16
Dec
09

how long to grade a show using apple color?

For the quick answer, scroll to the end of this post.  For the narrative thread, read on…

Kerry Soloway of Nightingale Editorial in Ringwood, NJ started a great thread on Steve Hullfish’s ColorList:

Subject: [ColorList] How much additional time will it take to round-trip a show in Color?

Although I have Color and use is on occasion, I have stayed away from it because of my perception that it adds a great deal of time to my edits as opposed to using the three-way color corrector within FCP.

The color corrector is one of the only reasons that I ever opt to online on an Avid Symphony rather than in Final Cut, since I can do all of my work in the timeline.

For those of you that use it regularly, can you estimate the amount of additional time that it adds to onlining a project? Also, how much additional storage space is required.

At the moment, I am editing mostly half-hour SD shows being edited either in DVCPro50 or PreResHQ, depending on the system that I’m on.

Kerry

Terrence Curren of AlphaDogs in Burbank, CA responded first:

We do a fair amount of that workflow. It is not so easy to come up with a number here. First, you have to prep your sequence correctly before sending to Color which can include a lot of “baking in” by exporting elements and reimporting to make them the same codec so that Color is happy.
After that going out to Color takes very little time, but you do have to render everything at the end before returning to FCP. So you will need as much addition al storage space as your entire show plus handles in whatever codec you are using.
At this point, any changes you want to make require bouncing out to Color, rendering, and coming back again.  If you don’t have external panels, you are greatly slowed down by trying to handle everything via mouse which limits you to one operation at a time. If you have access to a classically trained Colorist, he will be able to fly through the color correction process with the proper setup. If you treat the whole thing like the classic tape based daVinci approach, it makes more sense. Send a locked master to Color, and get a color corrected master back for titling.
The workflow is nowhere near as efficient as the Symphony approach, but the toolset is better. Symphony still has the advantage of keeping you in the timeline so you can do more than one thing at the
time. You can also listen to audio for any timing cues you may need. And you have source side correction which is a major timesaver in the hands of someone who knows how to use it.
On the flip side Color has a more powerful toolset and the ability to use the external interfaces I mentioned above.

And then Patrick Inhofer of Fini in NYC added a great follow up:

RE: Storage Space
Color re-renders all your shots and then generates an XML that’ll link to those newly rendered shots in a timeline in FCP. So… multiply the per second data rate of the codec you’re exporting out of Color times the number of seconds of your timeline. That’ll give you your additional storage needs.
RE: Time to round-trip
Are you wondering how much longer the prep for Color roundtrip takes? Anywhere from 2 – 12 hours, depending how much prep work you need to do (baking in speed ramps, removing 3WCC filters, simplifying timelines, media managing, etc).
If you’re wondering how long it takes to color correct a show in Color? When I was mouse-only, about 15 minutes of show content a day in a not-too-fast-paced sequence. With a control surface, double that. With a control surface not only will you double your throughput, you’ll find you can also get more in-depth in forming the image with masks, curves, hue curves, etc. A control surface is one of those rare exceptions where you get more done in less time with better results.
I didn’t chime in on the thread (too busy with work at the time), but I would offer up a couple points of emphasis and additions from my experiences (click my friend above for a link to my blog post describing the posting of Travel Channel’s America’s Scariest Halloween Attractions 3).
First of all, you cannot underestimate overestimate how long it will take to conform your project for Color.  Offline to online workflow time aside, there are many ways to conform your timeline so that it will work well with Color and how you choose to do this will effect how you grade your show.  Do you want to first send all of your speed effects to Motion to take advantage of motion blur?  Do you want to make individual sequences to grade footage with picture in picture (or windowed) effects?
My number one recommendation is to shed all color correction filters and export a self contained quicktime of your entire show (or individual acts) and go from there.  Obviously I could really get into the weeds on this, so I won’t.  I’m sure you’re getting the idea.
Secondly, take a look at the show you’re going to grade ahead of time.  The above timeline averaged approximately 125 shots per 4 minutes, or even more approximately  1375 shots for a 44min show.  With slightly fuzzy math, at a 1min-per-graded-shot pace, you’re looking at almost 23 hours to plow through it all (3×8 hour days or 2×12 hour days).  And then you get to render it out.
I never had the luxury of a using control surface on either of the 44min shows I graded for Travel Channel.  Scott Simmons wrote a great review of the Tangent Wave and Patrick Inhofer wrote a great review of the JL Cooper Eclipse CX.  I’ve personally met with the guys at Euphonix and they seem to have a great product with the MC Color but I haven’t got my hands on it to test it out yet.  Mr. Inhofer summed up best the advantage of using a surface, stating:
a typical session [speeding up] from 2-5 days down to 1-3 days…
Price points and form factors aside, it seems that adding a control surface should a) increase your speed and quality and b) up your rate.  Remember: “fast, good, cheap; pick two.”
Personally, not having seen a show, I start my color correction quote at 5 days for a 1 hour show and then we go from there.  That includes conform, grade, and render.  I do work remotely, so if I can help you out drop me a line.
proactively • grading • peter
Advertisements

3 Responses to “how long to grade a show using apple color?”


  1. February 2, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Peter,

    RE: Euphonix
    I have the luck of working about 3 blocks away from Euphonix in NYC. I met their rep last Sept at a User Group meeting and he brought an MC Color to my suite last December. It was a prototype. Fantastic surface. Smaller than the Cooper in every regard but more knobbies and readouts than the Wave. I only used it for an hour or so but there seemed to be a lot of ‘shifting’ going on as buttons and LCDs had many dual modes (making up for less real estate than the Cooper). The really impressive thing is their EuCon protocol. Unlike the native protocol for Color, Euphonix has it’s own way of talking to Color – and it’s silky.

    I often feel with Color that I have to wait for it to catch up to my corrections. MC Color blew me away in how there seemed to be zero latency between my hands and my eyes – every subtle move I made seemed immediately transmitted. Very impressive. I think I was trembling in my seat.

    Not so impressive – the software to customize the control surface needed work. It was very unintuitive, often confusing. Among a few other tweaks, my big suggestion to them was to do serious polishing on the customizing app.

    And before you ask: I have no idea when they’re shipping. Whenever it is, it won’t be soon enough.

    And no: I’m not a paid representative nor have they given me any free gear (dagnabbit!).

    – pi

    • 2 psalvia
      February 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm

      Great feedback Patrick, thanks for sharing. I was talking with the Euphonix folks about being a training rep for them about 6 months ago so had been holding off on commenting on their product in the blogosphere. While we haven’t been in communication for a while, the Euphonix team seemed very pleased with the product they would be releasing and their audio line is world class to say the least. All of which gave me confidence not only in the MC Color but in their long term plans to support and refine their video console line.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


December 2009
M T W T F S S
« Nov   Jan »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Twitter Updates

Blog Stats

  • 287,622 clicks since March 2008

%d bloggers like this: