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Vegas for Color Correction


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#1 Jayson Crothers

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 09:09 PM

The producers of a film I shot have fallen woefully short of money and want to scrap the original plan of taking our Digi-beta tapes (originally shot on S16 and then transferred to Digi-Beta) and doing a tape to tape at a dedicated facility; instead, they've worked out "an amazing deal" to have someone do the color correction on a system called Vegas. What I was able to find online is that it sounds like a cheaper version of the Final Cut Pro color correction system.

So, does anyone have experience, thoughts, or opinions (I'm wistfully waiting for Phil to chime in)? How much trouble and headache am I in for?

Thanks.
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#2 Aleksandar Bracinac

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 05:24 PM

Jayson,

Vegas is very powerfull finishing software. It has very powerfull color correction tools. Don't worry because it's cheep.


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#3 Dan Goulder

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 06:08 PM

they've worked out "an amazing deal" to have someone do the color correction on a system called Vegas.

The only thing that will make the deal "amazing" is if the quality of the work is high. Give them a two-minute test on which to show their stuff. You don't want your hard work polluted just to save a few bucks.
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#4 David Sweetman

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Posted 28 May 2006 - 10:39 PM

Who the heck does color correction with Vegas?

By my observation, FCP is the best NLE for color correction. Avid's capabilites are competent and funtional but leave much to be desired. The Vegas interface itself would appear to inhibit color correction. You're right, it's kind of a second-rate program, i only ever used it for rendering mpg's out of Avid qt reference files. I won't say you can't do color correction with Vegas, but I would be wary of anyone who does do color correction with Vegas.
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#5 John Mastrogiacomo

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 12:14 AM

Who the heck does color correction with Vegas?

By my observation, FCP is the best NLE for color correction.


I would say discreets smoke is much better. :)
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#6 David Sweetman

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 01:01 AM

I would say discreets smoke is much better. :)


That's probably true...i've never used it though. but with discreet's background in fx and whatnot, i wouldn't be surprised.
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#7 Nathan Chaszeyka

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 02:36 AM

Who the heck does color correction with Vegas?

By my observation, FCP is the best NLE for color correction. Avid's capabilites are competent and funtional but leave much to be desired. The Vegas interface itself would appear to inhibit color correction. You're right, it's kind of a second-rate program, i only ever used it for rendering mpg's out of Avid qt reference files. I won't say you can't do color correction with Vegas, but I would be wary of anyone who does do color correction with Vegas.



By all reports that I read during the months I spent researching which NLE to buy, the only area that Vegas was noted for was it's color correction. Many people I spoke to and many articles and internet posts that I read stated that the color corrector in Vegas was BETTER than that of FCP.

Just my experience, your results may vary. With that being said, most of the built in color correction tools that are part of NLE's are inferior to dedicated programs.
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#8 Stephen Williams

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 03:15 AM

So, does anyone have experience, thoughts, or opinions (I'm wistfully waiting for Phil to chime in)? How much trouble and headache am I in for?

Thanks.


Hi,

IMO the Colorist is by far the most important factor.

Stephen
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#9 Aleksandar Bracinac

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 04:28 AM

Who the heck does color correction with Vegas?

By my observation, FCP is the best NLE for color correction. Avid's capabilites are competent and funtional but leave much to be desired. The Vegas interface itself would appear to inhibit color correction. You're right, it's kind of a second-rate program, i only ever used it for rendering mpg's out of Avid qt reference files. I won't say you can't do color correction with Vegas, but I would be wary of anyone who does do color correction with Vegas.



Hi David,

We moved to Vegas four years ago and I can say, 99% of all jobs are fiinshed in Vegas. It has very powerfull CC and masking tools. Waiting for a day to start some of the Genarts Sapphire or some other AFX compatibile plugins into the Vegas, and I will forgot Combustion immidiatelly. Also, I've shown the Vegas to the people of local film school. They are working in FCP and Avid. I just make a simple demonstration what can be done, and all (yes, all) of them took the Vegas to work for their projects. Colorist in local lab who's working on daVinci, FCP and Avid, seen the Vegas and he has very surprised, and also... took Vegas :)

And yes... Sony doesn't pay me for this :D :D :D
Just found some very good tool.

All the best,
Alex
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#10 timHealy

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 09:25 AM

Hi,

IMO the Colorist is by far the most important factor.

Stephen



Stephen is on the money!

Additionally, any NLE color correction tools would not be as technically good as using a post house for your color correction. While I think FCP is terrific for the price and creativity it offers filmmakers, using FCP, Premiere, Vegas or any thing like them for color correction will start to introduce artifacting especially at the DV level. (you didn't mention what level they would be digitizing at) Basically the more correction you add the more the computer will digitally "degrade" the image. It will be able to color correct, but you get what you pay for.

If you were shooting something that will go on the internet, It probably wouldn't matter. But if it was for something for theatrical projection, they probably should stay at the better quality.

Then there is always the arguement that as long as the story is compelling, viewers may never notice.

Best

Tim
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#11 santo

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 09:59 AM

... using FCP, Premiere, Vegas or any thing like them for color correction will start to introduce artifacting especially at the DV level.


I have added the bold to this quote, because it sums up all that is of concern here. DV transfer of film is a severely flawed workflow which has been the doom of many a filmmaker. It is truly consumer-level bullshit.

AVOID DV FOR FEATURE FILM TRANSFER AT ALL COSTS.

Otherwise, sure, editing programs will not match the megabucks colour correction tools of pro film transfer suites. But those who say no audience will notice are right. They will not. They will notice shitty-ass DV compression and faults -- no question about that. But if you've done a real HD transfer of digibeta or uncompressed harddrive, and KEEP IT UNCOMPRESSED in post rendering, you have no worries.

This is reality. Welcome to it, naive DV advocates. DV will soon die. R.I.P.
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#12 Matt Pacini

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 01:32 PM

I love Vegas.
It's a Sony product, it's been through many significant upgrades, therefore it's not some cheesy cheap program. It's very nice.
Sounds like most of the negative posts about it above, are from people who have not actually used the program.

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#13 timHealy

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 02:28 PM

I love Vegas.
It's a Sony product, it's been through many significant upgrades, therefore it's not some cheesy cheap program. It's very nice.
Sounds like most of the negative posts about it above, are from people who have not actually used the program.

MP


Sorry Matt. I have used all three, but I like Final Cut the most. Just personal preference. I think they are great products and gives many filmmakers, professional and aspiring alike, a lot of creativity and control.

I stand by my comments but am not as militant as Santo. Personally I do think DV has its place. But I would be heartbroken if I knew a film I shot in super 16 was color corrected with an off the shelf product. I know what a talented colorist can do at a post house. But a talented colorist with Vegas, Premiere or Final Cut would have limitations. Especially in mini DV. An off the shelf computer will add digital artifacts to any film at any format. The more effects or color correction one adds, the more digital degradation you'll get. I have seen too much of it with my own work.

It would be nice to know what kind of format his footage is being digitized to. DV would be awful but HD would be less painful.

It also may effect a DP resume. Alek Sakarov, one of the Sopranos DP's told me once he shot a job and the production company went cheap with the transfer and the client hated what it looked like and blamed Alek and he never worked for them again.

But hey this is all just my two cents.

Best

Tim
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#14 Josh Bass

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 03:51 PM

Hey guys, what are the DV artifacts, specifically, that I always hear mentioned? I work in DV exclusively right now, so I shoot DV, edit it, etc.

I use Vegas, and I do my color correction and whatnot in there. I can't say I've really noticed degradation of the image, at least, that wasn't immediate detectable via the video preview. I mean sure, if you bring up dark parts of an image, you get noise, and if you push anything too far, you get those ugly weird looks, but I'm curious as to what I'm supposed to see that I don't. I push my stuff pretty far sometimes, in attempt to get one of the "modern" looks (desaturated, tinted some weird color, high contrast, etc), and I usually get good results if I don't go to far.

so do you guys just mean the issues I've mentioned above (grain, color breakup if you alter it too much), or what? Just curious.

I've never seen anything in the final render that didn't show up as you preview it (I mean using an external monitor).

P.S. I don't know jack about film, but yeah, it seems very odd that you would wanna take something like S16 and use something like Vegas to play with it (or transfer it to miniDV for that matter). Maybe 8mm/super8, but 16 deserves better, doesn't it?

Edited by Josh Bass, 30 May 2006 - 03:53 PM.

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#15 Michael Nash

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 04:40 PM

I've only used FCP's color correction once, and it seemed to me the only way you could adjust the level of shadow detail was to raise the overall black level (v4.5). Is this true?

Any color corrector that doesn't let you change black gamma or highlight gamma independent of the master black and white levels seems of pretty limited use to me...

But like I said, I only did a rough correction once on someone else's system. I don't knnow FCP that well.
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#16 timHealy

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 04:01 PM

Hey guys, what are the DV artifacts, specifically, that I always hear mentioned?


Hey Josh,

I am not the expert but I would define artifacts as the the digital version of noise. They mostly result from compressing technologies where they are trying to reduce or keep file size small. They result from a loss of information in an area of an image or in laymens terms there is a lack of detail.

So software or technologies in reducing information replaces parts of an image with what they think the area should look like. So it mostly looks like blocky areas that may be sharp or a bit blurry.

In an extreme example have you ever compressed one of your movies so much that it has lost detail? Or have you played with Photoshops "save for web" feature? There you can play with file sizes and see immediate results.

With film and movies, hardware compression usually works better than software compression. So when a studio releases a movie on a DVD, it will look better than the DVD of the same movie made by Apple's Studio Pro which uses software compression.

Basically when one uses Final Cut, Premiere, or Vegas, you are using software to create your images. When you are doing straight cuts, you are copying 1's and zeros. But when you start adding color correction and effects whether they are fades, dissolves, warming the image, cooling the image, crushing blacks, raising whites, reframing a little bit, adding titles, etc etc, the computer processes and renders the image adding little software blips and artifacts. You'll have varying degrees of artifacts depending on what level your working. For most beginning filmmakers these programs really do the job well and are certainly light years ahead of what was available ten years ago.

But when someone asks what is better for transferring S16, I am absolutely going to say transferring at a post house with the latest million dollar set up. Not the $500 software off the shelf.

Best

Tim

PS if my definition of artifacts is lacking I hope someone like Phil would provide their own.
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#17 Josh Bass

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 05:12 PM

Well, yeah, the web versions of my movies don't look that great, but that's 'cause I try to keep 'em around 15 MB, no matter the length.

But in Vegas, I've never really noticed much, certainly no blurring or softening. There was one project where I had those issues (some blockiness of the image), but I don't know why, to this day. Everything else I've done, looks fine. Weird. Maybe it's just 'cause it's a prosumer camcorder, like you said.
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#18 Matt Pacini

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 05:34 PM

I don't know.
I would think the cause of the artifacts is from the shortcomings of the DV format, not these particular "off the shelf" programs. GIGO (garbage in, garbage out)
I have friends who do high-end visual FX or top feature films, and they use Adobe After FX, which is certainly "off the shelf" software, and if there were any adding of artifacts or degrading the image, they'd be out of work.


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#19 Tim Tyler

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 06:57 PM

Vegas is the only NLE I've cut anything with in the last five years, and I really like it. I'm not a pro editor by any means, but the software interface and I get along well together.

Vegas has primary and secondary color correction tools and they work well in my experience.

But, to do color correction properly, you need a talented colorist, a great CRT monitor, and you shouldn't be working in DV.

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#20 Tenolian Bell

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 09:43 PM

I've only used FCP's color correction once, and it seemed to me the only way you could adjust the level of shadow detail was to raise the overall black level (v4.5). Is this true?


Final Cut Pro 5 has six sections to its color corrector.

A broadcast safe corrector that you use with waveform and vectorscope.

A two way color corrector that deals with over all color balance and hue, as well as general white, mid, black level.

A three way color corrector that controls color and hue between white, mid, and black levels.

A Highlight Color Desaturation filter. Which has slides and numerical indicators.

A Low Level Color Desaturation filter.

A RGB Balance for control over highlights, mids, and blacks with in each color channel.

There is no slider labeled gamma in any of these color correction tools. I'm not totally sure how you are defining gamma. As far as I know its the over picture contrast. It seems like a great deal of control if you lift the black level without effecting the midtones or highlight levels. You can effect the color of white, mid, and black separately. As well as effect the white, mid,and black of each separate color.

I just make a simple demonstration what can be done, and all (yes, all) of them took the Vegas to work for their projects. Colorist in local lab who's working on daVinci, FCP and Avid, seen the Vegas and he has very surprised, and also... took Vegas


Are you saying they totally switched from FCP to Vegas?

I'm asking because that would require totally switching from the Macintosh platform to Windows. A person would have to give up investment in their current Macintosh hardware and software to reinvest in all new PC hardware and software. That's a lot to go through to switch to Vegas.

Film schools generally spend a lot of time, money, and effort setting up their editing workflow, and what they decide is what they are stuck with, film schools usually don't have money to make a major switch like that.
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