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color correction


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#1 Louis

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 12:30 AM

I'm gonna be shooting a 35mm short in a few months, and I realized that I have a big hole in my knowledge: at what stage of post-production does color-correction take place? I always thought that it was one of the last things that is done, but after the negative is conformed and all of the grey cards and color charts are edited out, why is it done last? From what I understand, after editing the film offline, the key-code numbers are taken to a negative cutter, who cuts the original negative to match, and then this new negative is printed. Isn't that right? So when does color correction take place if the negative is free of grey cards and such? Thanks.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 02:55 AM

The grey cards, etc. are meant as a guide for the people making your dailies, so you can see something accurate and/or informative, can track where something is going wrong better.

Yes, once the neg is cut, they are all gone and the color-correction starts from scratch, but at least now all the shots are in scene order.

If you are doing a tradition photo-chemical post, after the negative is cut, it gets answer printed, which involves making a series of prints and varying the RGB (or YCM) set of printer lights to adjust the density and color of each shot. Usually the first pass is done on a Hazeltine timer and the print made is pretty conservative and neutral. That first answer print will be screened for you and the timer, who will take notes from what you say. Then the timer will take the print and put it up on a Comparator, another timing device, which allows him to see the old set of printer light numbers for each shot so he can make adjustments. Then a second answer print is struck using the adjusted set of printer light numbers. And so on. Usually three answer prints is enough, and if it's a multiple-reel project like a feature, perhaps only one or two of the reels need further corrections.

A few labs have some sort of pre-answer print system, sometimes called a "proof print", which involves things like printing one or two frames only from each shot, and then looking at these in something like a slide show with you so you can give them some guidelines for making the first answer print, so that it will be closer to what you want.
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#3 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 08:49 AM

Normally, the final color correction is done on the cut negative, after the prodution has been edited. Much of color correction is color continuity, where consistency of artistic intent from scene-to-scene is the goal:

http://www.kodak.com....4.15.8.6&lc=en

http://www.kodak.com.../printing.shtml

http://www.acvl.org/...nual/index.html
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