NAB 2015: AMPAS Launches Global Standard for Color Encoding

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences used the NAB Show as the launch for the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) — a free, open, device-independent global standard for color management and image interchange that targets digital production, mastering and long-term archiving of motion pictures. The Academy also announced the support of 22 leading companies that will participate in the ACES Logo Program, which was developed to “encourage consistent, high-quality implementations of ACES concepts and technical specifications throughout the industry.”

Companies already committed to the program include ARRI, Assimilate, Autodesk, Canon U.S.A., Codex, Colorfront, Deluxe Media Creative Services, Digital Vision, Dolby Laboratories, FilmLight, FotoKem, The Foundry, Fujifilm North America, Light Illusion, MTI Film, Panasonic, Pomfort, Quantel, RED Digital Cinema, SGO, Shotgun Software and Sony Electronics.

AMPAS_ACES_Logo

ACES will be the topic of a 3:00 PM panel session today (Tuesday, April 14) titled “Coming to You Live: ACES 1.0,” with leading professionals discussing actual production experience with the new standard. AMPAS also presented the standard itself in a Technology Summit on Cinema session last Saturday afternoon. For the first time, The Academy has a booth (Central Hall — C9132) on the exhibit floor, complete with red carpet and Oscar statues.

“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, Academy governor and 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 Academy’s website features a short video presentation and also lists several featured benefits of ACES 1.0 for specific users:

For cinematographers, colorists and digital imaging technicians, ACES 1.0 preserves creative intent from on-set capture to presentation by:

  • Eliminating uncertainty between on-set look management and downstream color correction through standardized viewing transforms and equipment calibration methods
  • Preserving the full range of highlights, shadows and colors captured on set for use throughout post-production and mastering
  • Simplifying the matching of images from different cameras
  • Providing a means to repurpose source materials when creating alternate deliverables

For visual effects and other post-production facilities, ACES 1.0 streamlines digital workflows by:

  • Simplifying the interchange of unfinished motion picture imagery
  • Providing a standard color management architecture that can be shared by hardware and software vendors
  • Eliminating uncertainty associated with undocumented or poorly documented file formats and color encodings
  • Establishing standards for metadata

For producers and studios, ACES 1.0 reduces production costs and enables future-proofed archiving by:

  • Providing a free, open source color and look management architecture that can be shared by vendors whose hardware and software products are used on set and in post-production
  • Ensuring digital assets can be repurposed to take advantage of future high-dynamic-range, wide-color-gamut display devices
  • Ensuring the archive contains the highest fidelity digital source master possible, representing the digital equivalent of the “finished negative”