Assimilate Slashes PC and New Mac Version of SCRATCH 6 in Half, Launches Targeted Dailies App

Assimilate came to NAB last week not just with a new version of its well-known SCRATCH finishing system for the Mac but with a much more competitive price for both the PC and Mac versions of its full SCRATCH 6 upgrade. At half of the original price, either OS version of SCRATCH 6 now lists for $17,995. The company also used the show to launch an even more affordable on-set and VFX dailies app called SCRATCH Lab for $4,995.

Prior to the show, ASSIMILATE also announced support for RED’s EPIC 5K camera and its HDRx format, in addition to .r3d and ProRes. Company 3, which recently completed work on next month’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (above), are among the first to use SCRATCH to handle EPIC 5K files in a stereoscopic 3D workflow.

Scratch continues to be used on high-profile RED projects like Pirates, as well as on indie films like All Your Dead Ones and Take Shelter, two favorites at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. But the latest version of SCRATCH, according to VP of marketing Steve Bannerman, is a much more open system. The 64-bit Version 6 now supports ARRI Raw and other native formats from cameras including DSLRs on up to the Vision Research Phantom and Silicon Imaging   SI-2K.

This year’s Take Shelter, starring Michael Shannon, above, premiered at Sundance and was finished with SCRATCH. Image courtesy of Stuck On On, Austin Texas.

DP Diego F. Jimenez won Sundance’s World Cinema Cinematography Award: Dramatic this year for All Your Dead Ones, above. The film was also finished on SCRATCH. Image courtesy of Hangar Films.

In an announcement timed to coincide last week with the unveiling of Panasonic’s first P2 3D camera, Assimilate also announced that Scratch now natively supports P2 MXF (AVC-Intra) as well as AVCHD. In a P2 3D workflow, SCRATCH will automatically de-mux stereo streams. According to Bannerman, that partnership, as well as new features such as multi-layer timelines and AAF and FCP XML import, are aimed directly at the episodic and spot-insertion broadcast market.

SCRATCH 6 includes a new multi-layer timeline.

But the core of SCRATCH 6’s new feature set will appeal to its existing customers who use Scratch in a VFX pipeline. The expanded camera format support, as well as enhanced 3D features and audio sync and new support for Avid’s Artist Color (formerly Euphonix) and Tangent Wave consoles, will expand the options for facilities working on a variety of projects and budgets. New 3D workflow upgrades include bicubic controls that let you fix stereo images and an autobalancing feature that automatically balances one eye to the other during stereo grades.

SCRATCH includes a new audio mixer for better audio sync.

Like The Foundry’s upcoming 6.3 version of Nuke, SCRATCH 6 includes a brand new planar tracker. There are also updates to the existing point tracker and a more sophisticated keyer that lets you key on luminance and vectors.

“We’ll continue to add features,” says Bannerman.


Bannerman says the other new member of the SCRATCH family, the $4,995 SCRATCH Lab, was designed from the ground up for the review, versioning, color correction, conform and output of on-set or VFX dailies pipelines. For both on-set and VFX dailies, Bannerman points out that the tool gives users real-time, resolution-independent playback and non-destructive versioning. “It’s got the same engine as the full version of SCRATCH,” he says. “But Lab will democratize the workflow beyond the major VFX shops that have built dailies pipelines around full versions of SCRATCH.”

Other key features include an integrated stereo workflow, Quick Keys, for moving through timelines, and a variety of edit tools to help manipulate shots. SCRATCH  Lab, also available for both Mac OSX and Windows 7, is expected to begin shipping in June.