Sunday, May 29, 2011

On a Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Playtime.  For fun, I made a couple of grades up for footage on a recently completed film.  I love this work so much I think I could do it as a job.  Click on the images for larger sized versions.

For the first shot, an underwater shot, I was looking for drama.  My inspiration are the Turner storm paintings.  Two versions, one with more saturation.  I don't think I need to point out that the original shot is pretty awesome already.

Original (ungraded)

Test Grade (less sat)

Test Grade (more sat)

For this interview shot, I had two goals in mind.  The first was to really make the face pop from the background and, second, to give it more of a narrative, ominous look.

Original (ungraded)

Test Grade

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

And After All the Hard Work....

Are you sure you want to do that, Dave?

When I color grade for something that is going to be digitally projected on the big screen, I tell the Director, "remember, this is what it looks like, because even after all this work it may end up looking not-so-great at some of the screenings."  There are so many reasons, the projector was never set-up properly, the globe is too old,  an inadequate projector, ambient light in the auditorium.....Now you can add a new possibility to the list of uncontrollable exhibition variables that make you wake up in the middle of the night (yeah, I do tend to obsess about this stuff):  the theatre may project your 2D project through a 3D lens.  Hey, who'll notice that you've lost 85% of the original brightness?

This is a really interesting article.  Who knew that you need a password and "security clearance" to open a projector?  It also has a neat infographic that does a nice job of quickly explaining aspects of digital projection.

Yes, I know, people who have graded broadcast television for years are laughing at me.  Go to your local electronics retailer and look at the variations of the same image displayed on different brands and models of televisions.   And, yes, then there's the vivid mode setting.   Add to the mix wide variations in compression/bandwidth through different cable providers, Internet distribution and you quickly realize that you "do your best and forget the rest."

10/31/11 ADDENDUMThis article summarizes Sony's response to the claims of the article I cited. It was published a couple of days after I wrote this post. I first saw it this morning.  As it concludes, regardless as to who is at fault, sometimes the theatrical experience can sometimes less than satisfying despite all the hard work and good intentions of everyone involved.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Manufacturing Stoke Update

We're making good progress after a couple of set-backs. Day 1 took a turn for the worse after some sort of FCP/Color XML disaster (that's the guess anyway). In the end, even though Color saved the project and the grades while we were working, when we reopened it they were gone. Project archives were there for every project save, but none contained the grades. The grades were nowhere, we spent a fair amount of time, as you might guess, looking for them. Let's hope FCP X Suite, in addition to being awesome, also has an industrial grade structure supporting it.

Also, please, please, please, follow the sequence prep guidelines on my website. Some of them are essential. Certain things, say Tiff file dimensions, may crash Color before you can even open it. Also, there are those moments of disappointment when you get to important shots and need to keyframe an effect but cannot because there's a variable speed effect that hasn't been baked into the clip.

We are back on schedule, and things are looking really nice. The film makers are willing to take chances and have a clear vision of what they want their film to look like. Sweet.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Manufacturing Stoke

I'm in the grading room with the DP of the feature surfing documentary Manufacturing Stoke, Maximillian Schmige. We'll be grading it over the next several days, the premiere is May 21 in San Diego.  Gotta love doc folks, always living on the edge....I'm looking forward to this because Max is a very talented DP, the footage was shot with an artistic eye and he's also an all-around awesome person. 

Here's the (ungraded) trailer:

misfit pictures presents...
 World Premiere in San Diego, May 21st
 For more information,

I'll report back if anything interesting comes up.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

New Narrative Colorist Reel

There's a lot going on....I now offer SCRATCH as an option.  The image processing algorithm on it is amazing and it can handle pretty much any workflow.  It will be interesting how the new version looks when it comes out this summer.  It is supposed to be able to handle any codec, natively, end to end.

 I also put together my narrative colorist reel this past week.  I've gotten a lot of really great feedback on the documentary colorist reel I posted a few weeks back, thanks to everyone who took the time to view it.

Here is my 2011 Narrative Colorist Reel:

It is available for viewing at higher resolution here.  And, it also available in full 720P on Creative Cow.

I also want to put out a huge thank you to Carlo Kamin, who edited this.  He is an extraordinary editor with a broad range.  Check him out and hire will be happy you did.