From RAW to FINAL
These are the steps we take, from the initial capture of your film transfer, all the way through to the last step of making your output file.
This outline is intended for individuals who want to know exactly what is done to their transfer, when they have chosen all of our "image enhancement" options. It also shows how (and why) we need to take these steps, in a particular order. Note: If you do not choose all 3 of the "image enhancement" options, the work-flow steps will differ somewhat.
The first three steps are accomplished with a 10 bit file, because this superior and larger file has finer color gradation (aka color depth) available from which to perform further "image enhancement options." Even though in most cases you'll receive an 8 bit file, the bulk of the extra work happens with a 10 bit file.
DigitizingDigitizing happens in Full-HD (10 bit) and includes some adjustments to light-exposure and color. The output files in steps 1 through 4 result in files that contain no duplicate frames -- vital for accomplishing steps 3 and 4. Playing any of the files in steps 1 - 4 will appear as if it's in fast motion. It's not until step 5 that the final playback speed is corrected.
Secondary Color CorrectionHaving the finer 10 bit color gradation available tremendously benefits the task of secondary color correction. (This task can still be done with an 8 bit file, but is less ideal because gradation banding art-effects start to show.) This task is then followed by "cleaning up" any bad camera pixels -- most cameras have this challenge.
(10 bit) Vertical mirroring (ie. flipping) of the image and the centering of image happens during this step. Sharpening of the image also takes place to compensate for the slight softness the image stabilization brings.
The output file at this step will either be in 10 bit or 8 bit, depending on the file type our customer requested.
The grain reduction process relies heavily on the information of neighboring frames (the most recent frame and the next frame) to improve the look of the current processed frame. That is why it is best to do this step after the image stabilization and before speed correction. During speed correction is where duplicate frames are introduced.
It is best to start off doing secondary color correction before grain reduction. This is because the grain reduction process is an 8bit process. In other words, the process of grain reduction will convert our 10 bit file into an 8 bit file. So please note that if one decides to hold off on doing the "secondary color correction", performing it instead after the file's "grain reduction", it results in a more limiting starting point. This is why it's best to follow the steps in the above ascending order.
Speed correctionThis final step corrects for proper playback speed and final cropping or masking (if any) of the image to obtain clean side edges. Note: The playback speed of all previous files is in fast motion. It is only after this final step that the playback speed is correct.
final output file in 10 bit ProRes or AVI file
final output file in 8 bit MP4, Blu-ray, DVD