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Tim Ford

WorkFlow of Colorist.

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What is the workflow of a colorist? Are they handed a rough cut or the final cut of the film. Like where in the process of making a film do they do their work?

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A final cut of a movie will be sent via EDL/AAF/XML to a finisher, who will bring the cut selects of the original high resolution media online and color them.

 

Visual effects shots and graphic elements will then be put into the finishers timeline with the final cut and everything will be colored to match.

 

They will then export as EXR or DPX for the DCP (digital cinema package) version. Then they will generally make a home video version right then and there, exporting as Pro Res XQ in most cases and handing that over for the BluRay release.

 

Most of the time, audio will be delivered AFTER the coloring is done. The two will be mated either during the coloring phase (for stereo reference) before export OR in most cases, added later during the "encoding" process of either the DCP or MPEG files for BluRay. Most of the finishing tools on the market can handle multi-track exporting, but none of them can encode the proper Dolby/DTS soundtrack for theatrical/BluRay release. So this is why audio is generally not touched by the finisher and only associated during the coloring process as "reference".

 

Another thing that happens quite a bit today is the DIT (digital image technician) on set, will set LUT's and sometimes even color shots that are going to VFX. So on modern digital shoots, there is always someone's hand on the files before they're touched by the colorist.

 

Outside of the DIT, this workflow is pretty much standard practice for film and digital acquisition when projecting digitally.

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