Archive for August 12th, 2007

Color Correction with Sony Vegas

Almost 1/3 of the pictures we snap usually need color correction. 99% of the users never do color correction, but when you shoot something like this, maybe you want to invest 3 minutes to correct it. Photoshop and Gimp have good color correction tools, but I am usually using Vegas these days for my video projects (that sometimes also need color correction). There are many ways to do color correction with Sony Vegas, but this is how I do it — and it seems to work for me.

Load the media you want to color-correct on the timeline and the apply the “Color Corrector” filter on your picture/video. There is a color-picker icon on the bottom-left of the “High” color wheel. Click it and then using the mouse pointer-turned-picker click on the whitest point in your picture that is well-lit. Then, use the picker on the bottom left of the “Mid” color wheel and pick a white point in your picture that might be in the shade and not well-lit (e.g. the white part of people’s eyes, or the fold of a white t-shirt). Then, click on the bottom left of the “Low” color wheel and either find the most dark “white” point in your picture (e.g. a person with a white t-shirt that’s in the background in a dark shade), or click on an actual dark point in your picture. You will have to play around with that last picker, I found that in some situations picking dark white points works best, while for others it works best to pick actual dark/black shadowy elements.

Here’s my before and after of a bunch of very old copyright-free images (1, 2, 3) that were shot on film and have suffered with the passage of time. However, remember that while old film pictures can be salvaged this way, modern digital pictures/video also require color balancing sometimes. I had some great results color balancing this picture with Vegas, but I can’t upload it as it’s a copyrighted image.

Update: Most of HappySlip’s videos are not white balanced.

Skai channel and copyright violation?

As I am writing this as I am watching the final of the Euro-basket of men under 18 between Greece and Serbia. I was very happy to see a live feed of the Greek TV Skai channel that broadcasted the final. But 10 minutes later, I thought: I wonder what the Spanish people who sold the broadcasting rights to Skai channel would think if they knew that Skai shows their broadcasting over the internet without IP-locking. I am pretty sure that they are unaware of Skai’s IP-unlocked live TV feed over the net. As much as I hate to say it, simply because I am much enjoying watching it as I am a Greek who lives abroad and has no other way of watching the final, this would be a copyright violation IMHO.

HD-DVD: It’s a shame

I spent 3 hours searching the net for a free way to burn my camera’s HDV footage in a HD .mpeg2 non-transport format on a regular DVD using UDF 2.5 and HD-DVD’s file structure, and then playback that on an HD-DVD. You see, HD-DVD players recognize plain DVD disks with HD content burned on them, as long as these DVD disks were burned using the right HD-DVD file system/format. I have an HD-DVD player but not a burner, so using plain DVD media to burn HD files it would have been a lifesaver (plain DVD media disks can hold up to 35 minutes of HD).

There are three ways to do it currently, all commercial options, and all non-supported hacks:
1. Use DVD Studio Pro on the Mac, via Final Cut Studio ($1200) – Tutorial
2. Use Ulead + Nero ($130) – Tutorial
3. Use Pinnacle Studio 11 ($100) – Tutorial 1 and Tutorial 2

The easiest/cheapest way is the third one, but I am sold on Vegas and I can’t justify $100 for a DVD burning software that I otherwise don’t need. I had hopes that the Linux geeks would be able to hack something together by now, as the “standard profile” HD-DVD file structure is just an evolution of the DVD one and so it’s *easy* to create compared to Blu-Ray, but it seems that no one scratched that itch yet to make it happen. Eventually it will happen, but again, I am trying to get functionality out of my tools that while will be commodities in 2-3 years from now, they are not yet. I think that’s why I am getting so pissed off with software: I know what potentially *can* be done with it, but I want it done NOW.

UPDATE: It is now possible. Tutorials here and here for both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD filesystems on plain DVD discs.