Get Powerful Color Tools for Free from Baselight

Baselight remains a force in high-end color grading, and with the new free license for students, it's more accessible than ever.

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.

Credit: 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.

Tech Specs

  • 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

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Your Comment


Still not competitive enough with those restrictions. You can render 2k dpx out of the free davinci resolve. So this doesn't really pique my interest l as I'm sure it won't for others either.

April 19, 2017 at 1:35AM

Wentworth Kelly
DP/Colorist/Drone Op

I agree, this is not the most compelling offer. Don't most decent film schools have Baselight already? Young professionals need time, a lot of time, on the platform to become proficent. Let's face it, no matter what level you're brought in at these days, they want you to be fast.

April 19, 2017 at 12:22PM, Edited April 19, 12:23PM

Craig Mieritz
Color, Light and Camera Geek

How is it better than Resolve in any way?

April 19, 2017 at 3:59AM, Edited April 19, 4:00AM


I'm relatively new to color grading, but I am looking for opportunities for my students (8th through 12th grade) to learn the process. Would this be a better platform for them to work in than the options that are available within Premiere Pro or Final Cut?

April 19, 2017 at 8:08AM, Edited April 19, 8:08AM


No, you are better off getting DaVinci Resolve. It's free and unrestricted for any work. It's also way more intuitive just from my quick observation.

However, I will say the more software that students can play with the better.

April 20, 2017 at 8:27AM

Joseph Lindsay
Director of Photography/Motion Designer

Plus... Mac only? For real?

April 20, 2017 at 1:19PM

Douglas Bowker
Animation, Video, Motion-Graphics