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Universal Pictures is the first Hollywood studio to announce that it will begin to use and deliver its productions using the latest version 1.3 of the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES), which it plans to begin using in the fourth quarter of this year. The announcement will be made Thursday during the HPA Tech Retreat in Palm Springs.
ACES is a technical specification developed by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ Science and Technology Council to manage color from camera through finishing for motion pictures and other content production.
Version 1.3 will provide Universal Pictures with more standardized methods of color management for production and post including archiving and preservation, according to Annie Chang, Universal’s vp of creative technologies and co-chair of the ACES project at AMPAS.
That would benefit upcoming Universal productions including Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, which is slated for a Nov. 23 release, and the untitled Super Mario Bros. film, slated for a Dec. 21 debut.
“ACES has made tremendous leaps and bounds in the last few years including metadata tracking, a common [LUT] format for our looks and a brilliant way to prevent the incorrect translation of color from cameras,” Chang said. “With our adoption of the latest updates, we would like to signal to the tool manufacturers that there is demand for ACES v1.3 in our industry. When ACES v2.0 is available, we also plan to adopt it as soon as it’s available in the toolsets.” The version 2.0 spec is expected to be released in late 2022.
These sorts of developments take time for implementation into motion picture production and postproduction; version 1.3 of the spec was initially released in April 2021 but the pandemic delayed the progress of implementation.
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