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Old February 26th, 2006, 03:30 AM   #1
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Automatic Colour Matching

Hi,

Does anyone know if there is some piece of software around or a filter for Vegas that will analyse one piece of footage, save the color information, chroma, and luma, brightness, contrast, etc. etc. and then allow you to apply it to another piece of footage thus sort of 'matching' the colors of both clips?

In order to explain my question better here is my problem (not really a problem but looking for a more scientific way of doing this rather than relying solely on my eyes):

I have a Sony FX1E, VX2100E, and TRV27E. Mostly I use the FX1E and the VX2100E but sometimes I will use the TRV27E to shoot some footage during the same event just because it is smaller, easier, and quicker to use (I have too many on camera accessories on the FX and the VX that make using them without a tripod a real mission).

The actual colors of the footage shot with TRV27E are 'starker' or maybe 'harsher' for want of better descriptions although the footage is crystal clear and sharp. I know that this has a lot to do with the single CCD as opposed to the three CCD's of the FX and VX (and of course the price) but when cut together, other than the colours, for the most part you have to look real hard (when viewed on television) to see which footage was shot with which camera believe it or not (I have spent years tweaking and playing with the settings of the TRV27E to get it this good and I think that as consumer camcorders go the TRV27E was a classic).

So - that's what I am trying to accomplish - automatic 'colour correction' or 'color matching' of different DV sources. I am aware that it would be necessary (probably) to tweak the footage manually judging visually but if there is software like this available it would provide you with a good, basic, starting point.

I hope this all makes sense.

Regards,

Dale.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 04:50 AM   #2
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Eh? I haven't heard of one - doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Have you tried the "Copy to Clipboard" option within Vegas? This gives me the option to "compare" with the footage I want with the footage that needs a tweak. I can then apply these tweaks - you've said that would have too happen - and maybe I could then "save" this FX and then apply this FX to the "other" footage.

I'm having a real problem getting my head around what you think "could" happen - meaning, "Here is what I want. Read and analyse this and now apply this to . . . . " - eh? . . Kinda tricky in my books. But maybe . .

I'm listening - oh yes!

Grazie
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Old February 26th, 2006, 08:03 AM   #3
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Hello, thanks for the reply.

Well you have got the idea (I think).

There is a piece of software that does exactly what I describe but it is for audio only. It analyses a given audio file and then graphically displays the frequencies contained in the file. You can then save this analysis (tweaking before if necessary) as a template (or filter), load another audio file, and apply this template (or filter) to the current file. The idea being that there is a certain (let's call it) standard setting that is 'pleasing to the ear' as it were and it allows your to perform adjustments to poorly equalised or mastered audio.

So I was thinking that maybe there is software that will accomplish the same for a video file. Vegas has the color histogram so I suppose all that would be needed is some way to actually save that information and then link it to a filter that could be applied to a different file.

If not exist, good idea???

Regards,

Dale.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 08:16 AM   #4
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Dale, I kinda understood then, yes?

My "novice" understanding of these matters would say that there is just too much colour dynamic for these types of analysis to be made, at our level/budget - but I could very well be wrong on this.

Good idea? Well, if it was easy to use and did more than my own "eye" AND do it faster, maybe.

Grazie
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Old February 26th, 2006, 08:20 AM   #5
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Hold on! I just re-read - s l o w l y - your:

"Vegas has the color histogram so I suppose all that would be needed is some way to actually save that information and then link it to a filter that could be applied to a different file."

Well yes that is true. But that which was used to colour correct one piece mostly certainly will not have the same "needed" profile as another piece. If it did, it would be pure luck! Yes it "might" have something in the ball park. But I'm guessing you'd want something more exact than that.

Grazie
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Old February 26th, 2006, 10:32 AM   #6
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Thanks again for the replies.

Actually the more I think and talk about it the idea is to sort of compensate for the different camera 'image quirks' or 'tendencies'.

Although in an ideal world as long as your white balance and exposure settings are correctly set you should 'get what you see' (color wise) from any (relatively decent) camera but this in practice is not so.

From the different cameras I have played around with over the past couple of years certain manufacturers and ranges have certain 'tendencies' and the idea of software like this is to compensate or these 'tendencies' when it is necessary to combine footage from different cameras.

If this software doesn't exist then maybe here is an idea for a new application or filter.

Regards,

Dale.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 11:31 AM   #7
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Synthetic Aperture's Color Finesse can do this, but it's an After Effects plug-in.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 01:18 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info.

Downloaded Color Finesse Demo (for Boris RED 3GL) - appears to be the type of software that I was looking for.

Pity there is no native support for Vegas though.

Thanks again,

Dale.
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Old February 26th, 2006, 07:31 PM   #9
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Well not automatic, but the classic method is to shoot a chip chart with each camera, preferably on location with the lighting in use.

Then, use Vegas' color correction filter (which is quite good) to match the charts.

A chip chart usually is a large card of 18% grey, and will include black, several steps of grey, and white "chips". Some also include color chips.

If you tell Vegas CC filter what color is white, which is grey, and which is black you're mostly matched.

This method almost doubles your rendering time.
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Old February 27th, 2006, 12:16 AM   #10
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Hello and thanks again for the replies.

I did not know about the 'chip charts'. Do you know where I could purchase such a thing?

By the way Color Finesse does not appear to be 'automatic' either.

To Emre Safak:

Color Finesse only allows you to use an image as a reference and not actual footage - am I correct? In other words I would have to save a frame from Vegas to a .JPG and then use the .JPG as a reference image?

Regards,

Dale.
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Old February 27th, 2006, 01:22 AM   #11
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It sure would be nice to have such a tool, but I believe it is a technical impossibility to create an algorithm that would be 100% accurate. It might be reasonable though, to develop an algorithm that could be effectively useful (in theory). That's almost (or is) AI territory though, and could sure bog down a modern CPU, to get it performing at a useful level (think Cray).
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Old February 27th, 2006, 05:04 AM   #12
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True!

I have found some 'chip charts' on the Internet but there is no supplier here is South Africa and I'll tell you - these things ain't cheap!

Color Finesse does appear to be able to do the job using Boris RED 3GL Engine (it causes an error in Vegas when Boris RED 3GL is called from within Vegas as a Video FX).

I hate having to do things this way as it is just another copy generation but will find out what the problem is.

Regards,

Dale.
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Old February 27th, 2006, 10:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dale Paterson
Color Finesse only allows you to use an image as a reference and not actual footage - am I correct? In other words I would have to save a frame from Vegas to a .JPG and then use the .JPG as a reference image?
Basically it allows you to match one point to another. You sample the source and the destination, then it sets the parameters of whatever tool you have selected, be it Curves or Secondary... It does not dynamically update the parameters, as far as I can tell. However, this should not be necessary unless the nature of the light is changing (like at sunset when the color temperature drops).
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Old February 27th, 2006, 10:37 AM   #14
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Thanks for the reply.

I have been 'messing around' with Color Finesse for the most part of the day and I can definitely see that it can do the job (I just need to busk my way throught the 70 page manual).

The only thing is that it crashes Vegas though i.e. if you call Boris RED 3GL as a Video FX and then try to use Color Finesse a Vegas exception error occurs. It is fine if you just use the Boris RED 3GL Engine (standalone) (I think I already mentioned this). I have emailed Synthetic Aperture's Support Team with the error.

Regards,

Dale.
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Old March 13th, 2006, 12:51 PM   #15
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I also use several generations of cameras and have similar problems. Typically it's a cost effective approach, but sometimes the headaches like color matching make me wonder.

Avid Express does exactly what you're looking for, and I've been dreaming of as well, at least that's what the spec chart says. It's called NaturalMatch- see here: http://www.avid.com/products/xpressdv/features.asp. I remember seeing it once at NAB. I'll take a closer look again this year.

I have not gone with Avid Express, mainly since Vegas' workflow is so powerful and I don't want to learn another software package.

Scott
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