Autodesk Inc. has launched the Autodesk Lustre 2007 digital color grading solution. Lustre has shaped hundreds of films, including KING KONG, CLERKS II and the upcoming films MACBETH and THE BLACK DAHLIA. There is also growing demand for specialized digital grading tools such as Lustre in the TV industry and for films shot in high definition (HD). With Lustre, colorists can deliver stylized looks, maintain continuity across shots and change the time of day during which a story takes place. Lustre 2007 offers realtime capabilities through the use of high-bandwidth, cost-effective Graphics Processing Units (GPUs). It also enables colorists to collaborate with visual effects and finishing artists, which promotes increased creativity while speeding project completion.
Melbourne-based Digital Pictures was beta testing Lustre 2007, and used its Lustre 2.7 system on MACBETH, whose director, Geoffrey Wright, commented: "Working with Digital Pictures and colorist Justin Heitman gave me progressive confidence that the creative process would be an exciting one. The grading process is now, like editing, another chance to rewrite some elements of the movie, to inject a mood or feeling that may not have been considered before. Grading digitally is no longer a matter of mere consistency, it is explosively creative and inventive, a very stimulating and fascinating task with endless possibilities."
Lustre 2007 is based on a non-linear, data-centric software architecture. Its GPU-accelerated grading provides realtime playback of primary color grading and key secondary grading capabilities. The solution's realtime deliverables functionality makes it possible to start from a 2K resolution master and generate re-formatted primary grade HD and standard-definition deliverables without the need for successive, time-consuming render passes.
Pamela Hammond, head of Post at Digital Pictures, said, "MACBETH was the first HD project to be digitally graded in our state-of-the-art Digital Grading Theater. Autodesk Lustre gives us the freedom to use numerous creative tools for primary color correction and secondary color correction, window isolation and keying. What's more, Lustre provides us with a key advantage for versioning, since multiple aspect ratios can be created with the same color-corrected images and the same dirt fix can be applied in one pass with its onboard tools."
The Lustre 2007 workflow eases the process of collaborating with a facility's finishing suite. Based around Autodesk Stone media or media residing on an open file system, this workflow allows grading to begin before the final edit is complete, giving colorists more time to experiment and finalize a project's look and feel. For example, Lustre 2007 can be used to round-trip a project from the Autodesk Smoke editing/finishing system or Autodesk Flame visual effects system to Lustre and back without the use of videotape or file exports. This is made possible through the Autodesk Wiretap client-server access protocol.
In addition, colorists can capture, render and play out interlaced or progressive video material with Lustre 2007, making it the ideal solution for many types of grading projects. With support for true field-based rendering, interlaced video can be graded using animated roto shapes, animated repositioning or resizing and displayed in 10-bit video on a broadcast monitor, without flickering.
Autodesk anticipates that Lustre 2007 will be available in September for the Microsoft Windows operating system. Lustre 2007 is comprised of the following:
* Lustre Master Station: Includes the full Lustre toolset and is designed for GPU-accelerated sessions where the colorist works together with the cinematographer. Contains an extensive creative toolset for more elaborate visual design and grading using up to 4K resolution and 16-bit files and for completing tasks like dust busting, conforming, rotoscoping and capture/playout.
* Lustre HD Station: Cost-effective GPU performance for conforming, preparing, grading and mastering short-form and long-form HDTV projects, as well as HD film projects. Input up to 10-bit 2K and output HD and SD.
* Lustre Station: Tasks that do not require the direct intervention or supervision of the colorist can be efficiently handled by a Lustre Station. Multiple Lustre Stations can work in parallel to increase throughput and can be used for tasks such as dust-busting, preparatory work, fine-tuning creative sessions, conforming data from EDLs, updating editorial changes using change lists or mastering to different formats using the realtime deliverables function.
Lustre 2007 is compatible with the new Autodesk Control Surface, which has three sub-panels that enable it to be easily configured for both left- and right-hand dominant operation.
Autodesk Inc. (www.autodesk.com) is the leading software and services company for the manufacturing, building, infrastructure, wireless data services and media and entertainment fields. Founded in 1982, Autodesk is headquartered in San Rafael, California.