Archive for December 1st, 2007

Canon ZR800

So I went around my home today and shot some flowers with the ZR800 (update: review posted). I wanted to showcase that today’s cheap cameras are good enough for the general population and people should not flock into HD without even thinking if they actually need it.

The footage was color graded (of course), while it was shot in “neutral” color mode. You see, these consumer cameras (like most TV sets) are over-saturated by default, because that’s how they attract customers who don’t have a clue about video (“wow, ooh, look at the color of this TV honey, we should get it for Christmas”). Finally, some of the shots are not steady as I couldn’t fully use my tripod with that specific camera (I can’t remove the pin hole that gets in the way).

The full review of the camera will be published in two weeks time on Tuxtops. For now, check below the kind of quality achieved with this $200 camera. Click here to view the video in higher, 480p, resolution, or to download the original .mp4 file.

Of course, not everything was rosy with the ZR800. Here’s a shot below that looks absolutely dreadful. Yes, that’s how the ZR800 shot that whole scene. It seems to not like it when it’s cloudy and you are shooting towards the water.

Artistic color grading

Some more color grading, but of the artistic kind.

Before:

After:

Here’s how this was achieved, using only Vegas’ built-in plugins. Place the same picture twice in the timeline, once on the top video track and once on the video track below it. Change the composite mode on the top video track to “Overlay”. On the top video track apply these plugins, in that order. This effect is better used on pictures with simple backgrounds and few colors.

To get the following “sketching” look, do the same thing as above, but change the template of the “Gaussian blur” plugin to “Light Blur”, and add the “Color Corrector” plugin on the bottom video track: set Saturation to 1.500 and Gamma to 0.500. Everything else is the same as above.

Finally, the “ghost haunting” look. To get this look, do the same as in the first paragraph above, but change the Curves plugin to look like this instead.

Before:

After:

Because each scene has different lighting you might need to modify the Curves accordingly to achieve a uniformed look.