Summer 2015

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46 CINEMONTAGE / SUMMER 2015 by Michael Goldman L ately, the buzz surrounding the arrival of the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) as a standardized, device-independent, color management and image interchange system meant to be applied to present-day and future workflows has ramped up in intensity. The ACES project began over 10 years ago when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gathered industry experts together to develop, essentially, "a common digital interchange file format suitable for long- term archiving," explains Andy Maltz, managing director of the Academy's Science and Technology Council, which heads up the ACES effort. "Over the course of development, ACES evolved into the digital replacement for the industry's production infrastructure that we lost when we moved away from film," he continues. "We had well-known spectral response curves, standards, metadata, latent imagery, keycode labeling and so on for a few common workflows. Everything was well known and consistent within lab tolerances — that is, when we worked with film- based technologies and workflows. But when we moved away from film and into the digital world, there were no standards and no consistency. So ACES was designed and built as a suite of standards and best practices, providing for a standardized production infrastructure." Now, after years of field-testing pre-release versions of ACES on selected projects, ACES version 1.0 is finally available as, according to the Academy, "the first production-ready release of the system," which includes support for "a wide variety of digital and film-based production workflows, visual effects and archiving." On the ACES Website (www. tab-5), a list of production partners illustrates that the standard has already been built into numerous camera and color-correction systems with more on the way, as was announced by several companies this past April at NAB. Everything's Coming Up ACES New Color Management Standard's Impact on Editors and Colorists

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