This is the first industry newsletter that I actually rush to my email on Sunday to check for. I have so much junk mail that never informs me of anything, but the Tao has seriously ignited my already burning crave to be a colorist.

Shawn P.
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The Tao of Color Grading Newsletter

A weekly newsletter about the craft and business of Digital Color Grading.
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Editors, Finishers, Colorists, DITs (and your assistants)...

Scroll down to read our most recent Newsletter:

(emailed on Sunday at 3:05 am, New York time)

Curated by Patrick Inhofer, Colorist | Mentor

Issue CDLXXI: The Personal Appeal Edition

The Tao of Color Grading Newsletter

Curated links of news, reviews, thoughts, career advice, and humor for professional Video / Film Colorists & Finishers. Delivered Sundays.
Sunday, 7 February 2021 | Web Archives | [email protected] Team Page
From The Publisher
I've included more content than usual this week. Why? Rather than holding some items for next week (to keep it short so GMail doesn't clip it) I'm thinking of skipping next Sunday's newsletter.


It might have something to do with an item that came in through the US Postal Service this week. I decided to share it with you:
Yeah. The day finally arrived when this offer was mailed to me, unsolicited. Most birthdays leave me unfazed. The march of time is steady. I'd rather reach these benchmarks than not.

Still. The last few months have been jam-packed and rather... exhausting. The next few months are proving to shape up the same. This letter reminded me it's a good opportunity to take a weekend pause, turn off all my electronic gear, and decompress.

Or not.

I haven't decided yet - but I'm taking action as if I will. Whatever I decide...

Happy Grading!

I'll see you next Sunday (or the Sunday following).
(and remember - if you have a story that's a fit for this Newsletter, hit reply or email it to '[email protected]'! Include a quick reason for the suggested link.)

- Patrick Inhofer
Colorist | Publisher | Coach

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The Craft
Featuring the work of creative craftsmen, the theory of color, and industry news. Learn practical workflows, useful theories, and actionable insights from existing (and emerging) leaders and teachers in our industry.

What does the Goliath of streaming services expect from the readers of this newsletter if they're color grading from home? Click through for Netflix's guidance on everything from reference displays to room setup to home security. (via Marc Wielage)

(forum) Marc Wielage shared this Netflix document on LGG. I have to agree with many of the sentiments expressed in this thread; that document is filled with compromises - many of which I wouldn't recommend. There are other recommendations that anyone delivering to Netflix should not need to be told. With that in mind, the Netflix document seems directed more at the people who hire us (our clients) and getting them up to speed on the bare minimums.

(video) If a part of your client base needs to be educated about our craft then a Before-After reel can be useful. I like this video by Luke Ross because he spends the first minute explaining why he considers it bad form to start the demo with uncorrected Log footage - especially if you used a technical or input LUT as part of your process.

A frequent contributor to the Tao Newsletter writes: "This guy basically says (in 5000 words), “I don’t like it because 4K is too sharp, and fantasies are supposed to be soft and dreamy.” See if you agree with me."

After you click through and read this article, reply to this email and let me know your thoughts about the issues raised in the remastering of LOTR. I'll summarize the thoughts of this color-loving readership (and let me know if I can use your words with attribution). I'll also try to get my hands on the LOTR remastering to build an informed opinion.

"ftrack Studio is a project management and media review software. It has been recognized with a Technical Achievement Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for contributions to filmmaking and post-production." The details of this software are quite impressive.

An interesting set of crunched numbers - that are not at all surprising.

(video) "In this video presentation that was done for the ACS Technology Committee, I look at the history and reasons behind modern digital cameras and display resolutions. This is a look back at the muddle of formats that we can choose from today and where they come from." From cinematographer Ben Allen.

Sponsor is the only good way to make end credits.
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The Tools
Our craft keeps changing. And growing. Learn about updates to your favorite software. Discover new tools to help you work faster or more creatively. Build your tool chest with new techniques and approaches. 
(forum) I'm linking to the changelog for R17b8. For my readers, the biggest feature change is for those of us on the Mini Panel and using the HDR Palette. Not only are the menus completely re-designed, but the per-Zone Tint/Temp controls have also been removed - eliminating this functionality completely from the software! In my mind, this is a major step backward since I personally found this control immensely useful on a feature I recently graded in R17b. This control only existed on the Mini (and, I assume, the Advanced) panels - not on the user interface. 

Peter and Rohit: If someone forwards this email to you, I'm appealing to you to bring back those controls... at least for your panel users! It's a terrific control and a nice bonus for colorists who invested in your hardware.
(videos) Compositor and trainer Bernd Klinn has made two of his lessons in his €29 Fusion course free, in front of the paywall. In my quick previews of these videos, this training looks like a bargain. Take a look for yourself as Berndt walks through a sky replacement as well as creating a custom 3D camera transition.

From the peeps at ICA (and because it's always a good idea to keep on top of alternative platforms that might serve you - or your competitors - better), "participants will have the opportunity to get a complete overview of all fundamental features of SGO’s full finishing and color-grading software-only solution Mistika Boutique and creatively explore its extensive toolset."

There isn't much written on this topic and this article is a good starting point covering the bigger differences. In the end, it becomes a question of how heavily invested are you in Adobe's pipeline?

(video) This quick video demos a new tool from Time In Pixels for grabbing your Viewer in DaVinci Resolve and playing out directly through Zoom or OBS (or a similar app). It's actually the type of thing I had expected Resolve 17 to implement. My one big criticism of R17beta is the lack of any functionality to help post pros handle remote collaboration with their non-tech-savvy clients in our new working conditions. Nobe Display NDI is definitely worth your look-see.

(video) Like the headline says - plus some bits about new scope features in Resolve 17. The video is timestamped if you just want to jump to the parts that interest you. From colorist Darren Mostyn.

(forum) I missed this item last year. I pulled this from Scott Simmons' Useful Tools blog post. An embedded video explains: "With my software you gonna have lots of more control than the native connection. It's made for Tangent Wave 1 and 2 but it works with any other Tangent Panel . . . "

"Join us live on February 11 at 11:00 AM PST as we bring production into the cloud." Registration required.

"The initial release did not support MacOS Big Sur or Final Cut Pro for the updated tools: Looks 5, Colorista V and Denoiser III. That changes now, as Maxon announces the immediate availability of a maintenance release for Magic Bullet Suite that makes good on our promise to restore that compatibility."

"We will focus on a minimal setup for now – consisting of a camera with a log-signal output, a LUT box (controlled by Livegrade) applying the creating grade and converting the image to an HDR encoding, and lastly an HDR monitor receiving and displaying the modified signal."

The updated 'terms' are what got my attention here. But there are plenty of color science updates in here, too.
Flanders Scientific XM310K Professional HDR Grading Display
The XM310K has a peak luminance of 3,000cd/m2 making it one of the brightest HDR mastering monitors on the market.

It supports both PQ and HLG EOTFs, multiple color gamut selections, and a contrast ratio in excess of 3,000,000:1. The XM310K is ideal for a wide variety of demanding HDR workflows.
Pushing Photons
These stories are from's membership Library of color grading articles, tutorials, and podcasts (Tao Of Color is co-Owner). Do you want to read a story listed here but not a member? Sign up for a free 7-Day Test Drive.​​​ There's also color correction Practice Projects for purchase.
(podcast) "In this episode, we discuss if project-wide or more custom approaches to color management are the 'right' way to do things."
(video) "How does the DaVinci Resolve Mini control surface manage to control 7+ color wheels in the HDR Palette, with only 3 physical trackballs?" I'll be recording a new version of this video in the next week or so since R17b8 makes major changes to these controls. Also, this is free and in front of the paywall.
(video) "Dan briefs you on a Black & White Tri-X look. If you grade to his brief and post in the comments, he'll play 'client' and offer feedback."
(video) "In part 2 of his series, Peder Morgenthaler dives deeper into the controls in DaVinci Resolve's Color Warper."
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Gear Heads
Stay updated on the latest hardware that's shipping - because the craft of color grading isn't just about software. Plus, keep an eye on future equipment trends and hardware odds-and-ends.

If you find yourself on Big Sur: "[OWC] advises that if you are running SoftRAID on an M1 Mac, do not install the macOS Big Sur 11.2 update. Why not? Due to certain OS modifications made by Apple, SoftRAID will not operate properly. As always, we are working diligently with Apple’s engineers to rectify the problem and will keep you posted with . . . updates."

"The Calman Ready capability in 2021 Philips TVs enables direct communication between the TV and the Calman software for easier, automated picture calibration, also known as Calman AutoCal. TVs from LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony are also Calman Ready."

Interesting: "Having custom built firmware designed specifically for a specific NAS family can certainly be advantageous, and could well offer the benefits that Synology claims.  On the other hand, locking customers into an ecosystem where they are forced to choose from a small number of compatible drives won’t be attractive to customers."

Intel revealed a deck showing how the first generation M1 chip is no match for Intel hardware. This post is a nice summary of observations and critiques from Tom's Hardware and Six Colors on that presentation - and how Intel seems to be playing fast and loose with its chosen benchmarks. Click through for links to the full analysis.

Sunday Fun(nies)
Random thoughts, tidbits, and fun stuff that caught my attention this week. Maybe it's color grading related. Maybe not. Ya got'ta read to the end of the Newsletter to find out.

(video) Not a rumor. It's just fun and funny. (via Robbie Carman)

"The campaign includes a 5G-powered virtual stadium and meet-and-greets with NFL players inside the popular game."

Why is this in the Fun(nies)? Because when I found the section of the article where it explained how to tell the difference, I laughed. You might, too.

Th- th- th- that's all folks! I'll see you next Sunday (or the Sunday after that).