A Bit of Time Spent Tweaking Can Yield Wonders

With a little bit of extra work, what starts out life as a pretty ordinary video can be turned into something a little special.

The average person with a GoPro for example, probably doesn’t have too much understanding regarding lighting, white balance, aperture, frame rate and so on, and therefore video shot can turn out a little insipid, with too many zooms, incorrect framing, lacking in saturation and brightness/contrast and more.

But we all have bad days and need to correct video that didn’t come out as we intended, even if all you wanted was a record of a family get together.

This footage was shot around 10 metres from shore in 1.5 metres of water at Hamelin Bay in the south west of Western Australia. A GoPro Hero 4 was used to get the original shots, but about 45 min of work added some spice to it and it has been transformed.

Brightness and Contrast were tweaked up a little, as was the centre of contrast position. Used here were the Boris Continuum Complete plugins for Vegas Pro 15. Next, the ProDAD Mercalli plugin was used to stabilise the footage (it was of course handheld, no selfie sticks allowed here) and smooth out any rolling shutter and other anomalies caused by the CMOS sensor used in these cameras. As the horizon was not an issue, there was no need to get that straightened.

Pan and crop was brought into play to perform some emphasis and close up shots on the striped fish, and key framing used to track the fish and keep it in frame.

Finally, the Sonicfire Smartsound plugin for Vegas was used to add a suitable soundtrack and the whole thing rendered out using the Vegas option to “Share Online” where presets are available for Vimeo, YouTube and Facebook (We prefer Vimeo over YouTube by the way). The uploading is also performed automatically – you do need an account on whichever service you use of course!

You could also pull a still off to use as a teaser to a clip on YouTube or Vimeo, for use in Twitter, Instagram etc..

Moira still.jpg

Whilst Boris,  Mercalli and Smartound are specialist applications, and have an appropriate price tag (although Mercalli’s little brother, ProDrenalin is available for as low as USD$29 and everyone with an action cam or drone should have at least this version) everything I have done here can be done in inexpensive packages such as Corel Videostudio, Pinnacle Studio , Vegas Movie Studio or iMovie. At a pinch, even Windows Movie Maker will have a crack at it most of these things. These are all basic tweaks that have a greater (or lesser) amount of control depending upon your editor.

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