Assimilate Launches Free Media Player For Cinematographers, VFX Artists, Prosumers

Scratch Play supports formats including Raw, OpenEXR and ProRes.

Postproduction technology maker Assimilate has launched a free media player developed to support Raw footage from digital cinematography and DSLR cameras, formats commonly used in visual effects and editorial, and those found on the web.

The target market for Scratch Play includes cinematographers and digital imaging technicians (DITs) who could use it to review shots, pull stills, create looks and export CDLs or LUTs; visual effects artists who could review animation at full resolution; as well as prosumers who wish to use the player to review shots from their DSLR cameras.

The launch of Scratch Play is part of a new strategy for Assimilate, which makes the Scratch and Scratch Lab professional color grading, VFX and finishing systems. That strategy includes expanding Assimilate's user base and creating a collaborative environment in the cloud.

"Scratch Play is just the beginning of a new wave of new products and technologies that you will see from Assimilate this fall," Assimilate's vp of marketing Steve Bannerman told The Hollywood Reporter. "These products and services will include new cloud-based offerings that begin to 'layer' value-added services on top of our products that not only make them more feature-rich, but begin to connect them to other users." He related that some of these services would be built into the upcoming version 8 release of Scratch, which will be unveiled at the IBC convention in Amsterdam.

Bannerman acknowledged that to a certain degree, Assimilate is going in the direction of Adobe and its Creative Cloud. “There are tremendous benefits to be had by connecting artists whether they're within the same facility, or freelancing anywhere in the world. We took the first steps toward that business model with the introduction of rental and subscription licenses this year. Unlike Adobe, however, our customers still have the option to rent for as little as one day, or purchase permanent licenses and site licenses if they choose. We wanted to offer maximum flexibility.”

Scratch Play supports formats from Arri, Canon, Red, Sony, as well as MXF, DPX, OpenEXR, ProRes, Quicktime, WMV and MP4. For professional use, the media player includes Assimilate’s "CONstruct" media management timeline (also found in Scratch and Scratch Lab), which can contain a combination of formats, resolutions or color spaces including Red 2020, a new 4K 'Ultra HD' color space. It also features an ASC CDL-supported color grading toolset.

The media player is available as a free download for MacOS, Windows and Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablets, with ads promoting Assimilate products and marketing events, as well as ads from related third-parties. A version without ads costs $5.