Mixing Light Color Correction Podcast Series

Using Grain As An External Matte On A Still & Broadcast Safe Workflow

March 16, 2015

In this installment of From The Mailbag, we discuss using grain as an external matte on a still & broadcast safe workflow.


Episode 22: From The Mailbag

Problems Using A Grain Clip As An External Matte & Broadcast Safe Considerations

In this edition of From The Mailbag we’re back to our usual 2 questions format and we have two great ones from Mixing Light members.

Remember, if you have questions that you’d like to get an opinion on please use the contact form.

Your questions can be aesthetic, technical or even client related. We’d love to hear from you, and your question might make future episodes of From The Mailbag.

Using A Grain Clip As An External Matte On A Still

Grain is something that many colorists use to enhance the feel of a shot, and one way to add grain is with an external matte, but how you properly configure the use of a grain clip as an external matte can be a bit tricky.

In Part 1 we discuss a question we got a question from one of our members (he/she asked to be anonymous) who asked about applying grain as an external matte not to a video clip, but to a still image.

It sounds like they have everything setup properly with one problem – the grain is static and it doesn’t move!

Pretty much in realtime Patrick sorts out what’s really going on in Resolve by applying grain to a still and discovers the issue.

As you’ll hear in the Episode when it comes to adding grain to stills Resolve handles things slightly different than with video clips and we have the fix to get things working again.

In this episode, we also discuss using Film Convert as an OFX plugin for grain and a couple other strategies for adding grain to clips in projects.

Broadcast Safe Workflow

Next up, we got a great question from Mixing Light member Gabe who asks about broadcast deliverables and specifically the best workflow for keeping things “legal”.

Gabe also mentions in his question that after he does a legalization pass contrast is really off.

So, after covering using a legalizer (and Robbie singing a silly song about legalizers), vectorscope and gamut scope options, using soft clip and hard clipping in Resolve and even using the new Resolve 11 Broadcast Safe option, we realize that Gabe as another problem that’s probably contributing to his contrast being off:

Rendering to ProRes 4444 and not quite understanding how the full range, legal scale and auto options really work.  

Our suggestion?

Leave everything set to Auto when rendering to ProRes 4444 unless you have a specific reason not to!

As always, enjoy the MailBag and please use the comments below if you have more to add to the conversation or have other questions. 

-Team Mixing Light

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11 thoughts on “Using Grain As An External Matte On A Still & Broadcast Safe Workflow”

  1. Robbie spoke about putting a soft clip on the timeline track. I came across an issue recently where I did this then after I finished they decided to complete the online in Resolve so when they added the end credits etc it was lifting the black of the roller and credits that they were importing that caused some confusion

      1. that’s a good point Ian – track level corrections can screw that kind of thing up. Just a quick thought and something I’ve just done a project this week for the exact same reason – use a group but for the entire timeline! In a group you have Pre, Post and Clip levels. Clip works just like normal, but if you add soft/hard clip at the post level of the group you effect everything but don’t have the track level concern.

  2. I know the question was about legal broadcast but I was interested in your thought at the end about ProRes 4444. I got a job this week where we have to deliver HDCAM-SR 444 Full Range to the distributor as requested. I was going to export from my 2k timeline a Prores4444 file using DATA levels as opposed to auto and send off to the post house. I believe they are using Final Cut Pro to play out and will be setting their sequence settings processing to RGB and playout 444 to the SR VTR to protect 0-1024 10bit.

    Is this an example of when you shouldn’t use AUTO and set it to DATA?


    1. This is an example where I’d call the post house to ask if they prefer full range or not. If they’re integrating with other elements they may not want the complexity of dealing with mixed media like that. Resolve will render Y’Cb’Cr data in that same format if set to Auto. If you want the Data range, yes – you’ll have to explicitly set it if the source was Legal Range.

  3. I just had the problem of trying to add grain to a still last week, and my only solution was to render the still clip as a ProRes 444 file, then reimport that and replace the still clip. Then, the external matte worked fine.

    For 444 deliveries that are going to go out as HDCam-SR, I always render with :05 seconds of bars and :05 seconds of grayscale at the head, just to give the dub facility a clue as to what our levels are. So far, this has worked in video mode. I make a point to only add broadcast-legal clips after the bars.

    1. Hi there – Soundcloud just recently changed their embed tags so the embed and the downloads are broken. I’m currently working on fixing them. I should all the mailbag episodes complete by this evening. Thanks for your patience!

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