When it rains, it usually drizzles around here in the East Bay or Northern California. Today, however, was an exception. It poured and created bubbles on the surface. I could not let such wonderful texture go to waste. My wife was preparing a special Korean “삼겹살”, a layered wrap based around grilled pork belly. Yum!
I don’t usually do product reviews, but I felt compelled to show others how bad the picture quality can be with a cheap filter. DO NOT buy Polaroid variable Range ND filter! It degrades the video and pictures greatly! I just didn’t know how much until I saw the ‘before and after’ picture of a simple test.
This one minute skydiving short was shot last year with GoPro HD and Sony CX100, before I upgraded to Canon T2i. I was just starting to learn how to use FCP and color grading. I thought it was pretty good at the time, but now I can see how much better I could have done it.
I decided to make a leap from Canon T2i to Panasonic GH2, mainly due to much higher video quality, but I don’t have the camera yet! Now I just need to sell some stuff to afford it.
I have been struggling with color grading ever since I started, especially for brightly sunlit shots with high dynamic range. I tried Apple Color, Magic Bullet Looks and Colorista II without getting the results I want. I just wanted my t2i videos to look like slide film. I think I am getting closer. I find Apple Color to be the best for my needs, but I hate the export/import function, slowing down the workflow. I personally find that combining Magic Bullet Looks and Colorista II tend to give me the results I am looking for without leaving FCP, after controlling the levels a bit.
Also, I am getting sharper results shooting in ‘super flat’ mode then grading afterwards. I use ‘unsharpen’ to snazz up the footage a bit.
To create frames between four still shots for the "Bullet Time" project, I used a morphing software, manually placing points and curves on each picture, matching the target points as much as possible. The result was pretty accurate, but it took many hours of tweaking. Since then, I was experimenting with Twixtor plugin to see if it could create identical results. Surprisingly it did a better job than what I expected, but not quite as good as manual tweaking. While I was at it, I thought I try a little experiment on skydiving footage that was shot at 60 FPS with Canon T2i.
I like the process and result of Apple Color, but the constant export/import from/to FCP interrupts smooth workflow. Colorista II plugin from Red Giant Magic Bullet seems to be pretty good. It does not, however, have nice color graph/chart like Apple Color does. The footage below was taken with Magic Lantern 1.09 firmware installed; ISO 160, 1/50th shuttle, 1.8 f-stop with Canon 50mm prime.
Also, Magic Lantern hack was installed. The installation instruction can be found at http://vimeo.com/18035870
Ever since I saw a Time Slice effect at SIGRAPH in the 90’s, I’ve been obsessed to try it myself. All I needed was around 100 SLR cameras, which was financially not feasible. Fast forward 20 years later, where there is no film developing costs and wonderful morphing software that can simulate frames between shots pretty accurately. I finally got my hands dirty yesterday. Morphing is not perfect. It’s very difficult to simulate layers. Here’s the result. Out of 4 images 68 ‘tween’ shots were replicated via morphing software and then time streched 2X with After Effects. Due to having different lenses that did not match exactly, the pictures needed to be tweaked almost perfectly with Photoshop to prevent a “rubberband” effect within a morphing program.