AJA ColorBox v2.1


ColorBox v2.1 from AJA Video Systems is a free software update for the AJA ColorBox.

Quick review: AJA ColorBox is a powerful device for on-set color management, DIT carts, post-production work and live production. It does LUT-based color transformations using the AJA Color Pipeline as well as other look management tools—including Colorfront, ORION-CONVERT, BBC, NBCU LUTs and now ACES.

ColorBox has 12G-SDI in/out and HDMI 2.0 out. It can handle up to 4K/UltraHD 60p 10-bit YCBCr 4:2:2 and 30p 12-bit RGB 4:4:4 output. ColorBox’s browser-based user interface makes it simple to adjust settings—connected via Ethernet or a third-party WiFi adapter.

ColorBox v2.1

AJA ColorBox version 2.1 updates include:

4K/UltraHD down-conversion can output SDI and HDMI to lower resolutions (4K to 2K, or UltraHD to HD). This is helpful when using a 4K camera but 4K monitors are not available on set.

4K/2K crop for HDMI output lets you convert and center-crop 4K to UltraHD or 2K to HD—so an unscaled image can be viewed on consumer UltraHD or HD displays.

ACES Pipeline lets you load an ACES Metadata File (AMF) into ColorBox, combining things like IDT, LMT, RRT and ODT data into a single XML file. This is the 6th pipeline added to ColorBox.

Support for ARRI Wireless Video Optimized LogC4 (WVO LogC4) decoding helps eliminate banding with some wireless video systems on the receiving end of ALEXA 35 cameras.

SDR Preview for Colorfront Live Mode lets you see how HDR output looks when converted to SDR. You don’t have to change the HDR monitor settings and wait for the display to reconfigure. The Colorfront Engine maps the video to the targeted HDR with values that accurately represent the SDR image.

BBC HLG LUTs v1.7 supports the latest BBC HLG transforms.

AJA President Nick Rashby said, “For ColorBox 2.1, we are focused on making 4K on-set color workflows easier for productions to manage using the monitors and equipment they already have. Whether it’s the ability to review 4K accurately with SDI and HDMI monitors, offer simplified AMF processing to more parts of the production team, or enabling ARRI WVO LogC4 decoding to be easier to deploy LogC4, this new release helps productions easily take advantage of new workflows and with greater cost-efficiency.”

AJA ColorBox browser-based UI showing ACES Pipeline with ALEXA 35 WVO LogC4 decoding.

Tim Walker on ColorBox v2.1

Tim Walker, Senior Product Manager at AJA, explains:

“We had a number of feature requests from people doing 4K productions who don’t always have 4K monitors on set. So, we’ve added the ability to do a down-conversion with our SDI and HDMI outputs. Also, HDMI doesn’t always support DCI 4K or 2K resolutions, so we can center crop 4K into UHD, or 2K into HD resolution images for use on a wide range of HDMI consumer and prosumer monitors. We’re just trying to make 4K on-set easier for people to use with the equipment that they have.

“Another one of the pillars for this release is with the ACES file metadata support, where an AMF is essentially an XML that describes a recipe for a transform. That recipe could include information like an input device transform, look transforms, render transforms, and the output device transforms. All those things are different elements in the recipe to create a look. Those can all be put into an AMF file.

“We had 5 ColorBox pipelines before. Now we have 6—with this new and free ACES pipeline. It gives you the ability to import an AMF file into ColorBox, load it into a node and turn it on, and then you can get AMF processing. It’s helping to push the ACES initiative forward just a little bit. And this is fairly new for a standalone device to be able to support it.

“Products like Pomfort Livegrade have the ability to support ACES AMF in conjunction with the ColorBox, have that workflow. But if you don’t have Pomfort and you’ve got a colorist who’s created an AMF, they can just send it to somebody with a ColorBox and they can load it and get the desired transform.

“Next on the list is for the ARRI ALEXA 35. When they introduced LogC4 with that camera, it was a new encoding methodology. However, certain wireless transmitters and receivers may wind up showing some artifacts or banding on monitors.”

[See ARRI Tech Note of Nov 6, 2023: When the SDI processing of the ALEXA 35 is set to Wireless Video Optimized LogC4 (WVO LogC4), the LogC4 signal is further encoded in such a way as to optimally preserve its integrity even when transmitted wirelessly at a low data rate. This is done by applying a WVO encoding curve to the LogC4 signal, allocating more bits to the mid-tones where banding would be visible. On the other end, the WVO LogC4 signal needs to be decoded with a WVO decoding LUT to reconstitute LogC4. The WVO decoding LUT is the inverse of the encoding.]

Tim continues: “The Alexa 35 can be set to output WVO LogC4 that helps it traverse the wireless network but that needs to be decoded on the other side, the receive side. At the request of ARRI, ColorBox now has the WVO decoder built into both the AJA Color and ACES pipelines.”

ColorBox Prices and Availability

AJA ColorBox Version 2.1 is available now as a free download from the AJA Support Page and is on display at the AJA NAB Booth SL3065. ColorBox can be purchased through AJA’s worldwide reseller network for $1,995 US MSRP, with optional licenses for Colorfront at $995 US MSRP, the ORION-CONVERT pipeline at $695 US MSRP, and the BBC HLG LUT pipeline at $145 US MSRP.

For more information: www.aja.com/colorbox

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