The curse of the “rough cut”

Recently I’ve been somewhat involved with a few “problematic” projects where I think part of the problem lies in the idea that a “rough cut” or a “first assembly” is the best first step in the editorial process.

What?!?!?

That’s how things are done, always! Are you mad?!?!?

Ok, let me explain.

The problem is that “first decisions” tend to stick. Or, to put it another way: The DNA of that first rough cut will most likely be present in the final product. Rarely is the first rough cut completely thrown out after using it to assess the story and then start from absolute scratch, and even if it were, the impressions and feelings of the material that you get from watching that first assembly will inform your decisions down the road. A much more common scenario is that the rough cut is used as the starting point for an incremental process.

So – don’t be flip about putting together that first assembly. In many ways it’s more important than the final tweaks.

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Some “dynamic range” tests

So,

There were some arguments over the dynamic range of the new C300mk2… I shot a test series just to satisfy my curiosity. Pictures are below. You can draw your own conclutions if your’re so inclined.

The first image in each series has the right most patch on the cusp of white clip.

The second is with 10 stops of ND – 1.8ND internally and 1.2ND in front of the lens AND 1/2 a stop down on the lens for a total of 10.5 stops down from the first picture.

The third is another full 2 stops down on the lens for a total of 12.5 stops down from the first picture.

The fourth is the same as No.3 but “graded” so that we can “see into the dark”.

The F5 was shot Slog3, The C100 Clog, and the C300 mk2 both Clog and Clog2. No noise reduction applied anywhere. Footage imported into Premiere Pro, titles done there, exported as Prores HQ, and then “graded” (only the 4th pic in each series is touched) in DaVinci.

Here goes:

(Clicking on the images should bring up the full res versions)

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