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Old February 19th, 2005, 09:02 AM   #1
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Insane colour saturation in Music Vids

One thing I like about music videos is, they're shot on video.. and they have absolutely NO pretence its film! I think trying to make video look like film is fun, and can certainly accomplish great results, but at the end of the day.. I shoot on video because I like the look of video :)

But I'm wondering, just how on earth do those high budget (may not even be that high for some) music vids get such incredible colour saturation? One example I can think of is Baha Men "Who Let The Dogs Out" the colouring on that is just sublime..

Even though I'm guessing most of it is down to a combination of hyper expensive cameras and great lighting, is this generally the work of a very good colourist? The colours are unreal, so I'm guessing they use really good filters, then boost all the levels in post? I'd be really interested in seeing the difference between the raw video output before its processed... wonder if there's any training DVDs out there that show how music videos are done from scratch with good examples, as its something I'm interested in. Luckily with metal bands, they all like the dark so I don't have to compete with these kind of videos :) But I still find it interesting, and would love to be able to do something comparable.

Anyone know how close you can get to this with a PD150 and a few filters that don't cost the earth and standard user software (like Premiere or Avid DV rather than $100,000 of video hardware) ? Any examples would be great :)

Cheers
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Old February 19th, 2005, 01:01 PM   #2
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Music videos shot on video? Where did you hear that?

Music videos can have HUGE budgets, and are most definately shot on film. 35mm film. if not, they they are most likely shot on HD. But really, most...and I mean 95%...music videos are shot on film. that is how they get their insane color saturation.

That and time on a Da Vinci color corrector.
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Old February 19th, 2005, 01:40 PM   #3
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I just always presumed from their look it was video, ah well thats another dream shattered I guess :)

I guess I'm so used to film looking "realistic" and cinematic I guess my brain said "well this must be video" then.
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Old February 19th, 2005, 01:49 PM   #4
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You can get similar colors, of course, from a video camera that shoots in a low compression color space (4:2:2 or better). You might even be able to get away with using the DVX. It can have REALLY saturated colors.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 01:11 AM   #5
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Even low end music videos (not including amateur) are mostly all shot on film (granted 16mm).

Don't feel bad, it's an easy mistake to make.
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Old February 20th, 2005, 06:14 AM   #6
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Heh the main bad part is, before I thought I was happy with the video look, now I realise I cravet that film feel just like everyone else :D

But luckily as stated before, I'll be making videos that look more like the work of XDOANEX (who does shoot only on DV I'm sure, muuuuch lower budget than the mainstream) but I'd love to get the colours mentioned above in Who Let The Dogs Out. Its just one of those videos I always have to watch if its on :)
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Old February 20th, 2005, 02:14 PM   #7
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A lot of the look is (probably) achieved through color correction/grading/enhancement. If you watch LOTR1 extended edition, there's a feature on digital grading there that shows before/after comparisons.

2- I believe nowadays you can achieve very, very comparable results. With Sony Vegas (editing program) or Discreet Combustion (compositing... like after effects):

Use the color curves to mimic film gamma. Make the curve shaped like an "s", concave down at the top and concave up at the bottom.

The next step is to max out saturation. In Combustion, use the HSL curves and make the saturation curve concave down. In Vegas, use "saturation adjust" and make it slope downwards to the right, or use the boost midtones preset.

Good lighting still makes a world of difference. Shooting on film doesn't seem to make that much of a difference if you are color correcting. You can boost saturation as much as you'd like until you hit problems with video/chroma noise or film grain (chroma noise might be worse).

Film has more latitude and doesn't color shift highlights. However this isn't a problem most of the time as long as all the important detail fits within video's exposure range.

3- You can see the before/after for some music video footage I have:

http://www.glennchan.info/ab-comparison.mov

The original footage was severly underexposed, which shows that you don't necessarily need all that exposure latitude.

4- The DVX100 might be the best budget camera to shoot with, as it has adjustable gamma controls. Having flat gamma response/curve that doesn't mess with highlights or blacks/shadows would make color correction easier, as you can easily match flesh tones shot at different exposures.
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Old February 21st, 2005, 02:38 AM   #8
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Cheers Glenn, I'll check those links out when I get home from work. I have all of the LOTR DVDs now so I really should make time to watch all the extras, I hear from a film making point of view they are simply excellent. I'm sure the sheer scale of it all will probably destroy me mind!

Big fan of Vegas anyway, altho I'm learning Premiere just because it seems to please other people (and granted, the newest version does seem a great piece of software) but if I ever need to use a program where I know I can get the results I require quickly and easily, I'll fire up Vegas everytime.
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Old February 21st, 2005, 07:24 AM   #9
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dude, to get that kinda saturation in digital, go and hire urself a dvcpro camera ;) trust me.. even better get ur hands on the SPX800 P2 2/3rd CCD monster...
the dynamic range on that bastard is astonishing.. shooting in DVCpro50 and running it through a Digisuite... absolutely ROCKS.. hmm.. cant wait for Axio.. and if Axio fails and is a flop.. well.. i dunno what ill be using to cut my dvcpro 50 with then.. :(
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Old February 21st, 2005, 11:47 AM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Glenn Chan : A lot of the look is
The next step is to max out saturation. In Combustion, use the HSL curves and make the saturation curve concave down. In Vegas, use "saturation adjust" and make it slope downwards to the right, or use the boost midtones preset.

Sloping downwards to the right is similar to the
preset "reduce oversaturated colors"?
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Old February 21st, 2005, 12:36 PM   #11
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<<<-- Originally posted by Glenn Chan : A lot of the look is
3- You can see the before/after for some music video footage I have:
http://www.glennchan.info/ab-comparison.mov -->>>

Great example!
But is it me or is everything corrected a bit soft/blurry?
Did you use Vegas or some other software to correct?
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Old February 21st, 2005, 04:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Great example!
But is it me or is everything corrected a bit soft/blurry?
Did you use Vegas or some other software to correct?
Yeah, the softness was intentional. Perhaps I made it too soft/blurry.

I used Vegas to color correct.

You can get an idea of the steps I took at
http://www.glennchan.info/fcpugto/ (feb17)

I didn't use the saturation adjust filter. There's many ways to boost saturation.

Quote:
Sloping downwards to the right is similar to the
preset "reduce oversaturated colors"?
You could have the filter boost saturation from:
low to medium-high
medium to high
high to high
So everything is highly saturated. *Boosting low saturation might bring out lots of chroma noise, so you might want to avoid that.

To do that, the graph would have to start high on the left and slope down to the right.
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Old February 21st, 2005, 10:55 PM   #13
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Glenn,
I checked out your comparisons and they
looked really nice. Problem I have is whenever
I boost the saturation up, skin tones go
orange. Do you ever have to deal
with this when boosting saturation?
I've thought about trying the Vegas
boost mid-tones preset you suggested
but I think this would be hitting the
skin tones direct.
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Old February 21st, 2005, 11:00 PM   #14
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Hey Dave,
You can use the color corrector (secondary) to bring down skin tones.

Put the filter in and make sure filters 'downstream' from it are turned off.

Tune the secondary controls, so the filter only affects skin tone colors.
Click on the eyedropper and click on skin tone. You can drag a rectangle with the eyedropper and it'll choose an average. However, in my experience, it doesn't work that well.

Uncheck the boxes for luminance and saturation for now. The filter will now only act on a narrow width of reds/oranges.

Go to the saturation slider on top and turn it down to what works for you. If your brought down the colors of some non-skin tones, you can tweak the filter so it's more selective. The "show mask" box is useful here, as are the luminance and saturation controls.
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Old February 27th, 2005, 11:46 AM   #15
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<<<-Uncheck the boxes for luminance and saturation for now. The filter will now only act on a narrow width of reds/oranges.
for you.

What does unchecking the boxes do? Make it act
on a narrower range?
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