🎨 The Colorist Newsletter #541

Published: Sun, 01/08/23

Issue DXLI: The ML Journey Edition
The Color Grading Newsletter
News, reviews, thoughts, career advice, and humor for professional Video / Film Colorists & Finishers. Delivered Sundays. Curated by a professional color grader.
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Curated & Published
Patrick Inhofer
From The Publisher
Happy 2023!

I hope your holiday break was more relaxing (or productive) than mine. I got walloped by Covid (followed by complications and heavy exhaustion). But I'm well on the road to recovery - though still sleeping 10 hours a day.

I did find time to finally get introduced to Midjourney, the machine-learning text-to-image app.

It's brilliantly fun!

I began by experimenting with variations on the phrase:

"digital video colorist, with a colorist control surface strapped to her back, trapped in a terrifying color wheel floating in a nebula"

I got this:
As fun as that is, it's interesting to see what happens when you tweak your prompts to see how the ML system interprets them:

"digital video colorist, with a colorist control surface strapped to her back and looking at a computer screen, trapped in a hellish color wheel floating in a nebula"
While we're in the early days with all this, the future will require artists to understand how to tweak instruction sets to get clients' desired results. 

We will probably be required to understand a range of different Machine Learning systems - and their various quirks. Fascinating journeys are ahead of us.

A part of me imagines (wishes?) this is what we'll look like color grading in a decade or so:
I got to that last image with this prompt:

/imagine: "digital video artist, using a colorist control surface and looking at a computer screen, manipulating a living, organic, color wheel nebula"

If you're interested in learning more, I've got a link to the webinar that got me going with Midjourney in the Fun(nies) section.

Happy Grading! I'll see you next Sunday.


Patrick Inhofer
Colorist & Publisher
The Craft
Featuring the work of creative craftsmen, the theory of color, and industry news. Learn practical workflows, useful theories, and actionable insights from existing (and emerging) leaders and teachers in our industry.

"Light Iron supervising colorist Ian Vertovec provided the final color grade for the film Devotion, which tells the true story of Jesse Brown."

An overview article with interesting bits like this: "We also developed a new “depth compositing” system that gave us a real-time composite in-camera without using any green- or bluescreen. That let us blend live action and CG elements so we could get a very close version of the final shot even while we were on-set shooting a scene."

An in-depth article on one of the biggest developments in the filmmaking of Avatar 2: “I started going back and just looking at the muscles in the face and how they’re laid out and how they’re all connected. I realized that if you map out those connections you have the basis for a high-dimensional space that could describe the face.”

(video) "Spider-Verse introduced a different style and since then, digital animation studios have been experimenting with non-photorealism. This video looks at how that shift is happening."

"We made a list of the cameras that shot the Oscars 2023 (95th Academy Awards) prominent films ... Large format compact cinema cameras are at the top: ARRI Mini LF, and Sony VENICE. Explore the charts below."

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The Tools
Our craft keeps changing. And growing. Learn about updates to your favorite software. Discover new tools to help you work faster or more creatively. Build your toolchest with new techniques and approaches. 
(video) "Use the AI powered Magic Mask with Fusion Roto and Keying tools. Create better masks for color correction, compositing and greenscreen work."

(video) "There are also now easier ways of relinking to digital files that may have changed paths, sequence templates that speed up the editing process, and keyboard shortcuts to help you quickly navigate the interface."

From the developer of Beauty Box: "In this post we’ll talk about what to do if you have 4K footage and aren’t getting the look you want. Mainly I want to focus on Skin Detail Smoothing, as I think that plays a bigger role than most people think. AND you can set it negative!"

A good article with this caveat: "I’m running an NVIDIA RTX 3080Ti with 12G of RAM on it, so anything that you see, video wise, in this article or moving forward, was created with that card. I tried working with a Macbook Pro M1 Pro Max with 64G of RAM, and it just couldn’t handle it, so keep in mind that you’ll need a kick ass graphics card if you want to work fluidly with Unreal Engine 5."

(video) "The video also elaborates on the structure of R3D and how it’s connected to the good old CineForm RAW. Basically, the video tries to prove that RED has not invented anything new, and the patent is based on older simplified compression methodologies."

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Pushing Photons
These stories are from MixingLight.com's membership Library of color grading articles, tutorials, and podcasts (Tao Of Color is co-Owner). Do you want to read a story listed here but not a member? Sign up for a free 7-Day Test Drive.​​​ There's also color correction Practice Projects for purchase. 
(video) "Colorist Joey D’Anna gives an extended review of DaVinci Resolve for iPad Beta, how it differs from the desktop, and what it may excel at."
"Editor Jonny Elwyn shares five tested methods for starting from a blank timeline, even with overwhelming footage, while keeping things tight."
(video) "Colorist Cullen Kelly explores his favorite uses of the Sat vs Lum curve in Resolve and best practices for consistently great results."
(video) "VFX specialist and trainer Bernd Klimm joins Team Mixing Light shows how to create a custom Fusion title template to use on the Edit Page."
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Gear Heads
Stay updated on the latest hardware that's shipping - because the craft of color grading isn't just about software. Plus, keep an eye on future equipment trends and hardware odds-and-ends.
As the 2019 MacPro I've been using for the past few years comes off lease, I've had to decide what to do with it. Buy out the lease (for $7k) or go with the 2022 Mac Studio Ultra (for $6k)? I've decided to opt for the latter. I'll write for Mixing Light on this transition, comparing several projects. In the meantime, with this fresh on my mind, I'm sharing this review from March 2022.

Part 2 is a review nine months later and is less about the numbers and more about the experience of using the Mac Studio Ultra.

"An M2 Extreme chip would have doubled that to 48 CPU cores and 152 graphics cores. However, Bloomberg has updated these forecasts, stating that Apple has likely scrapped that higher-end configuration." Also interesting in this article is the impact of Apple's move away from China manufacturing on the decision to moderate the high-end capabilities of the next MacPro iteration.

This bit is interesting: "OLED Dynamic Tone Mapping Pro has been upgraded this year to enable LG OLED TVs to break up the screen into 20,000 individual blocks of dynamic tone mapping, from 5,000 blocks last year."
The charts show that the Samsung 990 Pro still reigns supreme - though still at a premium price.

"Blackmagic Design has rolled out the all new Cintel Scanner G3 HDR+, which features a completely redesigned light source that allows real time HDR film scanning in Ultra HD."

(video) "In this video Jon explains what a 10-gigabit network connection is and why it’s so important to video editors and post-production operations."

If you're new to our craft, this is a good introduction to professional backup strategies.

(video) "The new RTX Video Super Resolution feature is coming next month for videos watched in the Chrome and Edge browsers. But you’ll need an Nvidia 30 or 40-series GPU for it to work."

Sunday Fun(nies)
Random thoughts, tidbits, and fun stuff that caught my attention this week. Maybe it's color grading related. Maybe not. Ya got'ta read to the end of the Newsletter to find out.

(video) This is the video discussion that got me on Midjourney (and re-activating my Discord account). It's a fun discussion and a great place to start if, like me, you're new to Midjourney.

(video) This is fun - and only a matter of time before this moves into moving images: "I'm going to generate website designs with midjourney, which is an ML art tool for creating images. Then we will jump into chat gpt to create the written content for the website, and finally put it all together in Editor X, which is a no coding tool for creating sites!"

Th- th- th- that's all folks! I'll see you next Sunday.

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