I've come to learn that the raw format of cr2 isn't what I (and many others) presumed. The format is holding additional information so that you afterward can correct the exposures whitebalance and other camera settings. But it doesn't hold more bit dept that could be made use of while color grading. So.. there's no reason to try insisting on preserving the raw for the grading. I fact it can very well have the opposite effect. Because the different post-process programs or converters to 16bit bitmap/raster formats leaves no or little interface to define the interpretation and the ones who can are meant for still photography where you develop a row of images taken on the same location, with roughly the same settings, which might need some fine-tuning. But in our case where we spend time setting the light and camera, it has no real value. My misunderstanding lays in the 14bit resolution of CR2 because I thought that it was to be compared to the 8bit of 24bit raster. It's not!!
But you have to set the WB correctly, preferably manually, by taking a picture of a white sheet of paper while exposed to the light on your set and referring to that in the WB manual settings on the camera. And while we don't have added bit dept, we do have a much higher pixel resolution than our output in general. So if you take these higher-resolution "fine jpg" and color grade them in 16 bit floating, you'll end up with much better keys, and the possibility of changing other specific colors, than if you downscaled them at forehand. So scale the images down after you have color graded, painted out rigs, and made any composites, like with green screening. Because of the bigger pixel count and the 1024 levels of calculation environment per channel. Roughly said, you'll have the grades of 4 pixels defining one in a billion rather than one in a million. And then bring them in for editing.
I hope this will make up for some of the things I've stated earlier, where I believed in making the most out of the raw format. I'm really sorry for that. But happy that I don't have to deal with those huge files any longer.
I shoot Large Fine Jpegs for most of my personal projects. I can get good keys from them. But Raw images have saved me a couple of times, when the computer monitor was looking much darker or brighter than the images really were. The bright monitor caused me to underexpose, but with Raw that was easily fixed. When I did the same thing with jpegs, there just wasn't the shadow detail there. With a good exposure, there is less to be gained. But Cr2 (or Nikon Raw) really comes in handy with a bad exposure, it's like a second chance at the camera settings.
I have learned that Davinci Resolve does exactly that, i.e. allow keying, rig removal etc while permitting editing simultaneously, as anything done in the Fusion page is done to the original images at their original size, while the editing can be done at the lower resolution.
Indeed this is why its makes total sense to use lightroom to create high res jpg's from the Raws as the first step of the stop mo work flow. You can then harness the full power of the extra dynamic range and quickly play with luminosity of certain colours etc very quickly. Plus add the sharpening that is required and de-noise that is also required. It's quick and easy and can make the images look way way way better than the jpgs that the Canon puts out with its baked in colour profiles. From that point on im just using jpegs with added crop etc for AE and then in the edit last..
So in fact the main colour grade comes first - now we only have the tradition of doing it last as its a waste of time in a rough cut to grade if a shot is dropped by the director later, but in stop motion its not like we are making major edit decisions about shots at that stage in the workflow so that tradition goes out the window..
The power of the Raw files just needs to be harnessed at the beginning of the my work flow i use it like the darkroom/timing stage if i were to be shooting film. Now you can just let the lab do a generic job for you (the camera profile) but they are never setup by creatives (with the possible exception of the wonderful Fujifilm profiles) they are setup by emotionless men in lab coats. If you are not creating you own profiles for the particular job/scene you really are missing out on a huge and fabulous part of the creative process, which is a bit sad...
Ok thanks - I've had a hell trying to get DaVinci Resolve/Fusion read the CR2. I'll give darkroom or other photo developing apps a try. I've developed an allergi towards Adobe. Good hint about profiles.