LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

Heroes of RAW Workflow

CreativeCOW presents Heroes of RAW Workflow -- Assimilate Scratch Feature


Santa Monica California USA
CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.


The first time I saw the 4K, 16-bit TIFFs coming out of a Dalsa Origin camera back in 2003, I thought, "This is where filmmaking is headed. It's going to be high res, it's going to be file based, and it's going to be RAW."

We founded Local Hero six years ago to deal with the RAW files coming out of the Dalsa, but desktop systems were just too slow to work with files that size. We had started working on our own proprietary system when we discovered ASSIMILATE SCRATCH. It was everything we were trying to build: a GPU-accelerated desktop system that could work with high dynamic range (HDR) RAW files in real time.

This is a big part of why we committed to SCRATCH so early in its development: it's by far the most flexible tool for file-based DI for digital cinema, whether from the ARRI Alexa, RED MX, or the new RED EPIC, where SCRATCH is the first system to support its files natively.



ASSIMILATE SCRATCH Dailies. Versioning. Conform. Finish. Same power and price for Mac and Windows: $17,995


DOING MORE FOR LESS
SCRATCH isn't the cheapest tool on the market, but it's certainly cost effective enough that, even as a boutique, we can afford to have more than one. We have seven SCRATCH systems, probably for the price of one Pablo or one Baselight 8, yet with features comparable to them, and in some areas even better.

It's not that we do four times the work. It's that we can juggle changes in the workflow faster without sacrificing quality.

For example, we just completed work on a feature called ATM, directed by David Brooks, with Bengt Jonsson as the DP. It was shot using the RED with the MX sensor, and I think that the end result is one of the bestlooking RED features out there, on par with anything else that audiences have seen so far this year.

But here's where the workflow challenge kicked in: ATM started out with very few VFX, and then partly into editorial, the director said, "You know what, this entire reel takes place outside. We need to see their breath." So we actually composited 300 digital breath shots as part of the color correct.

We duplicated the original SCRATCH project, so while we were color correcting in one bay, we were using the second bay to drop in and composite the breath shots.

Over the course of one night, we used SCRATCH to consolidate the two projects into our DI theater. The colorist then added a "breath" layer on top of all of the shots. In a final pass, we used SCRATCH to correct the color, adjust opacity and position, or delete the breath shots altogether as needed -- compositing and color correcting in one session.

Without multiple identical SCRATCH bays, we wouldn't have been able to do that as quickly as we did. The fact that we could afford many of them for the price of one comparable heavy iron system just makes us a lot more flexible.


HYBRID COMPOSITING AND COLOR CORRECTION
Don't get me wrong. SCRATCH is a very powerful color corrector. We've used SCRATCH to color correct over 50 features of all sizes, and all of our clients are very happy, but SCRATCH thinks more like a Smoke or Flame than like just a color corrector.

The fact is that modern color correction, especially for features, is actually more like compositing. Clients don't know what to ask for anymore. They just ask for everything. They'll be in the DI suite and say, "Hey, can we replace that sky?" In a traditional color correction session you would say, "No." With SCRATCH, we don't hesitate. We just do it.

That's what I mean when I say that the nature of modern DI color correction is moving toward compositing. And because SCRATCH is more of a compositor, it feels more future-proof to us.


SCRATCH: THE BEST RAW WORKFLOW
Working with RED RAW files is one of the places where we take advantage of SCRATCH's hybrid nature.

We'll be grading and the client will say, "Oh man, I wish there was more detail in that sky," or "I wish there was more detail out of that blown-out window." Because we're working with native RAW instead of transcoded DPX or TIFF files, we can go into the DeBayer settings, roll the ISO down and say, "Look, there's plenty of detail!"

But now that we've rolled down the ISO to compensate for the blown-out areas, everything else is too dark. We could start with a curve to compensate, but SCRATCH has a unique workflow that works much better. We can roll down the ISO to pull out detail, then save that as a version.

Then we'll key the highlights from the same RED file, and we'll pull in the lower-ISO highlights to the higher- ISO midtones, like a pseudo tone map. All of these operations are a simple process using SCRATCH.


SCRATCH-ING THE SURFACE
Digital cameras keep getting better, and they're moving further into high dynamic range imaging. What you're doing at that point is more like data collection than shooting pictures.

You see that with RED EPIC already. You're shooting with so much latitude that the idea of "film stock" is gone. It's more like a "film scanner," and somebody else is going to decide how it looks.

When you think about the implications of a range of 18 stops, your imagination takes over, and it's hard to see a scenario that the EPIC can't handle. It means a lot to us that SCRATCH was the first to support EPIC files natively, which has consistently been the case as each new camera format rolls out.

The end result of EPIC, Alexa and other RAW cameras is that I see creative shifting so far into what we used to think of as post, that we need to come up with a better name than "post production."

Whatever we call it, SCRATCH is going to be in the middle of it at Local Hero.





ADVERTORIAL SPECIAL FEATURE, SPONSORED BY ASSIMILATE, www.assimilateinc.com




Comments

Re: Heroes of RAW Workflow
by Rafael Amador
Great article for an incredible achievement.
My market is very far from needing an "Scratch" today, but who knows.
You are the guys who make things possible.
Congratulations and keep working that way.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


Related Articles / Tutorials:
Assimilate Scratch
ASSIMILATE Opens Online Store

ASSIMILATE Opens Online Store

ASSIMILATE has opened the door to the new online ASSIMILATE Store, which offers an ecosystem of tools surrounding the company’s SCRATCH Lab workflow for production and VFX dailies, as well as the entire SCRATCH product line. Users will have the opportunity to test out SCRATCH Lab before purchasing it, all on the site.

Feature
Debra Kaufman
Assimilate Scratch
Prime Focus on Power & Flexibility

Prime Focus on Power & Flexibility

SCRATCH Lab integrates with high-end VFX, grading and compositing systems at Prime Focus UK, with features missing from much higher cost systems.

Feature, People / Interview
Michael Wrightson
Recent Articles / Tutorials:
Production Designer Hannah Beachler on the Go Creative Show

Production Designer Hannah Beachler on the Go Creative Show

Film and broadcast production designer Hannah Beachler talks with Go Creative Show host Ben Consoli about her work on Creed, Moonlight, and the upcoming Black Panther. Hannah Beachler is a prolific production designer with an affinity for realistic design that emphasizes emotional drama. Over the past few years, Hannah’s designed some of the hottest films like, Miles Ahead, Creed, Moonlight, Beyonce’s Lemonade, and the much anticipated upcoming film Black Panther. Hannah and I discuss the role of a production designer, how she collaborates with the camera department, working with director Ryan Coogler and how she finds inspiration for each of her films.

Feature, People / Interview
Ben Consoli
The Other Side of GoPro's November 30, 2016 Announcement

The Other Side of GoPro's November 30, 2016 Announcement

When GoPro announced on November 30, 2016 that they would be cutting 200 full-time jobs, closing the entertainment division, and that their president would be leaving the company, the internet came alive with those who were predicting the company's demise. But there really is another side to the story and as is often the case, the loudest voices are not always the ones with the real story. In this article, Creative COW's co-founder, Ronald Lindeboom, looks at GoPro's announcement and gives his thoughts from his point of view. As Lindeboom concludes at the end of the story, "That GoPro stumbled is not surprising to me, what is surprising is that they had such a remarkable unbroken string of success until 2016."

Editorial, Feature, Business
Ronald Lindeboom
NVIDIA GPUs Speed Nickelodeon’s Animation Workflow on Albert

NVIDIA GPUs Speed Nickelodeon’s Animation Workflow on Albert

Premieres Friday, December 9, at 7:00 p.m. (ET/PT) -- Albert is Nickelodeon’s first original animated TV movie, telling the story of a tiny Douglas fir tree named Albert who loves Christmas and dreams of being the Empire City Christmas tree.

Feature, Project
Gail Laguna
Letters to the COW Team
Creative COW's Brand New News Dept. Features and Functions

Creative COW's Brand New News Dept. Features and Functions

Creative COW's co-founders have been quietly at work cleaning up and rebuilding the Creative COW News section. While they've been at work, they've been adding new features and functions that will make the news department much more useful in the days ahead. If it's been a while since you've visited the news section, visit it soon but read this short introduction to what it is and how things are working. We hope these new changes make your research and keeping on top of industry news much more productive.

Editorial, Feature, Business
Ronald Lindeboom
Business & Marketing
12 Things I Know About Business at 55 That I Wish I'd Known at 25

12 Things I Know About Business at 55 That I Wish I'd Known at 25

12 Things I Know About Business at 55 That I Wish Id Known at 25 appeared in Creative COW Magazine and was one of our most popular articles. It is a true timeless classic in which COW leader, contributing editor, and Senior Business Adviser to Creative COW, Nick Griffin shares wisdom he's learned the hard way in over 30 years in business. His experience will help you to avoid mistakes, manage clients, and prepare yourself to achieve your greatest success.

Editorial, Feature, Business
Nick Griffin
RED Camera
Don Burgess aligns with Light Iron and Panavision for ALLIED

Don Burgess aligns with Light Iron and Panavision for ALLIED

Don Burgess, ASC trusts Light Iron. His last seven films can attest, so Burgess chose Light Iron to support him again with digital dailies and post finishing services on Allied. Directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, the World War II-set film sees an intelligence officer's romance with a French Resistance fighter tested when high command thinks a double agent might be in play.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview, Business, Project
COW News
Autodesk Maya
ZERO VFX: The Magic You Won't See In The Magnificent Seven

ZERO VFX: The Magic You Won't See In The Magnificent Seven

ZERO VFX takes Creative COW readers inside the invisible effects used to create the powerful vistas and settings used in The Magnificent Seven. But the real magic is in what you don't see.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview, Project
ZERO VFX
Art of the Edit
More Than One Path to Success: Senior Editor Mae Manning

More Than One Path to Success: Senior Editor Mae Manning

We talk a lot about things like “accessible tools” and the “democratization of video production” -- what has this meant for the emerging talent whose creative development has taken place largely, or even entirely, within this democratized landscape? Mae Manning is one such editor, who taught herself to edit music videos, and caught the eye of a local production company. Several years later and now their Senior Editor, she cuts corporate and industrial training videos, promotional videos, sketch comedy, short films, and everything else that gets thrown her way. Mae’s story is an inspiration for anyone that thinks there is only one path to success in the industry.

Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Kylee Peña
MORE
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]