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Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

What is your favorite grading software?

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Adobe Premiere Pro. It works very much like Photoshop does for still pics. If you use color correction (brightness, contrast, exposure, gamma, highlights and shadows, saturation, hue, filters, etc.) in Photoshop, it is very similar to the color grading in Premiere Pro. Premiere Pro also has control over the ambient light in the scene, spotlighting, direction and intensity and color of the light.

Edited by Bob Speziale
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DaVinci Resolve, hands down.  It's probably the most powerful, and it's now pretty much entirely free (except for a few advanced features.)  It does have a little bit of a learning curve (pun intended) if you're not already familiar with a color grading workflow or node-based workflows, but it's worth it once you have an understanding.

If you need something simpler, Adobe's Lumetri panel that is built into Premiere & AE has a good interface that provides a loose guide for workflow, and the newer updates flesh out more of the advanced secondary color correction tools.

 

I use both every day. For quick color correction while cutting, I'll use Lumetri to get it to a baseline just so the client doesn't see flat footage.  At the end, everything goes into Resolve to finesse the grade.  Occasionally, I even find myself doing a quick grade in Resolve, and then exporting a LUT to throw onto footage in Premiere. 

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Resolve is by far the best tool because it has nearly all of the requirements for grading, which is far more advanced than color wheels. Most of the advanced tools are related to creating your own CMYK grades in photoshop and bringing them back into DaVinci and then doing power windows to accent/highlight areas. This is how so many colorists work these days when it comes to giving proper color contrast to any given shot. It's a bit slow because you're constantly having to find a look for a given scene first and then doing a roundabout method with two programs, but it really helps balance the look of scenes, even with multi-cameras. You really can't do that stuff in any other NLE I'm aware of. DaVinci 16 should also have the NLE functions of the program fixed, because that is the only thing currently keeping people from using DaVinci full-time. I use it for 60% of my editorial today and hope the 16 version allows me to bring that back up to 80% or more. 

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On 4/5/2019 at 1:53 PM, Tyler Purcell said:

Resolve is by far the best tool because it has nearly all of the requirements for grading, which is far more advanced than color wheels. Most of the advanced tools are related to creating your own CMYK grades in photoshop and bringing them back into DaVinci and then doing power windows to accent/highlight areas. This is how so many colorists work these days when it comes to giving proper color contrast to any given shot. It's a bit slow because you're constantly having to find a look for a given scene first and then doing a roundabout method with two programs, but it really helps balance the look of scenes, even with multi-cameras. You really can't do that stuff in any other NLE I'm aware of. DaVinci 16 should also have the NLE functions of the program fixed, because that is the only thing currently keeping people from using DaVinci full-time. I use it for 60% of my editorial today and hope the 16 version allows me to bring that back up to 80% or more. 

Tyler, can you explain the CMYK process you are writing about here?  I've never heard this used before...  Thanks!

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18 hours ago, Bruce Greene said:

Tyler, can you explain the CMYK process you are writing about here?  I've never heard this used before...  Thanks!

Here is an article about channel masks and how powerful they are. It's the same concept as this, but you're also doing your main part of the grade in Photoshop as well. 

https://mixinglight.com/color-tutorial/photoshop-channel-masks-in-davinci-resolve/

https://mixinglight.com/color-tutorial/photoshop-luminosity-masks-davinci-resolve/

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What if you are editing/grading scanned film only? Is Davinci, a pretty advanced set up, still the best? I'm wondering if it might not be best just to pay someone to do my grading/editing - with me looking over their shoulder - rather than pay for all the high power computer hardware. I'm not making a lot of films at the moment so perhaps that's the most cost effective solution for now.

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Sadly, you need to really grade what's coming off the scanner. Paying that tiny bit extra will give you a much better image. There is no magic, scanners are just CMOS imagers and if you set the controls at the beginning of the roll, mid way through it may go dark or go to a different stock and go a lot brighter. That excess dynamic range, the poor scanner imager can't deal with. So you need an operator to go through the film, set a base setting for the different scenes and stocks included on each assembled lab roll and then scan it. The 1000ft 16mm and 35mm assembly rolls, generally take me 20 minutes to watch through on fast forward and get base settings with in and out points. Then I can rewind and play it through, the system will automatically make the grade changes on the playback. Sometimes if I'm in a hurry, I can just stop the scanner at a major scene transition and then edit the cuts together in DaVinci on the export to the client. Not a great method, not suggested, but possible. 

DaVinci is not magical, if the source is full of imager noise from being underexposed on the capture side, you can't fix that in post. Remember, the imager is fixed ISO, you adjust how much light is going through the film onto the imager in order to get the exposure right. If you don't have that calibrated, you're going to get a shitty scan. 

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5 hours ago, Tyler Purcell said:

Here is an article about channel masks and how powerful they are. It's the same concept as this, but you're also doing your main part of the grade in Photoshop as well. 

https://mixinglight.com/color-tutorial/photoshop-channel-masks-in-davinci-resolve/

https://mixinglight.com/color-tutorial/photoshop-luminosity-masks-davinci-resolve/

What do channel masks have to do with CMYK?  I admit I haven't had time to watch the videos carefully and I don't think I'll be subscribing to view them....

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1 hour ago, Bruce Greene said:

What do channel masks have to do with CMYK?  I admit I haven't had time to watch the videos carefully and I don't think I'll be subscribing to view them....

Ohh you can use the same trick to color each individual channel and do all sorts of very clever color matching tricks. So basically instead of making color masks, you use photoshop to grade the DPX file. It's the one tool DaVinci is missing; being able to work channel by channel in CYMK, it only works in RGB. 

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I agree resolve is the best bang for (no) buck out there. I used to use Apple Color and it had a really nice work flow and was powerful. Shame they killed it off on the roll out of FCP X.

I've had good experiences with Baselight - it works great and the runners bring you food and drinks. I have to get my own drinks when using Resolve at home.

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On 4/5/2019 at 12:57 PM, Bob Speziale said:

Adobe Premiere Pro. It works very much like Photoshop does for still pics. If you use color correction (brightness, contrast, exposure, gamma, highlights and shadows, saturation, hue, filters, etc.) in Photoshop, it is very similar to the color grading in Premiere Pro. Premiere Pro also has control over the ambient light in the scene, spotlighting, direction and intensity and color of the light.

Do you know how it compares to Premier Elements for grading?

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12 minutes ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Do you know how it compares to Premier Elements for grading?

I don't know. I've been using Premiere Pro CS6  and Audition CS6 for about 5 or 6 years now. Never used Premiere Elements.

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2 hours ago, Daniel D. Teoli Jr. said:

Do you know how it compares to Premier Elements for grading?

Premiere elements is Adobe's iMovie. You would organize your clips in iPhoto and then iMovie would take over and do the post production. I'm sure the grading tools are far simpler then even Premiere CC, which are light years away from what can be done in DaVinci. Even Adobe's own Speed Grade, is a weak software in comparison. 

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