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T351 Week 14 - Spring 2015

Advanced Techniques for Post-Production

Reality Check/Announcements

  • Final Project - Rough Cut this week: Please share your rough cut with me in person or via an on-line link this week in lab. This will give you a few days to fine tune. By the start of lab this week, there will be no more camera checkouts. We'll watch Final Projects starting promptly at 9AM in lab next week.
  • Next week during lecture, we'll review for the final exam and take care of the class evaluations. Come and you will definitely get a better grade!
  • Multimedia Exercise! It's a 5-point exercise due next week - by 5PM Monday, April 27th. We just want to make sure you can output an HD video in the right codec and proper aspect ratio and post it to a video sharing website.


  • AV Monitoring, Analysis & Color Correction
  • 2k & 4k

Internship Opportunity:

Please forward this message to anyone who you think might be a good candidate. Thanks!

The Indiana Department of Education Migration office is looking for an intern filmmaker for the upcoming project. You will be an assistant to our experienced film crew. Your job will range from carrying gear, boom operator, creative input, operating a B camera, driver, etc. This is a paid internship, about $11 an hour.

- Must be English/Spanish bilingual.
- Must be able to travel with clean driving record.
- Knowledge of DSLRs and other camera gear is a must.
- Be in physically good shape to carry upwards of 30-40lbs.
- Upbeat personality with a passion and empathy for your fellow man.
- Proficiency with Final Cut Pro X is a plus.

We will be traveling in late May and June to Texas to follow a migrant family to Indiana. Anyone interested should send me links to their work, along with contact information.

Alan Berry

Audio/Video Monitoring, Analysis & Color Correction

When shooting video we are concerned with framing, focus, color (WB), and exposure.

When we're editing video we can't do much to fix bad framing and focus, but we can adjust the exposure somewhat and make adjustments to the color.

Before making any tweaks/adjustments to our video we need a way to objectively monitor and assess it. This is best done with a waveform monitor and a vectorscope. In addition it's nice to have RGB parade, a histogram, and audio level and phase information.

Your editing software isn't the ideal way to provide this. There's not enough room on the screen and video editing software really isn't designed to carry out monitoring- it's optimized for editing

Broadcast reference monitors are wonderful to have but can be expensive and will provide bad feedback if not setup properly. (Here's a good article on how to setup your monitor from Apple.)

Here are a few relatively low-cost monitoring solutions:

  • Field monitor with built-in monitoring
  • External monitoring (E.g. Black Magic Design Ultrascope

Regardless what monitoring you use, SMPTE color bars are a good first place to start.

Color - SMPTE color bars (generated from a camera or an edit system) should look like this:

On a waveform monitor you might see something like this:

Note the IRE values of the various colors. Remember that the maximum legal, allowable value for broadcast video is 100 IRE. The blackest black for digital video is 0 IRE.

The vectorscope display should look like this:




The ikan D7w Field monitor:

ikan D7w image

Jim's Portable Edit Setup:

When I'm traveling light and need to edit, I rely on my MacBook Pro with a 2nd monitor. To monitor my video I use a small 7" monitor- the ikan D7w (pictured above). The reason I use this one is that it's got a built-in waveform monitor, and vectorscope. It has both HDMI and HD-SDI loop-through inputs and is large enough to provide critical info for focusing but small enough that it can be attached to a camera.

Premiere lets you add additional monitors. Once one is plugged in go to Premiere Preferences / Playback. You'll want to check the box under "video device" next to your monitor.

Under the "Window" menu you can choose "Reference Monitor" to open an additional monitor if needed.

Jim's Studio Edit Setup (Dedicated Signal Monitoring):

Professional editors used to have to spend $5,000-$10,000 for dedicated monitoring gear. Now it can be had for about $700 (+ the price of a PC) with Black Magic Design's Ultrascope. There are two versions: a PCI card version and a dongle which you can use with a laptop in the field. The display looks like this:

ultrascope display

It provides:

  • RGB Parade
  • waveform monitor
  • vectorscope
  • histogram
  • audio levels & spectrum
  • video monitor
  • error logging

Error logging is a huge feature. It automatically looks for non-legal video and audio elements. You essentially: turn on the logging, start playing your footage, and go to lunch (let the entire program play and be logged). It records the errors and the time they happened.

If you are interested in learning more about color correction and preparing programs for broadcast I highly recommend Scott Carmichael's Finishing class.


Basic Color Correction & Finishing

Color correction is the process of enhancing the visual appearance in regard to hue, saturation, and contrast.

If you want to create videos that can be broadcast, it's important to understand at least the basics of color and gamma correction.

For TV, it's imperitive that luma levels don't go above 100 IRE and that the audio is consistent with the delivery specifications of the station. Here are some sample technical delivery specifications for broadcast TV:

Be sure you know how to perform basic color correction in whatever software you use.


Sadly, applying effects to a group of clips is a weakness of Premiere. One can copy and paste attributes but this is klunky.

Final Cut Pro

In Final Cut Pro you can use the "Levels" effect to adjust the gamma curve. You can turn on the "Show Excess Luma" which indicates areas over 100 IRE. The "Threshold" effect is an easy way to limit excess luma.

Adding & framing graphic info - Even though the move to 16x9 HD broadcast happened back in 2009, many are still offering 4x3 SD content. Commercial work often needs to comply by using a 4x3 center cut safe zone. In the example below 4x3 guides have been overlaid into FCP's existing 16x9 safe action and safe text guides.

The image above shows a 4x3 mask placed underneath FCP's 16x9 safe action and safe text guides. Many video cameras have a variety of viewfinder guides you can toggle through.

Here's a link to a 15-second spot that had to fit inside the 4x3 safe action and safe text areas:



Post-Production/Editing Resources


2K, 4K & Ultra HD

HD is great but there's something even better: 2K and 4K. Check out the wikipedia entry on it.

Here's a pretty good visual comparison of the various formats: http://www.manice.net/index.php/glossary/34-resolution-2k-4k

2K provides only slightly more information than HD. 2048 pixels per line compared with 1920. But the format was embraced by the digital cinema industry. The Phantom Menace introduced the world to Digital Cinema. Digital Cinema is not about production- but the distribution of theatrical content. Digital Cinematography is about film production using digital tools.

Most have ignored 2K and focused on 4K, which essentially provides 4 times the information as HD.

Just as HD comes in varying pixel dimensions for broadcast and recording 4 comes in different sizes as well. Most variations of 4K have 4096 pixels per line.

Back Magic Designs unveiled a few new cameras at last year's NAB which created some excitement.

4K might already be heading towards obsolescence. 8K is right around the corner.

Ultra HD - Defined as any "ultra" high-definition formats, which currently includes 4K and 8K.


Engineering & Troubleshooting ------------------------------------

What is the life span of video gear?

The hard drive your latest labor of love is on and everything you have in your kit will break and is eventually destined for the junkyard. It’s a fact. – It’s a matter of when. When do you think it’ll break? When it’s sitting on the shelf? Probably out on a shoot. When you’re shooting b-roll or interviewing the Mayor?

Jim’s Double Backup / Plan B (for important shoots have two of everything) I bring extra microphones, bulbs & cameras etc.


Every camera operator and field engineer must know how to troubleshoot

Audio is the most common problem but video can be vexing.

Major Audio Troubleshooting Principle: Swap connectors & the problem moves. This would mean the problem is toward the source. If you swap cables and the problem doesn’t move- it means the trouble is towards the destination. This technique can help you pinpoint problems.

Virtual Problem Scenarios – These are actual problems you may encounter.

How many steps will it take you to find:

Bad Audio

  • No sound from lav
  • No sound from shotgun
  • Really soft audio from mic
  • No sound from mic

PS: Audio hum- don’t run power cords near or parallel to audio cables. If you must, cross wires at 90 degrees.

Bad Video

  • Image is dark in the viewfinder
  • Viewfinder looks out of focus
  • Shooting inside and the picture is too dark.
  • Shooting outside and it’s too light
  • Shots seem to go out of focus



  • 2K
  • 4K
  • Broadcast Safe levels
  • Color Correction
  • Digital Cinema
  • Digital Cinematography
  • Ultra HD
  • Waveform monitor
  • Vectorscope







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