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Need to explain to director about grading, need to find the best way to explain to him the importance of a correct setup

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Ricky Milling
Need to explain to director about grading, need to find the best way to explain to him the importance of a correct setup
on Apr 22, 2015 at 8:33:37 pm

So we have just locked a film, shot at RED 5K and it looks great, now are looking to get it coloured and "finished".
Now this is where the problem comes in, it seems the director has found a company but they are currently grading simply using a mac Pro (new model) hooked up to standard monitor (via HDMI). The film is aiming for limited release. From my past experience i know you cannot get full correct colour levels from this set up, instead you should use something in between like black magic in/out box.

Please can you help me find a way to explain to the director/Production why the current set up will not suffice.


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Joseph Owens
Re: Need to explain to director about grading, need to find the best way to explain to him the importance of a correct setup
on Apr 23, 2015 at 5:25:49 am

In a number of ways, the old adage that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't force it to drink might have some application here.

Under what circumstances does the project now "look great?"

If the finished project has never been technically evaluated, it cannot be accepted for broadcast. That has to be done under controlled conditions and there are legal requirements. Its an FCC thing, and that just covers the values that you might intend to transmit over the public airwaves. Whether those are good or not, or will be reproduced as intended depends on conforming with a standard set of values defined by a number of international regulatory bodies -- SMPTE, CCIR, IBC... the intention is to try to set up a transmission pipeline where a set of numerical values is translated in consumers' homes, which are utterly chaotic, so you really need to start out at least somewhere in the ballpark. Perfectly in conformance would be best... and that is a challenging thing to do. Not all displays are equal -- that takes some deliberate intervention to achieve, and there are a number of manufacturers that have devoted a ton of effort and investment to try to provide. That is the difference between a grade-qualified display and any old thing you can pick up at Costco.

If you can't say exactly where your black levels are sitting... you don't know. They're not "okay." They will likely be wrong, its not something that can be determined by eye... and a QA will reveal that instantly -- then it will start getting expensive to fix. Its better to be right, out of the gate, and defend-ably so.

jPo

"I always pass on free advice -- its never of any use to me" Oscar Wilde.


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Marc Wielage
Re: Need to explain to director about grading, need to find the best way to explain to him the importance of a correct setup
on Apr 25, 2015 at 2:46:50 am

And to echo what Joe says: if it's just an operating system monitor, the problem is that it may obscure some problems while exaggerating others, leading you down a perilous road. It had to be a calibrated color managed display or else you simply can't believe what you see. This is the danger of trying to judge color on iPads, iPhones, computer displays, YouTube, Vimeo, and all that other crap. It's also 8-bit, which is yet another problem. And it's not "broadcast quality," though that term has come to mean many different things in the last decade.

Alexis Van Hurkman (who also wrote the Resolve v10/11 manuals) has an excellent book out, Color Correction Handbook, and there's a lengthy section on why calibrated monitors are necessary. Steve Shaw of Light Illusion has a good essay "Why Calibrate" that explains the process and theory behind it very well:

http://www.lightillusion.com/why_calibrate.html


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