ACES Improving the Film Industry Through Color

The Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) is changing the film industry.

Cinema5D reports that ACES is trying to standardize how color is used throughout filming, from postproduction to distribution. Although the engineering and technology is relatively confusing, the idea is not. It takes footage, from multiple high-resolution cameras on either a variety of shoots or one single shoot, into the same wide color space. ACES can help filmmakers grade various footage onto one single timeline, deliver to a variety of formats, and improve the accuracy and color of images captured on screen.

According to Studio Daily, ACES launched in 2015 at the National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas.

Calibrating an instrument, whether it’s a camera, color-related tool or any other important instrument, one standard device needs to be compared to the measurement of the desired tool. This process can be extremely complicated for any industry, especially one that has transitioned to an all-digital platform.

“A decade ago, the Academy recognized the need for a new set of infrastructure standards as the industry moved from film to digital,” said Richard Edlund, founding member of the Academy’s Science and Technology Council. “We made a deep commitment to the effort — coordinating hundreds of top industry scientists, engineers and filmmakers on years of research, testing and field trials — so we’re both proud and excited to launch ACES 1.0 as the first production-ready release of the system.”

The system works by interpreting and processing images during production for a scene referred linear color space, which is a one to one relationship between real-world brightness and represented image data, by using input and output transforms.

“It’s not nuanced detail, it’s significant. That’s why the excitement is there,” said Curtis Clark chair of the ASC Technology Committee. “It’s a watershed event, a game-changer. We’re at a point of convergence for a lot of work that’s been going on at the Academy with this new workflow.”

Although the system is in its infancy and still experiences some technical issues, because ACES can encode every color visible to the human eye, the future of color in the film industry certainly looks even brighter.

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