Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The ALEXA LUT Generator is Born

Today, a bit past 7 in the morning PST, an engineer known only as "Harold" made an announcement on the Arri Digital Forum:

"The LUT Generator for the ALEXA (and D-21) camera is online: http://www.arridigital.com/technical/luts."

Ah ha! And you thought there'd be press releases and bombast involved! How wrong you are, sir.

So the LUT Generator is live. And? It's really just for post-production purposes. As of now it is very rudimentary. After all a LUT (Lookup Table), in image processing, is used to transform input data into a more desirable output format. Turn X to Y. Grey to Black. Or Grey to White. There is no creative component to this. It is simply a coded transform. And in this way ARRI's LUT Generator works as advertised. The goal here it to simply pick your output application (Apple Color, Scratch, Nuke, DaVinci, etc.) and generate a LUT to enable you to work natively with ALEXA's Log C. The biggest draw here is the "Linear Gamma" tab. ARRIRAW here we come!

So lately we've started using LUT's creatively on the set to "pre-grade" a project. Systems like Technicolor's DP Lights, Filmlight's Truelight, or Iridas' SpeedGrade OnSet have the ability to not just apply a simple transform LUT but can also generate a "look" for dailies or even as a reference for the final DI session.

I'd love to see ARRI's LUT Generator move eventually into this territory. It would be fantastic to have a simple on-camera tool to apply creative LUT's. Something akin to the ALEXA Frame Line Generator, maybe? You know, so we can see what we're messing with by pushing all those shinny little buttons. I'm just saying...

And just in case you didn't get yesterday's announcement either: we now have audio, playback, and false color. Download ALEXA's 3.0 firmware here.

Canada Saves the Day

I just re-installed my Mac OS this weekend and am currently in the middle of trying to get all of my applications working properly again. Wadding through endless plug-ins and downloads is a pain. Even more so when you're dealing with Sony software.

Sony's US software/firmware site is difficult to make sense of and has glaring omissions. Being stuck, once again, trying to get XDCAM codec support for QuickTime Player has left me breathless and bewildered. Luckily our friends up North have a much more sensible support site.

Thank you Canada.

SxS w/ SDHC?

Sonnet, who makes a bunch of cool stuff, just released their SDHC Adapter for SxS Camera Slot. With it you can use itty-bitty SD cards in any Express Card 34 Slot. Like the one found on this camera.

Or even the one found on this camera.

You'll need a very fast SDHC card to be able to use this set-up on an ALEXA. SanDisk and Kingston both just released the fastest SDHC cards on the market. It's possible, but right now these new cards are still not fast enough to record your ProRes 4444 Log C masters. Besides, you'd probably just end up losing these little SD cards anyway...

But on the Sony F3 this could end up being half the price of a comparable SxS card. Then again, Sony's XDCAM EX codec is piss-poor when coupled w/ the F3's imager and ability to record in S-Log gamma. You'd be much better off skipping the SxS cards and XDCAM EX codec and going straight in with the ass-kicking 10-bit Apple codec ProRes 422 HQ via the new AJA Ki Pro Mini.

Or just give it 6 months. Or maybe 12 when Sony releases their newest flash memory cards.


Yes. I have been "Missing In Action" lately. It's been busy both personally and professionally. I've been working on a new website and business that should launch sometime in March. I promise to Blog more... sorry.