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Review: DV Shade EasyLooks 2.5

May, 2009


DV Shade EasyLooks 2.5 $49.00

By Steve Douglas

Over the years, there have been a great many questions coming from editors regarding both color correction and, with growing frequency, what many companies are calling color looks, color shading or color grading. My own term is color management, but it really is all the same thing, a form of color correction to achieve a specific ambience created by that certain look and feel. This has been made easier recently by the creation of more and more color correction plug ins that go far beyond basic color correction and Final Cut Pro's 3-way color correction wheels. While some of these 'Looks' plug-ins are wonderful to have, not everyone can afford upwards of $800.00 to buy them.

When Noise Industries recently upgraded their many collections, one of their associated software companies did as well. EasyLooks 2.5 is an upgrade with some new features over the previous Easylook 2.1 and it is guaranteed not to break the bank or burn a hole in your pocket.

DV Shade EasyLooks 2.5 is a similar 'looks' color correction, creation tool similar to a few of the correction applications already on the market, but like all similar things, there are differences as well. EasyLooks 2.5 is compatible for Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express 4+, Motion 3.0, and Adobe After Effects CS3/4. For those who are still using a Power PC G4 or G5, DVShade EasyLooks might be your ticket for a color correction tool that goes far beyond the basics as it is compatible with those machines as well as the current Intel Processor Mac Pros. The only caveat is that you do need to have the Noise Industries FX Factory software already installed to enable your use of DV Shade. That's not a hard choice to make as Noise Industries makes some of the more outstanding filters, transitions and generators on the market today, and I wouldn't hesitate to suggest any or all of their plug in collections to anyone based upon their individual editing needs.

DVShades EasyLooks comes supplied with roughly 35 different presets creating significant color environments from the start. All of them are supplemented with a large number of parameters that you will be happy to have once you start tweaking the appearances to your desired needs.

The numerous set of default shading presets supplies you with plenty to get started with.
Once chosen, switching between preset looks was instantaneous and with no lag time as the new preset loaded.

Once you have tweaked any of the presets to your satisfaction, you can save (by clicking on the 'Save As' button in the controls tab), them for future use so time will not be lost as you try to recreate a specific look. Eventually, your list of saved presets will probably grow significantly so be sure to provide your saved preset with a name that will recall for you just what it was. Should you forget to do that, no big problem as I found that switching between any of the presets was immediate. While I did not have the opportunity to try this feature out, you can also share presets with a friend or another computer by emailing or copying to an external hard drive. Once the second computer receives the preset and is copied into their preset folder, it will show up under the 'Choose Preset' drop down menu.

On the left is the original frame of a goatfish and on the right with the 'Extreme Contrast' preset.
While the default worked well with this image, as if you would probably need for most presets,tweaking of any of them is paramount in getting just the appearance you want.

DVShades EasyLooks supplied parameters are simple to apply but, like any color correction work, they demand patience and time to get the appearance you are seeking. They are divided into 6 basic category effects: Basic 3 Way, Black Diffusion, White Diffusion, Gradient, Techni, Color Temperature and Vignette.

Any of the effects parameters may be applied or not, then enabling you to adjust them as needed.

The Black and White Diffusion parameters simulate many of the previous diffusion type filters I have seen in that they overlay a blur onto the original. There are many ways diffusion can be used in video clips, to create a dreamlike sequence, time travel, a transition to a past memory and plenty you can probably think of.

The original image shot in DVC Pro HD on the left and with the White Diffusion enabled on the right.

Below I used one of the supplied presets named 'Matrices' on this giraffe. Once the preset was applied I then adjusted the color lift, the opacity of the lows, mids and the mid gain.

The original frame.                      With Matrices applied.


Original on the left and that CSI Miami look made using DV Shades 'Golden Look' preset

All in all, DVShade's Easy Looks has improved from its previous version in several ways. It includes a new rendering pipeline for quicker renders resulting in improved quality. The 3-way color corrector is also new as is the new gradient overlays controls and vignette effect. Should you have the previous version, version 2.5 is a free upgrade. Version 2.5 does not step on the previous version so that when you open your DV Shades bin in the effects tab, you will see the previous version there as well. This is so that you will not lose those DV Shades Easylooks effects used on older projects. In the bin, it will say that the older version is obsolete but, again, it is there to prevent loss of your earlier work. My bottom line is that DV Shades Easylooks Version 2.5 worked flawlessly in Final Cut Pro, Motion and Adobe After Effects. If you already have Factory FX installed but do not own the DV Shade Easy Looks color correction package, nor another correction application, I would seriously suggest adding this to your arsenal of color correction tools.

Steve Douglas is a certified Apple Pro for Final Cut Pro 6 and underwater videographer. A winner of the 1999 Pacific Coast Underwater Film Competition, 2003 IVIE competition, 2004 Los Angeles Underwater Photographic competition, and the prestigious 2005 International Beneath the Sea Film Competition, where he also won the Stan Waterman Award for Excellence in Underwater Videography and 'Diver of the Year', Steve was a safety diver on the feature film "The Deep Blue Sea", contributed footage to the Seaworld Park's Atlantis production, and productions for National Geographic and the History channels. Steve is also feature writer for Asian Diver Magazine and is one of the founding organizers of the San Diego UnderSea Film Exhibition. He is available for both private and group seminars for Final Cut Pro and leads both underwater filming expeditions and African safaris with upcoming excursions to Micronesia for the Manta Fest in 9/09, the Red Sea and Egypt for Nov.2009, Truk Lagoon and Yap in Micronesia for July, 2010. Feel free to contact him if you are interested in joining Steve on any of these exciting trips.


copyright © Steve Douglas 2009

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