I’ve been testing ACES in DaVinci Resolve 12.5 on classic motion pictures that my team and I color restore. Source material is 35mm scanned to 2K DPX uncompressed.
My conclusions thus far, is that ACES is a superb workflow for digital material shot on today’s cameras. My team and I enjoy using ACES for productions shot in the 21st century. Color restoration of classic motion pictures is something else entirely.
For today’s post-production eco-system the IDT list in Resolve is already quite extensive, with a wide selection of cameras the colorist can choose from as we move the captured digital image into the ACES color space and encoding specifications. So far, so good.
I believe this scenario poses great challenges to the colorist who uses ACES to color restore classic motion pictures. While it is true the movie to be color restored was shot on film, it now resides in digital form as an intermediate. IDTs do not seem to address this ‘middle ground.’ However, the testing by my team and me indicates that Resolve’s IDTs do produce some interesting results. For instance, one IDT will give us a LOG look, while another will introduce saturation and overly vibrant reds. These and other IDT results we have tested are based off digital cameras that were not used in the production of the film. For this reason I am suspicious about the accuracy of any transformed image produced.
I would be interested in hearing from ACES representatives or other restoration colorists about their experiences with ACES, and what the future may hold for ACES vis á vis color restoration of classic motion pictures.
Senior Colorist, Manager of Film Restoration