Over the past couple months I’ve been seriously considering adding ACES to my workflow. Why? Well, it seems like it is making itself a huge part of the professional color grading space, and it is definitely one of the best color management systems out there.

To really understand how ACES can help you is to explain what it is and how it works. While I’d rather leave that to The Academy’s fantastic website, I’ll try my best to give a quick overview. At is most basic, and perhaps a bit too simplistically, it provides a system for managing color by transforming footage from all different formats and gammas into a scene referred linear space. What this means is that it will allow for consistent viewing by all individuals who may look at the footage. It also provides output transforms for taking the footage and accurately converting it to different spaces and formats.

I started to experiment with it once DaVinci Resolve implemented it as an easy-to-use setting. If you are using just one camera and shooting in log it actually eliminates the need for a LUT (as long as you are using a gamma supported by a built-in IDT, or input data transform). For example I generally shoot with Sony cameras in either S-Log2 or S-Log3. All I have to do is set the project to an ACES color space and select S-Log2 as the IDT and Rec.709 as the ODT, or output data transform, and I pretty quickly have some decent looking footage.

ACES can actually help you simplify your process while simultaneously providing a more standard space with the widest possible gamut, so you don’t lose any data or dynamic range. And, I know if I am working on a project with other editors or colorists that everyone should be looking at the exact same thing. It also makes the project future proof, since all the footage is already transformed into an extremely wide color space if I ever need to export the project again with different settings or for a different display I can quickly make the adjustments needed for accurate color.

This whole system will future proof your project. That alone makes ACES worth it, especially since we all hopped on the 4K bandwagon really early so that our projects would be future proof for when 4K displays are commonplace.

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