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Forums Broadcasting Calibrating Color From Tape Footage, Setup?

  • Calibrating Color From Tape Footage, Setup?

     Paul Thurston updated 13 years, 8 months ago 2 Members · 2 Posts
  • Nick Lovell

    April 24, 2007 at 10:38 pm


    I am working for the online marketing division of a studio and we have a modest but growing video department. We’re now hitting the point where we will need to be able to deliver color-accurate movie trailers on the web. So, I’m charged with diving into the waters of the uber-technical and finding solutions that even an entry-level video assistant could understand if he were charged to color correct footage we receive.

    We have a setup where a bunch of decks go through an analog switcher into a ADVC-500, which connects to our machines via firewire.

    We recently captured a trailer from a DigiBeta tape (using the analog component connection), and the feedback we received from the higher-ups was that the colors looked “dull.” I used the color bars on the tape and the vectorscope in FCP to color correct the footage, and it looked much better, but it still wasn’t quite as good as the encoded clip a post house was able to deliver to us.

    My question is, is there any way to calibrate our equipment so that it will be accurate every time, or will it always be on a tape-by-tape basis? Are there settings on the deck that determine how the color comes out? If we were to use the digital I/O on the deck and got a card that would allow us to capture uncompressed digital video from the DigiBeta tape, would that guarantee that the color would show up exactly as it was laid down to the tape or would we still need to color correct to make it match?

    How to the large post houses handle color from tapes coming in when they encode it for web?

    Thank you for your help!!!


  • Paul Thurston

    April 27, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    Hi Nick,

    This is the best way to do this.

    1. The video MUST be output and captured into your computer via SDI as uncompressed 10-bit video.

    2. So, if you have anything between the tape deck and your computer that is not SDI, abandon it, make it disappear, give it away to the Salvation Army…

    3. Capturing the video via SDI has two great advantages:
    a) the color will be an exact copy of what’s on tape.
    b) the audio levels will be an exact copy of what’s on tape.

    Digital Betacam players have knobs that allow you to increase or lower the saturation, lift or lower the pedestal and lift or lower the luma level. It is possible to set the knobs to their default settings, which would allow you to capture an exact copy of what’s on tape.

    My suggestion is that you also use a waveform monitor and vectorscope connected to the player when you capture video. This is a great way to make sure all is well while you capture.


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