NOTE: This article was written for an older version of FirstLight. The interface has changed from the screenshots shown below.
First Light was CineForm's non-destructive image development application prior to the introduction of GoPro Cineform Studio. Adjustments to images are stored as Active Metadata™ alongside your CineForm media. All CineForm media is supported: 4:2:2, 4:4:4, and RAW. First Light is resolution independent, support up to 4K spatial resolution. For use of First Light for 3D projects we recommend first reading this tutorial, then reading the First Light 3D tutorial here.
First Light Overview
First Light is designed to be used alongside your editorial application like Final Cut Pro. As you adjust image development parameters in First Light, those changes are immediately visible in Final Cut Pro when you scrub or play your CineForm media. Because you are adjusting Active Metadata, and not flattening the adjustments into your media, you can adjust parameters at any time during your project workflow. Note: All media must be converted to CineForm files prior to importing into First Light. You can use ReMaster to convert media that is not already in CineForm format. First Light does not support non-CineForm file types. When you launch First Light, the main Active panel is displayed as in the image below. Notice on the upper right there are three visible tabs labelled: Active, 3D, and Passive.(Click on the image below to enlarge).
Active: Main panel for adjusting Active Metadata on either 2D or 3D material.
3D: When adjusting color on 3D material the 3D panel allows adjustments on individual eyes. This panel is also where convergence adjustments are made. The 3D panel is greyed out on Neo HD and Neo4K products.
Passive: The Passive panel shows passive metadata attached to your clip(s). The Passive panel will be expanded in the future to allow modifications to Passive Metadata.
Active Panel Overview
The Active Panel is the main panel for adjusting image development parameters. On the right side bar are adjustments for white balance, saturation, gain control and black offset, and gamma controls. You may also flip images vertically or horizontally, change the decode curve, or apply a 3D LUT. Compatible 3D LUTs obey the Iridas .Look format.
Note1: All adjustments made in the Active panel are stored as "Active Metadata" with your CineForm media, and are never flattened into your files unless you choose to render in your host application (such as Final Cut Pro).
Note2: Enabling or disabling a particular Active Metadata parameter in the right-side bar affects only the active clip in the bin.
A Note About LUTs:
LUT Compatibility: LUTs compatible with First Light obey the Iridas .Look format. LUT size is up to 64x64x64. Registering a LUT: Simply double-click on the .Look file. Once registered, the LUT is visible in the "Look" drop-down box in the Active panel. DeBayer Drop Down Selection: The DeBayer drop-down is used for selecting the DeBayer (demosaic) filter applied to CineForm RAW files during rendering in Final Cut Pro, After Effects, or other calling applications. It is during these render operations that a high-quality demosaic algorithm is necessary. During preview playback a bi-linear demoaic is applied. Global Controls (All Clips):Above the preview windows are Global Controls to turn ON or OFF specific Active Metadata parameters (and as shown in the detail image below). Global controls are applied to ALL CineForm clips, not just the active clip in the preview window. These same controls also appear in the System Preferences pane for the CineForm codec.
Note: Turning global controls ON or OFF does not change the Active Metadata in the database, it simply toggles the control for playback and rendering purposes.
3D Panel Overview
For Neo3D installations, see the following Tech Note for further description of color and convergence adjustments located within the 3D panel: http://techblog.cineform.com/?p=1109.
First Light Projects
First Light Projects: An important point to realize is First Light is Project oriented. A project can be a single video clip on which you make adjustments, but often a project consists of a collection of video clips. A collection might be (for example) a particular scene in a film project which in which the same Active Metadata adjustments are applied to all clips.
The File drop-down is shown at right.
New: Open a new Project Open: Open an existing project Open Recent: Open a Recent project Close: Close Project without saving Save: Save Project saves the collection of clips into a previously-named Project. Save As...: Same the current Project with a new name. Revert to Saved:Restore the previously-saved Project parameters.
Import...: Import one or more video clips into the bin. You may also drag clips into the bin. Export: Reserved for future use The File-Import command opens a standard dialog box (below) that allows you to select clips you want to move into the clip bin. Alternatively you can open the bin and drag files into the bin.
First Light Workflow Hints
The most efficient way to work is to have First Light open with the clips you need visible in the Clip Bin, and switch between FirstLight and your NLE/Effects program. To make adjustments to a clip, select the clip in the bin. It will be displayed in the main window. Move the sliders to adjust the desired color parameters. Notice options for selecting different decoder curves and to apply 3D LUTs. Neo HD / 4K / 3D ship with sample look files which will be visible through the Look drop-down. When you select a LUT it will be immediately applied to the clip. It is important to remember that any adjustments made to images in FirstLight appear immediately in any other application that uses the clip. This includes QuickTime, Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, After Effetcs, and even iMovie. All Active Metadata adjustment are immediately applied to the clip and stored in the color database, regardless of whether you Save the Project or not. When you close the window, or quit First Light, you will be asked to save the Project. Choose a name from the “Save” dialog And the project will be saved. When you open a previously saved project, First Light will show the last clip, and all clips will remember the last location that you viewed.