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Old September 2nd, 2007, 11:54 AM   #1
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adjusting contrast on raw footage

i had a question about how most people adjust contrast when 'enhancing' their raw footage to make it look nice in your projects...

I've always found myself liking to always bring up all the contrast in all my shots, so the blacks are blacker and whites are whiter. This does take out some visibility in the image, as certain darker areas become hidden, but to me, it always seems an image without extra contrast looks dull, un-exciting, whereas if I amp the contrast, it makes the image look more pleasing, vibrant, pretty

Its come up in the last little while, from the opinions of others, that more contrast in images isn't what i'm supposed to do, and I should be leaving the contrast the way it is, so everything in the image can be seen the way it is in the raw footage? Is this how it is supposed to work, do they not enhance the contrast when shooting on 35mm film?? How do you go about handling the amount of contrast you take away or add to an image?

heres a raw image I captured from camera
http://img529.imageshack.us/img529/3992/rawzz1.jpg

this is the image with colour correction, add removal of colour for effect
http://img530.imageshack.us/img530/2...ontrastso5.jpg

and then finally i thought the image above looked a bit 'dull' so i amped up the contrast
http://img113.imageshack.us/img113/5617/lookoutiq5.jpg


^^does this pick look okay to you? or should I have left the contrast the way it was. To me the bottom picture looks the nicest, but it now becoming aware to me that most people prefer the one in the middle, without extra contrast
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Old September 2nd, 2007, 01:40 PM   #2
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1- It's subjective and there's no right answer necessarily. It also depends on what your project is about.

For example, if you are shooting a horror film, it should be dark and contrasty. And you could compare the color + lighting to the music, since all three have to be a certain way to set the right mood.

For other genres, a dark and moody look is inappropriate.
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Old September 3rd, 2007, 10:48 AM   #3
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Glenn is right, it is subjective and in context you can apply whatever fits the mood you want to convey.Here is a different look to the same photo.I only took a minute with it, just to show a different mood.It's not better.... just a different mood.That's what we must decide in advance, what mood or emotion do we want the audience or viewer to feel.Actually, if we can decide that before we shoot the scene, we can do a better job.
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adjusting contrast on raw footage-rawzzmod2.jpg  
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Old September 3rd, 2007, 10:53 AM   #4
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I wrote a little article on what you can do with colour correction curves if you want to take a look at it. I tend to use curves more than brightness & contrast.

http://users.eastlink.ca/~jtomchuk/cc01.html
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Old September 3rd, 2007, 04:43 PM   #5
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I have each image tabbed out on my browser. I'm cycling through all of them and like Jack and Glenn say; it's all subjective.

Each one belongs to a different movie. Don't listen to what others say, listen to what your film says. The people telling you not to have a different style and idea of how THEY want THEIR movies to look.

Go with your gut and what your films says to you, not an outsider.
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Old September 5th, 2007, 06:38 PM   #6
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Jay

Taking a cue from Jack, I took the liberty of adjusting your picture the way I would have first before doing any mood stuff with it. Since you mentioned using the levels filter, that is what I used.

If you put your original pic, and the one I corrected in a folder by themselves, then open one in picture viewer, you can use the "next" arrow to flip between them and see how proper exposure will cause the image to "pop". This is nothing more than exposure correction, which is what you are doing when you use the levels filter.

If you want a more detailed explanation, let me know.

Robert
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adjusting contrast on raw footage-rawzz1.jpg   adjusting contrast on raw footage-rawzz1corrected.jpg  

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Old September 5th, 2007, 11:54 PM   #7
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I think Justin has a good handle on balancing and his article is quite helpful.
Remember keeping the image within "legal" limits for broadcast applications may not look as pleasing(it may) but maybe required.
Sometimes it tempting to push the blacks way to low.
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Old September 6th, 2007, 12:39 AM   #8
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You can get different looks if you play around with the footage. To give you an idea, see the attachment.
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adjusting contrast on raw footage-dvinfo-footage-grab-sandbox.jpg  
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Old September 8th, 2007, 10:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Ballew View Post
Jay

Taking a cue from Jack, I took the liberty of adjusting your picture the way I would have first before doing any mood stuff with it. Since you mentioned using the levels filter, that is what I used.

If you put your original pic, and the one I corrected in a folder by themselves, then open one in picture viewer, you can use the "next" arrow to flip between them and see how proper exposure will cause the image to "pop". This is nothing more than exposure correction, which is what you are doing when you use the levels filter.

If you want a more detailed explanation, let me know.

Robert
- So the original raw file doesn't have quite the correct exposure? All my raw video files look like that, with a bit of a 'gray' look them. I definitely like the look better when the whites are whiter and blacks are blacker, the raw file looks dull to me.
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Old September 8th, 2007, 10:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan View Post
You can get different looks if you play around with the footage. To give you an idea, see the attachment.
Wow that one looks awesome. Could I duplicate that effect in Vegas 6? Also Glenn, being from where you are, are you able to recognize which city that distant skyline on the horizon belongs to?
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Old September 9th, 2007, 01:09 AM   #11
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You should be able to do it in Vegas.

To create the color effect, use the gradient generator... you want yellow for the top area and some blue shade for the bottom. Use the multiple composite mode to add the color effect.

Use levels and gamma down to get it darker.

PM me if you would like me to whip up a .veg

2-
Quote:
Also Glenn, being from where you are, are you able to recognize which city that distant skyline on the horizon belongs to?
Nope. :/
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Old September 9th, 2007, 11:40 AM   #12
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....(toronto, on)

heres a better shot, same place, but camera zoomed in

http://img50.imageshack.us/img50/2541/image0wu2.jpg
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Old September 9th, 2007, 01:37 PM   #13
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Hmm originally I was going to say that it wasn't Toronto because I couldn't see the CN tower in that picture.
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Old September 9th, 2007, 03:33 PM   #14
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.Veg here:
http://glennchan.info/Proofs/dvinfo/rawzz1.veg

Veg explanation:
A- The video preview FX has a studio RGB to computer RGB color corrector preset. This is only so the viewed image looks right. When you render, make sure it is not enabled.

B- The gradient is achieved by using the gradient generator + multiple composite mode.
Adjust the grad strength by adjusting "output start" on the levels filter on the gradient generator.

C- The clip has a color curves applied. It:
1- Maps the superwhite values into legal studio RGB range. ( http://glennchan.info/articles/vegas...lorspaces.html kind of explains the color space situation in Vegas.)
2- The concave-ness of the curve darkens the image.

The color corrector before it de-saturates the image... you should generally do this when adding your own tint in.

---- The original image was roughed in via Photoshop, so it looks different.
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Old September 9th, 2007, 04:11 PM   #15
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thanks Glenn, the part I didn't know to do was the levels on the gradient track. That was why mine was too fake looking
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