[Tig] grading On-set

Joe Owens jpo at prestodigital.ca
Tue Sep 15 15:46:23 BST 2009

  starting to go out on the shooting sets to the on-set pre-grading?
Do you see a future in the industry that we (colorists) start doing  
that more, or is it a job for Our assistants. Or is it up to the DoP/ 
DiT/First AD/runner to take care of that?

If we "let go" of that market do you see a risk in our jobs becoming  
less sought after?

 From experience over the past 5 years, no, and no.

On-set is not in-suite.  The two are almost incompatible in terms of  
needs, priorities, pace, almost a different kind of air to breathe.   
With the advent of acquisition formats that do not require on-set  
Ditting but instead send meta-data, combined with the insurance need  
to double-check/confirm data veracity, it is edging toward making  
sense to do a "dailies" pass in the same sense of a neg shoot.  If  
you have a refined set of eyes and the judgement that has been honed  
over the years to use them, that will never go away. I get a sense of  
this with the Apple ProRes proxy codec -- that the concept of off- 
line is not obsolete, and someone needs to eyeball the footage in an  
undistracted environment and hand it off -- approved for use.

A finals (finishing) colorist will review hundreds if not thousands  
of scenes in context day-to-day when grading a locked project.  On- 
set is a totally different focus (locus?) and the time span is  
months, a couple of scenes a day, and you may not have the luxury of  
shuttling back and forth over a sequence -- unless the cut is  
progressing and you are trying to light/grade a scene into a match  
with the previously recorded angles... or you may discover that the  
work to this point is trash compared to what you're grade/ditting  
into "today"...  Seems like a bit of a vicious circle where the buck  
never rests.

  There is a bigger danger in colorists overall limiting themselves  
to being one-trick ponies, instead of culturing an overall awareness  
(bordering on post supervision, with respect to the needs of  
compositing and format). The squeeze will be on in terms of widening  
the influence of editors (who now have access to the toolset) and  
compositors, who need to do more in matching their plates, with the  
result of the role of the colorist becoming a narrower slice of the  
workflow.  This can be justified as a business case in the view of a  
project manager who wants to limit the number of links in the process  
web.  So instead of complaining that other members of the team are  
encroaching on one's purview... as the saying goes.... "sauce for the  

But.  If you want to go out to set... do it.  There is no doubt that  
the function of grade/correction is changing, where would you want it  
to go? What do you want to do if you could take ownership of the role?

Joe Owens
Presto!Digital Colourgrade
302-9664 106 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5H0N4
+1 780 421-9980
jpo at prestodigital.ca

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