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On Adobe, Apple, BlackMagic and 'being careful' ...


Axel
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I recently read an unsuspicious text from the Adobe site, listing the new features of Premiere CC 2015 for NAB. Let me cite:

1. New Color Workspace: now includes the Lumetri Color panel
As many of you know, Lumetri is the color engine that powers Adobe SpeedGrade and it’s now integrated into Adobe Premiere Pro CC in a new more “creative way”. The idea is to adjust color as you go during the editing process. I like to call this “color editing” . While the new Color Panel is very powerful and will satisfy most users need for complex color work , we wanted to be careful not to confuse Color Editing with Color Grading with specific grading tools like Adobe Speedgrade and others.

I asked myself, why should it be important not to merge color grading and editing (or whatever else one may think of) in one program? Up to now, I was under the impression that it was difficult to accomplish, that Speedgrade simply was so unique and fundamentally different from Premiere that they couldn't integrate it seamlessly.

Then I was told by a post guy that the reason probably was a strategic one. He could be asked by a client to refine the edit though he really was paid only for color refinements. Professionals like to have every task strictly separated. What Blackmagic now does with Resolve 12 is not what professional colorists ask for.

Reasonable, understandable.

From an amateur's view, this means actually 'deliberately crippling the products' (a nice term I picked up from Andrews rant about DSLRs with poor video functions to protect other product lines).

Then Randy Ubillos retiring (he was the force behind FCP - historically a 'spin-off' of Premiere - , iMovie and then FCP X). Why is it, I asked myself, that FCP X was such a careless fart into the faces of the FCPro users? It obviously aimed at the consumer/amateur market first. Why did they (in 4 years!) not develop the rudimentary color correction tools themselves? Why did'nt they finally integrate an audio mixer (frequently requested by users)? Inability? Strategy! They don't want to frighten off the remaining pros.

Am I paranoid? I think all this vanity about professionalism, using the 'right' system and so forth is nothing else but a delusion of us pawns, encouraged by the industry.

Sorry for not finding the right words, english is not my native language. 

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Grading is far more complex than color adjustment or color matching that people do with LUTs, it is primarily working with tracking masks and creating hierarchies within the shot that guide the eye. Premiere and even AE don't have the tools to do such real-time adjustments and tracking. LUTs are basically like instagram filters, they're just there to give the overall image a punch. They are like a sledgehammer while grading is like surgery.

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Grading is far more complex than color adjustment or color matching that people do with LUTs, it is primarily working with tracking masks and creating hierarchies within the shot that guide the eye. Premiere and even AE don't have the tools to do such real-time adjustments and tracking. LUTs are basically like instagram filters, they're just there to give the overall image a punch. They are like a sledgehammer while grading is like surgery.

I think here in lies the problem. As no/low budget filmmakers we are forced to wear a lot of hats.

It requires a jack of all trades mentality.

The professionals spend years honing their craft, in their respective fields, and we're expected to have the same level of quality?

It doesn't make sense.

I'm not a colorist. I don't want to be a colorist. I just want my footage to match and have a filmic look. I have recently started working with color correcting and it is like a goddamn mystery.

I'm not trying to code a video game.

I just want my highlights and lowlights to match, from shot to shot, and then... maybe give the footage an overall look... Depending on the project.

So, I like these consumer based products. iMovie is s fantastic little program, for what it is. FCX is an amazing step up. Now if somebody would make the iMovie of Resolve, then I'd be happy. 

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

I like to ingesf, cut, edit, do graphics, titles, colour, do audio, all in one NLE in one place, whicn is why Sony Vegas is the only NLE I felt comfortable working with. The Audio department in vegas is especially stronger than any other NLE as it started out as an audio software. 

Anyway colouring can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. For me, It just means, first correcting footage to match the same exposure and same atomsphere and bring skin tones to look consistent from one shot to another when in the same environment (if you shoot and expose well and use only one camera this step is very small and sometimes  not needed), 

Then I begin the creative colouring phase. Simply by using curves to adjust contrast, usually I start by De-logging the Log footage by adding an S-curve to percisely how I see it look right (Other do this with LUTs but I can't imagine just throwing a preset made by someone else). I adjust the shadows to be exactlt where I want them, the mids and highlights, until proper contrast is achieved. 

Then I go to the Three way colour corrector or the simply RGB curves. This where the ''grading'' process takes place, by getting different moods and looks bt changing colours in the lows/mids/highs separately, and also dialing in proper saturation amount. 

If there's a specific area I want to tweak I isolate it with a mask and change it as needed. Then after all of it I clean up all the colour/luma contaminatio and noise that were induced in the grading stage by a layer of Neat video, then a layer of sharpening and/or film grain. 

That's it. I just don't really see where I need more than these simple tools to get my work done, it's simple, manual and effective, then go to the full audio panel, then the project is all complete in one NLE and I can tweak the edit/colour/sound/titles all on the timeline in front of my eyes. 

I did try Resolve as an attempt to increase my grading skills, but I found I was basically doing the same thing and getting the same exact results with more steps and different names, the only advantage that worked for me in Resolve was the automatic tracking tool if I want to grade/change colour/sharpness of a certain isolated subjevt in the scene, while in Vegas I do it manually with keyframes, Resolve does it all for you with one click, this is the only advantage I saw. 

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Then Randy Ubillos retiring (he was the force behind FCP - historically a 'spin-off' of Premiere - , iMovie and then FCP X). Why is it, I asked myself, that FCP X was such a careless fart into the faces of the FCPro users? It obviously aimed at the consumer/amateur market first. Why did they (in 4 years!) not develop the rudimentary color correction tools themselves? Why did'nt they finally integrate an audio mixer (frequently requested by users)? Inability? Strategy! They don't want to frighten off the remaining pros.

​IMHO, Apple was about to collapse when they cared and looked after the professional segment and now they are focused on "universal" products for the masses. It makes sense, it is in line with the rest of their strategy and the numbers say that so far it is right path for them. The target group who buys iPhones and iPads (which is a large group) is not comprised of pro editors and colorists. They are much more comfortable with an amateur -yet powerful- tool like FCP X. Same applies to the new Mac Pro. Nothing in that machine makes sense to a pro, but it is very powerful and appealing to a prosumer or wannabe with money -no offense intended-.

Adobe has followed the opposite path, making their tools for pros and trying to carefully separate each craft and overlap them just the right amount. In fact, I've always had the feeling that Lightroom should have been the natural evolution of Photoshop. But since Photoshop -and not Photoshop Elements- is such a commonplace program in the hands of every amateur (using only 10% of its potential), Lightroom has become the "pro" tool.

I personally have no problem with having a different program for every craft. They are all included in the suite and it allows small production companies to work as a team with a few licences each doing "their thing" in a compatible software environment that allows certain overlapping and feedback.

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I think here in lies the problem. As no/low budget filmmakers we are forced to wear a lot of hats.

It requires a jack of all trades mentality.

The professionals spend years honing their craft, in their respective fields, and we're expected to have the same level of quality?

It doesn't make sense.

I'm not a colorist. I don't want to be a colorist. I just want my footage to match and have a filmic look. I have recently started working with color correcting and it is like a goddamn mystery.

I'm not trying to code a video game.

I just want my highlights and lowlights to match, from shot to shot, and then... maybe give the footage an overall look... Depending on the project.

So, I like these consumer based products. iMovie is s fantastic little program, for what it is. FCX is an amazing step up. Now if somebody would make the iMovie of Resolve, then I'd be happy. 

If you do not consider yourself a pro, noone is expecting anything from you. A pro can work in an indie or corporate environment, and will get the job done no matter what tools he/she works with. And if you can't scale up your skills then get someone to help you. Noone owes you anything, man, seriously. :)

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If you do not consider yourself a pro, noone is expecting anything from you. A pro can work in an indie or corporate environment, and will get the job done no matter what tools he/she works with. And if you can't scale up your skills then get someone to help you. Noone owes you anything, man, seriously. :)

I had to like this comment because I have no idea what you're talking about? I never said anyone owes me anything, nor did I ask for anything. I was merely explaining my opinion on some notion that an indie filmmaker, specifically no/low budget, must wear the hat of producer, director, cinematographer, screenwriter, editor, colorist, art director, actor, sound designer, grip, gaffer, food services, etc. To think you can master every aspect of this collaborative media is insane, yet no/low budget filmmakers are held up to the same standards as big budget productions and the professional craftsmen that produce those films. The idea is unfair to the indie filmmaker and it is offensive to the professional craftsmen that spent years honing their craft.

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Not to mention... What does, "consider yourself a pro..." mean? Seriously, I can consider myself a pro all I want but until I get paid as a narrative filmmaker, I am not a pro... I am an amateur. I can shoot the occasional wedding video and be a paid videographer but that doesn't mke me a professional filmmaker. 

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Grading is far more complex than color adjustment or color matching that people do with LUTs, it is primarily working with tracking masks and creating hierarchies within the shot that guide the eye. Premiere and even AE don't have the tools to do such real-time adjustments and tracking. LUTs are basically like instagram filters, they're just there to give the overall image a punch. They are like a sledgehammer while grading is like surgery.

​Yes, I don't doubt this. But if someone is a brilliant 'surgeon', and this is his only calling, would he then grade in the CC embedded *Speed*grade anyway? He then will have one of those hardware suites with elitist software, the names of which are seldom uttered, because they cost $100.000 and much more (hardware calibrated reference monitors, a full cinema projector if he grades for the big screen, control panels that even Mr. Chekov ate his heart out). The protocol by which the colorist gets access to the footage from old AVID could as well be carved in stone, compared to this 'workflow' Adobes dynamic link really is already an all-in-one-solution.

So, I like these consumer based products. iMovie is s fantastic little program, for what it is. FCX is an amazing step up. Now if somebody would make the iMovie of Resolve, then I'd be happy. 

​Here is the riddle: Apple could have made FCP X the consumer's (or no/low-budget filmer's) definite NLE. They had the crew from Color, they had the crew from Shake, from Logic, they had Soundtrack Pro, they developed Motion. They put every effort into making the most advanced editing software in the world, but then they miraculously stopped. Take for instance the new mask paint tool. What is that supposed to be? The roto tools in Motion had been better since 11 years. The plugin-combo SliceX and TrackX had been much better (Mocha tracker). Why? If you think hard, you'll know the answer.

I'm looking forward to the day when After Effects and Premiere merge into one program (if possible). 

​When cows fly. But is it technically impossible? Surely not. Then why don't they?

Why wouldn't I want to do all my work from the same place.

​You say that because you're doing literally all the work. A one-man-band. 

Bill-OneManBand.jpg

 

Not to mention... What does, "consider yourself a pro..." mean? Seriously, I can consider myself a pro all I want but until I get paid as a narrative filmmaker, I am not a pro... I am an amateur. I can shoot the occasional wedding video and be a paid videographer but that doesn't mke me a professional filmmaker. ​

Professionalism has a nimbus. You pay the CC fee because you consider it a pro app. And why did Apple not call their flagship 'iMovie X'? They savagely cut off anything resembling the 'Adobe Production Suite' (as it was called then), but they insist on being pro. A professional NLE, see AVID, doesn't have to be smart or make things easy. It doesn't have to swallow a hundred proprietary codecs, perform multicam edits, allow to apply funky looks, what have you. 

My posting wasn't meant to discuss the complexity of color grading nor to demand a better workflow integration, I just started to wonder why we all accept to be lied to so readily. 

 

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Check out Hitfilm 3. It is effectively both Premiere and After Effects.

​What is the target group? Would someone with the skills of, say, Andrew Kramer, touch Hitfilm 3? How many of the CC subscribers, who admire the professionalism of the suite for AAE's possibilities, are on par with Andrew Kramer? Do they profit from the complexity of that program at all? The careful Adobe PR department labels it's products 'creative'. See how they put the term between quotation marks. 'Creativity' is not exactly professionalism:

1. New Color Workspace: now includes the Lumetri Color panel
As many of you know, Lumetri is the color engine that powers Adobe SpeedGrade and it’s now integrated into Adobe Premiere Pro CC in a new more “creative way”. The idea is to adjust color as you go during the editing process. I like to call this “color editing” . While the new Color Panel is very powerful and will satisfy most users need for complex color work , we wanted to be careful not to confuse Color Editing with Color Grading with specific grading tools like Adobe Speedgrade and others.

They are careful to confuse it without appearing to do so. Merge AAE with APP? They would lose their crown jewel. They'd become Adobe Hitfilm Cloud.

As for Blackmagic, they hire real pros to suggest that their cameras and other stuff is used on a professional level:

BMPC.jpg

Staged professionalism (screenshot from BM site)

This isn't aimed at professionals, it's aimed at wannabes. What's more ridiculous? Being a proud amateur, utilizing the stuff that really helps him make his dreams come true or taking part in this charade? Think about it.

Final Cut Pseudo Pro X: Oh yeah, it was used on Focus (like Premiere was used on Gone Girl). But what is it really good for? The honest answer: weddings! Really, if you've got a few hours of footage and you want to edit this in reasonable time, there is no faster way. You very quickly adjust the colors also (in a very 'intuitive' way, Apples pendant to Adobes 'creative', which implies something unnecessarily complicated), and you don't need hours to build nice title animations, there are thousands of adjustable templates for free. You'd be crazy to use anything else. But would a pro?

 

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​Yes, I don't doubt this. But if someone is a brilliant 'surgeon', and this is his only calling, would he then grade in the CC embedded *Speed*grade anyway? He then will have one of those hardware suites with elitist software, the names of which are seldom uttered, because they cost $100.000 and much more (hardware calibrated reference monitors, a full cinema projector if he grades for the big screen, control panels that even Mr. Chekov ate his heart out). The protocol by which the colorist gets access to the footage from old AVID could as well be carved in stone, compared to this 'workflow' Adobes dynamic link really is already an all-in-one-solution.

Why not? Not every surgeon is a millionaire, so a professional colorist might work with expensive hardware at his full-time job at a post company, and cheaper/no-hardware at home for freelance gigs, but he/she will still use SpeedGrade or DaVinci as software because thats where the core skill is.

I think you are overestimating Adobe Dynamic Link....you may edit a short film or a music video with ease on it, but try anything really complex and it becomes unworkable. This is why large projects still use XML and EDL formats, because they work.

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I think you are overestimating Adobe Dynamic Link....you may edit a short film or a music video with ease on it, but try anything really complex and it becomes unworkable. This is why large projects still use XML and EDL formats, because they work.

​You are right. 

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I had to like this comment because I have no idea what you're talking about? I never said anyone owes me anything, nor did I ask for anything. I was merely explaining my opinion on some notion that an indie filmmaker, specifically no/low budget, must wear the hat of producer, director, cinematographer, screenwriter, editor, colorist, art director, actor, sound designer, grip, gaffer, food services, etc. To think you can master every aspect of this collaborative media is insane, yet no/low budget filmmakers are held up to the same standards as big budget productions and the professional craftsmen that produce those films. The idea is unfair to the indie filmmaker and it is offensive to the professional craftsmen that spent years honing their craft.

You complained about being "expected to have the same level of quality" as big budget productions. By whom? Who is pressuring you? 

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The professionals spend years honing their craft, in their respective fields, and we're expected to have the same level of quality?

 

To think you can master every aspect of this collaborative media is insane, yet no/low budget filmmakers are held up to the same standards as big budget productions and the professional craftsmen that produce those films. The idea is unfair to the indie filmmaker and it is offensive to the professional craftsmen that spent years honing their craft.

​If you want to make a commercially viable film - of course you have to be held up to the same standards. Have you ever been to a movie and though 'well that looked and sounded like utter sh*t, but hey - they didn't have the same budget, so I guess it's great that they tried'?

Those who spend years honing their craft are able to make professional quality projects on much smaller budgets than you would think. You've chosen  to be a jack of all trades, rather than hone in on one specific skillset - you could do so and be able to compete with the 'big boys' or even develop a network of people who you can call upon to help you with your no/lo budget projects.

Your argument strikes me as being this: I'm a DIY builder. I love to build stuff in my spare time. I particularly like to build chairs that hopefully people will be able to sit on. Here's the thing though - there's builders out there who have done apprenticeships and been working for a very long time and they make these amazing chairs that everyone loves and are perfectly sturdy enough to sit on. Why am I expected to be able to make chairs that are good enough, and sturdy enough, for people to be able to sit on, when I haven't spent years working to be a builder??

Why wouldn't I want to do all my work from the same place.

​Why would a sound engineer want the ability to change the colour of the film in their software? I'm sure as a Director, the last thing you would want is the dialogue mixer accidentally screwing with the colour of your film, or your colourist accidentally changing the sound mix..

Imagine all the potential issues if everyone had to work from one project file on one piece of software...

​Yes, I don't doubt this. But if someone is a brilliant 'surgeon', and this is his only calling, would he then grade in the CC embedded *Speed*grade anyway? He then will have one of those hardware suites with elitist software, the names of which are seldom uttered, because they cost $100.000 and much more (hardware calibrated reference monitors, a full cinema projector if he grades for the big screen, control panels that even Mr. Chekov ate his heart out). The protocol by which the colorist gets access to the footage from old AVID could as well be carved in stone, compared to this 'workflow' Adobes dynamic link really is already an all-in-one-solution.

 

​I don't understand - are you saying that software companies should make one 'post software to rule them all' in addition to all their other seperate, job-specific, stand-alone software..?

 A professional NLE, see AVID, doesn't have to be smart or make things easy. It doesn't have to swallow a hundred proprietary codecs, perform multicam edits, allow to apply funky looks, what have you. 

 

​Of course it does - the only thing it doesn't necessarily need to be able to do is apply 'funky' looks via some sort of 'filter bank' a la Instagram. AVID actually has quite powerful Colour Correction tools.

 

In terms of being 'lied to' - the problem lies in the fact that companies like Apple, Adobe, Blackmagic - in general they're targetting the consumers who have throwaway cash to spend on what can often be boiled down to essentially a hobby - and so of course they're going to try and wring out as much cash as possible. It's like the gimmicks they use to sell TVs et al. Professionals see right through that because they have a much deeper knowledge and understanding, whereas the consumers who have this as a hobby are continually looking for that something 'better' that's going to make their footage and films look and sound as good as someone who's spent 25 years honing their skills, as quickly and easily as the push of a button.

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Check out Hitfilm 3. It is effectively both Premiere and After Effects.

​HitFilm is tailor made for 90%+ of amateurs and the many professionals who are a one man band do everything guy.

There is a quite popular group on Facebook about HitFilm if people want to find out more:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/426174967509293/

​Final Cut Pseudo Pro X: Oh yeah, it was used on Focus (like Premiere was used on Gone Girl). But what is it really good for? The honest answer: weddings! Really, if you've got a few hours of footage and you want to edit this in reasonable time, there is no faster way. You very quickly adjust the colors also (in a very 'intuitive' way, Apples pendant to Adobes 'creative', which implies something unnecessarily complicated), and you don't need hours to build nice title animations, there are thousands of adjustable templates for free. You'd be crazy to use anything else. But would a pro?

You're implying wedding videographers are not professionals??? Well, I'd say the many many of them around the world who earn a full time living from this would disagree.

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In terms of being 'lied to' - the problem lies in the fact that companies like Apple, Adobe, Blackmagic - in general they're targetting the consumers who have throwaway cash to spend on what can often be boiled down to essentially a hobby - and so of course they're going to try and wring out as much cash as possible. It's like the gimmicks they use to sell TVs et al. Professionals see right through that because they have a much deeper knowledge and understanding, whereas the consumers who have this as a hobby are continually looking for that something 'better' that's going to make their footage and films look and sound as good as someone who's spent 25 years honing their skills, as quickly and easily as the push of a button.

​And yet we ourselves 'confuse' creativity and professionalism, and I don't single me out. A good film essentially is a fake, and that's why this business attracts posers.

 

Somewhere out there (may be), there are people with deeper knowledge and understanding. They are not confused. I just want to make some things clear for myself, put the fakes in my films and stop feeding delusions.

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Final Cut Pseudo Pro X: Oh yeah, it was used on Focus (like Premiere was used on Gone Girl). But what is it really good for? The honest answer: weddings! Really, if you've got a few hours of footage and you want to edit this in reasonable time, there is no faster way. You very quickly adjust the colors also (in a very 'intuitive' way, Apples pendant to Adobes 'creative', which implies something unnecessarily complicated), and you don't need hours to build nice title animations, there are thousands of adjustable templates for free. You'd be crazy to use anything else. But would a pro?

You're implying wedding videographers are not professionals??? Well, I'd say the many many of them around the world who earn a full time living from this would disagree.

​Do you realize how touchy people are if you question their professionalism? Being a pro actually means doing it for a living. Whores. I wrote out of personal experience. I did nine weddings over the years, for friends as a gift or for a new piece of equipment. Certainly I am no pro. Long ago I was camera assistant for a company shooting commercials on 35mm film. Let me assure you: professionals in this field are not different from everybody else. 

My comment wasn't meant to ridicule wedding videographers, it was to concretize the real strengths of FCP X, it's unique advantage.

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