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#1 Bruce Greene

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 06:55 PM

...Seeing your credit in the opening titles :)

 

Translation: "Chief Cinematographer - Bruce Alan Greene"

Movie:  "8 Best Dates" or "8 Лучших Свиданий"

 

Opens in theaters everywhere March 3, if you live in Russia, Ukraine or Kazakhstan...

 

This film was a real adventure, shooting last summer in Kiev, and doing the color grading myself here in LA.  The color grading was more work than shooting the film!

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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 07:02 PM

Principal photography costs huge amounts.

 

Grading costs time spent in the bedroom.

 

Schedule elasticity reacts accordingly. 

 

And accordingly, I hate grading.


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#3 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 07:06 PM

Congrats! :)
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#4 Bruce Greene

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 07:07 PM

Principal photography costs huge amounts.

 

Grading costs time spent in the bedroom.

 

Schedule elasticity reacts accordingly. 

 

And accordingly, I hate grading.

Yes Phil, grading is a grind.  But you sure learn a lot about using the camera and what it's capable of!


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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 07:08 PM

Bruce, can you give us a breakdown -- camera, recording format, what did you grade from and to, etc.?


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#6 Bruce Greene

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 07:09 PM

Congrats! :)

Thanks Satsuki!


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#7 Bruce Greene

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 07:28 PM

Bruce, can you give us a breakdown -- camera, recording format, what did you grade from and to, etc.?

Hmmm....

 

Movie was shot on Alexa LogC 2k (2048x858) scope.  Grading was done using Davinci Resolve using an Eizo computer display as the "hero" display (REC709). Delivery as 2048x858 DCP.

 

Shooting schedule was 3 weeks prep and 32 shooting days.  Conform, grading, render about 60 days.

The biggest challenge in grading were the day exteriors shot using Tiffen IR/ND filters.  The resulting LogC images were very yellow/green and every filter change created a different amount of color cast.  The zoom lenses sometimes used were even more yellow in cast.  Simple RGB offset correction would not bring these shots into a neutral state, and to be honest, I'm not sure they ever look quite as good as shots taken without the IR/ND filters.  There were no other filters available to us in Kiev.  I'm confident that the audience will not notice though :)

 

The other challenge in grading a film like this is that it is a straight ahead comedy.  And it demands a fairly neutral and colorful theme.  A movie like this, without a "look" applied requires quite careful shot to shot color matching as a slight shift in flesh tone or background color stands out much easier than when a "look" is applied to the movie.

 

The DCP will be created in Moscow, and I'm a little nervous that I won't be able to approve the DCP before the 1500 theater duplicates are made.  A test DCP I made here in LA looked perfect in a calibrated grading theater at Neptune Post in Glendale, California.

 

This was my first time using Davinci Resolve and my first time setting up a Windows workstation to run it on.  I think I'll be going back to Mac if they ever update the "trash can" !


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#8 Bruce Greene

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 07:40 PM

A couple more things...

 

The grading was done using the Arri supplied LUT for LogC to REC709 correction.  This allows one to grade in Log space before the LUT and traditional "video" correction after the LUT is applied.

 

And, as a "doctor performing surgery on himself" I am thankful for colorist, Price Pethel, for stopping by as a second set of eyes and offering is advice and council!


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#9 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 08:49 PM

So how did you calibrate your monitor and were you prepared to do a trim pass at a D.I. facility for making the DCP?


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#10 Bruce Greene

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 09:56 PM

So how did you calibrate your monitor and were you prepared to do a trim pass at a D.I. facility for making the DCP?

The monitor was calibrated using an iOne Display Pro device, using the ColorNavigator software from Eizo.  The calibration was stored in the display, and I ran HDMI to the display from the BlackMagic card.

 

There is no budget for a trim pass, hence the short test that I viewed in the DI theater.  From the test, I decided to add a slight increase in saturation to the whole timeline (less than 5%), and I did see the effect of the DCP assuming gamma 2.4, when I worked at gamma 2.2.  This made the DCP slightly darker than my display, but I rather liked it that way.  The color rendering of the DCI theater matched my Eizo precisely.  I was actually rather surprised by the perfect match.  (of course, not a side by side comparison, but no two theaters are alike anyway)

 

In the past, I've always checked the DCP for gamma correction in person. The post house in Moscow needs to make a DCP in one day to meet the delivery contract this time around.  They might upload a short test (showing 3 gamma assumption choices) that I can bring to a DI theater here in LA to view.  This would help to confirm that all is ok and that they can make the "release prints" from there.  I'm not sure the production will spend the money for this short screening though, and I'm done adding my own money for tests.

 

To make it more clear to some of the readers for this post, there is no specific gamma specification for REC709 and gammas from 2.2 to 2.4 are commonly used.  In the DCP creation software, a conversion must take place from REC709 color space to P3 (DCI/DCP spec) gamma 2.6 color space.  The origin gamma entered into the software for conversion effects the gamma or "brightness" of the final DCP.  If I grade in gamma 2.2 and they enter 2.4, the resulting DCP will look a little darker than my grading monitor.  But, a projection theater is not the same viewing experience as an emissive display, and from my experience, a little darker gamma works well for projection in a theater.

 

Our problem is that our producer is concerned about dark projection in the multiplexes, and would probably opt for something a little bit light, rather than dark.  I know our venue for the big premiere is a 2000 seat venue with a projection system that only reaches about 7 foot lamberts.  That's about 1/2 perfect screen brightness.  They have two projectors there, and in the past, I've gotten them to test putting the DCP simultaneously through the 2 projectors to reach 14 ft/lb.  However, there seems to be no one who knows how to properly register the two projectors well enough, and they will not guarantee that the DCP will play all the way through on two projectors due to the encryption system and server.  I've given up on this after 3 previous premieres in this venue.

 

I hope I'm not going too far off on a tangent here, but the gamma conversion issue does raise it's head when grading on an emissive display rather than a DCI projection theater.  But our budget is what it is and the filmmakers will not pay for enough time in a theater, so ... I'm doing the grading myself (and getting paid for it!) rather than observing a low budget colorist grading on the same equipment :)  I am not the fastest colorist in the world, but, I think, I've gotten pretty darned good at it.  At least to create the movie that I photographed look as I intended.

 

Be warned fellow cinematographers:  Do not try this at home!  Ok, you can, but be warned:  Grading a feature is a marathon and the responsibility and stress level can be more than during principal photography.  You are the last step in the process, there is a deadline, last minute changes to the film edit, and all the money depends on getting the movie out on time.  It gives me a real appreciation for those post people doing the stuff we never see them doing!


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#11 Bruce Greene

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 10:02 PM

And... the photo I posted is an iPhone shot of the grading monitor, not an actual frame from the grade.  A little bit contrasty, but the color looks about right <_<


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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 10:07 PM

Looking forward to seeing some of this, Bruce. Thanks for all the info!


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#13 Bruce Greene

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Posted 26 January 2016 - 10:21 PM

Looking forward to seeing some of this, Bruce. Thanks for all the info!

You are welcome to come to the premiere David.  February 25, October Theater, Moscow!  Bring your friends.  They never manage to fill all 2000 seats, but I try to help out with that :)


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#14 Freya Black

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 10:34 AM

Hiya Bruce!

  How did the Alexa hold up against the Varicam?

  I have to say that I far and away prefer the Varicam look but I have a feeling that you are going to squeeze all you can out of the Alexa.

  I wish you luck and hope it opens BIG! :)

 

Freya


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#15 Bruce Greene

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 10:53 AM

Hiya Bruce!

  How did the Alexa hold up against the Varicam?

  I have to say that I far and away prefer the Varicam look but I have a feeling that you are going to squeeze all you can out of the Alexa.

  I wish you luck and hope it opens BIG! :)

 

Freya

Thanks Freya!  I've only used the Varicam at 5000 iso, so I can't quite make a fair comparison.  But, it does have built-in ND filters that help a lot!   There were no Varicams in Kiev, so Alexa it had to be...   There is a new version of the Varicam being announced next week or so too...


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#16 Freya Black

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 11:25 AM

Thanks Freya!  I've only used the Varicam at 5000 iso, so I can't quite make a fair comparison.  But, it does have built-in ND filters that help a lot!   There were no Varicams in Kiev, so Alexa it had to be...   There is a new version of the Varicam being announced next week or so too...

 

Heh heh! I think we are talking at cross purposes. I mean THE Varicam. Not the newer Varicam35. Wasn't "8 First Dates" shot on the Varicam back in the day?

 

That movie looked great!

 

Freya


Edited by Freya Black, 27 January 2016 - 11:26 AM.

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#17 Bruce Greene

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 11:30 AM

 

Heh heh! I think we are talking at cross purposes. I mean THE Varicam. Not the newer Varicam35. Wasn't "8 First Dates" shot on the Varicam back in the day?

 

That movie looked great!

 

Freya

8 First Dates was shot on a RedOne MX...  "Montana" was shot on the original Varicam though...


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#18 Freya Black

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 11:36 AM

8 First Dates was shot on a RedOne MX...  "Montana" was shot on the original Varicam though...

 

Maybe I'm thinking of Montana then, it's been a while, although all of your stuff so far has looked really nice.

Definitely looking forward to seeing some stuff from the new movie!

 

Freya


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#19 Jay Young

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 11:50 AM

And... the photo I posted is an iPhone shot of the grading monitor, not an actual frame from the grade.  A little bit contrasty, but the color looks about right <_<

 

I liked it!  Although I am a fan of contrast.


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#20 Bruce Greene

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Posted 27 January 2016 - 12:13 PM

 

I liked it!  Although I am a fan of contrast.

The important thing here... my name was spelled correctly  :rolleyes:


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