ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council
A Brief History of the ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council
Since its formation in January of 2003 (then known as the ASC Technology Committee), the ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council has diligently pursued its objective to understand the technological sea change impacting our motion picture and television production and postproduction industries so that we might be able to effectively influence their developments in ways that best serve creative interests of filmmakers while emphasizing the cinematographer’s contribution in advancing our evolving art form.
The ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council (also known by the acronym MITC, or “My Tech”) includes numerous Committees and working groups, each with an assigned task of working on key aspects of the production and postproduction workflow. The Committees are: Advanced Imaging, Camera, DI, Digital Archive, Digital Restoration & Preservation, Lens, Metadata, Motion Imaging Workflow, Next Generation Cinema Display, Professional Monitors, SSIMWave Evaluation Working Group, UHDTV, Virtual Reality and Virtual Production. (See below for further detail.)
ASC MITC is widely recognized as a vital and influential motion picture industry forum on digital motion imaging technology and has developed a close working relationship with other film industry groups that share our mission. They include the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Science and Technology Council, the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, Digital Cinema Initiatives, the Art Directors Guild, the Producers Guild of America, the Previsualization Society and the Visual Effects Society Technology Committee.
Some notable milestone achievements of the ASC MITC include:
(2003 -’04) The ASC-DCI Standard Evaluation Material (StEM) provided essential motion picture image content used by DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives) to create the imaging quality requirements for digital cinema that enabled the sevaluation of digital cinema projection systems.
(2005) Two-part article “Color-Space Conundrum,” published by American Cinematographer in print and online, is a comprehensive exploration of the importance of understanding color space and its impact on the cinematographer’s work. (Part 1 and Part 2)
(2006 -’07) The four-part Authoring Images supplement to American Cinematographer, which was the result of collaboration with the Art Directors Guild (ADG) Technology Committee which explored how the new digital “look management” and pre-visualization tools had the potential to reinforce the creative collaboration between the director, cinematographer and production designer.
(2007-’12) Digital camera metadata initiative in conjunction with AMPAS
(2007-’17; ongoing) For the past decade, ASC MITC has prepared comprehensive annual Progress Reports on areas of interest, study and research for publication in the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal. This series of reports has been of vital interest to SMPTE members and helped foster a dialog between engineers and end users. (Available here.)
(2008 -’12; ongoing) Our DI Committee has developed the American Society of Cinematographers Color Decision List (ASC CDL) which has become the de facto industry standard for cross-platform primary RGB color grading and is currently being proposed for official SMPTE standardization by both AMPAS and the Walt Disney Co.
(2009) The ASC-PGA Camera Assessment Series (CAS) which assessed the photographic performance of seven digital motion picture cameras in comparison with film via the then prevailing Cineon-based 2K digital intermediate (D.I.) postproduction workflow.
(2010 -’12; ongoing) Proactive collaboration with AMPAS on the development of the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES), an innovative open and transparent cross-platform color management system supporting dynamic range and color gamut greater than film.
(2012) The ASC-PGA Image Control Assessment Series (ICAS), which assessed five digital motion picture cameras in comparison with a film reference using an ACES-based 4K DI post production workflow.
(2013) Significant advances that were being made regarding on-set/near-set workflow for look and data management of digital camera images dominated the content of the 2012 SMPTE Progress Report.
(2014) Central among MITC areas of interest are technology advances in laser projection; new enhancements to digital display technology, i.e., High Dynamic Range (HDR) Reproduction a.k.a. Extended Dynamic Range (EDR) Reproduction for both monitors and laser projection; Ultra-high-definition-television (UHDTV); a new wide gamut color space, Rec. 2020, to accompany UHDTV; and, of course, Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) development.
(2015 – Ongoing) High Dynamic Range for cinema and UHDTV, and maintaining/delivering artistic intent on the wide variety of displays in use. Also of interest was growing interest in high frame rate (HFR) shooting, sometimes mated with HFR digital cinema projection that in- creases temporal resolution in addition to the already pervasive 4K spatial resolution for cameras, digital cinema projection, and ultra-high-definition television (UHDTV).
(2016) Publishes the “ASC Display Evaluation Plan & Test Protocol.” As higher performance cinema projectors and active screens emerge, it is important to identify where value is created from the filmmakers’ point-of-view, independent of the technology. This represents the first step towards this goal, defining a method for the visual evaluation of parameters that characterize next-generation cinema projection and active screens.
(2016) MITC establishes the Lens Committee, which helped coordinate the first “Lens Day” events (Anamorphic and Spherical) at the ASC Clubhouse, showcasing the proliferation of optics makers and new creative options available to cinematographers.
(Ongoing) Upcoming ASC MITC initiatives designed to encourage ASC member participation in Committee activities include:
Other recent activities include such subjects as:
• Next Generation Cinema Display and test protocol. Including theatrical exhibition LED Emissive Cinema Displays.
• Previsualization, Virtual Production, Virtual Reality
• Continuing work with the Motion Picture Academy on the further development of ACES 2.0 (a.k.a. “ACES Next”).
The ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council (MITC) has been widely recognized as an industry leader — influencing the advancement of motion imaging technologies in ways that best serve the creative interests of filmmakers while emphasizing the cinematographer’s contribution to the art form.
MITC examines and understands emerging imaging technologies so that it may advise its membership and the motion picture industry in the convergence of these technologies with traditional motion picture techniques. It is the responsibility of the ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council to represent the combined interests of its membership by influencing the supporting industries to seek solutions that further the overall goals of the ASC for Loyalty, Progress and Artistry.
The ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council shall:
Advise the ASC Membership about the challenging technology issues affecting cinematography and how these issues impact the role of the cinematographer.
Influence the production community, as well as standards setting organizations worldwide.
Support ASC Education Committee in furthering the education of cinematography students.
Curtis Clark, ASC
Richard Edlund, ASC
Steven B. Poster. ASC
David Stump, ASC
Richard Edlund, ASC
Digital Restoration & Preservation
Michael McDonough, ASC, BSC
David Stump, ASC
Motion Imaging Workflow
Next Generation Cinema Display
Professional Monitor Displays
SSIMWave Evaluation Working Group
Michael Goi, ASC
ACES Working Group
Curtis Clark, ASC