[TaoColorist] Sunday Morning Reading (Rear View Mirror)

Published: Sun, 11/27/11

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The Tao Colorist

Curated links of news, reviews, thoughts, career advice, and humor 
for professional Video / Film Colorists & Finishers. Delivered Sunday.
Issue LXXII                                                           Brought to you by: Tao of Color.com

Editor's Note: This is a holiday weekend in the United States and I'm 'mostly' taking the weekend off. This issue features the 3 most-read stories from each issue of this Newsletter during the first half of 2011.

Gotta say: There's a ton of wisdom in the Tao Colorist reading crowd.

Also: Considering that in January we had 250 subscribers and today we have nearly 1,000 - a whole lot of you will find many of these stories new.


To my American compatriots (wherever in the world you may live): I hope you've had a terrific Thanksgiving holiday!

Time Sensitive Events

Here are a few links for events that will expire or might fill up before the next Newsletter...

  • Production CONN 2011 - This promises to be a terrific regional 2-day trade show in Cromwell, Connecticut with a full slate of training, discussion panels, and exhibitors. Includes Creatasphere's 3D Roadshow. Free shuttle bus from Amtrack to the event for out-of-town attendees. If you have the time - do not miss this. November 30 & December 1. (ProductionConn.com)
  • Avid Media Composer 6 Live: NYC - Tuesday November 29. Ask questions. Get answers. (CEvent.com)
  • Dolby Laboratories & Image Systems: NYC - Demos of Film Master color grading + Pheonix restoration system on the Dolby PRM-4200 Reference Monitor. Workflows featured include HDR and ACES. Tuesday December 6. I've signed up for the 6:45pm session. Hope to see you there! (ImageSystems.tv)

The Craft

  • Color Grading Choices - Oliver Peters rounds up the sub-$5,000 color grading space and offers his opinions on how to choose your color grading app. (digitalfilms.wordpress.com)
  • Color Grading Choices: One Colorist's Response - Colorist Jay Friesen takes on one aspect of Oliver Peters' Color Grading Choices blog post. Jay also has a great tip when switching between Resolve grading to Avid finishing on the same rig. (JayFriesen.com)
  • Case Studies in Film Editing - Oliver Peters has collected the links to his 6 years of in-depth interviews with many of the top film editors of our time. (DigitalFilms.wordpress.com)
  • Evaluating Contrast - Working with contrast is a fundamental tool of any visual artist. A painter working in Photoshop shares his studies on using and evaluating contrast. You may find some inspiration in this post. Lots to think about. (underpaintings.blogspot.com)
  • Grading Fish Sauce - ICA co-founder Warren Eagles has a nice write-up on a recent grade he did in Vietnam for a 45 second spot shot with 2 RED cameras that had matching issues. I especially like his description of what he went through to get the grading room setup the day before the client session. Good read. (icolorist.com)
  • Burnet, Loomis and the Use of Intense Color - A terrific article on color, contrast, and edge effects told through the study of painting. (underpaintings.blogspot.com)
  • [Email List] iRant: The Dumbing Down of Color Grading - One-light as 'The Look'. (tig.colorist.org)
  • An Interview with the Colorist behind "The Social Network" - A corporate 'Case Study' with a nice bit about working with practical lights. (blog.quantel.eu)

Skill Up

  • Create A Realistic Tilt-Shift Effect with Final Cut Studio - A short tutorial on an effect that can be adapted to several grading apps. (FilmMakerIQ.com)
  • Colorist Tip: Luma Curve - I've never had much use for Apple Color's Luma Curve (it's not very subtle). Arron Williams may have finally found a decent use for it. (AaronWilliams.tv)
  • Bleach Bypass, Cross-Process Roundup - This post is a great collection of links to creating cross-process looks in AE and FCP. Tutorials range from using plug-ins to using curves and transfer modes. (ProVideoCoalition.com)


Flanders Scientific Broadcast Monitors

The LM-2461W is an affordable 24" color critical reference monitor featuring 10bit color depth, 3G/HD/SD-SDI Inputs, 12 onboard scopes, and DCI P3 support. All standard and all for just $4,995.

Learn More About the LM-2461W


Tools We Use

  • [Podcast] LCDs: Do You Want Pretty Pictures? Or Accurate Pictures? - A Tao of Color interview with Bram Desmet (Flanders Scientific) on LCD reference displays. We discuss: The purpose of reference monitors; color grading appropriate LCDs; LCD measuring and calibration methods; and much more. Note: Flanders Scientific is currently a sponsor of this Newsletter and website. (TaoOfColor.com)
  • [Hardware] X-Keys Control Surface Add-On -  Looking to get a few more buttons added to your control surface? Or maybe you want an inexpensive control device to tide you over while waiting to get a control surface? Check out the X-Keys Professional USB Add-On. (xKeys.com via @ebrodeur )
  • 1000fps by Shooting 60fps and using Apple Motion's Optical Flow - I'm always looking for ways to add value to my clients projects. Motion's Optical Flow is a great way to visibly improve speed changes. Philip Bloom highlights a CrumplePop tutorial on using Optical Flow (including a quick trip into Cinema Tools to change the frame rate). (PhilipBloom.net)
  • Demystifying Color Grading II - Yet another informative blog post by Oliver Peters. It's a great roundup of 3rd party grading filters and goes well beyond the typical filters you've already heard about. (digitalfilms.wordpress.com)
  • What is Apple Doing with Quicktime? A Philip Hodgetts special report (and educated guess). (PhilipHodgetts.com)
  • The Archiving Dilemma - Shane Ross blogs about his archiving solution. It's pretty much how I handle things as well. (lfhd.net)

Tools We Might Use

  • Photocopy Plug-In: Tired of the same old image-processing tools? What if you wanted the feel of a Matisse painting overylain with the color palette of Apocalypse Now? Using Digital Film Tools' Photocopy plug-in, combine the brightness, tone, grain from 94 Academy Award nominated feature films, 72 painting masterpieces, 40 masters of still photography with 30 historical processes. [Digital Film Tools via Steve Hullfish]
  • Test Gear 2.5 - I don't know how I missed this back in December...  It's shipping for Adobe CS5. Includes waverform monitor, vector scope, histogram, gamut display, image slice tool, audio phase monitoring - all in After Effects. Free Demo available. (Synthetic-Ap.com)
  • An In-Depth Tutorial on MPEG-Streamclip - Because some of us don't have assistants to do this type of thing... (SecondChairVideo.com)
  • Manifesto: New Title and Rolling Credits Tool - An extension for FxFactory users, because a lot of 'desktop' colorists are finishers too... Did I mention it's Free? (SecondChairVideo.com)
  • Use AppleScript to pull lots of details about your .MOVs - You'll want to file this for future use when trying to figure out details on an .mov (ImNotBruce.blogspot.com via@digitalreb)
  • Guide to Prepping Sequences for Color - 'Round-tripping' between FCP and Color has gotten much easier in recent years. But - as they say - Easy is a relative term. Don't believe me? Download the PDF created by Colorist Craig Mieritz to help his clients prep for a Color gig. Will FCP 8 fix this? In 72 hours we might have a good idea. [Update: Guess not!] (CMieritz.blogspot.com)


  • What About WebM? -  Philip Hodgetts takles this question in a succinct manner. Good read. (PhilipHodgetts.com)
  • Aspect Ratio Cheat Sheet -  Need to deliver your video at a smaller than native frame size? this cheat sheet lists the various divisible frame sizes to maintain your aspect ratio. (ImNotBruce.com)
  • The ProRes Cheat Sheet - It's from ArriDigital. I was hoping for something... more. But it's a start. (ImNotBruce.blogspot.com)

Edumacate Yerself

  • Why Shoot in LOG vs Rec. 709? A video demonstration of the difference between LOG images and Rec. 709, featuring the Arri Alexa (blog.AbelCine.com)
  • How To Create 'The Film Look' - I'm with Izzy on this, controlling depth-of-field is essential if you're going for a filmic look. Good read. (IzzyVideo.com)

Edumacate Yer Clients

Current Colorist Control Surface Drivers
 JL Cooper Eclipse Avid Artist Color Tangent Wave

Software: v2.6b4

Mac: v2.6.2

Software: v3.8

Color Plug-in: v 1.0.5
PC: v2.6.2
Firmware: v1.9

Nov 21

Updated: October 20 Updated: Jan. 28(ish)

Sunday Morning Funnies

  • The Difference Between RED and Arri Alexa - A very funny video from Inspiration Studios on why you should choose the Alexa. Also includes a link to the Alexa Camera Simulator. WARNING: This link includes an assault on a HDSLR rig (NoFilmSchool.com)
  • [Video Spoof] SteadiGlove - Replaces an entire SteadiCam syste: Live Demo. (Vimeo.com via @Filmbot)

Navel Gazing

  • Analyzing Audience Eye Movements - A completely fascinating video showing where the audience eyes are moving as a scene plays down. If you believe one job of the colorist is to help the audience know where to look... then you can't miss this. (vimeo.com via @filmmakeriq)
  • Color Graders: 2011 Oscar Best Picture Nominees - Who color graded this years crop of Best Picture nominees? And how were they shot? Warren Eagles at ICA has collected the data. (iColorist.org)
  • Official: Video Post Production Services. . . A Dying Industry - While not named as one of the Top 10 dying industries, Video Post Services receives an honorable mention. But all is not lost - there is a bright spot... (dcinema.wordpress.com)

Outside 'The Box'

  • Why Do We Need Lighting Anymore? - Philip Hodgetts tackles the notion that lighting has gone from something we 'need' to something we merely 'want'. (PhilipHodgetts.com)


Resolve 8: Twenty+ hours of video                   Grade a 16-Minute Short

MasterClass: DaVinci Resolve 8

Early Bird Discount Ends This Month!

A Unique Color Grading Training and Mentoring System
DaVinci Resolve 8 | Colorista II | Apple Color | FCP 7

Communicate More Better'er

  • Email Etiquette for the Super Busy: Want improve the chances that your client will answer all 6 questions you've emailed to them? Try some of these techniques. [99percent.com]

Doing Better Business

  • Nine Things Successful People Do Differently - From the Harvard Business Review (hbr.org via @the99percent)

Your Career

  • The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King - What a good online Bio looks like. (the99percent.com)
  • How To Unlock Creativity - "No matter how smart you are most of your ideas will be crap." The wrap to the article is great - but I don't want to spoil it by quoting it here. Great read. (DigitalTonto.com via @Coleran)

Our Business

  • Pilot Season: A Survival Guide - Hollywood Colorist Mike Most on working through TV Pilot season... and why the Alexa is popular for pilots this season. (MikeMost.com)


  • What's to Rant About? Philip Hodgetts on why we all should be thankful on the FCPx re-design. (PhiliHodgetts.com)

Th- Th- That's ALL Folks! See you next week. Happy Grading!
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