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My color grader is afraid of incorrect color temp. settings


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#1 Artyom Zakharenko

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 06:22 AM

Hola!

 

Im shooting a short film next week on an Alexa and got a call yesterday from our grader, asking me whether i was about to shoot RAW. I said no, first because i dont need it and second because we can't afford it. Then he said i had to check the color temp. and balance it correctly. I replied i am not always balancing it ''correctly'', but instead making it warmer or colder in some scenes, using camera settings, light gels and filters. This is where i noticed panic in his voice. He kept pushing me on using the exact white balance settings, saying he prefers to do the coloring in post, instead of in camera. Now here's my concern: I understand the fact that RAW gives you freedom in post, but i like to do as much as possible in camera, to create a basic palette and then correct it here and there in post. I've never worked with this guy before, but a voice inside my head says he isn't that experienced... or am i just paranoid?

 

Shooting prores444 logc


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#2 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 06:44 AM

I don't know why a colorist would be telling you how to do your job. I certainly wouldn't be happy about that; nor would I stand for it.

It's fine for them to have their concerns and the voice them, but if you're the DoP that's you're call.


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#3 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 09:30 AM

Get a new/better/experienced colorist.

 

-Rob-


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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 09:47 AM

What Rob said.


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 09:48 AM

Get a different colorist.  It's silly that if you want a scene to be warm, you can't shoot it warm.  If you change your mind in post and decide the scene should be blue, and the scene now doesn't look as good, gets noisy... that's your problem, your mistake, not his.  It's called "art".  You make choices and live by them.  If you don't make choices, then it's not art.

 

Doesn't mean you shouldn't be a little conservative with the colors and exposure if you are going to grade from ProRes 4444 instead of raw, but it's ridiculous to shoot everything in white neutral colors and add the color in post.  What about mixed colors, like orange sunset light and cool shadows? He wants you to light it all white and he'll make the key orange and the fill blue himself?


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#6 timHealy

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 11:09 AM

Tell him to color correct your chip chart under white light and then if he changes the knobs during the scene you'll smack his knuckles with a stick.

 

I never really understood how colorists became just as important or even more important than the cinematographer in the post production world.

 

I'm just saying.

 

And I do have college friends that are colorists.


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#7 Chris Burke

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 01:13 PM

This is an unfortunate trend  and is especially true amungst newer, younger folks who are just starting out. Production is merely accquisition and post is where the creativity happens. For reality TV, it is the norm. I would hire someone else or ask them if they feel more comfortable as an assistant to a more experienced colorist.


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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 01:16 PM

What I don't understand is how we find the Mike Mosts of this world defending colorists to the hilt and doing his best to persuade us that they're all highly skilled and valuable career professionals, and then...

 

...this.


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#9 Stephen Williams

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 01:50 PM

What I don't understand is how we find the Mike Mosts of this world defending colorists to the hilt and doing his best to persuade us that they're all highly skilled and valuable career professionals, and then...

 

...this.

 

These people are not colorists, really not the sort of people MM is talking about, just as owning a camera never made anyone a DOP.


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#10 Robert Houllahan

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 02:25 PM

I agree with Stephen this is not the attitude of a experienced professional and as someone who drives a DaVinci almost every day I can tell you that I would be happy to work with anything that seemed like it was carefully shot especially if the files will have allot of meat like a film scan or Alexa 444 or whatever. The job of the colorist is to polish up what is already there and fix problems where they can be fixed. Whoever this person is I think they are inexperienced or nervous and he/she probably needs to spend some time with someone who have been working as a colorist professionally for a while.

 

-Rob-


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#11 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 06:22 PM

Mike Most would agree that a DP should light and shoot the image the way he wants it to be shot -- warm, cold, or neutral.

 

Truth is that if the scene is supposed to be very warm and it is delivered very warm, it should be easy to color-correct and the noise artifacts should be fine if a reasonable ISO was selected, because the signal and color channels hardly need to be pushed around in post (especially since the white balance is baked-in with the Alexa in ProRes 4444 Log-C.)  

 

So this colorist asking for a neutral image so he can make it warm in post is making the assumption that there is a 50/50 chance that in the end, the scene won't end up warm because someone will change his mind.  It might be better if he assumes that the DP knows what he wants until proven otherwise.

 

Personally I've never had a colorist tell me how to use the camera and what settings to use so I wouldn't say that this incident is a typical situation with a colorist.  I just finished working two years with a great colorist at Technicolor NYC, Sam Daley, and he had no problem with how I colored a scene in-camera.


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#12 Yair Oren

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 01:15 PM

Hi all I'm new here,

I guess you have already finished the shooting,

but still I wanted to give you a different perspective on the debate here.
We all know the saying "fix it in post".  You yourself said that you have a low budget. Maybe your colorist wanted to save you valuable time and money if you might need to start fixing severely color problems or if you decide to change the mood or the time of the scene and then you will have to settle or to spend more money because it will take more time.

doing your art on set is very important, But you could also do something in the middle and light your scene

as you like but in a gentle way so no harm would be if you decide to change. You can sit with your colorist and decide how things should look, and your colorist if he is good he will bring anything you want.

Good luck

Yair


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