Assimilate has updated its dailies and DI tools, Scratch and Scratch Lab, to Version 8.2, offering expanded metadata support. Also new is Live View, which allows DPs and DITs the ability to capture metadata from live camera feeds, grade live and then create looks. There is more, including Scratch Web, but we decided to let Assimilate’s Steve Bannerman get into the details.
What are the biggest updates for V.8.2 of Scratch and Scratch Lab, and why are they so important to workflow?
In a nutshell: Scratch and Scratch Lab — along with Scratch Web — now offer more features and functions that enable an end-to-end, intuitive, realtime workflow. From DITs grading live metadata on set to and creating looks with the DPs to optimal encoding with Vanguard’s H.264 encoder to VR support with Oculus Rift, all while using the same file CONstructs in Scratch DI tools for realtime collaboration and reviews via Scratch Web using any connected device.
Bottom line for the artists is increased productivity, huge time and cost savings, and more time to spend on the creative process than wrangling with the tools. Let’s dig in a bit deeper on what’s new:
A) There is an update to the media browser for directly managing the metadata. Artists can select, update, add or remove metadata in a spreadsheet editor-style. They can update metadata for a single shot or multiple shots at once, as well as update data by entering plain text or using formulas that contain other metadata items. New metadata can then be exported via ALE or XML to be imported into other systems or integrated with other proprietary tools.
Users can also match/find, load and apply looks to multiple shots in the form of 3dl, CDL, LUT or XML and audio. This new feature will search and match by name, timecode, or any common metadata item. Also, artists can now auto-link audio files to shots purely based on metadata and file name.
B) The new Live View function takes in the SDI signal from a camera and allows artists to work and grade directly on the camera feed. It also reads the camera metadata if available, which is then displayed in the metadata stack in the Player module. In addition, the name of a Scratch Gallery item can be based on the metadata of the current shot (e.g. Live View). The determined grade can then be easily linked to the recorded shot further downstream in the pipeline.
C) There is support for the H.264 encoder from Vanguard Video, so artists now have the combination of bit-rate, file size and quality for their dailies and preview content. Moreover, since the encoder implementation is cross-platform, V.8.2 brings this industry-standard codec to the Mac, so those working on Apple-based computers have access to the same optimized encoding experience that has traditionally only been available on Windows.
D) There is support for Oculus Rift VR 360 file format, including Cylindrical, Equi-rectangular and Cube formats for output to a secondary monitor or an Oculus Rift DKI or DKII. With a Rift connected, these formats are mapped in realtime to Rift output, with full head-tracking support.
Why should users get excited about Oculus Rift, and how do you enable this workflow?
Scratch will output in 360-mode with just a normal secondary display/monitor acting as a window into the virtual world, with realtime ability to pan, track and tilt around the sphere. This means that developers creating cinematic content for the Rift now have a tool that allows them to grade and composite VR shots in realtime — whether or not they have a Rift headset.
What is happening with Scratch Web?
Scratch Web allows Scratch and Scratch Lab artists to set up secure, cloud-based client review sessions, eliminating multiple review steps and creating significant time savings. Scratch Web artists can create a secure content channel for dailies, DI or VFX review sessions easily and directly from within the Scratch or Scratch Lab UI.
It eliminates the many, discrete steps of stove-pipe solutions that involve multiple products with multiple user interfaces. It also allows for a fluid, intuitive workflow for publishing a single clip, or an entire construct — including all metadata — without leaving Scratch or Scratch Lab.
Artists with a MyAssimlate account can publish their local Scratch or Lab CONstruct to a corresponding cloud-based CONstruct on their Scratch Web channel, by clicking a button. Scratch Web channels can be reviewed from any device with any Web browser — a smartphone, tablet or computer.
What about pricing?
Scratch and Scratch Lab V.8.2 are available immediately from via our website. We offer very flexible with our pricing options — they range from license rentals for as little as $20 per-day to permanent licenses.
Scratch Web channels are available immediately via the site. The basic subscription is $79 per month (includes 20GB of storage) and the Extended subscription is $249 per month (includes 100GB of storage). A free introductory account is available to any Scratch or Scratch Lab artist who is current on maintenance and support.