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Tools

Slugline. Simple, elegant screenwriting.

Red Giant Color Suite, with Magic Bullet Looks 2.5 and Colorista II

Needables
  • Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic
  • TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM
  • The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    by Stu Maschwitz
Sunday
Jun042006

Ruby Tuesday Ad Online

The commercial I directed for Ruby Tuesday, the one that features four tiny Mini Coopers, is finally online:

The Great Race (direct from rubytuesday.com)

Would you beleive that the single largest source of traffic to this blog is this thread on motoringfile.com, a Mini Cooper news and info site? I'm sure more than one Mini fan has scratched his head at some of the articles here, but rest assured you have found the home of one of your own—the 2005 Cooper S used for the interior shots in the commercial belongs to my wife, and yes, she occasionally lets me drive it!

For those who missed it, here's the article about the automatic animation system I rigged up in After Effects to enable rapid tweaking of my animatic for the spot, and here's the article on fxguide where you can see some frame grabs.

Sunday
Jun042006

Know when to log ’em, know when to lin ’em

Bluepixel posted this comment today (quoted here in its entirety):

Hi Stu!

Having used different colorspace workflows, and after reading your stories on the use of eLin on your blog, I was wondering if you could ellaborate a bit more on the topic “comping in real linear space makes tools behave in a more natural way, except for some tools”.

Let me explain my point. I do see the benefits within image processing tools that require “averaging” pixels, where the maths on a linear space behave more naturally than on a gamma=corrected space. But on my experience, color correction tools have a weird behaviour on linear images. Actually, I’ve found that only “mult” or brightness color corrections do behave more naturally on linear than they do on gamma-corrected space.

On the other hand, if you try to apply any correction involving changing the curve ono the blacks side, like a contrast, or even a gamma, the results are better when working on a gamma-corrected space. Same applies to pulling a key from a green/blue screen.

I have often found myself using different colorspaces depending on my needs, which is safe if you know what you’re doing at each stage, but I was wondering if that’s what you meant when you say that linear feels more organic to the use of compositing tools with some exceptions… are you referring to any of the issues I described above? It would be great to have some in-depth talk about that.

Thanks for your attention and for the great resource your blog is…

Cheers,

blue.

Blue, you said it perfectly. Your assessment of which color operations work well under which circumstances is exactly in sync with my opinions.

Simple RGB channel gain color correction works better in lin than in vid or log. So does image resizing, motion blur, focus blur, layering, adding, multiplying, simulating fog, simulating light, simulating a double exposure. Text rendering looks better in lin, as does rasterizing vector art. 3D lights and shading work better and more realistically in lin. All of these operations are cases of using simple math to simulate how light interacts in the real world. These are linear, physical events we’re simulating.

But some image processing falls outside of this category. Some image processing is perceptual, and wants to be performed in perceptually linear, AKA gamma-corrected space (vid). Examples include inverting an image, color corrections that want to have visually equivalent effects at any brightness level (such as crushing the blacks of an image). Some image sharpening wants to be perceptual (sharpening before printing maybe?) whereas some wants to be linear light (for example, canceling the effects of a slight defocus).

Some operations want to be in vid or log rather than lin because they are simulating events that have a native color space. Film has a logarithmic response to light, so adding grain, or simulating a cross-dissolve, or creating a fade to black all may want to be done in log, or at least vid.

When you perform a telecine-style color correction you are essentially creating a new “magic film stock” with uniquely non-linear responses to light. It makes perfect sense that you’d do this in a non-linear color space. Note that colorists use the same exact controls to color correct vid material as log, reinforcing the similarities between these color spaces.

So yes, I agree, there is no one color space that works perfectly for all situations. The key to effective image manipulation is to use the correct color space for the particular thing you’re doing, and that might mean bouncing back and forth between lin, log and vid within one project, regardless of where your source material came from or what format you’re outputting to.

Monday
May222006

HDR Tutorial on the Cow

There's a cool new tutorial on creativecow.net about 32bpc comping in AE7. Check it out, as it quickly and effectively demonstrates the fundamental idea behind HDR and a couple of things is does really well.

I just have a couple of technical notes on Andrew's tutorial. Andrew shows how to extract an HDR from a camera raw file, and he does this by taking Exposure, Brightness, and Contrast down to their lowest settings. This is fine for Exposure and Brightness, but you want to set Contrast to zero, along with Shadows, as we discussed here.

The second note is that Andrew keeps reaching for the Gaussian Blur effect, but we know better, right?

Anyway, it's still a great intro to float, and it's cool to see others taking up the evangelism cause.

Monday
May152006

Stu Write Book Good

The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap

So yeah, I'm writing a book. Hey, pre-order it now, because we expect to sell, like, literally several of them.

It's a book about using digital video and visual effects to maximize production value in low-budget films, with a particular slant to kinetic cinema, AKA action films. I'll cover a bunch of effects stuff both practical and digital, as well as techniques for maximizing production quality using only off-the-shelf tools. A DVD insert will contain a bunch of sample footage and After Effects 7.0 projects.

I'm still working on this thing, so if you have suggestions or reviews of other books on this subject (a few are found to the right), please post them here!