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New performance video, no grading. (was: what do I do to rescue this??)
  • I did a video of our band recently (I was playing so I had 2 camera people plus a fixed GH2 for safety). The lighting was being done by the son of one of the band members and he insisted on having quite high level saturated light on us (occasionally it would go to white on one soloist, and that looked fine, as the saturated background colours weren't so bad in that context). He was using LED lights and where we didn't have any white (or white-ish) lights, the cameras really struggled. I should have spotted this problem as we'd been using the lighting for a while but obviously he went to special lengths for this gig, and we were using a lot of new lights for the first time that night. Now I don't think I can rescue the footage - and by "rescue" I mean damage-limitation, as in, make it at least a bit watchable and less eye-raping. Everything I try to at least partially get rid of the lurid colours creates noise or some other weird effect.

    Here's a screen grab from one of the moving cams (not a GH2 but I get the same prob with all of them) - look particularly at the person in the background. When I get rid of the blue you get these horrible weird bright highlights which make the whole thing look like two overlapping, slightly shifted pictures, so simple desaturation isn't the answer.
    1920 x 1080 - 325K
  • 11 Replies sorted by
  • I personally don't think it looks that bad, but that's just me. I also have a hard time looking at blue illumination, it tends to look fuzzy to me.

    LEDs are strange beasts in that they have very peaky spectrums, which means that a blue LED is mostly a very narrow blue peak and not much else. This excites the blue sites in the RGB CMOS sensor but not much else so it's hard to get any other color information to come out when doing correction in post. This is why you have a tough time shifting the blue, because there just isn't any other color information that was encoded.

    Blue filters over tungsten still let a lot of other spectra through and don't have such sharp peaks, which is why they are a bit easier to work with in post.

    I don't really have anything to suggest, maybe a little de-saturation and then some de-sharpening?
  • I know this crossed your mind but.....

    Just pull the color out in post and go long as you crop it and do a nice contrast/curve you can say it was an "Asthetic Choice"... Selling Black and White is easy that way...
  • Throw some black and white in there where it looks really bad.

    edit - no surrender beat me to it
  • Yeah, echoing what @FGCU said... if the show was blue, let the video be blue. Unless they envisioned you completely reinventing this visually, in which case B&W is probably your only option. If you really want, you can desaturate on one layer and then tint it with a color corrector on another to give some variety to the shots, but it'll remain basically monochromatic.
  • Hi all, thank you!

    It's my own band so in a way it's not like a paying client - all the same though, the purpose is to show what we sound / look like, so it would be nice to be able to use it. The band is set on having it on DVD to hand out to various people for club bookings, so in a way that might cover some of the issues (ie, lower def generally - allowing me to zoom in / hiding a few sins!).

    @Oedipax, in the end I did something a bit like this to the finished footage - desaturated the worst ones, and then added a layer of blue tint to bring it back to a sort of monochromatic blue. It sort of works, but the shots where I'm playing the harp at around 0.46 look particularly bad and I only have the two cameras (the GH2 safety footage I thought I had, ran out just before this item). However, because of the repetitive chords I might be able to fiddle in a bit of unused footage from somewhere else, or even just get rid of the odd section. It was a sort of improvisation anyway.

    If you want to see the current state of play it it's here:

    Cheers all, and thank you for the thoughts. As the band seem to like the sound, which was mixed from a multitrack feed I took at the same time, I'll have a further play with the footage over the next few days.
  • I see it appears done but one more thing to try. It occurred to me there may be another way. Try Cineform firstlight. Transcode to Cineform and play with the white balance setting. You may be surprised at how good it is to fix colour shifts especially if this is high bit rate stuff. Alternatively try some white balance plugin of your choice. I think Newblue FX have one. Works a treat.......Color Fixer Plus
  • @HenryO I don't have Cineform (I use Vegas 10) but have played around with different curves in Vegas. For the shots where you have whitish light on the soloists I've tried playing with indiv RGB curves to adjust the background colour without affecting the foreground particularly - see the two examples below, which is original and with some adjustment to the B and R curves, which while less colourful is also less harsh to look at over an extended period. That probably might benefit from more work.

    However, for the essentially monochromatic scenes (most of the rest of it) I think all I can do is affect the level because it's essentially one colour and I realise I'm trying to do something essentially impossible as I can't create colours out of nothing - I can change them or take them up / down a bit in level. Monochroming them doesn't seem to help that much as they just look bad, but without any colour! And curves make them go noisy. Given there wasn't much light, the cameras were doing pretty well, but blue isn't an easy colour to work with.

    For those weird shots like the one in my OP I can possibly do something with the "whitish" areas on those shots in amongst the general blue wash, and I'll look into the ideas you suggested. Given it's an imperfect live performance and I'm working with what I've got, there's probably a limit to what it's worth doing to this, but if I can make it more watchable as a whole then that's a plus. Thanks for those suggestions!
    1920 x 1080 - 280K
    less blue.jpg
    1920 x 1080 - 286K
  • I think it's highly enjoyable to watch (great camerawork!) and the blue doesn't disturb at all.
    But tell your guitar player to invest in a Taylor system, cause i've heard just too many bad piezos in my lifetime.
  • I took your still and placed it in Vegas and using colour fixer this is what I got with one click. Bear in mind that this is on your compressed still image. With tweaking I am sure you can rescue your footage.

    edit - added another one with a more natural look. YMMV
    1920 x 1080 - 245K
    Fixed (2).jpg
    1920 x 1080 - 220K
  • Hi all,

    Thanks for the ideas about rescuing the difficult lighting situation. I'm going to work on the above one further.

    Because I needed to get a few done, and because you seemed to enjoy the last one (at least that's what someone said!) here's the latest video. The lighting's a bit better in this and it is shot on GH2 (at 24p, 44mbps) and Canon XHA1 camcorders (50i, CBR 25mbps), rendered in 25p. GH2 footage seems fine really - it was the fixed camera.

    Looking at some of the comments about just going with the colour that was on stage, in this video there is NO colour correction or exposure correction at all (as the lighting is so variable I thought, fuck it!!) and to be honest I think it looks fine. It's only for a band demo anyway. Multitrack audio from 3 x 8ch focusrite soundcards, via firewire into pc, then edited in Adobe Audition. Video edited in Vegas 10. HD file is rendered at 8mbps max (otherwise it takes a week to upload).

    Anyway, all shot and performed live, so hope you like - if you like Celtic music of course. Sounds fun on headphones!