On Tuesday night, at an event aimed strictly at the press, I saw a demo at Filmlight‘s Los Angeles offices. The main point of the evening was to see Baselight 8’s 4K color grading, but while they were readying that suite (apparently, it had crashed after an entire day’s worth of demos), we got another treat.
TrueLight product manager Peter Postma demonstrated Baselight’s new 3D grading capabilities. With 3D filmmaking on the upswing, all kinds of manufacturers, from cameras to color correction, are eager to provide solutions. Postma showed the demo with two HD streams (left eye/right eye) playing simultaneously. The user can grade either both eyes at the same time, or grade one eye and then apply the grades to the second (all in real-time, although complex grades may need to cache material before playback). The 3D version of Baselight has all the same tools as the 2D version, said Postma. Also provided are tools to tweak the convergence of the eyes, to increase or decrease the amount of depth perception. According to Postma, Filmlight plans additional tools for keystone correction (for adjusting the two lenses if they’re not properly aligned) and a tool for offset of HD cameras. He pointed out that users can grade in 3D with the Truelight tool. The software release will be available shortly after IBC. It’s available for use now to any Baselight customers and any prospective customers. No facility is beta-testing at the moment. For Baselight users, the 3D capabilities will be a standard software upgrade.
The main course was Filmlight’s 4K DI, which got a real-life application with the indie film “Reach for Me,” which was shot in 4K with the Dalsa Origin camera, recorded to Codex Digital media, and offlined in FCP. The demo was done by Jacqui Loran, head of European support, Mike Grieve, worldwide sales director, Michael La Fuente, Baselight manager and Avid application editor Steve Hollyhead.
The demonstration first showed the latest results of Filmlight’s working relationship with Avid, which was bi-directional metadata content exchange between Media Composer and Baselight via Unity. Post Logic Studios colorist Doug Delaney (who was not the colorist on “Reach for Me” but knew how it was done) showed how robust the system is. He “pushed and pulled” the color correction on several sequences. “There’s a lot of horsepower here,” he said. He then shared the material with the Avid editor, in real-time. “As a colorist, being quick and visceral is a critical part of keeping the session going,” said Delaney. “You can’t say, give me a few minutes to render because it’s 4K. You have to keep things moving which, with the Baselight, is more do-able.” The current version was Baselight 8 with 18 CPUs. “The idea is that you can grade and do changes in editorial simultaneously,” said Grieve. “It’s parallelization.”
(As an aside, Loran showed an improvement to the conform tool that enables the user to filter for UID, timecode or keycode to find the correct images, nearly instantaneously.)
Last but definitely not least, the Filmlight crew demonstrated the company’s own GPU technology, which will go into beta in August and be released in October with Baselight 8. In a word: impressive. La Fuente started off by playing 17 layers in real-time at 4K; but he later threw up 43 layers and there was no slow-down in performance. La Fuente said that the company is still deciding where to beta-test the GPU and noted that it will speed up not just DIs but also work on commercials which are subject to particularly strict deadlines. The next point release will provide pre-determined looks. “We’re showing the limits with what you can do in real-time,” he said. “The more the DoP and director can do, the more time they’ll spend in the suite making something that’s beautiful.” Now those are sweet words to post house execs.
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