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Old February 28th, 2011, 10:20 AM   #1
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How do I turn video into 8-bit (Nintendo)-type graphics?

Hey guys,

I'm Jonesing to try turning some video from my DSLR into something that looks like 8-bit graphics, or Nintendo-type graphics. After some Google searching, I've come up with plenty of tuts on turning audio into 8-bit audio, but none on video. Any ideas?

Thanks!
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Old February 28th, 2011, 06:39 PM   #2
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Re: How do I turn video into 8-bit (Nintendo)-type graphics?

Depends on a lot of things. What software are you using?

The basic problem seems to be getting the detail and the colour count reduced to the appropriate level. How well any solution works is going to depend a lot on the source footage, or course.

Some ideas just off the top of my head: In After Effects you can use the Mosaic effect to make it look blocky. Then you'd probably have to do quite a lot of drastic stuff to the colour; Levels springs to mind as a good way to clamp them down to nothing in specific ways.
(Some way to paletteise the footage would probably be most effective. You could probably even find someone who has laid out the default nintendo colours on the net somewhere. I don't know off hand how to do this in AE though. The only the method that springs to mind is to filmstrip the whole clip and take it into Photoshop or similar)
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Old February 28th, 2011, 08:11 PM   #3
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Re: How do I turn video into 8-bit (Nintendo)-type graphics?

Sweet, that gives me a few good places to start. I'm editing on the CS5 suite, but I've got an old FCP 5 laying around if anything is easier/more useful there. I'll be using Canon 7D footage, but I guess I could always dumb it down and buy a horrible DV cam or dust of my old Canon GL1. Do you think that would help -- to start with less detail?

I'm going to look into ramping this mosaic effect way up and messing with levels. Thanks for the suggestions!

Isn't a little odd that there isn't a tut readily available for this? Considering how popular the retro look is right now? I hope that doesn't mean it hard/impossible to get a satisfying result.
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Old March 1st, 2011, 09:15 AM   #4
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Re: How do I turn video into 8-bit (Nintendo)-type graphics?

You could export an image sequence, import that into Photoshop & then use the Mode menu to drop the color bit depth down to the quality level you're looking for. Then pump it back up to a normal 24 bit color space and export it back out.
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 10:35 AM   #5
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Re: How do I turn video into 8-bit (Nintendo)-type graphics?

Thanks, Arnie. That idea may be the winner.
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Old March 10th, 2011, 07:13 PM   #6
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Re: How do I turn video into 8-bit (Nintendo)-type graphics?

I didn't want to say anything until I was sure it'd work, but now that I'm finished I feel more confident chiming in here.

I'm not sure how much I can help you, David, considering both the time since this thread's last activity and the mention of FCP, but anyone else looking for this effect who has access to a Windows installation may get some use out of an AviSynth plugin I wrote called TurnsTile: http://www.gyroshot.com/turnstile.htm

I just finished up version 0.2.0, and it can now accomplish something like what you're after; I can't get the image to embed right in this post, but check the attachment to see a sample. The plugin can't yet apply an actual palette to a clip (for reference, interested parties can find a list of old game console palettes at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...nsole_palettes), but it can cut the image up into tiles while also reducing the effective bit depth of the footage by way of its 'res' parameter.
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