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Unlike past color science improvements, which were primarily a new gamma and color space such as DRAGONcolor2, this overhauls the entire image processing pipeline. Potential benefits therefore cascade from under-the-hood technical improvements, to a more simplified and standardized workflow, to visual enhancements with tones and colors.
IPP2 impacts camera firmware, REDCINE-X PRO, and the third-party SDK.
Due to new image processing hardware, only cameras with the MONSTRO, HELIUM, and GEMINI sensors benefit from the new visual, in-camera features. However, all R3D files can benefit during post-production. The new color space and gamma are also available via a firmware upgrade for all DSMC and DSMC2 cameras, so that RED’s workflow stays consistent across its lineup.
Key Visual Improvements
Colors near the edges of a color space, usually referred to as “edge-of-gamut” or “out-of-gamut colors,” no longer become overly saturated or intense near the boundaries of a color space. In practice, this means that things like neon signs, tail lights, and lens chromatic aberrations (CA) appear more pleasingly saturated and less often as solid blocks of color.
The highlight roll-off is now adjustable and can be made to be smoother and less abrupt compared to other film or cinematic styles, and better corresponds with maximum pixel intensity under a wide range of ISO speeds. In practice, this is most apparent with clipped background highlights, strong reflections, and shots containing the light source itself.
Mid-Tones & Shadows
Mid-tone colors are less susceptible to unrealistic hue shifts during certain color operations, such as color space conversion or white balance adjustment. Shadow detail is also better preserved while retaining overall image contrast.
RED converts red, green, and blue photosite values from the RAW sensor data into full color pixels using a high-quality de-Bayer or “demosaicing” algorithm that achieves a good combination of detail, low-noise, and speed. See http://www.red.com/learn/red-101/bayer-sensor-strategy for a background. IPP2 improves the de-Bayer algorithm to squeeze out even higher detail at the same pixel resolution. In practice, this is most apparent with fine, high contrast detail such as foliage or resolution charts.
Key Workflow Improvements
New Color Controls
IPP2 separates out the technical controls, which are standardized references that rarely change, from the creative controls, which are unique to the colorist/production and often change with every shoot or clip. This allows RED to move toward industry-standard color spaces (such as Rec. 709 or Rec. 2020), which are better understood by our customers and compatible with a wide variety of workflows. Other unfamiliar controls have either been renamed or removed, such as FLUT (which becomes Exposure Adjustment) or HDRx (which is now hidden and enabled by default).
Standardized Color & Gamma
RED’s prior color science required specifying both a proprietary color space and gamma, such as REDgamma4 plus DRAGONcolor2. IPP2 is based on a single REDWideGamutRGB (RWG) and Log3G10 specification that remains the same regardless of those changes.
Full ASC CDL Support
IPP2 supports all four manufacturer-agnostic ASC CDL controls of slope, offset, power, and saturation. Color corrections made with one device can therefore be applied or modified by other devices, even if such devices are from different manufacturers and use different standards. In practice, this is most applicable with bigger budget, multi-camera shoots where color settings need to be synchronized across many devices.
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Will IPP2 be available in cameras with DRAGON sensors?
The in-camera monitoring and controls will be available only in cameras with MONSTRO, HELIUM, and GEMINI sensors. However, all RED customers can benefit from it in post-production with their existing R3D files via a REDCINE-X PRO upgrade that is currently available on RED.com.
I prefer the old image processing pipeline. Is it gone forever?
No. Customers who prefer the old settings can still use them by selecting "Legacy" as the Image Pipeline mode, either in-camera by navigating to Menu > Image > Image Pipeline or in REDCINE-X PRO by navigating to Preferences > Image Pipeline.
However, unless you are attempting to match legacy footage, RED recommends using the new image pipeline for all future projects once the SDK has been incorporated in your prefered NLE.
What is REDWideGamutRGB?
This is a new color space that’s designed to encompasses every color that is recordable by RED’s current and past cameras. REDWideGamutRGB simplifies many workflows because all subsequent color operations have a common starting point regardless of camera, look, or output.
What is Log3G10?
This is a new gamma curve that’s designed to precisely encode the full tonal range from RED’s current and past cameras. The “3G” represents the mapping of 18% mid grey to 1/3 of the maximum possible code value, and the 10 represents the extent of the log curve encoding a linear light value up to 10 stops above mid grey. It serves a similar function as REDlogFilm and the Cineon specification, but allows for a greater dynamic range and HDR output standards.