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“I hasten to inform you that I was very lucky! I ended up in the team of beta testers Color Finale 1.7 and it’s really amazing product.
I’m not a colorist at all, quite the contrary! But even I managed to make a quick and acceptable color correction in Color Finale 1.7
– HSL Curves
– Rewritten Color Wheels with better response
– New LUT Gallery
– Export LUTs
– CDL Import/Export
– Undo is rewritten
– Lots of bugs fixed ( some added)
If you are interested – you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org, and offer to become a beta tester. Hurry to try, release soon!
And yes — upgrade from previous version is for FREE!”
A number of Panasonic Lumix GH5 owners using Final Cut Pro X with LUT loading plug-ins have reported varying LUT interpretation results with 8-bit and 10-bit footage. The problem involves clamping or lowering the footage superwhites after LUTs have been applied.
The most common problem reportedly does not appear in Adobe’s Premiere Pro NLE using the Lumetri Color panel, but seems to be centred on Apple’s Final Cut Pro X or more specifically some current versions of third party LUT-loading plug-ins.
So far the specific causes of this problem, and its permanent solution, have not been 100% identified, but it may be useful to share a list of the free and paid-for LUT plug-ins and related software that are currently available. If the cause resides in one or more specific LUT plug-ins, then it may be wise to try out others on the list below.
Meanwhile Premiere Pro itself has some problems with correctly supporting 8-bit and 10-bit GH5 footage and Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve colour grading software-cum-NLE also seems to incorrectly clamp super whites after LUTs have been applied.
Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One describes the problem as follows. The LUTs from his unified, corrective LUT system are “designed to maximize dynamic range, fix skin tones, remove unwanted colour casts and provide an accurate Rec. 709 starting point for further creative colour grading”.
The Leeming LUT One system provides “the best possible settings to maximise dynamic range and image quality for that camera, while minimising noise and other unwanted artefacts”. Thus the system’s LUTs are “designed to work with the full float levels of the video clips as they come out of camera”.
“Some cameras stop at 100 IRE, but others such as Panasonic and Sony retain superwhite up to 109 IRE (usually), so my LUTs are designed around that limit, not the 100 IRE limit,” Mr Leeming says.
He offers one potential workaround, until LUT plug-ins are updated to support float space. “The easiest temporary solution is to adjust IRE for clips to fall within 0-100 IRE, then apply the LUT, as in theory the distribution of values in float space should be the same. That should avoid clipping”.
Mr Leeming notes that he designs Leeming LUT One in Premiere Pro which “handles superwhites with the LUT directly” and “no need to pull down exposure” and was “not aware that there were programs which didn’t pull down superwhites or lift superblacks”.
Roger Bolton of CoreMelt, developer of Chromatic and LUTx, has further insights into the problem and its solution:
A LUT is defined in the color ranges 0-1 in float with 1 being defined as the highest legal level (100 IRE). You can stretch the LUT out to handle the additional levels but that’s changing the look of the LUT if it was designed on legal levels. There’s not really a “correct” solution that I’m aware of, so how a LUT loader should handle this is something that needs flexibility.
As Chromatic is currently under development, Mr Bolton says that “we plan to allow a few different ways of dealing with the issue” and has asked users to send him their requests. He states that LUTx will be updated to handle superwhites and Chromatic will also handle them when released.
CoreMelt has released Chromatic and its is available as a 14-day free trial or as a special launch offer for one week only, closing at Pacific Standard Time (PST) 7th August 2017. The special offer contains Chromatic and over 150 LUTs.
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At the moment I don’t rely on JPEGs from any cameras as my SOOC (straight-out-of-camera) originals for online or print reproduction. Several reasons, prime of which is our lousy national broadband upload speeds and allocations. Then there is the fact that I use and love two different mirrorless camera systems for their different video capabilities and when shooting stills I prefer to edit raw files to colour match projects shot with both. Lastly, I don’t have any clients that demand fast turnaround and online transmission soon after shooting.
I do, however, like to set custom JPEG and video profiles on each system’s cameras and my preference is looks emulating some of the great analog films of yesteryear. Using as many of them as I could lay hands on, processing and printing my own negatives and transparencies, may have wrecked my health but it exposed me to a vast range of analog tone and colour possibilities that I now apply to visualizing and processing digital images.
Although my workflow does not require film simulation presets when shooting, it is fun to have them in-camera as custom settings. The latest firmware for for Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 and X-T2 permits renaming all seven custom settings. Until Peter Dareth Evans of Pete Takes Pictures shared his custom settings, I had both of Kevin Mullins’ wedding photojournalism customs settings installed but yearned for other looks as well.
Mr Evans seven custom settings pay homage to some of the greats of photography – William Eggleston, Joel Sternfeld, Mary Ellen Mark, Daido Moriyama, Garry Winogrand and John Bulmer – and one Fujifilm X-Photographer member of the KAGE Collective, Patrick LaRoque.
Those six greats, or at least the photographic schools of thought to which they belong, have been important to my own development as a photographer and moviemaker, so I quickly overwrite my custom settings with them and custom named them according to Mr Evans’ own descriptions.
I am looking forward to putting them to the test with some serious photography soon. Meantime I applied them to some quick and dirty X-Pr02 videos of domestic scenes and was impressed.
The downside of Fujifilm’s implementation of video on the X-Pro2, other than being 1080p only, is that only the film simulation part of the settings apply. Dynamic Range, Grain Effect, Highlight Tone, Shadow Tone, Colour, Noise, Grain, Sharpness settings have no effect on video though they do on JPEGs.
My quick and dirty workaround is to apply a tone recovery LUT from my ever-growing collection of free and paid-for LUTs, in this case FilmContrast_Light.cube from CoreMelt’s LUTx Feature Looks Collection or either of the two recovery LUTs from James Miller’s DeLUTS Fujifilm X-Pro2 LUT set.
Although Fujifilm continues to improve its cameras’ video capabilities, the company has several blindspots that have me wondering about its commitment to moviemakers using their cameras.
None of Fujifilm’s cameras’ firmware includes exposure zebras, the most essential tool for obtaining correct exposure of video and stills via ETTR – expose to the right. I rely on zebras when shooting video and stills on all my cameras of another mirrorless brand and zebras’ absence from the X-T2 is a major factor in not purchasing one despite its otherwise promising video support.
Crippling the application of custom settings to the X-Pro2’s video capability is deeply disappointing though it did not deter me from purchasing the X-Pro2. I have been yearning for an affordable digital interchangeable lens OVF camera for years now and the X-Pro2 has satisfied that desire for my stills photography work.
Shooting movies with OVF cameras is a passion and pleasure, perhaps peculiar to someone like me who began making short movies with old OVF film cameras. I so wish that the X-Pro2 supported zebras in its EVF, monitor and ERF, and allowed me to fine-tune my custom settings for video in the way that Messers Evans and Mullins do for stills photography.
The words “gamechanging” and “revolutionary” are well overused in the realm of digital media production and writers are always warned to avoid them. But what other words best describe Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 14 in its free and paid-for Studio versions?
Signs were Blackmagic was up to something radical when it bought pioneering computer musical and video instruments maker Fairlight and the fruits of that move are now here in Resolve 14’s Fairlight audio page.
The first beta of DaVinci Resolve 14 and DaVinci Resolve Studio 14 is now available to download in your choice of three computer platforms, macOS, Windows and two flavours of Linux, Red Hat and CentOS.
The latter option is particularly exciting, as Blackmagic Design’s press release says, “Customers running Red Hat or CentOS Linux can even build their own workstations using low cost motherboards, extremely fast processors, massive amounts of RAM and up to 8 GPUs for incredible real time performance.”
Looks like I will have a good use for the Mac Pro tower sitting next to my workstation when it finally gives up the ghost. Strip it, build a Linux workstation into the case and run DaVinci Resolve 14 in it along with other open source production software.
From the Blackmagic Design press release for DaVinci Resolve 14 public beta:
The free version of DaVinci Resolve is also available with the same powerful new editing and audio post production features. The $299 DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio version adds the new collaborative multi user tools, over 20 new Resolve FX including the advanced face enhancement tools, 4K and 120fps project support, stereoscopic 3D, optical quality blur and mist effects, film grain, de-noise tools and much more. Best of all, DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio does not require a connection to the internet or a cloud subscription to work.
That is your decision but it is made easier by looking at the features for each of the current five different versions of DaVinci Resolve 14 in the Compare page. If you have a dongle for a previous version of DaVinci Resolve Studio than you can download the version 14 beta. If you don’t then choose the appropriate free version of DaVinci Resolve.
For the most part each version has feature parity with the exception of the more sophisticated creative and production tools and effects. If you are a proud new owner of a Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 camera and will be working in 10-bit 4:2:2 high bitrate modes, or DCI 4K rather than UHD 4K, shoot video in 6K Photo mode using H.265 HEVC (though Divergent Media’s EditReady transcoder can help there), will be recording to HDR or value Camera LUTs in colour grading nodes, then you will need to consider purchasing a Studio license.
Given that DaVinci Resolve Studio 14’s price has dropped to less than a third of version 12.5’s, comparing it to the combined price of another brand non-linear editing software plus third party colour grading plug-ins plus an audio editing suite, whether paid-for on a monthly subscription or once-off basis, DaVinci Resolve Studio 14’s once-only USD299.00 is starting to look like a bargain.
Don’t forget that we are only seeing the first beta version. Blackmagic Design may make radical changes to each version’s feature set by the time the release versions appear some months hence.
The one thing that DaVinci Resolve 14 in all its versions is currently missing is motion graphics and VFX capabilities, but your needs may be taken care of with Blackmagic Design’s Fusion 8 or Fusion 8 Studio software.
I have not had the time to try DaVinci Resolve 14 out yet so the best thing I can do is link below to an overview of some of its most exciting new features and improvements, written by colourist Joey D’Anna for colour grading website and online training providers Mixing Light.
Cinematographer/photographer Tomasz Huczek makes what is, to my knowledge, the only false colour plug-in for any editing or colour grading platform. False Color Plugin by Time in Pixels is available in two versions, the free evaluation version without time limit, and the full professional version.
Both come in macOS or Windows versions, and both work in Adobe’s After Effects CC and Premiere Pro as well as OpenFX plug-in hosts such as DaVinci Resolve, Nuke, Sony Vegas Pro and more.
If you are familiar with false colour in monitors/recorders such as those made by Atomos, then using False Color Plugin within DaVinci Resolve, After Effects or Premiere Pro should be a doddle, as it were. A Final Cut Pro X version of False Colour Plugin is on its way, according to Tomasz Huczek who informed me that “I am planning to start working on the FCPX version once v3.0 of the plugin is out”.
There are three short film competitions to watch out for each year and two of them hail from this part of the planet, The Antipodes. Two are current, RØDE Microphones‘ My Røde Reel and Zacuto‘s My Story Film Competition, with the latter closing acceptance of entries on 31st March and the former closing entries acceptance on 30th June.
New Zealand colour grading software maker FilmConvert‘s Color Up Competition is in between seasons right now, as it were, with 2017’s coming later in the year. Time flies so I am sharing details here so you can be ready for when comp time comes around.
All three competitions come with great lists of attractive movie-industry prizes and sponsors, with RØDE Microphones stating that My RØDE Reel, now in its fourth year, “is the world’s largest short film competition”.
My RØDE Reel is also notable in that it offers a special Female Filmmaker award that is “selected by the judging panel, [and] is designed to encourage and celebrate women in the film community.”
I will leave it up to the three companies to share the details about each competition as only they can so if you wish to know more, please click on the links embedded in the text above or the links below.
Header image concept and design by Carmel D. Morris.