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Old November 14th, 2007, 11:59 AM   #1
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Sample Color Correction vs Raw for Demo

I recently purchased all 8 discs of the VASST series for Vegas. After whipping through at 1.5x playback for discs 1-3 (nothing new there since I've been using vegas since v6) I came to Disc 4, color correction. I ate up all that wonderful knowledge and then tried it out on some footage shot with an xl1 & xl1s at my most recent wedding.

I got the idea to produce a video that demonstrates the difference between uncorrected & ungraded footage and footage after the post-production process. I called it "The Professional Difference." Since I am still wary of bandwidth issues, I have hosted the video on my YouTube, but embedded it in my site.

Please ignore the YouTube aspect of the video and just focus on the color correction / grading (and if you can, ignore the non-use of tripod footage in many spots....). If the quality is such that you cannot get a good idea about the colors due to compression artifacts, then I'll post the 320x240 quicktime.

I use two nested .vegs, one with out CC and the other with CC in a master veg that has various lines / boxes from the cookie cutter to allow the CC'ed portion to play on top of the un-cc'ed track. I move the cookie cutter around the frame to highlight various aspects of the footage.

This is made with potential clients in mind. Having said all that, I have essentially two questions.....(Douglas & Glenn C.?)

1) How did I do on the CC? Did I overdo pulling out the greens for grass and the blues in the water / sky? Conditions for the day were sunny and barely any clouds.

2) Is this detrimental to potential clients or will this make them say "Wow it looks great. I want a professionally produced wedding movie"

Thanks for any and all input. Here is the above video link in case you missed it... "The Professional Difference."

Last edited by Jason Robinson; November 14th, 2007 at 12:48 PM. Reason: better description
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Old November 14th, 2007, 02:34 PM   #2
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Hey, it looks good.

1- Youtube usually seems to make footage look a lot flatter than it actually is. So that may or may not be making things hard to judge.
(There's a number of alternatives to youtube... like divx/stage6, cheap web hosting, etc. etc.)

2- For some shots I might try to go for a vertical split(/wipe) instead of a horizontal split... since shots tend to be symmetrical that way. You have the same things to compare across the split.

3- This is a personal taste thing, but I prefer skies that are a saturated blue (and probably darker than they would appear in real life). Part of that is shooting it without blowing up (a polarizer can help), and if there's information there you can tweak the color in Vegas. Sometimes you can just pick off half the sky and affect that... so you'll have a gradient effect and two different tones in the sky (as opposed to one when you affect all the sky at once).

4- For marketing reasons, you might want to cherry-pick the shots which have the biggest difference between non-CC and CCed. e.g. the sun is flaring into the lens, really flat shots, etc.
:D
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Old November 14th, 2007, 03:43 PM   #3
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This isn't really answering your question but just an observation on the video itself.

I think the idea is great and the video looks fine (taking Glenn's comments into consideration).

The one thing that distracted me was the ambient noise of the ducks, waterfall, etc. I don't know if it's the YouTube compression doing it but it's really not great (sorry!). All that work you're doing trying to promote the professional quality of your work is watered down by the poor audio. I'd be inclined to lose it and just keep the Cinescore music (that's one of my favourite Cinescore themes, by the way).

But like I said, I think it's a great idea.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 03:50 PM   #4
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Sky Color

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan View Post
Youtube usually seems to make footage look a lot flatter than it actually is.
I'm considering placing the quicktime any way. Especially since I only get ~3-5 unique visitors a day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan View Post
go for a vertical split(/wipe) instead of a horizontal split... since shots tend to be symmetrical
Good point. I tried to pick shots where the difference is the most obvious, but I'll go back and check again. An specific shots where you thought "huh... but what is this corner like that isn't corrected...."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan View Post
3- This is a personal taste thing, but I prefer skies that are a saturated blue (and probably darker than they would appear in real life). Part of that is shooting it without blowing up (a polarizer can help), and if there's information there you can tweak the color in Vegas. Sometimes you can just pick off half the sky and affect that... so you'll have a gradient effect and two different tones in the sky (as opposed to one when you affect all the sky at once).
I believe I had a polarizer available, but I was focusing on the basics of working the rented XL1s. I had lots of problems with the skies in post because I was trying for a much bluer-er look as well. I pulled out the secondary and tried pulling out the sky. Then I tried color casting the sk sections blue-er than it was but some of the white clouds got in the way and made the available blue sky sections sparse but stand out. I didn't do any chroma blur so I may look into that but I don't expect it to help too much. I may just need several layers of secondary CC to pull in all the shades of blue.

Good point on the gradient. I'll play with a gradient and see if that provides the blue-er look.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan View Post
4- For marketing reasons, you might want to cherry-pick the shots which have the biggest difference between non-CC and CCed.
Good points. When I panned across the club house with a vertical divider there wasn't much difference so I should cut that (and a few of the unnecessary green shots). I also left in the "Pleasantville colorpass" section in, which has a real awkward transition from heavy brightness boast (to bring in detail from the leaves which are dark) and the red color pass (with a boost on reds) to a full color picture with secondaries on the sky & grass, and levels adjustments.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 03:54 PM   #5
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Audio compression

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Originally Posted by Ian Stark View Post
The one thing that distracted me was the ambient noise of the ducks, waterfall, etc. I don't know if it's the YouTube compression doing it but it's really not great (sorry!). All that work you're doing trying to promote the professional quality of your work is watered down by the poor audio. I'd be inclined to lose it and just keep the Cinescore music (that's one of my favourite Cinescore themes, by the way).
I did heavily compress the audio (bumped down the bitrate and sample frequency). I'll re-encode with a normal audio bitrate and not worry about file sizes.

I also did re-master the ducks (duplicated the noise a few times in a few places) so I'll see how it works toned down and with no ambient audio.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 05:47 PM   #6
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A bit off topic but not...

The Vasst series...seem pretty pricey...$NZ77 per DVD...though two I'm interested in - CC and noise reduction.

I've bought two instructional dvd's (not Vasst), one on setting up interview lighting, one on filming weddings. The first was brilliant - worth every cent. The latter hopeless - total waste of money.

Straight-up, what are the Vasst ones like? Worth it?

I'm aware DSE is watching! :-)
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Old November 14th, 2007, 06:53 PM   #7
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what are the steps to get that split screen before/after fx?
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Old November 14th, 2007, 08:04 PM   #8
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Vasst

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Originally Posted by Renton Maclachlan View Post
Straight-up, what are the Vasst ones like? Worth it?
If you have used Vegas for any amount of time greater than a few months or if you have cut at least several longer projects (more than a minute or so), then you can skip Discs1-3. They contain little of value that you cannot learn by trial and error and previous editing experience. The ONE thing they will provide is handy plugins (but only for Vegas 6 users, ... someone correct me if I am wrong on this) and keyboard shortcuts you might not have picked up. Otherwise, skip them.

Regarding Disc 4, it is useful, but very frustrating that no effort was put into explaining what Chroma, Luma, hue, etc etc mean. I still don't know the difference between those terms. I kind of gather than gama is brightness, but no where (in all of discs 1-4) does the VASST series go over those sort of terms. That means that when Glenn or Douglas are explaining the color curves or the secondary corrector and they say things like "We can uncheck the luma because we won't be modifying it" I was left sitting there thinking, "why not? I don't even know what that is... I can play with it and get an idea about how it affects the picture, but I don't know WHY"

Disc 5 for audio cleanup seems pretty useful, but relies HEAVILY on outside plugins which I have yet to even be able to use in Vegas 8. Again, everything should work fine if you use Vegas 6 but none of the plugins know how to work with v8 (because 8 didn't exist when the videos were made).

I haven't had time to view 6,7,8. I would skip the media manager Disc 7. I just bought it so I would have a complete set (waste of money I suppose because I will never have stock footage libraries, but not if you use stock footage I supppose). Disc8 deals with the new Vegas 8 and I haven't cracked it open yet. Disc 6 is DVDA, and I'm hoping to learn more about secondary audio tracks and angles (like it says).

That is my review. The nutshell version is the VASST discs point you in a good direction, but you can safely pass on Discs 1-3,7. The Color Correction (Disc4) and Audio (Disc5) and DVDA (Disc6) seem to have the most value, but overall I was a little disappointed at the lack of "Why" information but pleased with the amount of "How to" information.

Last edited by Jason Robinson; November 15th, 2007 at 10:37 AM. Reason: add sentence to P4 re media manager
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Old November 14th, 2007, 08:43 PM   #9
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Thanks Jason, saved me a bundle. I'll stick with my books...

I've had Vegas 6 and 7, and now have 8.

...still I'd like to have really worthwhile dvd colour correction instruction, of the likes of my lighting dvd.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 09:55 PM   #10
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Jason, I agree with your comments respecting Volume 4 (color correction). My belief is that if I understood the theory better, all of the tools would make more sense. As it is, I am essentially left with memorizing the steps and then adjusting to taste. When faced with unusual color correction challenges, it is pretty much guess work.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 07:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Robinson View Post
... what Chroma, Luma, hue, etc etc mean. I still don't know the difference between those terms. I kind of gather than gama is brightness...
I'll try to de-mystify things if I can.

Start by placing the SMPTE bars signal on the timeline and viewing the waveform, vectorscope & histogram displays.

Luma = luminance.
This is the brightness level of the video signal.
On the waveform monitor, this is the level from 0-100. On the histogram, it's from 0-255.

Chroma = chrominance.
This is the portion of the video signal that carries the colour information.
It's sometimes referred to as saturation.
On the vectorscope in Vegas, this signal is represented by it's distance from the centre to the outer ring and ranges from 0-100.

Hue is the colour itself, be it red, green, blue or anything in between.
On the vectorscope, this is represented in degrees from a specific starting point.

Gamma encoding (or compression) is the nonlinear (key word here) method in which luminance or RGB signals are encoded into a video signal.
Gamme decoding (or expansion) is the nonlinear method converts the video signal for a display such as a CRT.
While it may seem like brightness, it acts very differently due to the fact that it's a nonlinear operation.

For a demo of any of these, put an image on the timeline and add the Colour Corrector (Secondary) and Brightness & Contrast FX to it.
Switch to the Videoscopes tab and make sure Waveform, Vectorscope & Histogram are all selected.
Now try changing the Gamma, the Brightness or Contrast and the Hue and see how the various displays change.
The image will change but, as you can tell from the Waveform monitor, the changes are very different, depending on the FX applied.

Hope this helps.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 10:32 AM   #12
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Don't get me wrong...

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Originally Posted by Renton Maclachlan View Post
Thanks Jason, saved me a bundle. I'll stick with my books...

I've had Vegas 6 and 7, and now have 8.

...still I'd like to have really worthwhile dvd colour correction instruction, of the likes of my lighting dvd.
Don't get me wrong... the Color Correction & Audio cleanup discs are very good. They focus more on instructing a user for a specific software tool rather than instructing in the theory of color and color correction.

But for a user with a year or more of Vegas experience, the first 3 will hold little value, and for users of non-stock media the Media Manager disc will not provide any value.

And I should mention that I haven't even had time to go through the DVDA disc, and DSE's Vegas 8 Pro Updates disc (which I'm really looking forward to so I can figure out the new titler).
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Old November 15th, 2007, 11:47 PM   #13
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I own most of the DVD's (don't have the media manager disk) in the series and will say that I agree with the comment that it's a good how-to set but not necessarily the best at explaining what and why. I too would love a DVD that simply took all aspects involving color and explained them very thouroughly such as the recording of color informatin into the camera, how that is stored onto tape or disk, how that information is displayed on a color monitor, etc, etc. Even to go as far as pixel depth, etc. I realize this could be an entire disk alone, but that's the kind of information maybe a solid 90 minute DVD could really help people out. You then go on to the step of putting that knowledge to work with the Tools built inside Vegas (or any NLE for that matter) and I think you then have a true winning combination.

Now, with that being said, there is still plenty of information there and if you have a basic comfort level with Vegas, I really do think this set can give just about anybody enough solid tips and help to take them to the next step. Definately worth the money and if you use the DVINFO coupon code discount, it just gets that much better.

I found the DVD Architect disc and the color correction DVD's the best overall.

Jon
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Old November 16th, 2007, 02:19 AM   #14
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Thks a lot Mike! I have the same DVDs for the colur correction, audio n DVDA4. Those are really well done and as Jason pointed out, I have the same problem with the terms but those can be googled. Only issue is a detailed explaination would always be better.

Hmm so in order to increase the saturation ,we will have to depend on the chrominance vector scope.
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Old November 16th, 2007, 09:04 AM   #15
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I can only comment on the CC disc (#4), firstly by saying I liked it a lot.

The approach used was good for me: lotta ground covered quickly without going into detail. I preferred because I have Steve Hullfish's book on color correcting for video (new edition in couple months) and I find text better for anything to do with theory, science, etc.

I watched the CC-DVD again 6 months later and saw much I had missed the first time. I'll probably do another sit down in a couple months and see what else there is.

Other than the DVD and Steve Hullfish's book, the best resources I've found for CC'ing has been an AE book by Mark Christianssen, a couple Photoshop books (glanced at but not bought yet), a print-media book called "Skin" (some good ideas I'd like to apply to video), and the online forums.

CC DVD's are hard to find in my experience. If they made another I'd buy it.
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