Apple Color – First Impressions from production

We just completed a small job for Thai Nissan’s new car “Teana”. I figured it would be a perfect opportunity to test out Apple’s Color seeing as the commercial only had 5 shots in it.

The colouring toolset in Color is fantastic compared with FCP. There are good tools in FCP, but Color takes it to another level.

The Workflow
After skimming over the Color manual I had got the idea of how it is meant to work. Basically:

Treat it as if you were taking an online edit to a telecine session.

Understanding that makes it all so simple.

I was making the mistake of thinking I could easily jump BACK and FORTH between FCP & Color and use lots of layers, but it is not meant to we worked that way.

How I do this:

  • Do your best to make your get your FCP sequence to be 1 video layer
  • Make sure your sequence is either Apple ProRes or Uncompressed 10bit/8bit CODEC. These are the native CODECs for Color.
  • Make sure all the elements in the sequence are Apple ProRes or Uncompressed 10bit/8bit CODEC QuickTime movies. Nested sequences and Still frames ARE A NO NO! This may mean that you have to export out portions of your edit as QuickTime movies clips and import them back into your sequence
  • Getting there and back

    There seems to be 2 ways to get your edit from FCP to Color and back to FCP.
    1. Use the ‘send to color’ & ‘send to fcp’ option
    2. export your sequence as xml from FCP, then open it with Color, then export as xml from Color, and import into FCP.

    I used option 1 for the Nissan job, but today I have been using option 2. I prefer this option because it allows me to save the XML files where I want to (good for our current workflow).


  • Color keeps all project files and renders in 1 place – similar to FCP, but more strict. FCP lets you save a project where ever you want to.
  • Any translations you do in FCP on a piece of video – such as Position, Anchor, Scale, Rotate – are transferred to Color and back to FCP
  • Any cropping/filters/animation will not be visible in Color – but it will be present once you go back into FCP from Color.
  • This takes me back to what I said about “Treat it as if you were taking an online edit to a telecine session”.
  • Basically what you send to Color should be like what you might ingest from a Digibeta tape – ‘a piece of video’.
  • I think Color is a fantastic version 1 release and hopefully it means there will be a lot more cool stuff to look forward too.
    Apple’s Color Discussion forums

    Final Cut Pro
    Final Cut Pro-xml.png

    Jeremy Pronk – “Spatial Image Based Lighting”

    Jeremy has some amazing work (i believe it was his thesis?) on Spatial Image Based Lighting.

    check it out:


    The aim of this research is to investigate a spatial extension to the common image based lighting (IBL) process suitable for practical use in areas such as visual effects, animation and gaming. 

    Khaosan Rd, JJ Market & Bangkok Film Festival market

    It’s been an interesting couple of days – bad news and cool stuff at the same time – good old life yin & yang.

    Friday night was cool – I worked kinda late on friday night but managed to grab a drink with Jeab and Nick at Y50 on Thonglo 21 – the place was packed but we managed to get a seat and drink until 4am – interesting because everywhere in Bangkok is meant to close at 1am (it’s the law). We even got to have a shot of Tequila in there!

    On the way home 2 policeman got off the one motorcycle (i am sure you’d never see that in the west) and pulled us up – asked for id, gave us a grope, and asked if we had any drugs. Nick was laughing the whole time – i was a little more spun out by the scenario after the tequila. Luckily we werent transporting any drugs so the cops couldn’t make a little earner off us, so they buggered off.

    Saturday night I went with Salvo, Ben & Jeab to Khaosan road – tourist central. I’ve been meaning to check it out since I arrived here but have never managed to get there. Anyway, it’s a pretty cool place – lots of bars and cheap food, and so many foreigners.

    Khaosan Rd Khaosan Rd Khaosan Rd Khaosan Rd

    Sunday I went with the guys to JJ market again – got some clothes and a cheap powerboard – which I hope isn’t going to cause an electrical fire and burn down my new apartment. This time I managed to take take the HD camera along with charged batteries. I’ll get a clip up soon. The markets really are amazing – they are huge and have so many types of things to buy and food to eat.

    Yesterday (monday) I went with Finito to our booth at the Bangkok Film Market (or something like that) that is running alongside the Bangkok International Film Festival.

    Bangkok Film Market Bangkok Film Market Bangkok Film Market Bangkok Film Market

    Not a whole lot to say about it, except one booth had some wicked props:

    Bangkok Film Market Bangkok Film Market Bangkok Film Market

    Book: The DV Rebel’s Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap

    I stumbled across this book written by seriously clever vfx guy Stu Maschwitz. Besides providing the universe with amazing vfx, he also keeps a great blog.

    Stu Maschwitz worked for ILM but to start his own VFX house with some other folks called The Orphanage. Since then they have grown to be one of the leading VFX houses in the world.

    Back in university days I found an After Effects plugin that Stu Maschwitz wrote with a few guys called “Magic Bullet” & “Look Suite” – some tools to cleverly turn an interlaced frame into a clean progressive image, and also easily apply stylised colour grades. It was aimed at the indy film maker to help get their works looking a lot more pro.

    Anyway, it looks as though he’s written a book which I am sure is going to be very useful for us folks out their that shoot DV and want to make shit look cool! 🙂
    I just ordered it. Check it out:

    “The DV Rebel’s Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap ”

    Me & an iPhone – oh yeah, and a presentation by Autodesk & FxGuide

    I just got back from a presentation by Autodesk and some folks from – demoing the new versions of Flame and Smoke. The guys presentated well – Flame looked cool as always, but Smoke…. not for me.


    I had my first experience with an iPhone! And it was … hot!


    Unfortunately i look like I have some sort of disability in this photo – i just blaim it on the awesomeness of the iPhone.

    The iPhone is fabulous – it feels solid and the touch screen is kickass. I didnt get to look at too much except for iTunes / coverflow and the photo album – all very very very amazing!

    Here is the FX Guide man himself John Montgomery:


    Salvo & Nick also had a go:

    DSC00267.JPG DSC00268.JPG

    Meeting Ron Brinkmann

    A few days ago I got asked if I’d like to go to a presentation by “the guy who created Shake”.
    I immediately said “Ron Brinkmann?!!”
    “No, that doesn’t sound like the name” I was told.

    I was curious who this could be, and also curious why “the creator of shake” would be spending an afternoon in Bangkok.

    Anyway, yesterday I headed off to the Siam tower with the vfx team to the presentation.


    Well, it did turn out to be Ron Brinkmann and he was on a whirlwind tour of some asian cities (i think it was bangkok, Taipei, Shanghei, Seoul and some other places) doing a bit of a promo of Nuke and explaining the concepts of Compositing (now that he left Apple a few months ago i think he said).


    He spoke for about 3-4 hours and demo’d some of the concepts from his earlier book “The art & science of digital compositing” and some the ideas he is gonig to include in his v2.0 release of his book 🙂 .

    He was a very nice guy and I think everyone who attended was pretty absorbed with what he was talking about.
    Thanks a lot Ron!

    Unfortunately he wouldnt reveal anything about where Apple is going to take Shake, but he said the future for Nuke looks great and they are going to make it a lot more user gui friendly – not more like shake, but more like shake 🙂



    Also, just when I thought I’d had a VFX overload for the week, I went to see Michael Bay’s “Transformers” – vfx were amazing!!! But they just couldn’t seem to keep the camera still. Such wicked looking robots but most of the action scenes were a big smear of motion blur. Maybe i need to see it again.

    Sunshine – sci fi movie

    A little while back i posted (i think) about a movie by director Danny Boyle called “Sunshine”. It looked to be a promising sci-fi free of the usual hollyood shite.


    It is!!!!!!

    Last night I went and saw it with Derek and Bessie down in Causeway Bay.
    The movie is stunning to look at. The size of the sun and its immense brightness and heat come across very clearly.
    I thought the concepts were thought out enough to be believable.
    Storywise – well teh guys are off to save the world by creating a star within the sun to reignite it. That’s a big one but I believed it.
    And, the usual hollywood shite has some romantic fucking scene in some part of the space station. Well folks this is free of that too! Although Rose Byrne (who is awesome) seems to have some feelings for the main character played by Cillian Murphy (28days later etc..).


    It ain’t your typical hollywood ending!

    Trailer –