JustGrade.it – New Online Service for Professionally Made Color Correction

February 4th, 2020

We met up with Ollie Kenchington –a dear colleague to the cinema5D family– at this year’s BSC Expo in London to talk about his freshly launched online service JustGrade.it. It works like this: Upload your film, it then will work its way through a pro color correction / grading pipeline and will be sent back to you upon completion. Simple as that.

justgrade

image credit. justgrade.it

Colour correction and grading, no easy topics to tackle even if you are an advanced filmmaker. Once you’re done shooting dull-looking log files and smash some fancy off-the-shelf LUTs onto them, you know what I’m talking about. In order to let these grayish-toned images really shine through color grading you’ll need a decent starting point: Colour correction (I’m using the British notation here, since I don’t want to get in trouble with Ollie, really). Or, as Mr. Kenchington himself puts it:

Most filmmakers just need their projects to look crisp, clean, realistic and consistent. There’s no LUT for that, but there’s Just Grade It

So, I’d like to call it “Colour Correction +” what most filmmakers are after. Fancy tinted highlights, Loads of film grain and shadows lifted by 150% might look cool once but most of the time you are most likely after that consistent, balanced and clean look, founder Ollie Kenchington is talking about.

JustGrade.it – Professional Colour

The newly launched service works like this: Upload your final edit (still in LOG) as one flattened file. Your film will be processed by certified DaVinci Resolve professionals who will 1) scene cut the delivered edit, 2) work through the whole piece in order to white-balance it, setting proper levels, adjust contrast and skin tones and de-noise the footage if necessary. As a final step, the whole piece will undergo a continuity pass to make sure each clip matches the next one perfectly.

JustGrade

image credit: justgrade.it

No fancy effects here, black will be black, white will still be white. Once your film went through the justgrade.it pipelines, you’ll be notified to download the finished piece. What you get is a perfectly balanced look, nice skin tones, pleasing contrast, and a clean, crisp look.

JustGrade

image credit: justgrade.it

If you want to, you now can add your desired color grading, which now can be built on a very solid foundation. Since color grading, in contrast to color correction, is a rather subjective process, an art if you will, justgrade.it can’t offer anything like it. The whole benefit of getting professional results fast would be eaten up by multiple rounds of revisioning the look. if you want a full end to end color treatment, you will have to choose a more traditional –and more expensive– way: Hiring a colorist.

JustGrade

image credit: justgrade.it

In order to benefit from this new service you just have to follow some simple rules: No fancy effects on top of your edit! Just the plain, flattened (log) edit. Plain fades to black or cross dissolves can be handled but nothing more. If a complex transition is in place which can’t be color corrected properly, justgrade.it will provide you with two LUTs, one for the incoming clip and one for the outgoing clip. You then can add these LUTs in your NLE.

Please also make sure to read the FAQs and especially the quality disclaimer in order to understand what’s possible and what is not.

Pricing and Turnaround Time

Pricing starts at £69 ($90 / 80€) per minute of delivered film. This ad-hoc purchase supports footage up to 8192 x 4320 8K resolution and up to HDR Rec.2020 formats. Turnaround is 2-3 days. You also can test the service by sending in a 10-sec snippet in up to 2048 x 1080 2K resolution in SDR Rec.709. You’ll get a free-of-charge color corrected deliverable in about 3-5 days.

JustGrade

image credit: justgrade.it

Other (monthly paid) plans are available for more advanced users. I think this service is quite unique! It somewhat fits closes the gap between ultra-expensive post houses with fancy suites on the one side of the spectrum and you’re $49.99 LUT bundle on the other end.

JustGrade

image credit: justgrade.it

If you’re a skilled colorist or at least someone with the time and passion to climb the rather steep learning curve of color correction and grading, you can do it all yourself. If, however, you can’t or don’t want to spare the time and effort to get the most out of your footage fast, justgrade.it might be a decent solution for you!

link: Website

What do you think of this new service? Would you give something like this a shot? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Patryk Rebisz
Patryk Rebisz
GuestFebruary 6th, 2020

I think the pitch is wrongly worded. It should skip to the jist of it: it isn’t for when “art” and necessary conversation behind it is required but rather for those times when just proper images is what’s needed.

Shawn Convey
MemberFebruary 6th, 2020

Is my math correct and would a 90min feature come to about $8100 for basically a color correction? I know that some of the top houses charge a good deal more than that but there are more than a few very decent colorists that would be happy to take you from zero to finished DCP grade for that amount.

Ollie Kenchington
MemberFebruary 7th, 2020

Hi Shawn. You’re forgetting that we offer discounted rates for high volume clients, which would bring this down to close to £4k. For comparison, most professional post-houses charge between £1k and £2k a day, with features generally being allocated two weeks for colour. I don’t expect to see our service being used by clients with these types of projects, to be honest, but I guess feature length docs, where no creative look would be required, would possibly be interested.

Shawn Convey
MemberFebruary 9th, 2020

Yes, after I posted that I saw that if you went for your “Gold” plan at £2k / month, one could get a “color correction” for £4k (+5k USD) if it was spread out over 2 months or if you were willing to work out something for the filmmaker. I would consider adding an “Indie package(s)” to your pricing schemes… Maybe one for Creative grades for shorts and features. One of the advantages you have is you “could” have a very low overhead… part of the reason high end places charge so much is they need the client space and the screening rooms, and there is all the overhead that is associated with hosting clients… You work remotely and have the opportunity to service people who are not in big enough markets to hire a proper post house. I am just saying for me, I would rather scare up a few $k more and get it done right as the savings to me doesn’t seem overly significant (again for feature work). It’s a good idea for sure but for me now wouldn’t’ fit my workflow / budget.

 Tristan Summers
Tristan Summers
MemberFebruary 9th, 2020

Would you have the option of reference stills? I would have thought that under certain lighting a neutral image could look very odd due to the actual temperature of the scene.
Could you offer clip relinking at some point further down the line? I can see less experienced people struggling with that, and picture lock isn’t a concept a lot of clients ever understand.

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