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Lightroom Jazz

In this Lesson we show how to make high contrast black and white images by processing raw format camera images using Adobe Lightroom.

If you have not used Adobe Lightroom at all, then before doing this lesson on Black and White Images, you need to go through our introduction to Lightroom lesson.

The context for this previous lesson is using Lightroom for Sunset Photos, but it will show you the basic functions of Lightroom, and the workflow.

How to Lightroom Sunsets


Recently we went along to take photos at a Jazz Club, but the lighting was very low, and extremely red in tone.

So we shot in Raw + JPG mode, using a Sony A77 MkII at ISO 1250, and very slow speeds of 1/30th to 1/50th, which meant we had to hold the camera very steady.

Fortunately the Sony A77 has great inbuilt image stabilisation.

We also used an F1.8 35mm Sony Lens, so that we could get nice background blurring, and let in as much light as possible.


Before and After Images

The resulting images were not great quality, but we used Adobe Lightroom to convert the Raw files into high contrast black and whites and got quite reasonable results.

Here are a series of Before and After Images.

Lightroom Black and White Photos 01


Lightroom Black and White Photos 02


Lightroom Black and White Photos 03


Lightroom Workflow

Our objective was to make high contrast black and white images, and so during Lightroom adjustments we were looking to increase contrast, as well as increasing the blacks in our image.

We also worked on the Whites, as well as the Blue and Green parts of the Black and White Adjustment to make the background strings of “fairy lights” really stand out as very white overexposed bright round items.

The exact workflow we used was similar to the ten steps we used for processing sunset photos.

The basic workflow we used to make our Black and Whites is as follows:

1) White Balance – just usually give it a slight Temperature Change to the left to reduce the red warmth from the red lights.

2) Adjust Highlights and Shadows – Highlights generally down, and shadows generally to the right.

3) Clarity up to around 40% as a maximum, which adjusts midtones, and adds a sharpness type effect to the image

4) Whites and Blacks – Hold down Alt, and the whites screen goes black, then we add whites until only the first set of highlights (the background fairy lights) show through.

Also hold down Alt to adjust the blacks on its all white screen, and go quite strong to the left on these.

5) Saturation and Vibrance – Saturation does all the colours, Vibrance only adjusts the colours that are not already saturated.
Since we are doing Black and White images, adjusting these is irrelevant.

6) The HSL “B&W” Adjustments

On the HSL panel, there is a B&W option to the far right which we click to make our photo black and white.

We then use the colour sliders that are there to adjust the various shades of grey in the photo, always aiming for high contrast with the blacks very black.

7) Detail Panel for doing Sharpening and Noise Reduction. Here we sharpened our images.

8) Paintbrush Tool – we did not use this at all on any of the images.

9) Filters – the vertical rectangle symbol between crop and paintbrush on the top row of the right hand column.
We can move the filter up and down, change its width, and tilt it using the middle line in it.

We used both rectangular and spherical filters to brighten up instruments and faces on some images.

10) Effects Adjustments – A large Black vignette, moving the slider a considerable distance to the left worked really well on these photos.
We also made sure the feathering on the vignette was set between 50 and 100.

There you have it, the ten steps for making a Black and White image using Lightroom.


Gallery of Jazz Photos

A Flickr Gallery of our Black and White Jazz Photos can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Note that the last three images were made Black and White from JPGs using Adobe Photoshop, just to prove that Lightroom and Raw gave better results.

The other images are all Raw format images that have been processed using Adobe Lightroom CC.

There are only 14 images in total (from about 170 photos that we took on the night) because it was so hard to get crisp images shooting at below 1/50th of a second.

Flickr Gallery of Black and White Jazz Photos


Lightroom How To Videos

The following three videos show extra workflow steps to make some really dramatic and beautiful black and white images.

The first video shows how to create very dramatic Black and White Image.


This next video shows how to make a dark B&W photo, as well as a very high dynamic bright B&W photo, both from the exact same raw image.


This video shows how to make very grungey B&W portrait photos, which could work really well with Jazz photo close ups.


Jazz Music Video

We also made a short video of the Jazz using a Lumix LX100 Pocket Camera.

Due to the “radiation red” low light conditions, the Lumix shot at a very high ISO level, so the image quality is not as good as we would have liked.

We tried making the video Black and White in Adobe Premiere, however the movie was far too grey and white.

We need to learn how to make good high contrast Black and White Movies, so there’s a great idea for a future PBP “How To” lesson.


Video Intros Outros

Videos look a lot more professional with a short Introduction segment and a set of Rolling Credits at the end.

In this article we show how we do Introductions and Rolling Credits for our Music Videos.

All of our work is done using the Adobe Creative Cloud, and so we will be talking about using Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, and Fireworks.


Video Introductions

Some video makers really “go to town” with over the top animated 3D looking introductions made using Adobe After Effects.

Certainly if you take the time and effort to make a fantastic introduction to your video production company, then it is the gift that keeps giving, and you can use it over and over again on every video you produce.

If you want to do this sort of thing, then see the links in the “Further Reading” section at the end of this article.

For our live music videos we are determined to make it all about the Client, rather than us, and so we focus the brief introduction based entirely on them.

We also like to keep it simple, and so we use either a still slide we have made in Photoshop or Fireworks, or a simple animated graphic or text of the Band’s Name and/or Members.

If the Band already has a great logo on their FB Page or Website, then as shown above, as simple intro can be made over the top of the intro bars of the first song, and then this can fade out to reveal the musicians.

We do this by making a new 1920 x 1080 black background slide in Adobe Fireworks, importing the Band Logo image (captured off their site using the Snipping Tool if we cannot save the image).

We then flatten the layers and save it as a high quality JPG file about 150k to 250k in size.

It then goes into Adobe Premiere as a layer above the video, with a fade out reveal type effect on it.


The second type of Introduction we do is basically the same as the Band Logo one above, but instead we make a 1920 x 1080 sized Band Poster to use. (Play the first few seconds of the video below to see this in action).

In the opening slide for the above video, we took a band photo and made our own text (using dafont.com to get the right style) and also made the 3D winding grid pattern in the background.

This was all done using Adobe Fireworks, but could have also been done in Photoshop.


The third and final type of Introduction we like to do is a simple rapid grow text type introduction, as in the following video.

This type of animated intro can be easily made entirely in Adobe Premiere Pro, and does not require the use of Adobe After Effects at all.

We worked out how to do this frame by frame type resize tool on a basic graphic we made first in Fireworks by watching the following “How To” video.

This video explains how to put in key frames and animate intro text:

We first made a cropped image of the Size Matters Logo in Fireworks, and saved it into our video project folder.

Then we put it into media browser preview and moved it down onto the timeline as the top layer.

Then we clicked the top of screen “Effects” in the left media preview browser and changed its size from small, and using keyframes made it bigger and bigger by dragging its corners each keyframe.

In the How To video he says to click the clock to make a new keyframe, but in Adobe Premiere Pro CC we had to instead click the diamond keyframe symbol each time to make a new keyframe.

It was very easy after watching this video, and you can make a back background image in Fireworks or Photoshop like we did as our starting point , rather than enter text with Adobe Premiere Pro.


Basic Video Outro


If the video is a basic production that does not require a minute of rolling credits at the end, then we tend to simply use a closing slide like the one shown above.


Rolling Credits

Making a Rolling Credits Ending or “Outro” for a Video is a bit more work than making an Introduction and involves using Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, and creating a “Black Video” in Adobe Premiere.

The great thing is that once you have made your first one, you can easily do Save As on the Photoshop .PSD file and then edit it in Photoshop to make another one for another video.

We also find that it works well to use a suitable soundtrack from the live band to run behind the rolling credits, rather than have complete silence.

If you go to the 13:50 minute mark in the following video, you can see an example of our standard Rolling Credits:

After watching several YouTube “How To” videos about Rolling Credits, we found the following “Gem”, which we refer to everytime we make rolling credits:

One very important thing we found out (by trial and error) is that to get the smoothest rolling credits it is important to make the After Effects animation have a total duration that is a multiple of the frame rate of your video.

Eg. If your video is running at 25fps, then the Credits duration needs to be 25, 50, 75, or 100 seconds to get the smoothest animation in the final rendered video.


Further Reading

There are plenty of YouTube videos about how to make spectacular Adobe After Effects animated Introductions.

The following is an AE Tutorial on how to make Cinematic opening screen with 3D letters:

The following website has a tutorial about using text in after effects, several videos plus free resourses:

Free After Effects Tutorials

The following video shows how to make a cinematic introduction with text and flare effects:

This next video shows how to make a Flame Text intro in After Effects:

This next video (with over 1 million views) shows how to make a spectacular video opening using Flare and Particle Tracking Plug Ins:

The following After Effects Tutorial shows how to make a very flarey cinematic film opening:

This is a brief selection of After Effects Tutorials, there are many more of these type of Tutorials to be found on YouTube.


We hope this article helps you make some wonderful videos.


Paul at Photos By Passy


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