Prelight 5.0 provides on-set look creation at NAB2017

Prelight 5.0 provides on-set look creation at NAB2017
April 18, 2017 Meriam Khan

[18 April 2017]


After a promising start to the Prelight beta programme – with over 700 users joining since it was announced – FilmLight will demonstrate Prelight 5.0 at NAB2017 (booth SL3828, 24–27 April, Las Vegas Convention Center).

Designed to provide visual reassurance to DoPs and DITs on set without disrupting the flow of the shoot, Prelight incorporates the powerful version 5.0 of the core Baselight software and is now fully integrated with the ARRI Alexa SXT, the Alexa Mini and the Panasonic Varicam. Visitors to the FilmLight booth will see Prelight in operation with both cameras supporting the BLG (Baselight Linked Grade) and/or grade metadata natively; it will also be demonstrated with LUT boxes including the Flanders Box IO, the Teradek COLR and the Wowow.

Prelight allows the DoP to retain control of the look of a movie on set, by being able to preview the camera output with the preferred LUT or with looks developed by the colourist, and by reference to the director or DoP’s own stills. The application was recently used on the upcoming Disney comedy Magic Camp, directed by Mark Waters.

“One of the most challenging factors in digital cinematography is obtaining consistency in mood and colour throughout an entire scene,” explained Theo van de Sande, Cinematographer on Magic Camp. “To achieve this, the DoP needs a colour management system on-set that is simple, efficient, fast – with excellent frame grabs for reference and a full ACES workflow – to carry the right mood through to the final DI. Prelight has it all… and more.”

The free version of the macOS software allows looks to be adjusted and applied to still pictures and exported as BLG files; the commercial version (at $995 per licence) gives real-time colour management, ensuring on-set monitors and editorial outputs have the best look possible, and allows export of LUTs as well as the option to embed BLG or grade metadata inside supported Alexa and Varicam cameras.

Users have access to full grading functionality if required, but Prelight can also be used just to get a consistent and reliable viewing environment on set, without having to worry about colour science or LUTs.

“Prelight is an indispensable tool for previewing what the colour will eventually look like in the DI grading suite,” added Colourist Bobby Maruvada. “We used it on every shot on-set, incorporating a full ACES colour pipeline. It performed well under pressure, and we were more than happy with the results.”

Prelight is built on the standard Baselight software, and can impose the full set of grading functionality including dynamic shapes, vignettes and detailed colour correction as well as customised LUTs. It uses the FilmLight BLG metadata format so it sits within the end-to-end render-free workflow.

Many directors and DoPs simply want reassurance that their chosen LUTs and reference looks are working. If they want, they can enhance the grade, with their decisions being captured in the BLG metadata. All grading decisions in the BLG workflow are non-destructive, so DoPs can give suggestions to colourists with confidence.

“Our experience is that DoPs and directors want the best possible viewing conditions on set, so would ideally like to see the basic grade on a calibrated monitor,” said James Milne, FilmLight’s Lead Developer on Prelight. “Prelight uses our unrivalled colour science to do much, much more than that – but without requiring the DoP or DIT to have any specialist knowledge or experience, and more importantly without taking them away from their primary tasks.”

Prelight will be demonstrated as part of the FilmLight BLG workflow at NAB2017, on booth SL3828. Visitors will also see it on demonstrated with cameras on the Sony (C11001), Panasonic (C3607), ARRI (C7925) booths, and on the B&H (C10415) and Flanders Scientific (SL6328) booths.