AJA Colour Pipeline
AJA ColorBox performs algorithmic colour transforms and LUT processing inline. Its colour space conversions are precise and accurate enough for live broadcast, live events, on-set production and post production applications.
As a portable, high-performance device, DITs can use ColorBox to carry out a range of HDR and SDR conversions, and meanwhile load, modify and save looks, and create reference images for dailies. Throughout, colour accuracy can be maintained across all production stakeholders and creative vendors.
Colour Management and Framestore
ColorBox is especially useful for productions that are standardizing on 4K/UltraHD HDR, where colour and LUT management are essential to creating and achieving looks for live or scripted content. It is designed to support varied look management approaches on-set and in live production environments, built with 12G-SDI in/out and HDMI 2.0 out for up to 4K/UltraHD 60p 10-bit YCbCr 4:2:2 and 30p 12-bit RGB 4:4:4 signal support.
Colorbox’s applications include 4K/UltraHD SDR and HDR pipelines for live television and event production. It supports on-set look management and colour grading for DITs working with the production on-set. It can also be used to help calibrate monitors via a specialised API that allows 3rd parties to control the ColorBox Frame Store.
ColorBox frame capture
This frame store is able to output 12-bit RGB test patches for use in monitor calibration applications such as Pomfort Livegrade Pro/Studio and Assimilate Live Looks, running on a connected PC. It can also capture images of up to 4K as 16-bit .tiff files to use as high quality reference stills, saved locally on ColorBox. Frame capturing features include pre-processed images or post-processed output for reference stills with overlaid metadata, such as video payload IDs, pipeline configuration and customizable user text.
Pipelines are critical to ColorBox’s operations and ability to adapt to different production requirements. It comes with five pipelines, selectable as modes. All of them are interesting -- some suit live broadcast and events, and others are very flexible, allowing you to control each step of a transform separately.
The main option is the AJA Color Pipeline (ACP) mode, designed with 7 nodes of real-time processing controlling the colourspace, video level and dynamic range conversion. It has a 33-point 3D LUT processor that uses accurate tetrahedral LUT interpolation, which is a requirement for HDR workflows.
Four built-in user-configurable 1D LUTs are also available for precise control over the 3D LUT, and two 3x3 user-configurable matrices, which means users can perform different colour processing tasks outside of a LUT. Included are a built-in RGB colour corrector and Proc Amp, extensive LUT, matrices and image libraries, capture and recall tools, and ancillary (ANC) metadata management. All of this functionality is controlled via an integrated web browser-based interface.
In the Colorfront Pipeline mode, the ColorBox HDR/WCG capabilities use video and colour space processing algorithms within the Colorfront Engine, with set and forget SDR and HDR transforms designed for use wherever HDR productions are performed. It includes built-in SDR, HLG and PQ transforms, optimized transforms designed for broadcast and maintains perceptual integrity.
“Powered by Colorfront Engine, the new Colorfront Mode in AJA’s new ColorBox offers state of the art conversions between SDR and HDR content,” said Bill Feightner, CTO, Colorfront. “As opposed to traditional LUT based processing, the Colorfront Engine’s Human Perceptual Model algorithm results in artifact free conversions, preserving creative intent.”
NBCU LUTs Pipeline, developed by NBCUniversal Media in collaboration with the colour science specialists at Cromorama, has a workflow for single-master live production of simultaneous HDR and SDR content. Designed for television broadcasters, NBCU LUTs include SDR, HLG and PQ LUTs that enhance the dynamic range and colour volume in HDR, without affecting the core SDR broadcasts. Conversions are designed with a knee that is natural with latitude for live video shading.
ORION-CONVERT applies Cromorama colour science to real time hardware-based conversion. Broadcasters can use its controls to deliver good-looking HDR and SDR content from a single master HDR workflow. By being able to set the HDR and SDR reference anchor points in an HDR to SDR conversion, you can target an SDR program output that suits your market's SDR display needs. You can target 200 nits SDR, resulting in a more typical image for camera shading and a more vibrant HDR image for viewing at home.
"ORION-CONVERT was developed when we needed to create bespoke colour-managed conversions for Cromorama clients. Its ease of use, simple UI and effective highlight control help deliver challenging live broadcast events as well as episodic file-based content,” said Pablo Garcia Soriano, Cromorama’s Founder and Head of Colour. “Now that ORION-CONVERT is implemented in AJA’s ColorBox we can finally use optimized floating point processing with more precision than can be achieved using standard LUT systems.”
Finally, the BBC HLG LUTs Pipeline adds functionality with field-proven HDR conversion options, particularly for television broadcasters who have specific conversion criteria. This mode provides a RGB Colour Corrector and Proc Amp to colour correct the signal prior to conversion, allowing source colour correction and image control prior to performing a 3D LUT transform.
Using the built-in USB OTG port, users can configure ColorBox wirelessly via a 3rd party USB WiFi adapter. 12G-SDI and HDMI 2.0 outputs supply video up to 4K/UHD for local monitoring on ordinary devices, and another 12G-SDI loop through output (with no processing applied) is available for connecting the unaltered source to other devices. www.aja.com