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Light Illusion Guarantees Long-Term Film Based Archiving


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#1 Steve Shaw

Steve Shaw
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Posted 15 October 2012 - 04:57 PM

UK based colour management specialist Light Illusion has developed a new application for its MatchLight IMS (Image Matching System) to guarantee the viability of long-term film based archiving for digital images.

With the explosion in digital cinematography capture, and the associated difficulty in providing guaranteed long-term archiving of the images, Light Illusion was asked by a number of clients to look at possible long-term archive solutions based on the use of standard film stocks, as film has unquestionably the best long-term archiving qualities of any storage medium presently in use. The problem with the use of film has been guaranteeing the accuracy of the recovered digital image due to the variable nature of the recorded film image and setting within the film transfer scanner or telecine. Light Illusion’s solution overcomes these problems completely.

Kodak have recently released their Color Asset Protection Film, but without associated guarantees for the level of colour accuracy, range, linearity, etc., required for true accurate archiving, making the stock less than ideal as it stands for real-world archiving and later digital image recovery.

Therefore, the requirement was to develop a process for film based archiving that automatically retains the digital image in as near perfect state as the original when the image is recovered (scanned) from the archive film, combined with the image being recorded to film in a standard human visible form, via existing standard film recording systems.

Light Illusion had the core component for this process already in the Light Illusion tool-box - MatchLight IMS (Image Matching System) - which has already proved it’s worth matching on-set and dailies workflows, as well as ACES workflows for VFX operations.

MatchLight IMS is a system that auto-generates a LUT from two versions of the same image (or string of images) - basically a before/after comparison, with the difference between the two being converted into a LUT for use within any colour based system, or via Vulcan, Light Illusion’s ultra fast and scalable command line application for large volume batch image processing.

The use of MatchLight IMS means that by applying a short string of 'technical images' before each and every archive it is possible to guarantee the recovered image integrity after re-scanning, with the original technical images and the re-scanned versions of the same images being used within MatchLight IMS to auto generate the required calibration LUT to return the scanned images to their original colour, dynamic range, and contrast, generating a near perfect clone of the original images.

The results using Kodak Intermediate stock have proven to be very, very accurate - to the point where visually the match is perfect, with just small variations being seen when technically assessing the images at a pixel level.
With the need to provide reliable and true long-tern archiving for the global film and TV industry MatchLight IMS provides a perfect and guaranteed archive workflow for any film lab with film recording and film scanning capability.
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