Category: Color

NAB 2010 – Initial Thoughts

What are the big items that have caught my eye watching Twitter feeds and reading Press Releases on Day 1 of NAB? Here are my (purely selfish) top three:

DaVinci Resolve on Mac

DaVinci Resolve Control Surface

When BlackMagic bought DaVinci last year here’s what I wished for this NAB:

  • DaVinci Resolve.
  • For Mac.
  • Under $15k.

I figured that BlackMagic would price the Resolve near Smoke on a Mac. I underestimated Grant Petty, CEO of BlackMagic. Grant has built his company by pursuing disruptive technologies that are  priced aggressively.

Man, he got disruptive big-time.

Here’s what Grant delivered to me this NAB:

  • DaVinci Resolve.
  • For Mac.
  • Under $1k.

Even better, Resolve on Mac (unlike Smoke) when compared to its full-blown Linux counterpart doesn’t hobble the software. It doesn’t hold back features. It doesn’t require a Support Contract. It’s only restriction – 1 GPU; according to the Press Release, the GPU limitation is due to lack of support for InfiniBand for Mac.

Fini, my color correction company, has a 9-month roadmap that I’m executing as I re-tool the company and better position it to compete in the market I’ve targeted (more on that as The Plan moves forward). Resolve on a Mac couldn’t fit in more perfectly. I’m beyond stoked.

The only question I haven’t gotten an answer to: Will Resolve on Mac support RED natively in 2K and HD workflows? It really needs to.

Avid Buys Euphonix

The other news that grabbed my attention was Avid’s announcement of their intention to buy Euphonix – maker of outboard control surfaces.

I’m not yet sure if this is a good thing or not.

I’ve read a few people opine on this topic – but I think most are missing the point of this acquisition. The Euphonix secret sauce is their EuCon protocol. It’s the protocol that controls the interaction between the hardware control surface and the software being controlled. Their product that most interests me, MC Color, is buttery smooth… and it’s EuCon that’s responsible for the feeling that the software, via their hardware, is an extension of your brain. The immediacy of even the most subtle inputs is fantastic.

In the past, an acquisition by Avid was where great products went to wither away. Avid over the last two years seems to have turned over a new leaf and this year has had a great new release.

So now? What is the future of EuCon? I’m nervous. I just don’t know.

I can only hope that Avid decides to continue offering the amazing value that Euphonix seems to be built around.

Me -> Apple: In ProApps, Silence Is Not Golden

Apple doesn’t get it. I don’t build my business based on if I want to operate a Linux-based business or a Mac-based business. I don’t really care what new features the next version of the Mac OS is going to offer. Or when. On this count, Apple can be as secretive as they want.

I build my business with software products designed to allow me to provide amazing value to my clients. If I’m going to plan the direction of my business, I need an understanding of where I think the software I use is going to go. Currently, my software happens to be owned by Apple.

Apple, extending it’s corporate Cone Of Silence around the Pro Apps division, offers me nothing but a blank expression and puckered lips.

And a frustratingly long 2 year development cycle.

So what am I to make of Apple’s silence concerning their ProApps products?

Is it because they’re ready to leap-frog the competition?

Or does de-coupling Final Cut Studio from big events like NAB go counter to Steve Job’s excellent quote: “Real Artists Ship”? With no more external target dates, is shipping Final Cut Studio becoming internally de-valued?

Here’s what’s so surprising to me after Day 1 of NAB 2010:

More and more I’m caring less and less about those answers.

– pi

 

Control the Color Wheels in Final Cut and Apple’s Color

Why do different color wheels in different pieces of software and applications act differently?

How does that answer effect our approach to color grading?

Those two thoughts came to the top of my mind when reading Oliver Peter’s excellent post, Grading with Color Wheels. Why don’t you head over there and read that post? It’s very informative and helps build the foundation for this post. I’ll wait…

Understanding how the color wheels in your NLE process the image has a huge impact on how you approach your color correction. In this post we’ll build out the concepts introduced in Oliver’s article to give us a working methodology.

 

Our Color Correction Demo Reel is up

After finding myself with some extra time on my hands – I decided to finally finish (actually – start) Fini’s color correction demo reel. You can find it here.

There are two types of demo reels for color correction. The traditional reel is a series of beauty shots. The less traditional reel is the Before / After reel.

I spoke to a few producers with lots of experience hiring film colorists. To a person they said the traditional reel was what I should produce. They felt that a Before / After reel was the sign of an inexperienced colorist. I thought about this long and hard… I decided to go against this advice. My clients aren’t their clients. I was talking to the wrong people.

Unlike clients buying $600 / hour telecine suites, my clients don’t have experience sitting with a Color’ist. At best they’ve worked with a good Avid Symphony online editor who does a good job but rarely approaches it as a career specialty. At worst, my clients don’t quite get it; after all, except for a few tweaks the footage already looks good. Right????

So – unlike a film colorist, I have a ton of educating I need to do with my clients. The Before / After Reel is a tool designed for that job. In fact, I’ve already had one producer say to me, “Perfect – my client has been having a hard time understanding the need for color correction. This reel explains it clearly.”

And before you ask/complain, the music is temporary. A friend is scoring to it.

Any feedback on the reel is always appreciated!

– pi

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Final Call : Tommorrow – Color Correction Workshop

Last Call! The 1-Day Color workshop I’m leading is happening tomorrow. In Manhattan. 2 seats are open. Registration closes early this evening. To sign up directly, go here. Below I’m re-posting full details that went up on this blog a few weeks ago.


Full Disclosure: I am on the Board and Treasurer of Moving Pictures Collective (Mopictive is a DBA of the New York Final Cut Users Group and also a certified 501c3 not-for-profit) which is hosting the following event. You can be assured that over 50% of the proceeds will go to Mopicitive and furthering its mission to the training of Digital Storytellers. The instructors (including me) are paid only a nominal fee.

It’s that time of year…

If you’re in the New York City area in June or July, there are TWO color correction seminars being held. These seminars are a collaboration between myself, Mopictive, Manhattan Edit Workshop, and Alexis Van Hurkman (author of the Color user manual as well as several books on color correction and effects with Final Cut Studio). I’ll be teaching a weekend of one-day seminars with Jamie Hitchings on the basics of working in Color. Alexis will be teaching another weekend of one-day seminars on Advanced Color Correction techniques with Color.

These will be jam packed days. I last did this class several times last year and they were pretty well received. Jamie and I cover the basics of color theory, FCP -> Color workflow, the Color interface, and solving real-world problems on real-world footage. In July Alexis presents his own material, picking up where I leave off. He’ll cover the ColorFX Room, advanced grading techniques in the secondaries, and how to get Color’s tracker to work properly. Both of us will leave time to make sure you get your questions answered.

The best thing about all of these classes – every enrollee will have access to their own computer running Color. These are hands-on classes designed to get you feeling comfortable on the software and giving you a strategy for sculpting your own images.

Cost: $300 / class with 50% of the proceeds going to Mopictive (the NY Final Cut Pro User Group) and the remaining split between the facility providing the equipment and the instructors.

Sign-up: To sign up directly, go here. For more info on the June workshop, go here. And for more info on the July workshop, go here.

Questions? Feel free to use the Comments.

– pi

 

MCS Spectrum works with Eclipse Software

I only have time for a quick post tonight…

The last 3 weeks (and for the next month) I’ve had the opportunity to work on JL Cooper’s MCS- series of hardware controllers. Last week I posted on the Color-L mailing list that the customization software for the Spectrum colorist control surface basically… well, sucks. It’s buggy and it doesn’t have half the controls that the Eclipse software has. I was very disappointed. My buddy Mitch responded that he was told at NAB the Eclipse software would drive those panels.

The thought hadn’t occured to me. On Monday I installed the Eclipse software (instructions here) and it worked. I imported my keyset and that worked as well! Joy, oh happy day.

One small tweak had to be made since the Eclipse does have one extra button that the Spectrum doesn’t.

So Spectrum users – get out there and behold the power of a fully functioning control surface. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

– pi

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Meet Your Colorist: Patrick talks Color Grading, Finishing, Workflows, Final Cut Color
via Digital Production Buzz

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Fini

verb
  1. to end, to finish
    From Latin, Italian finire; French finir
French m. (plural finis) - noun
  1. Aspect or texture of what has been completed.
    Un fini lisse: A smooth finish
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