EclairColor High Dynamic Range System Previewed in Hollywood

Aquarius - Still 1 -H 2016
Courtesy of TIFF

Reps from France-headquartered digital cinema services business Ymagis Group and its postproduction company Éclair are in Los Angeles this week previewing EclairColor, its new digital cinema mastering and exhibition process that offers high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities.

HDR means that the system can display a wider range between the whitest whites and blackest blacks, compared with what is generally offered in cinemas.

This week, Ymagis has installed the system at the Harmony Gold, where it's showing the system to filmmakers, studio execs and other stakeholders to generate interest in providing content. EclairColor capabilities are currently offered in 12 cinemas in France and one in Germany. The company hopes to continue to expand its footprint and enter the U.S. market next year.

While EclairColor could be likened to the Dolby Vision HDR theatrical system, Ymagis president and CEO Jean Mizrahi asserted that this is not targeting the high-end only, rather, "the idea is to have [an HDR] system that anyone can afford ... using standard projection equipment." Currently it requires one (or two, depending on the size of the screen) currently-available Sony SRX 500 series 4K digital cinema projectors with EclairColor software.

In addition to having a network of digital cinema auditoriums capable of screening EclairColor-mastered content, a steady stream of content is also needed. Kleber Mendonça Filho’s Aquarius, which has already screened at film festivals including in competition at Cannes, was the first feature-length film entirely remastered using EclairColor. Ymagis is hoping to interest additional filmmakers in EclairColor.

The format 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), according to Mizrahi. 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. With supported capabilities, a post house could become "Eclair certifiied" to master content in the format, the company said.