This guide will help you to get the very best results and most efficient usage of your time with our colourist.
Pre Production - Considerations before you film
Production - How to shoot for the grade
Editing - Best practices & how best to prepare your locked edit for the grade
On the day - What to expect
After the grade - what happens next
The Colour Grade Service Guide
Consult your colourist - The best time to discuss your colour grade is before you begin filming. You may or may not have a look in mind for your project at this stage but by discussing options with us ahead of time, we can offer free advice so as to put all the pieces in place to ensure that the desired result is achieved by the time it lands in the colour suite.
Contact us to arrange a call or meeting and we can collaborate to ensure that you can plan your production with full confidence.
Consider your equipment - We understand that your budget won't always stretch to using the most expensive lights, cameras, lenses - but we can help by suggesting which areas are worth investing more in depending on what you want to achieve. We can also offer lower cost alternatives where appropriate. Sometimes filming at a higher resolution than necessary can actually slow down the process, such as filming 8K for a HD delivery.
Costs - The cost of a colour grade depends on the amount of time you would like us to invest in your project. We can help to allocate a realistic budget to ensure that you're spending the right amount in this part of the process. Generally speaking you will get better value for money if we are able to help guide the planning of your production - because then we can spend more time adding the polish and sparkle and less time correcting for any deficiencies.
As a general rule, filming in the best codec and quality settings will give us the most to work with. You may want to consider using an external recorder for lower cost cameras (such as a Blackmagic Video Assist or Atomos product).
Arri Raw / ProRes HQ or 4444 / Blackmagic Raw (BRAW) / Canon Cinema Raw Light
Redcode Raw (R3D) / H265 10bit / H264 / CDNG
Not Currently Accepted
Unless delivering a raw format, filming in a log profile is necessary to give us the most flexibility and freedom in the grade. You should also aim to capture in a 10bit format or higher. While it is possible to grade 8bit footage, the flexibility of what is possible is substaintially reduced.
You should also ensure that any exposure and white balance settings are fixed and set to manual so that they do not fluctuate and change during a take.
More pixels doesn't necessarily result in a better grade, in fact a 3.2k Arri Alexa will generally produce footage which grades better than an 8K Red.
Our advice is to only film at a higher resolution than delivery if you expect to need heavy VFX work or to punch in during the edit. Filming at a higher resolution for the grade will only result in larger files and longer export times and won't generally yeild a better grade. Bit depth and compression are more important to us. A 1080p ProRes 4444 16bit file is likely grade better than a 8k H264 video clip. It's also quite common for higher resolution cameras to produce proportionally more noisy images too, and trying to apply a denoise filter to a high resolution video clip can be a time expensive process.
One of the most helpful things you can do is ensure that you know the camera, codec, profile and any other settings used on every camera in your production. Knowing exactly what the starting point for the images will be can ensure that our time estimates are more accurate and that we are able to better match one camera to another. For example - on many Sony cameras, we would like to know which Slog profile and Gammut setting has been used. It may even be important to know which make and model of camera has been used specifically - such as which model of GoPro or whether you've filmed on a Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4k or Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6k. We are happy to liase directly with any technical crew if you prefer.
Editing for the Grade
There are some considerations to keep in mind when editing to ensure that the grade goes as smooth as possible.