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October 2014
Issue: May 1, 2012

Review: Yanobox Moods

By: Brady Betzel
PRODUCT: Yanobox Moods

WEBSITE: www.yanobox.com

PRICE: $49

- Helpful HUD display
- GPU acceleration
- Usable presets



I’m in a mood: nostalgic, orangey, reminiscent. An editor will constantly go to their toolbox for a favorite unique and awe-inspiring treatment, usually a pre-set color effect or a plug-in with a few pre-sets but no true three-way color correction. 

Many plug-ins contain generic pre-set effects, which are always a great starting point; they give artists the ability to quickly show the power of color treatments such as “bleach bypass” or a specific film stock look. These plug-ins do not always allow for in-depth customization.
Yanobox (whose products are powered by Noise Industries’ FxFactory, and with licensing, tech support and communication managed by Noise Industries) have created Moods — an After Effects, Final Cut Pro X and Motion plug-in that addresses the needs of producers who want a fantastic look that helps them stand out from the crowd of hungry moviemakers/editors. I will refer to them as “meditors.”

Before I get too deep, there is one elephant in the effects palette that needs to be addressed: the Moods install is a little clunky. If you do not already have it, you have to download the full FxFactory software package to your Mac. This is about a 440MB file that installs a “suite” of plug-ins. The plug-ins are trials, and at first this threw me off because it cluttered up my plug-in/effects palettes with many plug-ins I was not sure I needed. Nonetheless, once you install FXFactory you open that standalone application and register the product you want, in my case Yanobox Moods.
  
Immediately after bringing up After Effects, I applied the Moods plug-in to some ProRes 4:2:2 HQ footage I had from a show I am working on — Moods is located under the Yanobox folder in the effects palette. The footage looks beautiful, however it needs some minor white balance tweaking. 



HUD

For this review, not only did I want to correct the non-white balanced shot without going into the typical color correction tool, but I also wanted to create a nostalgic feel. After adding the Moods effect I checked off the box to add the heads up display (HUD) that the Website had mentioned. Using the HUD was extremely intuitive — it allowed me to quickly grab a color wheel and adjust my three-way color correction instead of using a slider.
In addition to the standard desaturate, exposure/gamma, shadow, mid-tone, highlights and wash shadow color wheels, there is also a “help card” check-off box. When checked, it adds a helpful set of reminders above each color wheel describing what they do. For example, the desaturation wheel, when pulled left or right, adjusts the brightness.Pulled up, it adjusts the desaturation level, and when pulled down it allows the user to adjust the level of silver. The “silver” gives a customizable “bleach bypass” look. A quick way to punch up the drama, literally, is to choose between classic and punchy from the “Mode” drop-down menu; punch adds just a little extra saturation boost and classic keeps the footage as it was intended.

The HUD is not the only way to intuitively adjust the color of your footage. You can also manually type exact numbers, allowing for precise color calculations. On top of each color setting there is a strength slider, giving the user an easy way to increase and decrease the effect quickly. 

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One cool and kitschy bonus element in Moods is being able to use a split-screen of the effected and original clip. Moods allows the user to check the “compare” box and drag the split view of the footage to wherever you would like to see a comparison between the original footage and the effected footage. Finally, the last tool is the “wash shadows” color wheel that allows the artist to blend shadows with pure color, giving the footage an ultra hip and stark look. 



FINAL THOUGHTS

Noise Industries and Yanobox’s Moods is a breakthrough plug-in for color correction. Moods gives people like me, who have a modest ability in color correction but do not do it every day, the ability to apply a detailed color treatment to any footage immediately and intuitively. I can show a producer or another editor what my vision for a color treatment is using pre-sets combined with intuitive customization to get my point across. 
I found the HUD to be just as Yanobox describes it: intuitive. Not having to switch modes or trace my mouse or pen back to the effects window to adjust the parameters speeds up any workflow. As we all know, every second counts in post, the faster we are coloring our shots, the more work we can accomplish and the more money we can make. Yanobox put me in a speedy mood after testing. 

Moods embraces GPU acceleration, adaptive rendering to preserve the integrity of the footage, whether 8 or 16 bits, and gives simple pre-sets that are a great starting point. Any editor, producer, or even VFX artist will be glad they purchased Moods. It allows the user to sit down and within about five minutes, come up with a unique and beautiful color treatment. Moods is a great tool to have in the toolbox. If you are like me, it may be one of the only coloring tools you will need. 

Brady Betzel is an Assistant Editor based in Los Angeles. He can be reached at: bradybetzel@gmail.com.