Lustre: Into the fire

mike burton Feb 14, 2016

  1. So, yesterday I was working in San Francisco on a new feature project with a seasoned and respected DP. It was my first time meeting him and it was going to be light lifting i.e. grading a simple camera test. I'll be grading dailies for him for the next 25 days. Since I'm grading all the dailies in Resolve Studio my plan was to use the Resolve system for the test. But, when the Decklink mysteriously wouldn't work and time not on our side it became apparent we had to resort to Plan B, use the Lustre.
    I've only ever used a Lustre once for half a day about 5 years ago so I was a bit nervous about working on a system as intimidating as the Lustre for practically the first time with a DP I've never met. Luckily, I had some great support and we got the material in the system properly (not as easy on Lustre as is on practically any other system). I then had about an hour and a half to ask a few questions and get acquainted with the interface and I must say there were some really great things about Lustre that I liked a lot! It may not be the most intuitive software to dive into but even in a short time I was able to get comfortable enough to do everything the DP asked and the session went great. I fully intend to put more time in on the system and get comfortable with it.
    But what I really took away from yesterday's experience is that sometimes when you are out of your comfort zone and thrust into a tricky scenario you can learn a lot about yourself and how you handle adversity. And it's a good reminder that you should always continue to learn and try new ways of working even if it means you need to be thrown into the fire.
  2. Those screens need proper calibration! ;)
  3. It`s almost my story when I switched from Color to Resolve long time ago. Great experience.
  4. Holy metameric failure Batman!
    Paul Dore likes this.
  5. I was working on a project with a DP and had forgotten to enable auto-saves on Resolve. After three hours of work, Resolve crashed. I felt really bad ! Trust me, since then I save every 5 minutes my projects...
    Marc Wielage and Clark Bierbaum like this.
  6. You also often find you expect way more from yourself than the client does.
  7. This is quite true. When I first worked on a Scratch box coloring my first feature I had a somewhat similar experience. ive been fortunate I guess to work with some great people who have a lot of respect for everyone they work with and always treat others the way they want to be treated. I've always been my worst critic and perhaps that's the way it should be. In this instance, it helped that I've been grading on at least 5 other systems over the course of the last 12 years. So, once you get shown something once it's easy to remember. The Lustre panel is incredibly intuitive to work with and mapped beautifully IMO. That helped a ton. But, even though we were simply grading dailies I feel that even in the short time with the program we could have done quite a bit of secondary work if he asked and I would have been able to oblige. With a few more quick lessons I think I could feel really comfortable in that chair.
  8. It still makes me crazy that Auto-Save isn't turned on at the factory by default. I've been whining about this going back to the old daVinci days of the 1990s.
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  9. Jason Myres

    Jason Myres Moderator

    Very cool to hear you'll have a chance to grade in Lustre! One thing to keep in mind is there's nothing about Lustre that's consumer-facing. It's very purpose-built. It might seem a little scary at first, but if you take a look, the interface follows a distinct logic where buttons and controls are organized from top-to-bottom, left-to-right, based on importance and order-of-operation. Buttons and sliders all have large clickable target areas, with precise gearing, easy-to-read labels, and very few if any icons. You may not notice it immediately, but you will feel how easy on you the interface has been at the end of a 12-hour day.

    Also, glad to hear you'll be able to use the Autodesk Control Surface. It's a really pleasant panel to operate, and has simple, easy to understand mapping that you should be able to pick up without a lot of effort.

    As far as importing media, Lustre is primarily built around projects based on image sequences. DXP, EXR, TIFF, Cineon, etc are all natively supported. If you're working directly with camera media or compressed codecs, you won't navigate to them the same way. Normally image sequences are available directly from storage, usually under /mnt/VolumeName, or possibly under another directory, but you load compressed codecs via an alternate path called Wiretap Gateway (noted by "Autodesk Wiretap Gateway Server" in the file browser). Once you open and browse via WTG, media loads in the same way it would on any other system, with full metadata, debayer, and codec option support.

    Many people working with Lustre also have Flame/Smoke, and would do their conforming there, then roundtrip to Lustre via Wiretap, which is basically a dedicated data sharing network that allows multiple Flames, Flares, Flame Assists, or Lustres to interoperate without the need to copy media or project data between systems. However, Lustre can conform projects directly with an EDL, and it's actually pretty straight-forward...

    1) Import Media
    2) Import /Load EDL
    3) Select Match Attributes
    4) Click Assemble
    5) Save your new timeline as a "Cut" (Editing > Browse > New)

    In Lustre, timeline data ("Cuts") and color data ("Grades") are saved as two separate elements, so it's also a good idea to save your starting grade too... Setup > Grade > New Version. This allows you to swap various timelines (cutdowns, versions, etc) with various grades interchangeably.

    I've created a Lustre cheat sheet with popular key commands and basic workflow processes you can take a look at here...

    I've also attached it as PDF if you want to carry a copy with you. I've recently been working on an updated version with a lot of really useful new key commands, and will post it as soon as it's done.

    The Lustre section of Flame Premium User Guide is another good thing to bookmark:

    Along with the ACS control panel guide:

    Attached Files:

  10. I'm thinking about making an xkeys setup where every second key is 'save'. Finally a use for my oversized and uncoordinated hands.

  11. Thanks Jason! That is some great information to get started with. Since this show is ARRIRAW Open Gate we had to open via Wiretap Gateway and then create 2K proxy files from the 3.4K source to work on for realtime playback. I don't think disc speed was the issue but i could be mistaken here as I wasn't privy to the hardware associated with this particular system. I was only getting about 16-18fps on the source. Just curious if you've noticed this as an issue with ArriRaw in the past or if its something else hardware associated perhaps? After we created the high quality 2K proxy we were playing back realtime just fine but I assume that's transcoding it to DPX files (system native).
    Going in I really didn't think I was going to have enough time to be able to get to know the control surface very well but It's so well laid out it literally took all of about an hour and I felt comfortable with it. That was single handedly what put me at ease was not having to rely on navigating the UI very much. I don't think I touched the Wacom / Keyboard for more than hitting F7=Sends split screen signal to the SDI stream. Well that and rendering.
    Speaking of rendering I found it interesting (also somewhat annoying) that you have to create DPX's first and then use the DPX's to render your Quicktime files back to the Wiretap Gateway Server. However, what was really nice was once the DPX's were created I could look at my output and compare it to my timeline immediately in the project. That was a nice feature to see that my render was identical to my grade and to not have to perform an "import" procedure and line it up etc. That almost makes it worth the extra render time :)
  12. DPX/EDL is the most solid workflow. Of course it's much better if someone can get it to that point before you get there!

  13. On a rather large Arriraw dailies project recently that shall remain nameless, we used Colorfront to debayer and "pre transcode" everything before bringing it into Lustre for exactly the reasons stated above. Lustre is great at many things, but on the fly debayering and dealing with native camera formats in general are not among them (although I understand they're addressing this to a degree in the latest release candidates....).
    Marc Wielage and mike burton like this.
  14. Jason Myres

    Jason Myres Moderator

    Like many other apps, how well ARRI, or other camera codecs perform depends a lot on the system hardware, and especially the version of Lustre you're using.

    In Lustre 2016.0 (released April 2015) and earlier, ARRI and R3D debayer was handled by the CPU, and like Mike Most mentioned, de-bayering could be labored even on a very fast machine, often leading people to transcode to proxies (easy to do, but time-consuming). With 2016 Extension 1 (Nov 2015) and later, Lustre has been updated with GPU debayer for ARRI and R3D, and now de-bayer performance is very good. It's actually even faster on Lustre now than it is on Flame.

    This is a really nice development, especially for smaller boutiques and owner/ operators, as you can now playback camera originals smoothly without having to transcode. However, for larger facilities it's almost a non-issue since in the larger budget film world there are only two formats that really matter: DPX and OpenEXR. Camera originals are almost always transcoded to one of those two formats first, so de-bayer performance hasn't been at the top of Autodesk's to-do list.

    To take advantage of GPU de-bayer you'll need Lustre (or Flame Premium) 2016.1 or later, as well as an HP z820 or z840 with a Quadro 6000 or newer graphics card. I was able to do some testing on a z820 with a K6000, and with 5K EPIC at full de-bayer was getting just shy of real-time. With the newer M6000 you should be able to de-bayer 6K Dragon at half-premium or full-quality, but I haven't had a chance to test it yet. ARRIRAW is much easier, and should be fine even with an older Q6000 from 2011.

    Lustre has a fantastic proxy workflow. This is how a large number of major features have been handled. Your camera originals are being transcoded to DPX internally, and that's a big part of why it works so well. Lustre will scale your color changes beautifully between your DPX proxy and full-res camera media. Close comparisons of the two should reveal no differences, so know that by using DPX proxies for grading you're not really missing out on anything, especially if you don't have legit 4K monitoring or projection. It's basically a self-contained version of what a major film pipeline would do anyway.

    That's awesome. I'm glad you're having fun with it. At a minimum, your time on Lustre will give you the chance use it's tools (keyer, shapes, animation, grade management, etc) in comparison to other systems you've used, and will give you a better understanding of how they each behave in their own unique ways.

    I know it seems like an additional step, but this is again, an example of big facility vs boutique/ owner/ operator. In larger film pipelines, all deliverables are struck from an uncompressed, full-quality, master image sequence. Quicktime, among many other formats, like DNxHD, H264, and even 12-bit XYZ DCDMs, are considered secondary deliverables. Although they each handle renders and caching in their own ways, this is exactly how Nucoda, Baselight, Quantel RIO, Flame, and other film production systems work. DPX/ EXR first. Everything else second.
  15. Recently I graded few projects (ads) on Lustre for the first time and I didn't enjoy it too much.. I've worked on Baselight, Davinci/Resolve, Nucoda, Scratch and Color and imho Lustre has the worst interface!
    Pretty bad experience, speaking only about the interface/color tools/grading workflow and not on conforming/rendering/performance.
    Unfortunately nobody was there to show me the basic and I had only an hour to familiarize with the controls and the Element panels.
    It took me a while to figure out how to copy just one layer/secondaries to another clip..

    Thanks Jason for your precious links!

    Ps: Is there a way to use the log and linear tools together without any lut?
  16. Jason Myres

    Jason Myres Moderator

    I'm sorry you had a difficult time, but you not knowing the Lustre interface, and it being "bad" are two different things. :)

    The layer copy procedure is pretty similar in most apps, and usually works by saving a still, moving to another shot, selecting the attributes you want to copy from some sort of list, and applying them. Lustre, Nucoda, and Resolve are almost identical in that way. If you ever need to use Lustre again, give this MasterClass a try and it should help you through:

    I do agree that there is less help out there for Lustre than, say, Resolve, but that could be said for a Baselight, Mistika, RIO, etc. Like I posted earlier, I've created a getting started guide of sorts, that I am in the middle of revising. I'll include the copy-layer process, as that's a good one to add.

    I might be mis-understanding your question, but you can use either Linear or Log mode without at LUT. You can't bounce back and forth between the two modes in the same project. You must choose one or the other, but then again, their only real difference is the layout of the primary controls. At a mechanical level, the Linear and Log modes both manipulate color in the same way; i.e., the only difference is the presentation of the controls to the operator. The color processing between the two under the hood is the same.
  17. Actually, Filmlight has one of the more comprehensive sets of instructional videos around, including lots of tutorials. They are accessible from the Filmlight site, and on Vimeo directly.
  18. Hi Jason,
    thanks for the answer and the link.

    I'm not saying Lustre is bad, but my first experience on it was terrible ;) That's mostly because I don't know the software and the interface is not so friendly.
    For example, pointing at the copying thing, on Baselight/Resolve/Scratch (also on Nucoda if I remember correctly) you can select a layer/node and ctrl-c/ctrl-v onto another.. on Lustre you need to navigate the Selector menu, find the layer or what needed to copy and ctrl + alt + drag and drop.. not so intuitive!

    When I tried to switch from Log to Lin tools, an input log to lin lut was applied automatically and I haven't figured how to turn it off to use both tools in the same session.
    That sounds very strange to me.. Does it mean that if I work on a Linear "architecture" I can't use, for example, a printer lights tool?
  19. Jason Myres

    Jason Myres Moderator

    Lustre's equivalent of Copy-Paste is Control-Drag. It would certainly be nice to have Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V to get started, but Ctrl-Drag is really easy once you learn it. If you had to copy and paste, say, 100 shots for VFX updates or applying hero grades across a project, Ctrl-Drag requires about half the time of hitting Ctrl-C/ Crtl-V over and over accurately. As far as all of the other variations go, many apps like Resolve don't even have equivalents to them in the first place. They do take some memorization, but the payoff is significant in the amount of time and keystrokes you save each day.

    Selector is an entirely different thing altogether and is more of an advanced copy-paste. It allows you to drill down and select very specific parameters at the individual control level. Most other apps only give you the option to select entire layers or sets of tools, not single adjustments, so Selector is somewhat involved mostly do to the precision it offers. It has no equivalent in apps like Resolve, Nucoda, Scratch, or Baselight.

    If you want an easy way to copy specific secondaries from one shot to another:
    -Save the shot in the Grade Bin
    -Go to another shot, select a secondary.
    -Control+Double Click your Grade Bin still and the equivalent secondary from that Still will be applied in your currently selected Secondary.

    Many people reserve specific secondaries for certain adjustments, so this is a great method to use if you work like that.

    Log or Linear mode is chosen when you set up your project and can't be changed mid-project. If you're working with log material it's best to use Log controls (Brightness/ Contrast/ Pivot), and if you're using full-contrast Rec709 video material, choose Linear (Lift/ Gamma/ Gain). They overlap really well where needed, so there isn't much benefit to swapping back and forth.

    Printer Lights are a film tool, so are only available in Log mode. They are directly attached to the Brightness (Hue Offset) wheel, so anything you do in Printer Lights will be reflected there. Lustre's Printer Lights implementation is very nice and includes +/- RGB, as well as +/- CMY, and Luma in full, half (Ctl), and quarter (Alt) increments.
  20. Why lock out tools based on the workflow? I use printer lights all the time in Rec709 projects, and sometimes use log to do quick & subtle shadow adjustments, and I use LGG all the time in log projects. Otherwise I'd have to build a qualifier.

    And It's all just different maths to affect the underlying numbers in different ways. I know you'd want to start in a mode, but locking them out seems absurd to me, am I misunderstanding something?

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