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DV Filmmaking by Ian David Aronson

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Creating Images in Photoshop for Use in Digital Video

Adobe Photoshop is a tremendously valuable tool for independent filmmakers working in DV, because it allows you to add professional-quality graphics to your projects. However, because computers and televisions display images differently, ensuring that your graphics look the way you want takes some finesse and a little planning.

As described in the last chapter, an NTSC monitor displays a more limited range of color than a computer screen. Bright whites and dark blacks may look great on a computer screen, but they just won’t display well on TV. Very dark objects lose detail in video if the color value exceeds the broadcast-safe range of colors a television can safely reproduce. (Broadcast-safe color is explained in detail in Chapter 16.) If dark objects appear against dark backgrounds, their edges can blend together so that you can’t make out where one shape ends and the other begins. Bright whites can be equally challenging. The edges of bright white text blur if their color strays too far outside the broadcast-safe range, and can even bleed into the audio signal of a project and create a distracting hum. (You may even have noticed this while watching poorly produced commercial spots on late night TV.)

One straightforward technique to help you create broadcast-safe images in Photoshop is to manage the mathematical values of the colors you choose. Each color channel in an RGB image has a maximum value of 255 and a minimum value ...

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