The Blu•ray Blues

HD-DVD is dead!

Long live Blu•ray??

Not so fast. In the current issue of Digital Production Buzz's newsletter (I'd link to the actual piece but the content is refreshed every week) Larry Jordan lays out the costs of replicating on Blu•ray. I knew the costs were high since the Blu•ray spec requires copyright protection - and not just for Hollywood movies but also for your HDV baby pictures.

Or your demo reel.

How much? Here's Larry's breakdown:
  • $2,500 : License Fee to author and distribute Blu•ray
  • $3,000 : One-time fee to AACS. (I think this is billed per production company / individual)
  • $1,585 : Per complete Blu•ray project
  • $.04 : Four cents per disc. Fee paid to AACS
  • $.01 : One penny per disc paid to Sony to handle all these payments on your behalf
So, for your first project licensing alone will cost $7,085. That's in addition to the actual costs of replication/duplication and packaging that we're already used to paying.


If you were wondering why Sony spread their dollars around so liberally to pay off movie studios, you've got your answer.

It looks like Blu•ray is going to be the exclusive domain of the Studios. I guess the rest of us will have to settle for HD-DVD on standard DVD 5's (except that the players won't be made anymore).

Oh, and who is AACS? Just a couple of guys named IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, Walt Disney, and Warner Bros...

Huh. Suddenly this is starting to make sense...

UPDATE: The Avid-L list was on this discussion a week or so ago. It seems there is some compatibility issues with duplicated (not replicated) Bluray discs depending on the authoring software and the playback machines (which, of course, also bypasses all the fees detailed above). Apparently some Bluray players want to see a copy protection folder, even if it is empty and some authoring apps don't put those folders on their burns.

Don't ask me to confirm this... calls have only now just started to trickle in to our sister company Dubs by Pam asking about Bluray duplication. But this blog is named the Finishing Line and for many clients, delivery will soon become straight-to-DVDBluray.

- pi

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How To Talk To A Colorist

DV Magazine has a nice article titled DV 101: How to Talk to A Colorist:

"[T]he first session with a real colorist can be a bit intimidating for the novice filmmaker. Understanding the basics of what is possible and what the colorist is doing to manipulate the image will help alleviate some of the trepidations you might have going in for your first session."

After going through some basic terminology and example grades the author, Jay Holben, offers up this stellar piece of advice,

"It’s a good idea to start with a defining shot for a particular sequence... but the most important shot for the scene is the close-up of the actress that happened to be the 10th shot for the day. It’s a good idea to start with that 10th shot, establish the look that you want for the sequence on that hero shot and then have the colorist go back and match the rest of the sequence to that key shot."

Sage advice. The whole article is a good read for anyone new to color correction.

Hat Tip: Ted Langdell via Telecine Internet Group email list

- pi

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Tip: Managing Grades in Color

Quick refresh: In Color you can save your color corrections in two manners. First, you can save your Primary In, Secondary, ColorFX tree, and Primary Out settings individually. Color calls these "corrections". I tend not to save out my corrections. No reason, other than it gets to be a lot to manage. The exception is ColorFX trees. I tend to save those corrections.

Second, you can save everything you've done to a shot - Primaries, Secodaries, ColorFX, and Geometry Room - collectively as a single file. Color calls those "Grades". I use grades extensively. Organizing grades tends to be fairly straight forward. Park on the shot whose grade you want to save, go into the Setup Room (under the Grades tab) and type in the name of your grade. Typically you'd name it something meaningful, "attorney_v001" for instance.


When you're finished with your show you might have a list of saved grades that looks something like this:


You'll notice I have all my grades grouped together by names. eric_ruddy_couch has several variations followed by eric_2shot, also with several variations. And so on... resulting in all my Eric grades staying grouped together - and then sub-grouped by scene, angle, etc. No rocket science here. Pretty basic stuff.

But what happens when the number of grades you want to save for retrieval quickly expands beyond your ability to come up with meaningful descriptive names?

This happened to me recently on doc that had 3 main subjects - but also a few dozen repeating interviews . There was no way I was going to individually name each and every setup. But at the same time, I needed a way to quickly find a saved grade for each subject.

I started by (1) switching the Grade bin to Icon view and (2) allowing Color to Autoname my grades.

Color's auto-naming system is less than useful. As you'll see in the following image Color uses a Date/Timestamp to generate names (thus the need to work in Thumbnail View):


And yet, in the midst of its generic naming style how did I keep my grades organized by location and sub-grouped by person?


The answer: I used the Unix-style file name quick-fill feature that can be accessed in most Save dialog boxes on OS X.

Here's how it works in this context:

1. After switching into the Grade bin, decide where you want the Grade to show up inside your bin. If you want it at the end of the bin, then simply accept the auto-generated name from Color. It'll be placed at the end of the line.

2. If you want to place a Grade specifically next to another thumbnail simply highlight - DON'T double-click - just highlight / single-click the Grade. The name of that grade will automatically fill the File Name box.

3. Move your cursor to just before the .colorgrade extension and append it with a number. I usually start with the number 2 (applause, applause), from there I'll increment upwards.

If I want to sub-group I'll append my numbers with letters so that datetimestamp2a falls between datetimestamp2 and datetimestamp3.

The other side-benefit of this naming style - it's fast.

I'm not sure, but if this post reads confusing post a comment and I'll try to clear it up.

- pi

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