Using the ACES CDL Grading Mode

LiveGrade Pro implements the entire ACES color pipeline including IDT transforms, working color spaces such as ACEScct and ACEScc, LMT, RRT and ODT transforms to be used on camera live signals on the film set. The ultimate goal is to create the same visual result on an on-set monitor (showing the ACES-processed live signal of a camera) compared to the monitors in a color corrector (showing the ACES-processed recorded source clips from the camera).

The following diagram shows an example ACES pipeline as implemented in LiveGrade Pro.

Example ACES pipeline in LiveGrade Pro

LiveGrade Pro implements this pipeline in the ACES (Academy Color Encoding System) grading mode. You can see the nodes and controls of the ACES grading mode in the screenshot below. On every interaction with the color controls of the ACES grading mode (e.g. change of IDT, modify of ASC-CDL) all transforms are baked together automatically and sent to the attached LUT box.

figure 1: ACES grading controls

ACES grading controls

LiveGrade also offers the ACES CDL Advanced grading mode. This grading mode lets you add multiple grading nodes between the IDT and ODT and LMTs for advanced workflows. You can also add a specific LMT node that supports the official, predefined LMT transforms shipping with the respective ACES version.

You can take a look at how to use the advanced modes in the article Grading Modes in LiveGrade.

The CDL controls behave the same way as in the CDL Grade mode and can also be exported as usual from a saved grade. ACES grades can also be exported as 3D LUTs, including the CDL values, IDT and ODT.


For more information about how to export LUTs: Exporting Grades

Managing ACES Versions

LiveGrade Pro supports multiple versions of ACES, including version 0.7.1, 1.0, and 1.1. For compatibility with the post production workflow please choose the right ACES version, as the transforms can be slightly different in different versions, and newer version usually include more and more recent input (IDT) and output (ODT) transforms, including RRT+ODT transforms for HDR in ACES version 1.1.

In the LiveGrade preferences you can manage and download the available ACES versions and transforms:

figure 2: preferences panel

figure 2: preferences panel

The dropdown lets you select the ACES version for new looks. Every new look will be initialized with the ACES version selected in the dropdown in the preferences.

Every look in the library made with an ACES grading mode has an associated ACES version (you can find that version in the “ACES Mode” column). Saving looks with different ACES versions to the library will make it easy to compare the look of different ACES versions effortlessly.

In the section “Available ACES Transforms” you can find the available ACES versions and its associated transforms. The icon in the status bar will either signalize an available set of transforms (green checkmark) or a set of transforms that can be downloaded from the servers (download icon with downwards arrow).

Click the button “Check for New Versions” at the bottom of the preferences window to see if new ACES versions are available to download from the Pomfort servers.

Devices and Utilization

With LiveGrade Pro the ACES grading mode can be used in different setups, e.g. with LUT-Boxes such as the Teradek COLR, FSI BoxIO or Fujifilm IS-Mini or directly with a monitor such as the Flanders Scientific DM250 broadcast monitor, that has processing capabilities included.

LiveGrade provides the necessary IDTs for various “log” signals such as ARRI Alexa Log-C or ACESproxy signals. To learn more about the hardware setup of LiveGrade Pro see the article about HD-SDI setup for LiveGrade.

Supported ACES IDT and ODT Transforms

Before starting to create your grades, select the correct IDT (matching your camera system) and the ODT (matching the output display color space) from the color transformation panel. LiveGrade Pro currently offers all officially (in the Academy’s repository) available IDT and ODT transforms, as well as a few custom transforms by Pomfort.