Autodesk is combining Flame, Smoke and Lustre in a single product called Flame Premium, effectively killing off Flame as a standalone product, it announced at IBC.
The entire package – which is software and turnkey hardware – costs less than Flame did a year ago, and, for the first time, provides Autodesk’s full suite of finishing tools, covering vfx, editorial and grading.
“The market dynamics are changing and clients need a higher return on investment,” Maurice Patel, Autodesk’s entertainment industry manager, told me at the show. “People want more integrated workflows. They still want to offer premium client-supervised services but Flame Premium, as the ultimate finishing tool providing vfx, editorial and grading, means you no longer have to segment your offer.”
“The grading market is in transition and Flame Premium is part of the future,” he adds. “Colourists, compositors and editors have unique skills but each has to learn new skills. Now many of these skills are overlapping, and this needs a flexible solution.”
Patel says that, with digitally acquired footage, grading is no longer linked to telecine so, “The telecine workflow is disrupted. You can now grade at any part of the process, and material needs to be free-flowing between editorial and grading.”
Autodesk is still planning to offer Flame, Smoke and Lustre as separately available products, but Patel says, “The price of Flame by itself is so similar to Flame Premium it would be foolish not to go for Flame Premium”.
Responding to the release of Flame Premium, Digital Vision’s vp, worldwide marketing, Martin Bennett, says, at the moment, there are still separate roles for the editor, colourist and vfx artist so a single system isn’t going to be appropriate for many post houses. However, he says, Flame Premium is likely to appeal to small to medium size houses that want to offer a wider range of services.
Bennett adds that, in three to five years, there is likely to be increased convergence of job roles and that Digital Vision could then make strategic alliances with other companies to offer a similarly broad toolset covering advanced vfx and editorial functionality.
“It’s the same as with the audio world, where one person now does what were previously numerous different job roles. We are very aware of how things are moving on the picture side and are very much going to be part of that change,” he says.

Staff Reporter