Producing the best quality software doesn't always win companies a user base. They also need a large body of skilled users—and a pipeline of new users learning to use your product to bring in as assistants—to have a chance at a market share. As we saw a decade ago with Final Cut 7 taking a huge bite out of Avid because so many students learned it in school, software companies need to ensure that the next wave of filmmakers knows how to use their platform. Blackmagic Da Vinci Resolve offers its software for free, then makes money off licenses for the full software and hardware accessories.
FilmLight will now be offering a free version of Baselight for students, though the company will be taking a much different approach.
With its background in traditional film work (the company is called FilmLight, after all), the Baselight application has long held a large share of the high-end finishing market, but hasn't made major inroads into the independent and academic universe. That should change with the new free Student license, which will allow upcoming color assistants and future colorists enrolled in accredited academic institutions to get their hands dirty using Baselight.
While the company wants to restrict the use of the software to avoid professional work being created on a free platform, Baselight has come up with a simple solution to allow students to execute on projects without watermarking: you can do a full, clean render, but only to H.264, not to ProRes 4444 or similar master quality formats.
Baselight Student runs on Mac OS and will only work with the smaller Slate control surface seen directly above (not with the larger Blackboard designed for major installations). Getting your hands on a license is a relatively controlled process, involving communicating your needs and plans to Baselight for a limited license that has an expiration date. This is a contrast to many academic software deals, which simply require a student ID. Hopefully, this direct process will lead to better training from the company, ensuring better professional practices when the students reach the job market.
Go to the Baselight Student page to get in touch with the company and sign up.
- Only available on MacOS 10.9-10.12
- Slate control panel support. The Blackboard control panel is not supported
- Render out is limited to h.264, Long GOP, Quicktime MP4, and JPEG formats
- Cannot access or import full Baselight scenes (and vice versa)
- The student version uses a different database structure, no interoperability with Baselight
- No BLG export or update AAF workflow
- No consolidate functionality
- 1GB VRAM required, 2GB recommended
- 8GB system ram required, 16GB recommended
- AJA SDI out