Quality Assurance is a process.
The most difficult thing about this Quality Assurance process is being prepared to write while in the dark. After that it is just paying attention to what is being played and – most importantly – its affect on you.
It may take 10 or 15 evaluations before you get comfortable. After that, every time you will notice something you hadn’t seen or heard or experienced before. It may just be interesting, not something getting worse – but you will start to be more aware of what you are aware of!
Sometimes you don’t know what you are looking at, or listening to, until there are problems. But once you get some experience with some odd noise or a subtle corner focus problem, or whatever, you’ll be hip to that forever. And, you’ll be one of the assets of that every director can dream of: Part of the team who gets their movie played correctly for your mutual audience.
It is important to know that this gradual way of noticing subtle things is the way that everyone learns these layers of nuance. Nobody is born a colorist or sound mixer or Quality Assurance expert. Keep going back to the lessons where you might pick up some detail, some subtle nuance that you didn’t realize was important before.
Here is a trick to look for. On the slides with the gradient bars and squares, there is one square in the center that has a ‘0’ in it. If your equipment is good and well set up, you can see 2 zeros. If you have exceptional contrast, you can see 3. You should let someone know if you can’t see any ‘0’, and if you see one or two or three one week and they disappear the next. Pay attention for a developing problem. You may notice that when a new bulb is put in, or if the port glass is cleaned well, that things get better again.
Over time you’ll be able to confidently identify developing issues and their solutions, and teach others as well. Good luck to us all.
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