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What is the best color grading software?

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On 1/24/2017 at 10:59 AM, Bruno Mansi said:

I particularly like the render-less round-tripping between Avid and the full Baselight system.

How does that work? I'm used to render out MXF files directly to the Avid Mediafiles/MXF/X folders and move the database files into the bin.

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Filmlight makes a plugin for avid. Basically both systems look at the same media and then share aafs back and forth. Filmlight embeds the color data in the aaf.

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8 hours ago, Anthony Raffaele said:

Filmlight makes a plugin for avid. Basically both systems look at the same media and then share aafs back and forth. Filmlight embeds the color data in the aaf.

That's basically it, in a nutshell. To expand on what Anthony said...

Having the full Baselight Editions plugin installed in Avid also allows you to see how all the layers of the grade were applied and lets you change a grade if required.

You don't need the full (paid) version of the Avid plugin if you just want to apply (and render) the Baselight grade. Filmlight provide a free version of the plugin which you can install on as many Avid workstations as required. Of course, you can't alter the grade in any way with this version.

If there's a change to an individual shot that the colourist needs to send to the Avid timeline, rather than generating a new AAF, you can generate a BLG file - essentially an Open EXR file with all the metadata required to recreate the grade in Avid.

There's also something called a 'lens' you can send to Avid. This is created from a range of BLG files which once applied to a new (top-most) layer in the Avid timeline, will dynamically link the correct grade to the shots on the layers below.

All-in-all, it's a very cool set of workflows that completely eliminates the hassle of rendering out grades from Baselight and bringing them into Avid. To see this in action, have a look at this Filmight tutorial.

 

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Having used “the big three” in anger, I would go with Baselight.

The colour science employed by the guys at FilmLight gives me what I expect time and again, with speed and accuracy.

The Blackboard control surface is the best and most comfortable I’ve used and having my layout mapped to my own specification saves a lot of time looking down and muscle memory.

Having said that, I will always have a soft spot for Nucoda Film Master as the DVO Toolset is second to none when it comes to restorative power. I also miss the Valhall panel, that thing was built of granite and you really knew when you pushed the buttons on it. Great bit of kit.

Edited by Enge Gray
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For myself, the "best" color grading system is the one I need to know to stay employed. All of the shops I freelance at in my area are DaVinci Resolve based, so that's my go to. I'm intrigued by Baselight but don't see a viable option to include it in my tool kit at the moment (shops here are Premiere CC based as well so no editions option).

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On 1/17/2017 at 3:22 PM, Abby Bader said:

Can you elaborate more on how Aces in Baselight is better than in the other correctors?

Hi, Abby.  I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned, but Baselight is actually the platform that the Academy uses to develop & test ACES, so the relationship is quite tight. 

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We use the Baselight plugin here at Sky for both round trip workflows and standalone grades.

For the roundtrip the benefit comes from the online editor having access (assuming I don't lock my grades :p) to the main Baselight toolset so if shots need to be extended, or replaced they have the option of doing this in the online suite rather than sending this back to grade and dear I say it if the client changes their mind it can happen without its becoming a big "thing"

From a logistics point of view not having to do a flat render passes makes the workflow very flexible and quicker getting it into online, with one caveat - render times.

The draw back is render times, I've noted that event out top spec UHD workstations struggle with real time performance when more than a couple of layers have been used in the grade  But I may be being unfair as we're doing a lot of UHD 50p work at the moment.

The other workflow is that the online editor grades in the baselight plugin, the new version allows you to hop from shot to shot without leaving the timeline so this was a huge issue originally.

The main problem  is that if the online editor cant really review complicated grades without rendering.

So what ive encouraged them to do is use the standard Avid symphony colour corrector toolset for the bulk of the their work but any troublesome grades or things that need more love and attention "promote" this to the baselight plugin.

Sorry gone off on a tanget, regarding the Baselight vs Resolve debate I think that if you get the fundamentals of what and how colour grading is down the tools become less of a issue for the most part until you start really need to get to grips with color managed workflows and big jobs that may require more specifc tools.

Keep it simple and you'll be able to easily go between softwares without too much stress.

Its only when you start to get complicated will you run in to trouble when tools don't behave or react the way you expect.

My vote would be for Baselight for all the above reasons that people have stated.

The only other thing to consider, and its a real world issue above my pay grade is budget.

If you don't have the budget for a Baselight then go for Resolve.

If your facililty is limited on funds id much prefer a good Monitor I can rely on and calibrate than compromising on that. And the two software's are differently priced

If you're just starting out you can get really far without any need to pay for anything by using resolve,

As resolve is free id recommend downloading it regardless if you go down the Baselight root.

Spend the time to understand their colour managed workflow and it'll  make you appreciate Filmlight's software and the similarities and differences between the two programmes.

I started grading on Misitka and there were somethings I missed when I went over to baselight - but that was due to not finding the right tool for the job and leaving the more online\finishing aspects to someone else.

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@Rainer Bueltert

Like you described before i see now more in different platforms and i agree some things are really faster and cleaner to do there.
For example in FirePost i got much faster results on a shot a had problems in Resolve.
Will look in to BL more for sure. Now i will try to do a short in Scratch if all works out. More you look around more you "see".
Thanks!

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Hi Margus, 

good to hear that you can confirm. I'm pretty sure that once you have tested BaseGrade you'll find it very useful and fast too. 

Scratch is also a very good grading software! 

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There is no "Best Colour Grading Software".

Superb work can be produced by superb artists on pretty much any of the main colour grading software systems out there (Baselight, Resolve, Lustre, Nucoda, Mistika, Rio, Scratch etc...)

 

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It is a bit the discussion what starting out dop's have: "what camera is the best" In the end it is in other aspects not in the cam body.

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On 9/3/2018 at 5:24 PM, Margus Voll said:

It is a bit the discussion what starting out dop's have: "what camera is the best" In the end it is in other aspects not in the cam body.

The best camera is the most lightweight 😃
For a cameraman, I mean. Definitely not for a steady handheld shot.

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1 hour ago, Sergey Matveev said:

If you would like to get Cinematic Look easy and fast you need to pay attention to Color Grading Central plugins, particularly, Cinema Grade and Color Finale

These sites all try to sell you the... "how hard can it be?"  ...line! 🙄

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33 minutes ago, Bruno Mansi said:

These sites all try to sell you the... "how hard can it be?"  ...line! 🙄

Fair point, thanks. Seems it has been updated a bit as there were many videos before. Anyway there are plenty information you can find about these plugins. 

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On 11/22/2018 at 7:18 PM, Anton Meleshkevich said:

The best camera is the most lightweight 😃
For a cameraman, I mean. Definitely not for a steady handheld shot.

Which in many cases is most counter productive :D

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Anyone tried Mistika Boutique? It looks like they support BlackMagic Design output now so it's easier to check it out. 

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I started working with Mistika Boutique and I'm so far very impressed overall. SGO is definitely working toward making it more accessible to people not already familiar with it.

Just to prevent disappointment though, the Black Magic support isn't in there yet, it's planned for the next release (I think it's for 8.8.2), and 8.8.1 is now in open beta. I'm using it with an AJA video I/O that I snagged a great deal on, and I also have a Black Magic Mini-Monitor that I use for Resolve.

But I'm planning to transition to Mistika as my primary color + finishing solution since the more familiar I get with Mistika, the nicer I'm finding it.

That said, there are some awkward UI quirks that are a bit off-putting to those not familiar with it that are legacies of the turnkey system. SGO is working on smoothing that stuff out, and is actively soliciting feedback on it.

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On 4/28/2019 at 10:33 PM, Amada Daro said:

Anyone tried Mistika Boutique? It looks like they support BlackMagic Design output now so it's easier to check it out. 

Hi Amada!

@Rakesh Malik many thanks for your feedback on Mistika Boutique - much appreciated as always. :)

As Rakesh said, BlackMagic DeckLink support will be available with the next release of Mistika Boutique, coming in a few months together with Precision Panel support. Mistika Boutique is a hardware-agnostic software, so providing additional hardware support in the future will always be a commitment to our users. 

If you want to get your hands on Mistika Boutique, you can download the free 30-day trial version from our website: www.sgo.es/mistika-boutique

Additionally, I recommend everyone interested in Mistika Boutique to have a look at our recently announced Mistika Masterclass, free online live training sessions, providing a thorough understanding of Mistika Boutique. The first introductory Masterclass - Mistika Boutique Fundamentals will take place on Thursday, May 9 at 09:00 and 18:00 (UTC/GMT) and will provide a general overview of the software. 

You can find more information and registration links HERE

Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

Cheers,
Eva - SGO

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I would be very interested in seeing an introduction series made by @Kevin P McAuliffe on Mistika Boutique. Any chance that could happen? I really enjoyed the Scratch series he created which was a totally new grading and finshing package for me.

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(edited)
4 minutes ago, Amada Daro said:

I would be very interested in seeing an introduction series made by @Kevin P McAuliffe on Mistika Boutique. Any chance that could happen? I really enjoyed the Scratch series he created which was a totally new grading and finshing package for me.

Second that. Good to see training by someone who knows the in-and-outs of the other color tools.

Edited by Tom Evans
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The tutorial series on SGO's YouTube channel are quite good.

Mistika does have a steeper learning curve than Scratch and also IMO Resolve. It's easier to get a project conformed and working in both than in Mistika for a newbie, mainly because Mistika's UI is rather unconventional. Once you're done with that and actually working with the color corrector, then things look nicer. I'm getting spoiled by being able to just add layers in a color corrector and also being able to use that color corrector as a node in a composite. Being able to pull a key with the color corrector and then output that as an alpha channel makes for much more compact node trees than in Fusion. I can Maynard key with 10 nodes instead of 30. :)

 

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