Getting the colour ‘X-Rite’ in post production – Andy Quinn, Digital Compositor, LipSync Post
by Dave Mobbs – July 6th, 2018
Consistency and control – in other words, ensuring there are no unknown variables – is key to making the job of compositing and grading as hassle free as possible. X-Rite’s ColorChecker Video chart is one of the main tools we use to make sure we have consistency in terms of colour – regardless of changes to the lighting conditions. This is especially important in projects that include computer graphic (CG) elements.
Complete colour control
It all starts with filming the ColorChecker Video in the lighting environment where the CG is going to go in. LipSync would do this for every shot that involves a CG element. This means when we bring the shots into post we can effectively neutralise any colour cast from the footage. This creates a level playing field across all the different shots and scenes. Additionally, we know that white is always white, in every shot.
One of our recent projects, which we provided the visual effects and post for, is Show Dogs. This is a family comedy about an undercover police dog that hit cinemas at the end of May 2018. We had to provide a large number of GC deliverables. This included: 24 talking dogs, a full CG baby panda, and a range of other CG animals. The panda features in a number of different shots and lighting environments.
By neutralising all the plays using the ColorChecker Video chart, we can ensure colour consistency with the panda asset across all the different lighting environments. Plus, we can look at all the shots without any extra colour cast on them. This was particularly useful when working on the CG panda. One of the scenes has a lot of orange light in it, and even within the shot in that scene the orange light changes slightly . This is due to shooting on different days or to someone turning a light off by accident. It’s important we can address all these variables and get consistency across every shot. Our panda asset has a certain coloured fur and by using the ColorChecker we were able to make sure that white was white, even in different lighting conditions.
We had one 3D lighting set-up on the project where we were 3D lighting the panda asset. Using the ColorChecker Video chart meant we could avoidputting the colour cast from the play into the 3D lighting. We were able to do that by using the information from the ColorChecker. So, it is a really important asset for us.
To ensure we have consistency across all the devices, we also use the X-Rite i1Display Pro as our main calibration tool across all our artist’s monitors. If the monitors aren’t calibrated in the same way, I might see something that looks too green, but it would be difficult to spot on someone else’s monitor.
Having consistently calibrated monitors is also important, especially when working with colleagues in different locations. This way we know we’re all looking at an image under the same conditions.
Again, it’s all about consistency and making sure that we can control all the variables. By using X-Rite ColorChecker and i1Display Pro, we have a simple and effective way to do this.
About LipSync Post
LIPSYNC Post is an internationally recognised post-house, providing post-production services to the film and television industry for over 20 years. Located in two sites on London’s Wardour Street, the company combines talented people with the highest quality equipment to offer the best for every project. Recent credits include film projects including Show Dogs, On Chesil Beach, The Infiltrator, The Journey. Television projects include Living the Dream, The State, NW, and Dancing on the Edge, for which LIPSYNC’s audio team won a BAFTA Craft award.