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What Happens in Vegas...
...stays in Vegas! This PC-based editing app is a safe bet with these tips.

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Old March 16th, 2008, 01:41 PM   #1
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Add a more vivid picture with Vegas Video

Just curious if you guys have any suggestions to make a more vivid picture with Vegas Video. I watch some of these shows on TV and they have such great color and just a more vivid picture. I am filming with a dvx100b, so my picture quality is good, but any suggestions to help had a better picture with vegas video would be great.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 01:46 PM   #2
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Use more deliberate lighting and shoot film or 4:4:4. You can't get the pro look with DV.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 05:36 PM   #3
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Monitor your preview with a decent monitor. Calibrate your monitor using the vegas SMPTE color bars and pluge pattern.

Now that your calibrated, go for the look your after viewing the monitor.

You did not mention how you were comparing. Were you burning DVD?
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Old March 16th, 2008, 05:38 PM   #4
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I've had a DP (Director of Photography) tell me that my stuff (miniDV) looked like it was shot on film (yes, they knew it was video).
How? Light it like film people do.
Proper lighting and a shallow depth of field go a long way towards achieving this look.
If you're not already doing so, shoot on 24p with your camera.
If you can do it on the DVX, turn down the sharpening as that just screams "shot on video".

edit: Steven's comment about using a good monitor is a very good tip.
I wouldn't think of doing a shoot without mine.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 12:31 AM   #5
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Colour correction is a key element to being able to make colours 'pop' when dealing with video.

In Vegas a very simple colour correction tool to play with is the colour curves tool. By setting a slight "S" shaped curved this will darken or 'crush' the blacks a little and make the highlights a little brighter. Overdoing it will create a bad look on it's own as well but in particular a little deepening of the blacks can make the overall picture have better contrast, remove the often slightly grey sheen of video, and make your colours seem a little more vivid.

There are many more techniques for colour correction that involve elements of the other tools. I suggest a good book on the subject and some time to play around with them to see how they affect things.

NOTE - your scopes are your friends here too! learn them and use them to your advantage to better understand what fixes need to occur and what is happening with individual color correction controls.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 01:57 PM   #6
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I have found that a combination of three things works very well. First, create that s-shaped curve in curves, but only bump up and down up to but not crushing the blacks or blowing out the whites. Watch those scopes, though! Second, desaturate in the color corrector tool 2 - 20%. Video always has too much color - watch something shot on film. Unless they're going for a poppy look, it doesn't have near the saturation video does. Third, in the same color correction tool, warm up your mids and highs - heading towards the yellow/red area of the wheel. These work well for me.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 03:53 PM   #7
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I also recommend the S-curves. Consider working in 32bpc to avoid quantization errors. In 32bpc the range is 0-255. In 8bpc the range is 15-235. Again, use your scopes.

From there, it really depends on what you are looking for. A LOTR night scene? Desaturate and make everything blue. The Matrix? Push everything towards the greens and use a secondary CC to get the reds (skin tones, lips, blood) back. Fellini? Leave the color saturation high. Use secondary color correction to push the pastel look - high greens and magentas, lower reds and blues.

Also, shoot everything with as much exposure as possible without clipping - even if your blacks are quite elevated. That keeps you out of the sensor noise. Fix the blacks in post using the S-curves mentioned above. You can always add fake film noise later, but you want to avoid digital sensor noise, since it can't be easily removed.
Jon Fairhurst
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Old March 17th, 2008, 05:06 PM   #8
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Use more deliberate lighting and shoot film or 4:4:4. You can't get the pro look with DV.
Wrong. Check out a film called Kampfansage.

Okay, lighting like film is one way to help. But lighting doesn't address other types of production such as documentary, which may also go through a grading process.

You may take stills photos on the street, or on location without lighting, yet you can still make them pop in post. You can't light landscapes either.

But you can add punch to your images using various post techniques. With DV it is a good idea to shoot things flat. On cameras such as the DVX 100, use the film gamma and black stretch to help you to get an 'image in progress'.

As John suggested, use 32-bit colour in Vegas Pro 8 (but make sure you use the right gamma setting!) If you have an earlier version of Vegas that's okay.

As suggested an S-curve adjustment is good for giving images pop a little. Layered curves are also the key to bringing highlights under control. For example you may have a shot with highly exposed sky, but not to the point of clipping. Layered curves and secondary colour correction can bring this detail back. Though you will have to make compromises with DV because often there is a lot of compression issues in such areas that prevent you adding too much contrast to those regions. But you can often bring enough back to make a difference.

Start to use the secondary color correction tool more. This takes practice and experimentation, and is harder to use with DV. You may have to layer the color correction tools quite a bit to get the exact effect that you require.
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