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When to color grade in Magic Lantern RAW workflow?

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Jordan Vinson
When to color grade in Magic Lantern RAW workflow?
on Apr 20, 2018 at 11:42:48 pm

Is this RAW workflow (using a 5D mark III) a good way to do process Magic Lanter RAW files? If so, I’m still confused as to what stage the color grade should be done. Here are my steps:

1-Shoot in RAW.

2-Preview clips on computer using MlRawViewer, so I can see which clip contains what.

3-Use RawMagic to convert from .mlv to .dng sequence.

4-Open .dng sequence in Bridge/ACR and apply a little sharpening, levels correction and a crop to 1920x720 (testing with final output of 720p only right now).

5-Open the folder .dngs (with the meta data adjustments) in After Effects and export through Adobe Media Encoder to ProRes 422.

6-Work with the ProRes clips in Premiere.

That’s the short version of how I’m processing to test out the RAW process, which I’m new at, of course. And I’m confused about a few things—mainly at what stage to edit the sharpness, contrast, color, etc. of the footage.

-Using my process outlined above, I apply sharpening, a little contrast, some levels adjustments to the individual frames in step 4 (in Bridge/ACR). The final ProRes clip looks fine to my standards, but I wouldn’t consider it ‘color graded,’ right? I know that, traditionally, color grading is performed AFTER the video/film is cut together in Premiere or whatever NLE. And using at least a LUT or some color correction preset like Premiere’s Lumetri panels. So, is my ‘tampering’ with the footage like this early in the process (before it even hits Premiere) best practice?

-If using Bridge/ACR like this is appropriate, I assume a final color grade would be performed in the traditional way—near the end of the process, either using plugins available to Premiere or using Resolve or whatever? And, really importantly—you wouldn’t do the same adjustments to the footage you did in the Bridge/ACR step, like adding more sharpness, contrast, level adjustments … as that’s already done, and you don’t want to overdo it, right?

-An alternative I learned about is using Vision Color’s Osiris to do a full/complete/final color grade right there in step 4. Converting the .dng sequence to a LOG, applying a LUT preset and doing any other sharpness, levels adjustments I need to do right in one single program and at the same time seems ideal. I assume that if I went this route, now color grading at all would be done to the ProRes clips in Premiere.


*One final thing I’m confused about is how much damage I’d do to the final image quality by converting to ProRes as early in the process as possible—either by recording straight to ProRes using an Atamos produce in step 1 or by using MlRawViewer to convert to ProRes in Step 2. Going this route, I’d probably have to apply color grade at the end of the process, like is traditionally done. And it seems like I would lose a lot of flexibility in adjusting sharpness, contrast, levels before getting to the color grade stage.

I appreciate any help.

Jordan Vinson
Rocket Photographer


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Warren Eig
Re: When to color grade in Magic Lantern RAW workflow?
on Apr 21, 2018 at 2:40:42 pm

I sometimes take the DNGs RAWMagic makes into Resolve, do a "One Light" correction pass, and leaving the file names intact at export, export as ProRes files. This way I'm working with decent looking "proxies." At the end I take media off line and relink to the uncorrected DNGs. Grade away!

Warren Eig
O 310-470-0905


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Ryan Holmes
Re: When to color grade in Magic Lantern RAW workflow?
on Apr 28, 2018 at 1:47:00 pm

What Warren said is exactly right. Essentially you need to look into a proxies workflow for what you’re doing. That way you cut in the NLE with a decent looking proxy file and then once the edit is done you send back to Resolve and relink to the RAW DNG file for grading. Once you commit to a ProRes, or other mezzanine codec, you’re losing information and losing flexibility, which is the whole point of RAW to start with. RAW allows you the most flexiblity and you want to preserve that.

Do some research into proxy workflows. Premiere has made that pretty seamless now too.

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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Jordan Vinson
Re: When to color grade in Magic Lantern RAW workflow?
on Apr 29, 2018 at 11:13:01 pm

Thank you, Warren and Ryan. I appreciate your input!

Jordan Vinson
Rocket Photographer


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