All of a sudden, all my past projects want to finish and need to get into grading. A few have allowed me and the colorist to be in the theater together, but most have had to come up with a virtual solution. I have always hated this option. I’ve done versions of this over the years but no setup was ever any good and/or worked consistently for the whole job. Sometimes post is being done in another state or country and they need you to spot from afar; sometimes it’s just a colorist that works at home in their underwear and they don’t want you over; and sometimes there is a pandemic and people don’t want to be around others. All of those are valid, but the question I’ve always had is how do you know that what you’re looking at on your end is a color/brightness accurate image for giving good notes? Enter Streambox:
Essentially, the people at Streambox have come up with hardware, software, and a mobile app to help solve this problem.
It’s actually quite an amazing feat. In its most basic form: you buy (or rent) a hardware unit that will encode your system’s video signal to a controlled, color-accurate, 10-bit (upgradable to 12-bit) video stream that can then be streamed to another piece of hardware (to be shown in a theater or monitor room) or viewed on your Mac’s or PC’s desktop, or streamed to your IOS or Android device. Additionally, there is a monthly subscription fee to use the specialized encoding/network lines.
Streambox has a range of options and subscription plans, giving a colorist the capability of scaling up 4K HDR in 12-bit, done over their very secure, encrypted and robust network.
If you’re not streaming your session into a theater, viewing on your iPad can actually be very good (as well as portable:) You can load the image on the go via the app and see things not only accurately (after adjusting some settings) but you also get to see it on the device that many will consume your media on anyway, so It could give you a little more perspective. I recommend an iPad (2018 or newer).
I hate that it’s as good as it is because I think it will become the new normal for indie work. I do think it’s a very good solution that absolutely has a place in modern filmmaking. I guess I just don’t want to have to grade a movie from my iPad 🙂
Here is a video that breaks all of the high-end version of this it down in great detail https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLN75id2A7A