ASC Technology Committee Progress Report 2007

Report Authors
Curtis Clark, ASC; David Reisner; Dave Stump, ASC; Lou Levinson; Joshua Pines; Gary Demos; Ana Benitez; Marty Olistein; Glenn Kennel; Alan Hart; Don Eklund 

ASC Technology Committee Officers  
Chair: Curtis Clark, ASC
Steering Committee Chair: Daryn Okada, ASC
Vice-Chair: Richard Edlund, ASC
Vice-Chair: Steven Poster, ASC
Secretary: David Reisner

Throughout its illustrious 88-year history, the American Society of Cinematographers has been the primary place where the art and technology of the cinematographic process meet. Since its inception, the ASC has consistently worked with the motion picture industry to advance state-of-the-art filmmaking and to share the knowledge gained for the benefit of our industry.

Since its formation in January 2003, the ASC Technology Committee has included leading cinematographers, motion picture technologists, manufacturers, service providers, studio-production and post-production representatives, as well as production designers, editors, and producers to help identify, understand, and find solutions that address filmmakers' needs and enable them to better practice their art and craft of motion picture production in this era of radical technological transformation. The ASC Technology Committee works in collaboration with the Art Directors Guild Technology Committee, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Science and Technology Council, the Producers Guild of America Motion Picture Technology Council, and the Fraunhoffer Institute for Integrated Circuits.

Since our 2006 Progress Report for SMPTE, the ASC Technology Committee has been increasingly active on the frontline of a range of technology developments as described in our Subcommittee reports detailed below. The following summary of key activities demonstrates our Technology Committee's central focus on viewing the various technology developments as interdependent components that are integral to workflow deployment. The success of their deployment can only be ultimately evaluated as a function of their ability to facilitate more effective and efficient production and post- production workflow implementations.

The ASC COL (Color Decision List), which our prolifically energetic Digital Intermediate Subcommittee has been developing over the past two years, has achieved broad support from vendors of both software and hardware- based systems, along with broad support from service providers. The ASC COL enables primary color corrections to be exchanged between different applications and facilities running on different platforms. The ASC COL incorporates color correction data interchange via XML, CMX, ALE, and FLEx. 

The official release version 1.0 of the ASC COL spec is scheduled to be published for open implementation by the end of June 2007.

Our Advanced Imaging Subcommittee has continued its important research work on the characteristics of trichromatic-three primary-color systems, like RGB and X'Y'Z'. It has recently tackled the challenging task of evaluating the quality and consistency of color reproduction between different vendor models of plasma, LCD, and DLP high-definition monitors.

Our Digital Display Subcommittee is incorporating the important work done by the Advanced Imaging Subcommittee into its practical task of mapping the color calibration of digital displays for production and post-production, including both monitors and projectors while defining the display requirements for each step in the workflow process from pre-visualization to dailies, previews, 01 and final film, digital, and home video deliverables.

Our new Non-Theatrical Display Subcommittee is investigating image reproduction issues pertaining to the new array of HD consumer flat panel displays (plasma, LCD, DLP), as well as evaluating Blu-ray and HD-DVD input sources generated from HD masters.

Our Metadata Subcommittee has been specifying requirements and proposing recommendations for interoperable metadata exchange in motion picture workflow and defining the essential metadata language suitable for cinematographers and other production artists. It is working closely with AMPAS Sci-Tech Council in pursuing these objectives and its work is being coordinated with the SMPTE RP 210 metadata initiative.

Our Camera Sub-committee has continued to refine the proposed Camera Assessment Series (CAS), which is being closely coordinated with the work done by AMPAS Sci-Tech Council. It is also continuing to define vital cinematographer user requirements that are influencing design specs for the new generation of digital motion picture cameras.

Our Workflow Subcommittee is closely collaborating with the Camera Sub- committee in planning the ASC component of the CAS shoot and also establishing workflow implementation for the results. In addition, members from the Producers Guild Workflow Committee will assist in producing and coordinating the shoot. The ADG Technology Committee is collaborating on the CAS project by providing art direction. An important objective of our Workflow Subcommittee is to establish best practice recommendations and guidelines for practical workflow implementation.

Our Digital Preservation Subcommittee continues to explore the immensely challenging options being proposed for archiving and preservation.

During the past year, our Technology Committee has embarked on groundbreaking publication projects, including a three-part series of special supplements for the American Cinematographer magazine in conjunction with the Art Directors Guild Technology Committee, which explores the impact digital imaging technologies are having on the creative collaboration process between the cinematographer, production designer, visual effects supervisor, and the directors with whom they work. Also, our new Digital Primer project is being readied for publication.

Looking forward our Technology Committee is planning two new Subcommittees that will address two increasingly prevalent and important additions to digital motion picture workflow: pre-visualization (both 2-D and 3-D) and 3-D stereoscopic production .