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Old March 23rd, 2010, 04:10 PM   #1
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Firstlight color correction precision in Sony Vegas.

One of the weaknesses of Sony Vegas is that it can only work with 8 bit precision for color correction. Now all my cameras only shoot at 8 bit precision anyway, so that is not a problem until you start color correcting. At that point, ideally what I would like to do is color correct at a more precise 10 bits or so, then round down or dither back down to 8 bit color for my final delivery (which is also 8 bits.) Now my question is, if I am color correcting with First Light and I'm using Sony Vegas, just how precise is my color correction? Will it be 8 bits all the way through or will it be 8 bits color corrected at 10 bit precision and rounded back down to 8 bits? How noticeable is all of this?
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 05:28 PM   #2
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This is an advantage to color correcting in FirstLight. It uses high bit-depth all it color processing and delivers the best 8-bit to tools like Vegas.
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 06:54 PM   #3
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This is pretty cool. As you may already know, Vegas Pro does have a 32 bit color mode where it starts with 8 bit color depth and ends with 8 bit color depth, but does 32 bit processing in between. This is supposed to give more accurate fine shading when you adjust the colors, and many of us Vegas users have tried this mode and given up in disgust for two reasons:

1/ Renders take orders of magnitude longer. The first time I tried a render of a relatively short piece, I got a message saying that it was going to take several days.

2/ Worse than that, it is completely unstable. A day and a half into that first render it suddenly crashed.

I tried various experiments with very short files and finally gave up in frustration. After all, I was going to truncate all this math to 8 bits anyway. Anyway, it sounds like First Light is giving Vegas users what the 32 bit color mode failed to deliver.
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 07:33 PM   #4
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Laurence,

32bit is a joke in Sony Vegas and I think it should be removed from the marketing material or actually made to work. Same problems as you've stated in your post.
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 07:48 PM   #5
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Interesting. I've color corrected two films in 32bit mode, and numerous other projects from 5 minutes through 3 hours in length. Yes, it's slower. But it still works. I can't remember the last time I did an 8-bit edit. Certainly none this year or in 2009. Probably the last one I did was mid 2008.

This is not to say that Firstlight isn't a good and effective tool. I am sure it is.
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