Firefox extension helps bring movie magic to theaters near you

Firefox is about to let you in on a little known industry secret…did you know some of the leading visual effects studios including Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), utilize Firefox to help make movie magic? 

Color calibration — the process of adjusting colors in order to display images consistently in color and brightness across monitors — is a critical component of visual effects. As visual effects studios and their vendors transitioned to remote work due to the coronavirus pandemic, this process that was easy to manage in-office suddenly became difficult to achieve. Over the past year, Firefox worked with Industrial Light & Magic to build a game-changing solution and developed the Extended Color Management Add-On. 

Firefox by default uses color management from the operating system to optimize and render colors and images to enhance the browsing experience of its users. With the extension, creators and their vendors can now disable color management, then simply restart the Firefox browser so that the colors of graphics or videos are consistent, even across different operating units. This allows media engineers to make consistent and reliable assumptions about the color pipeline between the content shown in a browser and the actual pixel values sent to the computer’s display.

With this extension, Firefox offers creators a turnkey solution to simply turn off in-browser color management when sharing content between color-calibrated and matched displays, so that both Lucasfilm and remote partners can see the intended colors and view ‘dailies’ more easily than before. This extension puts Firefox in a unique position to contribute to the movie-making magic by improving remote collaboration amongst studios, as well as independent creatives. 

“At ILM we want to ensure that all content is as color accurate as possible no matter where we view it. The updates to Firefox have allowed us to increase the color accuracy of content viewed in a browser further than any other browser.” said J. Schulte, Global Imaging Supervisor | Imaging and Color Science at Industrial Light & Magic  “When we identified a new use case for Firefox, their team was responsive and updated their browser to fill the need.”

How it works

Most people don’t know that different monitors, operating systems and browsers vary in color output. To ensure each individual and remote workstation is able to see consistent color across images and video, you must calibrate color management applications to the same specifications. This can be quite tedious, especially for vendors who may not be familiar with the process. 

It’s possible to disable color management for most applications that aren’t browsers, like Photoshop, for example, but the Extended Color Management extension on Firefox is extremely useful if you have material that can only be reviewed by another party through a browser on a well-calibrated display, which requires zero interference from the browser itself.

“Mozilla has an advantage as a smaller, collaborative technology leader and open source project to have the flexibility to make necessary changes to meet unique customer needs,” said Mike Kaply, Lead, Enterprise and Partner Distributions at Mozilla. “We wanted to create a simple and easy way to disable color management for both Lucasfilm and their vendor partners.”

Other recommended Add-Ons for creatives

Whether you’re a creative or studio coordinator — here are several additional, and particularly useful recommended Add-ons to add to your arsenal that can save valuable time, effort and money. 

  • Reverse Image Search extensions – several image search hacks for the creative who may need additional background or source information for the images they find across the web and wish to use in their own content.
  • Have to find that font? This list of extensions includes recommended font discovery tools to help speed up your design workflow.
  • Visual designers rejoice! The Imagus extension is a useful tool that allows you to preview full-size images when you hover your mouse on a thumbnail or link.
  • And if you work with audio, the Audio Equalizer and SoundFixer extensions help to equalize sound and easily fix common and annoying audio issues.

Now that you’ve been let in on these pro-tips, go ahead and download the latest version of Firefox here to test Extended Color Management for yourself!

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