Baselight 5.0 is ready, plus a free onset grading app for Mac

Baselight 5.0
Neal Romanek
Post Production
April 14th 2016 at 10:10AM : By Neal Romanek

The new Baselight system is optimised for grading HDR and working with wide colour gamuts

FilmLight’s will be debuting its Baselight 5.0, at next week's NAB in Las Vegas. The upgraded grading software, will feature new tools to optimise both HDR grading and extended colour gamut.

At NAB, FilmLight will demonstrate its HDR technologies and workflows, using its range of products - alongside different 4K HDR-enabled mastering displays - to illustrate the creative opportunities of HDR grading.

“There are a few hurdles when grading and mastering in HDR,” said Wolfgang Lempp, CEO of FilmLight. “You have to give the colourist an intuitive way of interacting with the extra dynamic range, to grade in a way that is natural. You also want to minimise the extra effort of grading for other deliverables, while matching as closely as possible the high quality, HDR image viewing experience. The Baselight 5.0 toolset meets these challenges head on.”  

Developed for Baselight 5.0 is the Base Grade, which aims to mimic the way the eye appreciates colour. Providing an instinctive and predictable response to image adjustment controlled by base, exposure and tint, the new operator is an option for grading HDR images. Exposure zones can be adjusted independently without compromising the overall balance of the image. Base Grade attempts to introduce a more "photographic approach" to colour grading, with exposure stops and printer lights trying to accurately what a DoP would expect to see.

Martin Tlaskal, Lead Developer, said: “Base Grade is the most advanced creative grading operator we have developed to date. The ‘feel’ for the user is the same no matter what the choice of working colour space. It works in a perceptually linear space, so it’s perfect for grading RAW formats, OpenEXRs and other scene-referred data for both HDR and standard range displays.”

The new Baselight 5.0 introduces the concept of colour space ‘families’, which aim to simplify the deliverables process for distinct viewing environments: television, cinema, mobile devices. Once the grade is signed off, Baselight can select the most appropriate transform in the family to optimise deliverables for each destination.

A new gamut optimisation feature in Baselight 5.0 provides gamut mapping for wide dynamic range images, which form part of the new generation of HDR displays.

Where a HDR image results in colours outside a standard colour gamut, the new gamut compression feature compresses the outer volume of the gamut without affecting the inner volume. (before & after shown below) Bright, saturated colours won’t clip or destroy the image. 

Baselight Gamma compression before & after

“The new range of high-end cameras are extremely powerful, but this also means they’re capable of capturing all sorts of colours that could never be displayed on current television screens,” explained Lempp. “Our new gamut optimisation feature makes this simple to fix, providing natural gamut mapping for deliverables."

New app for Mac

Filmlight is also introducing a new free Mac OS X app for DoP's called Prelight. The app is designed for creatives to author and review looks in pre-production and on-set. With Prelight, DoP's can check how shots appear with looks or LUTs applied, and import or add grading decisions that can be passed downstream. Images can be imported from almost any camera, and graded references exported in almost any format.

Prelight screencapture

The creative team can enhance the grade with simple but familiar tools, to create new reference stills as well as 3D LUTs or BLG (Baselight Linked Grade) files. With the render-free BLG workflow, the grades are non-destructive too: additional BLG metadata is created and attached to the stills. And the free licence for Baselight for Avid or NUKE, which makes it free to read and render BLG files, makes this workflow available to productions on any budget.

An extended licence can be purchased so that when these files arrive in the Baselight post house, or on a Daylight system for near-set dailies, the metadata is attached automatically and the BLG file becomes the basis of the grade, which can then be refined right up to the moment the deliverables are created. The additional licence also includes enhanced logging and monitoring capabilities.

As well as fitting in naturally with the BLG workflow, Prelight can fit into any post-production workflow because of the ability to export standard ASC CDL lists and third-party formatted 3D LUTs. Prelight can also interface to the majority of professional LUT boxes or monitors for real-time viewing.