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RE:Vision ReelSmart Motion Blur and FieldsKit

Interlacing and motion blur plugins for editing and compositing systems By Kevin Schmitt
This week we're going to start taking a gander at RE:Vision Effects' suite of video and effects plugins by doing two, two, two reviews in one. Why double up? Well, According to RE:Vision Effects' own literature, "ReelSmart FieldsKit is a great companion to other ReelSmart modules such as Twixtor and Motion Blur," so we're going to see how that claim measures up by using the After Effects versions of FieldsKit and Motion Blur in tandem.

I must admit that I was a bit skeptical at first that these products would, or even could, work as advertised. After all, getting clean, progressive-scan plates from video source and adding motion blur to a comp as needed were two of my personal holy grails. As these are two of the main selling points of FieldsKit and Motion Blur, respectively, I wondered if they could really do the job. I don't want to spoil the ending, but after only a couple of weeks FieldsKit and Motion Blur have already changed the way I approach compositing tasks, and I can think of at least a dozen projects I've done in the last year that would have benefited tremendously from these tools.


ReelSmart FieldsKit: What it does
Let's face it: there are times when the Interpret Footage command in After Effects leaves you with some pretty skunky clips, rife with motion artifacts and bad field blending. This is especially annoying if you're trying to get a clean moving background plate for use in a composited or visual effects shot. That's where FieldsKit picks up the slack. FieldsKit comprises three separate plugins: Deinterlacer, Reinterlacer and Pulldown. Actually putting these plugins into service requires a different method of thinking than After Effects users might be accustomed to, as you must make sure that your clips are clear of field and pulldown options in the Interpret Footage panel in favor of the advanced options the FieldsKit plugins offer. As a result, it is relatively easy to get confused, since you could conceivably apply field blending from two different locations. However, the upshot is that since the FieldsKit modules are actual plugins, you can animate the advanced options as you would any other conventional plugin, meaning that it's possible to tweak and vary the settings for more complex clips over time to achieve very clean results.

The star of the bunch is the Deinterlacer plugin. Deinterlacing is a tricky process because what you're really asking the software to do is throw away half of the frame and re-create what was thrown away through interpolation or doubling of the remaining field. And at first glance, it appears that FieldsKit's Deinterlacer doesn't do any better job of handling interlaced footage than After Effects; however, it begins to set itself apart once you blow by the default settings and dive into the other options. According to RE:Vision Effects, the Deinterlacer "uses adaptive motion techniques and clever models for deinterlacing." In plain English, it goes way beyond simple upper frame and lower frame field order to allow the user to control every aspect of the deinterlacing process. This control is accomplished by breaking the process down into four main functions: field order, timing mode, fill method and motion masking.


The ReelSmart Fields Kit Plug-in Options.

Field order is the standard selector that most of you are probably familiar with, letting you select upper or lower as the dominant field. The timing mode options allow you to choose whether one or both fields in a frame are interpolated, which in turn affects the duration of the clip. The fill method provides a choice of several interpolation options, such as duplicate, blend and nearest neighbor. Perhaps the coolest feature, motion masking, actually analyzes the motion of the clip and only selects the areas of the image that are in motion for interpolation while leaving the static areas of the image intact. This function is especially handy for locked-down shots where objects are in motion against a non-moving background.


With motion masking turned on, you can see what parts
of the image the Deinterlacer will interpolate.



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