Our 2nd color grading suite is ready

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Just finished building our 2nd editing / color grading suite. The old trusty Pentium 4 was way too old and had to be replaced with something faster. I’m still doing my main work on a 17“ MacBook Pro but I’m toying with the idea of getting a full fledged new iMac (late 2012) in july.

Adobe CS6 vs. CineForm

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I’ve got the Adobe CS6 Master Collection a couple of weeks ago and I thought to re-check my workflow for color grading and transcoding clips. Back when I was using Adobe CS4 I’ve always transcoded my Canon EOS clips via ReMaster to 10bit Cineform 422 and got excellent quality clips with a higher latitude for color grading. Since CS6, things have changed in a better way (I don’t know if CS5.5 works the same).

I’ve natively imported a Canon EOS clip (waving a red pen through the image) into Premiere & After Effects CS6 timeline. Below this clip I’ve imported the same clip but transcoded to CF422 that gave me always best results in the past with Adobe CS4. I’ve increased the saturation to maximum to see the results better. I was somewhat surprised to see how Adobe CS6 handles the red color artifacts much much better than CF422. On the natively imported MOV file I get much smoother edges in CS6 whereas the CF422 clip has huge blocks / color artifacts in the red color.

I’ve tried different quality settings in ReMaster (also FilmScan2) but the native import into CS6 is still much better. The natively imported clips in CS6 looked much cleaner to my eye. On the CF422 clips I’ve also noticed a slight increase in noise when zoomed to 400%.

This means, for best results I can now import the Canon EOS clips natively into After Effects or Premiere CS6 without the need of transcoding them to CineForm 422 anymore.

(The transcoding to CineForm 422 was done using the latest version of ReMaster 5.5.5.243 that came with GoPro Studio Premium. The footage was captured with a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV)

DaVinci Resolve for Windows™

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Blackmagic Design announced DaVinci Resolve 8.2 for Microsoft Windows™ public beta is now available for download. DaVinci Resolve for Windows public beta is available in both the full featured DaVinci Resolve 8.2 and free DaVinci Resolve Lite versions. The DaVinci Resolve 8.2 for Windows license is included with the Mac OS X version, so all current Mac OS X customers automatically get a license for the Windows version, and can download it now to use in their facility.

This new DaVinci Resolve for Windows beta will allow customers to use a wide range of hardware for building color correction systems with the advantage of a wider selection of GPU processing options with support for up to 4 GPU’s per system.

Panasonic HDC-TM900 & DaVinci Resolve Lite

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From left to right (Panasonic HVX200, Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, Panasonic HDC-TM900)

Amazing results from the small consumer camera Panasonic HDC-TM900.

On my last trip to Romania I had full faith in the new TM900 and shot hundreds of stock footage clips in 1080/50p at 28 Mbits/s. This little camera is great if you have to travel light because you can shoot in high quality anywhere without drawing unnecessary attention. After reviewing my clips on the computer I’ve started to color grade them in DaVinci Resolve Lite and was positively surprised how far I can push the colors without them falling apart too much. I admit before importing the clips into DaVinci I’ve upconverted them through Cineform Neo HD to CF422 to make them editable - that’s an important part of my workflow. The newer version 8.1.1 of DaVinci Lite now includes unlimited CC nodes. With them you can throw in a bunch of PowerWindows, Layer Nodes and Qualifiers to make the picture really pop. Can’t wait to put my hands on a control surface.

These are my TM900 camera „Picture Adjust“ settings:
Sharpness -1 (depending on the scene content -3 or -1)
Colour 0 (don’t be fooled it looks vivid on the LCD)
Exposure -2 (the camera tends to overexpose too much)
WB Adjust 0 (I always do manual white balance)

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DIY Portable Camera Crane

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Inspired by Martin Roberts I’ve built my own version of a portable camera crane using a leg from an old tripod (SLIK 88N) that fits in a small leisure bag. The setup is really quick and easy, done in under one minute. It’s stiff enough to support a camera up to 1200 grams. For the center pivot Im using a swivel caster with ball bearing to get smooth motion. You can get them at any home depot. The cost for the parts were around 30 EUR. (I had already two old tripods sitting around in the garage.) The crane has a range of 1.40m (total length=2.10m). With the tripod fully extended I can go as high as 2.80m and in most situations this will be more than enough.

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My DIY Fig Rig

Just like to show you my well balaced diy fig rig. Actually I’ve used the same parts and just modified my existing diy shoulder rig (took off the shoulder support and turned the grips 180°).

diy_figrig

On the rods I can add my lightweight accessories like a Rode Mic and the Zoom H4 audio recorder. Using a Follow Focus would also be cool but it can’t be operated by the same person who is holding the fig rig.

Maybe a small servomotor (from model airplane) and a potentiometer that can be controlled with the thumb could work.

My homemade rig for my Canon 1D Mark IV

Finally done my new camera rig!

homemade_rig
I finished today my homemade camera rig - yeeessss!
Made from standard parts found in a bike shop and at the metal store. I’ve got the shoulder pad and the small rail (for holding a 7” TFT) from a very old video camera.
The design is easy and straight forward. It allows me to add several parts to the hand grips like a RODE Mic and a Zoom H4 audio recorder. At the end of the shoulder mount I will fix a rechargeable battery that acts as a counter balance and that will power the 7” TFT.
This design can of course also be used with the Canon 5D Mark II, 7D or 500D that have the movie function integrated. Feel free to use this design. If you have any questions let me know.



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