Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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WOWOW's remake of "Cold Case" graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio
A scene from WOWOW's remake of the hit show "Cold Case"
  • FREMONT, Calif.
  • --

Blackmagic Design announced that the remake of the worldwide hit drama series “Cold Case” was graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio. The new show, graded by Tetsuji Yamashita, a colorist/technical director of IMAGICA, was delivered in both HDR and SDR versions.

WOWOW’s “Cold Case” is the Japanese version of the American hit drama series, starring Yo Yoshida. WOWOW currently broadcasts all its programming in SDR but decided to also create an HDR version of the show for both their own broadcasts and for selling them to oversea markets.

“As we decided to make this series in HDR, we wanted to give a unique look that we couldn’t give to the SDR version. HDR is usually said to be realistic, yet some people are against it as it looks too graphic in some situations, which rather prevents the audience from getting into the story. So, we created a new look while still aiming the picture not to look too graphic, even in HDR, “ said Yamashita.

The drama’s overall tone is a hard and bit greenish look. “HDR has some unique characteristics in the highlight. Even very bright parts, which do not have any color in SDR, you can see in HDR. With Resolve, I was able to make a look that showed slight green on white, and used the tracking tool a lot for the actors’ faces so that I could control the face tone with a more natural look.”

WOWOW and the drama’s creators decided all the looks for the series before initial shooting took place. “This way, everybody can share the same look, even at offline edit. If we would choose looks in postproduction, it causes a big gap between the look the director was watching and got used to and the look the DP wanted to make. For ‘Cold Case,’ we needed to deliver both SDR and HDR versions. By deciding looks earlier, the actual grading session was very smooth.”

IMAGICA also did production work for the show, and in its workflow from shooting, dailies creation, conform and grading, DaVinci Resolve was used in a number of different roles. IMAGICA offers a service uploading all dailies, offline edits and VFX shots so that everyone on staff can check the same thing at the same time.

Masahiro Saito, data manager of IMAGICA, said; “We need to export our footage to various formats for various circumstances, such as H.264 for uploading to the cloud, DNxHD and ProRes for offline edits. Resolve is very handy as it supports almost all codecs that we need and allows us to export multiple clips in one shot. Also we use Resolve for editing when we pull out shots for VFX work.”

Yamashita added; “Many members of the production teams, such as camera men and camera assistants, can now use Resolve. If I make and save nodes with my grade or LUTs, anyone can see the same look. We could do the color management with minimum effort.”

Yamashita aimed to create a rather hard look for this series, where he often brought up sharpness. “If you bring up the sharpness, the picture tends to get noisy especially in 4K HDR. I wanted to keep the picture as clean as possible. I used the noise reduction plug in to compensate. In such situations I usually send the master to another system for noise reduction, which causes extra work. Resolve allowed me eliminate that. I could decide how I control the noise while grading, that is, decide the texture and the picture, which was a great advantage of the Resolve.”

Throughout the series, each episode includes a flashback scene. The flashback scenes take place in various eras, so they gave a unique look for each scene to match its time frame. “To make a look to represent the time, we shot all flashback scenes with 16mm film. We were particular about matching the look to the time of the scenes. If a scene was set in the time when video cameras appeared, we used a video camera with a DV codec and shot at 60i. In scenes of the 70’s, I was requested to make an old reversal film look. I used Resolve to turn the shadow balance towards red and created a contrasty look to bring vigorous and a somewhat cute atmosphere in the picture,“ said Yamashita.

“In this drama, the same actors play the same person, yet the time difference between a current scene and a flashback scene could be very big, maybe even 20 years. When showing such a difference, skin tone control is a key factor. I used Mid tone detail and Curve grading a lot for this. I especially felt the superiority of Resolve’s curve grading when I grade for both SDR and HDR versions. It lets me control very slight details, which I cannot pull out with the track balls. I had to grade in different color spaces between Rec 709 and Rec 2020, and the curve grading is easier to understand how I control the curve in each color space,“ concluded Yamashita.