[Tig] Self calibration?

Craig Leffel craig
Sat Dec 10 20:56:16 GMT 2005

Thanks to oktobor for supporting the TIG
Quoting Bob Friesenhahn <bfriesen at simple.dallas.tx.us>:
>> seems that there should be a way for a colorist to prove to himself 
>> (or others) that he is seeing things adquately well that day in order 
>> to satisfactorily perform the task.  Are there any ready-made tests 
>> which can be used to quickly evaluate that the colorist's vision is 
>> adequate on that day?

This has all been funny, but c'mon... it ain't like that.

If you're in the chair at a decent facility (you know, the kind that have a
person in a room on some gear, and they're called a "colorist") When the people
walk in your room, they expect you are ready to go. They expect, in fact, that
you can see somehow better than them, and that you can see the "magic" of how to
fix it. Case in point, I was recently doing a session for a national workout
chain that was to be Tape to Tape... from Dbeta. 
After looking at the tape ( actually gasping ) I quickly realized I was dealing
with multi-generation DV. I thought I had a bad dub. The junior editor working
on the project let me know that there had been some problems, and that the
in-house ad agency had decided to hire a photographer and not a DP. He didn't
really know anything about video I was told. He sure as shit didn't, though I
cannot imagine how one could purposely do what I saw to an image on capture.
Yellow was clipped so hard that all detail was gone in the whites. The fake
detail circuit was turned up so high that hair looked like crunchy potato chips
or frayed nylon rope. The whole thing was shot in a mixed daylight - flourecent
light scenario, with huge windows in most shots - most things green or yellow,
and yet somehow, some blue too!..... When the art director arrived she said "Boy
do we have problems with this film"!! - "But you'll fix it won't you?". I know
her really well and said this was some of the shittiest tape I had ever seen.
She said, "yeah, I know, but I figured you've seen worse, and you'll make it all
better right?"  Right...I said. Turns out they wanted soft, blown out ( and I
mean BLOWN OUT ) white all over the place. I have never been so happy to have
Chroma Light, a decent proc on my room, a defocus channel, and the ability to
bend color to my will. Maybe that's what we possess... mind over color. They
left very happy.

For true self-calibration on "off days" I have found that music has a HUGE
impact on my work, how I behave, and what my attitude is. Another self
calibration I use is to shut the door and scream obscenities until I can't think
of any more. It worked on the above job. The junior editor and my assistant
endured my rath and rant, and then, when I calmed down, I was actually able to
think myself out of the problem......

Happy ball diddling friends....

Craig Leffel
Chicago / Santa Monica

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