Making B&W Source Clips in MC v7

There was a time that Media Composer included a feature in the tape based capture tool that allowed one to make black and white clips removing all saturation from the image. While it was not a groundbreaking feature, it was requested, and used by many before there was a lot of real time performance in the editing systems.

The ability to manage color is an exciting new function of Media Composer v7 supporting 1D LUTs, 3D LUTs, as well as support for ASC CDL values.  The two are often used together in dailies workflows, or can be used on their own depending on the production’s needs. Here is the ASC CDL whitepaper I wrote in 2007 when it was introduced describing the use and support of ASC CDL’s in Media Composer:


With Media Composer v7, the ASC SOP and SAT values can be applied in real time to a source clip and changed if needed without the need to create new media. Once other workflow bumps are smoothed out, this has the ability to really change the way dailies are created and how colorists can be involved throughout the editorial process.

For now I will show how the ASC SAT value can be used to create B&W clips with some simple metadata editing in the bins for all of the clips needing this treatment. The following are the ASC values for SOP and SAT for a NULL effect. Meaning nothing will change in the picture. Any values other than this will affect the look of the image.

(1.0000 1.0000 1.0000)(0.0000 0.0000 0.0000)(1.0000 1.0000 1.0000)

For the ASC SAT


This will not change the image values and the clip/image will look like (click for larger image).


By simply changing the ASC SAT value to 0.000 and applying it via the source settings Color Transform tab, the image will now have no saturation resulting in a black and white image.


After entering 0.000 in the ASC SAT column, go to Source Settings for that clip under the Color Transform TAB and select the CDL values from the LUT selection menu. CDL is listed at the bottom. Once selected, click the + button to add to the color management pipeline and click Apply (or Apply all if doing to it multiple selected clips at once).


Because it is only metadata, it can be changed to other values as needed, on the fly. See the Media Composer User Guide for more details on using LUTs and CDL’s.  It would be great to see ASC CDL support within Avid’s color correction tool as a tab that would update, ASC CDL values either as an offset, or as part of a “versioned” history of the image allowing the creative color choices to easily translate amongst other color correction systems.

Comments are closed.