Posts Tagged ‘patrick inhofer


we need to make it bigger

Thanks to Patrick Inhofer at The Tao Colorist  for this link.  Support Patrick, and results oriented creativity, by clicking here for the best weekly email I receive.

proactively • it should be bigger.  but it’s good. • peter


the tao of color grading

Fellow FCP-L’er, ColorList’er and FXPHD classmate Patrick Inhofer has launched a new website The Tao of Color Grading.  Previously, I was only aware of Patrick’s site so this is a solid step up into the online training business.

He’s running a special offer for the first training series covering the Euphonix MC Color control panel.  I have had great experiences corresponding and learning with Patrick over the years and wish him the best in this new endeavor.

And as you can see, Patrick knows a thing or two about how to grade which makes The Tao of Color Grading inherently worth checking out.

proactively • peter

Disclosure, to comply with the FTC’s new rules

None of the manufacturers listed above are paying Peter Salvia to write this article and, so far, none have sent him any samples or demonstration items.  Peter is a B&H Sales Affiliate and receives a commission from items linked to B&H and purchased through this site.  Oh yeah, and he’s an Apple Certified Trainer so you can derive his bias for yourself.


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.


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

breaking down the demo reel

When I started out on this project, I found cutting my demo reel to be a bit daunting.  Not only did I need to decide what footage to show, I needed to come up with a format, make footage selections,  and satisfy myself that it was (is) ready for prime time.  The next gig could be riding on all of these decisions, so no pressure.  While I admit this post will be self-promoting at the core, I hope this conversation with myself about how I developed and cut my demo reel will be of some help when you’re putting your own reel together.

First things first, the reel needed to be a minute or less.  I have no problem asking a minute of anyone’s time, whether they are a Network VP, President of a Production House, or my next door neighbor.  What I don’t want is to present someone with a 10 minute masterpeice.  At a certain point no matter how good my (your) work is, people are going to get bored and move on to something more important to them (like what they’re having for lunch).  Plus, if the reel’s good enough and a bit on the short side, maybe the person looking at it will watch it a second time.  In that scenario, you’ve only taken 2 minutes of their time which hopefully transitions to the “what is your day rate” conversation.

Unless you’re doing a compilation reel (like Stu’s), you’re going to need a music bed.  I’m a story editor  and colorist and compiling any meaningful stories into 1 minute is a bit of an exercise in futility,  so I put the music decision at the top of my list.  I figure the music will drive the montage and if the reel gets a client interested I can always point them to a couple work samples (when / if they ask to see them).  Understand that your music selection for your reel will be, as my high school trigonometry teacher liked to say, indelibly etched in your brain matter.  Equally important to consider is this music could be playing in a meeting room full of suits, a Starbucks, a living room with little kids in it or what have you, so consider your target audience before cutting your best work to The Humpty Dance.

The Sonics

I’d been listening to the Black Keys cover Have Love Will Travel by The Sonics and  felt the song fit me to a tee; editing is what I love to do and I will travel to do it.  Also, my most recent work was all done at the Travel Channel so it fit.  Bonusly, I dig the raw, retro-punk vibe.  And once I started editing the song my first music bed cut mystically landed at 00:59;29.  With a pro-cisely 1-minute duration I figured I must be doing something right, and if not then heck, just go with it anyways.

Then came the task of putting all my work into one project.  Yeesh, this is where I had to come up with an organizational theme.  I decided to group all my work samples into client bins; Richfield Productions and other corporate videos, Discovery New Media, Travel Channel, HGTV, etc.

sequence setting

Next I had to decide what sequence setting to conform all of my work samples to.  Cutting a demo reel is a great example of a project pulling from multiple video sources.  I based my decision on the intended output (Vimeo) and then worked backwards.  A 16×9 aspect ratio would be ideal for my HD sources and an easy conform for my SD letterbox sources.  And then there were the source video codec issues: Apple ProRes HQ, XDCam, DCVPRO HD, Animation, DV NTSC 25, MPEg-2 from DVD, etc.  I decided on DV NTSC for my sequence codec because 4:1:1 720×480 would be a fine mezzanine, or middle ground, codec to conform my video sources to and edit together into a sequence before transcoding for Vimeo.

The trickiest part of the conform would be for my 4:3 SD video sources.  But my most recent work is all HD, my best work is either HD or 16:9 letterboxed.  After some hard thinking and hair pulling I was able to figure on using just two shots of 4:3 SD source video (above) and looked at it as an opportunity to be a little creative and show some options for potential clients.  Ergo,   Additionally, a lot of my SD work is 4:3 letterboxed and some is plain stinky 4:3.  Which all lead me to choose DV NTSC Anamorphic for my sequence setting. For starters, this will be going to the Vimeo with a compression setting of 640×360 at 1.5Mbps or so.  Secondly, it fits all my 16:9 work easily and my teeny bit of 4:3 work creatively.  But thirdly, and maybe just as important as secondly, it meant faster renders for my 3D Motion project.

3D Motion proj end example

I have to start this part of the demo reel dissection with an emphatic GO CHECK OUT MARK SPENCER’S APPLEMOTION.NET.  Mark’s FREE tutorial, how to create the reflection effect and his $99 Ripple Training Motion 3 Deep Dive, were ESSENTIAL to figuring out how I wanted to build my 3D sets and animate my camera.  Got sweep?

splash page w camera

This whole 3D tangent leads to the core of my demo reel: the presentation of skill sets.  Some people are focusing on editing, others on color correction, some on compositing and graphic design.  You get the idea.  I have four major skill sets with solid broadcast credits behind them that I want my demo reel to showcase: editing, color correcting, producing, and training.  What better way to showcase them than to literally put them on stage?  Well, that’s what I came up with at least.

So now I had 4 skill sets that I could outline to music and figured I would have the triumphant Sonics “ooooooWOW” land on a splash page with my contact info.  That means 4 sets over 56 seconds with an end animated camera flying through all 4 sets and landing on a 5th set.  But my english major background told me to follow the tried and true outline aproach of “Tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em, tell ’em, tell em what you’ve told em.”  And this lead to the beginning of my peice with the animated camera zooming to, then sweeping around, each skill set stage.  At the end of the musical intro, the camera zooms back through all 4 skill set stages and lands on the stage for the start of the reel.

Once the camera zooms to Ultimate Spring Break, I gave myself timings to do a few simple cut sequences followed by a 3D camera move transition to the next sequence.  There’s a lot of back and forth out there discussing the best way to showcase colorist work.  Patrick Inhofer’s reel is a really good example IMHO:

I settled on the “before and after” technique to best display my colorist work.  It’s been the most well received piece of the reel (followed closely by the 3D transitions).  But back to the approach, I decided it was best to finish with a 3D camera move landing on my contact info.  Hey, the whole point of a reel is to have people call you up, right?

Hope this write up has helped you with your own brainstorm.  Whether you love it, hate it, feel bleh about it, hopefully now your approach to cutting your own reel will be less overwhelming.

proactively • hope this helps • peter

September 2020

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