Appletell reviews Luca Light Kit for Mac OS X

Sections: Audio / Video, Mac Software, Reviews

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Provides: Video transitions and filters
Manufacturer: Luca Visual FX and Noise Industries
System Requirements: OS X 10.5.6, Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, Motion, or Adobe After Effects, ATI or NVIDIA graphics processor (integrated Intel graphics processors not supported)
Review Computer: 2.2GHz 13″ Macbook Pro, 2GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM
Network Feature: No
Processor Compatibility: Universal
Price: $49 (free 15 day trial available)
Availability: Out now

In terms of playing with color, Luca Light Kit is the big box of crayons. The really big box. Taped together with a magic marker set. An effects set for Final Cut (Pro and Express), Motion, and After Effects, Light Kit (LK) lets you add, adjust and play with an amazing variety of colors and moods, improving and altering footage.

At the most basic level, LK lets you add light to digital footage, letting you fix problems you didn’t see or couldn’t adjust in the field. Here’s a shot I did in a hotel hallway, mimicing the famous 1984 commercial:

unaltered shot

The hallway was too narrow to add lights, and too busy—meetings were going on as we stole a few minutes to grab the shot. All we had were the overhead lights, which were dark and washed out. By adding the “Light Flicker” effect (and turning down the flicker), I was able to make the footage match the better-lit stuff we shot:

basic light adjustment

I also used Light Flicker in another shot where a man is being dragged out of bed. In addition to saving the shot (which was shot in a darkened bedroom and missed a lot of detail), the flicker preset also created a creepy mood that worked well.

But LK is really about using color and contrast to alter the mood of your shot. You can see a list of the plugins on the Luca plugin site, but what you won’t see is that within each plugin there are about a dozen or so presets that are themselves customizable. You can use LK to create a ghostly, formless shot, give it the feel of an old 8mm home movie, turn it into 2 bit black and white, or use more subtle effects like regional light or color bands to influence the emotion of the scene, or use vignettes to focus attention where you like.

Here’s a series of shots showing off some of the effects (but keep in mind you also have the ability to transition these effects):

luca light vignette
luca light hard vignette
luca light shadows
luca light overexposed
luca light ghostly
luca light 2 bit b&w

LK is a lot of fun to play with, and the effects are top-notch, to boot. The presets offer a great jumping-off point, giving you an idea of what the plugins are capable of and letting you tweak them to get the look you want (and save those tweaks as your own presets so you can reuse them later). It’s easier to show than to describe the looks you can get; fortunately you can download a trial version as part of Noiz Industry’s FxFactory.

Appletell Rating:
Luca Light Kit 1.0

Buy Luca Light Kit 1.0

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