Arab Telemedia Adopts FilmLight Colour Control Pipeline

Arab Telemedia Productions has been producing television for the Arabian market for the past 30 years. In 2008 it won the first Emmy awarded for a foreign telenovela, titled ‘Al Ijtiyah’, or ‘The Invasion’. The company handles all aspects of a show’s creation, from idea development and production to post and final delivery.

To improve the quality of their imagery and speed up delivery, Arab Telemedia has installed and integrated FilmLight systems and software, introducing a new colour management pipeline into their production and post workflows. The new set-up starts with four FLIP on-set look management systems for on-set pre-visualisation, each capable of handling four input channels. In cases where their drama productions regularly use the same set, this makes an efficient way to create a consistent and distinctive look at the point of acquisition by applying colour correction to the output of each camera.

In line with the way the Baselight grading environment functions, the colour grades FLIP imposes on set are not burnt in, but stored as metadata in FilmLight’s Baselight Linked Grade, or BLG, file format - the component that enables looks to be exchanged between all FilmLight systems. The BLG format contains all grade information, including Truelight cubes or models of your colour space, conform metadata and keyframes, and can be passed to their Baselight TWO colour grading workstations in post-production where the final grade is finessed.

TV series ‘Waed Al Ghareeb’

As well as the FLIP units, Arab Telemedia also uses five Daylight systems for on-set dailies and high-performance transcoding. The colour grade from the FLIP can be further refined and rendered at this point, but more commonly the BLG metadata is attached to each shot, and the grade is imposed in real time using several Baselight Editions for Avid applications - a software plug-in which resides in the Avid edit workstations and completes the grading workflow.

Also, with the new free-to-read capability in Baselight for Avid, which is now available and means that grades can be read accurately without purchasing a license, last minute grade changes can be supplied in an updated AAF to Media Composer systems without rendering or licensing.

FilmLight Baselight Editions for Avid plug-in.

The ability to exchange the onset grades as BLGs with the editorial department, then pass them to the grading suite, makes sure the DOP’s intentions are displayed consistently throughout the post process. The editor always sees the latest grade during the edit and can also make adjustments where necessary. It makes the final grade an easier, shorter process.

“We first used this set-up on ‘Waed Al Ghareeb’, or ‘The Promise’,” said Talal Awamleh, CEO of Arab Telemedia Group. “This is a high-value 30-part episodic and we wanted it to have great production quality, even in a tight timescale. We talked to the FilmLight team at IBC in 2014 and realised the potential of the renderless, metadata-driven colour environment they had built using Baselight tools and the BLG workflow.

‘Waed Al Ghareeb’

“At that time we were making a major investment in Avid systems, so the fact that Baselight Editions could add colour grading to the edit stations was an advantage for us. It means we can see precisely what the finished product is going to look like, at any point from the set to the finishing suite. Producers are reassured and we know we are achieving high quality, quickly and economically, because we have a colour pipeline that stands out within our Middle East region,” Talal said.

Arab Telemedia is currently producing two drama series, ‘Malik bin Al Rayeb’ and ‘Rakan Bin Hithleen’, both of which will be aired during the next Ramadan, June to July 2016, and are using the same FilmLight and Avid workflow.