This is one of the rare shots from our shooting during production
The render machine is running and purring and I already have 80% of the movie in 1080p rendered out. As of this writing the remaining render time will be ~48hrs.
During the course of this final rendering, all sorts of little nasty and quite unexpected problems surfaced, which forced me to tweak and investigate to force the render to be what I wanted it to be.
It seems that running with everything fully turned on, you start to experience all the bugs which you wont get in a decent and small production. One especially mysterious problem was e.g., that exactly one frame out of 250 came out totally black out of compositing. All the frames before and after where perfectly fine, just this single one had some special ‘features’. Tracking down the problem revealed at first, that a blur node with fast gaussian produced a black image. Even switching to Gaussian or Flat produced black blocky artefacts in the result.
In the end I found the problem to be one layer fed into a Hue/Saturation/Value node to cause this whole problem. When exchanging this node with an RGB node everything worked fine again.
My thought was that once the rendering was done I have a final movie in terms of visual appearance as the colour correction was already done in compositing. I did quite some reading and testing in the past couple of weeks and am now convinced, that a final colour correction pass is in order.
Initially I wanted to do this with blender, but at it stands now, only primary color correction is possible in an easy way. Any secondary colour correction needs a huge amount of tricking and fiddling around, and I quite frankly do not have the patience to do this at this stage. I want the job to be done.
I looked for alternatives and unfortunately Lightworks is not yet available for Linux. This will be a piece of software I will really like to try out.
I found no other real solutions in the Linux world. But there is a free ( but not open source) alternative for the Windows platform: DaVinci Resolve. The free version lets you do everything the full blown version does but is restricted to 1080p maximum Resolution, not a real problem for me here
I already played around and tested various aspects on actual footage from Ara’s Tale and must say that this is a joy to work with and it gives me yet another tool to enhance the visual storytelling.
My workflow now is to render out the movie to DPX image sequences and feed those into the DaVinci software. The output will be DPX again and those will be the final picture locked frames. From there I will use ffmpeg to encode to the various formats I have in mind for distribution.
The music and sound work is also going quite smoothly. Mikkel has started to deliver the first sounds and FX and the first integration tests are sounding really phenomenal! There is still a lot of work ahead, but it’s quite clear the the end result will be absolutely beautiful.
And as a last note, I plan to do more regular mini updates through my google+ account. For those who want to follow there here is my link.