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Color Correcting "Flat" Blackmagic Cinema Footage in Media Composer

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Bryan Sanders
Color Correcting "Flat" Blackmagic Cinema Footage in Media Composer
on Oct 14, 2014 at 2:54:57 pm

*Running MC 7.0 on a Mac Pro.

This is not at all my area of expertise but I suspect something is very wrong with my company's workflow here and I hope someone can shed some light on it for me.

We're using a new shooter with a Blackmagic Cinema camera who is shooting raw "flat" footage captured ProRes 422HQ at 24p. I understand the theoretical benefit of the flat desaturated footage and leaving more options open for color correction and grading in post. HOWEVER, they're currently importing this directly to avid and transcoding to DnxHD 175. Also, they aren't using LUTs or even Symphony, just the basic MC color correction tools.

I find the color corrected footage to look absolutely awful. It has a very unnatural look with contrast issues, just like you would expect from oversaturating a dull image. I suspect that any benefit of shooting in this format is completely lost by the conversion to DnxHD. Is this correct? Do you have to color correct the raw footage to get any benefit?


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Michael Phillips
Re: Color Correcting "Flat" Blackmagic Cinema Footage in Media Composer
on Oct 14, 2014 at 4:21:12 pm

as you say, the benefit of the "film" curve it to allow as much of the sensor's dynamic range to be preserved and giving the colorist the flexibility in color correction.

Have you tried applying the BMD film LUT to the DNxHD footage? The fact that it is DNxHD footage should not affect color correction possibilities - especially if the original footage was ProRs 422.

You can still add a LUT to the transcoded DNxHD footage via source settings and will be applied on the fly. See if that makes a difference in resulting image quality. If it looks the same, then there may be issues with the exposure and other parameters of the file itself.

If you have Resolve istalled, then you can pull the .cube 3D LUT from its libary and import it into Media Composer to be applied. It will be called:

Blackmagic Cinema Camera Film to Rec709.cube
or
Blackmagic Cinema Camera Film to Rec709 v2.cube


On OSX, it can be found here:




Michael


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Bryan Sanders
Re: Color Correcting "Flat" Blackmagic Cinema Footage in Media Composer
on Oct 14, 2014 at 5:23:38 pm

Thanks so much for your reply! We don't have Resolve but I was able to find some .cube files for this camera and install them in the color management settings in Media Composer. Amazing difference. Now this is my opportunity to learn more about LUTs in general since I'm a real novice when it comes to color grading. Thanks again!


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Nick Griffin
Re: Color Correcting "Flat" Blackmagic Cinema Footage in Media Composer
on Oct 17, 2014 at 8:38:37 pm

Am I to assume it is "applied" as a filter? If not how and where? Thanx!


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Michael Phillips
Re: Color Correcting "Flat" Blackmagic Cinema Footage in Media Composer
on Oct 17, 2014 at 8:48:52 pm

It's a source side effect. Both LUTs and ASC CDL can be applied in user defined order of operations.

See:http://blog.abelcine.com/2014/02/18/an-updated-guide-to-applying-luts-to-log-footage/#avid

At IBC in September there was mention of applying a LUT as an Effect to a segment on the timeline.


Michael


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Bryan Sanders
Re: Color Correcting "Flat" Blackmagic Cinema Footage in Media Composer
on Oct 17, 2014 at 9:33:31 pm

I right clicked on my footage in a bin and selected "source settings." There you have color encoding options where you can apply a LUT. By clicking on "color management settings" you get a dialogue window with the option to "install LUT." I installed LUTs I downloaded for the specific camera. After doing that, it will be available for use from the drop-down menu under "color transformations." You can also right click on multiple clips in a bin and batch apply the settings to all similar clips at the same time.

Still figuring it all out myself, but hope that helps.


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