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New Image Processing From RED Streamlines Workflow

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With postproduction seeing increased demand for ultra high definition (UHD), high frame rate (HFR) and high dynamic range (HDR) workflows, post professionals are seeking efficient new pipelines for next-generation imaging.

UHD has been part of RED's DNA from the beginning. Now, RED has announced IPP2, a suite of enhancements coming soon to its image processing pipeline which extends across RED cameras, firmware and software, and offers numerous benefits as the industry migrates to HDR.

"The introduction of HDR displays was a significant driver to the development of the new pipeline," says Graeme Nattress, RED Problem Solver. With on-set HDR monitoring controls and full support for the latest HDR standards, IPP2 enables RED shooters "to do basic grading in-camera, feed out to HDR displays and have the grading decisions they've made carry through to post," he explains.

In developing IPP2 Nattress was challenged by the need to "work across a range of output devices and take in a legacy of existing imagery on the input side. It's intricate and complex to make SDR and HDR monitoring work simultaneously and get the image cinematographers expect on both outputs."

The resulting IPP2 pipeline will include better management of challenging colors, smoother highlight roll-off, improved shadow detail, more accurate mid-tone hues and enhanced resolution via a new demosaicing algorithm.

Customers who own a RED camera body with a HELIUM sensor (WEAPON 8K S35 and RED EPIC-W 8K S35) will monitor and control the new color pipeline in camera by installing a free firmware upgrade.

Planned new camera bodies with HELIUM sensors will come with the appropriate hardware in the body to run the complete pipeline. The American Society of Cinematographers' Color Decision List (ASC CDL) is also available as part of new RED camera bodies, so grading decisions made on set carry through to post.

All RED customers will benefit from IPP2 in postproduction with their existing R3D files and a REDCINE-X Pro free software upgrade.

Anything that reads the R3D files – codecs, color correction systems – can access the CDL metadata.are now defined by a single new color space and gamma: REDWideGamutRGB, which is designed to encompass virtually every color recordable by RED's current and past cameras. Log3G10 is a new log-encoding curve, which precisely encodes the full tonal range from RED's current and past cameras. It serves a similar function as REDlogFilm and the Cineon specification but allows for a greater dynamic range and HDR output standards.

RED teams have worked closely with postproduction facilities to ensure that IPP2 will fit seamlessly into existing workflows. An updated RED SDK will support easy third-party integration.

Preliminary feedback from cinematographers has been extremely positive. "They have used two preview versions on real productions and they love it," says Nattress.

Cinematographers cite the color handling, skin tones and highlight roll off; they also like the more three-dimensional look of the image thanks to enhancements to the way that 3D depth cues are read. Tests by cinematographers already doing HDR production report that "everything is looking good," he adds.

RED's comprehensive IPP2 pipeline offers an all-around solution to the technical, aesthetic and workflow aspects of the HDR image in production and post.

This article is also available to read at BFV online here, page 49.

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