NAB FilmLight’s new Nara software gives post-production facilities, VFX houses and other media professionals immediate access to media from anywhere, easing collaboration and review.

FilmLight nara

The new Nara software application from FilmLight was developed to give post-production facilities, VFX houses and other media professionals immediate access to media from anywhere in the world to make workflows, collaboration and review processes simpler. Designed for use within a facility by its local and remote team members and clients, Nara adopts the facility’s security protocol and inherits its user permissions.

One of its main purposes is to natively decode and play back diverse media types without the need to transcode to proxy files. Its streaming engine lowers bandwidth usage, and it has its own comprehensive back-end indexing system for rapid data retrieval. Among its other features is a web UI and browser that mirrors the facility’s security protocols, colour accurate streaming and wide codec support including RAW camera formats, intermediate formats like EXR, as well as IMF, DCP and other complex deliverables.

“Nara connects creative teams,” said Sam Lempp, Nara’s Head of Business Development. “From editors, colourists, VFX artists, cinematographers and directors to clients and marketing managers, Nara speeds up and simplifies collaborative tasks such as progress reviews, approval and compliance processes – allowing creatives to focus on their primary skills.”

Native Decoding and Playback

Managing access to media files is an ongoing challenge for facilities who must ensure that proprietary content is secure, while still facilitating efficient workflows. Nara controls access via the web-based media browser that supports an extensive range of image assets while assuring a high level of security. Each file is presented with a thumbnail and associated metadata for informed access so that users can see quickly what the assets contain.

Decoding and previewing assets can become a challenge for studios when files are encoded in proprietary or high-bitrate codecs that are not supported by conventional media players or file browsers. Also, raw or uncompressed formats demand high-performance computing resources for playback that may not be available. Nara’s web-based streaming, delivering media directly to users’ browsers, is able to achieve colour-accurate, HDR capable playback for large volumes of files. To maintain colour accuracy, the software can detect the user’s screen type as well.

Nara’s thumbnail cache is stored on the server – only. To stream, it reads the user’s data once and from then onward uses a locally stored copy – in other words, it does not need to repeatedly interact with the storage system. Because it can work with any file system, on any storage system, users don’t need to comply with Nara.


Without an efficient index system, navigating stored files is time-consuming and hampers the speed and effectiveness of searching for specific files. Nara’s media index collates media-specific metadata – such as timecode, lens, codec, colour space, encoding, resolution – for efficient search and access. Once the server is installed and the software launched, metadata generation and indexing is completed with the first one to two days.

Users can search against the metadata and very quickly browse a curated selection of thumbnails. The index also allows users to view, copy and accurately share metadata information with other team members, aiding workflow and review processes throughout and beyond the facility.

Nara is fully scalable and can be client deployed or delivered as a turnkey system. The software is installed on a server in the facility. Storage agnostic, it supports all of a facility’s on-premises and cloud storage. It works either through the local area network or, for remote staff or clients, through a Safari, Chrome or Firefox browser. Currently, Nara is an on premise system but will be supported in the cloud later in 2024.

Nara in Action

Molinare, one of London’s main post-production houses, was involved from the early stages of the Nara beta programme. Darren Woolfson, CTO of Molinare Creative Group, commented, “The secure environment in which our media exists can create challenges for remote members of the team trying to view, check and listen to content. Identifying the correct asset can also be time consuming and finding a player to playback the asset’s codec, converted to the correct viewing colour space, can be difficult.

“Nara’s background indexing along with its familiar user interface allows us to find media quickly. We can simply navigate through directories or create advanced searches based on the metadata. Once found, pretty much any file format can be securely viewed in the correct colour space from a web browser almost immediately.”

Sam said, “Many solutions today necessitate multiple products, with various subscriptions, hardware requirements and integration periods. Nara was designed for ease of integration and management. Furthermore, it’s accessible to everyone – not just Baselight customers.”

The Nara team is demonstrating the software at NAB 2024 in Las Vegas.