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Discussing the editing of all formats with FCS, FCP, FCE

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Old June 5th, 2008, 01:18 AM   #1
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Location: Winnipeg Canada
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3 way CC

I'm in the latter stages of an HDV project. I have started color correction with the 3 way color corrector in FCP and seem to be using it on almost every clip, and more often than not, am using the auto white, auto black and auto contrast, then making minute adjustments to mids when necessary, and sampling the whites and blacks with the eyedropper when they are unmistakably present. I am monitoring with only the iMac 17" screen.
A few questions:
-while i would think proper shooting and no CC would be obviously best, it seems out of my reach! Does using the CC filter on a clip degrade the inherent quality of a clip in any way (assuming i am using it properly)?

-i think of the video monitor in terms of audio monitors: none are perfectly accurate, you have to learn the inadequacies of your system, compensate for them and cross reference, and learn to trust your 'metering'. So, with imperfect monitoring, can i trust the 'auto' balancing to a great extent if the 'meters' are telling me things are roughly as they should be, and what i am seeing is roughly what is there? (i think of blacks as bass and whites as treble...my monitors frequency response is limited to 70hz and up, so flying bass blind and cross referencing with headphones and anything else i can)
does 'decent' monitor+trusting meters='accurate' image?

the results i'm getting seem 'better' than the original clip when i do an A-B check, richer colors, more image ummmm depth, and the results seem to translate on a consumer TV (for blacks and whites, anyway!)
while a pro monitor would be ideal, it's not possible right now, and as delivery will be DVD shown on imperfect TVs and computers, if i am in the ballpark, at least i'm in the game...
Any additional advice would be very welcome!
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Old June 5th, 2008, 07:26 AM   #2
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Well, DV and HDV are compressed, so if you do a lot of manipulation on them (color correcting) it can break down. On the other hand: your images can look much nicer in color and have a better look to them, you just don't want to push it too far.

There is also nothing wrong with color correction. Yes, proper shooting is necessary, but color correction only makes great images splendid, good images better, but bad images... maybe just a tad less bad.
I've shot a videoclip now, that I'm color correcting. And we had great shots, the colours were fantastic without color correction, but once we added color correction... we could just make them EVEN better...

Like you said: monitors aren't so reliable (or the ones you - and I - have aren't). You can always burn a test to dvd and compare it to your computer monitor, and try it that way, to compensate for differences.

Color Correction is a very powerful tool, and I think we are lucky to live in an age where we all can do it on our home computer. But we also have to learn how to use it, and not be exessive with it (like some filmmakers do with CGI... a very powerful tool, that can work great, but that can harm a lot when pushed over the top).
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Old June 5th, 2008, 08:04 AM   #3
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Hey Brian,

I come from an audio background myself and I like the way you relate it to the video world. i'm fairly new to shooting video, so I find myself depending on 3 way CC a lot to compensate for my lack of shooting skills. I don't really notice to much of a degradation in quality if the CC is used sparingly, however, if you are using it to compensate for a really underexposed shot or something, it will often turn out looking like crap. I like to burn off parts of my sequence to dvd periodically and play it on the crappiest tv set in the house...it usually winds up looking oversaturated with blown out whites..I compare this to audio in that you can be monitoring a mix on a nice genelec system and bump it to some super soundcubes, run it through some tv speakers then burn the mix and listen to it in your car..keepin in mind that the common person doesn't have a perfectly calibrated stereo..it's gonna sound different on each system and certain tones and frequencies will jump out. you can take note and reference these as a basis of how the final mix should sound and be more user friendly.

after a while, you just get the feel for how something looks in FCP on your computer monitor will look on a tv screen..so you just edit accordingly. Not as easy or practical as using a pro monitor, but cheaper..haha.
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Old June 5th, 2008, 08:46 AM   #4
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Something to keep in mind: films have been shot (on film) for YEARS to achieve the greatest possible latitude and then "colour timed" in post to get that rich colour and deep shadows with detail we've come to expect.

Get a good white balance and excellent exposure in the field. Add effects and "looks" in post. Remember, you can't "undo" a look if the client changes their mind if you SHOT it that way.
Shaun C. Roemich Road Dog Media - Vancouver, BC - Videographer - Webcaster
www.roaddogmedia.ca Blog: http://roaddogmedia.wordpress.com/
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Old June 6th, 2008, 12:49 AM   #5
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thanks for all for your replies.
"greatest possible latitude". I like that phrase! I use the 'truColor' preset on an XH-A1 to get 'accurate' color and i am now trying to expose so the whites are not overly blown out. i have read that, with digital photography, you should expose this way because you can work to bring out the shadows, but if there is no information in the whites, there is nothing to work with. Difficult here in Burundi, as i film dark skin against blinding sun; it's a balancing act and i'm hoping the purchase of a polarizing filter will tip the scales in my favor... any advice on this shooting situation?
With audio, again, i guess overusing CC is like using over the top compression to bring out a low level recording and being left with nothing but noise. but subtle compression on a decent recording can really bring it to life. i am encouraged by the fact that most professional recordings are referenced.. on a car stereo!!! i am still waiting for the ever elusive 'universal mix translator' plug-in.
so, subtle use of CC will not degrade the image..? GREAT!!! i have also read that using the proRes codec might be kinder to HDV footage treated with CC. i'm using proRes for rendering as i have lots of transitions and subtitles. would it be worth using pro Res for everything, assuming my CC is very subtle? or would changing to another codec (compressing!!) negate any benefits i would gain (let alone the hard drive space used...)?
One more thing:
Shaun Roemich: i notice you are from Winnipeg, my hometown! i am now living in Burundi and have no access to technology. I am visiting Winnipeg in a few months and need GEAR!!! I have been in contact with Advance Electronics, but they are a little slack and don't have all that i need. Is there another pro video store in Winnipeg that you know of? i specifically need a Firestore and a Libec LS38 Tripod, and my experience with B&H is that you have to pay $$$ import tax etc. so money saved is negligible...
sorry for all the questions, but my internet has been cut off for a month... i guess the hamster powering the Burundian server died...
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