AI Powers New Color Grading Tool for Cinematic Content

Hollywood-based Color Intelligence unveiled a new color grading application this week that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to dramatically improve the process of color correction of film footage used in movies and TV.

Called Colourlab Ai, the application uses AI models trained for "cinematic content" to color match footage automatically from a graded clip or reference image. The company says it can instantly match scenes across an edited timeline or hours of dailies. By leveraging AI to eliminate the manual and tedious aspects of the color grading process, the company says, the Colourlab Ai app "empowers filmmakers and colorists to focus more on the creative part of their job."

Founded by color scientist Dado Valentic and industry veterans Mark L. Pederson and Steve Bayes, Color Intelligence bills itself as a high-end image processing consultancy. It's client list includes Warner Brothers, HBO, Netflix, NBC Universal, and CBS, with which the company has worked on advanced HDR color pipelines and providing specialized color grading plug-ins for "look design and creation."

"When you have masses of material to color match, it can consume all your time and energy, so that when it comes to the craft grade, you're already maxed out," Valentic explained in a statement. "Colourlab Ai analyzes the composition of the shot to describe the color characteristics of footage, whether it's a close-up shot, an exterior shot, daylight or nighttime, etc. The AI 'understands' how humans see, and it uses human perceptual transforms that are vastly more accurate than standard algorithmic methods."

Co-founder Bayes is a former Avid designer and Apple Pro Video Product Manager responsible for Avid Symphony, Final Cut Pro, and FCP X. Pederson co-founded Offhollywood, a production and post-production boutique focused on file-based workflows. That company became a beta site for several companies, including Silicon Color, Apple, Adobe, AJA, Assimilate, Panasonic, and RED Digital Cinema.

"Colourlab Ai flips the grading process on its head," Pederson said in a statement, "by essentially removing the manual part, which requires extreme skill and technical expertise, and puts the focus purely on the creative."

Color Intelligence is making Colourlab Ai available to the first 500 applicants, the Colourlab Ai Factory Driver program, which will provide early adopter access to the software. Those early adopters will have immediate access to Colourlab Ai while in development, allowing them to test, contribute feedback, and request features for the color grading application before the public release in early October.

Valentic was set to introduce Colourlab Ai online on Wednesday, September 9 here.

About the Author

John K. Waters is the editor in chief of a number of sites, with a focus on high-end development, AI and future tech. He's been writing about cutting-edge technologies and culture of Silicon Valley for more than two decades, and he's written more than a dozen books. He also co-scripted the documentary film Silicon Valley: A 100 Year Renaissance, which aired on PBS.  He can be reached at