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Article: NAB 2012: The Year of the Colour Grader

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Dennis KutcheraArticle: NAB 2012: The Year of the Colour Grader
by on Apr 12, 2012 at 6:23:30 pm

NAB Expo
NAB 2012: The Year of the Colour GraderNAB 2012: The Year of the Colour Grader

NAB 2012 may be remembered as the year that advanced colour grading went mainstream. Join Dennis Kutchera as he samples the winds of change as news breaks for the upcoming product releases for NAB.

Feature   04/12/2012
Author: Dennis Kutchera

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Peter SartwellRe: Article: NAB 2012: The Year of the Colour Grader
by on Apr 13, 2012 at 3:49:27 am

Thanks for this great roundup, Dennis. Color work is one of the reasons I'm going to NAB, so this is very helpful. I'm looking forward to seeing some elegant Avid workflow solutions also.

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Barend OnneweerRe: NAB 2012: The Year of the Colour Grader
by on Apr 13, 2012 at 7:48:53 am

Hi Dennis,

I look forward to following up on this after you've snooped around in Las Vegas.

If money was no issue, Baselight would be a top choice. But I'm not convinced the plug-in will be useful for serious grading under time-pressure. I haven't used it but I imagine having to select the clip and effect to tweak the parameters. Then select the next clip and the effect, and repeat. That would be the same as grading in FCP or Premiere right now. Except with maybe a better tool. The big advantage would be the portability of the preliminary grades done by the editor into a full Baselight setup. But if that's out of the budget, I don't see much use for the plug-in.

I have been working on Scratch for a couple of years now. I'm very happy with it, but if I was shopping around today, I'd give Resolve another close look - just because it's 'free' - or almost. That said, I tried Speedgrade a while ago and the interface wasn't for me. So even though I'll get Speedgrade with my CS6 I'm not about to ditch Scratch for it.

If Autodesk blends Lustre into Smoke - that might be the most complete NLE/grading/finishing combo, and one I'd seriously look into. But I don't see that happening, with Lustre part of Flame 2013. And I'd want to see a new MacPro or a port to Windows to get the needed power.

Anyway, it'll be fun to continue the discussion. Kind of wish I was there with you to unhinge bathroom doors and stroll the floor.


Raamw3rk - independent colourist and visual effects artist

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shur harewoodRe: NAB 2012: The Year of the Colour Grader
by on Apr 17, 2012 at 12:03:47 am

I think the fact that the affordability, access and processing power has also made these tools more widely available to many people on the lower end of production spectrum, but only time will tell how effectively there'll be used to deliver quality finished productions.

Freelance HD and DSLR camera producer and trainer.
Enjoying the fruits and passion of living life to the full.

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Stephen SmithRe: NAB 2012: The Year of the Colour Grader
by on Apr 19, 2012 at 9:10:01 pm

Alright, now that NAB is almost over. What are your side by side impressions? Pros- and Cons of the programs?

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

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Dennis KutcheraRe: NAB 2012: The Year of the Colour Grader
by on Apr 21, 2012 at 7:24:20 pm

I spent my entire NAB immersed in the world of colour grading. It was one intense NAB show for me from Sunday afternoon at the new Smoke launch with the Red Users party that evening, followed by Monday at Post World with the rest of the week on the show floor, with late nights at various industry events throughout. I did a redeye flight Thursday night, arriving home Friday at about 1:00 pm. I went to right bed and woke up Saturday at about 10 am! It's going to take me a few days to recover from NAB and catch up with the home office, but I'll be reporting my findings very soon. This is going to build into a series of articles because there is so much to digest.

Have I decided what my solution will be yet? I am closer, but I am going to have to run through an exhaustive comparison to see what works best for our current work and future needs. Should I consider a move away from Avid as our editing base to take advantage of new workflows? That could change everything. Adobe CS 6 has a tight workflow with Iridas Speedgrade now integrated into the package and the new Autodesk Smoke for Mac 2013 has a very comprehensive, affordable and easy to learn, familiar looking toolset. But is the Smoke Color Warper as good as a standalone grader like DaVinci Resolve? I won't know until I am able to play with it. Public Beta starts in June.

Right now, I will say that the available colour grading options exceeded my expectations. And there is a colour grading solution for every budget from free to fantasy prices. One thing that makes the expensive systems so pricy is the hardware. After seeing various control surfaces in action from the Avid Artist Color up to the new made from wood Baselight control surface, I can tell you that this is a must. The speed gain of using a control surface over a mouse and GUI is exponentially huge, even in Avid Symphony.

Not surprisingly, I found that pretty much every system I checked out was amazing at some things and mediocre at others. This is going to be a tough decision and price is not the biggest determining factor because the cost of ownership is more than just the ticket price. If you can work faster at a higher room rate and give your client better results sooner with a lower bill at the end, then paying the big bucks could make sense.

Stay tuned for more in the coming days.

Dennis Kutchera

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Michael ForrestRe: NAB 2012: The Year of the Colour Grader
by on Apr 23, 2012 at 5:08:45 pm

Great article Dennis. Nice meeting up with you at NAB. Best of luck in your quest for the best finishing system.

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