Online Creative look to Resolve for TOWIE ident on-set, edit and grade

Online Creative look to Resolve for TOWIE ident on-set, edit and grade

Brighton-based Online Creative Ltd are an boutique post facility with an enviable reputation for colour grading, editing and post, and a client list that includes the BBC, ITV, C4, Sky, IWC Media and ITN.

Recently, they took on the job of creating idents for Select Fashion, sponsors of The Only Way Is Essex, and decided to edit and grade the project almost entirely within DaVinci Resolve. We sat down with co-founder and senior colourist Darren Mostyn to get his take on the new, extended Resolve workflow.

Darren in Online Creative's Grade suite
Darren in Online Creative’s Grade suite

 

Can you outline the workflow you employed for the TOWIE project?

We edited and graded the Dancing On Ice sponsorship idents last year for ITN and had a lot of fun with those, so when the same director asked if we would work on the TOWIE idents we were more than happy to. The production company, Eclectic Motion based in London, approached David Ward to direct the series of nine sponsorship idents for their client, Select Fashion. After meeting us at our studio here in Brighton, Eclectic Motion were very happy for us to complete the entire post, from DIT and on-set grading through to the edit, graphics, colour grade and delivery.

Managing colour on set

Managing colour on set

How are you finding using Resolve for more of the creative workflow than just grading?

The entire post-production for the TOWIE sponsorship idents was managed through DaVinci Resolve Studio. Due to the incredibly tight turnaround of this job, we simply stayed in the software for the edit, grade and delivery. The Blackmagic Design team have radically upgraded the edit capability of Resolve since version 12 was released. Having played with the editing software over the last few months, we were confident that the job could easily be edited inside our grading software, saving us time versus switching between Avid for the edit and Resolve for the grade.

Online Creative's on-set Resolve edit/grade setup

Online Creative’s on-set Resolve edit/grade setup

The rushes were all shot in 4K mainly from a Sony FS7. We took our portable grading suite to the shoot and were immediately able to edit with Resolve without any transcoding, playing back in real time. We then applied looks on set to show the client, director and to assist DoP Mark Bader. Using the advanced editing functions in Resolve allowed us to quickly build some first assemblies, which would help us get ahead in the four days left for the edit. Once back in the studio, we simply connected the suites to the on-set project.

Which features of Resolve were most useful on this project?

I still think Resolve is a world class system for colour grading, but now with better-featured editing functionality I can easily make edit changes even if I have started the grade. The trimming functionality of the edit side has been well thought out and feels mature. I was very aware that on this project that there would be a point where we had to start the grade, even without a final picture lock, as the broadcast delivery deadline was so tight. The changes that were made were easily applied by simply switching to the edit page. Traditionally, I would have had to open the edit suite, make the changes, export the AAF/XML and then Resolve would re-conform the edit changes, but now it is completely seamless.

The completed edit in Resolve

The completed edit in Resolve

Were the clients aware of your heavy Resolve usage? Did they give any feedback on it?

Eclectic Motion and Select Fashion were really pleased we came on set and provided a look and rough edit straight away. It gave them confidence at the shoot that it was going to look great, especially as it was Select Fashion’s first TV spot. The grade back at our studio is always a good experience for the client. They were impressed with the speed of the system in 4K, and the tracker always gets a smile.

Before and After Darren's grade

Before and After Darren’s grade

We used Resolve to do some fixing where parts of the set were showing carpentry joins. The node sizing tool came in very handy to use as a paint/clone tool that was then easily tracked. The client was very aware that doing this outside of Resolve would have been an extra expense and taken up valuable time. It’s always great to be able to offer up these additional fixes to clients whilst keeping them on budget.

How does Resolve compare to your previous system?

I have been using Resolve here for over six years now. I previously graded using Digital Vision’s FilmMaster, Avid Symphony and Apple Color. I started grading on Resolve using the Tangent Wave control surface for about a year before committing to the full dedicated panels after deciding the software was a perfect tool for our broadcast needs – in addition to TVCs and idents, we grade documentary and longform work, so the control surface is a very important part of our set up. We now have a Tangent Element which runs on our second grading suite and is used on our portable kit.

Mid-grade in the Resolve suite

Mid-grade in the Resolve suite

What made you decide it was time to move more of your workflow into Resolve?

The Resolve software is always being developed and refined, and each year a new set of features appear that makes our workflow here smoother. Being a smaller facility than most of our Soho counterparts means that we have to give the very best quality service to keep ahead of the game. We need our software to be affordable, able to handle any job in HD and 4K resolution, and reliable – DaVinci Resolve ticks all these boxes and many more.

How did you find working with Jigsaw24? Would you recommend us?

We have bought the majority of our equipment from Jigsaw24. We had an issue with a new iMac that we ordered a little too close to a deadline. The machine caused a few problems and turned out to have a fault. Jigsaw24 replaced it and collected the faulty machine immediately without any hesitation, keeping us on track for our deadline. My clients expect us to pull out all the stops when needed, and so did Jigsaw24 on this occasion.

The fact that we are a small boutique facility in Brighton does not deter the team at Jigsaw24. They don’t treat us any differently to the big facilities, and that service goes a long way for me. Jamie and the team at Jigsaw24 certainly know their stuff in the world of post-production and are a valuable resource for me when compiling a shopping list.

Are you planning on sticking with this workflow for other projects? Are there any circumstances when you wouldn’t recommend it?

The Resolve workflow was completely flawless on the TOWIE/Select Fashion project. There are more projects in the diary that I will certainly implement the same workflow.

The lack of freelance editors with Resolve on their CV may be off-putting to some companies, but I am sure it won’t be long until freelance editors start trying the edit functionality in more detail and adding it to their list of NLEs. I don’t think it will be too long before we receive someone else’s programme edited entirely in Resolve to grade. To be able to simply open the Resolve project and start grading, bypassing the XML workflow altogether, will be great – I don’t know anyone who actually enjoys pre-grade conforming. I’d be interested to see how Resolve fares when editing longform programmes, which we’ll be looking at very soon.

Check out our DaVinci Resolve page to find out more! Or email our experts here: davinci@jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Blackmagic Design release DaVinci Resolve 12.3 update

Blackmagic Design release DaVinci Resolve 12.3 update

The latest update to world-renowned DaVinci Resolve platform has been uploaded for all platforms this week, here’s a run-down of whats new:

– Decode support for HEVC/H.265 QuickTime video in DaVinci Resolve Studio on Windows.

– Added Media Storage context menu option to directly add storage locations without opening Preferences on Mac and Windows.

– Ability to add Media Storage locations without restarting Resolve on Mac and Windows.

– Added support for reading Reel Names in OpenEXR media.

– Added decode support for Sony MPEG2 video files.

– Added support for ARRI RAW sharpness when using the ARRI Full Res Debayer.

– Added support for smaller font sizes on burn-ins.

– Added support for keyboard shortcut for loop on the Edit Page.

– Improved HEVC/H.265 decode performance on Mac in DaVinci Resolve Studio.

– Improved H.264 decode performance on Windows.

– Improved Varicam, MPEG4, AVC and AVC-Intra MXF decode performance on Mac and Windows.

– Improved compressed OpenEXR decode performance.

– Added support for RED SDK v6.1.

– General performance and stability improvements.

As we’re now on the countdown to NAB2016 we cant wait to see what new toys the guys are working on behind the scenes. In the mean time, you can check out the latest version by downloading from Blackmagic’s support site here.

Check out our DaVinci Resolve mini-site here to see our recommended specifications, customer stories and more news about Resolve! Or get straight in touch by emailing davinci@jigsaw24.com!

Jigsaw24 Roundtable: Broadcast Awards 2016 Best Post House

Jigsaw24 Roundtable: Broadcast Awards 2016 Best Post House

A few weeks before the 2016 Broadcast Awards take place at the Grosvenor Hotel Ballroom, Jigsaw24 partnered up with Broadcast TECH magazine editor, George Bevir, to invite the nominees for Best Post Production Facility 2016 to come into Jigsaw24’s Soho Studio and discuss the state of the industry now and looking forward to the next year of business.

 

Broadcast Rountable
Nominees getting ready for the shoot

 

We’d like to thank the attendees – Johnny Whitehead, Director of operations for Encore, Dave Cadle, Managing Director of Envy, Leo Casserley, Managing Director of Flix, John Rogerson, Chief Executive Officer of Halo, Julie Parmenter, Managing Director of Molinare and Matt Adams, Director of Sales for Technicolor – for providing us with an invaluable insight to the industry and a very interesting discussion with topics including rates, creative UK talent, Soho facility dominance and where new business opportunities can be found. Here you can watch the discussion in its entirety, or scroll below for links to specific sections covering the topics you may be interested in.

Featured Section Shortcut Links:

What do TV production companies want from post facilities in 2016?

What has happened to the rates paid by production companies?

What is the best way to grow post facility?

Is there enough creative talent in the UK?

How much of a threat to post facilities are in-house post operations?

Will Soho always remain the capital of UK post?

Where do the opportunities for post firm lie in 2016?

If you’re interested in how we’ve helped the nominees become so successful as a key technology partner and supplier for all of the represented companies, get in touch with our post production and broadcast experts by emailing broadcast@Jigsaw24.com and checking out our solution pages at jigsaw24.com/workflowspecialists.

 

CES2016: UHD Alliance present ‘UHD Premium’ standards for UHD and HDR

CES2016: UHD Alliance present ‘UHD Premium’ standards for UHD and HDR

The UHDA, formed a year ago, comprises of the biggest players in the global content creation and distribution industries. Their primary goal is to “Define a next generation premium audio-visual entertainment experience”, and at CES 2016 they have announced their first major step.

The UltraHD Premium ‘standard’ is not a format, like we have from the SMTPE for colour spaces (BT.2020, REC.709 et al), but as explained by UHDA President Hanno Blass – who is chief technology officer at 20th Century Fox – it is “…parameters that define the quality of the experience.” This is great news for content creators and consumers. Those of us looking for a UHD TV in the coming months will start to see this logo being used to show that the model complies with various requirements covering resolution, bit depth and colour spaces.

Blass provided the following details on these specifications that manufactures will have to meet to be legible for licensing the logo onto their devices:

UltraHD Premium Logo
UltraHD Premium Logo

 

“The UHD Alliance has developed three specifications to support the next-generation premium home entertainment experience. The three specifications cover the entertainment ecosystem in the following categories:

– Devices (currently, television displays, with other devices under consideration)

– Distribution

– Content

A high level overview of each technical specification can be found below. Please join the UHD Alliance for full access to all technical and test specifications.

Devices

The UHD Alliance supports various display technologies and consequently, have defined combinations of parameters to ensure a premium experience across a wide range of devices. In order to receive the UHD Alliance Premium Logo, the device must meet or exceed the following specifications:

– Image Resolution: 3840×2160

– Color Bit Depth: 10-bit signal

– Color Palette (Wide Color Gamut)

– Signal Input: BT.2020 color representation

– Display Reproduction: More than 90% of P3 colors

– High Dynamic Range

– SMPTE ST2084 EOTF

– A combination of peak brightness and black level either:

More than 1000 nits peak brightness and less than 0.05 nits black level

OR

More than 540 nits peak brightness and less than 0.0005 nits black level

Distribution

Any distribution channel delivering the UHD Alliance content must support:

– Image Resolution: 3840×2160

– Color Bit Depth: Minimum 10-bit signal

– Color: BT.2020 color representation

– High Dynamic Range: SMPTE ST2084 EOTF

Content Master

The UHD Alliance Content Master must meet the following requirements:

– Image Resolution: 3840×2160

– Color Bit Depth: Minimum 10-bit signal

– Color: BT.2020 color representation

– High Dynamic Range: SMPTE ST2084 EOTF

The UHD Alliance recommends the following mastering display specifications:

– Display Reproduction: Minimum 100% of P3 colors

– Peak Brightness: More than 1000 nits

– Black Level: Less than 0.03 nits

The UHD Alliance technical specifications prioritize image quality and recommend support for next-generation audio.”


These specifications will help consumers choose TV sets and other devices capable of showing the highest quality content which has been created to the same high specifications laid out by the industry leaders.

It will also influence the workflows and technology being chosen by production and post-production companies to make sure their content meets the standards being put together by the UHDA group.

UHDA Board Members at the CES Press Conference. From Left to right: Victor Matsuda (Sony), Masahiro Shinada (Panasonic), Bryan Barber (Warner Home Video), Mike Dunn (Twentieth Century Fox), Ron Sanders (Warner Home Video), Man Jit Singh (Sony), Hanno Basse (Fox), Michael Bonner (Universal), SP Baik (LG), Michael Wise (Universal), KG Lee (Samsung), Mark Turner (Technicolor), and Mahesh Balakrishnan (Dolby)
UHDA Board Members at the CES Press Conference. From left to right: Victor Matsuda (Sony), Masahiro Shinada (Panasonic), Bryan Barber (Warner Home Video), Mike Dunn (Twentieth Century Fox), Ron Sanders (Warner Home Video), Man Jit Singh (Sony), Hanno Basse (Fox), Michael Bonner (Universal), SP Baik (LG), Michael Wise (Universal), KG Lee (Samsung), Mark Turner (Technicolor), and Mahesh Balakrishnan (Dolby)

 

If you want to find out more about how Jigsaw24’s expert consultants can advise you on workflows and technologies around UHD and HDR content capture and creation, please get in touch with our team by emailing broadcast@jigsaw24.com

HBO’s Game Of Thrones graded with DaVinci Resolve at Chainsaw, LA

HBO’s Game Of Thrones graded with DaVinci Resolve at Chainsaw, LA

Here at Jigsaw24, we’re huge fans of HBO’s adaptation of George RR Martin’s fantasy series, so you can imagine our excitement to see the teaser poster be released by HBO this week for Season 6! In doubly exciting news, we can also share the news announced by Blackmagic Design, that Game of Thrones has been graded exclusively on DaVinci Resolve since 2012.

Joe Finley of Chainsaw Post Production, based in Hollywood, has been creating the multitude of rich looks required for the show using Resolve’s extensive feature set ideally suited for high end, long-form drama.

Winterfell, a key location from HBO's Game of Thrones, has maintained a specific cold, bitter look to reflect its location and the terrible luck its residents have had!

Winterfell, a key location from HBO’s Game of Thrones, has maintained a specific cold, bitter look to reflect its location and the terrible luck its residents have had!

Joe explained that the use of different color palates takes you on a journey and allows the viewer to know exactly where they are throughout the seven kingdoms of the realm.

Joe relies on DaVinci Resolve’s custom curves, secondaries, keyer and compositing to help create the nuanced looks and colors of the show. And he is able to show different looks in real time. “Resolve is fast, and this is part of why I love using it. It works in real time with no rendering, which is very helpful if I have to show different looks,” said Joe.

While nuanced color is important for distinguishing between locations and storylines, for the overall look of the show, Joe is tasked with delivering a very rich film look. “Regardless of the theme of the episode and whether we are going for a vibrant or muted color, I always give the footage a real film look. The highest possible feature look you can get without actually shooting on film,” said Joe.

In Stark contrast to Winterfell (mind the pun), the location of Dorne has a much richer and warmer palette to reflect the warmer weather and differing attitudes of the location and its people

In Stark contrast to Winterfell (mind the pun), the location of Dorne has a much richer and warmer palette to reflect the warmer weather and differing attitudes of the location and its people

“When working with LOG material, you need a great starting point to give it a film look. The ability to use the LOG rhythmic side of color correction in harmony with linear, regular color correction to manipulate the whites and the blacks is a tool in Resolve that I use constantly,” Joe concluded. “DaVinci Resolve never hinders you creatively, it only enhances.”

If you want to learn about our DaVinci Resolve solutions, including the same high-end systems used on shows such as Game of Thrones, drop an email to davinci@jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook. Game of Thrones Season 6 launches on HBO in April 2016 (we can’t wait).

DaVinci Resolve: a User’s Eye View

DaVinci Resolve: a User’s Eye View

As Resolve makes its way onto the Mac, we find out why DaVinci devotee and certified Color trainer Warren  Eagles (he’s the one on the left) thinks it’s worth making the move…


What kind of projects do you grade with Resolve?

I have been using Resolve since 2006, grading mostly commercials and movies. I am currently working on a 13-part Australian drama, plus various music videos.


Why do you use Resolve?

Resolve helps to make my job easy. It’s very fast, so I can show clients lots of different looks – including blurs and framing changes – in realtime. From a business perspective we can only bill our clients when we are grading, so the faster we can render and output our material, the quicker we can start on the next job.

Practically, I use a Window on nearly every shot and Resolve has shortcuts that make that very fast, so I can be as creative as possible and still work quickly.

Aside from the realtime playback, what makes Resolve stand out for you?

There’s a cool feature that allows you to grab a still to use as a reference frame, but keep the node tree history of the clip the still came from. This tree can then be broken down and each individual node can be dragged to a new clip, so if you’ve got a great sky colour and shape on a still, you can just drag that node onto the current shot and the effect is applied for you.

Resolve is also very happy manually keyframing or using a mixture of auto and manual tracking, and the tracker is faster and more reliable than the ones you’ll find in other applications.


How does it handle multiple timelines and EDLs?

Really well. If you have five versions of a commercial, you can conform them all, then grade the longest version. If any shots appear in the cut down versions, they’ll automatically be graded to match in their own timeline. So if you’ve spent a day grading a show and the cut changes, you can just re-conform and the grades will fall into their new place.


Do your clients like it?

Yeah, there are some big client pleasers. A tool like Powergrade, which lets me pre-build looks, save them and then apply them in any session to any format or resolution, is good for this. If the client’s searching for something different, I can show them different looks at the start of a session.


It’s quite a complex system – how have you found the controls?

I have always been a DaVinci user, so found the transition from the DaVinci 2K to Resolve fairly easy. The UI could be more flexible, but the different needs of the commercial colourist and the feature colourist mean the UI is sometimes a compromise for both guys.

The Resolve control surface looks complicated, but there is a reason for all those buttons and knobs. Each function has a dedicated set of controls, so the framing can be done with its own set of buttons, which are entirely separate from the Power Window buttons. Having these different controls helps my sessions run smoothly.

How does it compare to other colour correction systems you’ve used?

The tools are very colourist friendly. I like to work with an audio guide track, and Resolve enables me to bring in a WAV file that matches the show I am grading.

It has unlimited nodes, so I’m not restricted to eight secondaries like in Color. It’s faster to pull colour keys and make Power Windows, something I do all the time, and of course Resolve has YUV controls so you can adjust the contrast of the picture without affecting the saturation.


Which tools do you miss most when you’re using other systems?

Grading the timeline in C or A mode. If I’ve conformed shots in Resolve, I will always switch to C mode before the clients come in. This means everything is in shooting/timecode order, so shots are naturally grouped together: all the wide shots are now back to back, as are the close-ups. I then colour the shots I need before switching back to A (edit mode), and all the grades fall into place in the context of the cut. This is very easy to do and extremely useful.

I’m also a big fan of Versions, which you don’t find in other programmes – if I need to make a different grade for a skin pass or a car plate pass, I can add it to a clip as a Version and it will automatically get rendered to a folder with the source timecode and the name I gave it.


Are there any situations when you wouldn’t recommend Resolve?

Color probably wins if you’re doing simple primary grades and roundtripping from Final Cut. Color’s secondary curve controls are good – I’m using them more and more – and the Color Effects room is very useful. It does add to the render time, though…

Still not sure if DaVinci’s for you? Take a look at Resolve’s specs. You can also call us for more information on 03332 400 222, email DaVinci@Jigsaw24.com or take a look at our full broadcast range.

To get in touch with Warren, visit www.icolorist.com or call +61421603111.