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Flakse
10-12-2004, 09:26 PM
Hi,

I'm an Italian based cinematographer who want to learn how to colorcorrect myself. I mostly work with film, and sometimes HD. I've always had a big love for post-production and lately I've been thinking about learning Digital Fusion, since it seems to be a very good software for doing what I need. I've downloaded the demo and I have started to work it. I mostly shoot commercials and featurefilms and generally I feel that I don't get enough hours to work in the telecine or in the Flame/inferno to colorcorrect and make masks and tracking and so on. Digital intermidiate is the route we often go, and it's expensive. I know of discreets lustre, but it's to expensive and I would never learn a thing if I was just sitting next to the operator, I gotta find a low cost solution if I should do it myself. Is it all possible?? Let's base these questions on grading a shortfilm and later a full feature film that has been shot on film and telecined in a soft way and already put on disks and assembled by the lab in Uncompressed 10bit HighDefenition.

- Is it possible to grade on a CRT monitor instead of having to buy a expensive Sony cinealta HD monitor?

- Which monitor is good at this task?

- What about storage, is it possible to use an array off SATA idé drives?

- Is it possible to watch the film in realtime playback in uncompressed 10bit HighDef 24f/s realtime after rendering?

- Is DF the right software?? Would Shake or Combustion be better?

- Should there be a renderfarm, how big?

- What RAID configuration is best for this?

- Is there any timelimit of a project? I mean, do I have to split the film up in sequences? If yes, how long sequences?

- I guess I need one of the Decklink or bluefish cards to have in/out, or? Do these cards also work as a grafic card for the CRT monitor?

- Is it possible to import an edit list so I don't have to insert all in/out points manually?

- When I have the full length of the short film, lets say 15 minutes, and I make an correction to it and later another correction and another, will I then be able to go back to the original picture, or have I allready messed it up? I mean - do I need storage to have the full film in original and the full film corrected?

ramiro
10-14-2004, 03:42 PM
wow, thats definately 1 million questions, as you promised...
ok, im a greek assistant cameraman/cinematographer and started doing colour correction in some of my projects(mostly miniDV/dvcpro and a short 16mm with digital intermediate). things i know so far:
Digital fusion is the right software, as its relatively cheap and very powerfull. Ive managed to do some serious colour correction, which up to then thought was possible only in da vinci, inferno and the likes.

using a crt monitor for CC is a bit painful, you have to do a lot of tests, get a good light/colour meter to set it up correctly, and then do some transfers to film, to compare the picture you see in the monitor with the one on the screen.

The only way to have picture sent to the monitor is through a card like the ones you mentioned( i dont know if they are compatible with fusion, you should ask them) or a software solution like TVZeka which sends picture through a composite output of an nvidia or ati graphics card(havent seen the results but they shouldnt be that great).

in order to have realtime playback AFTER rendering(outside fusion) you definately need a raid, not sata but scsi(check medea, they make some raid arrays using cheap ide disks connected to scsi slots somehow).

whatever changes you make to a clip do not affect the original video. you either save the project, or render it with a different name so that the original stays intact.

DF is unfortunately very heavy when it comes to hires footage. 2 ways to solve it:
you create a proxy footage, that is a copy of your original but with smaller resolution, or you divide it in small clips(individual shots) and work one or two at a time

go check dps velocity, a non linear system made by the same company that comes together with I/O board(just made a 10bit hd one if im not mistaken), drive array, full interoperability with fusion and monitor output. its somewhat expensive, but far cheaper than avid and the likes

got to go, hope i answered some of you questions, feel free to ask more

dg
10-15-2004, 10:55 PM
I'm far from being a colorist or a hardware expert, so don't take my answers as final word or anything like that.

- Is it possible to grade on a CRT monitor instead of having to buy a expensive Sony cinealta HD monitor?Can't see why not, but do print outs to check results often as you can.

- Which monitor is good at this task?I think Sony GDM-FW900 does the work fine, just make sure it's always calibrated.
Cinespace is a good solution for that.

- What about storage, is it possible to use an array off SATA idé drives?We were using SATA RAID 0 Array and things go pretty smooth.

- Is it possible to watch the film in realtime playback in uncompressed 10bit HighDef 24f/s realtime after rendering?It will depend on the application you're using to playback, and how much time you need of sustained data rate. With loads of RAM FrameCycler can do the work fine for short sequences, disk based solutions are more recomended tho, but just if you have a fast array.

- Is DF the right software?? Would Shake or Combustion be better?Well, if you just want Grading, all of those you mentioned can't process in real time, so if you can, you should go with Scratch, Baselight, Speedgrade or even Lustre.

But of three you listed, I would stick with DF, it has some pretty cool features, and the CC tools are great, but wait for v5.

- Should there be a renderfarm, how big?This is always good. Bigger, better, but if you have time you don't need 200 render nodes, I think two or three Dual Xeon ones are a good start, but this will depend too much on your needs.

- What RAID configuration is best for this?Don't know, so far we've been using RAID 0, but you should take in consideration the safety of your data as well.

- Is there any timelimit of a project? I mean, do I have to split the film up in sequences? If yes, how long sequences?What do you mean?
We split them per shot that we wanna work and assemble the movie when everything is done.

- I guess I need one of the Decklink or bluefish cards to have in/out, or? Do these cards also work as a grafic card for the CRT monitor?Don't use them, but I believe they work as frame buffers as well. You just need to check if the application you're using recognizes the card.

- Is it possible to import an edit list so I don't have to insert all in/out points manually?DF has OMFI and EDL support, even tho is something that I've never used in DF.

- When I have the full length of the short film, lets say 15 minutes, and I make an correction to it and later another correction and another, will I then be able to go back to the original picture, or have I allready messed it up? I mean - do I need storage to have the full film in original and the full film corrected?Your corrections are non-destructive, unless your overwrite your master files with your rendered output (something that you shouldn't do, never).

Work with enough space to have your master and you're rendered output (final version) at the same time at least.

Flakse
10-17-2004, 12:01 PM
Thanks ramiro & diego

You did answer some of my questions. I'm super happy for that. I still have a few left though!! I don't have to grade realtime, it's ok to wait for rendering.



- I've read elsewhare that GDM-FW900 Sony shold be a good monitor. Is any LCD's getting up there or are the colors not precise enough for being a colorcorrection monitor?

- If I buy a card that can do HD/SD out, I could also buy a Sony SD monitor. Then it would be a lot cheaper and color & contrast would be precise enough. What do you think?

- I thought that it would be possible to playback the rendered material directly in DF if I have disk that are fast enough!! If DF can't playback I will need to playback via Framecycler, but it will just be one application more (more $$, more trouble, more lut's)?

- I'm into doing this the cheapest way possible, so buying a Medea drive is not really an option. I think it's possible to get the same data stream via maybe a SATA 8 port drive with 300GB drives on?? I know it has the possibility of breaking down, but if I backup my project settings elsewhere and I have the masterfiles elsewhere (firewire backup) I can always line it up again, or?

- The cinespace colorcalibration seems very usefull, do I need a lightmeter tool? Do you know the price, because there is no price on their website? Which other lightmeter calibration tools is out there?

- Let me try and ask that seqence question again, and better. If I have a short film that's 40 minutes long and I want to colorcorrect on every shot in the film, should I then import all of the 40 minutes into my timeline and then make colorcorrection on every shot - or shold I break the 40min long film up in maybe 5 min sequences?

Thanks

dg
10-19-2004, 07:09 AM
- I've read elsewhare that GDM-FW900 Sony shold be a good monitor. Is any LCD's getting up there or are the colors not precise enough for being a colorcorrection monitor?
Don't think so, contrast / brightness ration on LCD screens isn't that great.

- If I buy a card that can do HD/SD out, I could also buy a Sony SD monitor. Then it would be a lot cheaper and color & contrast would be precise enough. What do you think?
Sincerly I don't know, maybe you'll need some sort of converter to from HD to SD

- I thought that it would be possible to playback the rendered material directly in DF if I have disk that are fast enough!! If DF can't playback I will need to playback via Framecycler, but it will just be one application more (more $$, more trouble, more lut's)?
Well, DF is not meant for realtime playback as you are expecting, it can cache in the RAM or even into disk, but I don't know if is that realiable to review shots.

There's Scope which is free, it still in early alpha stages and lot's of stuff are being implemented meanwhile, but it worths a look.

- www.bourt.com/scope/ (http://www.bourt.com/scope/)

I've been testing it and it's really promesing.

- The cinespace colorcalibration seems very usefull, do I need a lightmeter tool? Do you know the price, because there is no price on their website? Which other lightmeter calibration tools is out there?
Yeah, use the Eye-One Display 2

- http://www.i1color.com/products/i1_display.asp

- Let me try and ask that seqence question again, and better. If I have a short film that's 40 minutes long and I want to colorcorrect on every shot in the film, should I then import all of the 40 minutes into my timeline and then make colorcorrection on every shot - or shold I break the 40min long film up in maybe 5 min sequences?
It will depend if your color correction is a single one for the whole movie or if it's different for each shot, most of the times for ajusts and making everything looks like they where shot at the same moment, time, day, etc, you grade/ correct each shot individually.

Hope this helps.


Cheers,

ramiro
10-19-2004, 12:35 PM
if safety is not an issue, then a sata raid should be ok, medea is a bit expensive.
as diogo mentioned, df will do cached playbacks only, meaning that you are always ram-dependent.

import your footage shot by shot, or via omf if your editor supports it, otherwise you'll have to keyframe your colour corrector in the beginning and ending of every shot which is a pain in the ass, also youll never be able to do realtime previews, as the files will be huge.

Flakse
10-22-2004, 05:05 PM
Thanks ramiro & diego

It's a great forum.

I have checked the Sony GDM-FW900. Sony seems to have stopped selling them. Do you have any other recomendations??

Do you also have any recomendations about compositing/grading books that I should buy?

Thanks for now. My next move is really to start learning the program and going thru tutorials and like, maybe at first just with DV material.

Thanks

Hugh
10-23-2004, 11:23 AM
I'm just wondering what you used to edit it in the first place....

Avid Xpress DV has a great colour correction tool - if you can get the footage all in, you can do the colour correction on a clip by clip basis while comparing it with the clips on either side....

Flakse
10-23-2004, 01:19 PM
Hugh

Well, I do not normally edit a lot, but when I do it is with Premiere Pro. I've tried DV express but I didn't really like the interface.

I can only use the colorcorrection tools in the edit programs for simple color tweaking, not masks, keying, multiple layers and tracking and stuff. That's why I'm looking outside these programs. But I would be smart if they where could do that aswell.

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