Home > Avid > Creating Simple Lighting Effects in Avid

Creating Simple Lighting Effects in Avid

Any of us in the video editing world have been faced with, at one time or another, bland footage. The fix it in post mentality has become so prevalent, many new cameramen don’t even bother to light a subject beyond being able to see them. I myself worked on one series where the host’s opening monologue was rarely even kit to that point.

That’s where we editors have to work our magic, creating lights, vignettes an depth of field where there is none. While this article is specifically about Avid Media Composer, I hope that it can help many people in the post production world.

My favorite tool for to achieve a look in post is Magic Bullet’s Looks Suite. It’s a simple and affordable program that allows you to add all sorts of in camera style effects to your shots. However, not everyone has access to the Looks Suite. For those who don’t:

AniMatte was, for a very long time, my go to tool for vignettes. It’s still simple to use and quite powerful. Apply the effect, draw a circle and feather to taste. Voilà! Instant vignette. If you add the same clip on a layer below and play with the brightness then all of a sudden you have a very nice, simple spotlight effect. The problem is, AniMatte can be quite finicky to work with depending on it’s layers.

This is why I made the move to using the Paint effect more for that now. You have to think a little differently, but by dropping a solid color over your footage, then using the circle tool to erase that, you can achieve the same vignette effect. Paint also offers more control based on being able to affect the image in regards to the shape that is currently selected.

Finally, probably the simplest way to achieve an easy lighting effect is to use the Spot Color Effect. This affect allows you to change the brightness/contrast and hue/saturation of a selected area on your image. Combined with tracking and feathering this is a great little tool for fixing up shots.

As always, the best results will normally come when you combine these effects to create something that suits your project specifically.

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