Author Topic: Color grade when in the RAW-to-ProRes process?  (Read 1995 times)

zen_nudist

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Color grade when in the RAW-to-ProRes process?
« on: April 21, 2018, 12:57:58 AM »
I use this workflow on 5D3, and I'm still confused as to what stage the color grade/correction should be done.

1-Shoot in RAW.

2-Preview clips on computer using MlRawViewer, so I can see which clip contains what.

3-Use RawMagic to convert from .mlv to .dng sequence.

4-Open .dng sequence in Bridge/ACR and apply a little sharpening, levels correction and a crop to 1920x720 (testing with final output of 720p only right now).

5-Open the folder .dngs (with the meta data adjustments) in After Effects and export through Adobe Media Encoder to ProRes 422.

6-Work with the ProRes clips in Premiere.

That’s the short version of how I’m processing to test out the RAW process, which I’m new at, of course. And I’m confused about a few things—mainly at what stage to edit the sharpness, contrast, color, etc. of the footage and when to do the color grade.

-Using my process outlined above, I apply sharpening, a little contrast, some levels adjustments to the individual frames in step 4 (in Bridge/ACR). The final ProRes clip looks fine to my standards, but I wouldn’t consider it ‘color graded,’ right? I know that, traditionally, color grading is performed AFTER the video/film is cut together in Premiere or whatever NLE. And using at least a LUT or some color correction preset like Premiere’s Lumetri panels. So, is my ‘tampering’ with the footage like this early in the process (before it even hits Premiere) best practice?

-If using Bridge/ACR like this is appropriate, I assume a final color grade would be performed in the traditional way—near the end of the process, either using plugins available to Premiere or using Resolve or whatever?  And, really importantly—you wouldn’t do the same adjustments to the footage you did in the Bridge/ACR step, like adding more sharpness, contrast, level adjustments … as that’s already done, and you don’t want to overdo it, right?

-An alternative I learned about is using Vision Color’s Osiris to do a full/complete/final color grade right there in step 4. Converting the .dng sequence to a LOG, applying a LUT preset and doing any other sharpness, levels adjustments I need to do right in one single program and at the same time seems ideal. I assume that if I went this route, now color grading at all would be done to the ProRes clips in Premiere. Is this better?

*One final thing I’m confused about is how much damage I’d do to the final image quality by converting to ProRes as early in the process as possible—either by recording straight to ProRes using an Atamos produce in step 1 or by using MlRawViewer to convert to ProRes in Step 2. Going this route, I’d probably have to apply color grade at the end of the process, like is traditionally done. And it seems like I would lose a lot of flexibility in adjusting sharpness, contrast, levels before getting to the color grade stage.

I really appreciate any help.

TequilaKez

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Re: Color grade when in the RAW-to-ProRes process?
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2018, 10:42:36 AM »
Thats a pretty long winded process.
Try to take advantage of a log format like BMD Film or if the excellent Cinelog if you can spare a few bucks.
A quick and powerful workflow is to use MLVFS and software that can load cDNG and export Prores (e.g DaVinci Resolve Lite, After Effects) to bulk convert all your MLVs to Prores in a Log colourspace in one fell swoop.
Then bring your Prores files into Premier / Final Cut or whatever you use, and grade there while you edit.
You will retain nearly all advantages of raw (No compression artifacts , 4:2:2, 10bits of color informations and no clipping of highlights or shadows) but your file sizes will be much smaller and you can grade / edit multiple streams in realtime in your NLE.
So to condense that: convert to Log and grade after that because it's far more efficient use of your time, disk space and processor power.

Kharak

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Re: Color grade when in the RAW-to-ProRes process?
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2018, 11:23:56 AM »
Or do everything with dng's in resolve, edit, colour grade, sharpen and deliver. Just keep your source files on a ssd.
once you go raw you never go back

jmanord

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Re: Color grade when in the RAW-to-ProRes process?
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2018, 04:56:17 PM »
I also prefer using Resolve with cdngs. To save extra disk space, you can use Slimraw with lossless 10-bit log compression. The file size isn't much larger than some of the higher quality Prores versions.

My workflow is:

Open CF Card with MLVFS
Compress Files with Slimraw
Edit in Resolve


TequilaKez

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Re: Color grade when in the RAW-to-ProRes process?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2018, 03:35:52 AM »
Also depends a lot on your preference of editing software, and if you want to playback multiple streams in realtime.
e.g
 1. You have a new GFX card with plenty of ram, running from SSD, and don't plan to overlay multiple streams. Then you won't be bothered by the MLVFS/MacFuse CPU overhead or on-the-fly debayering so can edit direct in Resolve and take advantage of editing natively in RAW.

2. You running from hard drive, and/or enjoy the lightning fast realtime playback/scrubbing of multiple streams in FCPX. Then you might prefer to convert from MLV to Prores in a log colourspace.

In theory cDNG has more information to grade with, but in my experience trying it both ways I find Log has just as much grading latitude for %99 of shots, but is far more efficient use of your available CPU/ram resources.

I find these days If I'm messing around with holiday footage and want how far I can stretch things and play with colour, I'll use Resolve with MLVFS.
Any chromakeying I'll do with MLVFS in after effects.
For any serious work like music videos where there might be some layer blending or FX involved, I really love that liquid smooth playback of Prores within FCPX so I find it's well worth the extra conversion step before I start.

ricardopt

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Re: Color grade when in the RAW-to-ProRes process?
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2018, 11:45:01 PM »
Hi everyone, just my 2 newbie cents on this...

1 - Shoot raw
2- use MLVProducer to convert to Prores, it previews really fast and there's a batch export function.
3- Use Premiere Pro or other NLE that accepts Prores to color grade/edit and export.

Way more simpler.