Colorcast 0.5 Adds Support for Cinema DNG, Anamorphic De-Squeeze and Slow Motion

Mar 03, 2018

It's time for a new update to Colorcast. I am very pleased on how the application is coming together. In this version, I added support for Cinema DNG (folder based). Cinema DNG is an industry standard to store RAW video. Sometimes there are tools that convert the vendor RAW format of the camera to Cinema DNG and other times Cinema DNG is directly produced in camera, examples for this is the Blackmagic Cinema Camera lineup and the DJI X5R camera that can be mounted on a DJI Osmo or under a DJI Inspire drone.

Additionally I added the option to de-squeeze anamorphic video. Anamorphic video has been recorded in camera using anamorphic lenses. These types of lenses do not scale the x and y axis of an images the same way, but for example cram an ulta-wide shot into a 16:9 image. In post you then assign a new aspect ratio that fits the natural scale more closely. Most of the time the image then gets wider. Examples are 4:3 to 16:9 or 16:9 to Cinemasope 2.35:1.

For this release I also moved the export settings from the preferences panel into the export panel. This means that the export settings can now be checked and changed before every export. They can now be different for every project. Additionally I also added a frame re-timing option. In the export panel, you can now choose to change the frame rate. Using this option, you can change 60 fps video to 24 fps for example and thus get a gorgous slow motion shot.

There are also a lot of smaller updates which can be checked out in great detail on the Version History page.

Colorcast v0.4 Includes RAW Engine And Supports Magic Lantern

Feb 06, 2018

I am happy to announce that I came around finishing up the next step for Colorcast, version 0.4 which brings general support for RAW video and includes support for Magic Lantern video files.


Magic Lantern is a free software add-on for Canon DSLR cameras that among other things enables users of Canon DSLRs to record RAW sensor data to a custom video file format called MLV. MLV files include a sequence of RAW images, audio samples and a bunch of metadata. Colorcast can read those RAW images and uses its newly added internal RAW Engine to develop high dynamic range images, that can then be color graded like any other video. Support for other RAW video formats like Cinema DNG will be added in one of the upcoming releases.

An option for displaying False Colors has also been added. False Colors, like the luminance waveform, is an easy way to quickly judge the exposure of parts of your image. By comparing the color of an image area to the scale on the left while adjusting the exposure, shadows and highlights, you easily get correct exposure without relying on display brightness and correct ambient room lighting.

We also vastly improved the Sharpening & Noise Reduction tool. It now uses edge detection to not blur edges during noise reduction or sharpen noise in areas. You can adjust the edge threshold and feather to optimize the filter results.

There are also a lot of smaller updates which can be checked out in great detail on the Version History page.

What’s Color Grading and Why You Want That

Jan 15, 2018

Color grading is the process of altering the colors of a movie, a video or a still image for the purpose of either correcting the colors or to make them artistically more interesting. There are a lot of ways and applications to do just that. Most of the time, you color grade your image material manually, because automatic methods of modern cameras are just not good enough.

A good example is capturing all the dynamic range of a photo sensor. Most cameras auto-expose an image in a way that cuts out a lot of color information in the blacks and in the highlights. Either the sky is blown out or the shadows are just a dark blob. To circumvent this problem, most higher-end cameras have log image profiles. Canon cameras have C-Log, Sony products use S-Log and Panasonic is using V-Log, but even on smartphones there are are apps like FilmicPro which capture more detail using their own log profiles. Light information is read from the photo sensor linearly. Dark is 0 and White is 1. But that’s not how your eyes are seeing things. Your visual cortex processes light logarithmic like, meaning the eyes are more sensitive to darker light sources than lighter once. A log image profile puts more color information into darker image areas and compresses lighter areas and thus captures more detail while only blowing out extreme highlights. Looking at such an image however is not pleasing. The image mostly looks grey and doesn’t have a lot of contrast.

This is where color grading software comes into play. You can use this kind of software to add contrast, darken or lighten up the image or boost the saturation. Sophisticated apps like Davinci Resolve give you lots of tools to deal with all kinds of aspects of color grading. You want to expose the image correctly, show lots of detail in the shadows, don’t blow out highlights, make the skin tones really nice and maybe also give a scene an interesting look, like teal and orange. All these tools however make using these apps a chore and you need to learn and experiment a lot before getting good results.

My goal with Colorcast is to make this process easier and more intuitive while not dumbing down the tools too much. If you are a beginner and just make yourself familiar with video or if you are an aspiring YouTuber, who just want a quick turnaround, I think Colorcast can help you to make your videos better and more interesting.

Colorcast Alpha v0.3 Available

Dec 21, 2017

I am happy to make a new version of Colorcast available today.

I spent the last couple of months digging deep into Apple's video frameworks and its Metal graphics engine. And the result is quite nice. I was able to integrated 16bit graphics processing in preview and export for video footage with 10bit or higher color information. Right now ProRes and HEVC is automatically detected. High bitdepth support for other formats will be added over time. 16bit color transfer internally is done via Metal Performance Shaders and should be quite fast.

I also added support for basic and Apple Pro Apps metadata. Certain cameras like the Blackmagicdesign Cinema Cameras are able to write this metadata directly into the recorded footage. Colorcast can now import that metadata, make it available for editing in the info pane and can export the edited metadata, too. I have plans to improve metadata handling over time as well. Stay tuned.

The export has been improved as well. It now maintains audio quality and clean aperture settings. It uses Rec.709 colorspace for 8bit and Rec.2020 colorspace for high bitdepth footage. There are also a lot of smaller updates which can be checked out in great detail on the Version History page.

Colorcast Alpha v0.2 Available

Sep 07, 2017

I like to give you a quick update about the development process of Colorcast.

Over the last week, I completely changed the layout of the apps' interface. The clips have moved to the top and the table layout is gone. I think it's much easier to select clips using thumbnails. With the added space at the bottom, I moved the scopes to the bottom right of the project window and with it gave them a lot more space. It is now easier to identify small details in the scopes. This has the nice side effect of giving the actual preview image the big spot in the middle of the window. The preview is now bigger and you have more space for reference images. Overall I think the new window layout is much better than before and it makes working with the footage much more comfortable.

On top of that, I added a couple of features. I added an RGB Waveform scope, a sharping and noise reduction filter, and I upgraded the Basic Correction filter.

The Basic Correction filter is now the default filter for every newly imported clip. It got brightness and contrast controls, to more precisely control the tone curve of the image (actual tone curve controls are planned for a future update) and I added a new option to set the source color space of the footage, which quickly transforms the log image profile into a somewhat more normal colorspace. So far it supports Sony S-Log, GoPro Protune and Technicolor Cinestyle profiles. More profiles are being added over time.

Let me know what you would like to see and make sure to download the latest build.


First Alpha Version of Colorcast Available

Aug 31, 2017

I am happy to announce the first alpha release of Colorcast, my new app for lightweight color correction and color grading. What do I mean with lightweight? Color correction, color grading and color in general is a big topic. Professional film makers invest a lot of time and money in giving their film projects a cool and distinctive look.

If you are a casual film maker like me and you want to give your video a personal look or get the most out of the picture, color correction and color grading tradionally meant investing a lot of time in complex software like Adobe Premiere or Davinci Resolve. I like to change that. I like to build a software that can produce good-looking results in a short period of time. You should be able to plug in your camera or SD card reader, import your clips, apply some presets and maybe slightly optimize exposure and white balance and export everything in a batch to your video editor of choice. I like to build a tool for casual film making needs that goes beyond iMovie's simple color filters and at the same time is easy to use and understand.

Colorcast is not a finished 1.0 product yet. I am releasing this first alpha build because I want to invite you to be a part of this journey. I like to hear from all kinds of users what they like to see and what they like to accomplish. Please check out the app. It's a free download. Start playing with it and head to the support formular and let me know what you think and what you like to see in future releases.