One of the final steps when editing a video is to color correct all of the footage. This is typically done once the client signs off on the picture, and the picture is locked so no more changes can be made. It's common for many post-production editors to take their video to a colorist to color correct the footage in a program like DaVinci Resolve. In order to make the color correction process go smoothly, here are some tips for prepping your video that will make the colorist happy.
Create an XML File
A common mistake is not understanding what type of file your colorist needs to work on the color. Don't assume that your colorist can open your project file from software like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, or Avid Media Composer.
You'll need to clean up the sequence by getting rid of all source material that is not supposed to be color corrected and create an XML. This is the fancy name for a universal file that all editing and color correction programs can read. It tells the program what clips belong in the sequence and what time codes from the clips are used.
If you just give them a project file, chances are that your colorist won't be able to open it.
Copy Just the Necessary Media
For big projects, it's possible that your video is using footage that can be measured in hours rather than minutes, and the file sizes are in terabytes rather than gigabytes. You should copy over just the media you are using to an external drive with the XML, rather than sending over all of the footage.
Colorists often pull footage into their own storage system because it has much faster read speeds than a USB 2.0 hard drive. This allows them to color correct footage and preview it in real time. By giving them just the files they need, you'll save time by having to transfer a ton of footage that is not needed. This can save the colorists hours, helping them get right down to working on your footage.
Verify All Files Have Reel Numbers and Unique File Names
Before you make that XML, it will help to make sure that all your footage that is to be color corrected has unique file names and reel names. The file names are how the files appear in your operating system's folder structure, but the reel names are often buried in the metadata of the file. It's a crucial piece of data that programs like DaVinci Resolve use to identify clips, and, without it, there could be errors when importing the XML. Think of it as if you were using actual film reels, and those reels have names that are used to identify them.
For more tips on how to get your video ready for coloring talk to a professional at Color Grading Central.