Framewright, Inc., the New York City-based firm offering DTV production and postproduction, engineering and supervision, has announced the release of LinkColor, a Mac program with a simple user interface, designed to control Blackmagic Design's HDLink Pro and HDLink Pro 3D. HDLink Pro is a 3D LUT hardware device for adjusting HD-SDI video, as well as other formats for display or recording.
"Framewright developed LinkColor to more effectively fulfill the inherent capabilities of HDLink Pro for electronic imaging for film and television," says Abby Levine, the HDTV pioneer who founded Framewright. "Most of today's digital workflows are achieved with digital cameras set up to record either Log or Raw files or tapes. These files are expected to be color corrected and otherwise adjusted in postproduction. In order to more accurately view a 'finished' version of these uncorrected pictures on set, a cost-effective, simple, and quick previewing system is required. LinkColor satisfies this need and helps communicate the cinematographer's intent for postproduction and dailies."
Framewright's LinkColor is a cost-effective solution for on-set color correction that provides much more sophisticated control of HDLink Pro than the manufacturer's supplied utility. Features include separate RGB and master controls of black level, gamma and gain; saturation, warm/cool, and green shift adjustments; and custom user matrix adjustments. All color and picture adjustments are viewed in real-time for interactive control of live HD video.
All of these adjustments can be stored and recalled as desired and may also be exported as 3D LUTs, or ASC CDL events, for use in other color correction systems.
"LinkColor has been tested and used by qualified DITs on a number of TV shows and movies over the past year," Levine reports. "Response has been overwhelmingly positive."
Ryan Heide, DIT on the CBS series "Blue Bloods," says, "I use LinkColor for on-set color management on feature films and episodic television. It is a great tool for on-the-go color correction in the narrative environment. It lets me show a cinematographer what they are actually exposing and what they can do with it after it's captured. It works fast and extremely well for my needs."
DIT Rick Nagle reports that LinkColor "has become the universal standard" for DITs in New York. "We use it to communicate looks with one another and with post. It is a quick, intuitive and highly-effective way to create color treatments or build LUTs quickly and accurately." He also finds that LinkColor "enables the DIT to paint several cameras in a very affordable manner using the very inexpensive HDLink Pro as a data-to-video interface."
Levine explains that "LinkColor allows including or loading a variety of third-party LUTs as Pre-, Post-, or Display LUTs." LinkColor can operate in a number of different LUT sizes (16^3, 17^3, 32^3, 33^3, 64^3, and 65^3), enabling more precise adjustments to be exported. The HDLink Pro handles the necessary conversions of LUT size for the hardware's 17^3 LUT space.
DIT Ben Cain, who is currently using LinkColor on the new HBO original series "Girls," finds that LinkColor "has made LUT creation, management and implementation incredibly easy. Combined with the HDLink Pro, it's a very cost-effective and powerful solution for on-set color correction. I can't do log jobs without it."
DIT Lewis Rothenberg has been using LinkColor since the software's alpha testing when he had been primarily using Iridas SpeedGrade with a Cinetal monitor for on-set LUT building. "LinkColor quickly became my on-set color correction of choice mainly for its speed and ease of use," he says. "I have done three movies, a TV series and hundreds of commercials using it with ARRI ALEXA and Sony F35 cameras. I even used it to tie three ALEXAs in real time to the live recording of the 'Victoria's Secret Fashion Show' last year."
Rothenberg says that "the fact that LinkColor outputs a number of industry-standard LUTs makes it very versatile" and its ability to work with HDLink "makes it very affordable. I like that the GUI layout is very familiar to those of us who have been doing traditional video shading for many years. One of my favorite options is the Kelvin slider. Most of the time when I set up a LUT the primary request from the DP is 'can you make it a little warmer or a little cooler?' With this one slider, I can quickly do that." In addition, he reports that "the quick response that Framewright has shown in correcting and improving any issues with LinkColor has been incredibly impressive."
Framewright's current version of the software permits control of two HDLink Pros simultaneously, with the identical corrections written to each HDLink Pro. Levine says "planned future updates will enable independent control of multiple HDLinks for multi-camera situations. We also expect to offer additional import and export formats and support for third-party hardware controllers."
LinkColor is priced at $500. Software demos and documentation, as well as user licenses, are available at http://www.linkcolor.tv.
Framewright, Inc., founded in 1991 by Abby Levine, is a production and post production consultancy. They are the developers of LinkColor, and provide digital imaging services for the television and film industry. http://www.framewrightinc.com
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