DWG, ACES or Native Camera Color Space?

We’ve already made it abundantly clear that we’re not overly fond of transforming the log color space of our camera to DaVinci Wide Gamut or ACES but that we could understand wanting to bring all of your footage into a common working color space if you’re dealing with a multi-camera shoot. It ensures that the controls of the NLE behave consistently across all of the clips, it’s easier for round-tripping with VFX, it allows you to use the same LUT for the entire project and so on. But we much prefer Walter Volpatto’s approach:

Unless you’re doing a documentary or a show that has way too many cameras, you have a hero camera: can be an Alexa, can be a Sony, can be a Red, a Blackmagic, a Canon, you name it. You have a hero camera, and usually you have a hero logarithmic color space. So the idea is that that is the color space that I use for all the color corrections. If a shot belonged to a different camera then I do a color space transform to bring that specific shot to the logarithmic.

– Walter Volpatto

Netflix also mentions using the hero camera color space as an alternative to ACES, only they refer to it as the dominant camera color space instead:

“It is important to ensure that images are stored in the widest possible color space until the very final stages of the color pipeline. This is easily achieved by using ACES, which keeps images in a high dynamic range, wide color gamut space, and allows the user to simply select the Output Transform for the target viewing display. This can also be achieved while working in the dominant camera color space with careful, pro-active color management and the use of conversion and viewing LUTs.” 

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