Sharpening your footage in post — in a non-crummy way
This one’s quick and easy, and there’s a good chance you already know this if you’re a seasoned post professional. But I see poorly sharpened footage all the time, so it must not be totes common knowledge.
Maybe your old no-name lenses are a little soft, or your exterior establishing shot needs to look a little more detailed, or you’re matching different lenses, whatevs. Do dis:
- Don’t use Sharpen. That’s like a race car driver using an automatic transmission.
- Use Unsharp Mask.
- Right off the bat, set it to 100% Amount, and 0.3 Radius.
- If that doesn’t do the trick, then try upping Amount to 200% at the most, or Radius to 0.5 maximum. But generally, going beyond that will cause negative byproducts.
- Lastly, adjust Threshold as needed… for video there are many factors involved in deciding whether to set it high or low (types of skin, lighting, how much geometric stuff is in a shot, how noisy your footage is, etc), so really just slide it around and eyeball it to taste.
So there ya go… Unsharp Mask, 100% / 0.3, or adjust to taste within ranges 50-200% / 0.3-0.5. And generally, this applies to still photos as well. The settings should be pretty universal whether you’re doing it in Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Sony Vegas, or whatever else.