Well, almost…kinda. We locked the first hour to time, so we sent that off to the audio post facility for sweetening. And while I was awaiting notes I began color correction. I have gotten two Acts done but then received more notes and spent the weekend addressing them and adding more time to the show (we were short by 10 min). Tomorrow I will have a locked show, and send another OMF to the audio guy. For that process I bought Automatic Duck Pro Export 3.0. I needed to retain the levels and rubber banding of audio I set to assist the mixer in the ultra fast mix he needs to accomplish.

Now, lets get to the color correction.

At first I was going to work in a 10-bit uncompressed timeline when I color corrected. But then it hit me…DVCPRO HD is 8-bit, so what do I gain by going to a 10-bit timeline? Nothing but file size…so I would be working in an 8-bit uncompressed HD timeline when I color corrected. Well…no…not really. With advice from others who do this stuff daily, I was told that I could color correct on my DVCPRO HD timeline and monitor that on my external monitor..many of the adjustments being real time. Only when I wanted to output did I need to drop the footage into an uncompressed 8-bit HD timeline and render for the better compression. All the original render files referenced the DVCPRO HD footage, now that it was 8-bit, it would create new render files. SWEET! That is a HUGE timesaver. And yes, I could if I had a Kona 3 cross convert from 720p to 1080p on the fly with the card…but I don’t have the card, so I will do my thing.

So…for all the b-roll, interviews and host stand ups, I color corrected them to look normal, but good. Those color corrections required no rendering whatsoever. But, for the recreations, we wanted a certain look. A rich color look that I found in the Magic Bullet presets called COLOR REVERSAL. As you would expect, not only did it look good, but the render times were WAAAAAYY up there. A five min segment took 30 min to render. No no no…that wouldn’t do. I have very little time to waste here. So I set about seeing what I could do with the 3-way color corrector. After playing around for a few minutes I realized that I was onto something. I was actually getting the look that the MB preset provided. a few more tweaks and I was just about spot on. The darks were as dark, the colors exactly the same saturation and color…the look matched…and the clip had a dark green render bar…meaning it required no rendering. Well, I was absolutely GIDDY! But then I noticed that the whites weren’t white. To get the look I liked I had to dial the WHITES color wheel into the blue. This caused the white to have a blue tinge to it. Hmmm…couldn’t have that. So I went into the LIMIT EFFECT area and dropped the LUMA range down so that the white was white. BINGO! Now it was perfect. I mean spot on to the Magic Bullet look. And the best news, I had a light green render bar, so I could look at it in real time. And that 5 min chunk…it took 3 minutes to render instead of 30. 10x as fast. Now i was really giddy. So I made it a favorite.

But…hmmm…couldn’t I just make that a plugin? How would I get this look to someone else? XML? Well, thanks to the help of Graeme Nattress, I was able to make it a plugin. Here it is for you to enjoy. Now, it crushes the blacks to get the deep color, so if things are too dark, bump up the BLACKS lever and MIDS lever until you get it right.

Tomorrow I lock picture and continue with the color correction. I also have 20 Shake comps I need to do. Green Screen shots. A couple are very difficult and require a lot of finessing so I have farmed them out to a buddy (Pat Sheffield, the guy who taught me how to use it) who is very Shake savvy.

AND….we need to get DVDs out regularly, and it takes me 10-12 hours to author one from a DVCPRO HD 90 min timeline. So I bought a DVD recorder and tested recording an image fed thru an AJ-HD1200 deck. That was spotty at best. Hiccups left and right that appear while outputting, but don’t appear on the master. Playback to the monitor issues. So I could output it, then play it back from the deck…but then I have to rent a deck every time. No…my solution? Drop the cut into a DV timeline, add the TC Reader plugin and render. 5 hours for 90 min. Then 90 min to output to the recorder thru my DSR-11. 6.5 hours…OK…better. Gives me a better chance to make FedEx….

I have been working all weekend long, so time for bed.

EDIT: Mike Curtis of HDFORINDIES.COM asked me a few questions concerning my workflow.

Am I mastering back to DVCPRO HD?

No. I did a test output to test possibilities as other people have. But my requirement is still HDCAM 1080p 23.98

Sounds like you don’t have an HD SDI card…correct or no?

I do have an HD SDI card. A Decklink HD card with HD SDI only. That is the reason I bought the HD SDI option on the PVM-14L5 monitor.

If you are mastering back to DVCPRO HD, and you are mastering via firewire, I am not aware of the benefits of 8-bit uncompressed? Am I missing something?

I must have explained something wrong…it was late, and I was tired. I am not mastering out to DVCPRO HD…I just did a test to see what the result is. I plan on mastering out to HDCAM, and that is why I will upconvert to 8-bit uncompressed HD

Do you plan on mastering back to DVCPRO HD via HD SDI?

No. If I did master to DVCPRO HD it would be via firewire…for true lossless export. HD SDI output is for the HDCAM.

NOW…my biggest issue still has to do with the fact that HD at 23.98 doesn’t have a drop frame timecode….and I want to know why? Why not when drop frame code is the only way you can ensure proper real world timing of a show? Non-drop will assign one number per frame, but since playback isn’t 24fps, but rather 23.98…slightly slower, you need to drop 2 numbers every minute except for the 10th minute to ensure that you are spot on in terms of real time. A buddy of mine who works with HD on a daily basis fails to see why that is an issue…and we battle quite a bit about it. Why drop frame TC? Well, because the networks demand it. That should end the conversation right there.