Representatives from the European digital cinema technology and services company Ymagis Group returned to Hollywood last week to give private demos of their ÉclairColor process at the Harmony Gold theatre on Sunset Boulevard. Presenting side-by-side clips from last year’s release The Neon Demon, they showed high dynamic range images with high contrast, deep blacks, excellent highlight detail and vibrant colors.
A director of photography in the audience when I saw the demo compared the results favorably to Technicolor’s 3-strip process. These clips were re-mastered from an existing Digital Cinema Distribution Master, although the best results would be achieved by grading the original camera files.
The ÉclairColor process is based on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science Academy Color Encoding System workflow, so it can be implemented with any grading solution – Filmlight’s Baselight or Blackmagic Design’s Resolve being just two examples. Since ÉclairColor is based on ACES, it can be used with any color grading system that has ACES implemented.
ÉclairColor provides an Output Device Transform that matches their customized projector profile. In essence, it’s a combination of a post-production process with the optimization of existing digital cinema projectors.
Manel Carreras, ÉclairColor’s senior vice president, business development and studio relations, explained that the system is affordable for exhibitors because it is based on existing technology – currently Sony Digital Cinema 4K R510 or R515 projectors – with ÉclairColor software. He suggested that Barco laser projectors as probably the next to adopt the process. Projectors need to be able to achieve 30-foot lamberts on screen to work with EclairColor.
The company has already achieved traction in France, with the first ÉclairColor film, Aquarius, released last September and sixteen screens in France already equipped by CinemaNext France, Ymagis Group’s exhibitor services group.
The Ymagis Group is confident that HDR will become the standard for digital cinema projection and the company believes there is room for an affordable, compatible system like ÉclairColor.