17 Replies Latest reply on Nov 21, 2013 9:51 AM by Jim_Simon

    A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...

    Cadillacula Level 1

      (1) I see some suggested ordered lists for CC/G have sharpening coming after film stock. Does that mean something different than a film grain overlay? It seems potentially dangerous to sharpen film grain so I thought I'd ask.

       

      (2) Also this leads me to wonder when to apply a film grain overlay, depending on where you place it in your flow it can create issues including fading to black (you see gray film grain instead of the grain fading with the image).

       

      (3) Is it ever a common practice to do a stagnant subtle vignette across an entire film... or more typical to vignette on an individual clip basis based on subjects/content?

       

      (4) Sharpen or Unsharp Mask?

       

      (5) I understand secondary color correcting skin using the vectroscope - I get where the skin tone lien is - however I've always been a bit lost on how far forward to push (or pull back)  the color once its on the line. Preference? Important to keep that onsistent across clips of a scene I'd assume.

       

      Lastly as I am embarking on one of the larger projects of my life I wanted to mention that Jim Simon's insight into my question here (http://forums.adobe.com/message/5522489#5522489) is working great in practice and has been a huge boon to my production.

       

      Thanks.

        • 1. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
          shooternz Level 6

          3.  You do either or what evr  it takes. No rules..only possibilties.

           

          4. Do a test.

           

          5. at the end of the day...its an "eye" thing...and the scopes are a reference.

           

          Lastly...general good practice around these parts...is to ignore Jim

          • 2. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
            Cadillacula Level 1

            >> 3.  You do either or what evr  it takes. No rules..only possibilties.

             

            Vignettes is a bit of a new concept to me in film. I get its a subliminal spotlight on your subject, but I'm wondering how comon it is ya know? I mean I see Color Grading everyday - but am I also seeing subtle vignetting around a subjects face on lots of stuff? Trying to decide if its worth doing it for every clip - if at all I guess. I mean is it as crucial and mandatory as color correcting?

             

            >> Lastly...general good practice around these parts...is to ignore Jim

             

            Finally some solid advice. Thanks.

            • 3. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
              R Neil Haugen Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              I hadn't realized quite how common vignettes were in cine/video work until I jumped in personally. And found that a LOT of colorists vignette more than half the clips of any sequence they grade.

               

              But ... it's not obvious as they were using all sorts of different shapes and locations for their vignetting effect, dependent mostly upon scene type/action.Some were a pretty standard portrait-photog style oval ... but jeepers, the number of basic mask shapes some colorists have saved for uses such as vignettes is amazing. A quick choice of the proper shape from saved ones ... a quick pull/push on the shape, choose inside or outside ... tug or push on color/balance/luminosity and they're off to the next clip, faster than I can type this (and I'm not that bad on a keyboard). I've also seen the practice of grouping clips and dumping vignettes on mutliple clips simultaneously ... not because the clips were the same subject/time, but ... because they'd take a similar vignette even though to look at they might be rather disparate.

               

              So ... I quickly came to realize that for many colorists/editors, their vignettes were a large part of their 'look'. And how bloody fast their workflows were.

               

              Neil

              • 4. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
                shooternz Level 6

                Vignettes are smetimes called Power Windows in CC and Grading terms.

                 

                A vignette is a specific grade that lightens or darkens the corners and edges in a specific way designed to centre focus towards the center of the image.  Very traditional photographic term and technique.

                 

                Vignettes can be subtle or obvious.

                 

                Power Windows should be invisible but effective.  They  involve fall off and edge blending. Often they can include tracking of the subject or an area.  There can be multiple power windows on any image and they can utilise any effect available to the Colorist or Compositor.

                • 5. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
                  Cadillacula Level 1

                  Hey R. Neil Haugen,

                   

                  Thanks for sharing this. I was kind of looking for that sorta feedback on this particular subject. It's one of those things that somehow never made it into my workflow, no matter how much I reserach, how long I've been at this or how good I consider myself. Was looking for a reality check. Also wonderful to know that my time in CC/G has just doubled. Oh joy.

                   

                  And thanks for the clarification shooternz - I meant both but was calling them the same thing. Sounds like an entire scene could indeed then have the corners/edges darkened AND power windows could be lurking about at the same time. Interestingly enough that was also the last good Rush album.

                   

                  Hoping to get some insight into my FILM GRAIN question as well... now thinking Stu and others are refering to a "film stock" going before sharpening, which may be different from grain - and if so I'm wondering where my grain goes in the chain.

                  • 6. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
                    shooternz Level 6

                    You only get film grain from film emulsions but plenty of ways to simulate it in AEFX

                     

                    Generally in digital images its "noise". Usually in the blacks and usually considered undesireable!

                     

                    Cause is underexposure. levels misadjustment. Over pushing the gains and ped.

                     

                    Solution is to crush it out.  ie lower the black and gamma levels.

                     

                    Soften and diffusing it may also help.

                    • 7. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
                      R Neil Haugen Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      Film stock and film grain are really two different things.

                       

                      Film stock is the 'look' of a particular emulsion, say, Kodak 5297 or whatever. Every different film stock-emulsion had its own look, a slightly to very different combination of contrast, highlight roll-off, shadow roll-off, "gamma" feel, apparent sharpness, color tint & saturation, that sort of thing. Most of the cine "film stocks" I've seen don't actually include mimicking the grain of that stock, just the look and feel.

                       

                      Film grain is the dark ittle bits to chunks similar to that which you see in film emulsions. HIgher ISO films had bigger grains of silver salts and therefore bigger clumps of color dye ... which is what we saw as 'grain'.

                       

                      In cine work, if you want to mimic a film stock, I'd recommend adding that BEFORE grading, and do your grade onto that stock. Film grain ... add that at the end.

                       

                      And grain can add a really nice touch to the right image ... or say, eliminate the "plasticene" look some cameras (like my GH3) give to skin. When I add just a bit of medium-sized 'grain' into the image, suddenly ... skin looks both sharper and more 'real'. Night-time 'shots' (whether done at night or graded to look like night) say, in a 'dark alley', can be really cool with some grain texture added in.

                       

                      Neil

                      • 8. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
                        Cadillacula Level 1

                        Thanks for the continued engagement guys.

                         

                        I just wanted to make sure Stu didn't mean "film grain" when he said "film stock" - I agree they are two different animals. Sharpening film grain actually increases it ten fold (and is a trick to get more grain out of a plate if desired).

                         

                        Hey Shooterns I'm denoising certain clips first (typically less busy shots or ones with sky) and then re-adding film grain at the end. I've actually done a bit of experimenting in this neighborhood and found that the moderately priced sets of film grain "plates" are really well done and have worked best for me. Keep in mind my project is very specific and very retro, but so far so good.

                         

                        One interesting point R. Neil is that Stu actually says the opposite - Grade and then Film Stock. For what its worth.

                         

                        And agree fully that even "fine" film grain adds a bit of magic to otherwise ordinary shots. (let alone the coarse and dirty business I'm using for my stuff).

                         

                        Thanks again.

                        1 person found this helpful
                        • 9. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
                          shooternz Level 6

                          I have a 40 years plus experience of working in film as a D.P, Producer and editor plus I had a motion picture film processing facilty for 5 years.  A very hands on experience.

                           

                          A life time of avoiding "grain". Specifically "film grain".

                           

                          We even developed a successful "grain tightening" process in our film lab. ie. minimising grain in 16mm film thru to telecine.

                           

                          Grain adds zero apart from "effect" to images.

                           

                          When my eyes see grain and the distraction from it..I will change my mind.

                           

                          Texture is another matter.

                          • 10. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
                            Cadillacula Level 1

                            I thought you just mentioned simulating grain in AEFX a post or two above? Regardless, while we may disagree on what "real film scans from 35mm film" bring to a stark video project in terms of an overlay - it is funny how filmographers have come full circle on things post digital - denoising, deartifacting and adding "film grain" right back on top. Again its night and day for my personal projects - but its subtle - and meant to emulate film. Thanks all once again for the insight.

                            • 11. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
                              Jim_Simon Level 8

                              I'll take my chances on being ignored here only because I'm a really big fan of the FilmConvert plug-in for PP.  These guys measure the look of different film stocks, then measure the sensor output from various cameras, and come up with an algorithm to turn your video footage into film.  Absolutely brilliant!

                              • 12. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
                                Cadillacula Level 1

                                I've often thought about this product. They dont have the film stocks I'm after (so i try to emulate my own via color grading) and in theory it would wreak havoc on my workflow  (I believe FilmConvert does film stock and then film grain all in one pass and at one point in my flow - these are typically two very distinct and spaced out events with much inbetween them).

                                 

                                Sans those two issues - I have definitley considered.

                                • 13. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
                                  Jim_Simon Level 8

                                  I do wish they'd add more stocks - before they go away forever.

                                   

                                  You can individually control the color, curve and grain for each stock, so you could theoretically apply the effect first with only color and curve, then do your CC/grading and other effects, then apply another FC effect with only grain at the end.

                                   

                                  Having said that, I'm not a big fan of sharpening in post.  It may be better to fix that in production, with a new lens or a new camera.  Then there's no problem using the grain on the initial effect.

                                  • 14. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
                                    R Neil Haugen Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                    I've looked at their stuff ... and yea, quite interesting. But I'm not at a point where I need that "tool" bad enough to pay for it. That's a 'yet', of course. 

                                     

                                    But ... grading after film stock, eh? Interesting the different way folks do these things ... much to learn!

                                     

                                    Neil

                                    • 15. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
                                      Jim_Simon Level 8

                                      grading after film stock, eh?

                                       

                                      Well, of course.  Think about it.  When you CC/grade a film original (or an Intermediate from a film original), you're working on that stock.  The whole point of FilmConvert is to turn your footage into what you'd see had you actually shot on that stock instead of video.  It has to come first.  Otherwise, the process isn't working the way it was intended.  You'd no longer be converting what came off the sensor, and the algorithm is thrown off.

                                      • 16. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
                                        Cadillacula Level 1

                                        I have honestly been blown away by what a touch of unsharp mask in post can do to raw dslr footage - just my opinion/experiements.

                                         

                                        I hear what you're saying Jim in theory - but I've had some wonky things start to happen when I was trying to color grade film stock, it also messed with my ability to properly define my masks in some cases. I assumed thats why its always the final step in the more popular/readily available workflow ordered lists. But... to be fair the FilmConvert process and the act of overlaying a filmstock slide (ex GorillaGrain) might be two totally different animals, and deserve two different positions in one's workflow.

                                        • 17. Re: A few color correction/grading "steps" questions...
                                          Jim_Simon Level 8

                                          I'd agree with that last statement.