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Colorado Media is Building a New Business from SCRATCH

As the name suggests, Colorado is all about color grading. With SCRATCH as its core workflow and processing tool, the company, established by colorist Mark Wagner and two partners, is sending out the signal to Berlin’s TV and filmmaking communities that top-quality results are fast and highly cost-effective.

Colorado Media is Building a New Business from SCRATCH

Scene from Solartaxi, grading in Scratch, courtesy of Colorado Media

Mark Wagner explains how:
When we started looking at grading technologies a few years ago, my friend Sascha  at Ghost in Copenhagen told me how good SCRATCH was for the work he’s been doing on commercials and feature films. He also told me that SCRATCH is much more than a grading system; it’s a longer-term investment that would enable us to attract work from different markets. And Sascha was right.

Grading: It’s not the tools that make the grade, it’s the person. That said, SCRATCH has all the tools and performance benefits of more expensive DI systems, but at a much more attractive price tag. In Berlin, top-end post is expensive, and we’re showing clients how with SCRATCH, they can get great-looking results more cost-effectively than they ever imagined. We’re attracting work from the TV production market, and SCRATCH gives us a solid value-add proposition for music videos, commercials and for film makers too.

Projects: We’ve used SCRATCH to grade the docu-soap 'Farmer Wants A Wife' (original title: Bauer sucht Frau), one of the most popular cult series on German TV, and the documentary Solartaxi, which follows Louis Palmer’s adventures around the world in a solar powered car. We’re also working on Red Bull HD channels’ Music Academy
series, where recording artists hold lectures on music.

DPX workflow: We’ve adopted a DPX workflow. Typically, footage comes into SCRATCH on a wide range of formats via our Bluefish I/O card or already as files - MiniDV, XDCamHD, Digi-Beta, Apple ProRes, QTs, Avid DNxHD. We de-interlace the material if requested and convert to DPX for a file-based workflow. Scratch is a powerful conformer and EDLs from FCP or MediaComposer always work just fine. We export mostly DPX sequences that are then played back via the Blue Fish card into FCP and recorded in Apple ProRes format. We also export directly as QT as the final deliverable.

Grading: Working with the director, we select “key” shots and shots that need fixing due to technical problems, such as over- /under exposure, or white balance issues. I grade these to the client’s liking in a pre-grade session and then store them in the Trays module. Working between Trays and footage on the timeline in the CONstruct module, I copy and apply grades to relevant scenes, and balance shots from different cameras. During the next client-attended session, we do more primary grading, or go deeper to apply a vignette to direct the eye to the right part of the image, or a Scaffold to adjust the flech tones or enhance the sky. Clients are really impressed by how fast, flexibly and interactively this job can be achieved in the streamlined workflow of SCRATCH.

Demonstration: Come join us for a public demonstration of our new suite and the latest version of SCRATCH on April 29th, at 5pm in Berlin Mitte.