quick before and after, you should see that the final result is way better than what we started with.

And here’s the best part. If it does a good job but doesn’t quite get it perfect, you can still go in and make color correction changes yourself, and you can use what the color match did to give you a much easier starting place.

You can use the Color Wheels like what the Color Match tool used, or you can use any other portion of Lumetri Color to continue making changes. Now you can go ahead and make your images look absolutely stunning!

There you have it! That’s our overview of the Color Match tool in Premiere Pro. We hope you found this tutorial helpful. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!