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Re: Color Correct Xfer



CB Gaines asks:  "So, while the overall gamma was similar with both
corrections, the Gamma chart really crushed those blacks. Anyone else run into
these newfangled charts yet?"

I just had a client use the Gamma/Density Chart on a 16mm exterior shoot last
week, and it was a laughable experience.

If I had exposed the chart perfectly and then just run the film without ever
touching the knobs again -- which I understand is the basic idea -- they
would've wound up with a completely unusuable tape.

I'd say of the 50 or so scenes on their film, maybe 10 of them vaguely came
close to the exposure on the chart.  20 of them were anywhere from 1/2 to 2
stops overexposed, and the rest were quite a bit underexposed.  We even had
outdoor footage shot without 85A's, the works.  Only by wildly varying from my
original settings -- "wildly" meaning 20-30 units -- we were able to get usable
footage, albeit with some slight extra grain in the poorly-exposed shots.

So the problem is, the Gamma/Density chart points out as many flaws in the
cinemtographer's part of the process as it does in ours.  If they don't shoot
the chart for every single lighting change, and if they don't expose every
scene correctly, then all bets are off.

With an expert cinematographer and crew at the helm, *maybe* the chart could be
made to work, under ideal circumstances.  But I dunno; none of the projects
I've been fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to work on in the last 17 years fit
those circumstances.  They're all done under tight TV budgets with limited
amounts of time and money, and the expsures and lenses often change so
radically, if we just let it all go with a single correction, it'd be a total
disaster.  I'm sure most operators here will agree that even different shots in
4-camera sitcoms don't look the same, transferred with a single correction,
when the F-stops never change (though the zoom lens does).

I think 90% of Neyman's arguments and problems cited in the article could
simply be solved by communicating with the telecine operator doing his work,
and the rest would be in not trying to judge lighting quality from one-light
cassette dailies on bad monitors.  

And if they don't like the work done by the colorist, find an experienced
person who can do the job properly, and spend the money to do it right. 
Somebody else here already cited the fact that you get what you pay for.  That
goes for labs, film crews, and post-production facilities.  

--Marc Wielage
  Complete Post / Hollywood

P.S.  I'm looking forward to trying out the new Rank chart system and the new
Kodak system.  All of these methods are at least a stab in the right direction,
and it's better than no chart at all.  But I think a lot of D/Ps are going to
be sadly disappointed if they believe one video correction will always work. 
The reality is that the charts might reveal their own incompetence, or that of
their assistants and operators setting exposure.  And it's a shame, because
nothing would make me happier than to just transfer at one setting every day,
and only worrying about everything else that goes with the job.