As we await the very near turn into 2011 I think it’s fair to say that 2010 saw a surge of interest in color grading and color correction. Apple’s introduction of the Color application into the Final Cut Studio suite ignited this interest years ago and the popularity of DSLR cameras has made a lot of people realize just how much a nice correction/grade can make your project look. 2010 saw the introduction of DaVinci Resolve for Mac, as well as an amazing software upgrade of Magic Bullet Colorista II, the Tao of Color website and a very well written book on the subject, Color Correction Handbook: Professional Techniques for Video and Cinema by Alexis Van Hurkman.
Those filmmakers who live strictly in an Apple Color world don’t always know about the amazing array of high-end color grading systems that predate Color. Many of these systems are quite expensive, and DaVinci Resolve used to inhabit that realm until Blackmagic Design purchased it and began shipping it for the Mac. If you’re starting out in this business and expect to move on to ever larger projects, it’s a good idea to know what’s out there. The Postworld blog (post production in the file-based age) recently did a three-part series called Grading the Graders, which looks at pretty much all of the high-end, dedicated color grading systems from DaVinci to Baselight to Pablo and more. Each system includes a brief discussion of features as well as inherent pros and cons. It’s a good USA Today-style summary of some very complex machines.
There’s Grading the Graders, Part 1, Grading the Graders: The Long Awaited Part 2 and a third part called Grading the Feedback. I hope the blog author Mike Most will continue to expand on the series, since most of us might only get to experience a few of these systems (either as an operator, assistant or even a client) in our careers.
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