Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Grading Workflow update 7-30-2013

Since my last entry, I've upgraded to the "CC" editions of all my Adobe apps... except for Encore CS6. CC has no new version of Encore, nor is it installed by default. Thankfully, I caught this issue before uninstalling Encore (I've found out subsequently that you can install it again, but you have to re-enable the CS6 version of Premiere Pro in Adobe CC).

Unfortunately, one additional wrinkle of the new CC Premiere Pro is that my old copy of Cineform NEO no longer works with it. This is not a total loss, however, because after trying my previous color grading workflow and finding that it simply took too much time to render the individual clips for a long-form project, I've decided to take an entirely new approach.

The new version of Premiere Pro has SpeedGrade's Lumetri Deep Color engine built in, and as a result, you can create "looks" in Speedgrade that can be imported into Premiere Pro and used as filters (Sort of like Magic Bullet Quick Looks). It would be awesome if you could actually adjust these looks in Premiere Pro, but I'll take what I can get.

So, my current workflow is:

  1. Do a "Send to Adobe Speedgrade" of each of the sequences in my project
  2. Grade those sequences in Speedgrade.
  3. Save the grades as individual "looks".
  4. Transfer the look files to a looks sub-folder in my project's main footage folder. If you're on Windows, Speedgrade's custom look files are stored in: C:\Users\Owner\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\SpeedGrade\7.0\settings\looks  (I highly recommend creating a desktop shortcut to the folder so you can get back to it easily).
  5. Apply the looks individually to the respective clips.

If you don't have a bunch of hard drive space to work with, you can just do the "Send to Adobe Speedgrade" for one sequence at a time, but it's handy to have the Speedgrade sequences available if you need to adjust one or more of the looks.

The only issue I've run into so far is on the project's sizzler reel, where rendering to DVD occasionally will produce a twitchy white bar on the right side of some of the clips with the "looks" applied to them. I'm still trying to track down the issue, but thankfully, there's an easy solution - render out to a full-res format (I use Uncompressed 10-bit YUV Quicktime) first, and then use that .mov to render/encode the DVD files in Adobe Media Encoder.