In January of 2011 Fini.tv started the switch from Apple Color to DaVinci Resolve.
In July, with the release of DaVinci’s updated software, the transition has been completed and Fini.tv has adopted DaVinci Resolve as our grading solution of choice. And we couldn’t be more pleased.
When we started on this road it was a big decision. Apple Color hadn’t seen any significant software updates in many years and we were concerned about its future. Meanwhile, from a distance we watched as DaVinci was acquired by Blackmagic Design, the price was dropped significantly, and they seemed to target color grading companies such as Fini.tv. And they impressed us as they released important software updates on an accelerated schedule that signalled BlackMagic’s commitment to a storied color grading platform.
In January we bought a license and slowly started doing paid jobs with it.
Yet we couldn’t embrace it whole-heartedly -DaVinci Resolve Version 7 lacked the integration workflow that our clients were accustomed to with Apple Color, namely: XML roundtrips and multiple video track timelines.
Why XML Workflows Are Important
The XML workflow between Color and Final Cut Pro Legacy is big big feature. You see… XML is a modern EDL that allows a multi-video track timeline to be sent to Apple Color, which also displays multiple tracks – giving the colorist access to each layer, ready for ‘in-context’ color correction. Once rendered, Color exports an XML of that exact same timeline into Final Cut Pro – resulting in a timeline *identical* to the locked offline (and keeping any filters not recognized by Color).
But here’s the kicker: This new timeline links back to the newly rendered color graded footage!
Including handles for each individual shot.
It’s brilliant. And our clients love it.
This workflow allows our clients to make slight editorial tweaks after the color grade is completed. They get a project file that looks exactly like the project file they handed us. And rather than one long Quicktime movie – every shot is individually rendered (with the aforementioned handles). Perfect.
DaVinci Resolve 7
DaVinci Resolve 7 threw a bit of a wrench into this workflow. It only supported EDL workflows. Meaning: It could only see one video track at a time.
Clients accustomed to the simple Color round-trip – if they wanted to work in DaVinci Resolve – had to radically change the way they delivered projects to us (or pay us to make those changes). And from our perspective, EDLs are usually inadequate to carry across filters & transitions – which would have to be tediously placed back into the final FCP timeline. By hand. Shot by shot.
I can tell you – many hours were lost as we learned the unique quirks of antiquated EDL workflows.
But now – something amazing has happened… and its name is: DaVinci Resolve 8
DaVinci Resolve 8: Like Apple Color (on steroids)
Fini.tv was honored to have been invited into the Resolve 8 beta testing team. And we quickly realized everything we had read about the tremendous strides this software made proved to be true. Resolve 8 is the perfect inheritor to Apple Color (which has been now been End-Of-Life’d by Apple).
Resolve 8 supports:
- Multiple track timelines
- Import / Export of XMLs for Final Cut Pro workflows (including some big advancements for Resolve 7 colorists when importing the footage, making our lives sooo much easier – saving our clients time, money, and keeping the colorist from quickly falling into a sour mood).
- Resolve 8 adds several new features that Apple Color colorists will love including: Fully controllable Noise Reduction, Image Stabalization, Masking tools that go far beyond anything Apple Color could do (with a tracker that is so good it induces little fits of the giggles), a grading pipeline that allows us to reorder our operations – all of which is changing the way we grade, giving us more power without taking more time.
- It also adds the possibility for compositing shots (think: green- and blue- screens) directly inside Resolve with support for imported footage that has alpha channels (for instance, coming from After Effects or CGI)
- Native Avid Workflows: Including multi-track roundtrips via AAF and ALE
- Native Avid DNxHD codec support for playback and rendering – and – AMA support
- Native HDRx support for the RED Epic, Arri Alexa v3 color science, and Cineform support
There are many more workflows, codecs, and features that were added to Resolve v8… but those listed above are the ones of most interest to our clients.
A Next Generation Color Correction Toolset
Apple Color was a great gateway for Fini.tv into high-end color grading. It changed our business. We’re sad to see it slowly lose its relevance. It holds a special place in our heart.
But as the saying goes: A door has closed, but a window has opened. And that window is BlackMagic’s DaVinci Resolve.
We are thrilled to offer DaVinci Resolve to our clients – a top-notch grading solution that’s under active development by a team of enthusiastic engineers and artists dedicated to providing a color grading toolset that takes us into the second decade of this century!
Come join us.
Ask A Question, Get An Answer
Do you have an upcoming project that might need our color correction services? Let us know!
Call Patrick: 347-878-3464
We’d love to introduce you to Resolve 8 and hope to see you in our (or your) grading suite.
Just like it ever was…
How To Think Like A Post-Production Supervisor
It could also be called, How To Think Like a Post Production Supervisor.
Peter is a terrific audio mixer, his wife Barbara a talented Dialog Editor. Their recent projects include the festival circuit’s acclaimed My Peristroika (nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year) and the upcoming You Tube Symphony Orchestra (it’s a doc commissioned by You Tube following musical proteges culminating in a gala symphony).
Mixing Light & Sound
Peter and I have been working together for over a year (we were introduced by our dear departed friend, Michael Vitti): He’s the ears of the operation, I’m the eyes (and our wives are the brains!). When comparing notes we found are clients are consistently confused by the same technicalities of the last few steps in finishing their projects.
The two of us decided it was time to get in front of producers, directors, editors, documentarians – filmmakers – and start answering all the questions we both get asked, day in / day out. Such as:
- What should you expect from your color correction, when should you do it, how should you prepare for it?
- What is a 5.1 audio mix? What is an LtRt? What’s the best way to prepare your audio for your sound edit? What is Dolby E encoding and why should you be thinking about it?
- What are the different tape formats and what are festivals and networks going to require? What’s the best way to upconvert NTSC to HD? What about mixing HD formats and Frame Rates?
- How do your decisions to these (and many more) questions affect the finishing pipeline?
Our number 1 piece of advice: Begin at the end. You need to define where your project will most likely be seen. Once defined, your roadmap becomes very clear – and allows for unexpectedly happy detours (like, getting picked up by HBO).
We did our first free seminar 3 weeks ago. A total success. It ran almost 3 hours, an hour longer than planned. The group was small, 15 people. The questions came from all parts of the room. Tonight’s session is (again) a sellout. This time around we’re adding a ‘recommended workflow’ that should cover about 80% of the projects out there.
Building Out The Concept
We’re excited about this seminar and plan to take it on the road and evangelize these strategies. We’re developing a website / forum specifically devoted to finishing strategies.
Our goal: Demystify the complexities of finishing picture and sound – resulting in educated clients making informed decisions in pre-productions saving them time, money, and frustration. Stay tuned for more details as the website goes live.
If you think you might be interested in attending one of these NYC seminars (we’re still developing the content based on how the early seminars progress), contact me and we’ll keep you in the loop. Or just subscribe to this RSS feed. Or Fini’s Facebook page… or…
Guto Barra, Director/Producer
"Your expertise and patience proved to be essential assets to finalizing our documentary, especially under the huge time crunch for our MoMA world premiere."
Chris Ripper, Director
Ressurection Man (in post-production)
"I love how you add production value to the feel of a shot not just "color"and create a mood appropriate to the content. And pushing your color a certain direction so cleanly. Impressive."