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COLOR MANAGEMENT


INTRODUCTION

WHAT IS COLOR MANAGEMENT

Color management is about carrying out an image pipeline with technical transformations to bring the color space of a camera into the color space of a display.

In this blog post, I will explain the very basic difference between “scene referred” and “display referred” and what a scene referred workflow looks like. I will show an CRI chart and share my favorite videos, which I think are the best and easiest way to learn more on color management.


SCENE REFERRED

Digital cameras are able to store image data with a high dynamic range in order to represent the original scene as accurately as possible.

A scene referred workflow doesn’t mean that we have to stay in the color space of the camera. We can also transform the data to ACES or DaVinci Wide Gamut, very large color spaces, so we can assure that we preserve the dynamic range and color of the original scene.

DISPLAY REFERRED

In the age of analog film and telecine, most workflows were display referred. Regardless of the original recording format, the material was immediately converted / forced into a display color space – e.g. Rec709. After that, the grading took place.


SCENE REFERRED
WORKFLOW

ONE EXAMPLE

The easiest scene referred workflow is to transform the image from LOG to Rec709 color space at the very end of your node tree – e.g. Timeline level. And do the grading “underneath” it in the LOG space of your camera. Before the CST / Color Space Transform.


SCENE REFERRED
WORKFLOW

ANOTHER EXAMPLE

In this node based color management workflow, we are going from LOG space of your camera and using a CST (Color Space Transform) and transform the image data to “DWG / DaVinci Wide Gamut Intermediate”. Next we do our grade, and at the end of our node tree we go from “DWG” to our final display output – e.g. Rec709.


ACES WORKFLOW

ANOTHER SCENE REFERRED WORKFLOW

IDT = This process converts the image information from the existing format into the ACES color space.
RRT = The RRT contains an ACES-defined look intended to mimic the traditional look and feel of film.
ODT = This process converts the image information from the ACES color space into a display color space.

LINKS to learn more about ACES:
https://acescentral.com/
https://www.lightillusion.com/what_is_aces.html
https://chrisbrejon.com/cg-cinematography/chapter-1-5-academy-color-encoding-system-aces/
https://mixinglight.com/color-grading-tutorials/getting-know-aces/

CIE CHART

CIE 1931 CHROMATICITY DIAGRAM

This graphic shows a comparison of common
color spaces on a CIE chromaticity diagram.

DaVinci Wide Gamut

DaVinci Wide Gamut is designed to capture the vast majority of colors that can be captured by the latest modern cameras.
https://documents.blackmagicdesign.com/…

ARRI Wide Gamut

ARRI cameras record and output images in Log-C wide gamut color space. Log-C images can carry all the color information and high dynamic range captured by ARRI’s camera sensors.
https://www.arri.com/en/learn-help/

ACES AP1

The Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) is a color image encoding system developed by industry experts under the auspices of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy…

Rec.2020

Rec.2020 is a wider color space than Rec.709.
Created for Ultra-High-Definition TV. (UHDTV)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rec._2020

DCI-P3

DCI-P3 is a common RGB color space for digital film projection in the motion picture industry.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DCI-P3

Rec.709

Rec. 709, also known as BT.709 and ITU 709, is a standard for high-definition television.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rec._709

VIDEOS

ON COLOR MANAGEMENT

Here is a collection of great videos online about color management. I’ll start with sharing a video by Darren Mostyn where he explains a “CST – Color Space Transform” workflow. A workflow which I also prefer because it gives me most control over my color management pipeline.

YouTube: https://youtu.be/CtSBVKmHkjU
Video by Darren Mostyn

CST Color Management in 11 minutes.

Quote:
“Does a CST go first or last? Is a Color Space Transform better than color managed? Answers to these and MANY MORE CST questions here, for Beginners and Intermediates.”

Other great color management videos by Darren Mostyn:
PRO Explains where you may be going wrong in just 10 minutes!
Resolve Color Management EASY – BEGINNERS in under 15 minutes.
YouTube: https://youtu.be/_EJ7lA0bSzo
Video by Cullen Kelly

Three levels of color management

Fantastic video by Cullen Kelly.
Recorded live at ResolveCon 2022
YouTube: https://youtu.be/gbrJGA5c8GQ
Video by Casey Faris. With Daria Fissoun

Learning Color Management In DaVinci Resolve 17 – Sp Guest: Daria Fissoun

Color Managment explained
by Daria Fissoun.
Screenshot from “Color Management in DaVinci Resolve 17” preview video
by rippletraining.com

Color Management in DaVinci Resolve 17

Fantastic course by Alexis Van Hurkman for
https://www.rippletraining.com/

Quote: “This tutorial is for beginner and expert alike who need a solid grasp of how Resolve Color Management can optimize editing, grading and delivery using DaVinci Resolve 17.”

Lengths: 2 hours 34 minutes

LINK:
https://www.rippletraining.com/products/davinci-resolve/color-management-in-davinci-resolve-17/

DAVINCI RESOLVE

REFERENCE MANUAL

Last but not least. I highly recommend taking a look in the user manual by DaVinci Resolve.

Page 194 – Chapter 9 – Data Levels, Color Management, and ACES
Pahe 203 – Introduction to DaVinci Resolve Color Management
Page 205 – The Input, Timeline, and Output Color Space
Page 207 – The RCM Image Processing Pipeline
Page 215 – DaVinci Wide Gamut Color Space and DaVinci Intermediate Gamma

You can download it here:
https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/support/family/davinci-resolve-and-fusion




FULL VS. VIDEO LEVELS
QUICKTIME TAGS & REC709-A

MORE LINKS

Dan Swierenga is a colorist and Flame artist from Long Beach, California. He wrote some fantastic articles on Video Levels, Quicktime Tags, Rec709-A and so on. So please visit his website if you have “gamma shift” issues and want to learn more how to fix it:

How to Deal with Levels: Full vs. Video
A Deeper Look at Consistent Color with QuickTime Tags From Resolve To YouTube & Vimeo on Wide Gamut Apple Monitors

His website:
https://www.thepostprocess.com/