Jan 13, 2010

13-01-10: "Colour Grading"

So I downloaded the tryout of Magic Bullet Looks from the Red Giant website (www.redgiant.com) a few days ago, but hadn't had a chance to test it out untill now. I've noticed that a few editors and Youtube/Vimeo short filmers have been experimenting with this tool, and I decided that I wanted to check out what I've got on offer when it comes to editing Story Of A Hitman later in the year. I must say, I'm quiet impressed with the level of control I'm getting from this tool! I've attempted to do something similar with the standard Sony Vegas colour corrector, but never had anything like this. Take a look at this:

Impressive right? A lot of people might say that its a little overdone, but I think that it instantly makes it look so much sexier! The overall colour is warmer, the skin colour is almost true to real, greens are well saturated, yet the grass looks dry and dying.The shadows are more natural, and the blacks are nice and deep. For a simple test of cap gun smoke (some unpublished footage I filmed for my own personal use)... it looks like a film! Almost reminds me of the grading from District 9, except a little warmer. Lets look at another:

This still is from a test film I shot with my siblings, testing my new Special Effects package and how well it works with my HV30 (Actually published, on Facebook). I attempted the orange 'warm' effect on this footage, but it made the muzzle flash to bright... so I thought a greener '35mm' film look might be better. I was quiet impressed with the contrast (I like deep colours on my most of my films) and the vignette around the edges really brought out the film effect so much more. If you look at the original, you'll notice that it's sharper than the final output. That's the Magic Bullet Looks 'film' post effect... slightly modified. I've always thought that film came out really sharp, but still... this does give a nice soft glow to the actress.

The Looks tool can give you control over everything from diffusion effects, Depth of Field, Vignettes, Saturation and brightness, Gradients... pretty much anything that can change the colour of original footage. I'm almost convinced that it's worth paying for! Check out the trial on your own footage, you'll be impressed... I garantee it! Works with Sony Vegas, Premiere Pro, After Effects... and theres a standalone 'Image Builder' which you can use to modify stock JPEG photos. The Looks Builder doesn't allow you to cycle through your footage (at least, not on Premiere Pro or After Effects... I haven't been able to get it to work on Sony Vegas) and fine tune... but it might be a good idea to shoot in the brightest conditions possible to get the best control over colour grading in this program (Isn't it the same for anything else?).
Have fun, let me know what you get!

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