Feature-filmaker seeking to use ShotCut for major movie: Questions about codecs and color-grading

Hello, my background is in film directing (I’m remaining anonymous); working with traditional 35mm cameras.

Our current production would like to edit a feature film entirely on Shotcut. We will be shooting the movie using Sony a9iii cameras because our tests have shown these global-shutter cameras get us closest to the Kodak Eastman look we’re going for.

I’m attempting to determine two things, with regard to Shotcut, and shooting s-log3, 10-bit 4:2:2, All-Intra 4k.

I understand that we will need to transcode this footage to DNxHD / HR, or Cineform, so that it can be edited effectively in Shotcut. Is there any existing guide or tutorial on how to ensure we retain the best quality for our pipeline? I understand that to retain the 10-bit image we should avoid using any non-GPU filters in Shotcut as that will introduce an 8-bit down- and up-conversion.

Is there anything else to be aware of in this regard?

Also: Can a colorist here offer any perspective on whether we can reasonably grade our movie within Shotcut?

We are very enthusiastic about editing and coloring entirely within open-source software. Obviously, it would be easy for us to switch to Resolve, but we want to use an entirely open-source pipeline: We want to use Shotcut on Linux.

There is some excitement on our team about being the first major motion-picture to use an entirely open-source workflow.

We do not yet have a colorist on our team. Our intention with the grade is to match the inherent-look of film stock used on the original Star Wars movie from 1977, and Back to the Future (1989). We understand these were shot on Kodak Eastman 5247 / 7247 or similar.

Naturally, lighting and set-design is a critical factor, but assuming these variables are solid, can a colorist here offer their perspective on whether the color-grading tools in Shotcut are sufficient to get our footage close to the classic Kodak Eastman look we’re after?

Previously I received some great guidance on the forum, if other feature-filmmakers are looking at Shotcut as an option, then consider reading my earlier post on the topic.

Thank you!

Using the GPU option most filters cannot be used e. g. LUT (3D) and Levels, although Colour Grading, Brightness and Contrast do. Not being a colourist myself (and strictly amateur), I can make a reasonable job of colour correction using the GPU filters, but that’s all. Shotcut is improving all the time, but the 10-bit feature still needs a lot of work.

Until recently the only 10-bit open source NLE for Linux was Cinelerra-GG, which does not have the same limitations.

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Thank you immeasurably for your guidance, DeJay.

You have set our team here on the right path.

Another question related to our motion-picture workflow: Does anyone know of an elegant solution for capturing video in real-time from the Sony a9iii and recording it in the Cineform codec?

We are Linux-based only.

Essentially we’re looking for an Atomos-Ninja-type device, but one that will record in Cineform.

Another option is for us to roll-our-own Cineform-capture system using a desktop-computer (we will mostly shoot on sound stage, so portability is not an issue). However, I am curious about maximum cable-run lengths etc. Will we need to mount the capturing computer on the camera body for short-run cables; or can we run long cables from the Sony a9iii across the set to our desktop capture-system?

No worries if there’s no hardware-capture solution for Cineform. In that case, we will transcode the in-camera s-log3, 10-bit 4:2:2, All-Intra 4k to Cineform in post-production.

Would be neat to shoot straight to Cineform though.
We love open-source codecs!

Very curious about the options here. Thanks!