Chansons de Charlotte

I recently color graded a short called Chansons de Charlotte, directed by Brian Windelinckx. 

He describes it as:

A musical comedy about a girl stuck in a rut - A love letter to the geniuses of the French New Wave (Godard, Truffaut, Varda & Demy) and Christophe Honoré’s revival of the genre.

Charlotte spends the night with her ex-boyfriend, philanderer Kristof, while having an affair with her French lit professor Frederik. The resulting chaos might interfere with a life-altering event for Charlotte.

And I absolutely love the film and loved working on it. It’s a musical and I love it. I love it. And … it’s a musical …
Errrr … not really my cup of tea normally (I don’t like tea by the way). 
But this little film is right up my alley and it makes me long for it to continue into a feature. 

Brian has just graduated from the KASK film school here in Ghent and this was his graduation project. Five out of ten graduation projects from this year’s bachelor students were filmed on the Ikonoskop A-Cam dII.

I’ve started keeping a list of films and documentaries that have been filmed on the dII and it’s getting quite long.

Why haven’t we seen more of these films online? Mainly because the filmmakers making them did not intend them for Vimeo or YouTube.

Most of them have entered or are entering the festival circuit and do not want much to be shown on the internet. It’s a bit frustrating if you want to show how good a camera is, but I can understand their point of view.

I was assuming that people had found their way by now around color correction and grading difficulties of the CinemaDNG post workflow for the dII.

But recent e-mails, conversations and topics on the Ikonoskop forum suggest the contrary.
And I can understand this, as Ikonoskop on their part have in my opinion not invested enough time and effort in getting the post workflow as smooth as possible.

So here’s how I color grade dII footage 80% of the time:

  1. I use the ACES color space with the CinemaDNG IDT but I don’t set an ODT. Any rec709 setting in Resolve seems to react to the Ikonoskop CinemaDNG like the work of a colorist gone mad. It’s like you only have 7 stops of latitude and the red channel is oversaturated by a 100%.
  2. Not setting an ODT results into a very dark image, but this is normal as it’s in linear gamma. 
  3. I use the custom curves to make a gamma curve that I’m satisfied with (basically just taking the centre of the luminance diagonal and pulling it up, so you get a balanced “C-shape” curve, will get you into a nice starting point).
  4. Or you can use this LUT as a starting point (use it as an input LUT in your project settings).

You might get the impression that Adobe Camera Raw (Photoshop, After Effects) does a better job at debayering the Ikonoskop CinemaDNG.

I just would like you to know that Adobe applies by default sharpening and noise reduction in Camera Raw (look at the 3rd tab of Camera Raw). So if you’re comparing decoders for quality, make sure you’re sending them into battle with the equal weaponry.

Stills taken from Chansons de Charlotte.

Resolve 9.1 - Are we there yet?

The latest version of DaVinci Resolve, 9.1, now includes CinemaDNG Input Device Transform (IDT) for grading Raw images in the ACES colour space.

This gives in my opinion, out of the box, the most accurate colour rendition of the Ikonoskop footage. Or as Jesse Borkowski said on Twitter: "I know! It’s like I got a new camera!"

To set it up in your Resolve projects, here’s a nice tutorial by Jesse:

If you were using the IkonoVinci.lut, be sure to deactivate it when using ACES.