My Camcorder video looks dull! Is post processing a sin? DISCUSSION! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 01-22-2013, 05:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Videos are made to be watched.

Before reading and writing in this topic, just think about this.
If you know a lot about hardware and post, please share your knowledge without creating unnecessary fights. wink.gif

First of all, Im a medic. Im dont do videos for a living. Everything I know about hardware, shooting videos and editing I learned by myself, so dont judge me. If you are a speciallist, teach the others, dont insult them, because I dont insult a pacient that can not operate himself!

___________________________________________________________

Ok. People complain a lot about how camcorder videos look. They say they look dull and dead.
They say that because they compare camcorder videos with the ones made with compacts and DSLR`s. I was one of them.
Reading some topics here and there I learned the correct parameters to analyze if a video is good or not. I learned that there is a BIG difference between a good video and a video that looks good.

I learned that some camcorders produce VERY good videos, much better than the ones made with DSLR's and compacts, but they dont look as good. So I decided to play a little with some SIMPLE editing tools. Recently (because of mark) I bought a Sony GW77. I learned that its a very nice camera that produce extremely nice videos. It has that "dullness" though.

So I downloaded a few videos from Mark (made with a GW77) and played with them a little, to see how good they can look with some editing. I learned that the "dullness" i probably because of the lack of black and colors, and the excess of grey in the videos. The point is, that dull look gives you a lot of space to work. Sure its not a 12-bit RAW, but its something!

And I know you lose some of the original quality. I always keep the originals with me. But you dont make videos to keep them in a hard drive. You make videos to show your trips to your friends and family. And for that I think that post is essential. The originals are just boring and flat.

Do an exercise. Sit you daughter, your wife and your granddaughter in your living room. Play the original video and the processed one. I bet they'll sleep or get out before the end of the first one.

The originals, although they preserve the most of the camera capabilities, they lack the WOW effect. Will you make it look artificial? Will you lose something? YES! WHO CARES?! The important is to get the attention of the ones you love.

My objective in this thread is to learn how to take the most of my videos. I want to learn how to make them look WOW!

Thanks in advance for the advices

ps: sorry for the english. English is just my fourth language.

SAMPLE

This video sample was made with some of Mark`s videos. All credits go to him.
The editing process was really simple and took me like 15-20 minutes. Remember that it was rendered and compressed 3 times. The originals look waaaay better.
In a big screen, the full edited video LOOKS GOOD. It was rendered in very high quality. Of course you lose something, but for normal people, the quality is there!

Please, share your thoughts.

LINK: https://vimeo.com/57979771


SCREENCAPS:

ORIGINAL(LEFT)_________________X________________EDITED(RIGHT)








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post #2 of 28 Old 01-22-2013, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
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ps: I didnt use any advanced tools, only basic stuff. I know how to use them, masks etc.
If I had the time I could do better.
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post #3 of 28 Old 01-22-2013, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedest View Post

ps: I didnt use any advanced tools, only basic stuff. I know how to use them, masks etc.
If I had the time I could do better.

nice video edit... what software did you use?... thanks in advance
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post #4 of 28 Old 01-22-2013, 06:30 PM
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IMHO your edited camcorder video has vivid, but unnatural and unrealistic looking colors. Still cameras put out video that is inherently brighter and the colors are more realistic looking straight out of the camera. So all your editing has done for me is to further reaffirm the superiority of still camera video.
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post #5 of 28 Old 01-22-2013, 08:00 PM - Thread Starter
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So lets talk in topics

COLORS

People talk about unnatural and unrealistic colors all the time. I film a lot of surgeries. When im recording them I need realism to document the tissues. Whats the point of realism in entertainment videos? And can you point out specific moments where my editing produced unrealistic results? My adjusts were minimum. Maybe my eye is not good enough. I learned how to edit videos in the last couple days, so im just an apprentice.

STILL CAMERAS

There are many types of still cameras, youve got to be more specific. First of all I think still cameras are inferior in many ways. They have time limit, temperature issues, less sharpness, more artifacts etc. About the looks of the videos I think its a matter of user profile.

In some still cameras you can work only with pre-sets. That way you can get that bright and vivid look straight out of the camera. Thats good if you dont like do individualize your videos. If you want to edit them, work the shadows, highs, lows, colors etc, then this camera is not for you

In camcorders you get that flat look. They are not good on the eyes straight out, but once you throw them in the editor, you have more space to work. You will only understand this if you try for yourself. Some of the adjusts I made are impossible to be done in a still camera with user friendly pre sets.

And we have some nice still cameras that work both ways. They can use those pre sets, with their facilities AND limitations for post, and they have the option to turn those software adjusts OFF. When you do that, guess what happens? Your still camera produces videos that look like camcorder videos - flat and dull. That way you can work them the way you want. If you want to see that, mark posted 2 comparison shots from the LX7. One has that vivid look you like. The other has those pre-sets off and looks like a camcorder footage. Throw that last one in the hands of a good editor. I guarantee that he can make it look 100 times better than the first one. Simply because he has no interference. All the shots give him the liberty to go the way he wants to go to achieve the WOW effect.

Thats my opinion. Feel free to disagree
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post #6 of 28 Old 01-22-2013, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spyker1212 View Post

nice video edit... what software did you use?... thanks in advance

Vegas 12 pro. In this example I used only basic and quick adjusts. Took me 15-20 minutes. With more time, using masks in the right places, using more light adjusts im certain that it would look 10 times better, but I'll only waste my time in MY videos. My camera arrives this week and im just practicing
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post #7 of 28 Old 01-23-2013, 07:31 AM
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Also in the "pro" price range is Adobe Premier. I checked lynda.com for a color adjustment course. It is 5 hours long! http://www.lynda.com/Premiere-Pro-CS5-tutorials/Premiere-Pro-Color-Correction-and-Enhancement/51609-2.html. A few of the chapters (with slightly darker titles) are free samples and will make for some interesting viewing -- even it I don't plan to buy the $650 software!

In the $100 or less consumer version of Premier Elements 11, I found a lot, most of which I have not used (yet). My guess is that the $100 consumer version of Vegas has a lot too.

In PrE11 these are the standard color control adjustments that are always available for every clip:
Color
Hue
Lightness
Saturation
Vibrance
Auto Color
Color (RGB)
Red
Green
Blue
Gamma Correction
Lighting
Brightness
Contrast
Exposure
Auto Brightness
Auto Contrast
Temperature
Tint

Important additional "Effects" that can be applied to clips are:
Hue, Saturation Luminance
Spit Tone (Highlight and Shadows)
Three Way Color Corrector

More effects are listed here:
PrE11 Effect Reference

Bill
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post #8 of 28 Old 01-23-2013, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Bill, let me tell you what Im doing.

3 days ago I downloaded Vegas Pro 12. I knew simply NOTHING about editing. NOTHING. Contrast? RGB? Curves? Gamma? Those were aliens for me. So I went to youtube and typed:

- vegas pro tutorial
- video editing
- vegas cinematic look
etc

you will be amazed on how much you can learn there. If you want more, I guarantee that you can find hundreds of free tutorials using google. A paid course will be probably nice, but I dont think its necessary at the begining. You can learn a lot by yourself. Once you understand how things work, you can discover the rest by yourself.. The rest you learn watching other peoples videos in youtube etc.

My editor life has les than 72h, and Im alredy achieving decent results.
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post #9 of 28 Old 01-23-2013, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedest View Post

.....My editor life has les than 72h, and Im alredy achieving decent results.
Good work! I've done some of the same google searching. Adobe even has a YouTube Channel. Maybe Sony does too. Some of the best Adobe training videos are the free samples from Lynda.com. That lead me there and I am a very pleased customer even though I've spent only a few dollars.

The point I was trying to make in my post is that you can get a lot of high grade tools in consumer editions of video editors. One day I may spend $650 for "pro" software. So far the $100 stuff gives me all I need.

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post #10 of 28 Old 01-23-2013, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Thats a nice tutorial, check out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WozBxv9RnY

You can find hundreds more in youtube.

I really liked that lynda.com tutorial pack. I just downloaded the full package (more than 2GB of video tutorials from them) for the premiere pro CS6

Vegas pro was the only one I've ever used, but it looks like the adobe premiere pro has some nice features too. Im downloading it as we speak. I'll test both to see wich one makes me happier!

And yes, I agree with you: the basic versions have enough features for most users. I just like to try everything. Watching very quickly some of the videos from the tutorial package Im starting to think that I'll probably stick with the Adobe CS6. It looks less complicated and more complete, except for audio editing. Anyway, I'll try it out for a couple days. Lets see what happens.
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post #11 of 28 Old 01-23-2013, 09:54 AM
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In the spirit of sinful post processing, I experimented with gamma, saturation and vibrance. I used the original clip as an example of color in bad light in a thread I started on the RX100 video capabilities and limitations.

The original 11 second clip was uploaded to vimeo as a 1080p file and can be downloaded. It is unaltered, except for trimming the ends off in a lossless editor. The uplaod was 30MB.

https://vimeo.com/57960225

The 11 second "cooked" clip is "color graded" in Premier Elements 11, rendered to a preset for Vimeo, then uploaded. The upload was 9MB.

https://vimeo.com/58029354

On my computer, the cooked one is more (sinfully!) interesting to watch.

It is interesting to me there is enough detail in the original that there is opportunity for a little cooking.

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post #12 of 28 Old 01-23-2013, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
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First of all, when you edit a video, you can use your creativity to make it look the way you want, so everything others say is just a matter of opinion.

If you dont mind, I'll share my opinion in this situation:

- First of all: This video was made in a hard light condition. Even the RX100 with its amazing sensor had some difficulties. Thats the kind of footage where you cant make miracles. Its never going to look awesome. The RX100 already made a good work with the pre-sets, not leaving space for you to work in post though.

- The RX100 was using too much pre-sets, and thats my point of camcorders against still cameras. If you had used some manual controls to lower the settings enough to make them look neutral and dull like a camcorder, you would be able to work more in post processing. The blacks of this video cant be corrected in post that way. Try to shoot neutral videos and you will have more range to work.

- Notice that as you took away some of the black you created strange looking stuff, specially below the hats. In my opinion you should've tried to preserve that black.

- You have a dark scene. I noticed that you tried to make it brighter and more colorful. The only way this would end up nice is if you were working with more bits, like in a black magic with 12-bit RAW. We have to know our limits when editing, otherwise strange stuff will show up.

- I made a version with my vision of the scene. In the list you can see what I've done

- Black bars on top and bottom
- I did that to create a film look. This creates a better atmosphere for the scene. Adds drama.

- Added a black vignette on the borders.
- This will increase the drama and will focus the attention on the subject of the center of the screen. It will help to hide some of the limitations of the camera in low light situations.

- Lowered the saturation
- There are lots of bizarre creatures in the video, so I tought that they would look better when less colorful.

- Lowered the gama
- That way I can keep the dark places (with all of their defects) dark. That way I can avoid strange looking shadows. When you lower the gama you gain more color, so I can compensate for the less amount of saturation

- Lowered the gain
- Too much gain and your video is grey and boring. In the other way it gets too much dark and saturated. I found the sweetspot for me.

- Lowered the offset
- Again, to optimize the shadows - the great challenge of your video

- Raised the sharpness
- Bizarre creatures ask for more sharpness, so you can see their details better. Since they are the focus, they deserve more sharpness.

- Slow motion
- more drama

- Nice sound track
- more drama


LINK FOR THE VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/58045751

At the begining you can see the comparisons. At the end you can see my vision in full screen - watch until the end.
Remember that it was rendered 3 times and compressed. I did everything in average quality, so unfotunately you wont be able to see how cool it looks with more sharpness!
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post #13 of 28 Old 01-24-2013, 07:10 AM
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thedest,

Thanks for taking the time to do that. I'll watch your remake a couple more times today. Phase one for me has been learning what controls are available in the NLE I've chosen to use. Next will be learning how to use them.

I enjoy this forum's discussion of equipment. I've yet to find as good a place to learn and share the tools and techniques of editing. I have found a still photo site where it's done. Someone wanted to restore a WWII era snapshot of his father in a Navy uniform. He posted a scanned copy. Various people went to work offering variations of Photoshop work with amazing results.

Bill
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post #14 of 28 Old 01-25-2013, 06:30 AM - Thread Starter
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If you find such a place, please share with me!

Just finished my course of Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. I have in my computer the Vegas Pro 12 and the CS6 and I can tell you that the CS6 is sooooo much powerfull. You cant believe what kind of adjusts you can make!
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post #15 of 28 Old 01-25-2013, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedest View Post

...Just finished my course of Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. ...
What do you think of the linda.com method? I read where they have developed around 1500 courses!

Earlier, you said you "downloaded the full package (more than 2GB of video tutorials from them) for the premiere pro CS6 at lynda." I thought you had to be on line. How did you download an entire course?

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post #16 of 28 Old 01-25-2013, 05:55 PM - Thread Starter
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The course is very basic, but thats great for beginners like us. It covers everything you need to know to start editing. Now im really confortable with the software. At the moment I am learning more advanced stuff in youtube, in channels like this one http://www.youtube.com/user/creativecowofficial/featured. At this point I know all the basics. All I got to learn now is the tricks. Some people use a combination of basic tools to get amazing results, and that kind of stuff you only learn that way.

I just saw a video from a guy teaching an amazing thing. He explained how digital videos are poor compared to films. He showed that between the 1080 lines of the digital video you have gaps. There is a method in adobe that you can fill those gaps. The density that you get is UNBELIEVABLE. Its better than color correction! That kind of stuff you cant learn in a course, you gotta learn with people with more experience.

I downloaded the course via torrent. If you want more information about that, you should use PM, because I got it via unorthodox ways, and I dont mind to share it.
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post #17 of 28 Old 01-25-2013, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedest View Post

I just saw a video from a guy teaching an amazing thing. He explained how digital videos are poor compared to films. He showed that between the 1080 lines of the digital video you have gaps.
Whoa, gaps. Really? Who would imagine. He did not mention gaps between the pixels on TV sets or monitors, did he? Huge, monstrous gaps, which rip picture into unrecognizable color blobs. I bet it is because of these gaps there is nothing worthy of watching on TV.
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post #18 of 28 Old 01-26-2013, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Ungermann View Post

Whoa, gaps. Really? Who would imagine. He did not mention gaps between the pixels on TV sets or monitors, did he? Huge, monstrous gaps, which rip picture into unrecognizable color blobs. I bet it is because of these gaps there is nothing worthy of watching on TV.
The trouble with typing on a computer is that you can's see the smile behind the words!
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post #19 of 28 Old 01-26-2013, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Ungermann View Post

Whoa, gaps. Really? Who would imagine. He did not mention gaps between the pixels on TV sets or monitors, did he? Huge, monstrous gaps, which rip picture into unrecognizable color blobs. I bet it is because of these gaps there is nothing worthy of watching on TV.

LOL I love when people think that they are smarter than the others biggrin.gif

Ungermann, if you want to be sarcastic, make sure you know more than everyone. The internet is not the best place to think that you are the smartest. Its a good place to be humble and helpful though.

Before answering you, let me just thank you for your helpful post, my friend. Your words made this thread a better place, and we all appreciate it.

Now to the answer:

- Let me teach you how to interpret a text. The amazing thing is not the existing gaps between the lines. The amazing thing is that there is a way to correct that. Do you know how? If you know how, can you teach us, or is your tallent restricted to irony?

- The gaps between the pixels on TV's has nothing to do with this. Those gaps are a physical problem, and they can only be corrected with the development of a new technology. Although you have demostrated great ignorance on the subject, dont worry, I wont be sarcastic with you.

- The gaps between the lines I was talking about are a digital problem. They are created because of the physical limitations of the sensor. Those gaps make the image look less dense than film images.

Although im already teaching you, holder of great knowledge, that fact, Im just an apprentice in the editing world. Im perfecting my technique to learn that adjust. The image below shows an example. In the left you have the original image. In the right you have the corrected one. No color correction was done. No luma, saturation gama, gain or other adjusts were made.




That image would be the starting point for editing. You can color correct that, edit gama, gain, saturation, adjust levels etc after that.
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post #20 of 28 Old 01-26-2013, 07:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedest View Post

The gaps between the lines I was talking about are a digital problem. They are created because of the physical limitations of the sensor. Those gaps make the image look less dense than film images.
A commonly accepted opinion is that the best negative film has resolution of about 7K, and most positive prints you watch in a movie theater (or watched, because movie theaters are moving to digital, one less reason to go to the movies) is about 2K. Which means that any consumer camcorder produces image on par with what you can see in a movie theater, especially if you talk about someone like Mark, who does not edit his 1080p60 videos.

Sure, you can try restoring full color from 4:1:1 or 4:2:0 video, and extrapolate 8-bit to wider range, why not. I just could not help giggling when I read about gaps between the lines.

Although these particular images look exactly like levels/gamma adjustment. The left one, not the right one, is better for editing.

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post #21 of 28 Old 01-26-2013, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the great info shared in your post Ungermann. Forums are so nice when people are polite and share their knowledge. Photography and video editing are just one of my hobbies. Im not a specialist. Its not funny to mock people that knows less than you do. You can be sure that I'll never be ironic with you the day you ask in a medicine forum how to solve a health problem.

Maybe now youll be able to understand why I was so excited. You just throwed my images in an image editor and watched some graphics. You probably know that video editing is more than that. You said that the first image was better to edit. If we were talking about two rendered videos I would agree with you. The amazing thing in this method is that in the second video you have the same edit range as the first one. You have the same ammount of details and you have two layers to edit. Its hard to explain because I dont know the correct technical terms, but you have more space to work and you dont lose the info you had in the original video.
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post #22 of 28 Old 01-26-2013, 08:51 PM
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"In the left you have the original image. In the right you have the corrected one." [emphasis mine]

I'm sorry, I am enjoying your fooling around with my videos, a lot. But to call what you are doing "correcting" the originals is wrong. You have altered the contrast and color in effect (whatever controls you actually used), but the look is not more "correct". In fact you have crushed the shadows, and I see bleeding in the oversaturated reds in the "corrected" version.

We may like the look of the right image, but that does not make it more correct. The only basis for judging correctness - fidelity to the actual scene - is, well, the original scene. The original scene looks more like the original. Again, that does not mean that the altered version is worse or less pleasing or whatever; but the term "correct' is not appropriate. This does not mean that originals are always correct - the white balance may be off, they may have been underexposed or overexposed - correction in that case would be appropriate (with again the actual scene the criterion).

But that is not what is going on here - what is being done is creating looks, a very interesting endeavor. But that is not the same as correcting (I think you get the point).
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post #23 of 28 Old 01-26-2013, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
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You are totally right mark.

As I said, im just an amateur enjoying a hobbie, so forgive me if I use the wrong technical terms.

Let me correct what I said: everytime I say corrected all I want to say is altered. Most of the time I know that im making the video more artificial, but thats because sometimes real life is boring. So yes, the correct term would be altered, although I always correct the images before altering them. And most of the times camcorder videos need to be corrected, becuse they lack blacks, whites etc.

Just an observation. When I said corrected, I was talking about the attempt to correct the problem of the gaps between the lines.

One important thing to remember. You pointed out some problems on the second image. Let me remind everyone that the image is not corrected. Yes, I can see a lot of problems on it, but that would be the starting point to make the adjusts. I would never render a video with such looks. The point is, using this technique you have a nice place to start.
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post #24 of 28 Old 01-26-2013, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
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But that is not what is going on here - what is being done is creating looks, a very interesting endeavor. But that is not the same as correcting (I think you get the point).
In video they usually call it grading, in film they call it color timing. Although "correcting" is also used, because you want to make it as you feel should be correct, not necessarily to preserve what came from the camera.
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One important thing to remember. You pointed out some problems on the second image. Let me remind everyone that the image is not corrected. Yes, I can see a lot of problems on it, but that would be the starting point to make the adjusts.
Oh, yes it was corrected. Or graded, whatever term you prefer. Just look at the levels.
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post #25 of 28 Old 01-27-2013, 04:48 AM - Thread Starter
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LOL I think we are like the 3 stooges here, thiinking basically the same but arguing because of technical terms.

When I said it was not corrected I was using mark's definition. Yes, the video properties were altered, but there are lots of aspects that need to be corrected in it. Some of them need to be increased and some need to be lessend - thats why I said "not corrected" - simply because the only thing made in it was that "fill effect". I would do a lot of correcting before rendering it.
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post #26 of 28 Old 01-28-2013, 12:08 AM
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This is the video I made a year ago. I did not want to push contrast and saturation of a "dull" video. Instead, the segment starting from 2:10 was made to have oldish look with sort of sandy, yellowish color and rather "dull" contrast. I also have darkened the skies a bit with gradient mask in some shots.

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post #27 of 28 Old 01-31-2013, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Amazing video Ungerman! You created an awesome nostalgic feeling in that video! Do you have more to show? Can you please tell me the name of the first song on the video?
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post #28 of 28 Old 02-02-2013, 10:19 PM
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Thanks.

Songs:

1) Arty - Twilight Tonight
2) Boards of Canada - Dayvan Cowboy
3) Slowdive - Catch The Breeze (Sorry for crappy audio quality. You can find it in better quality on YT)

I have some other videos I am relatively happy with, but they don't have any elaborate color correcting. Usually I don't change color/tone much. Like Mark, usually I try to preserve what I have. Maybe enhance just a bit.
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