Here are a few quick tips for colour correction when time is limited:
When working with interview footage, the main goal is to draw attention to the subject. First, make sure their skin tones look natural, or at least flow with the rest of the piece. If you were going for a certain look, as long as it suits the piece it's fine to break these rules. As with any rules, they are made to be broken - as long as you know them. Take a look at the image below. If you rollover the image with your mouse, you will see the original raw image. As you can see, the original raw footage already had decent balance and the skin tones looked somewhat natural if not a little bit on the red side. The raw footage is also somewhat flat-looking, so we need to bring attention to the subject.
I first did a quick pass of basic colour correcting, balancing skin tones while creating a bit of a look by adding in some green, yellow, and brown tones. Boosting the contrast and playing with the highs, lows, and mids also helps separate the subject from the background, and finally adding a slight vignette draws the viewers attention immediately to the subject.
B-roll is always important to a telling a story and usually is the most distinct between the raw interview footage and the raw b-roll. Balancing these usually takes a bit more work. In editing this piece I had two different types of B-roll; video footage of the spa and scanned images from the subject's personal collection. Starting with the actual video footage you can see that the raw footage is a little on the yellow side and the highlights quite blown out (again, mouse over the image to see the original raw image).
The lighting used in the scene was quite yellow to begin with, so I corrected by balancing the outside daylight which would be more towards the blue. Playing with contrast and bringing the highlights down also helps add detail to the whites and keep it within the broadcast-safe zone. Again, a slight vignette helps draw attention within the frame.
When working with images from a client you never know the quality or the resolution until you get them. You could request high resolution images, but you don't always have that option and must work with what you get. When I received the images for the piece, they were the raw scans straight off the scanner. Some were higher quality than others. In this case, a little Photoshop was required to get the images ready for importation into Final Cut. But even still, colour correction helped spruce these up even more afterwards.
Take a look at this example, here we have a newspaper clipping. I first zoomed into an image accompanying the article, and then took a second layer of the same image - zoomed in and cropped just the headline of the article and moved it across the image adding drop shadow and bit of motion blur (some extra free tips right there for you!). The raw image has a bit of a yellowed paper texture, and because this black and white newspaper article was scanned in colour on the scanner you also have this colour banding issue happening within the image where you have reds, greens, and blues off the blacks. Rollover to see the original raw image.
First off, I desaturated the image making it truly black and white. This eliminates the ugly colour banding issue completely. I still wanted to retain a subtle hint of the discolouring of the old newspaper, so I adjusted the highlights and mids towards a more sepia toned look and brought the blacks into a deep dark brown colour. Again, playing with the contrast and balance helps accentuate the image and makes it pop.
So there you go, no matter how much time you have to get a piece finished it's important that you make sure some of that time is allotted to balancing your piece and making it stand out. Whether you have a full day or a mere hour, adding a touch of colour goes a long way.