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Any reason not to do all color-grading inside Premiere?

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Nick Ryan
Any reason not to do all color-grading inside Premiere?
on Mar 10, 2016 at 3:13:35 am

Hey all! I supervise a team of editors and need help with a disagreement that's arisen lately.

Here's my situation: I supervise 5 editors at an in-house production facility (the Advertising department of a liberal arts college). We started small a few years ago, but our area has grown to our current team of 5 seats using an all-Adobe production workflow (latest version of CC). Most of my team is very young and has little experience, but we've pulled off some pretty good stunts on our journey and are improving as we go.

As we grow and learn, we're striving for higher standards and better quality with each passing year. As part of this growth, I've recently expressed to my team that I would like everyone to learn Adobe Speedgrade and use that as their default color correction/grading tool. Half of my team is excited about this, and the other half are dragging their feet through the training, complaining that this is a needless directive that only makes life harder. They maintain that almost anything we would want to do in Speedgrade can be done in Premiere more easily.

I'm not a colorist, I'm a producer/director, so I don't know what to tell them. I am assuming that Speedgrade is more powerful, more flexible, and more intuitive than the color-grading tools built into Premiere. Why else would it exist? What is the point of products like Speedgrade, Resolve, Colorista, etc., if you can do everything you need to do inside Premiere already? I feel like this is a laughable argument, but I'm not a colorist. So when they say "what do you want to accomplish in Speedgrade that we can't already do in Premiere?" my only answer is something along the lines of "I want us to learn the more complex tools so we can do more accurate and nuanced color-grading more easily." I feel like we're limiting ourselves to small potatoes, and 2-years from now we'll still be pulling basic color-corrections using curves because we've never learned what the more complex tool can really do for us.

So my question to you all is: what can I tell them? Do you think Speedgrade is better? What can I specifically tell them about Speedgrade that will make sense in their world? Right now they think I'm making an "administrative decision" that's pointless and cramps their style. Would you agree?


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Chris Wright
Re: Any reason not to do all color-grading inside Premiere?
on Mar 10, 2016 at 5:18:57 am

very interesting post.

perhaps look at it from a time saving point of view. Speedgrade can match grade using two timeline sliders at the same time,
masking tools, and supports external grading controllors. This is very true simply by looking at Resolve. It's flagship focuses around a grading control board.

heck, you can even edit/color correct video in photoshop if you want! auto panning/zooming and ripple deleting etc.

I, myself actually use AE for some color correcting as its ACR import gives better quality for RAW imports than lumetri. I can create templates to define custom color changes that don't exist in either premiere or speedgrade. With Re:Match plugins and other tools, I can auto match inside AE and get things looking great without speedgrade.

Also, speedgrade lacks the utility profile converter so I can't do tricky color transformations. I need to use light illusions and create custom differential Luts. Although its GPU support helps in playback if I'm too lazy to create proxies.

with dynamic link, the process is relatively integrated and will continue to do so until adobe decides to improve premiere
or cut speedgrade or actually make both stable enough for a 4 hour edit in one timeline without catching on fire. Hey, it's possible, Resolve does it everyday :)

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Walter Soyka
Re: Any reason not to do all color-grading inside Premiere?
on Mar 10, 2016 at 2:33:07 pm

Looking at the features added to Premiere in the last few years versus the features added to SpeedGrade, it seems obvious to me that Adobe bought IRIDAS more for the technology than for the application. You can in fact do a good bit of color work directly in Premiere Pro, right in editorial context, with no worries about going back and forth across applications.

If half of the team is excited and SpeedGrade and half is not, can you use that? Maybe let the ones who are more interested in color specialize in it a bit and use their advanced skills as required? Color involves a completely different skill set -- and mindset -- than editorial, and I'm not sure it pays to try to force that on your whole team.

Honestly, if you are interested in a dedicated color tool, I think Resolve is worth a look, too.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]

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Tero Ahlfors
Re: Any reason not to do all color-grading inside Premiere?
on Mar 10, 2016 at 2:48:37 pm

Speedgrade is terrible and the only good thing about it that it can easily bring the Premiere project in. I wouldn't be surprised if Adobe dropped it. I would also recommend Resolve. The thing about grading software is that they're built for a color workflow. For example if you want to compare shots one can easily have a split screen of neighbouring clips show up in Resolve that would be insanely tedious in Premiere. Also doing secondary color correction with trackable masks is easier in Resolve.

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Chris Borjis
Re: Any reason not to do all color-grading inside Premiere?
on Mar 11, 2016 at 5:19:35 pm

I concur with what Walter said and also need to point out you mentioned Colorista.

That's a 3 way color corrector add on with some additional bells and whistles
to work within premiere or AE, not a separate app for grading.

For me it boils down to if it can be done in premiere and accomplishes the need, then that's where
I'll be doing the correction...especially after the lumetri portion of speedgrade
was added to premiere, because, frankly the 3 way corrector that comes withe premiere
is not very good.

External grading apps have their place and I do use them for long-form projects
from time to time but I don't need to use it for everything.

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Paul Neumann
Re: Any reason not to do all color-grading inside Premiere?
on Mar 11, 2016 at 9:09:11 pm

I gotta disagree with Tero. Speedgrade is getting better and better with each new release. Now, I'm ecstatic with what Lumetri allows me to do directly in PPRO. Ecstatic. But I've been getting a ton of SLOG3 footage lately and to do it justice it has to go to a full color correcting program. Cutting in PPRO and just sending it over there and back again is easier than ever. Then exporting all those .looks so they can be used again is a total bonus.

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Andrew Kimery
Re: Any reason not to do all color-grading inside Premiere?
on Mar 11, 2016 at 9:22:05 pm

If you want to get better looking results then get the editors some training in color grading (the art of it, not in a specific program) and then get them some training in using the software they have access to (ex. PPro, SpeedGrade, Colorista, Resolve, whatever it may be) so they can understand the pros/cons of each, get a handle on the basics, etc.,. Then let the editors decide which tool they want to use. As long as they can meet expectations and deadlines it probably doesn't matter if they use PPro or SG, right?

Sometimes I grade inside the NLE (usually with Colorista though I haven't had a chance to check out the new grading tools in PPro CC2015) and sometimes I grade using Resolve (or Color back in the day). It depends on the complexity of what needs to be done and how much time I have to do it.

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Alex Udell
Re: Any reason not to do all color-grading inside Premiere?
on Mar 14, 2016 at 6:36:33 pm

Only from a cursory knowledge...

comparing disperate shots side by side

trackable masks (shape based color correction) with inside and outside corrections per mask is probably much more easily attained in a Grading app than in the editor.

then of your work calls for that level of detail?

in our agency...

we'll spend some time doing grading on resusable beauty shots... and file the corrected files for re use...

so that might be a way to delegate the expertise as has been mentioned in the thread.

Alex Udell
Editing, Motion Graphics, and Visual FX
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