ASC working on LUT interfacing


In digital production and post, a lookup table, or LUT, is used to define image characteristics, including color values for consistency.

The hitch is that the makers of color-correction systems and display devices tend to generate LUTs with their own syntax, meaning that typically LUTs from one device can't be transported to another and read in a meaningful way. This creates a series of hurdles when taking a production through stages from on-set color correction to dailies to digital intermediate and mastering work.

To address this issue, the American Society of Cinematographers Technology Committee's metadata subcommittee is beginning to initiate discussions with manufacturers and stakeholders in the hopes that this could lead to developing and proposing a common interface syntax. The goal is to improve the pipeline by enabling LUTs to be used in different technologies while maintaining a consistent meaning.

This also is an issue that has come up as part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' SciTech Council's image interchange framework project committee.

Director of photography David Stump, co-chair of the ASC's metadata subcommittee, said that he has started to introduce this topic to various manufacturers and stakeholders and noted that the response has been positive.

"It's all in the name of open source," Stump said. "The more people embrace open-source technology, the easier it is to do the work."