From Dailies to Finish in Assimilate Scratch 7

Post Production Workflows – Assimilate Scratch 7

Assimilate Scratch 7 is a high end 4K ‘Creative DI’ tool designed to cover every aspect of your post production workflow. Assimilate describes it as:

The first real-time, client-attended toolset in the industry to marry dailies, conform, editing, color grading, titling, 3D compositing and finishing into a single, consistent interface.

For all that finishing goodness you do have to pay a high price at $20,000 for a full license or you can rent it for a month for $2,100. If you want to see why that might just be worth it, check out these previous posts on technical artists using Scratch.

Studio Daily has a short but detailed interview with DIT and Colorist Mark Wilenkin on making the most of the ACES (Academy Color Encoding Specification) workflow in Assimilate Scratch.

[ACES] gives a far better-looking image from the get-go on raw material than the LUT-based color workflows we’ve been used to. ACES automatically adjusts the raw data of the files, based on the color temperature and ISO setting of the shot, to the target deliverable color space.

Anatomy of a 4K Feature

In this hour long webinar composed of a ten minute ‘re-broadcast’ of an event originally at RED Studios plus a discussion from director Jeremy Torrie and colorist and DI Artist Gary Jackemuck on what it takes to shoot and post a feature in 4K whilst also doing the finishing remotely. There is also a tutorial walk through of using Scratch with 4K material plus a good 15 minutes of Q&A to finish.

HD-DSLR Workflow

This 12 minute tutorial from Sherif Sadek demonstrates how you can use Scratch 7 to ingest HD-DSLR media, insert timecode and reel numbers into the files, transcode them for an offline edit and then re-conform that edit back to the original media. Sherif uses Scratch Lab in this tutorial which is aimed at DIT’s and edit assistants to use for comprehensive dailies creation. You can even rent a license at $50 a day.

Sony F5/55/65 – Shoot, Cut & Colour

In this second Scratch 7 webinar DP Tomas Tucker and Colorflow colorist Alex Maclean walk through how to use Scratch to manage each camera’s footage taking it through compositing, grading and finishing. It’s a really detailed webinar and if you’re thinking of using any of these camera’s its a great webinar chock full of deeply technical detail.

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Diary of an Avid Switcher Part 6 – MC7 New Features

Diary of an Avid Switcher Part 6 – Media Composer 7 New Features

Media Composer 7 New Features

It’s been a while since my last installment of my Diary of an Avid Switcher and a lot has happened in the mean time. First of all Avid has released Media Composer 7 with a whole host of new features for a $299 upgrade price (£265 in the UK – again more expensive than the US).

This post will cover all the new features plus a few things I had to grapple with in finally finishing my first ever film cut on the hallowed Avid (version 6.5).

New features in MC7

There are loads of new features in Media Composer 7 including background rendering, dynamic media folders and FrameFlex for working with high res media. For a 4 minute overview of the best new features in MC7 check out Alex Walker’s overview above.

New Features in MC 7

Editor Wim Van Den Broeck has tweeted 25 images, each highlighting a new feature in MC7 which editor Dylan Reeve has handily compiled on his site. Wim has also produced a series short videos explaining the 10 top changes in MC7. (Click the playlist button for the rest of the series.)

Steve Hullfish on Pro Video Coalition has highlighted a few of his favourite features including some of the new audio features with plenty of handy explanatory images too. In a second post Steve provides a detailed walk through the new ‘spanned markers’, covering the good the bad and the ugly. Its a helpfully balanced review that’s well worth a read.

Spanned Markers in MC7

Click through for more new features, Round tripping to Resolve, exporting quicktimes with multi-channel audio and even more funny gifs!

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DaVinci Resolve 9 & 10 Round Up

DaVinci Resolve 9 & 10 Round Up

There have finally been a few more walk throughs of the up coming DaVinci Resolve 10, hitting the internet, so here they are for your enjoyment. You can check out previous demos in this post.

DaVinci Resolve 10 Walkthrough

In this 42 minute run through Alexis Van Hurkman demos ‘a pretty big tip of the iceberg’ of Resolve 10′s new features at the recent LACPUG meet up. It is interesting to note that his source NLE is FCPX. Obviously the biggest new features are Resolve’s online editing capabilities. also has an interview with Stuart Ashton, director of EMEA for Blackmagic Design, on his perspective on the upcoming features in Resolve 10, including an end to end RAW workflow and Live on set grading.

Using an I/O device, onset colorists can view the feed coming of the camera directly in to Resolve’s grading window. The colorist can now work with the DOP, lighting director, and staging and makeup artist to ensure that every single part of the production process is working together to achieve the final look of the production before a single frame of content has been captured.

DaVinci Resolve 9 Tips & Tutorials

Colourist and VFX Supervisor Gray Marshall is back with another great tip on the differences between serial, parallel and layer nodes inside Resolve.

Warren Eagles from the ICA has this quick tip on how to copy tracking data from one node to another – very handy! Warren also answered a question on the Lift Gamma Gain forum on how to apply film grain to a whole track, rather than one clip at a time.

Grading Different Cameras To Match

Matching Camera formats in Resolve 9

The FStop Academy has a great two part blog-post on how to grade several different camera formats (C100, C300, BMDCC, 5D MII, NEX 5n) inside FCPX and then in Resolve. You’ll need to click through to the Fstop site as the videos are cannot be embedded here. It’s a great walk through of a solution for a very common problem. As a starting point Den works from a Pro Res master file chopped up using scene detection.

Building a Powerful Resolve Hackintosh

DaVinci Resolve Hackintosh

If you’ve download DaVinci Resolve Lite, full of excitement at grading your latest edit only to find that its really hard to get decent playback on a vintage laptop, (and you don’t want to wait for the new Mac Pro) then you might want to consider building your own hackintosh workstation.

London DoP Adam Roberts has created a powerful thunderbolt enabled personal grading machine for £2350, assembled from carefully selected parts with his BMDCC in mind. His machine will handle up to 16 blur nodes with real-time playback (compared to a Macbook Pro which drops to 7fps with 4 blur nodes). You can read all about it in this detailed 3 part blog series, which walks you through each stage of the build. If you like Adam’s machine then you can simply build one yourself from the parts list.

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The First Full Feature Digital Intermediate

Colour Grading O’Brother Where Art Thou

The Coen Brothers and DP Roger Deakins embarked on the first ever full feature film digital intermediate for O’Brother Where Art Thou, back in 2001. In this 10 minute behind the scenes featurette you get to see how they did it, plus insights into the photochemical process. It’s a great history lesson on how to push the envelope for what we now all take for granted. At the very end of the video Deakins also accurately predicts the demise of film and the rise of digital.

For more insights into feature film colour grading check out these posts:

Colour Grading A Fincher Film (Panic & Se7en)

Colour Grading Peter Jackson Movies (LoTR & King Kong)

For more great filmmaking DVD extras check out this round up of the best I’ve seen.

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Editor Christopher Tellefsen In Interview

Film Editor Christopher Tellefsen In Interview

Christopher Tellefsen in Interview

Oscar nominated film editor Christopher Tellefsen is fast becoming one of my favourite editors having cut so many great films like Smoke, Blue in the Face, The People Vs Larry Flint, Man on the Moon, The Village, Capote and Moneyball (for which he got his Oscar nomination). Here is around up of interviews with Tellefsen on his approach to the craft.

Christopher Tellefsen in Conversation

This interview comes from the AOTG archives and comes from The Edit Fest NY discussion with Bobbie O’Steen focusing on his approach to cutting Metropolitan.

Here Tellefsen joins the crew of Moneyball on DP/30 to discuss the film. You can also read an interview/scene breakdown with Tellefsen on the NY Times blog page again on Moneyball. (Which by the way is based a really great book by Michael Lewis.)

EdiFestT NY

These gems come from Tellefsen’s EditFest NY workshop. If you live in/near NY you’d be crazy to miss these opportunities to hear from great editors on their craft!

Click through for more great editing insights

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DaVinci Resolve 10 & Tutorial Round Up

DaVinci Resolve 10 & Grading Tutorials

DaVinci Resolve 10

In the aftermath of NAB 2013 I collected together everything I could find on DaVinci Resolve 10, including several demos and interviews so do check out that post when you get done with this one. (If you want more on NAB and colour grading check out this post)

This week Redshark News posted this five page article featuring an in-depth run through of all the new features in Resolve 10 with Richard Lim and Bob Caniglia from Blackmagic Design, including the new online editor and live grading functionality. A great read!

Free App To Collect Footage For Resolve

Editor and Colorist Nickolai Waldman has created a free app for use with DaVinci Resolve which allows your to selectively copy the just the footage you need from a RAID or NAS (Network Attached Storage) based on a EDL workflow through Resolve. Nickolai also provides a step by step guide on how to use it.

Free App For DaVinci Resolve

Round Tripping With Resolve

The latest Coloristo’s podcast features a great ‘insiders’ discussion of how to get your project into and out of Resolve from FCP7, Media Composer and Premiere Pro. They also discuss whether round tripping is really what you want to do in the first place.

I have previously blogged about how to do just this with a collection of tutorials on how to round trip with each of the aforementioned NLEs.

Colour Grading Techniques

Larry Jordan recently delivered this 25 minute presentation on colour grading within FCPX with a focus on how to read the scopes inside FCPX to grade accurately.

Copying a Look With Keyframes

Warren Eagles from the International Colorist Academy, shares a quick tip on how to copy a grade with 2 keyframed shapes from one clip to another using the Auto Keyframer.

3 Strip Technicolour Look

3 Strip Technicolor Look in DaVinci Resolve

John Burkhart has written up a fairly detailed step by step guide on how to create a classic 3 strip Technicolor look within DaVinci Resolve using some free Cinema DNG footage from a BMDCC. He also includes a free download of the project file. A great lesson in replicating a vintage film stock look.

Colorist Questions & Answers

Color Grading Q+A

Alexis Van Hurkman provides a detailed technical answer to what (if any) differences exist between the common grading controls and what they all mean. There is also an answer to the question about orders of operations for luma curves. Interesting geek fodder, that people like me love to read. In another post Alexis tackles how to manage an entire grade and whether you should balance all your shots in the first pass and then apply your ‘look’ later, or do it all at once. If you have questions, email them to Alexis.

When considering clipping and compression in a linear series of image adjustment operations, you should get used to thinking about individual adjustments in terms of whether they preserve or discard image detail. Then, choosing whether you want to apply an adjustment to the pre-clipped data or the post-clipped data is a creative choice, as there could be completely valid reasons for doing one or the other. This is true for contrast operations, color operations, and operations for sharpening or blurring the image.

Posted in Adobe Premiere Pro, AVID, Colour Grading, Craft, DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro, Tutorials, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colour Grading Craft Stories

Stories on the Art & Craft of Colour Grading

Colour Grading Oblivion

Although its relatively easy to find a wealth of technical and how-to information about colour grading online, finding articles on the art and craft of creating a look for a feature or TV show is a bit harder. Here are few that I’ve stumbled across lately.

Colour Grading Oblivion - The Technicolor blog has this interview with Colorist Mike Sowa about his work on the film, and collaborating with director Joseph Kosinski:

The Look of Oblivion started with the trailer. I sat with the director (Joe Kosinski) and the DP ( Claudio Miranda), who just won an Oscar for his work on Life of Pi, to set the Looks for the whole movie. It was a great way to set the different Looks we used right at the beginning. Of course, trailers tend to be a bit more saturated and higher in contrast than the movie, but those Looks set the tone.

 Colour Grading The Great Gatsby - Phil Sandberg posted this short write up about Colorist Adrian Hauser’s work on the film. It’s a great read with plenty of technical and artistic detail about the 5 months of work Cutting Edge spent on the project.

“Baz has an amazingly sensitive eye for color detail, so a large part of the process was to set styles that retained these color nuances in low 3D cinema light levels, which can tend to bleach color from the screen and make things appear dingy. Baz’s Great Gatsby is a modern retelling of a classic tale and I believe the graded result is a hybrid between the look of classic cinema with its gorgeous color reproduction processes and recently matured digital cinema technology.”

Colour Grading The Great Gatsby

The last part of this grading craft stories comes from The Mixing Light blog, courtesy of Robbie Carman, which offers some sage advice about how best to work collaboratively with clients and directors. Its important to be able to strike a delicate balance of creative input and customer service.

My role, and I would argue your role as a colorist, is to not convince clients that your way is better than their way, but rather to interpret their vision and combine it with your own.

Colour Grading Advice

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How To Be A DIT – Part 5

Resources for New DITs

In this 5th round up of online resources for DIT’s (Digital Image Technicians) editors and colourists who need to understand more about colour science, workflows and data wrangling apps.

DIT’s are supposed to be able to bridge the gap between production and post, understanding the entire pipeline that a digital image might flow through right from the sensor to the silver screen. Getting to grips with some of the science that affects those images is a crucial skill. Hopefully these resources will aide you in that endeavour.

Understanding ACES

Andrew McKee has a good introduction to the ACES colour space and a simple workflow involving DaVinci Resolve and a piece of ARRIRAW footage that you could test out for yourself.

The main point of ACES is that, as colour space, it contains the entire visible spectrum with plenty of leeway to push brightness and colours back and forth without ever clipping values.

Understanding Display Gamma & Gamma Correction

Understanding Gamma Correction

Wolfcrow has a great summary of the differences between display gamma and gamma correction and although its quite technically detailed its worth getting to grips with. Click through to see some images with different gamma applied to see what this is all about.

When you increase gamma (pull the curve down) you are mapping more values into the dark regions, and the image goes darker. When you reduce gamma (pushing the curve up) you are mapping more values into the lighter regions, and the image looks lighter. Whether or not the image will have anything to display depends on its dynamic range and ‘strength of data’. You can’t go overboard with this.

Click through for lots more on REDLogFilm, DIT Tools, Carts & Tutorials

Posted in Arri Alexa, DaVinci Resolve, DIT, Editor's Tools, Free download, RED, Tutorials, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Star Trek: Into Darkness – Post Production

Inside Star Trek: Into Darkness Post Production

StarTrek Into Darkness Post

If you enjoyed JJ Abrams fun filled Star Trek sequel and wanted a closer look at some of the post production that went into the film then this round up should have all the bases covered, from editorial to sound design. If you’ve not seen the film yet, you probably want to bookmark this post for later to avoid any spoilers!

Editing Star Trek Into Darkness

If you haven’t yet seen the Avid Rough Cut webinar held at Bad Robot then you’ve been missing out. The video above played before the webinar which you can watch now on this link. It’s a great opportunity to get an inside detailed look at Bad Robot’s facility and hear some of the challenges the team faced in finishing the film.

Studio Daily also have a great interview with the films two co-editors Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey (who also cut the first Star Trek, Mission Impossible 3 and Alias) in which they share plenty of great details about the film and working with JJ.

How do you collaborate? Do you work on the same scenes alternately or simultaneously?

MM: Neither. We divide up the movie and Maryann has her section and I have mine. When the film is all cut together we do make comments on the overall film, and that involves us both commenting on the other’s work. This is the stage when we try to figure out where the film is working and where it’s slow or where characters aren’t coming across as they need to. But we never cut on each other’s sequences. We maintain ownership all the way through of our sections.

Update: Studio Daily has another follow up article on the post production work on the film, this time focusing on the constantly updated 5.1 surround sound temp mixes and the 3D work.

“J.J. has been wanting to do more of a finished 5.1 temp mix on his last few movies and the technology just hasn’t been there. Now that they have the ability to edit 5.1 directly in the software, we used it so much and it was so extremely helpful.”

For a overview of how you can edit 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound tracks in Media Composer check out this 10 minute Avid tutorial.

Visual Effects on Star Trek Into Darkness

FX Guide has a brilliantly in-depth article on the visual effects work that went into the film including details on the opening planet Nibiru sequence, the attack on the star fleet headquarters, Kronos and all the space ships flying around in space and much more. It’s well worth a read and a watch of all the embedded behind the scenes clips. There’s also plenty of links to other great Star Trek content.

Creating lens flares, in stereo: Established in Abrams’ first Star Trek as part of that film’s visual style, lens flares are again a feature of Into Darkness. ILM had to ensure this time around they also worked in stereo. To do that, explains co-visual effects supervisor Pat Tubach, they would break the flares into different components “and try to separate out what seems like a piece of the light. For instance, if you have a light on a ship that’s pretty far away, you want to be able to tell the difference between what you would expect to be attached to the light and what is attached to the volume.”

Star Trek Into Darkness Special Effects

UPDATE: Andrews Kramer of Video CoPilot fame has released this 6 minute video all about the final title design that he created for the film. It’s a great demo of Andrew’s talents inside After Effects and his custom plugins Element 3D and Optical Flare.

Composing Star Trek Into Darkness

Tim Simonec is a Music Conductor and Orchestrator who has worked with composer Michael Giacchino on projects including “video games such as Medal of Honor, Call of Duty; TV series like Alias, LOST, Fringe; and feature films, The Incredibles, Mission Impossible 3, Star Trek, UP, and most recently, Super 8, MI4: Ghost Protocol, and John Carter. For his arrangement of the end-titles of UP, Tim was nominated for a Grammy.”

Its a really interesting look at a role that doesn’t traditionally get covered in behind the scenes featurettes.

5.1 Temp Mixing on Star Trek Into Darkness

This marvellously in-depth tutorial from Editor and Assistant Editor Evan Schiff explains in great detail how he and the Bad Robot team used Avid Media Composer’s 5.1 surround sound mixing capabilities to create “the most complex temp soundtrack ever contained within 16 mono tracks.” It’s a fascinating ‘how-to’ read and well worth a look.

Surround Sound Mixing on a Feature film

Graphic Design on Star Trek Into Darkness

Star Trek Into Darkness

If you’re a geek for all the UI design seen through out the film then you’ll love this post from Inventing Interactive which features an interview with Jorge Almeida on his work on the film. It is a fascinating interview, packed with plenty of concept drawings, early versions and technical production details.

My goal with the HUD was to minimize the interface as much as possible. I wanted to frame it around the actors face in a way that didn’t feel too tech. I was trying to make it feel soothing, with a steady pulse- that way the animation had somewhere to go when things get dangerous.

Update: PVC also have a good post on the various uses of After Effects throughout the post-production of the film, featuring interviews with some of the artists featured in this post.

UI Design on Star Trek Into Darkness

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Diary of An Avid Switcher Part 5 – Upgrades, Audio & Effects

How To Upgrade Avid Media Composer

So in practice for the anticipated installation of Avid Media Composer 7 I’ve decided to actually update my Avid installation to MC As always with Avid nothing is as simple as it could be, so here is a quick guide on how to upgrade your Avid Media Composer installation.

Upgrading Avid Media ComposerThe general workflow is:

0. Write down your system ID

1. Deactivate your licence

2. Uninstall Avid

3. Re-install Avid

4. Reactivate your license

To find your system ID load up Media Composer then go to: Avid Media Composer > About Avid Media Composer. You’ll see your System ID on the right handside of the branded Avid launch image. Scribble it down.

To deactivate your current installation of Media Composer from within the program go to Special > Deactivate Software License. You will need to be online to be able to do this.

Next head to Applications > Avid Uninstallers and run the uninstaller. You will want to have all the boxes checked for a straight forward update.

Download the update you’re upgrading to from the Avid site and run the installation.  Once installed the next time you launch AMC it will ask you to reactivate your license, do that and then you’re done. Phew!

Avid’s official docs for this can be found hereDirect download to the installation guide. Oh and one final thing – thanks to Scott Simmons for point this out – you should, of course back up your custom settings before uninstalling. Here is a handy settings guide. On a mac your User settings are located here. (Along with your Avid Attic)

MacHD> Users> Shared > AvidMediaComposer > Avid Users

Speaking of Scott he recently posted this great collection of tips on his Pro Video Coalition blog sourced from editor David Michael Maurer but helpfully expounded upon. Definitely worth a read by Avid editors of any calibre.

AVID MC Pro Tip: Want your VO to sound awesome?Add an AudioSuite Compressor/Limiter to it. Set Ratio to 8.0:1 and boost the Gain to taste.

— David Michael Maurer (@1982films) May 22, 2013

Media Composer & Boris FX

Adding Effects to Your Avid Project

So when you get Media Composer it comes with Avid FX a slightly lite version of Boris RED (as far as I can tell?). This was recently updated to version 6.3 and can be downloaded from here. So what do you do with this ‘in app’ titles and effects tool?

Well for some paid for training (looks a bit old?) you can hit the Boris FX site or for a searchable solution visit its user forum. For some freebies check out this free webinar presented by Steve Holyhead on creating ‘Everyday VFX’ in Media Composer which will take you through some Pan & Zoom techniques, creating a ‘beauty pass’ and a selection of effects from BCC 8.2. Although Steve is using Boris Continuum Complete 8.2 you can still learn plenty.

Click through for tutorials on motion tracking, color correction, audio clean up and more!

Posted in AVID, Colour Grading, Compositing, Editing, Editor's Tools, Free download, Sound Design, Tutorials, Workflow | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment