Archive for June 7th, 2011

The need for a 3D lighting plugin

On my color grading adventures on Sony Vegas I often felt limited by the lack of a re-lighting plugin. Of course, the rule of thumb is that we should always have near-perfect lighting while we’re shooting, but in real life this is almost not possible, especially for most of us DIY enthusiasts who have no major clue about lighting, or we’re using cheap $100 equipment.

I would love to have a plugin that let’s you add virtual lights on your scene, in the 3D space (like Vegas’ 3D track support). We should be able to adjust the number of lights, their strength, the focus, the distance, and with the help of masking, even adding lights behind a subject. Similarly to lights, we should be able to add shadows, to darken parts of the screen.

Of course I don’t expect this to be as good as real lighting, but I’m willing to use it if needed. Right now I’m Vegas’ “soft spotlight” method via the Bump Map plugin, which is not ideal, but some of my footage required it.

Now that the rumor has it that Red Giant Software won’t be supporting Magic Bullet for Vegas anymore, another plugin I’d like to see in Vegas is a AAV ColorLab clone. Unfortunately this freeware plugin is too buggy and not developed anymore, so in order to easier emulate lots of movie looks, Sony themselves must recreate it. That plugin allows you to change saturation, hue and lightness on specific colors only (without the pain in the ass UI that’s called “Secondary Color Corrector”). One added feature I’d like to see in it is the shrinking of the range of these colors. For example, anything that’s around the blue/cyan values should be able to crash towards the ultimate blue (kind of like removing the number of blueish colors and replacing them with the same true blue). This can help to easily recreate old cameras. It’s a stylistic thing, as color grading really is.