Remote Color Correction

Many of our clients are part of widely dispersed teams with members in different locations. While it’s relatively easy to send an .mp4 of a rough cut to a number of people and quickly gather notes on shot changes, pacing, structure, etc., it’s much harder for multiple people in different places and on various machines to accurately critique color correction. How do you know that what one reviewer sees as crushed black levels aren’t just a function of the brightness setting on that person’s monitor? How can you tell if someone’s comments are a function of the environment in which they’re watching the video or a true matter of taste? It’s always great when those who are reviewing color can come into Henninger’s suites and work with our colorists in person; however, we understand that can’t always happen. When it can’t, use the below tips for making sure that each member of a team is seeing similar images upon reviewing color remotely.

If you can’t come to Henninger, try to come together

Even if your teammates can’t come in and review color with a colorist in one of our suites, being together and viewing color on the same monitor in the same environment will give you the opportunity to share feedback. What might bother one person as a matter of taste might not bother another. For instance, what might be too green for one person might  not be green enough for someone else. Whenever possible, we want to avoid changing something on one reviewer’s insistence only to find on the next round of reviews that the change we’ve made now bother someone else. Being together for reviews at the beginning of a project or for the review of the first episode of a series helps set a baseline “look” that everyone can agree on.

Standardize as much as possible

If you can’t co-locate for reviews, take stock of what everyone is using to review the video. Different types of computers, monitors, and playback software can each display color differently. If everyone is able to conduct reviews on either a Mac or a PC instead of a combination of the two and everyone uses the same program to playback a file, those efforts will help standardize what people are seeing. Henninger’s colorists can also include a black level chart to review files. Making sure reviewers are all seeing the same amount of differentiation in black levels by using the chart can help pinpoint issues that might be environment-related instead of color correction/grading-related.

Adjust settings

Lastly, make sure all reviewers have the brightness settings on their monitors set to the same level (on portable devices we recommend turning brightness all the way up). Even if three people are watching in different locations, and if they’re all watching on a laptop with the brightness level all the way up they’re more likely to be seeing similar representations of color.

Henninger is used to working with multiple people and various teams of reviewers, particularly during political seasons and when projects are on tight deadlines. Making sure each reviewer is judging color using a similar viewing platform will help reduce the number of changes needed and therefore speed up delivery.

For expert help with color correction, please contact us.