Using A Blackmagic Color Panel Remotely – Resolve 17 Solves A Problem

June 17, 2021

Learn how to use Resolve 17's new remote panel capabilities for remote color grading that is secure, interactive, and color accurate.


Remote, Secure, Interactive, and  Color Accurate?
It’s Possible!

Of all the disciplines moving to remote workflows during the pandemic – high end color grading presents some of the biggest challenges. Depending on the type of work and clients you have – these can range from easily solvable, to exceedingly difficult.

When the Covid pandemic struck – facilities resorted to a variety of makeshift work from home setups. As time marched on it became clear these temporary solutions were just that: temporary. Facilities are going to need to move from a workaround mode – to an operational mode, which introduces a lot of challenges. Let’s start by identifying the specific challenges, and describing some workflows to address them.

Remote Locations

This is obviously the first challenge to overcome – how can a colorist work from outside the facility? In pandemic times – this was for safety and health reasons. Now that the crisis is slowing, post-pandemic remote work offers facilities a greater talent pool, and colorists wider access to work and clients!

Security

The challenge of data security was the first to go out the window. Early on we saw facilities worldwide throwing entire grading systems in people’s personal cars and trucks for them to take home. Along with the systems – data came home too. Drives, RAIDs, and uploading/downloading of material.

Just a few makeshift home grading setups I’ve seen since the onset of the pandemic. Unfortunately, this workflow is a content security problem.

This enabled continuity of work – but for many high end projects, allowing customer data outside the secure facility is a big no-no. Today, with remote workflows moving from a quick fix to a normal routine, allowing colorists to keep customer data is no longer a good option.

Interactivity

This is a big one. Colorists need fast, interactive control. This means both high speed computers for image processing, and physical tools like control surfaces. In essence, for a colorist to work remotely – they would normally need a high end, expensive system to work on in addition to local copies of media.

A local color panel can add huge a huge productivity boost to a remote session.

Color Accuracy

Another big problem? Color accuracy. A colorist doesn’t only need a color accurate monitor, they need a way of feeding it a color managed signal from their grading system. If the system is at home – this is easy. If the system is remote? that’s where things get a bit more complex. Thankfully many solutions have come along to stream SDI video, including:

  • Streambox
  • Sohonet Clearview
  • The Blackmagic ATEM streaming bridge

Workarounds

A workflow that address all four of the hurdles above has been elusive to all but the highest end facilities. Most colorists have made sacrifices or workarounds to handle these issues. Examples include:

  • Bringing home a system and reference monitor. This solves remote work, interactivity, and color accuracy – and has been the most common way to grade remotely. However – it comes at a huge cost for security. Working this way is essentially asking your clients to forego the data security they normally have, and for some high end projects it simply isn’t allowed
  • Using remote desktop software to control a secure grading system. This solves security, as the media all lives at the facility where the grading system lives. However, limited to a keyboard/mouse and GUI image feed – it is at the cost of interactivity and color accuracy.
  • Coming into the office alone, with clients in separate rooms or remote. This has been another way major facilities have kept working. It solves all the above issues with the exception of working remotely, but it also simply isn’t an option for everyone – especially with such a wide range of local and national restrictions in place early on.

Have Your Color Cake – And Grade It Too!

The good news? Thanks to some new products and features introduced over the last year or so – facilities and colorists can now truly address all of these issues, with a secure, sustainable and robust remote workflow!

Imagine being able to have a full grading suite in your house – without needing your own expensive computer to maintain. You also won’t need to add the cooling/electrical you would normally need for big grading systems.

The concept is: remote into a full system either at a facility (or even in the cloud), but keep all of the advantages of working local, like reference monitoring and control surfaces. Kind of the best of all worlds.

What makes this possible is a new feature in Resolve 17 – a built-in server to stream color panels over the internet! Combine that with available remote desktop and SDI streaming solutions, and you have a compelling remote workflow.

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Homepage Forums Using A Blackmagic Color Panel Remotely – Resolve 17 Solves A Problem

Viewing 4 reply threads

    • Mel M
      Guest

      This is outstanding! I can’t believe BMD didn’t make a bigger deal about this when they release R17!

      Question though, can you use fully qualified domain names for the local panel remote address? Or do you need to use an actual IP address? I seem to recall that Resolve requires you to use IP addresses to connect to database servers, and you can’t use local domain names (at least this never worked for me).

      If it accepts domain names, you could use a dynamic DNS system like DuckDNS to get around the dynamic IP issue with residential ISPs?


    • Joey D’Anna
      Guest

      Thanks! I wondered the same thing – but I haven’t tested it with anything but an IP address yet. I’ll try and setup a test and see if it works.


    • Willian Aleman
      Guest

      Joey, thanks a lot for the details on BMD Resolve 17 Color Panel Remotely.
      For a while, I have been doing an extensive personal research on remote color grading services offer from different companies. All of them seems to be unaffordable for small starting color grading studios like mine. I really appreciate your insight series on the subject.

      Beside the calibrated display required at the other end of the connection, what is the required software and hardware preparation for the client at the other end of the connection?
      Does he/she have to go through part of these steps in order to receiving the video clean feed?


    • Joey D’Anna
      Guest

      Thanks! yea the panel signal is separate from the video signal.
      There are a number of ways to handle the video signal. I did a tutorial on one method using ATEM Streaming bridges here:

      Better Streaming Sessions Part 3: The ATEM Streaming Bridge

      other options include streambox and teradeck.

      All will require some hardware on the transmit end to take the SDI or HDMI signal from the decklink, and some hardware on the receive end to connect to your reference monitor there.


    • Willian Aleman
      Guest

      Joey, thanks for the response. It’s greatly appreciated.

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