‘Aquarius’ Mastered in EclairColor HDR Digital Cinema Format

Aquarius - Still 1 -H 2016
Courtesy of TIFF

Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Aquarius, which has already screened at film festivals including in competition at the Cannes and earlier this month at the Toronto International Film Festival, is the first feature-length film entirely remastered using EclairColor, a new digital cinema system that includes high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities.

France-headquartered digital cinema services business Ymagis Group and its postproduction restoration and distribution company, Éclair, recently announced the development of the new format.

Aquarius, a Franco-Brazilian co-production, is scheduled for a Sept. 28 theatrical release in France. With this release, Ymagis also revealed that Paris’ Etoile Saint Germain des Prés is the first commercial cinema to be equipped with EclairColor projection technology by its exhibitor services business unit, CinemaNext France. (The projection system is also capable of playing today’s commonly-used cinema formats).

“We are truly offering our audiences a premium experience. Aquarius takes on an entirely new dimension thanks to EclairColor. We are thrilled with this new partnership with CinemaNext and Éclair,” said Etoile Cinémas CEO David Henochsberg in a statement.

Effectively a mastering and exhibition process, EclairColor is an ambitious goal as it requires adoption by filmmakers and studios to offer the content in the EclairColor format, and it will need development of a network of digital cinema auditoriums capable of screening EclairColor-mastered content.

The format, according to Ymagis Group CEO and chairman Jean Mizrahi, is based on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ ACES (Academy Color Encoding System) and meets "about 90 percent" of the Digital Cinema Initiatives spec for digital cinema, (including its security system). Currently, only Eclair is equipped to do the mastering, but Mizrahi said the company aims to license its technology to postproduction system manufacturers (likely as a software plug-in) to give productions a wider range of mastering options.

For exhibition, Mizrahi reported that this would be a software upgrade with no required hardware to an existing digital cinema setup with a projector capable of displaying the format (meaning a potentially large base if accepted).

Of the Paris theater installation and the release of Aquarius in the format, he said in a statement, "Audiences will now have the opportunity to discover for the very first time all the benefits of EclairColor technology … with significantly enhanced image quality through better color fidelity and greater contrast, not to mention more brightness and sharper details. EclairColor is like a stereoscopic film without 3D glasses.”