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Old April 22nd, 2005, 11:40 AM   #1
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magic Bullet Editors

I've just downloaded the demo of magic Bullet Editors. I'm an Avid user and I really liked what the filters did to my footage.

However, I'm wondering.. is Magic Bullet Editors (not the Magic Bullet Suite w/ deinterlacing) just an easy way to adjust the color, tone, brightness, and softness of the footage?

Could I do the same that MBE does in my color correction and video effects settings?
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 12:12 PM   #2
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MBE has the following parts:
Gamma adjustment. Nearly all NLEs have a gamma adjustment in the color corrector.

Contrast control, with curves / soft shoulders and affects RGB (not luminance only). If your NLE has a color curves filter, it has this. I believe Avid has this.

Black/white diffusion: Most editors don't have this, although you may be able to hack it to get similar results.

Gradient: Most editors can do this, but not in one filter. You can achieve better gradients with custom masks/gradients (i.e. to add vignettes) or secondary color correction / chroma key (to add gradients to particular colors).

Tint: Most editing programs can do this, but perhaps not as easy.

3-strip process: I don't know whether Avid can do it. I personally don't find it very useful.

Warming: Most editing programs can do this. Avid can do this using the color corrector.

32-bit floating point processing: Most editing programs don't do this. It avoids banding from rounding error. Generally banding is not an issue unless you are trying to do extreme corrections that lower numbers and then increase them. This feature also makes Magic Bullet Editors really, really slow.

Quote:
However, I'm wondering.. is Magic Bullet Editors (not the Magic Bullet Suite w/ deinterlacing) just an easy way to adjust the color, tone, brightness, and softness of the footage?

Could I do the same that MBE does in my color correction and video effects settings?
The answer is more or less yes and yes in my opinion.
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 02:22 PM   #3
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OK, that helps me with my query then. I'm VERY new to editing and know very little about video color corection. I know a little about photoshop color correction, but even that is not that much.

thank you for the answer. I just wanted to know that if I do buy MBE that I wont be just spending 299 on something that my editor can already do.

Are there any tips or maybe a guide that is on the web about manually doing these types of things?
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 02:31 PM   #4
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Sorry I don't use Avid so I can't help you out there.

The $299 may be worth it because Magic Bullet is easy. The preset library is great for stealing ideas off of.
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 02:40 PM   #5
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Well, they are offering 20% off so I might take them up on that offer then. the demo sure did look good though.
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 03:36 PM   #6
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Theres MUCH more to Magic Bullet editors than people think. For starters it works internally at a very high number of bits of colour. Originally I thought it was 32, but I think it's actually higher. This is one reason it is slow as it has to upconvert then downconvert. This is to help stop colour banding I believe.

The gamma curve is a more film like curve by default, so you could perhaps get more control using Vegas' curves, but it's nice to have it built in one plugin.

The grads and tint options are very useful for obtaining particular looks. These can be replicated outside, but it would take you a long time messing around with the secondary colour correction to be able to perform the same things. Especially the black tint option.

There is however one aspect a lot of people don't play around with. And thatthe way that the Do Subject and Do Post adjustments work. At first sight they seem to just counteract one another. However if you play around more you will find you can gain a lot of control and effect you would find quite hard to replicate otherwise.

I know there are programs and plugins out there that claim to do the same thing. But while they can sometimes get close, they are absolutely not MBs equal. Remember we are talking about the expertise of ex Industrial Light And Magic guys (the people who created MB) vs some people who *think* they can get the same effect using existing filters. They can get close, but for me, often not close enough, or as complex.

For example, in any of the other filters or suggestions on how to match MB by using built in filters, I am still waiting for someone to show me how to recreate the Bistro preset, or the No.85 preset, or the Gold Crunch preset. If any of the other filters on the market can show me how to recreate those (and many of the others) I'll be convinced. But if you notice most of the other filters on the market only recreate the easy ones such as Warm, or Cool, or Saturated etc.

I dont want to sound like I'm having a dig at other filters on the market. But I'm just pointing out that Magic Bullets Editors processes are not as simplistic as many make out.
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Old April 22nd, 2005, 11:43 PM   #7
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Hey Simon,
I tried replicating some of Magic Bullet's looks using filters in Vegas. It took me quite some time to figure out. What I've found:

1- Magic Bullet's controls are different in a subtle way. The contrast control is not similar to drawing an s with Vegas' curves. Vegas's curves function is similar to other RGB curves and de-saturates highlights and shadows, while bringing up the saturation of midtones. Some programs like Combustion and the Color Finesse plug-in have luminance curves, which do not affect saturation at all. Magic Bullet seems to be somewhere in between???? (or something else entirely)

Magic Bullet's contrast control also:
- Has less control than a curves filter, which is ok.
- Will clip blacks and highlights if you push it too far.

2- In Magic Bullet, you can use the pre/post controls to push colors into clipping (i.e. outside 0-256) and then bring them back in with the post controls. In Vegas, if the colors clip midway then they don't come back.

3- The warming control does not shift color balance like 3-way color correction filters do. It adds a tritone effect. It's similar to:
http://www.photo.net/photo/sepia/index
This is a little nicer than normal cooling/warming. Vegas has no filter than can replicate this, although the gradient map filter can get fairly close (and does the same thing).

4- Tint black is a wonky control.

The gradient control has a highlight squelch control which is nice (and not in Vegas).

5- In Vegas, you can't get indentical results compared to Magic Bullet. However, you can get comparable results. Do you want me to post up a veg?

You can also get arguably better results in Vegas.

6- What I like about Magic Bullet Editors:
- EASY. Setting up comparable effects in Vegas takes a lot of time to figure out, and some extra button pushing. Advanced color correction things in Vegas aren't in the presets so you have to know what you are doing. Magic Bullet is pretty straightforward.
- Unique features: White and black diffusion (this is hard to do in Vegas). Contrast and warming/cooling controls.
- 32-bit floating point rendering prevents banding (and clipping from within the filter).
Preset library is good for stealing ideas.

What I don't like about Magic Bullet Editors:
- Slow... only the median filter is as slow.
- From within Vegas, the controls are finnicky as they snap back one (i.e. you pull it to +4 and it snaps back to +3). Because of the slow rendering time, you can't adjust settings without lag/delay.
- Is very good at making illegal colors and pushing colors into over/underexposure.
- Removes alpha channel information. (I think)
- Because of slow speed, I wouldn't use MB before vignettes, masks, any secondary color correction, etc. If you have MB as the first filter, then everything after it will be slow. If you use it last, then it gets hard to see your effects in context.

You can arguably get better results in Vegas. MB's unique features are nice but you don't need them most of the time. IMO, you don't necessarily need Magic Bullet because you can achieve comparable or better results (in Vegas, not Avid). However, that requires you to know what you're doing.
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 12:09 AM   #8
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To me, it really sounds like the $239 that I just spent (yep, I bought it) was worth it. Especially since I'm on Avid and you both are mostly talking about Vegas and I know nothing of Vegas. Also, I'm so new to this stuff that It will be SO easy to just pick a preset and then differ from there if I need to.

I really liked what I saw with the demo and I'm sure that I'll be happy with the final product too.
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 08:59 AM   #9
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FWIW, I think you've made a good choice. MB is worth the price for the black and white diffusion alone, which is very difficult to do in any editor without plugins - and hard to find as a plugin, certainly on it's own.

In my experience MB presets rarely do anything useful "out of the box", but they can sometimes be useful starting points. I have a few favourites which I then alter as required for my footage...

Have fun!
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 06:12 PM   #10
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So now, I know that MB's site says to shoot just normally and then apply my effects in post. Is this really recommended? I mean, if I know that I want a sunset shot should I light for it or let MB Editors do it?
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 06:35 PM   #11
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From what I gather, you need to have all the important image detail within your camera's exposure latitude (exposure range). Anything too bright will get clipped or run into your camera's knee (on some cameras like the DVX100 you can adjust the gamma curve so there's no knee) or there may be color shifting (which happens on just about all video cameras as far as I know). If it's too dark then detail will get lost in noise and then clipping.

If you want blown-out highlights, shoot with normal exposure and let MB do the blown-out highlights.

If you want mixed lighting in your shot then shoot with mixed lighting, post filters can't remove or add mixed lighting temperatures. An example would be sunlight streaming through the windows (warmer color temperature than interior lighting).
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Old April 24th, 2005, 10:17 AM   #12
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"So now, I know that MB's site says to shoot just normally and then apply my effects in post. Is this really recommended? I mean, if I know that I want a sunset shot should I light for it or let MB Editors do it?"

Glen answered this perfectly, however there have been afew members here who have ben able to reproduce quite afew of MB's filters just by using and tweaking in cam settings alone..

Personally the majority of the time, ive actualy set my 2 DVX100's to shoot as bleach bypass with a CineGamma priority on Dynamic Range... this gives me more latitude (as mentioned) as well as a nice flat image with deep blacks and stark whites. If i need to punch colour, i can do it in post without a problem and i dont end up washing out the image

I just got my hands on magic bullet for vegas and i wont get a chance to dive in to it for a while, however i have noticed that it kills preview frames somethign shocking.. renders are fine.. but forget realtime previews..
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