The company focuses on both small and larger commercial campaigns, and work within very tight budgets, as well as larger, full scale campaigns using extensive graphics and special effects. Client media could include everything from ARRI and Red footage, to media shot on DSLR cameras. In order to provide a full complement of services, Digital Egg realized they needed to build a new workflow that now included color correction that could be used on an project on any budget.
In Feb. 2011, Digital Egg began providing color correction work, and installed DaVinci Resolve, which included the Resolve Control Surface. After only 5 months and an enthusiastic response from customers, Digital Egg installed a second DaVinci Resolve system.
Moving to Color Correction
The move to adding a color correction suite was considered many times in the past by Digital Egg, but because of the historical high costs involved with purchasing such a system, they did not feel they were ready to start a new business. The affordability of DaVinci Resolve changed that thinking.
Initially, DaVinci Resolve systems were used by Digital Egg for low budget productions and the systems were located in only a small grading room. The suite has itself now grown, but its use has also grown as it is now used in various kinds of projects with varying budgets, from large to small.
Takahiro Saito, visual supervisor of Digital Egg said: “Resolve is now the starting point of file based workflow which Digital Egg is focusing on.”
Mutsuya Horiuchi, the Section Chief of Digital Egg’s Bit Business (sales) division, said: “I always tell my clients to come to see our grading suite if they are hesitant about using Resolve for the first time. Once they see what it can do, they are amazed and come back for more work. Also, many DPs (Directors of Photograpy) and directors are happy that they can be more creative and do high end grading even for low budget projects. Sometimes freelance DaVinci colorists who have never used the Resolve Control Surface come to our suite to see how it works. After the visit, they are very comfortable and come back here for actual work.”
Digital Egg now has two grading suites, “Grading 1” and “Grading 2.” Grading 1 is equipped with a 3GPU system, allowing Digital Egg to host a greater number of clients at one time. Both systems have RED Rocket cards installed, providing fast grading of RED RAW files. Grading 2 is used for work with smaller groups or colorist only work. These days, there has been an increase in people interested in grading, so sometimes lighting staff or video engineers also attend grading session with DPs.
“DPs consider grading as the second shooting set. Even low budget projects, which usually do not have proper grading with a dedicated grading system, desire to create the look with a colorist. Resolve is fast, so even those clients on a tight budget and schedule can be more creative with color,” said Tetsuya Ohta, Digital Egg colorist.
According to Horiuchi, Resolve has changed how clients think about color correction. “In Japan’s commercial industry, color has always been something special that DPs would take care of, so directors and advertising agencies would ignore it. However, I feel it started to change as Resolve entered the market.”
One of the cornerstone’s of Digital Egg’s services is a high quality data workflow that has been designed around Resolve. At Digital Egg, staff personnel such as Ohta and Saito meet with directors on the production side before any post production is done in order to ensure the smoothest transitions in every step of the project.
Ohta has years of experience with color grading and compositing on TV commercial projects. “I am not a traditional colorist. My experience is based on editing and compositing and I have done color correction with DPs in editing sessions. The strength I got from my previous experience as an editor and a compositor is the ability to look over the total workflow while I create a “look” for my clients to offer the most efficient way to let them finish their work.”
Part of Ohta’s work is to guide clients to the finishing stages of any project, walking them through the necessary data workflows. He has always been involved in determining what tasks will be required to be accomplished at the grading session and how he will handle composite shots.
“Data workflow is getting more and more complicated, which is a headache for directors. Leaving such tasks for someone to handle is very helpful,” said Ohta.
Ohta has quickly become proficient with more than just workflows, and has become the colorist at Digital Egg: “I used to use a tablet pen to color correct, which meant I had to watch a GUI other than a grading monitor and a waveform monitor. Now with the Resolve Control Surface, I can grade with my face up all the time, which is a much easier way to operate. It is great that I can touch two track balls at the same time when grading and tweak colors very subtly, which is hard to control via parameters on a GUI. To me, the Resolve Control Surface is a must when using DaVinci Resolve software."
Ohta continued: “Also, the features in Resolve 8 are extremely important for us. With support of a multi layer timeline, it is much easier to grade composite shots. And while seeing both foreground and background in a composition, I can grade the shot so I can always ensure how the color blends with the other layer. The new 3 way color corrector is very useful in situations where you cannot bring even a small control panel on the location set. Also, we installed CUBIX Expander and added 3 GPUs, which allowed me to use three times more nodes in real time! This especially is very useful when I perform more complex grading using many windows.”
From Commercials to Feature Films
Even though Digital Egg mainly produces TV commercials, they recently handled post production and color correction for the feature film, “Yuke! Danshi Kouko Engekibu,” which was released August, 2011. Digital Egg performed all of the grading and computer graphic work for the comedy, which is set in a theater club in a boys only high school.
Handling the color grading for “Yuke! Danshi Kouko Engekibu,” Ohta set the main color for the film as orange, and was able to create a colorful, “pop” mood for it. Also, Ohta was charged with correcting the seasons in the film with Resolve, where he created the look and feel of a spring to fall timeframe even though the film was shot in the winter.
“For the summer scene, I changed the color of yellowish grasses to more green. Also, each character in the film has their own theme colors. To do this, I graded to emphasize individual colors and created the lively, vivid feeling that high school kids have. This included creating sometimes unrealistic colors to express a different atmosphere or feeling of the scenes, rather than make each scene look realistic and beautiful,” said Ohta.
“Resolve helped us start a new business and it quickly got on the right truck. This year is a very fast moving and challenging year for me because of Resolve, and I had learned a lot. I am glad that clients appreciate what we, Digital Egg, offer using DaVinci Resolve” Ohta concluded.
Main Image © 2011, Yuke! Danshi Kouko Engekibu Film Partners. All rights reserved.