Colorgrading

Color is life. For a world without colors appears to us as dead.
Colors are forces, radiant energies that affect us positively or negatively, whether we are aware of it or not.
- Johannes Itten (1888–1967)

Filmmakers want to create their own reality. A reality that suits their idea, their story. In postproduction one of the best ways to achieve this is by altering and enhancing the color of images.

Raw imagery from digital motion picture cameras always requires some form of exposure correction and color balancing. Simply because it’s not always possible, or practical to have full control of lighting conditions on set or on location. And of course accidents happen, exposure might be insufficient, or skin tones might have to be changed because of wrong white balancing.

Footage from very different cameras, or shots coming from VFX with additional elements, shot in multiple locations over the course of days, or even months, have to be balanced and integrated to make up a scene. In the end everything should feel like it’s happening at the same moment, on the same spot, with the same lighting. But most importantly, the colorist, working with the cinematographer and the director, will be able to control the viewer’s perception of such a scene. This makes him an important creative element in setting the mood/style of a film.

No other other tool offers better creative control of film and TV grading than Filmlight’s Academy Award winning Baselight. In fact Filmmore has been involved with Baselight from the very beginning of version 0.9 almost thirteen years ago. At the moment Filmmore is one of Filmlights bigger clients with seven Baselight grading and set-up stations.

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ACES/Color Management

The Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) is a color image encoding system created by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the people who bring you the Oscars. In a constantly changing industry, ACES is the best idea in color pipeline workflow in recent years, bringing back consistency and providing a unifying standard.

So what exactly are the benefits? First of all it provides a standard for imaging. Camera manufacturers supply an IDT (Image Device Transform) with their cameras that ensures images adhere to a certain look. Simply said, it makes very different camera sensors more or less compatible.

The second important part is that the ACES workspace provides a standard for global interchange between VFX and postproduction houses. The ACES workspace utilizes a file format that can encode the entire visible spectrum in 30 possible stops of dynamic range. By using an ODT (Output Device Transform) this theoretically limitless workspace is mapped to displays like DCI projectors or Rec.709 monitors.

The third element is that it provides a standard for accurate preservation and archiving. When using the ACES workspace, projects are automatically future proof. A high dynamic range release in Dolby Vision of an older feature shot on film negative would for instance only require a new ODT and additional grading. The full range of the material will have been preserved by archiving the project in ACES workspace.

The color pipeline used to be a great risk, ending up with a different color workflow for every production. With ACES it provides a unifying standard. Now everyone is able to see what you get in all stages of the postproduction process. Be it in the same room or across the globe.


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