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  • Sarina McCavana

The client/colourist checklist

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

The run to Christmas is usually a very busy period for me, and something I have learnt over the years to avoid extra unnecessary long hours is that even if you are rushed up your feet, always make sure your client has their conform done and 'locked' timelines prepped for the grade; trust me, it sounds obvious but when people are rushing around from an advertising production to another, and editors are not working in-house, you might end up with the client on the phone unsure on what to provide you with (it does happen more than you think!).

So here is a simplified little recap of the obvious, that might come in handy to anyone who juggles lots of online content simultaneously. I work a lot with Ad agencies, the production teams are often on the go or have hired other freelancers throughout the whole production and the editor is working for someone else already.

Thankfully, they have reached picture lock ready for grade, the next step should be to send the following checklist to the agency (ideally connect with the director/DOP/PPS or editor if they are still on the scene if not, follow this up), even if you are juggling 6 other projects! 1. Ask for the offline reference movie This will enable the colourist to check that everything is looking as it should when setting up the project in Resolve. 2. Make sure the project has been fully conformed.

It is important that the colourist has access to a fully conformed timeline. The best practice is to media manage down the timeline so that the assets are fully prepped and managed, ready for the colourist to perform the actual work with the provided XML. If unsure talk to your colourist, here is more info also available from MixingLight. 3. Tech Spec and deliverables The colourist will need to know this in order to set up the correct colour space and use the correct colour transform when and if needed. 4. Mood Board and or already existing references It can be very helpful to give the colourist an idea of the look you’re going for with a mood board or some existing references. 5. XMLs and LUTs/IDTs/ODTs Make sure the colourist and editor have a pre-grade chat to get the edit ready for grade, this will involve prepping the timeline, such as removing all graphics, transitions etc / making sure all the media has been conformed and media managed correctly, and so on. This is the crucial technical bit to make sure all will run smoothly during the grading session, communication on the spec is key. Set the project up in Resolve and make sure the XML is looking as expected. Get any LUTs/IDTs/ODTs from the DIT or DOP if/when necessary. Finally, the facilities should aim to have their suite’s monitors correctly calibrated! Happy days!

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