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Brian York
New Setup
on Mar 10, 2011 at 5:51:11 pm

Hi, This might sound ridiculous and but I've found myself in a unique position to walk right into color grading commercials and who knows what soon. Budget is a reasonable concern at this moment. As far as color, artistically speaking and technically speaking I have not an issue and I'm pretty darn good at learning software without a manual. My little snafoo is this huge amount of hardware products that lots of people disagree on or at least use different things. It may not be that one is bad but they all work in separate ways with different things. So my question is If you had nothing and wanted to setup your first setup what would you buy? Please specify anything that isn't an absolute necessity. Also if you would like to be super helpful maybe somethings maybe like a good option and a better option would be awesome. Looking for some solid help in what to buy. Thanks!

As far as computer goes here is what i'm looking at
Mac Pro 2x 2.4ghz quad core xeon
24gb or Ram

My biggest concern now is figuring out the color managed aspect of it. Coming from print its different and I want to get it right the first time.

Thanks soo much in advance!!!
-Brian


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Michael Kammes
Re: New Setup
on Mar 10, 2011 at 11:43:09 pm

The big question is budget.

Color Grading (or 'Color Timing' learn that, the old timers will love you) is usually expensive. Why?

Software - good software - is expensive. A color grade worthy monitor is also relatively expensive. Control panels for the color grade application can be expensive. That's the tip of the iceberg when building a basic color suite. We haven't even tuched on correct room lighting, storage for all of the raw media you'll be working with, etc, etc.

If we have a budget to work from, that will certainly narrow down the available candidates.

~Michael



.: michael kammes mpse
.: senior applications editor . post workflow consultant
.: audio specialist . act fcp . acsr
.: michaelkammes.com
.: twitter: @michaelkammes
.: facebook: /mkammes

Hear me pontificate: Speaking Schedule .


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Brian York
Re: New Setup
on Mar 11, 2011 at 4:46:13 am

As far as budget I have a get started budget of around 10-15K and would like to have a plan on expanding past that when possible. As far as panels I'm looking at the tangent curve for starters before going leaping for the full resolve panel. I've been reading about the black magic HDLink and using it to possibly get a decent color monitoring for the time till I can move to a real monitor. I have -Dell U2410 monitors now which seem seem to produce great color for print. If the HDLink would make them 95% accurate for Rec. 709 I would be happy for now.
-What about the DeckLink SDI card, will that work do I need one of the better models or a completely different brand be better?
-Any preferance on video card (less than 2k preferable)?
-How much better is a dual quad core processor mac pro vs the single quad core (basically the $2500 model or the $3500 mac pro with base processor)? (Assuming I would also need 24g of ram)
-Would the mac raid card with 3-1gb hard drives (raid 5) be ample for a scratch drive?

Any other info that is relevant would be much appreciated!!

Thanks
Brian


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Michael Kammes
Re: New Setup
on Mar 11, 2011 at 3:46:29 pm

OK, here is a ballpark:

A non consumer color grade monitor, 24" will be $4000 on the cheap side, even if you can find it used or a demo unit.

Software that has higher level / robust color grade ability (and this list is not complete) like Resolve, Scratch, Pablo, Digital Vision, Iridas, Baselight, Smoke, Symphony, etc....are all expensive.

That being said, Blackmagic's Resolve does have a new(er)$1K version, but does have system requirements. Even if you went with VERY cheap internal storage (3 x 2GB Drives), a decent graphics card, a decklink card and a GUI monitor with easily push a $5K qualified Blackmagic Mac to $7K. (I'd say that's conservative, IMHO) Add a Tangent WAVE panel for another $1500.

So, now you're at $12,500.

That's before any kind of room treatments & lighting, which I feel is very, very important to having an accurate color grade.

(BTW, config your system to Blackmagics specs and DO NOT deviate: http://www.blackmagic-design.com/downloads/davinci/pdf/DaVinciResolveMacCon... )

Many uses will say "Well, I've used Apple Color and graded fine". That's obviously their prerogative, this is simply what I recommend.

I think you're in for a wild ride as a colorist, and trying to work in this budget will be only the beginning!

~Michael



.: michael kammes mpse
.: senior applications editor . post workflow consultant
.: audio specialist . act fcp . acsr
.: michaelkammes.com
.: twitter: @michaelkammes
.: facebook: /mkammes

Hear me pontificate: Speaking Schedule .


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Brian York
Re: New Setup
on Mar 11, 2011 at 11:42:38 pm

Thanks Michael, That helps a lot and things are expensive and I know that this is just the beginning and I'm really trying to figure out what I need to just start and do a great job then will be able to expand as work starts coming in. Its an exciting and slightly scary endeavor but one that I know has to be done 100% correct. When I watch great colored films and commercial pieces I know that that level of quality is the only place and getting consistent results will require the best setup.

Thats all close to what I have been thinking. You didn't mention the HDLink so was that a no on using it?

-Brian


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