Announcing Mother Died: A New Grade Along

UPDATE 1: Watch an excerpt from the Mother Died Grade-Along training that I’ve recently posted on ‘Pre-rendering: What is it and how do I do it?

UPDATE 2: It looks like this training will be released in early May! Stay tuned . . .

UPDATE 3: The training is officially released. Click to read about and buy it on our training website.

I’ve been dropping hints in the Tao Colorist Newsletter. I’ve Tweeted about it a few times. And if you’re an existing owner of a previous Grade-Along or MasterClass, you’ve read about my plans.

But this? This is the official announcement that a new Grade-Along is *almost* here!

Just as I’ve done with two previous short films, I’ve licensed this short film – with a portion of every sale going back to the filmmakers… so they can continue to practice (and profit) from their craft—while you get to sit next to me as I guide you through color correcting a high-quality short film.

About this Grade-Along

Below is my on-camera introduction to the very first Lesson of the Grade-Along. The audio generally over-modulates and I’ll be re-recording it before shipping the final version of this training. But it’s so spot-on in saying everything I want to communicate, here it is ANYWAY!

After the video scroll down for more details, including an embed and discussion of the short film, Mother Died. And later this week I’ll post my 45 minute Skype discussion with the Director and Writer of Mother Died.

Colorist Flight School: The Concept

As you can tell from this intro, Colorist Flight School goes way beyond typical color correction ‘interface training’. In fact, there’s very little discussion of the interface during the seven hours we spend together in the Mother Died Grade-Along. I’ll pause from time-to-time to explain WHY I’m using a tool but it’s rare where I stop to explain HOW to use the tool. For that, there’s the optional bundled Fundamentals training…

The Grade-Along training aspect of Colorist Flight School is all about image evaluation, client desires and wishes, controlling the audience’s eyes and the various tools and techniques I use to achieve these results.

Mother Died Specifics

Mother Died was released by my good friends at in 2012, their 4th film in their anthology series – before I started color correcting their films for them. I knew I could turn it into a solid Grade-Along from the first moment I laid eyes on it. It had all the elements I was looking for that would change things up for my members who had taken previous Grade-Alongs with me:

  • Mostly interiors: my previous films were all exteriors.
  • Beauty grading: previous Grade Alongs were either gritty, bloody or both!
  • Multiple Looks: I’ve created a single Look in previous Grade-Alongs. But this short screams for multiple Looks—allowing me to express the idea of how to use different toolsets from the same software to help create different Looks.
  • Working with Plug-Ins: Because of the different Looks and motivations to those Looks, I’d have the raw materials I need to show how I use plug-ins to help create visual interest.
  • Not bloody: Dead Mans Lake had LOTS of gruesomeness in it and this time around I wanted something… much less so. There’s implied violence in this film – but nothing on-screen and almost no blood.
  • Shot on RED: yes, the file sizes are huge but everyone is looking for high-quality RED footage to play with and this is a perfect film to help fill that need.
  • Edited on FCPx: a good demo on how easy the Proxy workflow can be when implemented correctly, using the newest NLE to hit the market.

Shot on RED, Grade-Along in DaVinci Resolve

Thanks to DaVinci Resolve’s ‘Trim’ feature I’m able to deliver to you the .r3d camera originals… at a ‘reasonable’ file size (reasonable by RED file size standards). I’ve trimmed the camera originals (where the footage is duplicated but the shots are trimmed down to just what’s visible in the timeline) from several hundred gigs to just under 25GB!

Initially, those 25GB will only be available via download. But by mid-May, 2014 – I’ll start shipping thumb drives in limited quantities as add-on purchases.

ProRes444 Proxies

I’ll also make available as an alternate workflow a ProRes444 proxy workflow, generated from the .r3d camera originals and will be only a 7GB download. You’ll be able to completely grade along and I’ll scatter one or two key .r3d shots where you’d want to go back tweak some of those RAW camera settings in DaVinci Resolve… giving you a reasonable download size AND a feel for working with .r3d material.

Watch Mother Died

Neill Gorton, Director and monster-maker extraordinaire

Neill Gorton, Director and monster-maker extraordinaire

Mother Died is being completely remastered by the BloodyCuts team. Now that I’m re-doing the color grade, BloodyCuts is also re-doing the score and mix! What you see below is the original version of Mother Died. I think you’ll be able to see why I feel this short film is a great Grade Along candidate. Enjoy!

And later this week I’ll release the audio interview I did with the director of Mother Died, practical effects guru Neill Gorton of London’s MillenniumFX.