Masks and Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum
Douglas Spotted Eagle/VASST Instructor 2005 Sundance Media Group

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Vegas Movie Studio+DVDSony Vegas Movie Studio (VMS) might be an inexpensive video editing tool, but don't let that fool you. This is a powerhouse application. In this tutorial, we're going to look at masks, and how you can use them in VMS to create very professional-style effects and looks. Compositing tools are generally found only in higher-cost, or more professional applications, but you'll find several compositing tools inside Sony Vegas Movie Studio.

Masking is a means of revealing one part of an image while hiding another. Once you grasp the concept of masking, you'll be on the road to creating very complex images. This is a simple masking method, and should help you understand the concept of masking.

To complete this tutorial, you'll need to download the MaskPak from the VASST website. (if you have the professional version of Vegas, you don't need these masks, you can create them with Bezier masking tools very easily. These masks were made inside Sony Vegas+DVD, and exported as .png files for use in VMS)


Open a new project, and put video on the lowest track. (track three by default)



Hold down CTRL and click/drag the clip on track three up to track two. Holding CTRL makes a duplicate of the clip on track three.


Now use the Vegas Explorer to browse for the masks in the MaskPak. Grab the letterbox mask, and drag it to track one.

You'll want to click/drag the right edge of the mask to drag it out to the length of your video clip (known as "events" in Sony Vegas Movie Studio).

On Track Two, select the Parent/Child button found on each video track.

This will make the top track be the Parent, and the next track down the child track. Notice that the top track has its "arm" around the child, signifying that the top track is in control.
Now select the Compositing Mode button, and set the compositing mode to Multiply/Mask.

This will cause the white section of your video preview to disappear. That's OK, it's what we want to have happen.
Drag the Black/White filter from your Video FX tab to the second track, or the topmost of your two video events (not the white mask track). Set the slider all the way to the right, or 1.000.

Your Preview window should look like the one below.

The area that was white now displays the Black and White filtered media. We could stop here, but the contrast between the greyscaled media and the colored media isn't intense enough to suit the eye in this image.

Drag the Color Curves filter from the Video FX tab to the lower image. Make your curve so it looks like this:

This should intensify the chroma/colors in the lower track areas seen outside the mask, or greyscaled area. You may need to adjust the curves to suit your specific image, but the curve seen above is usually a very good starting point.

The resulting image is seen above. Again, we could stop here, but in this particular instance, I don't like how harsh the line is between the two resulting images, so we're going to drop a Gaussian Blur from the Video FX tab, onto the Mask found on Track one. Use the Extreme Blur preset to achieve a blend like the one seen in the image below.

Since the blur is applied only to the mask, it blends the two images together without affecting the sharpness of the images themselves. Remember that blurring the mask will soften the area that divides the images. Another tip is to lower the opacity of the black/white image, blending with the lower image so that hints of color show through.

Vegas Movie Studio has a lot of little secrets under the hood; this brief tutorial should help you discover some of them. Learning to use masks is a basic starting point for learning the tricks of compositing. Once you get comfortable with compositing, you might find it worth your while to step up to the more powerful professional version of Vegas. Vegas Movie Studio offers one blending option, while the professional version of Vegas offers 11 blending modes.

 
Happy masking,

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