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Old September 23rd, 2009, 07:35 AM   #1
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Magic Bullet Mojo

Has anyone purchased this software? Seems very similar to Magic Bullet Looks or am I missing something?
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 04:18 PM   #2
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I thought the same thing. The only thing I can see that's different is that you can change the tint/color of the background independently of the subject (skin tone). Not sure if that's exactly how it works though. They need to do a better job with their marketing.
Sony EX3, Canon 5D MkII, Chrosziel Matte Box, Sachtler tripod, Steadicam Flyer, Mac Pro, Apple/Adobe software - 20 years as a local videographer/editor
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Old September 23rd, 2009, 08:58 PM   #3
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I purchased it as I'm already an MB owner, and I saw a benefit after using the demo for a bit. My take on it, and from what I've read from Stu M and his examples, is that basically Mojo is built to be a "quick blockbuster look generator". Usually this means separating the BG from the subject - usually by cooling the BG and keeping the skin of the subject warmer (or in the "skin tone range"). Unlike MB Looks or Colorista where you can do anything and everything, this is a specialized tool to help keep skin tone where you want it and background elsewhere. Look at their examples online and they're all involving people and maintaining skin tones at some level.

Attached are two grabs from an interview I colored with Mojo - one before and one after. The "before" shot is a little warm but the after shot is ONLY with Mojo applied, although I used an FCP 3-way CC to bring up the gamma just a touch before the Mojo filter - no other CC done at all.

I got this look in about 10 minutes. The great thing about it, in my opinion, is the "show skin overlay" option that highlights what Mojo thinks is the "skin" area - which you can dial in until it's in the right spot (using the "skin color" slider), then adjust squeeze and solo accordingly. It's great because you're sure that the skin tones are in the "right spot" of the color spectrum, which is a very narrow area. Or you can go fiddle with the rest of the mojo settings to get the rest of the shot looking good, then come back to adjust the skin tone independently - good stuff.

That said, the instructions are clear that you have to have a good shot to begin with - you can't really use this plug-in if your shot is not lit properly, blow out, etc. However, you can always do a color pass before using Mojo if you want.

For me Mojo is a $99 plug-in that lets me get a very "expensive" look in a very short period of time - which is worth the money. MB Looks has its place as well, and provides much more fine-grained control, but at the expense of more time spent getting the exact look I want.

I'd suggest grabbing the demo and using it for a while - see what happens. It's fully-functional and just has some red lines across the screen to keep you from using it for real output, but you can fiddle all you want and see how fast you can get results. I did that up until I decided that I had a shot I wanted to use it for, and pulled the trigger.

I own MB Suite 2008 and dropped Red Giant a note and they confirmed my belief - if you have MB Suite 2008 already, the only difference between 2008 and 2009 is Mojo - so the $199 upgrade isn't worth it - just buy Mojo for $99 instead...

Hope this helps.
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Magic Bullet Mojo-main-seq-section-5-no-mojo-.jpg   Magic Bullet Mojo-main-seq-section-5-mojo-.jpg  

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Old September 23rd, 2009, 09:04 PM   #4
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Since I'm already in there, here's another grab with the skin tone overlay turned on. You can see the outlines on the subject's face and neck to show that his skin tone is in the "normal" range for a human (I don't think he's an alien, but sometimes I wonder - I'll check on that next time). I did find that the skin color slider is sensitive and if I went too far the subject's skin went too yellowish one way, too magenta the other - but I got it where I wanted it pretty quickly and am pretty happy with the result. There appears to be a bit of blue tint to the edges of his hair along the line of the skin, and his teeth have a hint of blue as well but with the blue cast across the entire image, that didn't bother me too much...
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Magic Bullet Mojo-main-seq-section-5-mojo-skin-overlay-.jpg  
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Old September 24th, 2009, 03:30 AM   #5
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I'm wondering if it isn't possible to do this by ....

(a) laying down the video track on the first layer

(b) on a second layer (above the first one) adjust and tint the video track, and also apply a chroma key so that anything in the skin tone range goes transparent .... allowing the correct skin tones to be seen from the 'natural' first layer.

I'm a Matrox real-time hardware card user so I don't have to worry about rendering times. Your renders may be longer. (YRMBL)


PS. I also own a copy of Magic Bullet Looks
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Old September 24th, 2009, 07:30 AM   #6
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Can't you do the same by using the color selection tool in FCP's 3 way color corrector? Maybe Mojo makes the color selection easier/more accurate?

-Ethan Cooper
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Old September 24th, 2009, 07:53 AM   #7
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To both questions / suggestions - I'm quite sure you can do this with other tools. I don't think Red Giant suggests that they're doing something you can't do any other way. However, I'm not sure you can do what Mojo does (especially when you get more extreme with it) in the same amount of time with results that are as good. Again, I think the value is in results vs. time invested - dial in the look quickly and move on.

Andrew - also note that I'm not letting the skin tones go unaltered - they are modified, including "smoothed" with Mojo - which can ease some appearances and level out the color of the skin if you want. I did a little bit here, I could have gone much more extreme.

There's more going on here than just modification of the background tones - so your chroma key idea would have to be doubled/inverted - one to select the background and adjust color, and another inverted to select skin color and adjust that as well.

What Matrox real-time card are you using - and does it speed up your render times with MB? My guess is if it does it for MB, it'll do it for Mojo as well - and that might be something I should look into, if it's Mac friendly...

Also Andrew, per your note, the rendering is not real-time. It is brutal, just like MB is - and bound by the speed of your GPU. I was using 10-bit YUV high-quality rendering and once I turned it down to 8-bit YUV, my rendering times went down to half. The clip I was working on was only about 3-4 minutes, and I think it took a full 20 minutes to render that. I'm on one of the new 8-core hyperthreaded Mac Pro's as well, with the slightly upgraded video card (albeit not a crazy one). So perhaps the time gained not fiddling with the color using other tools is lost when rendering, which when using this I consider an overnight step.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 02:05 AM   #8
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Thanks for the notes, Ryan.
I have been wondering about the difference between the products myself.

BTW. Red Giant has a sale RIGHT NOW, everything is 40% off.
Very good deals.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 09:32 PM   #9
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Agreed, but I have enough of their software right now, I think. I'm looking at picking up Neat Video and the upgrade to mocha for AE soon anyway... :)
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