The dizzying array of digital media formats for capture, playback, and distribution is, well, overwhelming at the very least. And you'd better believe that there's never been a truly standardized system of managing color throughout the entirety of a post production pipeline. Until now.

So what exactly is ACES? Well, for starters it's an acronym for Academy Color Encoding System. In essence, ACES provides filmmakers with "a free, open, device-independent color management and image interchange system that can be applied to almost any current or future workflow." Now officially in its version 1.0 release, ACES is aiming to become the industry standard for digital color management throughout all aspects of image the image pipeline, from image capture to editing, VFX, mastering, presentation, archiving, and future remastering.

You're probably wondering who ACES is for, and how it can help filmmakers of with their work. Here's the Academy breakdown:

ACES Color Encoding

For cinematographers, colorists and digital imaging technicians, ACES 1.0 preserves creative intent from on-set capture to presentation by:

  • Eliminating uncertainty between on-set look management and downstream color correction through standardized viewing transforms and equipment calibration methods
  • Preserving the full range of highlights, shadows and colors captured on set for use throughout post-production and mastering
  • Simplifying the matching of images from different cameras
  • Providing a means to repurpose source materials when creating alternate deliverables

For visual effects and other post-production facilities, ACES 1.0 streamlines digital workflows by:

  • Simplifying the interchange of unfinished motion picture imagery
  • Providing a standard color management architecture that can be shared by hardware and software vendors
  • Eliminating uncertainty associated with undocumented or poorly documented file formats and color encodings
  • Establishing standards for metadata

For producers and studios, ACES 1.0 reduces production costs and enables future-proofed archiving by:

  • Providing a free, open source color and look management architecture that can be shared by vendors whose hardware and software products are used on set and in post-production
  • Ensuring digital assets can be repurposed to take advantage of future high-dynamic-range, wide-color-gamut display devices
  • Ensuring the archive contains the highest fidelity digital source master possible, representing the digital equivalent of the “finished negative”

To learn more about ACES, check out the Academy website, and watch this presentation.

No Film School's complete coverage of NAB 2015 is brought to you by Color Grading Central, Shutterstock, Blackmagic Design, and Bigstock.

No Film School's coverage of NAB is brought to you by Color Grading Central, Shutterstock, Blackmagic Design, and Bigstock

Source: ACES