Adding a washed out effect can be a nice touch to photos and videos. It can be pretty simple to add this effect if you already have it as a color preset or filter in your editing software. Or, if you don’t have it, you may be looking into Red Giant products such as Magic Bullet Looks or Colorista, just to name a few. This can become expensive in a hurry.
I was able to successfully find a way to come pretty close to producing the washed out effect with just the stock video effect presets within Sony Vegas. This can be done very quickly. No need to wrestle with trying to find and add a plugin just to get this look. You simply use “Color Curves.”
Drag your media down to your timeline
Open up “Video FX” and click “Color Curves”
Drag the “Default” Preset and place it on your video in the timeline
A popup for the preset will be displayed
Now, make sure “Channel:” is set to RGB. It should be RGB by default.
Double Click a little more than 1/4 the way up the curve line to establish an anchor point.
Next, click and drag the bottom of the line in the left corner and bring it up the Y-axis just a little bit. The higher you go the stronger the effect. Try not to over do it. I’ve done this before and it doesn’t look natural.
And you’re done! You can name and save the preset for later use. I typically adjust the curve for each and every video clip because each clip can have different color dynamics. But, this is a start.
Here are the before and after screenshots of the video effect:
Here is the video sample:
Overall, I found this to work with both versions of Vegas that I own (7.0a and 13). You can essentially use these concepts with other NLEs – just open up their color curves or similar and tinker. Hope this was useful.