The Boston Creative Pro User Group held another meetup at Rule Boston Camera tonight, with AJA’s Jay Ignaszewski doing a pitch for the new AJA KiPro features, and Canon’s Carl Peer doing a PowerPoint walkthrough of the new Canon 5D Mark III features. As excited as I am about the new 5D, it’s been written up quite a bit already, and Philip Bloom’s recent video review offers much more detail than what I was able to get from Carl, so I’ll forego covering that topic here.

What I will cover is the talk by Rob Bessette from Finish Post, who shared his experience color grading some Canon C300 footage using a DaVinci Resolve. The footage was for a short film called “Hustle”, which originally started off off as a Canon C300 camera test by Dan Bérubé. The film was shot with an Arri 1K with a Chimera soft box, an Arri 650 and a couple of 300 fresnels as backlights, all of which were kept far enough away and used as spill light. This was supplemented with a few small LED lights hidden under pool tables and on people in the background at the bar. Exterior shots relied solely on street lights. You can learn more about the “Hustle” production over on Rick Macomber’s and Michael Murie’s web site.


Dan Bérubé and Rob Bessette at Rule Boston Camera

Rob started off with a walkthrough of his DaVinci Resolve workflow using sample footage from “Hustle”. His color grading breakdown for the video involved:

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[item]Adjusting white balance first[/item]
[item]Using DaVinci’s keyer to perform some saturation shifts[/item]
[item]Brightening the subject by creating a power window around him/her[/item]
[item]Using the built-in tracker to have the power window “auto” follow the subject (this was the most impressive DaVinci feature by far)[/item]
[item]Leveraging the dynamics feature to fade in/out the tracker mid-shot to accomodate significant shifts in lighting[/item]
[item]And finally, darkening the region surrounding the subject with what looked like a standard vignette.[/item]

The whole color grading process took a total of 7-8 hours over the span of 2 days. Having worked with 5D, 7D, Alexa, Red, 16mm, 35mm, and now C300 footage, Rob described the C300 footage as having significantly more latitude compared to the 5D and 7D. For example, keying the C300 held up in cases where 5D and 7D footage would have quickly torn and become pixelated. In general, Rob described his color grading process in 2 parts:

[list type=”circle”]
[item]The first involves watching the video as a whole, seeing what mood and emotions it appears to be going for, and determining the colors that typically evoke those moods.[/item]
[item]The second part involves looking at the original exposure levels, and acknowledging inherent limitations of the footage, and using that to constrain what he ultimately goes for.[/item]

Having worked with Rob before on my White Elephants and Skunked short films, I highly recommend you check out his color reel below, and visit him over on Finish Post.

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