LaserPacific coloring with aIM

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As the production and post industries move toward the digital realm, an increasing number of cinematographers and filmmakers have cited the need for color consistency from production through post and mastering, as well as for higher-quality dailies.

To address these issues, LaserPacific Media Corp. today is unveiling AccurateImage (aIM), a new end-to-end color-calibrated feature film process. The system was developed by LaserPacific's engineering team with parent company Kodak's color scientists. The goal is to offer a consistent and trustworthy method of carrying and communicating a look from previs and dailies through print film and home entertainment deliverables, without having to start over at different stages of the process. It also is designed to present "release quality in dailies," LaserPacific president Leon Silverman said.

Various service companies and manufacturers have been exploring and introducing methods of addressing color consistency.

The aIM system received high marks from its first tester, director of photography Daryn Okada, who ran aIM through its paces on production of "Harold and Kumar 2," which recently wrapped. "A lot of companies tried to develop one piece (of such as system)," Okada said. "This is the first time we are able to take it from the beginning to the screen as we are making the movie.

"I was very happy with the results," he said. "It handles the entire process from initial transfer to presentation in dailies and eventually to final grading." Okada added that the system enabled the team to store and see more picture information than is typical of other playback systems used in dailies, which meant that he could see the information that he needed to make creative decisions.

Glenn Kennel, vp and GM of LaserPacific's feature film business, said that this new service starts with a calibrated telecine for dailies. The negative is transferred to the HDCAM SR format in raw scan mode, which is graded using a custom Look Up Table. Kennel said that the work is then encoded and packaged as a Digital Cinema Package on a Kodak digital cinema server that has been modified with custom features, and dailies are then displayed on a Panassonic 1080p projector with a wide color gammat and high contrast range.

The elements of the modified Kodak server, he said, include the ability to use familiar printer light numbers; that is, the images are mathematically calibrated to match lab printer light settings. Another element is the capability to import and export the developing American Society of Cinematographers Color Decision List.

Director of photography Vilmos Zsigmond is using the aIM system while shooting his next feature, "Bolden," on location in New Orleans and North Carolina.
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