Archive for November 4th, 2009

Magic Bullet Mojo for Sony Vegas

Red Giant Software released yesterday a Vegas version of their brand new product, Magic Bullet Mojo. Mojo is a simpler version of Magic Bullet that only has one goal: to make your footage look like the Hollywood movies of the last few years: teal-looking, but by preserving the skin color (which can be a tricky thing to achieve without this plugin). I tried the demo, and it indeed does what it promises. The algorithm they use to auto-figure-out where the human face is in the frame, and preserve that color, works great. You can use the plugin’s UI to bleach or warm your video, punch it, change the color tint from green to teal to blue, select the way the algorithm finds the face in the frame, and finally, how much you want these settings blended with the original, ungraded look.

Talent is Dave Tsui, from the Bay Area band HIJK

The only problem I encountered is that the “mojo” slider punches up contrast and/or gamma (even with “bleach”/”punch” all the way down). I would prefer to contrast/gamma my video separately if required, with the use of another plugin, and only use Mojo for its teal/skin abilities. Finally, on Vegas, we are used to double-click the UI’s slider buttons to get them to jump back to their default values, but this doesn’t happen with the Mojo UI.

Update: One more example. Except the unwanted dark gamma change that I can’t get rid of with Mojo, the rest of the tint is as it’s supposed to be. I know that to some of you it looks weird and that the original picture looks more natural, but the point of Hollywood movies — that Mojo emulates — is to not be natural.

“V” misses the mark

We watched the remake of “V” tonight on ABC. I’ve only watched bits and pieces from the original TV series, but this is besides the point, since this is supposed to be a full reboot of the show.

So basically, “V” is mediocre at best.

The problem is that the episode felt rushed and disconnected. It felt like a 2 hour pilot, cut into 1 hour. Things just go too fast and we don’t have the time to really see the reactions of the world on this new major situation.

Adding to that is the unbelievable behavior of people towards the aliens. When the original message off of the spaceship is done, everyone claps their hands and welcomes the new world order. If that was a real life scenario, people would just panic and loot everything in front of them. No one in their right mind would believe that message of peace. Or when that anti-V terrorist finds out that his old friend is actually alien he seems to accept it and go on by his business instead of showing even a small shred of disapproval.

And, oh, did I say “aliens”? Sorry about that. It’s “Vs” (pronounced vees), or “Visitors”. No one is calling them what they really are, aliens that is. Apparently ABC had a problem making it an alien show, of fear of alienating housewives (get it?).

Finally, there was very little mystery left in the series after the first 45 minutes. Two guys already getting revealed as aliens instead of one of them, or none. The show feels like it’s a cold-told tale of things happening to a few people we care nothing about rather than adding mystery, and making it a high-impact plot to the whole of the planet (we need to SEE it rather than just brush it off like nothing happened and accept the new world order out of thin air). Where is the UN and US government and military of the world in all this? UN got referenced but we see nothing that went on in that building.

Overall, just like “Flash Forward”, and “Heroes” before that, “V” is a good idea with a bad implementation. I don’t understand how some people can screw up a production so much. I wonder if the only talented TV writers left in the world are Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. At least these two guys can only screw up romantic plots, but when it comes to action/mystery/thrill, they know their shit.

Update: New York Times’ review got it right too.