LONDON — At NAB 2018 in Las Vegas, FilmLight (www.filmlight.ltd.uk) is demonstrating the new functionality recently added to their Baselight 5 grading platform. As HDR technology evolves, Baselight colorists increasingly work with HDR acquisition and delivery for movies and premium TV projects, like the recent Black Panther or BBC’s
Blue Planet II. Base Grade already takes the sting out of moving between different delivery formats, and between SDR and HDR, but FilmLight has developed more tools that give colorists controls to ease the transition: Boost Range and an HDR-ready Looks operator.
Boost Range expands the dynamic range of an image when converting from SDR to HDR, using a local tone mapping approach. This results in more natural looking results, with more faithful contrast reproduction. The algorithm also eliminates issues with noise in the extended highlights and makes the whole up-conversion more robust while achieving greater dynamic range.
The Looks operator has been upgraded for HDR to bring preferred color rendition to digital image pipelines. The new HDR options add the artistic tweaks to the pipeline to produce a cinematic look, while still maintaining the highest possible image quality when producing all deliverables - from SDR to HDR.
“The new looks are extremely helpful,” notes Fernando Rodrigues, senior colorist at Filmmore in Amsterdam. “I was amazed by how easily I could re-obtain details that, at first glance, seemed to be clipped or crushed. The best thing is that they give a nice ‘thickness’ to the image, something a lot of my clients are looking for. The effect is very film-like.”
Munich-based DP, Matthias Fleischer, agrees. “The Looks feature produces very cinematic roll-offs, and it creates lovely skin tones. When working with dailies, it actually feels a lot like dealing with scanned film footage.”
New functionality introduced at NAB includes support for 360/VR, so that virtually any tool in the Baselight arsenal - including secondaries, Paint and Perspective - can be used to grade 360 footage by operating in a ‘sandwich’ of two Panorama operators, which convert from LatLong (or equirectangular) projections to normal projection and back. LatLong projections are also supported in Baselight’s format system, and LatLong images with traditional perspective can be viewed via a new toggle in the Cursor View.
The Relight tool has been boosted too, with support for area lights, so users can add and adjust specular highlights to make more realistic lighting changes. Relight allows users to control the location of lights and specular highlights precisely by directly clicking in the image viewer.
The initial release of Baselight 5 provided many tools for VFX, including Grid Warp and the Perspective Tracker. In the latest version, the completely rewritten text tool reduces the workload further in projects where Baselight is used for finishing as well as allowing for greater creativity. It brings shape-like transform operations to text, so text objects can be manipulated with tools such as perspective transform, or tracked throughout a shot.
There are a host of other new features too, designed to enhance efficiency and improve workflows. This includes: strip locking to prevent accidental deletion; selecting strips by operator; searching for buttons and actions in Chalk; file trimming for R3D, Phantom, Sony XAVC and Sony RAW MXF files; a new client view that shows the current frame and metadata; the ability to include the shots layout on the main image monitor, allowing a scrolling list of thumbnails to appear on the main display; and improvements to the Baselight keyers to provide more precise operation in wide gamut scene-referred color spaces.
The Baselight 5 software platform is applied to all of FilmLight’s color range. The full range of FilmLight systems are being demonstrated at booth SL4310, including Daylight dailies and media management, Prelight on-set pre-visualisation, Baselight Editions and a number of Baselight configurations.