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Old January 26th, 2009, 03:05 PM   #1
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MG Looks - too common?

I'm only getting started in video production as a hobby but have viewed a lot of work on Vimeo and elsewhere and it seems to me that this whole Magic Bullet Looks is overdone. In certain situations it looks good but people just seem to be chucking it onto any footage and masking poor quality filming.

Are we doomed to this type of look forever?
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Old January 26th, 2009, 03:36 PM   #2
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I don't use magic bullet, can you describe the look that you are referring to?
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Old January 26th, 2009, 06:41 PM   #3
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Looks has about 50 or so preset masks that can be thrown over top of footage to make it look.... well, in most cases better. I agree it can be overdone, and the settings don't really give you that great of an output on default, but it's a good tool for the filmmaker working with less-than-optimal cameras and equipment.

Some of the masks are over the top, but I don't think they should be condoned as a whole. Maybe you could link to a vimeo video in question?
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Old January 26th, 2009, 07:04 PM   #4
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While MBLooks is a powerful tool for color correction, the problem is that MBLooks allows complete amateurs to apply color correction mood effects without actually having to know anything about color. They just think it's cool that they can film something and have it look like a "real pro."

In short, technology enables people to ape the pros - but doesn't allow them to have the knowledge of -when- to use the effects.

As a pro-mateur myself, I've used Magic Bullet Looks on some "screwing around" videos - I like how this turned out with the "blockbuster" preset.

YouTube - Magic Bullet + Vegas Test

But I don't think I'd ever use any of the presets in any project that I considered important. I'd still use MBL's tools for other reasons, but probably not by quickly applying a preset and letting it go.

Point is, 90% of MBL will look like crap, because 90% of MBL users are amateurs. But that doesn't mean that a pro won't know how to use MBL to make something extraordinary.
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Old January 26th, 2009, 07:16 PM   #5
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There's some definate elitism in the MB hate, but I agree that it has it's flaws. I can go and do some fine colour correction in Adobe Premiere, which might take me a few hours. Alternatively, I could double click on MB, and get similar results. I think that people dislike the fact it allows newbies to give something a professional look, especially when they succeed.

But I agree, when you overuse it or have no idea what you're doing, the result is more groan-inducing than hearing the Pompeii score over a student film trailer. Ugh!
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Old January 27th, 2009, 11:31 AM   #6
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As you say, MB has its place as a very good tool. The type of look is the same applied to your video Brian :) In the right setting its fine and looks good. But so many pieces I'm viewing lately have the vignetting and overtoned colours and contrast for no reason other than its flavour of the month.

I guess that's partly the problem though - its popular not just in the pro-am world but in broadcasting too. Especially with the promo ads thrown together by Sky.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 05:28 PM   #7
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The short answer is yes, it is overused.

However there are limits to what can be done anyway.
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Old January 30th, 2009, 07:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Lee Scott View Post
But so many pieces I'm viewing lately have the vignetting and overtoned colours and contrast for no reason other than its flavour of the month.
Interesting thought. This industry has always had a "flavour of the month" mentality. Remember years ago when everyone morphed everything? It was new then and it stuck out from the crowd. Was it better? Often no, but it was different.

MBL is a tool, and in spite of the name it is not a magic bullet that solves everything. I view MBL as another arrow in my quiver that can be used when the situation calls for it. I'll use the presets as a starting point and then will tweak them, sometimes extensively before I'm done. Although much of what MBL does can be done natively in PP CS3, it's often easier for me to do it in MBL.

Since I know that I am prone to overdo stuff like this, I did the 2008 Foliage Mash Up to both learn MBL when I first got it and to get that out of my system up front.
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Old June 20th, 2009, 11:54 PM   #9
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MB Looks is just another color correction program. To me what your said was like saying color correction is over used. I use Looks and get great results. I do agree the presets get a little annoying when you see them reoccurring in every other video. But I use it religiously for each video I do. It works fast and efficiently.

Here is my latest product I got.

I didnt use a template on this one. I just started with a clean slate and added what I wanted.

Twirliy Girlies on Vimeo
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Old June 26th, 2009, 09:02 PM   #10
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Presets are sort of a gateway drug. Using them, you get a sense of what's possible. Once you develop more of an eye (or ear, in the case of audio processing), you can grab the manual controls and get more control over the process.

Are presets (in any app/plugin, not just MB) overused? Of course. Anyone who's ever used a Garage Band loop in a video knows the strange feeling of hearing it turn up in someone else's video...
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Old August 25th, 2009, 02:14 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ben Syverson View Post
Presets are sort of a gateway drug. Using them, you get a sense of what's possible. Once you develop more of an eye (or ear, in the case of audio processing), you can grab the manual controls and get more control over the process.

Are presets (in any app/plugin, not just MB) overused? Of course. Anyone who's ever used a Garage Band loop in a video knows the strange feeling of hearing it turn up in someone else's video...
This is so true!
I think you should look at the presets the same as someone starts editting for the first time.
They will use every fade, whipe or any other effect that is available to them. Once they pass that stage, they will learn to use it more porperly and once they learned that they will develope a own style.
I really like MBL cause it is a fast and easy to use tool.
But when I first started using it, I also used the blockbuster look and tweaked it down. Now I use it way more subtle and it helps to improve your work.
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Old September 28th, 2009, 04:47 AM   #12
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I use MB looks for it's convenience. I can get the same results by not using MB looks but it takes a lot more tools and effects and sometimes makes the rendering slower.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 12:21 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Tripp Woelfel View Post
Interesting thought. This industry has always had a "flavour of the month" mentality. Remember years ago when everyone morphed everything? It was new then and it stuck out from the crowd. Was it better? Often no, but it was different.

MBL is a tool, and in spite of the name it is not a magic bullet that solves everything. I view MBL as another arrow in my quiver that can be used when the situation calls for it. I'll use the presets as a starting point and then will tweak them, sometimes extensively before I'm done. Although much of what MBL does can be done natively in PP CS3, it's often easier for me to do it in MBL.

Since I know that I am prone to overdo stuff like this, I did the 2008 Foliage Mash Up to both learn MBL when I first got it and to get that out of my system up front.
I wholeheartedly agree with what you are saying. MBL can be a very useful tool for those who competently use it. Very often less it better with MBL. As is the case with many new tools, there is a tendency for some to be intrigued with it and overuse it. For example, stabilizers are great but if every shot is a flying, circling "creation" it is very aggravating. It's the same with white flash transitions, shallow DOF, rack focus, low or dutch camera angles and many other techniques / tools. It's the appropriate application of these tools that marks the difference between a creative artist and a ham-fisted hacker.
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Old October 4th, 2009, 12:25 PM   #14
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Presets are sort of a gateway drug. Using them, you get a sense of what's possible. Once you develop more of an eye (or ear, in the case of audio processing), you can grab the manual controls and get more control over the process.
That is true. The problem is that the majority out there don't seem to doing that.

I wonder if this forum should be reclassed as a grading forum incidentally. I've brought this up before, but it seems to be that 'film look' would apply more to the DSLR, Red, and 35mm adaptor sub forums, since those are the tools people use these days for film look. Most of what is discussed on this forum is related to grading.
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