Being productive on the road – with the right colours. By Coloratti Martin Dörsch
by Dave Mobbs – September 24th, 2018
Over the summer, we caught up with Coloratti Martin Dörsch who went on a month-long adventure through France and Germany to see if he could successfully combine travelling with work and achieve consistent colour on the road, with only a select amount of kit.
What does it take to be productive outside of your normal working environment? And what do you have to take into consideration when working away from your normal hardware-calibrated monitor in your fully-equipped office?
Some background information
Last winter, we had the idea to change our normal everyday life for a while and try something different. We didn’t just want to travel, but to try and combine traveling with work. My normal workspace and our daily routine had to be adapted to work somewhere else; maybe even on the road. Shortcut: the idea grew and we (my wife and our three-year-old son) decided to live in Strasbourg for three weeks and after that drive in a motorhome for another three weeks through Germany to the North Sea and then back home.
We took the night-train from Linz, Austria to Strasbourg, France (unfortunately, there is no direct train between the two towns). After a 10-hour train ride we finally arrived in Strasbourg. This was an important fact because we had to carry all the stuff we needed – or thought we would need – in two suitcases and two backpacks. This meant I had to pack my MacBook Pro, two cameras, a drone and all necessary additional equipment in just one backpack.
Tutorials and colour
It took me a few days to get used to life in Strasbourg. After that, a sort of routine started to settle in. I began to record tutorial videos and edited them on my MacBook Pro. To be able to work professionally I profiled my display with the i1Display Pro, which was a fitting replacement for my hardware calibrated monitor in my office.
To achieve accurate colours, I used the ColorChecker Passport Video. This was quite important because I started to work with s-log and had to colour match different cameras, which is why I began to work with 3DLutCreator and the colour target of the ColorChecker Passport.
For my photographs, I predominantly used the Sony RX100m3 because of its weight-to-quality ratio and experimented with the capabilities of this small camera, whilst also working on a handheld HDR panorama workflow. To quickly access all of the required settings, I saved custom settings on the camera’s mode dial.
After capturing the images in-camera, I had to do the post-processing on my MacBook Pro. To begin with, I imported images to look at the basic colour development with custom camera profiles in Lightroom Classic CC . These profiles were previously created with the ColorChecker Passport Photo software to ensure accurate colours are achieved. To generate the panorama I loaded the DNGs that I exported out of Lightroom into PTGui, which will do the heavy lifting to make the panoramic HDR image. For the final touch, I graded the panorama in 3DLutCreator.
After the three weeks in our flat in Strasbourg, we shifted gears and hopped into the motorhome. The routine we had in Strasbourg changed completely. There were no fixed working times, no well-known shops, no constant power to charge all of our devices, no powerful WIFI and so much more to get used to. The priorities shifted a lot and so did my production workflow. Everything had to be adapted to this *new life*.
I shot a lot of drone footage and video content for me and my clients. All of this footage had to be reviewed and I also wanted to post videos on my blog on a regular basis while travelling, so I also saved them on external hard drives as backup.
I used Premiere Pro as my editing software on my MacBook Pro. For working with the LOG footage and to create colour looks, I used 3DLutCreator. This powerful tool allows you to create 3DL files for your videos.
Additionally, I shot a lot of images. For consistent colour from the beginning, I made use of the ColorChecker Passport Photo and I imported all the images into Lightroom Classic CC. For developing the images and applying colour looks I often worked with profiles created with Photoshop.
We have learned a lot as a family in these past six weeks. We had highs and lows, and we came close to our limits. Next time I would like to stay for two days on the same location every now and then.
From a colour perspective I thinks that it’s possible to get consistent colour on the road with the help from the right tools. It’s possible to work just with a laptop if the screen has a big colour space and quality panel built in. In colour-critical situations, I prefer my dedicated screen back home in the office.
The resulting images – with little (but right) equipment – are far better than just acceptable, but you have to adjust the way you think, in turn boosting your creativity.
The route and project
You can find more information about the project and the route we took at
Martin is a software trainer, photographer and media designer. He works for companies like Adobe, Wacom and Eizo as trainer and partner. Additionally, he teaches at the university of applied sciences in St. Pölten photography and digital workflow. Furthermore, he as an exclusive trainer at video2brain (a lynda.com brand).