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CSI August 2016 Member Newsletter
August 2016
Charles Poynton Named CSI Fellow

Charles A. Poynton, color scientist, technical consultant and writer, has been named a Fellow of Colorist Society International (CSI). Charles lives and works in Toronto. He gives seminars on digital video systems and has written two books, A Technical Introduction to Digital Video and Digital Video and HDTV: Algorithms and Interfaces.

Charles is a Fellow of SMPTE, and was awarded the David Sarnoff Gold Medal in 1993 for his work to integrate video technology with computing and communications.

He played a integral role in designing and building digital television processing equipment for NASA's Johnson Space Center.

Charles is a PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University. More information can be viewed on his website:

On behalf of all CSI Members, Welcome Charles!

IMDb Update on CSI Affiliation
On Screen Credits

Jim has been in continuing discussions with IMDb since the inception of CSI on a number of issues that will be of interest to the membership.
IMDb has been an enthusiastic supporter of Colorist Society International. We look forward to making some big announcements soon, possibly in next month’s CSI Newsletter. Stay tuned!

We've got a number of members getting on-screen credit for their work (see below).

If you have an on-screen credit displaying your name followed by "C.S.I." be sure to send us a photo and we'll share it with the membership in an upcoming newsletter.

IBC Colorist Mixer
Update: Spec Sheets & Contracts

CSI co-founders Jim Wicks and Kevin Shaw will be attending IBC2016 in Amsterdam, September 8-13. Jim will be representing Colorist Society International at the Colorist Mixer, and meeting with our friends during IBC.

If you are attending, or thinking about attending, be sure to stop by and tell Jim "hello."

Kevin is one of the Colorist Mixer event organizers, and once again the event will be bigger and better than ever before.

CSI members have advanced notice of the ticket sales along with International Colorist Academy, Tao of Color and Mixing Light.

Register now at Tickets go on general sale later this week.

IBC2016 Colorist Mixer details:

Saturday, September 10, 7:30pm/19.30 onwards
Keizersgracht 324 Amsterdam

CSI members Josh Petok and Marc Wielage have started a committee that will be of great benefit to all CSI members.

As part of CSI's mission and vision statements, Josh and Marc are working to create two important documents:

  • Spec Sheets
  • Contracts between Colorists and Vendors
The idea is to make these documents available to you, our members, as helpful tools, and as a step forward in standardizing the way we, as colorists, do business.

These documents would facilitate how projects should be brought to the colorist, how they should be delivered, and conditions for the work and payment.

The important thing, we feel, is that vital documents such as these are being drafted by our members for our members.

Thank you Josh and Marc! Stay tuned.

Down to Business

Giving Credit

Edgar Flores, C.S.I.

CSI member Edgar Flores from Mexico sent us a photo of his on-screen credit for a feature documentary that he recently color graded.

Said Edgar, “This was previous to the CSI protocol of 'Edgar Flores, C.S.I.' I am hoping they will change it before the film is released publicly.”


Deidre McClelland, C.S.I.

Here's Deidre's first credit with "C.S.I." at the end of her name:

This is for the documentary Convicted which is directed, produced, edited and shot by Terry Carlyon; a veteran who has created over 160 documentaries in his career.


Eric Whipp, C.S.I. of Alter Ego, Colorist of Mad Max, Fury Road received not just a screen credit, but also single card credit as “Look Development and Supervising Colorist.”

Eric writes: Colorists getting credits on films is a major battle. My credit on Mad Max, Fury Road was a major win for colorists. This was largely thanks to George Miller who recognized the amount of work and creative input.

John Seale, (the cinematographer on the film) and I talked in length about who is really the author of the image on films now. It used to always be that the Cinematographer “owned” the image and look. Now it's a collective of the DP, Colorist and VFX supervisor.

So why is the colorist credit being buried 200 names at the end of the roll, when the DP and VFX supervisor are getting head credits? This is largely due to the fact that digital “creative" color is a fairly new thing. 15-20 years ago most films didn’t go through a digital color process, just a lab process. So as the technology and the creative process have changed over the past few years, it’s also time to change the credits and to fully recognize the colorist’s role in the creative process.

Together, we should aim for single card credits, the same as a VFX supervisor and a Cinematographer, as we all share the role of creating the look.


Kevin Shaw, C.S.I. gets on-screen credit on Searching for Sunnyvale  from Rubber Stamp Films (this film has not yet been screened):



A Time of Transition (so new?)

Lou Levinson, C.S.I., Lifetime Fellow

While we as colorists have been exposed to constant change through the decades, the last few years have been especially volatile. Starting with HD evolving to UHDTV/4k, and adding high dynamic range, wide color gamut, high frame rate imaging, we find ourselves in as confusing a place as I can remember. As colorists, I would hope that our primary concern for visual storytelling would help guide us (and our clients) thru this turbulent sea.

For the first time in several decades, we face the challenge of not being sure what constitutes a reference monitor, or how to set it. As this is the bedrock on which all of our work is based, and judged, it’s easy to see where turmoil starts. There have been several periods like this before, though not with as much uncertainty, so I’m afraid for the moment the best advice I can give is to get in touch with your inner surfer,and go with the flow.

I can’t see how things will end up, but I can bet they’ll be different than today’s view of the world.

That having been said, putting your client’s needs first and foremost, and helping keep the consumer tail from wagging our content creating dog is the path I see forward.

Keep in mind something that seems sadly lacking in many parts of our world: “the least expensive way to do anything is to get it right the first time.” and best of luck.

As a CSI Lifetime Fellow (and a humble thanx to all) I see part of my portfolio as being a resource for the organization at large. I’ll be working with Jim and Kevin on finding a way to make the expertise I’ve gathered along the long, long way since TK28’s in 1977 more readily available to the group at large. Until then, I can be reached with specific questions at Be aware that it’s in part of my nature to hold the ridiculous and the sublime firmly together.


Again, thanx to all, best of luck, and, surf’s up!


Lou Levinson

Half Moon Bay,Ca

August, 2016


The ACS (Australian Cinematographers Society), Victoria branch run Colour Grading Masterclass

Deidre McClelland, C.S.I.

The ACS (Australian Cinematographers Society), Victoria branch held a Colour Grading Masterclass at Soundfirm ( Saturday 13th August which was a great success with 20 participants involved.

Ellery Ryan, ACS shared with us the process of shooting his recent feature Is This the Real World ( It was a 20 day shoot, with tight deadlines, as so many of our features are here in Australia so there were some great insights regarding "knowing what to leave" for the grade and what is imperative to capture in-camera.

We then demonstrated the collaboration between a cinematographer and colourist when grading a feature; from the initial balance grade, problem solving through to the evolution of the "look" for the feature. Using BlackMagic Resolve v12.5 we went through most of the common requests from a DP and some of the grading features that are used to comply with those requests. The aim was to give participants an idea of what can be achieved in the grade that will save time and additional stress when they're on set or out on location. We also covered off a lot of "terminology and jargon" (that can sometimes seem like a foreign language) allowing participants to feel more comfortable making requests or suggestions in a grade suite.

The participants ranged from cinematographers, editors, producers and directors. We also had technical types and web designers. There were some young colourists keen to see how a more experienced colourist tackles some grading issues and to witness the relationship between a cinematographer and colourist in the grading theatre.

There were plenty of questions throughout and at the end of the day, an animated discussion about ACES and HDR workflows and the impact these will have to our industry in the very near future.

The general consensus was that regardless of the levels of experience within the audience,there should be more workshops like this one, more often.

It was a delightful day and I was very honoured to be asked to present along with Ellery.

Warwick Field (President, ACS Victoria,
Deidre McClelland, CSI and Ellery Ryan ACS).


The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) held its first ever UK retreat in the calm and beauty of Oxfordshire, from July 12-13th 2016with a seminar on HDR preceding it on July 11th

Kevin Shaw, C.S.I. co-founder ofColorist Society International (CSI), was at the event and hosted breakfast roundtables both days.

The retreat was packed with entertaining, informative and cutting edge presentations throughout. The conference hall boasted Sony 4k projection and Dolby Atmos sound, with topics ranging from the intense workflow of Game of Thrones, to the beautifully planned and executed Ex Machina.

Topics addressed all of the bigtargets facing our industries:

  • High Dynamic Range (HDR)
  • High Frame Rate (HFR)
  • Wide Color Gamuts (WCG)
  • More Pixels (4k, 2160)
  • Better Compression
  • Immersive Sound

Topics always seemed to come back to HDR though, and it was unanimously agreed that HDR above all the others is ready,and offers the most bang for the buck. There was a strong case made for Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) for live events and traditional broadcasting. However, there are so many HDR solutions based on PQ, which adapts to screen brightness that it seems likely that will become the de facto standard for home and theatrical releases.

Most HDR formats, including HLG, seem to have manufacturer “special sauce” just like current televisions, so no two makes are exactly the same.However, Dolby Vision dictates a single standard from production to consumer and could be the first system to guarantee creative intent in the home.

Everything else seemed like minor improvements over HDR, and some of the giants really are challenging the need for higher resolution. Some very impressive demonstrations covered ideas and alternatives to solve judder and strobing, and practical issues of dealing with the ever increasing data volume and bandwidth needed to produce and distribute these improvements.


The CSI roundtables were well attended and provoked lively discussion, especially the second morning, which was titled “Better Pixels from UHD Premium.”

Overall there were more colors cientists than colorists, but the retreat explored many technologies and workflows that impact us more and more. Technologies from the ubiquitous IMF to the elusive VR.

See #HPATechRetreatUK on Twitter for more.

All the best,


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