DPs who use digital cinematography cameras are about to get a whole lot more control over the look of their footage from dailies through selects. In fact they will be able to do color previsualization during principal photography in the field thanks to Da Vinci’s On-Set color Correction System, now in beta testing.
Shown first at Cine Gear Expo last summer, the software was applied to the 4:4:4 10-bit RGB FilmStream output of the Viper camera recorded on an S.two DFR field recorder. Basic grading decisions can be applied to the data and stored as metadata but make no change in the recorded image. The key elements are the color decision list (CDL) tool, pan decision list (PDL) tool, and the exploitation of DPX as a common file format.
The CDL generates a proprietary data file that can be stored on the disk recorder (in the case of the Viper) along with the images, or exported via floppy disk or Ethernet for use on a da Vinci 2K or 2K Plus in a post house. The exported PDL file reflects the choices for camera pan, tilt and zoom. Initially, a CDL data file will be comprised of RGBY, lift, gamma and gain. Intended as a verification tool that can be used to guarantee a look can be carried through in post, the on-set system will not offer processing-intensive features like power windows and defocus.
"Film negatives have traditionally been checked on a next-day basis," said da Vinci VP of marketing Matt Straeb. Now, during shooting, the DP can provide the director and producer with an immediate visual demonstration of creative intent and preserve that for subsequent implementation by the colorist."
There is no reason not to use it with Panasonic or Sony HD cameras, but it is preferable to work with data files. This application of a basic tool set extracted from da Vinci’s 2K system begs the question: Who will do the on-set work, and from where exactly? The digital imaging technician (DIT) will be the best candidate for using it, Straeb said.