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DV Project Remaster - Need Advice On Color Correcting

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Andrew Golden
DV Project Remaster - Need Advice On Color Correcting
on Sep 9, 2011 at 7:52:56 pm

Ten years ago, I was involved with a project that was shot on DVCAM, edited in Final Cut Pro as DVCAM, and mastered out to DVCAM. At the time, some shots were grainy due to the camera and gain noise in low light shots. Additionally, some shots were too bright or too dark or just not balanced correctly. However, the technology we had available at the time did not allow us to fix many of the issues we had but the finished deliverable was acceptable given the standards of the time (most copies were delivered on VHS tape!). Now, ten years later, we are looking to showcase the project but are not happy with the quality of the finished master and want to improve upon it. Unfortunately, we do not have access to the original tapes/original footage. Almost all of them were taken by someone else associated with the project and there is no way to get them back. All we have is the master tape of the project.

A couple of weeks ago, I looked into various tools to help remaster this project. I purchased the Neat Video reduce noise plugin and it works great. Almost all of the shots that had noise issues etc. were fixed and look much better than the original shots from ten years ago. In order to maximize the noise reduction, I took the entire imported DVCAM clip from the master tape and cut out each shot. Since the dissolves were embedded into the master, I actually cut the clips mid-way through the dissolve and used the Neat Video plugin to reduce the noise. On a side note, I was originally working in a DV timeline since the footage was DV. Just for testing, I created a new Pro-res sequence and put the clips on it and applied the Neat Video plugin in the Pro-res sequence. The results in the Pro-res sequence were much better than the DV sequence.

Regardless, the Neat Video plugin did great to fix the noise in shots without reducing the quality or detail significantly and all of the shots, including the embedded transitions, looked much more acceptable then they were. After processing the entire project with the Neat Video plugin, we were left with a sequence that was great in terms of quality except, for the color issues.

With the grain fixed, we exported the individual clips to Pro-res files and brought them back into the system. The issue we have been having is that almost every time we color correct a clip, when you look at the clips through an embedded dissolve, the colors are not matching and flashes occur. We have also tried color correcting two clips with one not having the embedded dissolve and the other having the complete dissolve. It looked better, but as soon as the transition started, the color difference was noticeable.

My main question is, what is the best way to color correct a project that has embedded dissolves that you cannot change? Do you try and just color correct the entire project and not shot by shot (which is how I'd like to do it) or do you find ways through trial and error on where to cut clips and change the color balance? Is my only hope of getting really good color correcting results to keyframe each color correction through the dissolve. I am not trained in color correcting per se but I am interested to hear what each of you would do in a similar situation. Any advise or suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

Andrew S. Golden
President
Illusion Media LLC


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David Roth Weiss
Re: DV Project Remaster - Need Advice On Color Correcting
on Sep 9, 2011 at 8:14:13 pm

[Andrew Golden] "My main question is, what is the best way to color correct a project that has embedded dissolves that you cannot change?"

There is no perfect way to deal with this type of situation, and it has always been a problem with color correcting finished shows that were output to tape.

The only way to do the job is to do your best to make a cut at a point where both sides of the dissolve are pretty much obscured, then you grade both sides, then place a dissolve in between, and pray for the best. You may have to trim a few frames in either direction to get the best result.


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new tutorial: Prepare for a seamless transition to FCP X and OS X Lion
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Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Michael Gissing
Re: DV Project Remaster - Need Advice On Color Correcting
on Sep 9, 2011 at 11:42:51 pm

On shots with dissolves, you might try leaving that as one shot and keyframe the balance change over the dissolve. In either FCP 3WayCC or better in Color, you should be able to hide the change this way.


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Andrew Golden
Re: DV Project Remaster - Need Advice On Color Correcting
on Sep 12, 2011 at 3:21:30 pm

David and Michael,

Thanks for the advice. I thought that keyframe grading through the dissolves would be the only way to do a decent job. Most appreciated.

Andrew

Andrew S. Golden
President
Illusion Media LLC


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Nick Meyers
Re: DV Project Remaster - Need Advice On Color Correcting
on Sep 13, 2011 at 3:59:09 am

this is a question for Michael.

the last time i tried keyframing a grade in FCP i found it very difficult.
my main issue was changing the timing of the dynamic.
then i had to manually move many, many keyframes.

is there a simple way to move all of the 3-Way CC keyframes as one?

thanks,
nick


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Nick Meyers
Re: DV Project Remaster - Need Advice On Color Correcting
on Sep 12, 2011 at 5:51:17 am

"I actually cut the clips mid-way through the dissolve and used the Neat Video plugin to reduce the noise."

well there's your problem.
you will have to do those shots again with the complete dissolve.

either export with both shots + the dissolve as one clip,
or shot 1 + whole dissolve and shot 2 + whole dissolve as two separate clips
either way you need the handle to grade thru the dissolve.


nick


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Andrew Golden
Re: DV Project Remaster - Need Advice On Color Correcting
on Sep 12, 2011 at 3:55:42 pm

Hey Nick,

Thanks for responding. I cut the clips midway through the dissolve in order to get the best out of the Neat Video de-noise plugin (which worked the best when cutting midway through the dissolve and applying the de-noise filter to each clip separately. The final video looks much better than when I did it any other way. Even better when rendered in the Pro-res timeline.

Yes, for color grading, having the cut midway through the dissolve didn't work very well as I mentioned in my initial post. I also tried having the dissolve on one end and that didn't work well either. The only way I have found that produces decent results is to keyframe the grading through the dissolve as David and Michael have suggested above. I will have to do this for all 26 shots as they all transition through a dissolve. Thanks.

Andrew

Andrew S. Golden
President
Illusion Media LLC


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Nick Meyers
Re: DV Project Remaster - Need Advice On Color Correcting
on Sep 13, 2011 at 3:53:03 am

hi Andrew.

you could have gotten the same results no matter where you cut the clips, as you can easily choose which frame neat video analyses.

then you would simply dissolve from one graded shot to the next graded shot.
no keyframing

even if you match the grades, you may get a bump in the noise levels on mis-matched clips because you have no hanldes / overlap


nick


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