June 30, 2006

Autodesk introduces HDTV color-grading system for postproduction and broadcast

Autodesk recently launched Autodesk Lustre HD, a digital color-grading system designed for working on high-definition television (HDTV) commercials and programming, as well as HDTV film projects.

Lustre HD is the latest addition to the Autodesk Lustre family of nonlinear digital color-grading products, which have been used to grade Academy Award-winning films such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong, in addition to HDTV programs like the BBC Natural History Unit's Planet Earth and Galapagos.

Autodesk Lustre HD offers real-time primary and secondary color-correction capabilities and real-time formatting of video deliverables using advanced Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) technology—available in commodity graphics cards. The system offers colorists an intuitive, nonlinear environment for interactive color-grading sessions, enabling them to collaborate with producers, directors, art directors, and cinematographers to adjust the colors and looks of HDTV projects. Lustre HD is being beta tested around the world. Beta sites include The Video Lab in South Africa and Digital Pictures Melbourne, among others.

Minneapolis-based post-production facility Pixel Farm has been using Autodesk's Discreet Lustre system to deliver unique looks for feature films, music videos, and commercials. Pixel Farm recently completed projects for Arctic Cat, Best Buy, and Taco John's with its Lustre system.

Autodesk Lustre HD key features:

Creative Toolset: Explore creative options and create stunning new looks with the innovative Lustre creative toolset, including
--Primary and Selective Color Grading: Modify primary grades before or after selective correction, featuring multi-layered selectives with independent inside/outside settings
--Hierarchical Shape System with schematic view and advanced GMasks: Create variable-edged softness around shapes to blend colors organically or imitate natural lighting falloff
--Image Tracking, Keying, Pan and Scan, and accurate, automated Dust Removal

Nonlinear Grading: With the Lustre nonlinear digital workflow, you don't need to swap out film reels or cue up video to find the right shot to grade
--Move instantly between shots in the timeline or shot bin and re-order shots before or after grading
--Easily compare shots side-by-side, such as the first and last shot in a sequence, in different contexts

GPU-Acceleration: Real-time color grading using the powerful NVIDIA GPU, including
--Real-time linear and logarithmic primary color grading with control of shadows, midtones, highlights, input curves, and more
--Multiple HD layers of GPU-accelerated selective color grading using a shape system with variable softness, keys, brightness, hue shift, contrast, and saturation

Real-time Video Deliverables
--Frame-accurate output of multiple formats to video tape recorder (VTR) via RS-422 without rendering, for example 2K to HD
--Capture and conform from interlaced or progressive frame video material

For a complete listing of Autodesk Lustre HD features, please visit www.autodesk.com/lustre.

Autodesk has also introduced a control panel for Lustre HD, comprising three sub-panels that enable it to be easily configured for both left- and right-hand dominant operation. The panel is modular in terms of physical layout and key mapping. This ergonomic panel has a curved design that puts all controls within easy reach of the colorist's fingertips and follows the natural radial movement of the colorist's arms. Its non-reflective paint and filtered light-emitting diodes (LEDs) reduce reflections and unwanted light in a critical viewing environment. Approximate North American pricing of this new control panel is US$25,000.

Autodesk Lustre HD is priced from US$120,000. This price includes the Lustre HD workstation with video I/O. North American pricing for a typical Lustre HD system fully configured with the new Autodesk control panel and 1.75TB of 4Gb Fibre Channel storage is estimated at US$170,000. Autodesk anticipates that Lustre HD and the new control panel will be available worldwide in August 2006.