Jeff Sousa is a co-owner and colorist at Dungeon Beach, a boutique post house in Brooklyn that offers online editing, conform, color grading, visual effects, audio mixing, sound design, and DCP services under one roof. Take a look at their client list and you’ll see an impressive list of big-name clients like HBO, Netflix, and Pepsi, as well as a host of indie features. Sousa has recently made a change in his color grading and finishing tool suite, moving from a long-used software to Assimilate’s SCRATCH.
According to Sousa, there are several reasons he prefers SCRATCH. “I got hooked using Assimilate’s Play Pro to write ProRes files on Windows because it’s a fast and foolproof way to transcode the DNxHR exports made by other software and give clients the codec they expect to watch on their Macs—ProRes. Then I realized, why not just grade in SCRATCH so I can output ProRes directly and skip the lengthy transcode, which is a more efficient use of my time.”
SCRATCH has proven essential for remote live-grading sessions with clients and interacting with artists worldwide. “For the Japanese music video ‘Yellow’ (https://youtu.be/qGltlZSpHs0), I used SCRATCH’s remote grading feature to connect with three parties – myself in NYC, a DP in LA, and the director on Tokyo,” said Sousa. “They were able to download trial versions of SCRATCH, connect to my session, and then watch and approve the live grading. Our previous software only allows two sites to connect, whereas SCRATCH offers unlimited connections. SCRATCH also requires only one of the parties to host the source media, where as our previous solution required FedExing physical hard drives. While the time savings is a big consideration, the real deal is that we can say yes to more jobs because a high quality streaming solution is more appealing to clients than running to the post office.” For “Yellow” Sousa did the conform, color grading and final ProRes export (on a Windows machine) in SCRATCH. https://youtu.be/qGltlZSpHs0
Sousa noted, “I’m still learning and playing around in SCRATCH. A short list of the things I love about SCRATCH are the speed of the application, the ability to render ProRes on Windows, the clean qualifiers, how the new color re-map vector tool gives me creative-palette control, the awesome real-time playback enabled by the RED SDK implementation, and the new “pick” tool, which allows intuitive manipulation of curves by clicking and dragging on areas of the video image. And then I love, love, love the integration of matchbox shaders, which gives colorists access to classy tools to affect textures, enabling us to upsell beauty work and retouching to our clients as part of the DI process. These are all significant features that increase our creativity and productivity that we didn’t have in using our previous color grading tools.”