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Old April 10th, 2015, 04:13 PM   #1
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Outsourcing Color Correction

Does anybody have an idea what it typically costs to outsource color correction and grading?

I know this is a loaded question and probably depends on a whole host of variables. I guess I'm just looking for a starting point. Most of my work is 4-6 minute event videos shot with C100/C100 mkII and 1DX shot in c-log. I'm looking for some pretty basic color correction and a light grade to produce a more filmic look.

We generally do a good job getting exposure and white balance correct in camera, so hopefully this person isn't going to be pulling their hair out trying to match different clips and cameras.
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Old April 10th, 2015, 06:54 PM   #2
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Re: Outsourcing Color Correction

Tough question. It's hard to estimate the number of hours a job will take without seeing the clips and establishing what needs to be done.

For simple color/exposure normalization without having to do more than 1 secondary correction you could be looking at 10 min per clip. The final grade for look will likely be in the range of a half an hour.

Again, this does assume nothing complicated and not playing a lot of ping pong before a final look is approved.
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Old April 10th, 2015, 07:19 PM   #3
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Re: Outsourcing Color Correction

Gosh, I hope it doesn't take a professional colorist 10 minutes to perform basic color correction on one clip.

Most of our films are full of quick 4-5 second jump cuts. A standard 5 minute piece will likely have 80-100 separate clips. If they are spending 10 minutest per clip most of standard highlight films will take 10 hours to color correct!

Do colorists typically charge by the hour or by the piece? We are hoping to get our films colored for around $250-$500. Maybe I'm dreaming with this budget, but it's really all we can afford.
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Old April 10th, 2015, 07:38 PM   #4
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Re: Outsourcing Color Correction

By the hour.

Its so hard to say how long something will take without seeing it. I worked on a project to touch up "simple" stuff from a green screen shoot. I took one look at the footage and told them there was nothing simple about it and they should shoot it again. They didn't want to do that so they ended up paying me more to fix it than it would have cost to reshoot it. Simple.. No such thing.

Someone clicking "AUTO CORRECT" and moving on to the next clip isn't doing the job. Not the real job anyway. It may not take a full 10 minutes to correct a shot but it isn't a 30 second job either if you are taking it seriously and really evaluating each shot and how they relate to each other.

The way to get a reasonable estimate of work is to send a rough cut out for evaluation. Anything we say here is a total guess.

Edit - I may not be the right person to work on your stuff but 100 clips is going to take anyone several hours. I would gess at least a full 8.
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Old April 10th, 2015, 08:25 PM   #5
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Re: Outsourcing Color Correction

Chris- I sent you a PM.
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Old April 10th, 2015, 08:28 PM   #6
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Re: Outsourcing Color Correction

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle Hawthorne View Post
Does anybody have an idea what it typically costs to outsource color correction and grading?
There is no "typically". Send your video to a post house and ask for a quote. If it's too high for you, tell them thank you but no. Get three or more quotes. You'll see an average forming.

Bottom line is, the whole idea of "fix it in post" is a ludicrously expensive way to work. It's far better to have some understanding of color science and use your tools like waveform monitors, vectorscopes, and RGB parades. Make good exposures using good lighting within the capabilities of your camera, hit your colors within the capabilities of your camera (control your lighting, minimize color bounces, use custom white balances as appropriate, etc.), and minimize the amount of color correction and exposure correction you have to do in post.

A few minutes spent at capture can save you hours of post work. But it's your money.
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Old April 10th, 2015, 08:41 PM   #7
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Re: Outsourcing Color Correction

Oh, don't misunderstand my OP. I'm not looking for someone to fix my mistakes.

We typically get it "right" in camera, and any shots that are not exposed correctly or have improper white balance are almost always thrown out of the rough cut. Believe me, because I'm terrible at color correction and grading I'm forced to get everything "right" in camera. I always use my scopes, always use kelvin based WB settings, and frequently use WB shift.

However, we also shoot in a log profile which requires manipulation in post to bring the footage back to life. I work in a small midwest market and have very few (read: no) connections to the coloring industry or any post houses.
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Old April 10th, 2015, 09:04 PM   #8
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Re: Outsourcing Color Correction

One of the biggest things I can say is this - doing color is subjective and is its own art. Be sure to find someone that fits how you work and someone you can communicate well with.

You'll be surprised how much additional visual interest it can bring to your finished work.
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Old April 10th, 2015, 10:16 PM   #9
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Re: Outsourcing Color Correction

If there's nothing unexpected, and most of the shots come from the same conditions, a color pass on a 5 minute show usually takes me about 3-4 hours.
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Old April 10th, 2015, 10:44 PM   #10
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Re: Outsourcing Color Correction

Color Correction is like anything else in video, it's less a matter of "how much does it cost" and more a matter of "how much do you have".

How much does it cost to hire a video guy? Some guys are $15/hour, some guys are $150/hour. They're just different guys.

In the $250-$500 ballpark I would think you could do a decent job with some pre-built looks, and adjusting those looks. Again, this could be done painstakingly, shot-by-shot, or you could lay the same effect on the whole show and give it a few nudges when they were needed.

I also think you could train someone to do what you want - If you find someone trying to get experience in this field, $25/hour is (to me) a pretty solid hourly rate to do color correcting on a wedding video for aspiring filmmakers.
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