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Old 01-21-2014, 08:31 PM   #1
Scotty Fox
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VFX work and Color Grading

Hello all,

I recently wrote and directed a short (on RED Epic). I'm now in the post stage. I'm an editor so I did that myself, but when it comes to VFX and color grading my experience is limited and I don't want to do it myself, wasting hours of learning programs when I'd much rather prefer a specialist to do it.

The short runs approx. 26 minutes.

For VFX, if worse came to worse I could do some of it, like eye replacements, some object removal, etc. in AE, but again would rather hire someone.

For grading, that is going to be a little more complicated, meaning it's not a general CC in Premiere or FCP. I need some scenes to be relit and corral some of the light. Also need to deal with some noise from underexposed shots.

Now all that being said, I'm trying to find out how much these things typically cost, or more importantly SHOULD COST. I'm talking to a few people, and the biggest issue is (especially for color), I don't know what people should be charging or what is a fair price for me to offer up when they ask what my budget is as this will be coming out of my own personal finances to a large extent.

Obviously this depends on how labor intensive the grade is, and their quality of work, etc.

I'm leaning toward more expensive people, so it'll be a quicker turn around and done correctly.

So if anyone out there is a specialist in grading, or has paid for these services before, advice would be great! I'm not looking for a generalist who produces, writes, directs, edits, vfx, grades, dps, etc., etc., etc. I'm not knocking people who do that but I'm definitely looking for someone whose focus is on grading or in that realm and has experience with the more meticulous side of that art.

Thanks everybody.
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Old 01-21-2014, 09:00 PM   #2
Alcove Audio
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No help to you, I know, but I saw this and just had to post it somewhere.....


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Old 01-22-2014, 02:09 AM   #3
jax_rox
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A feature that a friend of mine worked on recently had their film graded at a post house where I am relatively friendly with most of the people there. They're awesome colourists, as professional as you can get.

I believed they paid around $2,000/day, with a 2-week DI/online process.


I have graded some of my own work, on Alexa and RED; though I'm a cinematographer it's important as a cinematographer to understand colour and grading and what can/can't be done (that clip that was posted by Alcove would have taken an incredible amount of time to complete!)
In the past I have graded things for my showreel or trailers that I've felt looked better than what Production ended up paying 'professionals' to do, but at the end of the day, you get what you pay for.

Re-lighting whole scenes is going to take a lot longer than an average grade. Noise isn't too big a deal.
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Old 01-22-2014, 03:39 PM   #4
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To that video by Alcove...just....wow....

You can see why this is a skill all on its own. Incredible.
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Old 01-23-2014, 02:07 AM   #5
Scotty Fox
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Thanks for the advice so far. Yeah I'm looking around now for some colourists. I'm assuming an individual would be more financially manageable than a large company in general. I could be wrong but that's how I've been approaching it. Looking for a person instead.
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Old 01-23-2014, 02:40 AM   #6
jax_rox
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotty Fox View Post
Thanks for the advice so far. Yeah I'm looking around now for some colourists. I'm assuming an individual would be more financially manageable than a large company in general. I could be wrong but that's how I've been approaching it. Looking for a person instead.
In general, yes freelancers will be cheaper - however it can be riskier. Post houses have a reputation and standard to uphold. A reputable post house isn't just hiring anyone who's spent 5 minutes on DaVinci Lite.

Conversely, by approaching individuals, you have a much higher chance of getting somebody who is much less experienced.

On two seperate occasions I've seen productions opt for the $400/day 'upstart' post house because it's cheaper - one of which I was refused access to supervise the DI (which rang alarm bells with me right from the start, but Producers tend to think of the money first), and the end product was awful.
The second time I was allowed to supervise the grade and ended up walking the 'colourist' through the software ('now, go the eyedropper, yeah now click the red colour because we want to desaturate that colour'). The excuse was 'oh I just haven't used this program in about three months...'

You really need to do your research, if possible find someone who has used the colourist you're looking at and ask them about their experience with them.

Some freelancers are awesome, and I know a few, just as some post houses are. You just need to do your research.
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:13 AM   #7
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Jax is right about the research.
However, the world isn't black and white: freelancers aren't always bad, just like production houses aren't always good.
Actually, here it is quite common that production house hire freelancers to do the job. But maybe that's the Dutch approach

I would have loved to help you out, but I'm not a full time colorist.

However, when I was in So Cal in septmeber I met a VFX guy. I could ask him whether he knows a good one in your area. (Since I'm on the other side of the world, I don't know many in your area :p )

What is your deadline?
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:59 PM   #8
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Jax,

Thanks for the tip. I'm trying. I have a couple clips out to a gentlemen in my area who did not have a reel. He said he would try to get the look I wanted on a few to see what I thought before I pay him for anything. He's using Resolve.

There's a post house up in the SF Bay Area called ColorFlow that I briefly spoke to. I may contact them again to see their prices.

Walter, yes please do ask if he knows anyone good in my area. I'd appreciate it greatly. On that note any VFX guys who are good as well. Not sure what your friends rates are or if he'd be interested in a smaller short, but let me know.

Thanks for the tips.
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Old 01-26-2014, 02:16 PM   #9
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I'll let you know!
He worked on King Kong (I remembered that title from when we talked ), btw, and spent months in New Sealand for it.
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Old 01-26-2014, 02:46 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by WalterB View Post
I'll let you know!
He worked on King Kong (I remembered that title from when we talked ), btw, and spent months in New Sealand for it.
New Zealand...with a Z....you are discussing someone from Weta Workshops, Wellington, NZ

Apparently some of the best special effects in the world come out of that place.
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Old 01-26-2014, 03:55 PM   #11
Scotty Fox
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Quote:
I'll let you know!
He worked on King Kong (I remembered that title from when we talked ), btw, and spent months in New Sealand for it.
Sounds good Walter thank you. If he knows of any colorists please let me know as well.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:03 AM   #12
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Hi, i'm a visual effects artist but located in Egypt, unfortunately there is no fixed prices for VFX, its upon the situation in each scene and how difficult is it and how long it takes!

Visual Effects process can be much easier if you prepared for it while doing the production like tracking markers, "high dynamic range images", camera lens data, etc..
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