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Brad Champagne
Color Correction
on Oct 12, 2011 at 1:17:09 am

So I'm working with a friend that is fairly proficient in using the program "Color" to color correct my 15 minute short. We did some correction on it and then watched it on a few different high-def flat screens to see what it might look like during a screening and it looked over saturated, much more than what we were seeing on his MacBook Pro screen and more than I wanted for the film. So, we went back to "Color" and took the saturation down to make up for it.

When I see the movie on the computer screen it doesn't look the way I want it to and my fear is that only versions of the movie that are screened on these high-def screens are going to look right, not a version I make for the web or any other medium. How does everyone usually handle this issue? What's a standard for getting the film to look the way you want it across different mediums? Is it common to make several different versions of the color correction?


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Shane Ross
Re: Color Correction
on Oct 12, 2011 at 1:55:58 am

[Brad Champagne] "How does everyone usually handle this issue? "

Well, you need to use Color properly. And by that I mean, you need external monitoring. Color is designed to work with IO cards/devices (AJA, BlackMagic Design, Matrox) and broadcast monitors...or good HDTVs. Without those, you aren't seeing a proper image. The Viewer in Color is not accurate at all...it isn't designed to be. It is only designed to show you what footage you are on.

In order to properly color correct, and see your results accurately, you need an IO device and at least an HDTV. Your cheapest options are the BMD Decklink Intensity Pro and Matrox MXO2 Mini....and good HDTV.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Brad Champagne
Re: Color Correction
on Oct 12, 2011 at 2:12:33 am

That all makes sense. When we did the color correction we outputted to an HDTV and got the film to look the way I intended. What I'm concerned about the is the way it plays on my computer screen. When I export the film for showing on Vimeo or any other internet medium I'd like the film to look right but the picture on the computer is different than on the HDTV so my fear is that if viewed on the net the film won't look right.


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Shane Ross
Re: Color Correction
on Oct 12, 2011 at 8:21:56 am

[Brad Champagne] "When we did the color correction we outputted to an HDTV and got the film to look the way I intended."

HOw so? What is your signal path? From the mac to the HDTV via...?

[Brad Champagne] "When I export the film for showing on Vimeo or any other internet medium I'd like the film to look right but the picture on the computer is different than on the HDTV so my fear is that if viewed on the net the film won't look right."

It will look a little different...true. But it won't look like what you see in the Color Viewer. because, again, that isn't accurate at all. the best you can do is make it look good on the TV. That is the best possible representation of the footage.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Alex Elkins
Re: Color Correction
on Oct 12, 2011 at 5:38:43 pm

Hi Brad,

If something looks good on your HDTV, it doesn't necessarily mean that what you're seeing is actually right - without accurate monitoring during the colour correction stage you're simply guessing.

To give it some context by way of an extreme example, let's say your HDTV is set up so that the picture is incredibly blue because at one point you turned the blue up on the TV. Now when you're doing your colour correction on your MacBook Pro it looks ok, but when you look at it on the HDTV the picture is all blue.
So what do you do? You change the colour correction by adding a load of red to your clips to compensate for the blue-ness of the HDTV. Now it looks great on the TV, but terrible on the MacBook Pro. The problem is you've no way of knowing which screen is actually the most accurate.
The solution to this dilemma is to monitor your video using a screen that has been calibrated to be completely accurate. Color sends the video signal to the monitor via the hardware that Shane has mentioned (Blackmagic, Matrox etc). By judging your colours on this screen you know that regardless of what the video looks like on your computer screen or incredibly blue HDTV, the picture on the calibrated monitor is accurate.

Now I'm sure your HDTV isn't set up to be all blue, but my point is that without monitoring on a professionally calibrated screen you're only ever guessing, because each screen is going to be slightly different.
The free option is to attempt to calibrate your HDTV as accurately as possible, and use that as your 'professional' monitor.
The next step up would be to hire the relevant equipment for a day just to do your final colour correction pass as best you can.
The best (and expensive) solution is to take your film to a post house and hire a professional colourist to finish your film.

Lots of options, but unfortunately only the expensive option guarantees anything.

Alex Elkins
Twitter: @postbluetv
http://www.PostBlue.tv
View Post Blue showreel
Shot on RED @ 100fps, Post on FCP/Color: Capoeira Film


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Ken Robinson
Re: Color Correction
on Oct 13, 2011 at 8:47:56 pm

I would like to throw another bomb into the mix!

I am working on a TV series here in Patagonia. You can imagine what the budget is like, so its FCP to Color using Apple Prores 422. I am using some LG computer screens calibrated with a Spyder 3 elite (well at least I have something!!).

All well and good if you take the following into account:

There is a gamma shift between Color and FCP, and now the BIG one... Render all to APRes 422, playback in Quicktime 10... AND CRY... It all turns magenta-er-ish! The file isnt corrupt, becuase if I reopen with FCP, its exactly as it should be.

So what codec are you rendering and in what are you playing back?

Having spent the last 30 years as a pro colourist on daVincis, Pogles, Lustres... The way I am working is ok, even without an expensive monitor (here they cost more than double than the US).

Ken Robinson
Flight4 Media


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Color Correction
on Oct 13, 2011 at 9:38:03 pm

[Ken Robinson] "There is a gamma shift between Color and FCP"

Not true! There are professionals all around the world using Color who do not share that experience, myself included.

You clearly have an issue with the calibration of your computer monitors even though you used a Spyder. That's not at all uncommon BTW. I own a Spyder myself, and though it might work well enough for apps like Photoshop, Spyders are completely useless for calibrating for video playback.

To properly calibrate computer monitors to get them even close to the proper settings on a broadcast monitor or TV, you absolutely have to have a properly calibrated reference monitor nearby for comparison, and you have to spend a lot of time adjusting the computer monitor to get it closely mirror a true video monitor, as the two types of monitors display both color and luminance quite differently.

[Ken Robinson] " Render all to APRes 422, playback in Quicktime 10... AND CRY... It all turns magenta-er-ish! The file isnt corrupt, becuase if I reopen with FCP, its exactly as it should be."

No one, I repeat, no one uses Quicktime 10 professionally. If you search this forum you will find instructions for installing legacy Quicktime 7.x, which is absolutely necessary for anyone using FSC 3. Quicktime 10 has innumerable issues.

[Ken Robinson] "Having spent the last 30 years as a pro colourist on daVincis, Pogles, Lustres... The way I am working is ok, even without an expensive monitor (here they cost more than double than the US). "

You've already stated that you're seeing enormous discrepancies between FCP and Color, which indicate that the way you're working is not as okay as you may think.

Calibrating computer monitors for color grading is a real bitch, I assure you, but it is possible. I've had the guys here from Flanders Scientific whose monitors are calibrated with a probe costing $28K, and my Dell computer monitors were adjusted so closely to the FSI broadcast monitor that I could grade with them if forced to, and certainly without adjusting for any gamma issues between FCP and Color.

The bottom line is, the output of Apple Color is not forked-up as you've stated, and I would say with great confidence that you and the original poster are both clearly suffering from improperly calibrated computer monitors that have you guessing where the problems lay.

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

Don't miss my new Creative Cow Podcast: Bringing "The Whale" to the Big Screen:
http://library.creativecow.net/weiss_roth_david/Podcast-Series-2-MikeParfit...

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Ken Robinson
Re: Color Correction
on Oct 13, 2011 at 10:55:29 pm

[David Roth Weiss] Not true! There are professionals all around the world using Color who do not share that experience, myself included.

Then there are many that I have found that do have the gamma issue between FCP and Color.
Why do I have an issue of calibration? It doesnt have anything to do with the gamma shift. May I state here that I am talking about a luminance change NOT a colour change.
I have tested my calibration by checking on calibrated HD Plasmas and HD CRT's via Scratch. More than pleasantly surprised I was!


[David Roth Weiss] To properly calibrate computer monitors to get them even close to the proper settings on a broadcast monitor or TV, you absolutely have to have a properly calibrated reference monitor nearby for comparison, and you have to spend a lot of time adjusting the computer monitor to get it closely mirror a true video monitor, as the two types of monitors display both color and luminance quite differently.

What reference monitors are you using? We could have a very long debate on that one as well, as they have spectral issues between manufacturers....


[David Roth Weiss] No one, I repeat, no one uses Quicktime 10 professionally.

Agreed, my bad.

[David Roth Weiss] You've already stated that you're seeing enormous discrepancies between FCP and Color, which indicate that the way you're working is not as okay as you may think.

No, I said that there is a gamma shift, NOT HUGE discrepancies, which I take account for in Color, when grading.

[David Roth Weiss] Calibrating computer monitors for color grading is a real bitch, I assure you, but it is possible. I've had the guys here from Flanders Scientific whose monitors are calibrated with a probe costing $28K, and my Dell computer monitors were adjusted so closely to the FSI broadcast monitor that I could grade with them if forced to, and certainly without adjusting for any gamma issues between FCP and Color.

Agreed that calibration is tricky, but not impossible.... My system (apart from the Color FCP gamma thing) works well, as I can take my images to any PP house and they stand up to the test.


[David Roth Weiss] The bottom line is, the output of Apple Color is not forked-up as you've stated, and I would say with great confidence that you and the original poster are both clearly suffering from improperly calibrated computer monitors that have you guessing where the problems lay.

Totally disagree... Most of the problems lie in the non standard codecs and playback software that people use. It's impossible that a gamma curve change between FCP and Color, when using the same computer and monitors for both, is down to monitor calibration.

Right... I am off to reinstall QT7... So thank you for jogging my memory on that one... And solving my problem!

Ken Robinson
Flight4 Media


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Shane Ross
Re: Color Correction
on Oct 13, 2011 at 11:30:37 pm

Without external monitoring...via a capture card to a broadcast monitor or HDTV...you won't see an accurate image at all. Color's VIEWER isn't accurate...it isn't designed to be. It is, in fact, very INACCURATE. And FCP's Canvas...also not accurate. Not designed to be. So no matter how your computer monitors are calibrated, you will not see an accurate image in FCP or Color. ONLY on an external HDTV or broadcast monitor with a proper video signal path.

Which currently, you don't have.

Shane

GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Ken Robinson
Re: Color Correction
on Oct 14, 2011 at 2:29:41 am

You are right... Except that you can get away with FCP and Color in the way that we are using it, it without a high end monitor and some sort of breakout box.

If the amount of money that is being paid in this part of the world to actually do the post production was sufficient to support all this ancillary gear, then I wouldn't be using Color at all!

The point is: that if you are on a budget and you can check your o/p in a post house and it looks in the ball park, all is well.

I would never in a gazillian years attempt a D.I. or anything more than low budget work using this type of work flow.

Saludos, and thank you for your extremely helpful input!

Ken Robinson
Flight4 Media


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