- February 23, 2021 at 6:17 pm
I could’ve sworn I’d achieved certainty on this in the past, but I find myself questioning my understanding of the absolute proper way to handle video levels in Vegas. I’m hoping you can follow what I say I do, and tell me if it goes off the rails somewhere in a way that’ll lead to poor results.
As I understand it, anything rendered out of Vegas should have the video content within the 16-235 ‘studio’ levels range. Levels below 16 or above 235 will be clipped. That applies regardless of what format we’re rendering to — an intermediate, a MP4, whatever. If it’s being put through Vegas’ render engine, it needs to be within those limits or risk clipping.
So, I set my Vegas scopes up to Studio RGB. I make sure every clip is between 0-100 on the waveform. When I work on NTSC captures, I see levels on the waveform that are below 100, but I tell myself that’s blacker than black, from cropping, head noise, VBI, etc., and that I need to make sure the blacks in the video are at the 0 line and the brightest highlights are at 100.
To do this, every clip is checked, and if necessary treated to a Levels plugin with Computer->Studio as a starting point, and finer adjustments if needed.
Alternately, I understand I can go the other way and ensure all material is full-range, then put a Levels plugin on the master.
When I render an intermediate with careful attention to 16-235 levels only to import it in the next project and find that it’s taking up full 0-255, I just go ahead and slap the plugin on again to bring it to 16-235. I think that’s where the doubt is creeping in. It just feels like I’ve done something wrong there.
So, what’s your take? Am I doing this right or have I shot myself in the foot along the way?
FWIW, currently on Vegas 17 and have been using Vegas since …. version 8? 9?
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