Auto record reference movies in Livegrade 6 min read

Auto record reference movies in Livegrade

Livegrade is an on-set DIT software enabling the camera department to provide efficient on-set look creation, live HDR and SDR monitoring and management of looks and metadata for later integration with other DIT tools and post production software.

Livegrade just extended its auto record feature for streamlined on-set recording of reference files. By receiving a record flag from cameras connected via SDI the application can trigger movie recordings in Livegrade automatically.

The goals: Efficient look creation and maintaining consistency

As turnaround time is an important factor on all film sets, it is important to streamline the workflow in order to have a working solution ready in every situation. As any other activity on-set look management should be easy and efficient while it has to be ensured that all project deliverables have to be met. The DOP wants a specific look to be applied to the live monitoring. That look should later also be used in the dailies creation process, so that the creative intent of the DOP can be visualized throughout the entire project. The task of the DIT is to make sure setup and color pipeline meet all technical requirements and looks are applied and managed in an efficient way. In addition, the project should keep a consistent look throughout, which is not always easy to achieve due to changing locations, different lighting situations and especially with larger projects that are shot over several months.

The problem: Efficient on-set grading requires a solid reference media library

Reference media, collected by the camera department, plays a crucial role when it comes to maintaining look consistency or managing pre-defined looks. In some cases it might just work to apply a grading preset (e.g. LUT and CDL), but often lighting conditions and camera settings of the current situation will be different than the shot the preset was generated from, so that the initial look needs to be adjusted. In order to quickly achieve the desired result, reference images or reference movies are particularly helpful for re-creating a look in direct comparison with the live image. Sometimes DOPs just want to apply a look similar to the reference shot, while in other cases it is necessary to match the current scene precisely to a scene captured on another shooting day for continuity reasons. If you have recorded clips available, you can use these as reference movies and compare the looks, for example in split view for visual matching. 

Auto record reference movies in Livegrade
Livegrade’s viewer window lets users compare looks in split view

So having a solid and complete reference media library, enables the camera department to quickly recall a defined look, that the current shot needs to be matched to, in order to keep up consistency.

Until now auto record in Livegrade was only possible with a few cameras and capture devices, so that recordings had to be created manually in many cases, which implicated additional effort for the team. In hectic situations on set, hitting the record button at the right time could also be missed, which could cause trouble at a later time.

The solution: Auto record reference movies

In order to cope with this challenge Livegrade just improved its auto record feature, which allows automatic creation of reference movies while connected cameras are recording. Having set up auto record in a project, the library of reference media constantly grows in the background. This way the camera department’s “visual memory” is fed on the fly without the camera team having to remind themselves to trigger record in Livegrade each time the camera is capturing a shot, which saves time and a lot of headaches. 

While Livegrade’s recording feature already streamlines the workflow for creating reference media, the auto-record feature solves the problem even better by fully automating the task.

What is required to use Auto Record?

Auto record capabilities depend on the setup and cameras used. Naturally a capture device is required in any case. Due to indistinct industry standards manufacturers implemented various technologies for transmitting a recording flag from cameras connected via SDI. Consequently Livegrade supports three different types of auto record methods to ensure a high level of compatibility:

  • “Horizontal ANC Record Flag (HANC)” is supported with AJA capture devices (Kona 4 or newer and IO 4K series) when using ARRI, RED and Sony cameras and is also compatible with wireless transmitters like e.g. Teradek Bolt
  • “Vertical ANC Record Flag (VANC)” is supported for ARRI Alexa cameras
  • “RecRun Timecode” is supported for all SDI-connected cameras that embed RecRun timecode (may not be applicable in some workflows)

How to set up and use Auto Record?

Having checked the requirements for auto record and having connected your devices properly, follow these instructions to enable auto record in Livegrade:

  • Set up your capture device in Livegrade and choose an appropriate auto record method, supported by your camera and capture device
  • Make sure the camera, you want to receive your record trigger from is properly connected to the capture device via SDI
  • As soon as a capture device is set up, there is a record button for each active live source in the user interface
  • When the camera starts recording, a recording flag is transmitted to Livegrade, which immediately triggers movie recording
Auto record reference movies in Livegrade
Livegrade’s device manager with capture device setup for auto record

Livegrade Studio users, who work with multi-camera setups where not all devices support auto record, can also set up an input source to follow another cameras auto record trigger (this feature is called arming). Arming can also be useful, if you want to define one master camera source, that should trigger other sources automatically.

  • By pressing the button “Arm slot for recording” next to the record button, you set up an input source to follow another source’s auto record trigger. 
  • All armed live sources will be recorded automatically as soon as auto record is triggered or the record all button in the toolbar is activated.


Livegrade’s auto record feature allows to automatically capture multiple live sources. Therefore the software receives a record flag via SDI metadata in various ways from different cameras through connected capture cards. This improves the user experience and streamlines on-set color grading workflows. With this feature building a comprehensive reference media library for efficient look creation and visual color matching has never been easier.

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About the Author
Wanja is a product manager for Pomfort's on-set applications. With a longtime background in the film industry, he puts a special focus on the user’s experience and constantly works on evolving the products to ensure integration with recent workflow requirements and new technologies.