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3 Grades, Workflow and Last Resolve Post…

…only the last one for a week or two while I work on a few other things and travel to a screening most of this week in Chattanooga. Anybody down there, holler! I’ll get you in (if you’re into the whole evangelical, missions, documentary on SE Asia thing).

Prep

The workflow for WFJ with Resolve is a bit nuanced. This is primarily due to the lack of proper timecode, reel, and tape information in a couple of the cameras (I’ll refer to this is metadata; recorded at the time of capture here on out). This isn’t anything new as for example, DSLRs and a few of the $5K Sony cams don’t do proper TC (Sony, when using CF media).

There are two options for workflow in this case from FCP- the first being updating all of the metadata information in the appropriate clips. This presents the primary problem that it’s a long and laborious process. There are several other potential problems that even if it was entered would prevent it working correctly which I won’t get into at this point.

The second option is probably the fastest and easiest solution to this issue; render out a contained movie file from FCP. Resolve handles ProRes just fine so that is what we’re doing on this project. My preference of course would be Cineform, but this version doesn’t include that support, although next version does. An added benefit to going with ProRes is that it’s doesn’t do any transcoding on the render it’s like a 5 minute output to a QT file.

Once the file is rendered out (and I’m skipping a few setup steps in Resolve) you can bring the clip right into Resolve’s Scene Detect and run it. On this hour and a half film, scene detect took no more than 10 minutes to complete the cutting. I then took another hour to go through the file and added as well as deleted a few cuts where I saw fit to allow for more control while coloring. Scene Detect is deadly accurate in my opinion, only missing approximately 5 edits over the total (rounded) 500 cuts in the film.

Finally you can save a new EDL and cut list for the file from Resolve. Theoretically, the EDL can be used in other apps based on the same file. Although, I never got it to work in Premiere and haven’t tried yet in FCP or Avid. Then you simply start grading away.

Timeline

Once in the timeline, I watched it through a time or two and bumped around a little bit to get a feel for the film, check camera consistency, and look for single scene lighting and WB changes. I jotted down some notes about shots that will need some extra lovin’, sky changes in the middle of scenes, WB weirdness and a few other things.

As I indicated in my last post, I went through each major scene and each camera for each scene and created standard neutralizing grades and saved those stills. Resolve handles correction and node information via content in a frame still. So the film now has corrected stills for each camera in each scene.

The next steps (which I haven’t started yet) include, group all cameras together based on scenes (this because I just received an updated and now locked timeline from the director). Next, I’m going to take the representative clip for a given camera shot in a scene and work on the look- or the artistic part. These will get reviewed by the director and we’ll tweak as needed. I’ll be saving these stills in a new gallery (containing even more nodes than the last still).

Once all the looks are approved by the director, I’ll apply the grades from the still to one clip in the group, this will consequently apply the correction to each clip in that group. Then I’ll go through add necessary masking and tracking and tweak each shot visually to make sure it matches the rest (typically a simple gamma or luma adjustment).

When prepped properly, Resolve is both fast and full featured. This is my second project with Resolve for Mac, and a couple features that stand out to me (like last time) are project organization, still and gallery organization, grouping and version control. This all equals out to speed and allows me to be more precise and complete in the consistency of my grades across a timeline.

Total time spent? A day for timeline prep and a day for standard neutralized grades on about 500 shots. Some of those shots included masking and tracking as well as things like below 😉

3 Grades

Lastly, here are three versions of the same shot. One which has a scene (previous) matched sky and more or less balanced (I didn’t spend much time on this) and the other, me playing around with keying.

Original:

Scene Matched:

Fun Grade:

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©2019 by Jay Friesen.

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