Thread: Color Correction for "TimeScapes 4K"

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  1. #41  
    Wow, glad this thread was useful. Thank you everyone for all the appreciative posts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Wielage View Post
    It's not always about the number of nodes -- it's trying to figure out the shortest path to get the job done. I don't think it was necessary to enable 10 nodes to get this shot corrected, but everybody has a different style. Bear in mind you can do more than one correction within one node, and sometimes a parallel node is a wiser choice than a serial node. In other cases, the problem with serial nodes that build on top of each other (like 8-9-10), you may find that the later nodes are undoing what you did in previous nodes. Worse, they can start introducing noise when you start pushing levels too far.
    Totally agree on the philosophy of figuring out the shortest path to get the job done.

    Also yes, as noted 8-9-10 are a horrible kludge :) Much better to do in one node - like a confident Picasso brushstroke instead of just doing 100 timid strokes...

    Quote Originally Posted by jake blackstone View Post
    Actually RAW settings adjustments are pain in the behind in Resolve. Right clicking on the selection, moving controls with a mouse, not seeing the RAW adjustments in the nodes window, etc. It's no picnic. Unless absolutely needed, I rarely touch those controls. Plug in is the right way to do it, that is unless someone else comes up with a better way. Plus, if I'm not mistaken, all RAW processing is done in CPU and not GPU. As it is, CPUs already are busy with debayering. IMHO, Alchemy in SDK is not it...
    Agree - Alchemy takes place in the wrong place for me. I would want to do color grading / noise reduction / CA correction etc before adding any mist effects. It doesn't fit into a VFX workflow either - if you want to add something CG to a shot... you can't add Alchemy stuff to match.

    Sure it is nice for many people... but I'd much rather RED just focused on making R3Ds decode faster!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Z View Post
    Thanks Bruce for sharing your expertise in color-grading.
    I had no idea that so many grading steps ware being done to grade Tom's footage.
    Well, only those two shots that Tom needed help on. The others did not urgently need extensive corrections.

    Also, they don't take that long when you're in the program. It took me a heck of a lot longer to make that tutorial than it did to do the color correction work!

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Z View Post
    By the way - what was the file format of the final 4K that you sent Tom?
    Was it an MOV file with ProRes 4:2:2 ?
    For this shot, I sent him DPX files over DropBox, compressed into a couple of big zip files with 7-zip to get the file sizes down.

    For the second shot, I sent over as EXR B44 - a lossy format which is compact but incredibly close to the same quality. Transferring DPX would have taken too long and the deadline was close.

    Apparently Premiere can't read EXR (hope this changes in the future!) so Tom had to load the EXRs into After Effects and export as DPX. But since transfer times were the bottleneck, it was the right move.

    Bruce Allen
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  2. #42  
    Senior Member Jake Bastian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Allen View Post
    OK, OK, Tom - am on an insane deadline at work at the moment but will update this post w a nice description of the process tonight with pics etc...

    Summary is:
    1. Start with the most awesome footage imaginable

    Then color correction is easy :)

    Update pt1: BEGIN THE INSANELY-DETAILED TUTORIAL!









    Bruce Allen
    www.boacinema.com
    This is now one of the top color correction tuts on the web IMO. Thanks Bruce and Tom, this is awesome!
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  3. #43  
    Senior Member Tom Hamilton's Avatar
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    Big +1 here, valuable stuff like this is hard-won. Copied and pasted into to my go-to knowledge & experience reference files. Thanks very much Bruce.
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  4. #44  
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    Beautiful work and thank you for sharing your tradecraft
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  5. #45  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Allen View Post
    Totally agree on the philosophy of figuring out the shortest path to get the job done. Also yes, as noted 8-9-10 are a horrible kludge :) Much better to do in one node - like a confident Picasso brushstroke instead of just doing 100 timid strokes...
    But ya know... color correction (and to some degree, sound mixing) are often a case where "the end justifies the means." As long as the final result looks good, then no harm, no foul. And TimeScapes looks fine -- good job.

    The trick is trying to get this stuff done in a timely fashion. If you're staring at 1400 cuts in a 1-hour piece, and only two days to get it done before it has to be delivered, believe me, you're not going to be doing 10 nodes per shot. So a lot of it boils down to time, budget, and client expectations. If you have a couple of weeks to spend on it, no problem. The problem is inexperienced filmmakers who come in and expect vast amounts of color correction with no time and money. They have to have realistic goals and understand what the limits are.

    The other trick is dealing with indecisive clients who want to make changes. Being able to figure out which node is creating what effect at what time can get confusing, especially in very exacting, tweaky circumstances. For example, I know of a major blockbuster where the director essentially re-lit every shot, to the point of tracking power windows on every character's eyes. It's not so bad in a close-up, but tough when there's five characters in one shot.

    Me personally, I prefer a more organic approach where we stick to the original cinematography and try to enhance the DP's work, under their supervision. Re-lighting the whole piece can be done, but it's often very frustrating and time-consuming, especially if you have to deal with less-than-optimum original material. Visual effects shots would be another consideration, too.
    www.colorbymarc.com | colorist / post-production consultant
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  6. #46  
    One general note: I prefer to do noise reduction before grading. I realize it's tough to judge the amount of noise reduction you'll need in the end (if you're going to bring up the image dramatically), but when using a keyer to separate skintones the resulting mattes are a lot cleaner.
    Raamw3rk
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  7. #47  
    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Wielage View Post
    But ya know... color correction (and to some degree, sound mixing) are often a case where "the end justifies the means." As long as the final result looks good, then no harm, no foul. And TimeScapes looks fine -- good job.

    The trick is trying to get this stuff done in a timely fashion. If you're staring at 1400 cuts in a 1-hour piece, and only two days to get it done before it has to be delivered, believe me, you're not going to be doing 10 nodes per shot. So a lot of it boils down to time, budget, and client expectations. If you have a couple of weeks to spend on it, no problem. The problem is inexperienced filmmakers who come in and expect vast amounts of color correction with no time and money. They have to have realistic goals and understand what the limits are.

    The other trick is dealing with indecisive clients who want to make changes. Being able to figure out which node is creating what effect at what time can get confusing, especially in very exacting, tweaky circumstances. For example, I know of a major blockbuster where the director essentially re-lit every shot, to the point of tracking power windows on every character's eyes. It's not so bad in a close-up, but tough when there's five characters in one shot.

    Me personally, I prefer a more organic approach where we stick to the original cinematography and try to enhance the DP's work, under their supervision. Re-lighting the whole piece can be done, but it's often very frustrating and time-consuming, especially if you have to deal with less-than-optimum original material. Visual effects shots would be another consideration, too.
    +a lot :) Thank you for all of the awesome notes, Marc! Part of the goal of me posting my workflow was to learn - and your wisdom here is really appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Barend Onneweer View Post
    One general note: I prefer to do noise reduction before grading. I realize it's tough to judge the amount of noise reduction you'll need in the end (if you're going to bring up the image dramatically), but when using a keyer to separate skintones the resulting mattes are a lot cleaner.
    Maybe that wasn't clear from my tutorial, but my process was:

    1. do creative grade (look at the grade in motion to see how bad the situation is RE noise)
    2. do NR and lens CA fixes to original (ungraded) file
    3. apply creative grade to NR'ed and de-CA'ed render

    Bruce Allen
    www.boacinema.com
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  8. #48  
    Ah... I missed that. Figured it would be useful to clarify that for aspiring colorists following the thread.
    Raamw3rk
    independent colourist and vfx artist
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  9. #49  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barend Onneweer View Post
    One general note: I prefer to do noise reduction before grading. I realize it's tough to judge the amount of noise reduction you'll need in the end (if you're going to bring up the image dramatically), but when using a keyer to separate skintones the resulting mattes are a lot cleaner.
    The only thing to be aware of is that when you're "stressing" the correction pretty hard -- like brightening a scene 40% more than it was originally was intended -- it's going to wind up noisy, no matter how much grain reduction was done before hand. You may still wind up having to do grain reduction later on for the final, just to help the shots that are basket cases.

    "Grain management" is more about keeping the grain consistent​, shot to shot, and that's really the hard part.
    www.colorbymarc.com | colorist / post-production consultant
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  10. #50  
    Senior Member Russ Fill's Avatar
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    Thank you so much Bruce and Tom.
    I have been searching for some coloring info to help me polish my work a little more and this is wonderful and well explained. This really helps me, and also helps me explain to clients who always ask how do we get that high quality film or polished feature look. I have tried to explain that you need the refiners fire in post but this will help me help them understand it better and to appreciate the work that goes in to post to get that spectacular look they seek.
    Thank you again.
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