The last two days of the IBC 2013 conference have seen two interesting sessions on movie post-production, pipeline, standards and more important than everything else: color (or colour (ou couleur (oder Farbe))).
The session "Movie Making Colour Management, best Practice" was on many aspects my favorite. The panel discussion was covering all the movie pipeline steps: from real acquisition people (camera system with ARRI), to display people (Dolby), to big studio (Walt Disney) and post-production (Fluent Image Ltd). Comparing to a few years ago - when the full digital wave was hitting the cinema world, first scanning then editing, filming and now displaying (?) - it seems that people are getting familiar with the new equipment, digital cameras do not appear as magic devices being able of technological feats only... but cameras with their given properties (how they capture light and color). On that aspect, the ARRI person as well as the Fluent Image person were saying the same (it was two months ago so I may not be completely accurate): try the camera before starting shooting your movie, once on schedule for shooting you do not have the time for experimentation (this is what reasonable post-production companies do, I have seen that in Berlin by ARRI post-production people). In the past you were choosing this or this film-roll (i.e. fuji or something else) and your lab was then processing the film, now you choose a camera and its captor/sensor properties.
What is interesting when a new technology is introduced in an established pipeline is how the cards are redistributed (i.e. power, influence). Before the director of photography (DP and not TP which is a French basketball player) was deciding the light, the film-roll for the next production and in a way fixing the color "limit" of the production and kind of imposing its choice, vision. Now it is a bit different: the color can be modified anywhere along the movie production pipeline (which doesn't mean it should be done that way!). And this give a nice transition regarding the input to the discussion from the Big Studio person who was talking about standard and ACES and simplifying the workflow. Starting from color consideration (extremely important considerations say the color scientist) with ACES, it is more guidelines than absolute recipe that are introduced to the pipeline.
Of course the importance of display calibration was mentioning. All and all pretty standard comments but reasonable comments on what people should do or not do: be prepared in advance, know your tools. Danger of processing the dailies too much for the important people, it means you need a grading team on set and you take the risk to fix the color "mood" of the film to early.
I also do remember, or I think I remember that this panel of professional said they need color scientists, good for me, or I dreamed it? In any cases they need color scientists.
During the last day and maybe the last session it was about compression (for the Hobbit movie), especially jpg2000, and color artifacts that can occur. The problem of archiving was tackled by people from the EYE center in Amsterdam: what do you do when you have to scan old film material with very different fps.
And more political, how the standards are pushed from each side of the Atlantic and which company, studio, government, open-source project and so are the main players in these battle/discussion.