By Chris Ryan
We had three meetings today: Filmlight, SGO and Rohde & Schwarz. Here’s the rundown…
Nice Shoes currently uses FilmLight’s Baselight system for color grading, so we went to their booth first to touch base on new products and to get a feel for where they’re heading in the future.
Their big product this year is the Daylight (main photo), which allows users to have access to Baselight’s amazing color science technology without having to invest in a full Baselight system. It’s pretty much a Baselight without a timeline. It’s being marketed as FilmLight’s on-set grading solution, which works in tandem with their Flip hardware as well as their new Baselight Remote UI software. I was talking to the devs about other possible applications for Daylight beyond on-set grading, such as its use as a versioning tool. It seems to have a lot of potential.
Flip has been around for a bit and allows for the application of LUTs and color grades directly to the output of the camera during a production, so looks can be previewed using the power of a Baselight right on the set. It allows for the creation of BLG files (Baselight Grade Files), which can be used to share grades with everything from a full-blown Baselight system to the Baselight plug-ins for Avid, etc.
The Baselight Remote UI is a slick looking piece of software that runs on an iPad. It’s currently designed to control the Flip, but Filmlight already has plans to open up the UI so it can be used for other products like the Baselight or to act as a remote viewing platform. It’s very polished looking and easy to use, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.
We went to the SGO booth to check out how they’re coming along with their Mistika suite of programs. Mistika is one of the potential systems we’re looking at for an end-to-end post solution. It’s an all-in one color grading, VFX and finishing system. SGO had previously visited Nice Shoes for an in-house demo of Mistika and we were so impressed we decided to make their booth one of our main stops at this year’s IBC in order to get a more in-depth look.
At Nice Shoes, SGO ran their demo off of a laptop, and I was very impressed with the speed of the system even on such limited hardware. Today at IBC, Mistika was running on a desktop, and the speed was even more impressive. The demo included Ultra HD footage running at 60fps as well as 6K Sony F65 and 6K Red Dragon footage.
Mistika is the system Weta uses to handle color grading and 3D mastering for Peter Jackson’s Hobbit films, and I was very impressed with Mistika’s 3D/stereo tools, which have come out of that collaboration. The demo included a 3D scene that had problematic differences between the two eyes, and the Mistika handled the issues with ease.
Mistika has a very interesting UI, which I found to be very innovative but at the same time it may take some getting used to for new users. Mistika is built around a flexible timeline system that uses multiple gestural pen/tablet controls for efficiency and speed. It also has a traditional node-style view, but the real power seems to be in mastering the unique timeline system.
From a color perspective I came away impressed. Not only with the speed and power of the system, but also with the package of tools available. You can tell that this is truly an integrated system with both traditional color and VFX tools readily available to the user.
I’ve been looking for a system that allows for a collaborative working environment between artists that can do very high quality work for a fair price, and Mistika seems to be a strong contender.
Rohde & Schwarz
We went to Rohde & Schwarz to check out their Clipster system. Our current interest comes from Clipster’s ability to output any type of file or video format that our clients require in a fast and easy-to-use system. We’re currently building a new I/O room that will work across all of the departments at Nice Shoes in order to improve our quality control, and the Clipster seems like the perfect box to help the I/O department deal with the plethora of formats our clients throw at us every day.
At Nice Shoes we pride ourselves in not only doing great work when our clients are with our top artists, but also after the job has wrapped and it’s time to get the product out the door.
The other interest I have in Clipster is in its support of the IMF format for deliverables. IMF allows for multiple versions of a single project to be output into a single package for easy distribution. So you can package a movie with multiple languages and resolutions as an example for distribution to a company like Netflix.
Our goal for Nice Shoes is to provide end-to-end services, and being able to output IMF is going to be an important part of that process.
Chris Ryan is a colorist and partner at New York City’s Nice Shoes.