Our sixth Webcast where Sarah will be discussing coloring with 3 colorists.

 

Discussion Topics:

  • What is color correcting?
  • Differences between color correcting and color grading.
  • Useful tools.
  • Fun and challenging projects from previous work.

 

Panelists:

Sarah Marince

Shane Ruggieri

Evan Schafer

Kevin Barber

 

Sarah Marince:

Hello, everyone happy Wednesday. And welcome back to another episode of crew talk. So I hope you’re
having a wonderful week getting ready for the holiday weekend. We have a very cool topic tonight. We
are talking about coloring and this is the topic I don’t know a whole lot about. So I am very, very excited
to hear from our panel of experts. I have my list of questions here, and as always, if you have any
questions you can just type them into our question and answer box. I’m talking to you tonight into my
phone cause I couldn’t get the computer working. So if I look like I’m looking all over the place and that’s
why, but I’m going to go ahead and jump right into it tonight. So hello to my panel of experts. Thank you
so much for being here with me this evening.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Yeah. Thanks for having us. Thanks. Hello. Don’t jump on each other when we all say hello. Hello.

Sarah Marince:

It’s good to have you here. And I’m excited to learn all about coloring. The only coloring I know is
coloring in a coloring book, so this will be new. So let’s just start off by asking what is the difference
between color grading and color correcting and how is each use differently?

Kevin Barber:

Hmm, yes. Okay. I’ll jump in. Let’s pound the normal. And I think what could be fun is if we all have
different different definitions, so generally color correction and color grading people mishmash them a
lot and start, you know, think it’s the same thing or just wondering long phrase, but color grading overall
is talking about what is the look, the mood or the final adjust or the adjustment of the color and the
tone to really create the mood of the story. Whereas color correction, I think of is more, you know, all
the building blocks underneath it that allow that to happen that create the Polish that create everything.
So generally with color correction, you’ll have you need to be able to match clips. You know, when you
shoot something, most often you have clips from different angles from different cameras and you need
to be able to match them.

Kevin Barber:

So that looks like one seamless piece of work. And then there are also a lot more my new corrections
that you go into. So you’re changing the, the light, you’re changing the Hughes and saturations and you
know, you’re trying to get everything to look just right. But then they’re also a lot of other elements to
that. Where that, I think a lot of people overlook, like if I were to break down my work and you guys, I’m
sure it, depending on what genres you’re working in have totally different things. But I feel like 90% of
my work is probably color correction, which is like fixing noisy footage or color casts that weren’t there
got messed up when they’re shooting right down to like fixing cosmetic enhancements, like your subject
on the cameras, you know, missed the makeup somewhere or is looking really you know, has a pimple
it’s like those you can go from as broad as how it’s lit right down to little corrections like that. And then
the color

Kevin Barber:

Grading is what you do on top of that to give the overall look at mood on top of the the correct, the
fixed items there. Yeah, right.

Evan Schafer:

Yeah. Most of my work is definitely I would classify as a color correction as well, you know, getting
everything to match and look seamless and, you know, flow together as a cohesive scene. And then, like
you said, building upon that to you know, add the color grading on top of that. But yeah, 90% of my
work is definitely color correction as well. Balancing.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Yeah. That’s an example of that. We had her, we had a shot where we had to, we had a pickup and it
was a, it was for a Mill’s for an iPad piece. And basically the, the wardrobe got the wrong genes. And so
we had to cut this gene shot in to a shot that had a different set of genes, very similar and patterns. So it
kind of worked, but the color was off. And so we had to go in roto the jeans out. I had to go and wrote
the genes out and then shift that color so that when they cut back and forth, it didn’t look like the guy
magically changed his genes within three seconds. And so that’s an example of how you can do, like
that’s a color correction, you know, which isn’t always so obvious, but it also really empowers the
creatives to add stuff, take things away, change things reduce or add color into a scene even changed
shirt, colors, those types of things, eye colors, that type of thing.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

So that’s more of a correction versus like, like Kevin had said an overall tone or mood change.

Sarah Marince:

Cool. Those are great definitions. Thank you guys. So why is high dynamic range, HDR color grading,
gaining so much popularity?

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

I’ll jump on this one. Well, one of the big things is that you’re working in a massive color range and a
massive dynamic range, meaning the brightness levels, which kind of represent what you can see
outside in some ways or even in this dark room or in the rooms that you guys are in the lights behind
you are extremely, extremely bright. Probably three or 4,000 nits where Ken Delos, you know, how
bright something is in particular. So to, to recreate even these darker environments, you need to three
or 4,000 minutes just to re recreate the reflections on my skin or, or that light right there over my
shoulder.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

And it provides this depth that you really don’t see in standard dynamic range content. So why it’s taken
off is that creatives love to tell stories and with more color, with more dynamic range, you’re able to tell
a story in such a way that really brings the person and really draws them in and creates new reactions.
And so I think that’s one of the big reasons why plus the TVs today, I mean, look at the TVs, they’re really
bright, right. And they’re really dark at the same time. You know, you’ve got this old led technology out
there and our SDRs, our standard dynamic range content was just being stretched into those. We would
look at our color sitting there in the studios and we’d be grading at a hundred nits and then they’d go to
a TV and it’s six times bright, you know, so that it didn’t look like what we, what we saw in the studio
and what got approved.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

And so high dynamic range allows you to manage that color as well, manage that brightness. So if you
want it to be at 200 nits, you can send it out at 200 nits and it’ll look like 200 it’s when it gets home. So

there’s a lot of other things other than just being bright and wide color. It’s actually a way of managing
an image all the way through a pipeline so that what, what we sit and toil over day and hours at a time
to try to get right, is actually seen by the, by the consumer sitting there and, and getting a value out of
that.

Sarah Marince:

Nice. Does anybody else want to jump in that one?

Evan Schafer:

Yeah. I’ve not done any dynamic high dynamic range stuff before, so I’m, I’m fascinated to hear about it
from Shane. Yeah.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Agreed. Can you talk a little bit about any specialized equipment that you have to use doing HDR?

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Right. So in distribution. Yeah. So basically depending on what platform you’re working, if you’re
working in DaVinci resolve, you can, if you have to venture resolve, you can do HDR content without any
license or anything else you can work in. That format it’s basically HDR is an ecosystem and it’s a
workflow that basically says you work in a PQ space, which has perceptual content replaces gamma, and
you get a monitor. So if something like that monitor right there, that’s the planter’s XM three, 10.
There’s a lot of other monitors on the market that, that display in PQ space and have a certain, you
know, brightness level. It goes up to this one goes to 3000 nits, but if you got 600 or a thousand nits
you’ll be able to see in HDR as long as it’s showing in PQ.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

So you need a monitor, you need a system, your regular system will probably already do it. So your
laptop, I can do HDR in my laptop. But to be able to build a display those images on a PQ monitor and
that’s really all you need to do grading on HDR. Now on the distribution side, that gets a little more
complicated, but that’s something that we don’t get involved with right, as colorist. There’s a lot of us
that we can talk about, but you can do it pretty quickly and they’re getting a lot more technology into it.
So you’re going to be able to see HDR images on TVs. We can already, you know, tunnel into like LG TVs
and other, other TVs that’ll recognize HDR signals. So you can review on those TVs. And though it’s not
recommended, you could probably even do a grading on those monitors at some point in the future as
they get better and better. But again, that’s, that’s not a recommended workflow always want to
recommend going on a, on a mastering monitor, but you can always review, you know, a client’s want us
to get in. I want to see it, this, you know, this TV and big in front of you and, you know, you let them,
they’re paying the bills.

Sarah Marince:

So what software do you use and what other useful tools and hardware do you recommend?

Kevin Barber:

I think you just touched on some of it, Shane with the and, and we could actually use your backdrop as
as an example of like, well, here is the country, but you don’t necessarily need it, but if you’re doing a lot
of coloring, it helps to have something like that move quicker. But in terms of the software, I I’m
wagering, we all use the same thing, but maybe not DaVinci resolve is sort of the industry standard. And
then you need a beefed out system to be able to handle those files real time. So if you have a client
working with you, there’s no lag whatsoever. Or if you’re just rendering or handling, you know, now
we’re seeing, you know, eight K six K footage like cinema camera footage. You need to be able to handle
so many different elements. And so if you are actually just professional colorist, you just need the most
beefed out computer ever.

Kevin Barber:

And then, you know, DaVinci resolve is the software, and then you need a calibrated color monitor,
especially for doing work. That’s going to be projected and cinema wise, you know, if you’re doing
something on a phone, I still think it’s valuable, but then you get into a lot of discrepancies and you need
to test on million different monitors and you can never really be sure where HDR may come in more
helpful, where it can be more consistent. But those are the most essential, crazy computer calibrate
monitor hardware calibrates. So it’s not just something like, you know, consumer grade software thing
that can get messy. And then one of the big benefits when you work with the colorist is if they have a
control panel, actually the exact same one, cause it’s like that perfect middle point where you’re just,
you can start to really fly.

Kevin Barber:

And so, as opposed to, if you’re having an editor, trying to do some corrections, a colorist will be able to
fly through that because you can be moving multiple hands and doing a lot of different corrections all at
the same time, as opposed to like mouse, click menu, change mouse, click slide, slide, slide by ground.
Yeah. So, but it’s really the software, the hardware itself isn’t necessarily complicated. You just need
some firepower depending on what your setup is, you know, but some companies just have smaller
cameras and can benefit from, you know, don’t need something crazy. It depends if you’re doing in
house, if you’re professional colorist, if you’re in a post house, then yeah, it’s going to, based on those
needs

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

And where you are in the pipeline. I mean, if you’re on the front end and you’re doing DEI work, and
sometimes you don’t need to have heavy lifting, you can work in proxy, you can work in these lighter
formats or, you know, work in even the red Rose and those types of things. They give you the ability to
go down to eight bit and, and be able to, you know, cruise through on a laptop, you know, and actually
get some good quality imagery there, even though it may not be real time. You may not need real time
depending on where you are in that pipeline. Right. Yep.

Sarah Marince:

Did anyone else want to jump? I thought I heard someone else starting to talk there might’ve been
Blake. How did you get started in your profession? Like how does, how does one get started?

Evan Schafer:

So I started out as an editor in post production and was an editor for a long time, still am an editor. And
as, as color correction and color grading tools became more widely available. I started incorporating it
into my repertoire and my services and just took it upon myself really to start, you know, learning as
much as I can about it. And you know, there’s tons of online resources that folks can folks can use to, to
learn more. And so as, as as my skills progressed to touch back on what Kevin was saying, you know, I, I,
I picked up a a control surface and, and, you know my work became easier Mmm. After, after I picked up
the control surface for sure. But yeah, just start started out as an editor and gradually start
incorporating more color work into, into my services.

Sarah Marince:

What are some of those online references that you mentioned?

Evan Schafer:

You know, there’s, you Google you, if you, you to color grading tutorials, there’s a billion of them. But
there’s, you know, there’s some industry industry groups like mixing light.com is a good one. Yeah. you
know, it’s, it’s a community of, of professional colorists who are all very welcoming and very helpful. And
they have great tutorials on, on their website and a good thriving community.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Kevin, how did you get started, man?

Kevin Barber:

You know, we’re so lucky in terms of just how a lot of this software and harvest become available so
much more recently. So I actually started off as an actor and I did that for 10 years, right. As a regional
theater actor who then started making films. And I was a shift into directing and I was sitting in on my
first color session and I just remember looking at what he was doing. And I was like, that is cool. So then
for the next six, seven films that I made, I was like, well, I’m, you know, often the old budget, I think I can
try to do it myself, you know, coming from, from editing too. I sort

Kevin Barber:

Of did the whole shift, you know, the thing you do when you have no money. And and then I started
getting better and better and just so much more interested in it. So same thing as Evan, in terms of
online resources, just going crazy there. And then I started meeting with digitally, some other colors,
sort of trading trips and started working, you know, as a freelancer for different agencies. And so I
crossed paths and just sort of organically grew the experience. And then people started asking me when
they saw my work to color their films and then transitioned into the ad world, you know, how it goes,
you all sort of working yeah, exactly what you started as starting as an actor and a director then a
colorist. I mean, but it, and that’s been, that’s been the focus primarily since, but it all started with just
seeing what a colors could do in the moment and just being like that, you know, that I need all of that in
my life.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

I got my start as a DJ DJ. Yeah. I got my start as a DJ when I was 13 to 19 years old. I was really mixing
and scratching with five turntables, a buddy, and really heavily into the hip hop and, you know, just, just
cutting and creating new music, creating my own songs. And then I was like, I really want to do this with
video. You know, like I really want, I got, I can mix music, but now I want to mix video. And so, you know,

this was, yeah, back in the day, we’ll say it that way. And I said, at some point I’m going to get in this
industry. I really want to do this. And finally, I got a break bye, managing a sound in a post house. Sorry. I
came in from the management side and started working in there and started doing editorial and that
kind of thing.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

And finally became, you know, I just was like, okay, forget this producing stuff. I’m gonna be an editor.
And just started collecting plugins and plugins final cut pro had, you know, thousands of plugins. And I
just became the plugin. I’ll just say I had probably nearly every plugin and I could find buying them. I
mean, everything. And I was just doing stuff to footage that you, I mean, that just isn’t normally done in
final cut pro at the time. And and finally, I, I got introduced to a colorist friend of mine, Gary coats out
here in San Francisco. And we worked on an Apple project and he had built out this structure in final cut
for, you know, your primary room, your secondaries and all this kind of stuff in final cut. Like you built
this thing all out with all these plugins and stuff.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

And I’m like, that’s what I do. I’m like I do, but I don’t name them the same thing. I was like, you know, I
do this. And he’s like, at least I started showing him back and forth and he’s like, you’re coloring that.
And I’m like, really? And I was like, that’s a job. You know, like I was just the guy who fixed the footage
when I was editing. And that’s kind of what I did was fixed the footage when I edited. So I got a lot more
jobs. And finally, when I found out that you can get paid for doing justice part by that time Apple just
bought final touch, which I had been playing with for a couple of years. And I love the doggy. And so I
finally just said, okay. And I talked to a couple of my, my my clients.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

I said, Hey, would you like, do you guys go to colorists? And they’re like, yeah, we would always take it
out. It’s like, well, I can do that for you. And my next year, it doubled my work just by offering coloring.
So I didn’t come up in the studio system either. So I love hearing these stories, how people actually get a
start and why. That’s awesome.

Sarah Marince:

So how has COVID affected your work?

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Um I actually like it. I actually like it to be honest with you. Cause I lose a commute. I already have a
home studio. Yeah. I already have a home studio and my commute’s about, I don’t know, 12 feet, so it’s,
it’s actually quite nice. I saved time. The only, and actually it’s been really good for me because I’ve, I’ve
actually talked to my boss a whole lot more interacting with them a lot more.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Cause he’s down in Burbank. Just working, interacting with people at a distance, whereas before you
want to kind of, I just, I used to want to do more distance work. Now I kind of have to. And so that was
actually an opportunity. So I, I kinda like the fact that I can just jump in and I’ve already got a good
monitor. I’ve got good system. You can’t see it, but I’ve got a couple, you know, monster boxes over
there, a Supermicro and a Z eight sitting right there. And so there, I dunno, I, I kinda like working at
home cause I get to take a break and go, actually go get lunch from my kitchen rather than rather than

having to to go out and pay for lunch and, you know, waste 40 minutes each way for driving. But I do
miss the coffee breaks with people.

Sarah Marince:

Right. Has it affected the amount of work or do you think it will moving forward? Like how things are
done?

Evan Schafer:

It affected the amount of work for me, for sure. And even once production dropped off a post
production dropped off for me. Absolutely. But it’s picked back up in the last, last six or eight weeks
more work coming in. But I mean, I I’m freelance, so I’ve worked from home most of the time anyways. I
have a beefy computer system and you know, Flanders monitor as well. So you know, I, I can do what I
need to do from home.

Kevin Barber:

Totally. Yeah. And there’s something it’s been an interesting time as well in that, in the way, you know,
I’m a freelancer as well. And so the way I frame color or help agencies, I’m working with frame color to
their clients, especially with the more commercial ad based work that it needs to become more in term
more talk about strategy than necessarily aesthetics. And I found that in the past couple of months, as
things get tight financially, that something that I’ve always try to get my clients excited about us. Like,
okay, well, it’s, it’s the story. And it’s the strategy like this has subconscious impact on what people
watch and how they feel when they’re watching it. And that’s become more of the dialogue as opposed
to that looks great. Or that doesn’t cause that looks great, can get the chopping block really, you know,
more easily depending on what level of clients work in and what the projects are. And something that
might be a little more unconventional as I’ve, I’ve also started working with some of my clients who have
editors in house and actually just working to train them up on some of the more regular corrections they
do. So there’s actually been a weird shift towards like consulting work a bit just to help in house teams
who would normally be like, Oh yeah, here, will you please do this project for us?

Kevin Barber:

But now it’s like, I want to empower them a little bit more to be able to do some of it themselves and
then have me on to help with that. Now, obviously you can’t teach what a colors does in any short time,
because like, even with what we’re talking about with, Oh, you just look with some YouTube tutorials,
the actual how to do isn’t it, it’s the workflow, it’s the process, how you put the pieces together,
knowing what to use in the first place. But I’m finding with some of my clients where I could just be a bit
helpful in this interim, if their budgets have been slashed or what have you to be like, okay, well, this is
the kind of project you normally do. You have an interview set up? Well, here are, you know, here’s a
workflow. You can, you are here is a known structure. Here are the things that you can do just to
enhance that for the interim. And then in the meantime, I’m here for a bigger project if you need it. So
it’s been, it’s been fun sort of seeing what people need and adapting as well, instead of just going with
the traditional model that I’m accustomed to.

Sarah Marince:

So why, why would I need to color? It’s like why couldn’t an editor do what I would need them to do?

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Who wants that? I know we’re like totally like Roshambo alright.

Evan Schafer:

Well, I dunno. I think, I think an editor can do it to some extent. I mean, I’m an editor and I also do color
grading, but you know, you do, you do need specific skills and an eye for it. You know, you don’t want to
just hand it off to anyone to, to you know, to work through the whole process. You know, you want to
have someone who has an eye for it. Yeah. I don’t know what else to add to that other than other than
that, but yeah, I think an editor can do it, but you need, you need an eye.

Kevin Barber:

Yeah, I, for sure. And then also some practical considerations, like just speed and the level of depth that
you can do, like an editor they’re dealing with, who knows the producer

Kevin Barber:

Or 50 other people that are all given importance, like want to do this, this, this, and whereas the colors
can just focus on what they’re doing, but also just technical controls, like inside most editing software,
unless they’re editing within DaVinci naturally. But I find that tools are much less intuitive and we just
know, again, those those workflows to do so an editor can train in those. But it’s just, they may not be
optimized for that, for that process, for that system. And also, I mean, I’m sure you guys agree, like
there’s just a, a thought process as a color. So when you’re looking at something that by being able to
focus on that exclusively, you can just hone it in that much better. There are fewer considerations or
you’re bouncing around if that makes sense, but also just quantity of doing it. You just get better at it.

Kevin Barber:

If you’re not worrying about what clip a client wants or doesn’t instead, you’re like, I’m just going to
make what you have look really good. And it’s just a different focus over time. Yeah, yeah.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Yeah. Like a body of work, you know, as you start to get a body of work and you start to, I mean, I’m an,
I’m an editor as well. I’m a finishing editor, but when I try to separate those two things really, and try to
pull them apart and really put two different hats on because I, I have a whole different set of
considerations when I’m editing versus when I’m coloring. And sometimes it’s hard to pull them apart,
but if you’re just focusing on one or the other you really do look at it like Evan said, or Kevin said see my
first mistake,

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

You look at it in a different light. You know, for example, you, you really focus on context. I mean, in, in
coloring, you try to bring the context of a moment in and really look at, okay, how can I best tell this
moment? I’m not using all the other, you know, you look at where it comes from, you look at it where
you know what it is and then where it goes like an editor does. But you also try to fill in the context and
you understand how human visual system, you understand how people are going to react. You
understand what people are how they’re affected the moods that are affected by and what the color or
what the lack of color does to an image. And when you can get into those advanced kind of techniques
or understandings, you really do bring a lot to the, to the table. When you talk about taking a story from,
you know, an impact of say here to an impact of up here, and there is a big difference, and that’s why
you want to maintain that and be able to manage that through the pipeline as well as you want that

impact, because you spend a lot of time trying to get that impact on the, on the user. You’re just crafting
reactions.

Sarah Marince:

That’s, that’s a good way to put it. So how can a colorist cut overall production cost as to, as opposed to
being an additional cost?

Kevin Barber:

At least I arrived at color from, okay. I was a director and a cinematographer who then got a lot more
cinematography work because I got really good at coloring. And then it shifted over to Cari, you know,
like, but there was that all in one nature for awhile and in doing that, and then when you start working
with bigger teams, you see, okay, well in color I can do, you know, I can reshape light, I can fix issues and
you always want to get it right in camera. I’m not advocating that you don’t, but if you really know what
you can do in color, and you know, you’re gonna have a colorist on board, you might not need as big a
crew. You might not need as much, you know, as a gaffer or a grip. Like you may not need as many
budget for lights.

Kevin Barber:

You may not need as high end Canberra because just don’t. And a lot of production companies, I feel like
they want to appear professional and sort of pad the budget sometimes. A lot don’t a lot of most are
really scraping by, but it does happen on occasion because that’s traditionally how it’s done. Right. And
that’s also what clients expect a lot of the times. And so if you have a colorist on board and you w
they’re familiar with that workflow and the producer knows how the, it can be used quite often, you can
shrink the size of a crew. To some extent you can move faster. You can build that in, build the colors in
during preproduction and just change expectations. So I’ve found that at least in the projects that I’ve
been in charge of in the past, by knowing that color was going to be a big part of it, the upfront
production cost can really be trimmed down a lot. But that takes a producer who understands what the,
what the capabilities are as well. So that’s a, that’s a big F alright, so that’s good.

Sarah Marince:

Yeah, that makes sense.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Yeah. Kevin, I just getting ready to go on to production myself and probably about a month here, I was
called in and I’m actually going to be inside a theater correcting live on, on the screen while they’re
shooting, you know, people talking in the theater from behind to make sure that that it’s, that it’s clear.
So in a sense, we’re, I’m there to help, you know, relight the scene in such a way to actually get this
images that are up on the wall. Whereas they may have to go in and do a bunch of measurements, a
bunch of, you know, a lot more people on set and a lot more time, a lot more lights and have a lot more
flexibility where I’m going to go in there with my laptop, you know, plugged directly into the projector
and be able to control that light that’s happening on screen behind them. And that will save them time
that will save them money over. And eventually, even though they’re adding me for three days
ultimately it will pull down that overall cost for them. Is that easier or harder to do it like live while it’s
happening versus post?

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Oh, it’s a totally different animal. I mean, this is more of a specialty case. It’s really a specialty case it’s
because they’re actually going to be shooting what’s being seen on screen. Right. And what’s being seen
on screen is actually being shot like the day before. Right. So it’s going to be a, an interactive situation
where they would have to do a lot more yeah, they’d have to do a whole lot more on the production
side in order to achieve what I can help them achieve by being on set and being able to look at that
those images and adjust those images live. It’s usually, it’s a rare use case, but it is a case where we’re
going to save them money or I’m going to save the money just by being on set for three days. That’s
pretty cool. And it’s exciting to think of those possibilities and variations because quite often color is
thought of like, well, at the end, if we have enough in the budget, we’ll do some color.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

It’s like, bring that in earlier can really adjust that you can shift the whole, the whole production process.
So that’s, that’s cool. I’m curious to hear more about that process from you. I like to chat. I like to talk to
those guys. I like to challenge the production companies. Anytime I work with them, I say, Hey, look, you
know, think about this. You’re spending how much money on your cameras you’re spending, how much
money on your writing, you’re spending, how much money on your editorial. You’re spending all this to
keep the content great. Then you skip the last step where you can optimize the image where right
before you send it out. So you’re just going to skip that, that, that probably isn’t your best, you know,
use case. If you think about it, we’re, we’re there colors are there to optimize that footage for each
scene and help.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Like I think like Kevin said, help relight pull this light down, you know, get rid of that halo, get rid of
whatever. You know, brighten this up. Can you make this orange, this, this gray thing, make it orange,
give it a little, pop something to then help the production be seen in a better way being reacted to in a
better way, blur this out, do something to help this moment. Really something we couldn’t do on set.
We didn’t have that ability to create it on set. Anyway, I like to make, I push them a little bit. The people
I work with just a little bit, just to say, give us more time. Don’t, don’t, don’t expect it to be done in a half
day or a day, you know, give us more time and I’ll give you options. We can, we can explore a little bit
and you can choose different things rather than just make it look good.

Sarah Marince:

Cool. So how much does a colorist cost?

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

You guys charge? [Laughter] Oh, no, I’ll jump in. I think there’s a, there’s a big range. There’s a big range.
It’s on your market. It depends on your market. What market are you in? Are you in a big market? Like
the Silicon Valley? I mean, I I’ve seen ranges from 500 to 1200 you know, just for you, just for you per
day. And that’s, that’s not including studio or that’s not including if you’re going to you know, some
house or some agency or, or whatever. I think freelance, I don’t want to quote guys on your rates, but I
mean, I’ve, I’ve taken everything from, you know, $40 an hour for, you know, for friend rates kind of
things. And only up to 1200 you know, plus for, for different, for different projects. That’s just for me to
be there you know, within a certain amount of time, but I think that’s what changes over time.

Speaker 2:

Come on in what’s your rate? What’s your rate? Come on and talk to them. I know every email, how
much you charge, how much will it cost me to do my movie? How much does a 30 second commercial
cost? Yeah, of course. Yeah.

Kevin Barber:
There’s always the, you know, people think of it in terms of right. So often time like, Oh, it’s 30 seconds.
It’s one minute, but there’s so many considerations. And so I always need to see that back cut and like,
see what it is they’re doing. Cause I do as a freelancer, I do quite often charge flat rates if I’m not going
in like the right situation. And that comes from assessing it. And you know, how many clips are they?

Kevin Barber:

What condition are they in? Are you shooting from, you know, what you were mentioning, like shooting
a different pair of jeans that you’re gonna have to rotoscope and like remove or like just isolate, which
would take forever anyway. So there’s so many considerations like that, but then also what’s the
organization and this is where I think sometimes people think, Oh, what, you’re going to charge
someone else more for the same job that someone else and the answer is. Yes. I think the thing is
because big organizations have a lot more hands in the hands of the PI hands into whatever challenge
you challenge you on that. I’m going to challenge you. I’m going to challenge you on that. I think that
you are worth the larger sum and then you give discounts to the lower end to get the work. So I don’t
think you’re charging them more. You’re giving discounts. Right? I like that. I do agree with that for sure.
Yeah, no, exactly. You’re not trying to rip the people off, but there’s always that amount you have that,
you know, your worth and your you’re right. That’s a good way of thinking about it. Cause it is to you
bring value,

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

You bring value right to the end that they couldn’t put into production for one hour, how much money
you’re putting into that piece of content far outweighs your cost far, far outweighs your cost. And they
don’t look at it that way. And when you don’t charge them and get your right up, they take advantage of
it and they don’t value it. That’s why I always promote, keep your rates up, push them up, let them
know, let them understand. Thousands should be at your entry point.

Kevin Barber:

And also there’s, there’s the lack of, or the perspective, the level of awareness within what you’re
working with. Like if you’re doing some small indie project, it’s like, okay, I’m just going to be working
with the director of maybe producers and her. Okay. Or if VP’s in the room. Okay, cool. That’s typically
very flexible and you make decisions quickly, but then you have large organizations where it’s like, you
do one round. Oh, well that’s great. And then Bob from committee 15 seasons, like, well actually, and so
you need to factor that in too. So yeah. That affects the scale as well. Like how quickly can you make
decisions? Cause that’s really and how can you stick to them? Because that’s where I feel like a lot of
the, You know, the challenges come. Yeah.

Evan Schafer:

Kevin, you brought up a good point about knowing what you’re getting into with the project. And you
mentioned like, you know looking through the footage and Oh, am I going to have to roto scope you
know, all this stuff you know, just assessing the footage and assessing the project and knowing how
much time you’re going to have to put into it allows you to give producers and directors an idea of how

much it’s gonna cost and how much you know, you’re gonna have to invest your time into it. It’s a great
point to, you know, to, to approach every project that way.

Kevin Barber:

Yeah. And that’s why the whole, how much does this charge? Give me a flat rate. It’s like, well, I need to
know I’ve been talking with the client and getting a good feel for them too. Like it’s a collaboration, it’s a
relationship. In addition to just the

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Quick technical thing, like setting expectations, I think, I think to capsulate it, you have to set an
expectation and if they want to do it on a day rate, you set the expectation. Then you have this many
hours. So here’s all the things we’re going to do in this session. We’re going to look at, we’re going to
discover and come up with the things you want to have done, come up with the things you’d like to have
done. Right? And I’m going to do all the things that have to be done first. I’ll get all those things done.
And if we have any time leftover, then we can do the once. And if that’s how we’re going to work,
otherwise we should work on real time. You know, work on actual, say, here’s all the, let’s do all the
exploring that you would like. I’ll give you all kinds of different examples.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

I’ll keep them limited, but I’ll give you opportunities to make decisions differently. Give you suggestions.
Do you want my suggestions? Do you want my help? Or do you just want me to do what you want me to
do and really get that expectation out there so they understand you’re there to help or you’re just there
to push a button. Cause we’re, we can do either one, we can do either one of those works and each one
cost different amount of money in each one takes a little bit of different skills. I think, I think producers
and directors actually appreciate that when they realize they can actually ask you and they understand
that you’re there for them. I understand you’re trying to get the most out of it. And when you give them
questions, like, what did you mean by their shot? What did you mean here?

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

You know, who, where is the, where is the I have, where’s the I supposed to be right now? You know,
where’s the heart of the scene? You know, is it here? Is this at the Dolby logo? Is it, you know, this
mouse, you know, where is the heart of this scene? Is it this? I need to be able to focus the eye on that.
And then when I start to push on that and do the things that I do to really pull that thing out, they start
to see a value. And then that, that value of that piece of content up. And then you’ve got to talk to them
on the, put like a postmortem and say, look, did I bring value to you? You know, how much would that
have cost you in production? This is why I think our next project, we should jump the rates up a little bit
and have those kinds of conversations.

Speaker 2:

Well said, Shane, well said.

Sarah Marince:

One more question that I have before. I want to jump into the questions from our audience today. So
how should I prepare for a color session? So what do you guys do to prepare for your sessions?

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Who wants it, Evan, Evan? How do you want people to make your prepare for you? Like coming in? Let’s
say you’re not the editor. Let’s say you’re just the colorist you want that. How do you want them to
prepare you prepare a shot for you or for a set for you?

Evan Schafer:

Well I think we touched a little bit on it just a moment ago when we talked about you know assessing
the project and you know, looking over the footage and knowing what you’re getting into and setting
expectations. But from a more technical standpoint, I mean, you know, I want, I want raw files as much
as possible. If that is not possible, I want, I want the video clean without any graphics. And just ready for,
for me to jump in and start my work.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Yeah. And typically it’s, yeah, we’ll just have our different ways of going on it. Typically what I’ll do is lay
out what you were saying, Shane, about expectations, like lay out, this is the workflow, this is the
process, make it very clear what I need each step. So, and then the timelines that they they know. And
so in, in terms of where you actually are, first things first, I would get the footage. I would, I would look
at it that we’ve talked. I talked with the director about, you know, what kind of feel they’re going for
break it down by scene or moment and get a really clear idea. And then obviously you have to get the
footage and the director has to prepare those files, get those over if you’re working remotely. And then I
like to come up with some hero images for each scene for that, and then test the waters, right?

Kevin Barber:

Like find out, you know, if it’s in person, get them, you know, let’s, let’s have a session go through this,
get this done. If it’s worked remotely, send those over to wherever they are and, and really get a feel for
is this, is this good? Do you want it more stylized, less dialyze, more contrast, do you need more century,
less than, you know, get a really good feel. And then once we can lock that down, then I’ll go to work on
the first, the first draft, the first pass and really laid those that style into the whole piece putting it
together. So that can be adjusted relatively quickly if it needs to be, and then send that over for
approval and depending on what you build into the contract, a certain number or revisions and what
have you. And then typically click into hourly if it’s a flat rate project or whatever.

Kevin Barber:

But generally I like to start where the whole process is very clear upfront and then work in increments
instead of yes, I made it perfect for you on the first pass and then write 15 hours. So I find that that
works pretty well. If they’re all on board right up front, and then, then it’s easy with the editor because
you know, you work, you can go back and forth on what the technical stuff is, but that’s still takes a little
time, especially if you’re working with editors where used to used to turning out the files.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Yeah. I liked the idea of, you know, establishing that workflow and that’s part of defining, cause
sometimes you’re you get a one off client or your brand new client and they have no idea how you work.
You have no idea how they think you don’t know what language they use, you know, trying to have a
conversation with them outside of the actual, you know, scheduling, that kind of thing is always helpful
or talk to other people about how they work is, is can, can be a useful, it’s sometimes more challenging
depending on the kind of work that you do. But establishing that rapport and that understanding of
when I say hotter, what does that mean? When I say brighter, make it more punchy. What does that

mean to you? You know, define that. Being able to talk to the person is really, I think we’re interpreters,
that’s part of what color is do is we interpret the emotional or the words that are coming out of
someone’s mouth to figure out how we’re going to push that and luminance and Cronin’s right.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Like what does that mean? Okay. I think I got, was this what you mean? Okay. and having that
understanding early, because then as you do more projects with that person it becomes much easier,
you know, you’ve established a workflow and then if something changes, it’s easier to talk about those
changes because you’ve already had an established workflow. You already have an established, we’re
going to do this. I personally like having either an idea I’ve given first time people that come to me, we’ll
get a lot of times a, a request to say, okay, please break down each scene and pull images from the web.
If you don’t have them with you, just pull them from the web. Tell me what you were thinking. Tell me
what you imagine this to look like. Because that’ll give me an idea of where you’re going. And then as we
start to work on it, be ready to have those thrown out because right. And set that expectation. Cause
they know as they start to work through it they have an idea of what works, but it may not be the
actually idea that they end up wanting when you show them. Okay. That really,

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

It doesn’t work. Yeah. It’s cool. It’s teal and blue or teal and orange, you know, but that’s not really the,
that doesn’t make me feel good about this moment. Let me show you. And then, then that, that they
have an expectation. It’s really a conversation, I think. Right. And what you were saying about context
earlier, shame, you know, you may think, Hey, I want it to look like this crazy or whatever you want. And
then you see two things you wanted next to each other and you go, so how do we that? Or what do you
abandon where yeah. So it’s seeing that all in the moment, it’s powerful.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

And then being able to be responsible to that client and say, look, this is going to take more time. Just
it’s going to take, I know I told you this much time, but that was when we, we weren’t talking like this
and being able to just honestly be up to him and say, look, if you want to continue down this line, I’m
going to have to charge you more and not worry about that. Whoa. You know, kind of that, that
pushback. And that’s really hard for, for, I think the younger, and I’ll say younger, the the newer colorists
who, you know, need every job who want every job who, you know, who, who need those things. Being
able to say no, or being able to just say, look, I’m going to have to charge you more if we do this. And
just having the wherewithal to understand that the changes you’re making are costing time and you’re
not going to have to get everything done. Don’t over promise, you know, under promise over deliver.

Evan Schafer:

Never the other way around.

Sarah Marince:

Yeah. So I’m going to jump into some of the audience questions now and everybody thank you for
bearing with me today. As I do this from my phone and my computer would not work, so okay Robin. Hi
Robin. I’m glad you’re watching Robin Kincaid said okay. Fast, cheap or good. Pick two.

Evan Schafer:

Come on, Evan man. Fast and good.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Good. Yeah. I don’t want to go cheap. I mean actually if I’ll go any two personally I don’t mind any of
those because if it’s cheap and good. Okay. If it’s fast and cheap. Okay. It’s fast. I didn’t waste a lot of
time. I think any of those two? I, it’s a magic question and Robin, I get you for this one. That’s that’s a
good one.

Kevin Barber:

Yeah. It’s a success, you know, and they’re almost antithetical to each other sometimes too. Cause you
don’t have something, right. It’s like if it has to be really fast, it’s going to be really hard to make that GE
is going to be good. It’s going to be hard to make. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Trick questions. Yeah. You can
only get two.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

So yeah. Any of them.

Sarah Marince:

All right. So let’s see. Do you have any stories where you went to view a project you colored like at a
premiere or something and it looked terrible.

Evan Schafer:

Oh, Terrible. No, not terrible. Different. I would say different. Absolutely. But not terrible.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Yeah. I had an experience doing something for projection. I won’t say where it was happening. But we
colored and we did it on a calibrated projection. And it looked really good. And then when they brought
it to the place that what is actually going to be played when they played it, they saw how old the bulb
was immediately. They saw how out of whack the colors were immediately. And luckily there was
someone there who could actually do a little bit in the color profiles of the projector to push some stuff
up. Cause they were not happy. But they got to a fix to someone. Well, yeah, the PR the projectors I’ve
had good luck with projector movie. Thank God. I know. Like there’s always something writing. But I
definitely have had, you know, that’s one of the things with coloring is that people are gonna be viewing
it on any so many different monitors and TV, depending on what you know, phones.

Kevin Barber:

And you got a client that comes back and is like, Oh, it looks great on this device and this other device, it
looked different. And it’s like, that’s just sort of how it works. And I totally understand that I’ve had the
same effect, but I think we’re the one thing that we do have in our control more than anything,
especially with something that’s not gonna be played in a really professional situ setting is just that
everything looks relatively good to it. Good to itself. It’s like everything matches. It may. The whole thing
may shift as you view it on a different display, but it will still work within the world. That’s what we have
in our control. Once you let it out into relative it’s relative or relative change. Yeah. Yeah.

Sarah Marince:

Oh right. Let’s see. Our next question we have is from James James asks, how do you see yourselves
working with a camera shader?

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

We actually do. I have we’re part and parcel with those guys. I mean, basically we’re just an extension of
them, especially if you’re talking on a live scenario. So if they’re live and they’re recording, that’s what a
shader is, is for live content. Once that we can see where they’re going and if we understand what the
director was given them, as far as directions was given those, those people who are doing the shading,
then once we get that footage for some posts, you know, offline, cause obviously it’s alive, they’re doing
live shading. They give me, give us that footage. We do something offline. Then we can see what
thereafter and or we can even call them and talk to them if it’s, if the, if the director’s not there or the
person in charge of the image, isn’t there, it’s, it’s basically hand in hand. Because they’re doing what
we’re doing, they’re just doing it live.

Sarah Marince:

Does anyone else have anything to add?

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

I can move on. Yeah. The live sector is not where our role with calling now. So yeah.

Sarah Marince:

All right. My next question is, have you ever had a project that seemed like it was close to done and then
someone else came in and everything changed.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

I have a term for that. Moving a train sideways. Oh, and just as painful too. I like that. That’s I’ll, I’ll back
off on the answer cause yeah, but

Evan Schafer:

Experience, experience. Yeah. It’s kind of the nature of the business, right? I mean it happens. Yeah. You
just gotta roll with it. You know, you gotta take it in stride and just make it, make it happen, make the
client happy in the end, make it happen.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Yeah. Giving them, giving them realistic expectations of what the change you’re requesting is happening.
And I think that’s the responsibility of a colorist. That’s a responsibility to the producers say, Hey, and if
the directors keep pushing on it and you have the ability of communicating with the producer, you can
tell them, look there, they’re asking me for the impossible. I want to do it. But they’re asking me for the
impossible, with this timeframe, with this budget and how do you want to proceed either? I tell them,
no, I personally don’t want to tell them no, but I can tell them that the budget won’t allow that. But can
we all sit down and have a conversation about that because this, this isn’t going, the last thing you want
is a client that comes in and changes direction and expects by the conversations and the things that
you’ve had that it’s okay. And that you don’t say anything about it because then you’re just coloring with
the, you know, a Burr on your back or something, you know, like you’re just like, I didn’t, it’s my own
fault for not saying something. I didn’t set this up well and you know, you’re, you have to just swallow
and you know, do the job if you didn’t set it up. Right. It’s your own fault when, when you go overtime if
you didn’t set the expectation,

Sarah Marince:

That makes sense. And we have time for one more question from our audience and it is from Andrew, I
believe. And he said, he asks, what would you say to a producer that says their film does not need post
color grading. They, that they like how it looks.

Evan Schafer:

Okay, great. If they’re in charge of the image, right? Yeah. If you’re happy with it, then you’re happy with
it, you know?

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

I might say, do you want to show you a couple, what we could do with it? You know, I want to do a day
of discovery one day. It’s all going to cost you, you know, if you don’t like it. Okay.

Kevin Barber:

That’s a great approach. Yeah. Has that happened? Has that happened in worked Shane.

Kevin Barber:

I’m sure you guys, well maybe, maybe you don’t, but encounter what is the, when people work with
some footage for such a long time and if they don’t use a letter or, or even if they do like, just are used
to looking at rec nine, but they’re used to looking at the flat footage and then they come in and they say,
I want it to be like this. And you’re like, but, but that’s, that’s just because their eyes,

Kevin Barber:

Their, their psyches are used to that as being the film. And so sometimes it’s, it’s harder to show the
options and be like, well, let’s have the open mind, let’s try this, this and this. Because you find that no
matter what you do, you keep veering back to sort of what it looked like when they were editing it. If
they spend a long time with the footage. So that’s probably the closest thing had to that because
otherwise they just wouldn’t seek you out. I suppose.

Evan Schafer:

I was thinking, I noticed a trend when, when, you know, flat camera profiles started coming out, that
clients would come in and they like, like you were saying, Kevin, they were know kind of gravitate back
towards that flat look because they were just, the image was burned into their minds. And yeah, I dunno
if you guys noticed that trend as well, but you know, I, I, I remember it and I, you know, we would have
to you know, show, show the client what we can do and show him, you know, this is what good color
grading can look like, and this is what we can bring to your project and add, you know, emotionally to
the story.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s one of the challenging things is when someone gets married to that image
profile or that, you know, that gamut profile it’s an easy way, not an easy way, but a way of getting them
through that is to sit down and talk with them about what they’re trying to get out of each scene. Try to
get them through examples, especially if you’re already on the books and you’ve got to do something,
you know, giving them, you know, giving them some options and maybe, you know, trying to find a way
of saying, what do you like about this? What do you like about this flat profile? Is it the last less

saturation? Is it how the, you know, everything in the darks are able to be seen, you know, try to get an
understanding and start working on them and saying, so if you like this part of it, you like to see
everything.

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

What if we let everything on the bottom end be there, but then take up the top end and then maybe
reset so that you get a little bit of color punch, would a color punch feel good. Let me show you what
that looks like. And you slowly work them through the situation, but not just for looks, but also with the
idea of what are you trying to say? You know, where are you trying to look? You know, cause you could
just do a massive color correction, a job in for that versus a color grading. And maybe you’re just in there
fixing things, blurring, creating depth you know, shadows light, and just working on that side where they
liked the color profiles. They like that muted color style. And that’s not a problem. No, there’s still a lot
of work you can do as a colorist inside a project that doesn’t require you to push and pull on the colors
necessarily. Hmm,

Sarah Marince:

Cool. Very cool. I was needed there, but I am back to say, thank you so much to our panelists tonight.
This was truly a, I did not know a lot about. And so this was really interesting and very informative and I
got a lot out of it. Thank you guys so much. And if you would just want to go ahead and just say your
name and like your social, if you have a website or something you’d like to promote, you can go ahead
and do that right now for everybody watching.

Kevin Barber:

Yeah. I’m looking at the top left corner, but maybe that’s Kevin Barber. On social I’m KevinBarberXYZ,
most platforms and same thing. www.Kevinbarberxyz.com website as well.

Evan Schafer:

And I’m Evan Schafer and my website is www.postbyevan.com

Shane Mario Ruggieri:

My name is Shane Mario Ruggieri. You can find me at www.shanemario.com

Sarah Marince:

Great, awesome. Well thank you guys. And again, I’m Sarah Marince. I’m at Sarahmarince.com. And
once again, this has been an awesome crew talk brought to you by shoots.video, and you can find us on
our YouTube channel. So go ahead and check that out and we will see you for our next episode in two
weeks. Thank you guys. Have a great 4th of July weekend. Bye everyone. Thank you.

 

 

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