(Note: this is "before" and "after" footage)

When putting together the video workstation for the documentary I'm working on, I ran into a technical problem: the footage is shot on HDV, and for several reasons, it needs to be finished in full HD resolution. This wasn't so much of an issue, but for various reasons, I needed to use a codec that could output to a video monitor for accurate color correction. The problem is, the only codec that I can currently use with the video card I bought for this purpose (Blackmagic Intensity Pro) was a MJPEG codec that *adds* visible compression at the capture stage.

Now, ultimately I can output uncompressed HD from the project, but the footage being compressed two times before that (and then recompressed at least a third time for broadcast) left me with some serious concerns over the image quality.

Thankfully, I found out that the old Magic Bullet Editors has gotten a huge revamp recently, becoming Magic Bullet Looks. Unlike the clunky interface from before, Looks has a highly visual way of previewing effects before they are applied, as well as a great camera/post visual workflow that lets you duplicate exactly where in the virtual film order/process the effects are being applied (Subject, matte box, lens, camera, post). This allows me to treat the footage with excellent color correction, but also realistic-looking grain, lens filters and diffusion effects to help smooth out the compression artifacts (as well as some of the wrinkles in my interview subject's faces). I'm posting some of my initial experiments here so you can get an idea of the versatility that can be achieved using Looks.

Obviously, since I'm just starting to really play around with this, the effects are not finalized, the film damage effects are not right, and there is clearly way too much lens shifting going on. I'll be posting more subtle work as I get to know the program more.

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