Netflix approved camera, codecs and specs

Netflix Camera Requirements

alexa lf.jpg

4K UHD Resolution:

  • Camera must have a true 4K UHD sensor (equal to or greater than 3840 photosites wide).

Recording Format:

  • Minimum of 16-bit Linear or 10-bit Log processing
  • Bitrate of at least 240 Mbps (at 23.98/24 fps) recording
  • Recording format must be set to either:
    • RAW (uncompressed or lightly compressed sensor data)
    • COMPRESSED (Log Gamma - i.e. S-Log3, V-Log, CanonLog3, REDLogFilm, BMDLog, LogC, etc.)
  • No looks or color corrections should be baked into the original camera files.
  • Files must maintain all metadata (i.e. Tape Name, Timecode, Frame Rate, ISO, WB, etc.)

Black Balancing:

  • If applicable, black balancing of camera sensors should be done daily, when the camera is at normal operating temperature.  See specific black balancing instructions in the camera operating manual.

Aspect Ratio / Framing:

  • Aspect ratios greater than 2.00:1 must be evaluated and discussed with Netflix for approval.
  • Framing chart must be shot before principal photography begins, and processed through the dailies pipeline which will be shared with editorial, post-production, and VFX.

Secondary Cameras:

  • Any cameras other than the primary camera (crash, POV, drone, underwater, etc.) must be approved by Netflix.
  • Test footage should be shot and provided to dailies and post-production to ensure compatibility with primary camera.

NETFLIX 4K Approved Camera List – April 2018

  • Canon:
  • Panasonic
    • VariCam 35
    • VariCam LT
    • AU-EVA1
    • Varicam PURE
  • RED:
    • Weapon (Dragon) 6K
    • Weapon 8K
    • Weapon 8K S35 (Helium)
    • 8K Monstro
  • Panavision DXL
  • Sony
    • VENICE
    • F65
    • PMW-F55
    • Sony FS7
    • Sony F5
    • HDC-4300
    • PXW-Z450
  • ARRI Alexa 65
  • Blackmagic Design
    • URSA Mini 4.6K
    • URSA Mini Pro 4.6K

Color Grading Monitor in budget - HP Z31x DreamColor Studio Display

HP Z31X Dreamcolor Studio Display - US $3999.00

HP Z31X Dreamcolor Studio Display - US $3999.00

HP has now unveiled its latest additions to the DreamColor lineup, targeted at the professional colorist and editors.

The DreamColor Z31x features support for multiple working color spaces, and the display's color gamut covers 100% of sRGB, 100% of Adobe RGB, 99% of DCI-P3, and 80% of BT.2020. It can also handle multiple frame rates, including native support of 60 Hz, 50 Hz, and 48 Hz (which would be exactly double the 24fps frame rate of film).

The HP Z31x is designed with the features demanded by industry-leading digital creators: an integrated KVM (keyboard/video/mouse) switch, True 2K viewing, markers and masks, and much more. The built-in KVM of the HP Z31x can switch between two computers with a quick keyboard shortcut, allowing the user to share one display, keyboard and mouse between two computers. Many artists have two computers, a Linux® box with their animation/compositing app and a Windows® box with Adobe® Photoshop or internet access.



SONY BVM-X300 V 2.0 - De Facto Standard Monitor for Colorist

“This monitor has become the de facto “standard reference monitor” for mastering HDR content, primarily due to its stability, uniformity, and fabulous contrast ratio,” - Josh Pines, Vice President of Imaging Research and Development for Digital Intermediates at Technicolor.

BVM-X300 V 2.0

The New Sony BVM-X300 30-inch* 4K OLED master monitor is the flagship model in Sony’s professional monitor line-up. This high performance TRIMASTER EL™ OLED monitor includes unparalleled black performance, colour reproduction, quick pixel response, and industry-leading wide viewing angles. In addition, the BVM-X300 has enhanced interface and features for High Dynamic Range (HDR) live production, as well as a wide colour gamut conforming to DCI-P3 and most of the ITU-R BT.2020 standard*. By unleashing these superb features and qualities, this master monitor makes an ideal tool for a wide range of applications such as colour grading and QC (quality control) in the 4K production workflow.

Key Specs -

Colour space - (colour gamut) ITU-R BT.2020*2, ITU-R BT.709, EBU, SMPTE-C, DCI-P3, BVM-X300 Native*3, S-Gamut/S-Gamut3*2, S-Gamut3.cine*2

EOTF - 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, CRT, 2.4(HDR), S-Log3(HDR), S-Log 3(Live HDR), S-Log2(HDR), SMPTE ST 2084(HDR) , HLG SG1.2(HDR), HLG SG Variable(HDR)

PRICE - Approx US $17,995.00

World's best colorist 2016- Steven J. Scott

17 November 2016 (Los Angeles, CA) The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) announced the winners of the 2016 HPA Awards (#hpaawards) during a gala celebration tonight at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. The HPA Awards recognize individuals and companies for outstanding contributions made in the creation of feature films, television, commercials, and entertainment content enjoyed around the world.

Awards were bestowed in creative craft categories honoring behind-the-scenes artistry, and a host of special awards were also presented.

The winners of the 2016 HPA Awards are:


“The Revenant”
Steven J. Scott // Technicolor Production Services



“Gotham – By Fire”
Paul Westerbeck // Encore Hollywood


Hennessy “Odyssey”
Tom Poole // Company 3

High Frame Rate - HFR in Cinema

In the past few years we’ve been pushing the technology envelope pretty hard – trying to get higher frame rates, greater resolution, more dynamic range,  more bit depth, more throughput/bit rates and RAW.   


High frame rates - delivering a higher standard

High frame rate movies are the way of the future. This new standard for movie production creates extraordinary crisp, lifelike images that transport audiences into the action.

What is HFR?

Frame rates are the number of images displayed by a projector in one second. 24 frames per second (FPS) is the standard in cinema. High frame rate productions of 48 or 60 FPS will set the bar higher - and set a new standard for moviegoers.

High Frame Rate (HFR) movies record and play visuals at twice the rate or more of what's shown in today’s cinemas. Increasing the frame rate stops the blurring, flickering and stuttering visuals that are common with 24 FPS movies.

In 24 frame-per-second 3D action sequences, the fast-moving 3D images will appear to break apart, and most audience members will struggle to focus on the images. It’s this “image break up” that causes some audience members to feel ill or uncomfortable watching 3D movies.

The problem is solved with HFR 3D movies.


Higher frame rates will soon be the norm

Higher frame rates will improve 3D movies dramatically - creating ultrarealistic and more comfortable moviegoing experiences – and set a new industry standard.  – Recent releases of The Hobit (An Unexpected Journey, The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of the Five Armies) as well as upcoming “Avatar’s” sequels – will use 3D HFR. Peter Jackson and James Cameron are betting on the fact that audiences will love the more immersive and detailed 3D HFR productions.

360 degree video color grading in Dubai

What is a 360 video?

A 360 video is created with a camera system that simultaneously records all 360 degrees of a scene. Viewers can pan and rotate a 360 video's perspective to watch it from different angles.

These videos have a “360 video” label in the lower left-hand corner and are viewable on computer, iOS devices and Android devices.

360 videos on computer

When watching a 360 video on a computer, the viewing angle is changed by dragging with the mouse.

Make sure you're using the latest version of your web browser (ex. Chrome, Firefox). 360 videos on Facebook aren't viewable on Safari or Internet Explorer.

360 videos on mobile

On iOS and Android mobile devices, the viewing angle of a 360 video is changed by dragging a finger across the screen or by navigating with the device.

Make sure you're using the latest version of the Facebook app. If you're using an iOS device, it should be an iPhone 4S or newer or an iPad 2 or newer. The iOS device also should be running iOS 7 or later. If you have an Android device, make sure you're using Android 4.3 or later.

Color Grading 360 degree video in Dubai


Learn to use Canon C300 Mark 2

The Canon EOS C300 Mark II is a true professional camera, and with 4K capability, the camera joins the ranks of high-end camera systems like the new ARRI Alexa SXT, the Red Epic Dragon, and the Sony F55. -

  • Super 35mm CMOS Sensor
  • 4K/24p and 30p
  • 2K RGB 444 12bit and 10bit options
  • Canon XF AVC H.264 Codec at 400+ MB/s
  • 4K RAW output
  • EF Lens Mount
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF Technology
  • Rotating 4″ LCD Monitor
  • 2x 3G-SDI Output, 2x XLR Inputs
  • 2x CFast Card Slots
  • Timecode I/O, Genlock In & Sync OutCanon Log 2 Gamma

How to use Canon C300?


Filmlight Baselight 5.0 announced

FilmLight has announced the introduction of Baselight 5.0, the new version of its high-performance flagship colour finishing system. Baselight 5.0 is boosted with more than 50 new features.

Baselight 5.0 introduces a host of new high-tech features and creative tools to the leading colour grading application.

The most notable new concept to improve colour grading techniques is Base Grade. To give colourists natural, instinctual access to subtle grading, this creative tool moves away from the traditional lift/gamma/gain approach, to a set of controls which accurately mimic the way the eye appreciates colour: via exposure, temperature and balance. It gives the grading controls a more natural feel and results in smooth, consistent changes.

Base Grade isn’t the only step taken to make modern grading workflows more comprehensive and assured. Baselight 5.0 also provides added HDR capabilities through colour space ‘families’ – which hugely simplify the deliverables process for distinct viewing environments such as television, 4k projection and handheld devices – and gamut optimisation to provide natural gamut mapping deliverables and avoid clipping when captured colours can’t be displayed on a cinema or television screen.

With all Baselight releases, FilmLight strives to improve both productivity and creativity, and this one is no different. Baselight 5.0 boasts several tools that are specifically tailored to give colourists more creative control and reduce the time and energy spent out of the grading suite for round tripping with other effects and finishing systems:

  • Perspective operator to allow easy screen replacement and re-projection
  • Perspective tracking of images, shapes, paint strokes and grid warps using either 4 1-point trackers or new perspective-capable area tracker.
  • Grid warper
  • Dedicated keyer for production quality blue and green screen keying
  • Paint tool for retouching, such as logo removal
  • Relight tool to add virtual lights to a scene
  • Matchbox shader including support for Flame Matchbox shaders

New software release Baselight 5.0 will be available for all BLG-enabled products from FilmLight, including the Daylight dailies and media management platform, as well as Baselight for Avid and Baselight for NUKE in the Baselight Editions range.

Learn about Scratch 8.4 in Dubai.

SCRATCH – the world’s fastest, most interactive creative platform. Enabling artists and the technology of artistry for realtime dailies, color, compositing, and finishing workflows since 2004.

Any format, any resolution. HD, 3D, VR, 2k, 4k, 8k and beyond. Windows or Mac. Desktop or notebook.

A palette for the artist. A flexible platform for the technologist.

Learn Assimilate Scratch with Sudip Shrestha on site. 

Click Here to know more about Assimilate Scratch.

Click here for trial Registration of world best colour grading and finishing software, Scratch.

Canon C300 Mark ii in Dubai Cabsat 2016


  • 8.85MP Super 35mm Canon CMOS sensor.
  • Shoot 4K at up to 410Mbps/10-bit with the Canon XF-AVC H.264 codec for easy 4K integration into existing workflows.
  • 15 stops of dynamic range with Canon Log2.
  • Simultaneously record 4K to dual internal CFast 2.0™ cards*, 2K/FHD proxy files to SD card and output 4K RAW to external devices.
  • Concentrate on the action with improvements in Dual Pixel CMOS AF, Face Detection AF and Auto White Balance.
  • High-sensitivity, low-noise images up to ISO 102,400.
  • Sensor readout speed is improved, producing even lower rolling shutter distortion.
  • Support for BT.2020, Canon Cinema Gamut and DCI-P3 colour space
  • 4 channel 16/24-bit audio.
  • Huge range of compatible lenses, servo zoom support and service changeable PL mount option.

Scratch 8 - Colour Grading Studio in Dubai

The Suite is equipped with latest Assimilate Scratch 8.4 version of world's best DI software enabling filmmakers to craft the art of color grading beyond imagination.

Pixel house Color Grading suite offers :

  • ACES LOG - Grading option
  • Real time VR post production 
  • Stereo 3D Color Grading Studio
  • Real time 6k Color Grading Workflow
  • Digital Cinema Mastering - DCP
  • Davinci Resolve Grading Suite
Colorist - Sudip Shrestha has joined Pixel House as a senior colorist. He has graded more than 50 feature length movies , 200 tvcs in Assimilate Scratch. 

Please visit www.pixelhouse.ae

X-Rite ColorMunki Smile - Cheapest Monitor Calibration

We've all been there, looking at our pictures on the computer, wondering why they don't look the same as we remember them. Maybe all the colors look a little off, or only one or two. It just shouldn't be this way! With X-Rite ColorMunki Smile it doesn't have to.

ColorMunki Smile is the perfect tool for the photo hobbyist, like the family photographer, scrap booker, or designer. You'll even appreciate the difference when you're gaming or viewing images on line. Really it's for just about any enthusiast that wants to know the color on their monitor is correct.  Price US $ 89.00

ColorMunki Smile is the perfect tool for the photo hobbyist, like the family photographer, scrap booker, or designer. You'll even appreciate the difference when you're gaming or viewing images on line. Really it's for just about any enthusiast that wants to know the color on their monitor is correct.

Price US $ 89.00

The X-Rite ColorMunki Smile Color Calibration Solution is a simple calibration tool to help ensure your laptop or desktop monitors are consistent and displaying proper color values. This calibration solution can be used with just one LCD or LED monitor or on several to maintain accuracy from monitor to monitor. Once the colorimeter has been placed over the desired monitor, operation and calibration is handled through an intuitive wizard-driven software program that utilizes the same color engine technology found in professional-level X-Rite color calibration solutions. Once calibrated, a before and after image can instantly show you comparative results.

A calibration reminder will also automatically notify you as to when it is time to re-calibrate displays, helping you to consistently maintain color accuracy across all of your monitors.

  • Helps to ascertain proper color accuracy and consistency on one or several monitors.
  • Straight-forward, simple software requires no color science knowledge.
  • Automatic reminders notify you when it is time to re-calibrate your monitors.
  • Simple online help videos provide troubleshooting assistance and eliminate the need to refer to other manual.


Experience the highest levels of creative DI with SCRATCH®. Feel the speed of real-time for ultimate productivity.

THE NEW UPDATE 8.3 features :

Full resolution support for RED, ARRI, Sony, Canon, Panasonic, DLSR and all other popular camera and media formats

Real-time full resolution, native playback of all popular camera formats

  • Fully ACES compliant
  • Oculus Rift VR360 file format including Cylindrical, Equi-rectangular, and Cube formats, for output to a secondary monitor, or an Oculus Rift DKI or DKII
  • REDCODE RAW.r3d including monochrome footage. Support for multiple RED Rocket cards with DRX control
  • RED Dragon
  • ARRIRAW including new ASSIMILATE customARRI fast Debayer – built for significant speed while still preserving color accuracy
  • Sony F5/F55/F65 including 6K and 8K
  • SONY Mpeg-2 .mp4, .mov and XAVC HD/4K .mxf
  • Phantom
  • SI2K
  • Panasonic RAW, P2/MXF and AVCHD
  • Canon C500, C300, Magic Lantern (.raw and .mlv), 5D, 7D5D, 7D
  • Blackmagic Design Cinema DNG, BMDPocket camera
  • Vanguard Video H.264 encoding (Mac and Windows)
  • Aaton Penelope
  • Ikonoscop
  • GoPro
  • QuickTime
  • DPX
  • Over 50 additional formats

    Powerful finishing tools

  • Shot Versioning: SCRATCH CONstruct manage multiple versions of the same 2D or 3D shots within the same timeline for easy comparison
  • Vector paint
  • Subtitling support
  • Apply OFX plug-ins to create a wide range of visual effects
  • Direct Output: Real-time tools for frame-rate conversion, image-resolution scaling and frame-accuracy to monitors, projectors and tape decks using both DVI and SDI interfaces
  • Multiple Deliverables: Create alternate versions in different resolutions, image formats and framing, all from a single source
  • Fast, highly interactive color grading

  • An entirely new, flexible viewing model

  • High-speed conform and confidence checking

  • Mix-and-match RED.r3d files with ARRIRAW or Phantom (or any other media format recognized by SCRATCH), even Canon DSLR, within the same resolution-independent timeline
  • State of the art metadata and timecode support

  • Advanced audio sync

  • Stereo 3D workflow support

  • Live View™

    Flexibility and extensibility

    Future-proof your workflow with an advanced and scriptable XML back-end that allows you to:

  • Automate SCRATCH to maximize productivity
  • Access your job anywhere via HTML
  • Integrate SCRATCH via XML with other tools in your workflow such as Nuke, Shotgun, Avid or Final Cut Pro
  • Enhance SCRATCH with OFX plug-ins such as Sapphire, Beauty Box, Twixtor, and Neat Video
  • Built-in SQL database supports a full range of metadata

  • System Requirement
  • OSX 10.7 and up
  • Windows 7 and up
  • CPU

  • Min. preferred: Intel i7 Quadcore
  • GFX

  • Preferred: Quadro K500, K6000 / Firepro W8000, W9000
  • OSX: NVIDIA 4000, K5000, ATI Radeon 5770 / 5870, FirePro D500 / D700
  • RAM

  • Min 8Gb, Preferred 12Gb
  • SDI

  • AJA Kona, T-Tap, Io
  • Bluefish444 Epoch
  • BlackMagic DeckLink, UltraStudio
  • NVIDIA Quadro 6000SDI on Windows


Which is the best cable for your video monitor?

There is four major standards:

  • HD-SDI and its 3G-SDI avatar
  • HDMI
  • DVI-D and DVI-I
  • Displayport

Here are a few monitors and projectors with their connectors:

  • Dell Ultrasharp – DVI-D, Displayport, HDMI
  • Apple Thunderbolt Display – Thunderbolt (aka mini-Displayport)
  • Eizo ColorEdge – DVI-D, Displayport, HDMI
  • Dolby Professional Reference Monitor – Dual 3G-SDI
  • Barco LCD – DVI-D, Displayport, HDMI, Dual HD-SDI
  • Barco 4K Projector –  Dual HD-SDI, Dual DVI-D

Graphic Card connection ports examples :

  • Nvidia Quadro 5000 – Dual DVI-I, Displayport
  • ATI Firepro S10000 – 4 x Displayport, DVI 

Signal conversion boxes or cards connection examples :

  •     Blackmagic HDLink Pro – DVI/Displayport, Dual HD-SDI
  •     Blackmagic Ultrastudio 4K – Dual HD-SDI, HDMI
  •     Matrox MXO2 – Dual HD-SDI, HDMI

The DVI standard has been passed over for HDMI and Displayport, so there will be no more updates. The great disadvantages of DVI is the lack of support for Y’CbCr and audio. 

The most important criterion when comparing video connectors is image quality. This one’s a non-starter. There is no image quality difference between any of the four standards. DVI, HDMI and Displayport are easily interchangeable via adapters or active circuits, while HD-SDI is the broadcast standard for monitoring.

What makes HD-SDI special:

  • Long cable length
  • Robust BNC adapter
  • Uncompressed video and audio 

HD-SDI is great for monitoring 1080p but nothing higher. Forget 2K, 4K or even still image files from modern cameras. If your workflow is broadcast centric, there is nothing better. If it is not, then HD-SDI is overkill, and limiting at the same time!

Advantages of Displayport over HDMI

  • Ability to daisy chain multiple monitors due to the double bit rate advantage
  • 2K at 120 fps and 4K at 60 fps
  • You can passively convert Displayport to HDMI, but not the other way around
  • Royalty-free, compared to HDMI
  • Support from graphic card manufacturers, the primary drivers for display
  • Support from major computer and monitor manufacturers like Apple, Intel, Dell, HP, and the like.

The relative advantages of HDMI over Displayport are minor, but strong nevertheless in a home viewing environment. The new Sony 4K monitor has been announced, and it has HDMI ports. So does the Redray 4K player.

For HD broadcast, there is nothing better than HD-SDI and 3G-SDI, period. However, for the studio monitoring environment, the order of preference for connectors are:

  • Displayport
  • HDMI
  • DVI-D
  • DVI-I


Director's Guide to Color Grading

Sure, you thought about your edit, visual effects, and music during pre-production… but you overlooked color correction.

This happens often, yet color is an incredibly important part of any film—a huge driver for mood and tone. How can directors and cinematographers maximize their budgets, collaborating with colorists to make their films look the absolute best for any delivery format?

“A lot of people underestimate what it takes to have something color corrected,” says Sal Malfitano. “You don’t want to spend your entire post budget fixing things when that could go towards enhancements instead.”

Best advice to filmmakers looking for great color on a reasonable budget.

  1. Consult a Colorist Early

Independent moviemakers should get in touch with a colorist and post-production house early on to begin talks for the look of the film. “Even if you don’t wind up working with them, it’s good to get a colorist’s point of view as you’re preparing to shoot,” says Malfitano, who recently graded the Safdie Brothers’ Heaven Knows What. “Many post houses and colorists are happy to advise filmmakers at this point to start building a relationship.” He recommends sending over footage and stills to a colorist as the project progresses, so that he or she can test out some looks.

In the case of The Invisible Front, director Vincas Sruoginis’s passion project about the Lithuanian Partisan Resistance’s armed struggle against the Soviet Union from 1944 to 1953, Nice Shoes’ Lenny Mastrandrea was brought on early in the creative process.

“We worked together with our visual effects artists to blend reenactment footage shot on a Sony XDcam with footage shot on 16mm film,” says Mastrandrea. “We were able to anticipate the needs of the film because Vincas met with us before the project was even close to being shot, which helped us marry the different sources.”

So what should you discuss with a colorist at the outset?

  • Camera: Let your colorist know what camera (or cameras) you’ll be working with, so he or she knows what file formats to prepare for.
  • Look: Being able to convey what you want visually is key early in the conversation. Bring references so that you and the colorist have something to look at.
  • Schedule: Give the colorist (and every member of the post team) a sense of your overall schedule. They can help budget the proper amount of time for color grading.
  • Budget: Each project will have different budgetary limits. Don’t be embarrassed about yours—be upfront. Most post houses will develop a schedule with you that accommodates your needs. The better prepared you are before you start color grading, the more bang you’ll get for your buck.
  • Final deliverables, like format and resolution: Your film might be shown in multiple formats (cinema, web, television, archival), so try to include a rough plan of the mediums you’re planning to exhibit with.
  • 2. Reference Film History
  • Chris Ryan appreciates a director that can speak in the shorthand of other films. “Having worked on a range of Criterion transfers [such as 8 ½, Gimme Shelter, and Richard III], I love talking to filmmakers who have an appreciation of film. When someone comes in and can give me a film that they’re looking to reference, that really helps me better understand what they’re going for.
  • “Look at Young Frankenstein as an example. Mel Brooks really wanted it to look like the originalFrankenstein films. Brooks and the DP, Gerald Hirschfeld, spent months testing film stock, lighting and cameras to make their film look just like old Universal films. Go shoot something, give it to a colorist, and get advice on the look you’re trying to achieve.”
  • Make Color a Part of Art Direction
  • No aspect of moviemaking is an island. Your cinematography and art direction should cooperate with color correction to produce the best results.
  • “I can work with you to make a scene ‘blue’ in post,” says Ryan, “but if you’ve already worked with the cinematographer, the gaffer, and the art director to establish a number of blue elements on-set, the finished project is going to be so much richer. Go out of your way to shoot with a yellow filtration if you want a yellow look in a scene. I can go in afterwards and give a scene an amber quality, but it would look far better if you actually lit it with amber lights.”
  • “You don’t want to come in saying you want a really colorful film when all of your locations and sets were devoid of color,” says Malfitano. He found that while collaborating with Joshua and Benny Safdie on Heaven Knows What, an uncompromising portrayal of heroin addicts in New York City, the aesthetic that the directors had captured on set with their cinematographer, Sean Price Williams, provided a very strong foundation for the color grading process.
  • “Joshua, Benny and Sean were looking to create a hazy, milky look, one that was flat but not flat, and desaturated but not too desaturated,” says Malfitano. “There is no true black in any of the film, which reflects the world these characters inhabit.”


  1. Prepare for Post-Production

“Proper preparation, at any point in post, will make it easier for everyone,” says Mastrandrea. “Prepping or fixing media costs valuable time that could be spent on developing the look of the film.”

If you intend to work with the original source footage, then your editor needs to ensure that the EDL, AAF, or XML files correlate to the raw footage and not any transcodes that have been created along the way. Make sure that the transcodes created for the editorial workflow are managed properly, and that the file names and timecodes reflect the original files. Project frame rates should match across the pipeline. If you’re unsure about the quality of the preparation, regular communication with the colorist is key. Most are happy to test material to make sure it’s in a workable state, and help you to get it where it needs to be.

Malfitano suggests anticipating how the film will be shown. “Have an idea of what kind of deliverables you’ll need at each stage of that process: from the copies needed for submission to what the festival requires if your film is selected. Big-budget films have the luxury of being able to tweak for a theatrical run and for Blu-ray release, but a good colorist can work with indies to craft a deliverable that’ll look good on any platform.”

“Factor in the delivery date of the film, too,’ he adds. “Work backwards from there to allow for at least a month of collaborating with your colorist.”

  1. Test Color Throughout the Process

As Ryan color-graded with Bassam Tariq and Omar Mullick on These Birds Walk, a documentary about the struggles of street children in Karachi, Pakistan, the filmmakers found that their initial vision for the color of the film wasn’t working.

“We used color swatches they had brought in as a guide to start with,” says Ryan. “But as we started to apply that look to a few scenes, we found that the muted palette was making a story that was already a little sad, too sad. The color needed to be a little bit more uplifting. After Bassam and Tariq screened the scenes we had graded for a few people, we went with a natural look that emphasized the hopeful feel of the film, working to bring out the colorful beauty of Pakistan. Bassam and Tariq were apologetic about starting off down the wrong path, but that’s what’s interesting about color.”

“A lot of times people get used to their rough cuts. They think that’s what they have,” says Gene Curley, who recalls working with directors on two recent projects to discover the look of their films. “Robert Vorkahl’s upcoming feature, Completely Normal, was beautifully shot on the Arri Alexa by cinematographer Brian Harnick. The raw images came up really clean and getting a nice balance of color was easy. But Vornkahl wanted the look of the film represent the unglamorous, tedious lives of the protagonists. So we actually skewed colors and washed the whole look out to give it a more desperate, bleak feel.

“The Graham Parker documentary Don’t Ask Me Questions by Michael and John Gramaglia, on the other hand, was a lot of older multi-format footage from concerts, interviews, and various performance pieces. John wanted a uniform look. By maintaining a consistent level of contrast and saturation throughout and cleaning up all of the whites, we were able to achieve a distinct look throughout the film despite the difference in quality of source material.”

  1. Good Color Correction can Save Your Ass—and Budget

Not sure you can pull off that crazy ambitious lighting maneuver on set? Remembering that your colorist can be part of your lighting crew may save you time and money in production.

“A colorist can almost be a gaffer working for the DP,” says Ryan. “We can achieve many lighting effects in a color grading suite that would be costly or time-consuming on set. A lot of times these things were impossible due to any number of issues: bad weather, time, talent schedules, and so on.”

That says, Ryan cautions against the dreaded “fixing it in post” mentality. “We can’t help out as much if a filmmaker captures footage in a specific location, at a specific time of day, and then tries to work in pick-up shots from a different time or lighting setup. A colorist can match the overall tonality, but can’t compensate for drastic lighting changes.”

  1. Don’t be a Helicopter Director

Finally, leave some space for your colorist to breathe. Once a filmmaker has gone through the film with the colorist and set the looks for each scene, it’s time to let the film go for a bit. Because of time constraints, it’s often better to let the colorist work alone, and then come back for one or two supervised sessions for any final adjustments.

“Once we have a clear direction, it’s just a matter of taking the time to apply that color throughout the film,” says Mastrandrea. “As long as I have a clear understanding of the film, I can really focus on making it look beautiful.” MM

This article appeared in MovieMaker‘s Spring 2015 issue.

4K Monitor for Digital Cinema Colour Grading - ColorEdge cG318-4k review


The ColorEdge CG318-4K appears to be Eizo's play for both its traditional market of particularly exacting stills photographers and for that part of the film and TV business.

Eizo has had an enviable profile among print and design people for a while, famous for displays which achieve more or less everything that the underlying technology possibly can. The CG318 doesn't (can't) have the same contrast ratio as an OLED, but it really does have absolutely everything else. The basic spec list is a worthwhile place to start: with a full 4096 pixels per line, it's a display of about 1.9:1 aspect ratio and capable of displaying not only the most enormous workstation desktops but also a full digital cinema 4K image, not just 3840-wide quad HD as with many monitors described more casually as 4K. Perhaps more importantly, the sheer physical size of the thing, at the best part of 32 diagonal inches, begins to make 4K readily viewable in a way that 24" quad-HD displays only really do if we lean in and squint.


Impressive contrast

The thing is, figures near £3000 are mentioned, which is potentially a lot for a monitor when Dell's UltraSharp 32 display, at less than half the price, is also an option. In the end, though, the CG318 starts making Dell look quite expensive, given the yawning gap in feature set. For a start, Eizo mentions a 1500:1 contrast ratio; this is both technologically feasible for a very high quality IPS TFT and readily believable in practice.

Just as a subjective observation, the amount of contrast from the CG318 is literally eye-watering. Selecting the sRGB preset, (much more about sRGB below) and cranking up the variable backlight theoretically puts the monitor way out of calibration, but boy, does it look pretty to the untrained observer. Just as a demonstration of sheer dynamic range, this setup produces a display which doesn't even begin to approach the sheer power of Dolby's HDR displays, but suggest what a practical, affordable home-user version of it might look like. In a darkened room, sunset shots are squintingly bright and blacks remain solid. The backlight only goes up to 300 candela per square metre, which is pretty normal for desktop displays, but the point is that the CG318 serves as a particularly keen example of something that's increasingly well-understood as time goes by: dynamic range isn't really about maximum white brightness, it's at least as much about minimum black brightness.

What's your angle?

While we're discussing contrast, we should talk about viewing angles. Naturally, as a TFT panel, the off-axis performance of the CG318 does vary very slightly. Within that limitation, though, performance is very good. The display enjoys a wide range of viewing angles with consistent colorimetry. Beyond that range, the image just seems to dim slightly, with none of the purplish or whitish glare that becomes obvious on many other IPS TFTs.


So far, so good; the Eizo CG318 is an exceptionally good full-4K, high contrast TFT monitor, which at £3000 probably wouldn't raise too many eyebrows. What makes the display particularly interesting for film and TV people, however, is that unlike a lot of cheaper options, it has built-in support for not only sRGB and Adobe RGB, but also Rec. 709, Rec. 2020, SMPTE-C and DCI-P3 colourspaces.

The monitor covers 98% of the vast P3 colourspace used for digital cinema work. It is therefore suitable for more or less immediate deployment as a reference display in edit suites and grading facilities, producing anything from Rec. 709 material for current broadcast workflows through to digital cinema mastering.

Other than buying one of the 4K OLEDs, this is something that could be emulated to some extent using a lower-cost TFT designed to display Adobe RGB, plus some sort of colour correction device such as a Fujifilm IS-mini, or an HDLink 4K, should Blackmagic release one. Even so, the total cost of doing this might well begin to approach the value of the CG318 and the results would almost certainly not be as good, given the high performance of the TFT panel and backlight that form the basis of Eizo's display.


With the ability to upload LUTs using Eizo's supplied software, the CG318 is also more or less ready to go as an on-set monitor, suitably flight-cased and with an SDI converter to suit its HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces (there are two of each, both supporting 10-bit pictures, although the HDMI is a slight disappointment being limited to 30Hz updates). Outdoors on a bright day, the black performance versus OLED might hurt slightly more, although it's hard to see this as a huge problem, given that the CG318 has at least as much contrast as many of the TFTs that are being used for this sort of work at the moment. The lack of an SDI input is a bit of a shame, although the overwhelming majority of Eizo's customers are still photographers and graphic designers for whom the feature would be utterly superfluous.

Calibrating output

Saving the most interesting for last, the thing that makes the CG318 look like a really good deal is the inbuilt calibration. Various people have claimed calibration for their displays in the past – the Dell UP2414Q we looked at came with a calibration sheet – but the ability for a monitor to actually observe its own output is fairly rare. The CG318 includes a mechanical device which swings a sensor boom into position over the display, allowing it to genuinely measure the output from the panel and perform a proper calibration.

Now, we have to reign in our enthusiasm just slightly here: a really good calibration probe is worth more than this entire display and there may be some question over exactly how good the CG318's inbuilt probe can really be for the price. Ultimately, without access to an advanced optical lab, it's difficult to qualitatively assess the situation, so I won't, but at some point, this is likely a better solution than calibrating once at the factory and hoping. Perhaps most significantly, the demo monitor is naturally brand new and the real value of a calibration probe is in ensuring that things remain in trim as they age. Comparison against a really good probe after a few years' hard use might be in order (Eizo warrants ten thousand hours or five years); shall we meet back here in, say, 2019 to discuss?


Overall, the CG318 is spectacular. It is impossible to avoid the comparison with OLED; the CG318 isn't one, but then it's something like two thirds the price of even an HD OLED, and it has inbuilt calibration. There will always be a market – high end film finishing in particular - in which the only fashion dictates that the only acceptable monitoring is either projection or a Sony OLED, but outside that area, in places where purchasing decisions are based on capability not branding, really good 4K monitoring is made a lot more accessible by the existence of this display.


I think people who make videos and films are sometimes a little unclear about the relationship between 4K and HD. The most important message is this: that 4K is four times the data rate of HD, and you’ll need four times the space to see it.

But while there are four times as many pixels as HD, but the picture is not four times better. It’s actually only twice as good, if you measure the “goodness” of a picture by the number of pixels in a straight line.

Just to be completely clear about this, 4K has only twice the linear resolution of HD. This has some very important consequences.

Perhaps the most important of which is that if you degrade the sharpness of a 4K image by as little as just over half a pixel, you might as well have started in HD.

Half a pixel! That’s one eight thousandth of the width of the screen. You do’t have to have much wrong with your picture to lose its 4K-ness in an instant.

Remember that when we judge the sharpness of a picture, we’re not actually measuring it. What we’re absolutely not doing is counting pixels and how they merge with their neighbours. We base our impressions of sharpness on - impressions. We can be fooled into thinking that a picture is sharper than it is.

How does "sharpness" work?

Do you know how the “sharpness” control works in Photoshop? Well, I’m pretty sure that it’s evolved into something quite sophisticated, but the basic principle is rather simple. Our perception of how sharp an image is depends on edges. The more distinct edges we see, the sharper we think the picture is. When we sharpen a picture, we’re not adding information. How could we be? If adding information was that easy then I could just write half this article and move the "detail" slider another fifity percent and it would be finished!

What we’re doing is saying “whenever you see an element in the image that is changing more rapidly than the others, make it change even more rapidly".

 Make it sharper, in other words.

The sharpness of an image depends on frequency response. That probably sounds like it should be in an article about audio rather than video, but there’s really no difference. Think of a chessboard. If you were to scan a laser beam across the surface and measure the reflections, you’d essentially get no reflection from the black squares, and a 100% reflection from the white ones. When you move from black to white, the change should be instant, subject only to the width of the laser beam.

That instantaneous change represents a high frequency at that instant. Whether you actually see an instantaneous change depends on the ability of your recording, transmission and display system to reproduce it.

High frequencies mean more information. If you want to reproduce twice the frequency, then, in a digital system, you have to have twice the sample rate. That means twice the data. One of the easiest ways to reduce data rates is to limit high frequencies. In a sense, all you need to reduce your data rate by half or more is to introduce a low-pass filter (one that only lets lower frequencies through). Most recording, transmission and display systems do this anyway in the way that they handle the information and it’s certainly a fundamental aspect of the way that most codecs work.

Let’s go back to the chessboard. What’s the effect of filtering the high frequencies out? The edges between the squares look blurred. They look like that because there’s less information to describe exactly where they are. Remember: sharpness is all about information.

Artificially boosting high frequencies in an HD image can make it look significantly sharper - enough, perhaps, to make it look like it’s 4K.

Post produce at 4K

Another way you can sneakily bounce your HD material into the 4K domain is to post produce it at 4K resolution. Again, it’s not going to magically capture 4 times the number of pixels but any effects you do will be in 4K.  For example, you might want to apply a look or some kind of artistic effect. To the extent that the effect changes the pixels, it will “create” new 4K ones. This isn’t magic: it’s an illusion, but it’s a valid one.

You can also add “clues” to 4K resolution by adding titles. These will be rendered at whatever resolution you set your project to. So if you set it to 4K, your titles will be at 4K, whatever the original resolution of your material.

But, do you know the best way to make your productions look like 4K?

Shoot them well in HD.

To "shoot well" you have to pay attention to quite a lot of things.

For a start, use a good camera

That should do without saying, but it often doesn't. It doesn't matter if the camera says 4K on the tin; if it's not a good camera (which can mean a number of different things) then however hard you try to get everything else right, it's not going to make your HD look like 4K.

Expose correctly

Especially if you're recording to an 8 bit codec, you need to make sure you're using every one of the available bits for distinguishing between light and dark pixels.

Light correctly

Personally, I've never understood the obsession with low light performance of a camera. Just because your device can capture video by candlelight doesn't mean you should skimp on lighting! There's more to lighting than mere quantities of photons landing on sensor elements. There's the direction they're coming from, and the overall contrasts in the scene. If you're going to the trouble of lighting a scene, you might as well do it, you know, brightly.

Use good lenses

If your lenses aren't sharp, then your video isn't going to even look like HD - never mind 4K. And make sure you know how to focus with them: basic, yes; but often overlooked.

Use a smaller sensor!

I know this cuts across what is probably the biggest trend in film making of the last five years, but, honestly, I'd rather get the shot than have to discard sixteen takes because they're out of focus. Shallow depth of field is just one of a multitude of cinematic effects. It's not a panacea and in the wrong place at the wrong time it can be an absolute menace. Any number of times I've captured an image only to find out that the tip of the subject's nose is in focus while their eye lashes are blurred.

Of course big feature film budgets allow for experienced focus-pullers. But if it's just you and a DSLR, who's going to pull focus for you? And without proper cinema-type markings on the lens, it's going to be largely impossible anyway.

 It's a good idea to try to record at high bitrates, or uncompressed. You can do either of these if you have the right type of external (HDMI or SDI) recorder. Most external recorders will record to 10 bit ProRes at up to around 220 Mbit/s. It's an edit-friendly format, with every frame encoded individually so there's no dependency on previous frames, and recording in 10 bits gives a significant amount of additional headroom for post-processing, even if your original signal was only 8 bit.

HD rules in the cinema!

There is a camera that pretty much puts all of this (apart from the bit about the small sensor) into practise. How many times have you heard that Skyfall, Hugo or Game of Thrones wasn't sharp enough? Exactly none, I would imagine, even though, with the exception of Game of Thrones, which was made for TV (widely praised for its production values), these films have been seen on the biggest screens and scrutinised by the most critical of critics. Absolutely none have said it's not sharp enough for the cinema.

What this proves, I think, is not only that HD is good enough, but that it can functionally substitute for 4K and no one is any the wiser. There are far more important elements that make up a picture than the sheer number of pixels. Your brain does a lot of the work.

Think about your school playing field, or your favourite park when you were growing up. Zoom in on the grass so that you can see the blades waving in the wind. Now focus on a single blade of grass. Look at the markings, the nature of the edge; how it reacts when it catches the sun.

Were you able to do that? Most people can. It's incredible (literally) when you think about it. And absolutely none of that thought experiment has anything to do with resolution.

As we've said before, if you can acquire in 4K, then do so: it's able to make HD look better when downsampled: turning 4:2:0 into 4:4:4 for example.

But if you shoot in HD in the right way, taking all the steps mentioned above (and some, undoubtedly that we haven't mentioned) then you can put your HD material on a 4K screen, and still enjoy the view.


Learn Depth of Field with this Powerful (& Free) Online DOF Simulator

A Polish software engineer (and amateur photographer) named Michael Bemowski recently put together one of the most helpful depth of field tools out there, and the best part is that it's completely free. The tool, which you can find here, allows you to manipulate every camera and lens setting that affects depth of field, from sensor size to focal length, from aperture to the distance between the subject and the camera. Plus it gives you a handy visual approximation of what each specific set of parameters would look like in a real world setting.

n order to make this tool as accessible as possible, you can download a version of it that runs offline on any operating system, and there is a dedicated mobile version as well, so you can access it anywhere at any time. 


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