The Middle Ground: Ideal Shooting Conditions for Post Production

This article was originally published on PremiumBeat’s blog.

It’s important for production personnel to know how footage should best be readied for video editing and color grading. In this post, we share actionable tips for optimizing your shoots for post.

When your crew is aware of the following production fundamentals it will lead to less headaches down the line. It will also optimizes other stops in the pipeline including, but not limited to, the color grading stage.

Most of my best grading work has resulted from being handed a great starting point from production, where I can work freely with the image, not correct shooting errors. Let’s discuss the elements that produce an optimal canvas from which to accomplish beautiful grades.

A Neutral Look

Unless you’re going for an extreme look, the best place to position the image is in a place I call “the middle ground.” Colorists prefer for the image to sit in a neutral space so the image can be swung wherever the client desires. Placing an extreme look on the footage while in production can tie everyone’s hands, especially the colorist. For instance, if you shoot everything with a blue wash, there will be limits to how warm the image can become. Depending on the shooting medium, the footage may only be able to withstand a certain amount of tweaking before artifacts become noticeable.

Log Mode, If Possible

The RED, Alexa, and other camera models have the ability to shoot or later convert to a logarithmic (‘log’ for short) mode. Low-contrast log images may look ugly because they’re so flat, but they’re actually the best place for a colorist to start. In log mode, the largest range of data has been captured by the camera, allowing the colorist to grade with the most freedom.

Log images can be treated with a Look Up Table (LUT) to recreate the look everyone saw on set with the ability to utilize the raw data underneath. Many LUTs are preinstalled in Resolve for use in these workflows.

Read the full article on PremiumBeat’s blog.

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