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How to make Alexa footage look decent in the Timeline

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jeff weiser
How to make Alexa footage look decent in the Timeline
on Jan 20, 2012 at 6:08:28 pm

I have footage that was shot on the Arri Alexa in Apple Pro Res 444. Is there a way to color correct this when I bring it into the FCP timeline? It's washed out and obviously the data is there, but I'd like to edit with better looking footage. (more color and contrast).

Jeff Weiser
Directors Syndicate

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David Roth Weiss
Re: How to make Alexa footage look decent in the Timeline
on Jan 20, 2012 at 6:29:26 pm

If it's that important to your editing experience, you always can drop a 3-way color correction filter on every clip with a general overall correction before editing, though that's more often a pain in the butt than not, since every shot may have its own CC requirements.

Or, you can store a CC filter as a favorite and drop it on every clip you cut into your sequence as you go.

Or, if your simply doing an initial assembly edit, I'd simply tweak the monitor to cheat a look that makes you comfortable. Then when you're done you, or someone else, can do a proper CC. Clearly, if sending samples to the client as you progress is is important, cheating with a monitor change is not your best bet.

If none of the above work for you, then maybe FCPX, with it's CC on import feature may be a possibility for you, though personally I'd rather be hung upside down by my privates before going that route.

David Roth Weiss
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

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Shane Ross
Re: How to make Alexa footage look decent in the Timeline
on Jan 20, 2012 at 7:12:57 pm

Here's a link to read:

When I researched this for a friend, this is the workflow I came up with:

Step 1: Install the BlueBell Alexa Helper files –

Copy the .mga file to ~/Library/Application Support/Color/LUTs
Copy XML Tools.osax from XMLTools2.9.4.dmg to ~/Library/ScriptingAdditions

Step 2: Using Color to add the LUT to the footage –
- Make a project that will be only used to make these color corrected proxy files. This will be a throw away project…just used for importing the media.
- Import original LogC media to FCP, put it in a sequence and send it to Color.
- Then in Color select File -> Import -> Display LUT… and choose the LUT file provided.
- You can generate more custom LUTs on Arri website, they have a web app for it.
- Set the desired proxy format it SETUP room in Project Settings tab.
- Add all files in Render room and render it. Click yes in the warning dialog to render it with the LUT.
- Use File -> Export -> XML.. to export an XML file from Color
- Run Bluebell script, select the XML and the folder you what to put your proxies. It will rename rendered files to it's original names and moves them in the chosen folder. (When it says “moves them,” it means that it will ask you for the DESTINATION FOLDER. Make a footage folder on your MEDIA drive, add the name PROXY to the folder name, so that you know that is proxy media. Then when the script renames the media, it will copy it from the COLOR RENDERS folder to this location. You can then delete the Color Renders. Unless they are on the same drive as the new folder, in which case it will move the files, instead of copying them).
- Make a NEW project that will be the master project. Bring in all the color corrected footage, and second system audio, and sync your footage. Begin editing.

Step 3: Reconnecting to the master footage.
- When you have picture lock, duplicate the project file and call it LOCKED. This way you can have the OLD project that links to the Proxy files, and a new project that links to the full res media. Or you can make a new project and copy over the final locked sequence. That works too. Probably better…smaller size.
- Connect the drive with the ProRes 4444 media.
- Highlight the sequence and choose RECONNECT MEDIA. Skip the audio files, and any other files you don’t want to reconnect. Stick to reconnecting only the master ProRes 444 files.
- FCP will throw up a warning that the new media has more audio tracks than your current files. Just click OK to get past that. Boom, all your files will reconnect.
- Export what you need to export for the online.

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Michael Gissing
Re: How to make Alexa footage look decent in the Timeline
on Jan 21, 2012 at 12:47:47 am

Depending on how you are monitoring, you can put LUTs on the output of Kona3 cards. Not sure about Decklink or Matrox.

Basically you want to change the image gamma. This can be done in Compressor when you make an H264 output quicktime to send to the client so you can just adjust your monitor and then apply this filter to the whole quicktime when rendering. Adding any filters to the FCP timeline will mean lots of rendering while you edit.

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