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Retro 80s Video Effect

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Craig Johanson
Retro 80s Video Effect
on Jan 16, 2011 at 5:59:06 pm

Hi all. I was wondering if anyone could point me to a tutorial or plugin that will help me get an 80s infomercial effect as seen in the following videos:

So basically, I'd like to make something look like it was taken with an older camcorder.

Thanks in advance!!

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Gonzalo León
Re: Retro 80s Video Effect
on Dec 2, 2013 at 7:03:58 pm

I loved the explanation that someone gave in this post on how to make this effect, I wanted to hit the "like" button but I accidentaly hit on the flag icon...and now appears as removed!
I'm sorry, is it possible to make it available again? I was going to use that info to give a cool 80's video effect to my music video!

sorry and thanks!

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Lee Brenton
Re: Retro 80s Video Effect
on May 7, 2014 at 9:07:58 am

ok -Gonzalo León - what a stuff up! anyway you're in luck (and so am i)..'> had a backup!

copied for your convenience:

OMG, you want a plugin to make people look like they have bad hair and terrible fashion; scratchy, low bitrate audio, and lame graphics?

80's motion graphics should be pretty straight forward. I'll address color and video and audio resolution which will really define the look and feel.

Coach Weiner looks and sounds like it was shot on a canon 7D, but the motion graphics are reasonably authentic.

Master of the Internet has poor color resolution and fidelity. If you want to match that look, you'll need to study those colors. Look at how the guys shirt bleeds into his arm. This was done via low resolution color sampling. Look up color sampling, and VHS on wikipedia. Then you'll need to figure out how to basically half or quarter the resolution of the Cb and Cr channels. You'll also need to reduce the resolution of the Y channel. Basically, from wikipedia, Luma(Y) goes to 333x480 and chroma goes to 40x480.

Do the same for the audio; figure out the sampling resolution of VHS, then reduce the quality to match.

Next, the color fidelity of modern cameras is better. Older cameras had a more linear gamma, whereas some modern consumer class cameras will introduce a pleasing gamma curve. Use the curve tool to flatten out the light fall off if your footage has it.

You'll need to tweak the colors. I'm not sure exactly what it needs, but after you've done all of the above it will be the appropriate time to saturate or desaturate or tweak certain colors to match the vhs color scheme.

That's a start which should give you enough to get closer than any plugin. The process will entirely depend on your source footage. Like I said, Coach Weiner looks like it's right out of a canon 7d because it has the look. Starting with 7D footage vs red footage vs panny footage will tweak your process.


Cory Petkovsek
Corporate Video

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