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Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Easy to use color grading software?

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If you don't need 4K why not Blackmagic Resolve, its professional grading software with a full editor, audio editor and even compositing. They have a free version, even for commercial use, and the only restrictions are HD output and noise reduction features are disabled if I recall correctly.

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the only restrictions are HD output and noise reduction features are disabled if I recall correctly.

Actually free resolve will do UHD no problem. The only other limitations are NR and Blur tools.

 

But I get the problem... it's not easy to use for the recently initiated. It also requires one heck of a GPU to work well.

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It has a learning curve for sure but its not that much if you just want to do a quick edit and color correction. I don't work with 4K only HD, I have a GeForce 680 gtx and never had any issues at all, $130 card now days.

 

Thanks for the correction about UHD in free Resolve, I was not aware of that.

Edited by David Hessel

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It has a learning curve for sure but its not that much if you just want to do a quick edit and color correction. I don't work with 4K only HD, I have a GeForce 680 gtx and never had any issues at all, $130 card now days.

 

Thanks for the correction about UHD in free Resolve, I was not aware of that.

I had a GTX680 first with 2gb of video memory and it would run out of memory on UHD projects, with 1080p it only glitched on occasion.

 

The big problem are computers that don't allow GPU upgrades, basically anything mac made since 2012 and any laptop from any company. So many people use laptops these days, it's difficult to make them work with resolve.

 

FYI, my GTX980 4gb BARELY scrapes by with UHD work.

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If you don't need 4K why not Blackmagic Resolve, its professional grading software with a full editor, audio editor and even compositing. They have a free version, even for commercial use, and the only restrictions are HD output and noise reduction features are disabled if I recall correctly.

 

Most I'd be doing is 2K...unless lotto cooperates.

 

Never heard of Davinci Resolve Light, did hear about Davinci Resolve. Someone had a pirated version on ebay for $299. (don't know if really pirated on not, but possible.)

 

Will look into both recommendations.

 

Thanks

Edited by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

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There used to be Davinci Resolve and Davinci Resolve lite where lite was the free version. Now it's Davinci Resolve Studio which is the paid version and Davinci Resolve which is free. You can just download it directly from their website and use it legitimately for whatever.

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Resolve has a fairly high learning curve but it is completely worth the time investment. Plenty of free online tutorials available. Once you've mastered Resolve, or at least understand it's basics you'll be able to do some amazing things with an industry standard software package.

 

Not too long ago you'd be looking at $30k+ to get Resolve. Free is better.

 

Color correction is really an art unto itself and while it would be nice to be able to press one button to make things better you really need to understand the whole process and reasons behind it to take your work to the next level.

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Could someone spell out for me, in just a few lines, what would be a great computer set up to buy that would have the most power and fewest hassles for home editing and colouring digital footage to a completely professional and efficient standard. How much gb of video memory, etc? I'd be using it for film scanned up to 4K. I've done a lot of reading and searching online about what to get but still haven't tracked down a simple up-to-date answer, so believe me I've put in the hard yards (maybe I'm not much good at researching such topics, or don't understand what I'm reading). I did read recently that post-production is moving over to PC, from Mac, so I think PC might be the way to go (and sure, not a notebook). I intend to use Davinci Resolve. Any help most appreciated. Thank you.

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I edit 4K video with Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe Audition for sound. I have an HP PC with an intel i7 processor running at 3.1 GHz, 16GB RAM, a 1TB 7200RPM hard drive, and an ATI graphics card with 2GB of RAM on the card. My OS is Win10 64bit pro. I use a 20 inch (diagonal) led backlit lcd monitor (screen size is 11" x 17") with 1680x1050 resolution. I have a 500GB usb pocket drive for backup. I tried DaVinci but just couldn't figure out how to use it. I found the learning curve on Premiere Pro to be much more intuitive for me, plus youtube provided how to videos for every aspect of Premiere Pro that I couldn't figure out on my own.

 

I find this system to be very adequate for 4k editing. When it comes to the exporting though, plan to disable your screen saver and let it run on it's own for hours. My videos are generally 4 to 5 minutes long and I'm bringing in footage from two cameras with 5 or 6 soundtracks. Premiere lets you edit the audio with Audition within the Premiere timeline. Once you learn what the editor can do and how long it takes you may decide to export shorter segments including preliminary effects and color grading and audio and then put those together in a new timeline rather than get bogged down with too many files and effects at one time.

Could someone spell out for me, in just a few lines, what would be a great computer set up to buy that would have the most power and fewest hassles for home editing and colouring digital footage to a completely professional and efficient standard. How much gb of video memory, etc? I'd be using it for film scanned up to 4K. I've done a lot of reading and searching online about what to get but still haven't tracked down a simple up-to-date answer, so believe me I've put in the hard yards (maybe I'm not much good at researching such topics, or don't understand what I'm reading). I did read recently that post-production is moving over to PC, from Mac, so I think PC might be the way to go (and sure, not a notebook). I intend to use Davinci Resolve. Any help most appreciated. Thank you.

Edited by Bob Speziale
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P.S. Jon O'Brien. Full disclosure I'm not a professional and have been doing this for several years as a retirement hobby and posting my videos on youtube. When you said editing to a professional standard, (possibly for theater viewing?) you may want to visit a professional production company and see what equipment they are using for their editing. Other members who do this for a living would have more to add.

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Could someone spell out for me, in just a few lines, what would be a great computer set up to buy that would have the most power and fewest hassles for home editing and colouring digital footage to a completely professional and efficient standard. How much gb of video memory, etc? I'd be using it for film scanned up to 4K. I've done a lot of reading and searching online about what to get but still haven't tracked down a simple up-to-date answer, so believe me I've put in the hard yards (maybe I'm not much good at researching such topics, or don't understand what I'm reading). I did read recently that post-production is moving over to PC, from Mac, so I think PC might be the way to go (and sure, not a notebook). I intend to use Davinci Resolve. Any help most appreciated. Thank you.

I am not in the market for a PC so I am not up to speed on the latest but what I would recommend is a large SSD 200GB or more for running the OS. The top of the line or runner up Nvidia graphics card from last year, not current as it will be half the price. 16GB of ram is probably enough but I would go with 32GB just in case. An I7 processor and a raid of 7200 rp disc drives, at least 4. These can be added internally using a software raid.

 

Generally what I do is build a custom PC that would have been top of the line a year or two ago. Normally spending around $1500 or so.

Edited by David Hessel
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Thanks Bob and David! Would these set ups render a result that could be handed over to a professional posthouse for putting it all onto a DCP? Or can even this be done effectively 'from home' now? Thanks Bob for your comment that you're not a professional and so that makes two of us. I have some ambitions in this direction but don't know yet whether this ambition will bear much fruit. I'm involved in other creative areas and film so far is a sideline thing for me but am thinking of what I could do with it.

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Yes you can do DCP from home. Here's a great 27 minute video on doing it with Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects and free Open DCP software. It looks straightforward in the video. He created a short test video and brought the 6 required DCP files to a local theater on a USB hard drive and they loaded the files on their DCP server, set the aspect ratio and some other details on their server and played it for him in the theater on their DCP projector. The video gives a lot of info on formats required and a step by step tutorial on creating the files.

 

Free DCP with Adoobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects.

 

 

 

Thanks Bob and David! Would these set ups render a result that could be handed over to a professional posthouse for putting it all onto a DCP? Or can even this be done effectively 'from home' now? Thanks Bob for your comment that you're not a professional and so that makes two of us. I have some ambitions in this direction but don't know yet whether this ambition will bear much fruit. I'm involved in other creative areas and film so far is a sideline thing for me but am thinking of what I could do with it.

Edited by Bob Speziale

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Could someone spell out for me, in just a few lines, what would be a great computer set up to buy that would have the most power and fewest hassles for home editing and colouring digital footage to a completely professional and efficient standard. How much gb of video memory, etc? I'd be using it for film scanned up to 4K. I've done a lot of reading and searching online about what to get but still haven't tracked down a simple up-to-date answer, so believe me I've put in the hard yards (maybe I'm not much good at researching such topics, or don't understand what I'm reading). I did read recently that post-production is moving over to PC, from Mac, so I think PC might be the way to go (and sure, not a notebook). I intend to use Davinci Resolve. Any help most appreciated. Thank you.

 

Last time I made a post like this it got into a heated Mac vs. PC debate... So with that said, I AM biased toward PC's going into this --- so just know that.

 

Basically, performance to price, a PC will be a much better option than a MAC. Yes, there are some used Mac Pro's out there that are still good -- but Apples lack of really powerful hardware and their instance to 'build everything into the motherboard' means that whatever NEW apple you get, that is all you are ever going to get --- there is no upgrade path other than buying a new system.

 

Resolve relies heavily on GPU, so don't skimp on that portion. As nice as a big old powerful CPU is, I find that resolve never uses more than about 50% of my Threadripper CPU.

 

Basically, if you are looking for a good, descent-priced PC capable of editing and grading 4K RAW Cinema DNG type files and such, just see my specs:

 

CPU: AMD Threadripper 2970x

 

GPU: Dual GTX 1080ti (resolve makes use of dual graphics cards, and LOVES video ram -- so the 11GB of vram offered on the 1080ti is a major bonus)

 

Memory: 64 GB DDR4

 

Hard Drives: 500GB m.2 drive for OS/Files/Programs. 1TB SSD drive for storage of stock assets (my preference). An array of discs for media storage (camera files and such - don't skimp here, as you need SPEED as well as SPACE for 4K files. RAID is the best price to performance option, but if you have cash to blow, look into some large capacity SSDs). I also have a 2TB 7200rpm hard drive for rendering projects out, as I have found a rendering speed increase when the original media is being pulled off a seperate drive than it is rendering out to --- probably a limitation is drive speed)

 

Required Hardware: Decklink Mini Monitor 4K (you need this for Resolve to show you ANY display of the material other than the tiny window in the GUI - and this is vital when grading, since the GUI display is ever only 8-bits in Resolve)

 

Word of warning though: If you want to grade to professional results, you'll need a properly calibrating display separate from your monitors. You connect it through a Blackmagic Mini Monitor 4K or similar card (they have all kinds that work, depending on your needs). Blackmagic then sends a live feed out to the monitor...

 

I use a BenQ PV270 monitor, which was around $900 new. You also need to buy the probe, which was around $300 for calibration. This is really the cheapest monitoring configuration I'd go with for color grading --- your next step up is something like a Flanders monitor.

 

With my BenQ I have tested the calibration to be correct at 100% REC 709. So you then need to grade in REC 709, and then you can apply a LUT for other export formats like DCP color spaces and such. While the BenQ PV270 claims to display 93% of DCI P3 color space, I wouldn't trust that, and 93% isn't 100%.

 

Edited by Landon D. Parks
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That is comprehensive information and very helpful indeed. Thank you Landon, much appreciated! Is it possible to teach yourself how to color grade or is attending a course the best way to go? I'd rather just learn on the job and put my money into equipment, but whatever works best.

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He created a short test video and brought the 6 required DCP files to a local theater on a USB hard drive and they loaded the files on their DCP server, set the aspect ratio and some other details on their server and played it for him in the theater on their DCP projector.

 

 

Yes that would definitely be the way to go about it. You'd have to see the results in a real cinema.

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Apparently you can review the quality of your audio and video dcp files separately on your PC using the free VLC player. While not a cinema experience it should be good to determine if your dcp audio and video files have any problems.

 

 

Or if you want to gamble $49 here is a PC VLC player software for sale for $49 on a 4 year old Australian website. I imagine if it didn't work Paypal might get you your money back. Full price for software license to play dcp files on a PC run $700 to $1300 on other web sites.

 

https://www.digitall.net.au/dcpplayer/

 

Since it is a 4 year old web site it says it works with win7 and win8. I sent them an email to ask if it works with Win10 64 bit systems. Will be interesting to see if and what they reply.

 

Yes that would definitely be the way to go about it. You'd have to see the results in a real cinema.

Edited by Bob Speziale
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Could someone spell out for me, in just a few lines, what would be a great computer setup to buy that would have the most power and fewest hassles for home editing and colouring digital footage to a completely professional and efficient standard.

This is actually a tough question to answer. Mainly because there are so many other things you need to think about besides processor and video memory like; how fast is your storage, how much storage do you need, will you ever be working with raw camera formats, do you want upgradability for the future, how are you going to connect a grading monitor, etc.

 

Now I run older Apple desktop machines, mainly because they're cheap and completely bulletproof. However, in today's world they're getting long in the tooth. Until Apple has something new, it's smarter to go windows for the time being.

 

Where AMD does make a great processor, I'm still an i7 or i9 intel guy myself. Mainly due to it's very exceptional media core, something that AMD does also have, but doesn't have the same support. Being able to encode and decode. h264/.h265 in hardware is a HUGE benefit of these processors. It makes editing your average junk video's so much faster, and speeds up standard editing programs like Premiere quite a bit. Honestly, even DaVinci doesn't use the GPU for .h264 encoding.

 

Spec wise, I mean it's pretty basic stuff. Ya need a lot of cores because video editing has multi-threaded operations. You need lots of memory because video editing gobbles up memory. You need a fast GPU with lots of memory as well. Fast drives, fast bus, fast I/O, etc. I really like Thunderbolt and/or USB-C as an interface device. USB 3.1 just doesn't cut the mustard. I also put my hard drives internally and raid them so that keeps the speed higher then if they were simply external.

 

Now, if you're gonna use DaVinci, you have to use a Blackmagic device for your video output. This means, there is an added cost. I have a Decklink Extreme 4k for my output device and it works ok. It does have issues (driver wise) with Premiere, which kinda sucks. I've talked to the Adobe guys and they're at a loss why it doesn't work right. Needless to say, I work with Avid and DaVinci nearly all the time anyway, so it's not very relevant.

 

My system is a Mac Pro 5,1 dual Xeon processor 3.46ghz, 12 core, 24 thread, 32gb of ECC ram, 1tb SSD boot, 12tb spinning disk raid (4x4tb drives), GTX980 GPU, USB 3.1 card and Blackmagic 4k Extreme card. I'm in about $2500 for that whole thing, buying "used" components and it will run forever. You can't beat it for price vs performance, nothing else on the market like it because when they came out they were around $10k in that configuration. It's biggest bottleneck is actually the GTX980, which I'll be upgrading once my Quadroplex is up and running. I'm gonna be running double 1080's in an external chassis called a quadroplex which allows me to run 2 spare GPU's without needing to deal with them being inside my system. You can build something a lot faster today for around the same money, but you'd be stuck with cheap hardware sadly. You gotta spend quite a bit of money to get good hardware so your system will last a while.

 

Personally, if I were forced to build a new PC today, I'd get a DDR4 system with an 18 core i9, 128gb memory, NVME PCI boot drive (double 1tb NVME's), double 1080Ti's and a serious internal raid, maybe 8x8tb spinning disk with a PCI based raid card. Of course Blackmagic Extreme 2 video board and most likely thunderbolt card if the motherboard can take it. Sure, price would be... umm a lot, but holy poop would it be future proof. Those NVME PCI boards are amazing, simply nothing else like it on the market and with double 1tb drives raided together, you can get around 3200Mbps internally. This means, all of your caches and temp storage for editing can be stored on a device which is as fast as ram, which decreases the biggest bottleneck of all.

 

I'm on the fence with the DDR5 motherboards and processors coming out soon... I think at that speed, there are other bottlenecks to consider like even the speed of the PCI infrastructure.

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That is comprehensive information and very helpful indeed. Thank you Landon, much appreciated! Is it possible to teach yourself how to color grade or is attending a course the best way to go? I'd rather just learn on the job and put my money into equipment, but whatever works best.

Personally, with the advent of what amounts to basically 'free' industry level software, and the huge amount of online video tutorials --- I'd not pay to go to school or take paid training courses. I'd get the equipment you need and the software, and then play with the software while watching some online videos. There are tons of 'intro to resolve' videos on youtube, and a lot more 'general color grading' videos that apply cross platform.

 

A lot of color grading, like filmmaking, is about opinion and art as much as it is about technical ability. Color grading, from a technical standpoint, really isn't very difficult. Once you understand some basic functions a lot of it comes down to your ability to dial in the correct look you want, which only comes with practice.

 

Myself, I almost always start by applying a LUT that gets me close to what I want, and then adjust from there. I also 'color match' like-looking footage to save time, and then do small adjustments if needed.

 

As for what Tyler said about Intel --- I'm game with that. Personally, I'm just more of an AMD guy --- and the Intel tax can be very expensive. It really comes down to what hardware you prefer. In a head-to-head test, a top of the line threadripper will probably compete or exceed an i9, but then you are also talking about an $1,800 threadripper processor, which begins to defeat AMD's price to performance ratio.

 

But a lot will come down to what footage you are wanting to work with. If you work with a lot of H.265/H.264 stuff, you need a beefy CPU as it will strain under those codecs. Meanwhile, RAW and ProRes/DNxHR are more hard drive speed hungry than CPU hungry.

 

While a large CPU is important, I'd personally put more resources into the GPU, hard drive, and RAM... With most modern post codecs like ProRes/DNx and RAW, much of the debayering and processing of the clips are done on the GPU. That is why I'd suggest going with a mid-range threadripper (which are going for about $800), and put more funds into the GPU area.

 

Personally, I'm doing a short film grade right now... I received all the files as H.264... I transcoded everything into DNxHR before touching it. I can't get H.264 to play back smoothly even on my very fast, modern computer all that well.

Edited by Landon D. Parks

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