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Colour Management


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#1 Robert Edge

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Posted 30 August 2005 - 11:06 PM

Does anyone know whether there is a cinematography book or web site that addresses this subject in the same way that Bruce Fraser's Real World Color Management and Andrew Rodney's Color Management for Photographers do for still photography?
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#2 Greg Gross

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 12:05 AM

Try These:

1. Image Making For Cinematographers,Directors,And Videographers
By Blain Brown/Focal Press

2. The GATF Practical Guide To Color Management
BY Richard M. Adams,Joshua B. Weisberg/Graphics Arts Technical Foundation


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#3 Robert Edge

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 12:40 AM

Thanks. Blain Brown's book is a general text on cinematography. I'm looking for a book or other source that deals specifically with colour management based on either digital capture, or film capture converted to digital, with a digital workflow and either a digital or optical end product. Does the GATF book discuss the subject in the context of cinematography? I wouldn't have thought so, but if it does, I'll check it out.
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#4 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 09:02 AM

Kodak has much IP and has published much on the subject of "Color Management":

http://www.kodak.com...anagement.jhtml

http://www.color.org/IPA_2004-11.pdf

http://www.color.org...11_ColorMgt.pdf

http://docs.sun.com/...m7oiipa2?a=view

http://www.seyboldre...p8/D0804001.HTM

The International Color Consortium (ICC) has many publications:

http://www.color.org..._profiles2.html

Kodak Look Manager System:

http://www.kodak.com...=0.1.4.18&lc=en

Kodak Display Manager System:

http://www.kodak.com...=0.1.4.20&lc=en

Look for published work by Kodak researchers like R.W.G. Hunt, Ralph Evans, etc.
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#5 Robert Edge

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 10:08 AM

John,

Thanks for those very pertinent links. I know about the ICC website, but I was not aware of the Kodak documents.

As far as I can see, discussion and information about colour management, at least public discussion and information, focuses almost exclusively on still photography, yet the concept and the issues are just as relevant to current cinematography. Having just finished Fraser's and Rodney's books, which have been a revelation for me as someone who is currently moving from analog photography to digital, I'd love to get my hands on material that deals with cinematographic colour management. At a high level, what Fraser and Rodney have to say is applicable to motion pictures, but at the nuts and bolts level of tools, colour spaces, gamut, profiles, workflow, etc. they don't cover cinematography. Rodney mentions SMPTE-C and Pal/Secam as work spaces, but only to make the point that Adobe got out of the business of supporting these spaces with version 5.0 of Photoshop.

Do you, or perhaps someone else reading this, know if the ICC is playing a role on the motion picture side? If not, is there some other industry organization that is playing this role, or are the players all just doing their own thing? Is there a book, or a public e-mail list, about cinematographic colour management?

Regarding Kodak Look Manager, I'd love to get detailed documentation about what it does and how it works. Does such documentation exist? Is it a tool that is financially accessible to mere mortals, or is the cost equivalent to what still photography colour management tools cost before Apple got a bunch of people into a room and kicked off the ICC and an open platform approach :)?
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#6 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 11:18 AM

AFAIK, the SMPTE is taking the most active role, especially as regards color management in Digital Cinema (DC28 committee) and HD television. Kodak's primary expert for many years was LeRoy DeMarsh. Now people like Tom Maier and Art Cosgrove are active on the committees. Dr. Mitch Bogdanowicz is the resident color expert for Kodak in the Hollywood office, and Peter Postma works with many post-production clients.

Contact your Kodak sales/technical representative to "test drive" the Kodak Look Manager System and get more detailed literature.
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#7 Greg Gross

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 11:34 AM

Hello R. Edge,

Okay, I'm not familiar with the Blain Brown or GATF books. I found them on
a list as applicable to color management. Of course you know about Kodak's
color management/software,a calibrated camera is reqiured with that. I'll keep
searching for books and will post if I find any.

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#8 Algis Kemezys

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 11:45 AM

Adding my 2 cents worth of info pertaining to color management is that in todays programs like final cut pro the color controlling devices are easier than ever to control color and contrast with the simple flick of the click. You can adjust your whites where you want white even turn an off color to white asnd see the effect almost instantly. I like the rule of thumb they used in particular painting styles is that very little in anything is ever black.Impressionistic paintings are one example of this. Where there is never a pure jet black and luminosity is controlled by juxtaposioning the tonalities. certainly further color management can be obtained by simply taking alot of color photographs so you can see what works and what doesn't. The other thing I have heard is to figure out what the tonality of the film should be and stick to those colors. Speaking of tonality though the Black and white Cinematography in Sin City is so absolutely beautifull to me that this film single handedly extolls
tone management with only the basics Black and White.
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#9 Greg Gross

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 12:17 PM

Hello Again R. Edge,

Mr. Stephen Goldblatt ASC used Kodak Look Manager when he shot "CLOSER".
He tells the story in AC about how he used the program on the set. I'm sorry
but I can't locate that copy of AC or I would tell you which issue. I'll go on ASC
website and try to find out. Anyway Mr. Goldblatt would take stills on the set with
a calibrated digital camera, and this camera was calibrated to a monitor in his
hotel room. At the lab the colorist also had a calibrated monitor. The colorist could
e-mail Mr. Goldblatt and Mr. Goldblatt could e-mail the colorist. Everyday after sh-
ooting Stephen would receive stills from the lab,thus he could make sure the film
was staying on track. He felt that Look Manager was an asset for him.

1.DP Has Calibrated Digital Camera,Monitor,Software
2.Lab/Colorist Has Calibrated Monitor,Software


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#10 Robert Edge

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 12:27 PM

John,

Thanks again. I'm going to make an appointment with the Kodak office here.

Greg,

Thanks. I understand the basic functioning of Look Manager. What I want now is more detail, as well as information about cost.

Algis,

Colour management is a broader subject than the functioning of a particular image editing programme. It takes a bird's eye view of capture to output. If you read one of these texts, it will fundamentally change your understanding of how a hands-on programme like Photoshop or Final Cut works, and perhaps more importantly, how it fits into the chain from capture to print.

In my case, I had to get a grip on the subject because I'm working on a book that will contain a lot of photographs and I was having a difficult time getting answers to basic questions, such as how far I can go with scanning and digital editing of the photographs before I face the prospect of someone down the line (e.g. a pre-press person) telling me that what I've done, having regard to their requirements, is wrong and/or has gone too far and we have to go back to the original scans. It turns out that I'm not the only person who has these kinds of questions, but clear answers are not easy to come by. For that matter, there aren't even that many people who understand these questions. Rodney's book contains a number of case studies, including one involving the Los Angeles photographer Greg Gorman, in which Gorman says that his biggest problem in this area is the failure of people he deals with, such as printers, to understand and properly implement colour management.

I'd like to get this same bird's eye view in relation to cinematography because I'll be facing motion picture colour management issues in the coming months. It would be nice if there was a text equivalent to Fraser or Rodney instead of having to rely exclusively on ad hoc discussions with specific labs and individual vendors of cinematographic colour management tools. That said, there's no doubt in my mind that reading these two books is going to make my life easier when I have those discussions.
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#11 Robert Edge

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 01:06 PM

If anyone is interested, Andrew Rodney, whose book has just been published by Focal Press, has put the table of contents, acknowledgements and a good piece of the introductory chapter on his website. It's on the home page, under news and updates, at www.digitaldog.net. Format is .pdf.

John might be intereseted to know that the acknowledgments refer to Chris Heniz and Jim Abbott at Kodak.
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#12 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 31 August 2005 - 01:30 PM

John might be intereseted to know that the acknowledgments refer to Chris Heniz and Jim Abbott at Kodak.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Thanks. Chris Heinz and Jim Abbott are senior researchers at Kodak's Lowell Development Center, along with about 50 other image scientists and color experts. B)
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#13 Mike Lary

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 01:16 AM

Do you, or perhaps someone else reading this, know if the ICC is playing a role on the motion picture side?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Here's an excerpt from the consortium's progress report:

"Charter: The Digital Motion Picture Working Group will codify an open, vendor-neutral, cross-platform, color management system architecture for digital motion picture production that will enable utilization of ICC color management by:

1. Identifying a small number of significant color-critical digital motion picture production workflows

2. Identifying factors that make an open, vendor-neutral solution important

3. Identifying any liaison relationships that need to be established, and establishing these

4. Recommending effective ways for applications to use the ICC specifications to satisfy those workflows

5. Identifying where predictability and consistency are required in the workflows and insure that the recommendations enable them to be achieved

6. Identifying areas where the existing ICC Profile format is unable to provide the functionality required by these workflows

7. Proposing improvements or additions to the ICC specifications or implied architecture that would make the workflows more efficient

8. Promoting the use of ICC Profiles in digital motion picture production workflows"
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#14 Dominic Case

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 02:53 AM

American Cinematographer of January and April this year has a long and exhaustive two-part articleon Colour Space by Douglas Bankston. It's a historical survey leading through most of the basic and then more leading edge science, as applied across the motion picture industry by a wide range of practitioners.

Is that what you are looking for?
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#15 Mike Lary

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 02:55 AM

I'd like to get this same bird's eye view in relation to cinematography because I'll be facing motion picture colour management issues in the coming months.  It would be nice if there was a text equivalent to Fraser or Rodney instead of having to rely exclusively on ad hoc discussions with specific labs and individual vendors of cinematographic colour management tools.  That said, there's no doubt in my mind that reading these two books is going to make my life easier when I have those discussions.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I hope that some day ICC profiles will be used in lieu of $450 per hour color correction suites. :) There needs to be standardization (which seems to be lacking) before an ICC workflow would work, though. Telecine houses operate like old school prepress shops right now. You have absolutely no guarantee that the colors you captured on film will be accurately represented in the digital version unless you sit with an operator who manually makes adjustments. Printer lights need to be tested to ensure desired results. This is all counter to ICC methodology. Calibrated devices should generate consistent results. Maybe I'm missing something, but I can't see ICC-aware NLE's being any good unless the incoming data can be accurately tagged with a source profile, and profiles are only accurate if devices are calibrated to known standards.

I'm curious to see what the consortium is cooking up, but I can't help being skeptical of the timeline for adoption given the similarities between the film industry and the print industry, both of which are comfortable with established processes and technologies and the latter of which is still fighting ICC methodology despite the proven track record.
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#16 Robert Edge

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Posted 08 September 2005 - 11:26 PM

Dominic,

The problem with American Cinematographer, to which I subscribe, is that it is 70% fluff and 30% substance. The Blankston articles are no exception, except that the writing style is unusually obtuse and the constant digressions into subjects that have little, if anything, to do with the subject, and his attempts at humour, are distracting and ultimately aggravating. The reader starts to wonder, given reference after reference to everything from Plato and Aristotle to Newton and Goethe and the rather peculiar introduction to Part II about the Mining industry, whether the author is mostly adept at cutting and pasting bits and pieces from the Encyclopedia Brittanica, or alternatively, whether he is being paid by the word. The main thing that I learned from this two part series is that there is an ASC Technical Committe that has been working on colour management for two years, and that Mr. Blankston does not think that the Committee's accomplishments, if any, are worth mentioning. In his world, it is sufficient to say that the ASC Technical Committee is an "august body". Given that Mr. Blankston, who works for the ASC, doesn't refer to a single accomplishment, perhaps we need less august and more spring.

It is good that the ASC thinks that colour management is so important that it would devote a two-part article to the subject, and furthermore feature that article on its website, as it is currently doing. I just wish that it had hired someone like Bruce Fraser or Andrew Rodney to write it, instead of a guy who is in serious need of an editor and who thinks that his readers should have to suffer through his dissertations on Plato and mining in search of something approximating substance. Having read the Blankston series not once, not twice, but three times, my own conclusion is that the substance is pretty elusive.

Mike,

Thanks, your posts are very informative. One of the extraordinary things about Blankston's article is that the ICC isn't even mentioned.


Andrew Rodney lives in Santa Fe. Isn't that where David Mullen is currently making a film? Maybe there's a chance here for a book about colour management for cinematographers, or at least an informative essay.
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#17 Tony Brown

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 03:29 AM

For what ıts worth Ive found the Kodak Look software to be extremely un user frıendly. They only seem to want to ıssue me wıth a 75 day lıcense that I only remember to renew when I need to use the software (not that I can work out how to.....) and fınd the lıcense has expıred. Not ıdeal ın the mıddle of a shoot.......

Why a sımpler rough guıde wasnt created enablıng ball park ındıcatıon of (for example) how a chocolate and yellow green combo wıll affect the color pallette when elımınated ın TK...... Thıs ıs the stuff that ıs usefull to me. Not calıbrated monıtors ın bedrooms.......I have a lıfe....... B)

Serıously, I understand why somebody mıght requıre such an ın depth system, but a vısual guıde to help me communıcate wıth dırectors would be ınfınately more useful.

Apologıes for bad punctuatıon.....Turkısh keyboard.
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#18 Max Jacoby

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 06:49 AM

I worked on a feature last summer where the DOP used it. After every setup he'd go: Don't move, reference Photo' rush for his bloody stills camera while everyone was waiting and took pictures. Pictures that the graded on his Laptop (LCD monitor) for personal reference only. Thankkfully after a couple of weeks he stopped with the stupid thing, it only held up production and was of no use to anyone but himself.
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#19 Tony Brown

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Posted 21 July 2006 - 02:00 PM

I worked on a feature last summer where the DOP used it. After every setup he'd go: Don't move, reference Photo' rush for his bloody stills camera while everyone was waiting and took pictures. Pictures that the graded on his Laptop (LCD monitor) for personal reference only. Thankkfully after a couple of weeks he stopped with the stupid thing, it only held up production and was of no use to anyone but himself.


My point exactly......Polaroids reinvented..... or is that what I'm asking for?
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