Correcting log and raw footage
Video: Correcting log and raw footageThese days as you hear a lot about the digital cinema cameras from Red and from Arri; cameras like the Red One, Scarlet and Epic, as well as the Arri Alexa have defined the high-end production and postproduction markets for the past few years. And in this move, I want to show you the essentials of working with footage from these camera systems. So if you're following along with the exercise files, be sure to go ahead and open up this Timeline called 03_06_loganddraw. This first shot comes from a Red Scarlet camera, and the Scarlet like other Red cameras allows you to shoot RAW. And the biggest benefit of shooting RAW is that you have to all the original sensor data coming off the camera.
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- Viewing clips and navigating the timeline
- Using automatic scene detection
- Sending a project from Premiere Pro to SpeedGrade
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- Making secondary corrections
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Correcting log and raw footage
These days as you hear a lot about the digital cinema cameras from Red and from Arri; cameras like the Red One, Scarlet and Epic, as well as the Arri Alexa have defined the high-end production and postproduction markets for the past few years. And in this move, I want to show you the essentials of working with footage from these camera systems. So if you're following along with the exercise files, be sure to go ahead and open up this Timeline called 03_06_loganddraw. This first shot comes from a Red Scarlet camera, and the Scarlet like other Red cameras allows you to shoot RAW. And the biggest benefit of shooting RAW is that you have to all the original sensor data coming off the camera.
So instead of baking in contrast and color you can do things like recover blown out highlights and recover contrast deals that you never thought were possible. Now before we go ahead and actually access the RAW controls for this Red footage, I want to show you a few setup things. Over here in the Settings tab and then in the Dynamic Quality category, we have a section called Resolution. And the Resolution section allows us to dynamically adjust our Playing Resolution as well as our Paused Resolution. Now in my experience what I typically like to do is lower my Playing Resolution to something like 1:4 or even 1:8 and this gives me a relative good balance between image quality and overall performance during playback.
Remember, RAW footage, especially 4K or 5K footage from a Red camera system is very system intensive. So by lowering your playing resolution you're going to get more real-time performance. But while i'm paused, I like to have typically a 1:1 or at least a 1:2 resolution. Now these Resolution controls have one more ramification. Let me go ahead and change both of these back to 1:2 and then let me go ahead and click back here on the Monitor tab. Now when I am set to 1:2 notice that my resolution right now is 1920x1080. Let me go ahead and click back on Settings and change both of these to 1:1 and then click back on the Monitor tab.
Now notice that my resolution is 3840x2160, that's because I'm working with a full resolution image. Now if I scroll down to the next shot here on my Timeline, this shot comes from an Arri Alexa camera and it's 1920x1080. And you'll notice that my resolution now is set to 1920x1080. And this can be a little troublesome when you're working with mixed media format timelines. Often what I'll do is go ahead and apply a Pan & Scan layer and you can do that by coming over to the Timeline and then to Setup and dragging a Pan & Scan layer up to the Timeline.
From there you can set the overall frame that you want to work within, and typically I'll have the frame match my output resolution. And then you can Pan & Scan footage to match that output frame. Let me go ahead and go back to the first shot here. Instead of working at a 1:1 resolution, what I am going to do is come back to my Settings tab here and change both of these Playback and Paused controls to 1:2, so I am working with a slightly reduced resolution, which for the purposes of this movie is just fine. The other thing I want to show you here on the Settings tab is over in the File Formats category and then the R3D section.
Adobe SpeedGrade can actually work with Red Rocket cards if they're available including multiple Red Rocket cards. And this is great if you work with a lot of Red RAW footage as a Red Rocket card offloads the necessary debarring process for Red footage from your computer's CPUs to the Red Rocket cards themselves. Now let me go ahead and click back over here on the Monitor tab. And the next thing I want to show you is how we actually access the RAW controls for Red footage. And we can actually do it in two different places. First is down here on the Timeline tab and then over to the over to the Format Defaults tab. Now the Timeline tab and the Format Defaults tab controls your RAW footage for your entire Timeline.
In just a moment I'll show you how we can override the controls here on the Timeline tab and then in the Format Defaults tab. But over here in the Format menu I can actually control RAW controls for not only Red footage or .R3D files, but also for .arri RAW files coming from the Alexa camera. But in this case I am going to go ahead and work with R3D files. Now down here in this menu you can use the settings stored in each clip. But if you go ahead and click you can go ahead and override those settings and use the settings that you control down here below. Now again, because this is the Timeline tab and Format Defaults, you'll be controlling all the Red RAW footage that you have on your Timeline.
So I often find a better way to do this is to change these back to use settings stored in each clip here in the Timeline tab, and then Format Defaults, and then click over to the Clip tab. And here on the Clip tab you also have a Format Options tab. Now the one thing you need to do is go ahead and check this box Override Timeline default. Because remember, just a second ago when we were on the Timeline tab and Format Defaults, I mentioned that that controls all of the RAW footage that you have in your Timeline. But often you'll need to control an individual clip and adjust its RAW parameters on a case by case basis.
So I am going to go ahead and click this button right here to Override the Timeline defaults, and when I do that this same menu becomes available, use settings stored in each clip or use settings below. And when I click use settings below, I can adjust any of the RAW parameters. So for example if I wanted to click here and adjust my Kelvin value maybe to something like 2000 and make this shot really cool, I can go ahead and do that. But of course just because you're adjusting RAW data doesn't mean that you can't actually go back and color correct and adjust contrast and color as you normally would.
So after adjusting any of the RAW parameters that you'd like here in Adobe SpeedGrade, you can come back over to the Look tab and then color correct as normal. Okay, so that's how you access RAW controls for Red footage, let's go down to the next shot on this Timeline. Now this shot is an Apple ProRes file that came off an Arri Alexa camera. And you'll notice that it looks kind of, well flat, it doesn't look all that great. I mean it doesn't look bad, but it doesn't look great. One of the things about working with the Alexa camera is that you have the option to work in Log. And when you shoot Log, all your footage will look, well pretty flat and kind of boring.
That's because you're preserving all the original contrast detail that's available in the shot. So what you often need to do is apply a LUT or a lookup table to transform your shot from the Log space to say the Rec709 space that most HD video uses. And how we actually apply a LUT is a pretty simple process here inside of Adobe SpeedGrade. So down here on my Layers stack what I am going to do is go ahead and click on this plus button right here to add a custom look layer and then I am going to choose this option right here to add a LUT. Now before I click in just a second my footage is going to look really, really weird.
Don't worry. We'll change the options that are available in just a second. So I'll go ahead and choose LUT and as I told you my footage looks, well really weird. Here in the center of the Look tab, I have my Lookup table menu, and if I click here I can choose from different LUTs that ship with Adobe SpeedGrade. But in this case I am going to go ahead and choose this LUT right here, Alexa LogC2Video_Rec709. So let me go ahead and choose that option and instantaneously my footage looks way, way better. On my keyboard number pad, let me go ahead and use the zero key to toggle the entire grade on and off.
Here is the original shot, it's pretty flat and then here's the transformed shot using the LUT. You'll notice that it has much better contrast and overall color, and just like Red RAW footage this is just a starting point. You can always come back to the Look tab here and click on your Primary layer and then adjust parameters as you see fit. So for example maybe I want to raise my gamma or midtones here and then may be I want to add a little bit more saturation. Okay that looks much better. Okay, so that's the essentials of working with RAW and Log footage from Red and Arri camera systems.
I should mention that although we didn't work with an Arri RAW file in this movie, the methodology of working with an .arri RAW file is exactly the same as working with a Red RAW file. They are just different controls. While you may not be working with RAW or Log footage yet, both RAW and Log footage gives you incredible access to image data, so you can apply corrections and looks at their full potential.
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