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DPs Welcome New C.C.C.P. from G&DGamma & Density’s 3CP software in use on four major Hollywood projects (November 02, 2004)
Oftentimes as audiences and critics laud a film’s stunning photography, a cinematographer mulls over how much better it could have been, if only the DP had more control over the Telecine and Digital Intermediate (DI) processes.
Now Gamma & Density (G&D) is delivering that control to those who need it most, with a program designed by cinematographers for cinematographers.
G&D, a pioneering software company based in West Hollywood headed by DP Yuri Neyman, recently debuted the newest version of its Cinematographer’s Color Correction Program (3CP). This software, packaged with a PowerBook G4 laptop and specially calibrated display, is portable, user-friendly and a hit with cinematographers using the system.
Introduced in April, the 3CP system was first used by DP Checco Varese on the set of the ABC movie of the week Their Eyes Were Watching God (due in early 2005), starring Halle Berry. An avowed fan of G&D’s Telecine Color Control Chart, he jumped at the opportunity to be the first to use the new tool.
“I am a longtime admirer of Yuri’s work and the G&D Color Control Chart, which ensures my images turn out 90-percent the way I want them to be,” says Varese, “but 3CP makes the process even more accurate and 3CP’s film to video translations makes it easy for me to address problems on the set with quick solutions.”
Another DP embracing the 3CP solution is Jerzy Zielinski (Galaxy Quest, Dodgeball), who is currently shooting the remake of Fun with Dick and Jane for Sony Pictures.
“I knew I would need a way to keep the dailies calibrated to my specifications, and 3CP gives me that level of control,” says Zielinski. “Without it, the Telecine colorist could go off in hundreds of thousands of different directions, all away from the visual I worked so hard to achieve.”
Zielinski says choosing 3CP was as much a studio decision as it was his. After a demonstration of 3CP, Sony was convinced it would make the Telecine and DI process better, faster and cheaper. Sony also chose 3CP for Zathura, being shot by Guillermo Navarro (The Long Kiss Goodnight, From Dusk Till Dawn).
Putting the system to work is not only a testament to the brilliance of 3CP, but a realization by decision-makers that investing in on-set color correction upfront not only minimizes misunderstandings between DPs and colorists, but also saves time and labor in the Telecine and DI process.
“The DI process is very labor intensive and requires so many steps that without proper means of communication, the DP’s image can suffer,” says Neyman, who in addition to his DP experience is also intimately familiar with modern postproduction practices. “A lack of common standards is to blame.”
“By using 3CP, the cinematographer creates a common reference base, understood on all levels of postproduction, thus ensuring consistency between images created on the set and the Telecine and DI transfers,” says Neyman. “Not only does 3CP preserve the cinematographer’s vision, but it also makes the colorists job easier by providing a visual and instrumental guide created for them by the DP.”
By eliminating the guesswork, 3CP creates the standard.
Neyman, who as a DP saw his original vision for films become corrupted in the Telecine process on numerous occasions, began working on a solution that would enable him to preserve his visual idea for the dailies. Originally creating the Telecine Color Control Chart for his own use, the system caught on among others and is now a "household name" among DPs working in more than 30 countries around the world. This success lead to the founding of G&D and soon after to another world’s first; an on-set color correction system enabling DPs to communicate with Telecine (a prototype of today’s 3CP) that he successfully used while lensing the Lion’s Gate feature Civil Brand.
The G&D team designed the latest version of 3CP to be user-friendly. The cinematographer does not need to have an in-depth knowledge of color science and technology, nor spend a lot of time learning the program interface. The process usually takes no more than 60 seconds for a DP to color-correct one scene and the results can be seen immediately. When the job is done, the 3CP color-corrected images (in the form of report files containing the technical data) are then sent to post production facilities either via the Internet or on a CD-ROM.
“3CP was easy to learn and it is obvious it is based on a DP’s knowledge,” says John Christian Rosenlund, a Norwegian cinematographer who recently finished shooting Factotum (starring Matt Dillon). “There is a lot of great practical thinking behind the product. Now, the producer and director are very happy with the dailies, the editing looks great and the pictures match how they will appear on screen. 3CP has made it possible to create a product very close to my original vision.”
G&D is in the process of establishing strategic partnerships with post facilities and 3CP is currently being used by Telecine Colorists at Technicolor, FotoKem, Modern Video & Film (Glendale, Calif.), and Chimney Pot (Oslo, Norway). Because 3CP is also designed to work with HD cameras, G&D is developing a partnership with Plus 8 Digital, a company specializing in HD camera rentals.
Although Neyman and his G&D team plan to officially debut 3CP at NAB 2005 in Las Vegas, positive word of mouth in DP circles is spreading, and 3CP is available for use right now.
About Gamma and Density Co.
Gamma and Density Co. creates tools for cinematographers to help to maintain artistic and technical control over their images during the transfer session.
For more information regarding 3CP, please visit www.gammaanddensity.com
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