• 29 July 2017 18:17 | Kevin Shaw (Administrator)

    by Lou Levinson
    After graciously being invited to be a CSI fellow, it seems that life circumstances forced me to have to pay attention to other things over the past year. Please accept my apologies, and allow me to stir up some trouble, if I may.

    What I’d like to discuss is a subject that’s gained buzzword status in our endeavors on par with“Digital” and “4k* ”. Yep, that’s right, HDR. I’m sure you’ve all been inundated with this in one way or another. “Can you do this in 2020**? Your competition can”. 

    So, what do we mean when we say HDR? I have to say that I have yet to hear a simple and coherent definition, but everyone seems to know it when they see it.  Do we mean high peak brightness? High average/diffuse white? Are we including wide color gamut? High frame rate? High spacial resolution? As far as I can tell, there are now five or six competing HDR “systems”.  We’re well on the way to the 19 different standards of the ATSC. I have asked folk at NAB, at HPA, at ASC Technology Council (new name) meetings. I’m allergic to SMPTE meetings, and no one wants to send me overseas to IBC or to ITU meetings, but I do have work associates for that. So, even though Ideal with this all the time, I’m confused.

    If we take a step back to SDR, we see a fair amount of energy still being put into defining it and the environs one would master it in. Really? Let’s get real here. The only place you’ll find 100nit pictures*** is in a reference grading room. Let’s define it well, and be aware that it will be applicable for those archival projects when we want to see what was done in HD****, hopefully with Creative input. Everywhere else you’re likely to view them is going to be significantly higher.

    Your phone is probably 400nits peak or more. For those that can do this, try looking at something you’ve graded at 100nits and 400nits side by side. Or even as single stimulus; in two different rooms one after the other. Tell me how your 100nit grade holds up as consumed by the Best Buy crowd. SDR does point to other benchmarks we need to exceed, such as 709 primaries.

    So, you ask, what would I call HDR? Well, let’s take a clue from some Dolby research that says that even untrained observers, in single stimulus, can tell when the peak brightness has gone up by 2 stops. If we chose 100nits as SDR then entry level for HDR becomes 400nits. If we chose a more current 400nits as SDR, then 1600nits becomes an HDR entry point. This is not as arbitrary as it seems, as will be seen in a bit. So I would start to define HDR as 1000nits plus peak brightness. I’m taking some away here for realism, i.e., what we can come close to building as a reference display right this minute. Add wider, P3 primary, color gamut as a minimum. Use whatever transfer function, gamma, pq, hlg, the ballistic curve of a 16” shell fired from the USS Iowa, that you feel works. Package it however you want (you will anyway). Just use enough bits to be user transparent. And make sure there’s clear metadata that says what you’ve done. I would make a plea to keep it simple, but that barn has already burned down.

    One thing of note I can pass on from my more recent imaging voyages is that there is a place, between 100nits and 400nits where dragons reside. What I mean by this is that on either side of that gulf, one makes different creative decisions about one’s visual storytelling. Period. I’ve yet to see any automathemagical, transform driven solution that crosses that place well, if at all.

    Keep that in mind when those cost conscious clients want one master to rule them all. It’s a long walk to Mt Doom. Staying above 400 makes those automathemagical transforms work better, if not perfectly.

    What I might have done if I were king (oh, thank god) is set the following HDR target:

    • 1000 nits peak bright
    • P3 primaries
    • D65 white
    • 1886 or 2084 transfer curve (sensible metadata)
    • 4096 minimum
    • 12 bits minimum

    I would like to assign some homework if I may,  to be dropped on the CSI website in some manner to be determined by wiser heads than mine. I would like anyone who cares to, to submit your definition of HDR. The catch? You have a 147 character limit. [N.B. There is a thread in the CSI Forum to discuss this further - Kevin]

    Next time, I might be talked into telling you why, almost certainly, none of your reference monitors exhibit ideal, reference behaviour.

    Peace,

    Lou
    Half Moon Bay, Ca
    July 23, 2017

    * UHDTV is not 4k, it’s 3840

    ** Can you actually capture 2020? Can you display it? I thought not. Nice package, though.

    *** I actually use 102.7 nits as it equals 30 fl

    **** I’ve seen folk put masters graded on a crt up on a dlp projector in 709 and say that’s the reference. In the words of Wolfgang Pauli “That’s not even wrong!” Crt’s were SMPTE C not 709, 30fl not 14fl, and blacks were significantly different, as well. I fear for our ability to know what came before now.

  • 05 July 2017 13:30 | Anonymous

    by Dick Hobbs

     "My gut feeling is that, if you ask a director – who has probably been sitting next to the colorist for days – then they would certainly agree that the job deserved a high position credit. "

     I first came across the world of color grading more than 25 years ago, way back in the last century. Back when it was mostly telecine, getting the best out of that strip of celluloid.

     Remember the Spirit v Ursa wars? I was there and writing about it.

    From the very first, I developed a huge respect for colorists. It is a hugely complex job, yet at the same time completely aesthetic. The colorist has to use an extraordinary array of tools, accessed through a big and undeniably impressive user interface, to create something that can only be judged artistically.

    Then there were colorist superstars in the postproduction world. Today’s top colorists are equally highly regarded by their peers, and by their colleagues in production and postproduction. In today’s digital movie-making world they are even more important, since they are responsible for conforming and delivering a myriad of formats, taking raw footage from very high dynamic range cameras and crafting it into evocative, immersive, atmospheric looks across a host of different colour spaces.

    So why don’t colorists have their names above the titles?

    Of course all those names on the credits have made a real, practical and often creative contribution to the movie. But very few have painstakingly crafted every single frame of the film. Colorists have.

    When Ang Lee came to IBC in 2016 to talk about Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and all its technical challenges, he took with him his technical guru and his editor. Definitely not the colorist. Adam Inglis, working with Marcy Robinson, thank you for asking.

    Anthony Raffaele was colorist on Café Society, Woody Allen’s first digitally-shot feature, with DoP Vittorio Storaro. The movie has distinctive looks for the locations and time periods of the hero, and is a real colorist’s movie. He is listed 243rd in the crew section on IMDB.

    This year, Jesse Glucksman, CSI, got a full screen credit, albeit shared with the assistant editor, on Tiago Mesquita’s The Shadow Within. Yes, the board does say Jesse Glucksman, CSI.

    Damien van der Cruyssen had a full screen, solo credit, right after the editor, before the crawl, on a movie called It Comes at Night, written and directed by Trey Edward Shults. This has happened maybe three or four times in movie history: 

    Gonçalo Ferreira for Horse Money in 2014, for example. Eric Whipp CSI for Mad Max Fury Road (2015), Kevin Shaw CSI for “In Her Skin” in 2009. CSI co-founder Kevin Shaw once got his name on a movie trailer.

    There is an interesting article at www.EndCrawl.com on who gets credited and why some might not. But I think the issue is not that colorists are not getting any credit: simply that it is way down in the crawl when people are trying not to tread on the spilt popcorn while shuffling out of the theatre.

    My gut feeling is that, if you ask a director – who has probably been sitting next to the colorist for days – then they would certainly agree that the job deserved a high position credit. But the director and colorist work together in the last few weeks of a project, and are always under huge time pressures: credits are the last thing on anyone’s mind. And the colorist does not want to divert the flow of energy by sounding needy.

    I think the answer lies in making CSI more authoritative. The DGA has strict rules on credits, which are widely recognised and respected. One way forward is for members to use the letters CSI after their name, wherever the credit lies. Ensuring the society is recognised will go a long way to ensuring that so are its members.

    Editor’s Note:

    Dick Hobbs has been a leading commentator and consultant on media technology for more than 30 years. He is well known for his writing and appearances at conferences and on panels, where his lively good humour adds to the detailed subject knowledge.

  • 10 May 2017 04:16 | Kevin Shaw (Administrator)

    Divergent Media become our latest sponsor. The NAB roundup and the answer to the often asked question "How long does it take to grade?"

    Read it here...
  • 21 April 2017 04:00 | Kevin Shaw (Administrator)

    CSI Tours and more at NAB. And don't forget the Colorist Mixer at the Stratosphere

    Read it here...
  • 09 April 2017 22:43 | Kevin Shaw (Administrator)

    Attending NAB2017? Colorist Society International is a sponsor of the infamous Colorist Mixer and has organized a number of group tours for CSI members at the booths of its corporate sponsors.


    As an added incentive, many of the booths will offer refreshments. CSI co-founders Jim Wicks and Kevin Shaw will lead the tours at the following times:


    Colorist Mixer - Sunday 4/23 from 7-10pm - The Air Bar, floor 108, in the Stratosphere Tower


    Dolby #SU1702 – Monday 4/24, Tuesday 4/25 and Wednesday 4/26 at 5pm-6pm each day


    FilmLight  #SL3829 – Monday 4/24 at 11am – expect an announcement that could benefit all colorists


    FSI #SL6328 – Tuesday 4/25 at 1pm – monitors for colorists


    S-A-M #SL1805 – Tuesday 4/25 at 3pm – Rio does HDR


    Blackmagic Design #SL216 – Wednesday 4/26 at 4pm – check out the new panels


  • 09 April 2017 22:37 | Kevin Shaw (Administrator)

    Dolby sponsor CSI, Oscar colorists, the Peter Doyle podcast and so much more. 

    Read it here...
  • 08 February 2017 14:50 | Anonymous

    The ASC Spotlight Award, the Colorist Podcast, and much more in the February 2017 newsletter. Plus, be sure to check out the special offer from IMDbPro and discounts for CSI members. 

    Read it here...
  • 13 January 2017 16:22 | Anonymous

    The January Newsletter starts off 2017 with a great contribution by Marc Wielage, CSI, including FREE downloads. Plus, be sure to check out the special offers and discounts for CSI members. 

    Read it here...


  • 14 December 2016 10:46 | Kevin Shaw (Administrator)

    The December 2016 Newsletter finishes the year with a big announcement about IMDB and CSI. Plus in the spirit of the season there are plenty of special offers for CSI members. And our exclusive 3 part series by CSI Fellow Dale Grahn concludes.  Seasonal Greetings from all of us at CSI. 

    Read it here...


  • 16 November 2016 13:31 | Kevin Shaw (Administrator)

    The November 2016 Newsletter has part two of our exclusive 3 part series by CSI Fellow Dale Grahn.  There are also some more special offers and events. 

    Read it here!




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