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Sat in on a Scratch Session

While I was in New York, I took the opportunity to drop in on a Twitter aquaintance’s grading suite for an evening. They were in the midst of grading a music video shot on RED. I’ve seen Scratch at some trade shows but it was nice to see someone working on it during a paid session.

The system was straight forward: Assimilate Scratch on a Boxx Tech machine outfitted with a RED Rocket card, using the Tangent CP-200 surface. Display was via a Panasonic 50″ 12-series plasma with the HD-SDI board. Scopes were the Blackmagic-Designs Ultrascope off a generic PC. The studio was nice and low-key with art deco chandeliers in white and red hanging from back walls and ceiling. The Plasma was mounted to a nuetral gray wall. Wood floors and a couple couches gave the place a laid-back feel.

I didn’t get hands on naturally due to the current working session, but only observed and didn’t ask any questions. The scopes were reponsive but not used much by the colorist, the Plasma was sharp and deep, accurately showing gradients and both highlight and shadow detail well.

The CP200 was huge. Another colorist I read refers to it as an instrument and this surely was that. The colorist was at the tablet and wheels fast and effortlessly. I was a bit suprised at the simple and slightly unfinished appearance of the Scratch GUI; old school defying the current trend of boxes and windows, all the necessary information was there but without visual borders separating any of the elements.

The elements and effects of the grade were stacked ala-After Effects (all I can really liken it to). What I coveted was the speed at which one could power-window a shot, and a colorist could move between versions and other shots. So much of the finishing process is like determining what kind of color of finish you want on a piece of furniture- it’s so nice be able to look at all your options really fast.

Overall, a fast and effective system. It was also nice to see a system configuration in practice vs. just on paper.

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©2019 by Jay Friesen.

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