Thomson Offerings Include Security Tools

"Thomson will unveil new products, technologies and research at NAB2007 across the entire supply chain, including security solutions and video watermarking technologies.

Thomson's NexGuard for set-top boxes is a video watermarking technology featuring a streamlined "open architecture" that works with standard and next-generation compression codecs: MPEG-2, MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) and VC-1. NexGuard for STBs has been integrated into the STx7100 family of system-on-chips, manufactured by semiconductor supplier STMicroelectronics, and will be available to all STB companies.

The company is also demonstrating NexGuard for Microsoft Windows Media Video 9, a software package for deterring piracy of WMV 9 or VC-1 main profile-formatted files.

Thomson is also showing some of its advanced research for the entire digital workflow. Highlights include the DiscPack, a prototype for high-end, professional electronic camera recording systems with a highly efficient portable storage solution; the Distributed I/O Scheduler, which enables simultaneous flow of multiple data streams to and from content storage and processing devices; and Digital Media Archiving with Mezzanine Compression--the "proof of concept" for a powerful, visually lossless compression solution for file-based workflows."


Cooke Optics Announces Avid Support for /i Technology

"Cooke Optics, a premier manufacturer of precision lenses for the motion picture industry, announces that Avid Technology has incorporated support for the Cooke-developed /i Technology into its editing systems. /i Technology (the ‘i’ stands for ‘intelligence’) enables film and digital cameras to automatically record key lens and camera data for every film frame shot and provide it to post-production teams digitally, ready for incorporation into downstream processes without any manual manipulation. The technology streamlines both production and post, saving significant time and costs and eliminating guesswork, while enabling greater creative freedom.

To further streamline and speed film production by tracking metadata from acquisition to post production, Avid has integrated support for the /i protocol recorded by the /i dataLink box from Cooke into its editing systems. Avid editing systems such as Media Composer can read digitally-captured camera/lens data — including time stamp, lens/camera serial number, reel number, continuous readings of focus, iris, and zoom values, close and far focus, horizontal field of view, entrance pupil position, normalize zoom value, camera status and more – and pass it through editorial into visual effects. The implementation enables Avid editors to export any part of a project timeline via Avid FilmScribe along with any or all of the metadata captured by /i, and post it to a Web-based workgroup environment, print it out, or export it as a file to be parsed by any downstream process."


Deluxe Selects Dolby SCC2000 To Secure JPEG 2000 D-Cinema Mastering

"Dolby Laboratories has installed its Dolby SCC2000 Secure Content Creator at Deluxe Digital Entertainment in London.

The new installation enables Deluxe, which provides film production services to movie studios and other sectors of the entertainment industry, to respond quickly to the increasing demand for digital cinema across the globe.

The SCC2000, a scalable mastering solution for JPEG 2000 digital cinema content, provides compression, encoding, packaging, and encryption. With the Dolby mastering system, Deluxe can prepare digital movie releases in the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives) specified JPEG 2000 format.

Designed to work as a stand-alone unit or integrated into current postproduction and digital intermediate systems, the Dolby SCC2000 enables efficient 2K and 4K JPEG 2000 encoding for all digital cinema content. To minimize start-up costs and complexities, the system is offered as part of a complete package including equipment rental, training, and ongoing support. The option for generating secure keys offers key delivery message (KDM) creation and management via the Cosmos digital cinema database, operated by Dolby content-protection subsidiary Cinea."


A Monster Digital Dailies Solution

Bernie Laramie, CEO of MOS Sync, speaks about "Monster", a digital dailies solution with interesting on set metadata capture features :

"MDR is the metadata recorder at the heart of Monster. Linked to electronic cameras by SMPTE’s UMID (Unique Material Identifier) or timecode, the MDR records and stores every smidgen of information related to the camera and, via serial data, peripheral devices including lenses, camera mounts and so on. The video/audio recorder at the heart of Monster is SpectSoft’s Rave, an uncompressed HD disk recorder.

“On any given frame, we can tell the exact lens, focal length, height of the dolly, f-stop”, says Laramie. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s synchronous, such as a video camera, or asynchronous, such as a lens or lighting panel. MDR records both, and will track both kinds of data simultaneously”. Lens manufacturers have been incorporating serial data in their lenses for years to assist technicians while calibrating the lenses. The camera operator may adjust a lens between 28 and 85 mm, but inside the lens, the information on its position ranges from 0 to 65,535. “The ring spits out tons of information. We pull that number out for each frame,” says Laramie. “And our system translates that number to meaningful information like millimeters, distance to subject, and zoom position”.

While information that the MDR database records, on a frame-by-frame basis, includes lens iris, lens focal length and distance in mm, it also includes pan, tilt, and Dutch tilt, as well as longitude, latitude and altitude from a GPS receiver, which comes in handy for handheld and Steadicam shots. Currently, MOS Sync’s crew is working on interfaces with the cMotion camera support system, as well as several camera mount systems. “If it’s on set and generating data other than the pictures and sounds, we want to track it”, says Laramie.

The second piece of Monster is TranScript, a box created in partnership with Nonlinear Technologies. NL Technologies had previously worked on a system that enabled sports/news broadcasters to directly ingest footage from the camera into the editing system. “TranScript allows me to ingest to an Avid format file while shooting”, says Laramie, who notes that TranScript is “very rugged” for on-location use. “It will translate to Avid’s DV25 compression and converts 24 fps to 30 fps. Now I can be ready to edit immediately after shooting. The TranScript pulls the take information from the Monster so when the material is dragged and dropped into the Avid, it contains all the metadata we picked up on the set and puts it in custom fields in the Avid. And it does all that from a hard drive instead of a tape source so the ingest time is minutes instead of hours”.

The third piece that forms Monster is Minutes — instantly available dailies. “This is what we wanted to do in the beginning,” says Laramie, who partnered with UVU, a streaming multimedia company in downtown Los Angeles, for the tremendous capacity required to stream video. Minutes digital dailies streams either to a computer or a TV receiver, equipped with a set-top box and an Ethernet or even a wifi connection to the Internet. UVU’s throughput is impressive: 192 strands of fiber means the contents of the Library of Congress could be transmitted in a millisecond. Rich media files are slower, but not by much. “One hour of dailies will move from Point A to Point B in less than five seconds, if you use the full bandwidth,” says Laramie. “The real trick is to get the production companies at the end of that pipeline to see the advantages of having all their dailies available securely online.”

But is instant dailies a good idea ? “Not always,” replies Laramie. “It’s not unusual for a director to change his mind before he leaves the set,” says Laramie. “We’ve added a new feature called Publish to the Monster system, so the director can cut, review the selections and then publish, which sends it to the data center. The central idea is to make sure that the information from the set gets to the right people as quickly as possible, and Minutes is designed to do just that.”

What will make Monster work, says Laramie, is price. It costs about $18 to put an hour of DVD-quality dailies on an executive’s desk, he estimates. “You have anywhere from 15 to 25 people needing dailies every day,” he says. “We can make that task happen in a fraction of the time, at a fraction of the cost.”

The Monster system is rented by Wexler Video and Plus8."


DVS Showcases Hydra JPEG2000 Board At NAB 2007

"Hydra is a PCI-X board for uncompressed input and output of audio and video material as well as for decompression of JPEG2000 in real time. Hydra supports SD, HD, 2K, and further formats specified by DCI and offers 16 AES/EBU or embedded audio channels.

Hydra performs decoding and decompression of JPEG2000 material for Digital Cinema applications. These processes take place in real time from SD, HD and 2K material as well as several other formats specified by the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives). The data can be received as RGB, YUV or X’Y’Z’ data in MXF or JP2 and the hardware extracts the components from the MXF file when necessary.

Up to two dual-link 4:4:4 or three single-link 4:2:2 channels are supported simultaneously. The new I/O board is ideal for implementing stereoscopic display applications in Digital Cinema, multi-channel applications in broadcast or multi-screen applications in the presentation area."


Kinoton and DVC Presented Digital 3D Workshop at "Insight Out"

"One of the many interesting issues at the "Insight Out" symposium of the renowned HFF Film and Television University "Konrad Wolf" Potsdam were the options and potentials offered by stereoscopic D-Cinema, emphasized by an impressive 3D presentation featuring a Kinoton DCP 70 L Digital Cinema Projector and a DVC ClipDisk 3D.

One of this year's workshops dealt with stereoscopic 3D projection. At the lecture held by Harald Naether (DVC Digitalvideo GmbH), several trailers and short films were presented so the audience could convince themselves of the excellent projection quality of stereoscopic D-Cinema.

The audience thought it very interesting that the DCP 70 L Digital Cinema Projector, which Kinoton had installed at the HFF a few weeks ago, can not only present normal digital cinema movies in DCI compliant 2K resolution, but stereoscopic content as well. All you need is a 3D server and a polarisation filter or shutter glasses system. At the "Insight Out" workshop, a DVC ClipDisk 3D server and an active NuVision 3D system were employed.

The NuVision system is composed of a sync box, an IR transmitter and active shutter-glasses. The sync box gets a signal from the projector which controls the shutter-glasses by infrared communication. The DCP 70 L gets two input signals from the 3D server, one for the right eye and one for the left eye, which are projected alternately at a high frequency. The right and left shutter-glasses are dimmed in turn so that only one eye at a time can look at the screen. If the picture for the left eye is projected, the right glass becomes opaque, and vice versa. The brain interprets these two different sights as a three-dimensional representation, experiencing an amazingly realistic 3D effect.

"This active 3D technique for D-Cinema projectors is cost-effective, easy to retro-fit and easy to use", states Kinoton's D-Cinema product manager Markus Naether. "In contrary to passive 3D cinema requiring a special silver screen, active 3D can be projected on every common cinema screen. Besides this, the prices for shutter-glasses have been cut severely, making this a cost-efficient and fast way for exhibitors to add an additional crowd puller to their theatres, independent of existing 3D license models". "

Editor's note : DVC ClipDisk 3D is not a DCI compliant server, but an Dual Channel MPEG-2 HD Player. It then won't be able to play major 3D movies released recently by US Studios ( "Chicken Little", "The Nightmare Before Christmas", "Monster House", "Meet the Robinsons", etc. ).

Open IPTV Forum formed to set standards

"A number of companies have come together to form a consortium to develop an end-to-end specification for the delivery of internet protocol television services. They include network infrastructure providers Ericsson and Siemens Networks, consumer electronics companies Panasonic, Philips, Samsung and Sony, as well as operators AT&T, France Telecom and Telecom Italia.

Notably absent, at this point, are Alcatel-Lucent and Microsoft, as well as a number of other smaller independent players in this emerging market.
The forum will focus on the development of open standards that could help to streamline and accelerate deployments of IPTV technologies.

While standardization bodies are already addressing specific elements of IPTV, the pan-industry Open IPTV Forum says it will work to bring together these diverse standards into a complete delivery solution, with the goal of accelerating the full standardisation of IPTV-related technologies.

The Open IPTV Forum plans to establish specifications later in 2007. A requirements and architecture specification is planned by September 2007, with a first release of protocol specifications by December 2007.

The Open IPTV Forum will work on the basis of suitable open-standards technologies. Significantly, it will address the delivery of services over both managed networks and the public internet, with provision for interoperability between such services and retail consumer devices.

The forum says that while there are many standardization bodies that address IPTV, no one is addressing the complete solution. The Open IPTV Forum intends to fill the gaps between the islands of standardization.

It is expected that IMS or IP Multimedia Subsystem services will form part of the specification, and that the DNLA home network standards of the Digital Living Network Alliance will also be considered as candidate components.

The forum adds that all companies that can and want to contribute toward the objectives of the Open IPTV Forum are welcome to apply for membership."


DLP Projection Technology Goes Even More Mobile

"Texas Instruments (TI) during the 2007 CTIA Wireless convention will be demonstrating, to select media, a prototype of a DLP pico-projector small enough to fit on your finger tips. The latest DLP innovation from the world leader in mobile projection solutions enables compelling viewing options that expand beyond the limitations of a physical screen for mobile users of cellular phones, digital cameras and portable media players.

DLP pico-projectors, either as standalone projector or as an integrated component in mobile devices, will provide consumers and business professionals with the flexibility to share video and graphic content in a larger way.

The DLP pico-prototype further advances TI’s mobile projection technology, building on the 2006 introduction of DLP-based pocket projectors. These products are in the market today from manufacturers, including Mitsubishi, Samsung, and Toshiba. Pacific Media Associates (PMA), a global research firm, expects this pocket projector category to grow to more than 1M units by 2010. TI demonstrated the viewing experience advantage of showing mobile phone content on a pocket projector in January 2007. The introduction of the pico-projector capabilities will provide manufacturers and end-users even more options on how they can view and share information and content.

Now in addition to using TI’s world leading OMAP processor technology for processing video and graphics content, mobile manufacturers can take advantage of TI DLP pico-projection technology as a new and enhanced display option in their devices. As the OMAP wireless application platform has helped revolutionize processing of media content on mobile devices, DLP pico-projection technology will advance the viewing experience of mobile devices providing significant improvements in productivity and entertainment experiences.

Key benefits of DLP projectors include: smoother images with no “screen door” effect; crisp and clear presentation of fast motion video; vibrant colors created by its BrilliantColor technology; and proven reliability across all facets – picture reliability over time (no fading, yellowing or color decay over time as compared to other display technologies), overall performance and dust-resistance."

Source: Texas Instruments

3-D Gets 3ality Check with New Production Digs

"Demonstrating a strong commitment to the industry, 3ality is building a dedicated 20,000-square-foot 3-D production facility in Burbank that will house parent company 3ality Digital's two units: 3ality Digital Entertainment, a feature film development and production company, and 3ality Digital System, a 3-D production, postproduction and technology development unit. Partners in 3ality Digital are Art, David and John Modell; Jon and Peter Shapiro; Steve Schklair; and Sandy Climan.

The new facility will include a 24-seat, 3-D-ready digital-cinema theater equipped with a Barco 2K digital-cinema projector and Real D 3-D system in order to screen the productions the way they would be seen in theaters.

Its choices for the servers reflect the need for standards in the 3-D arena. "We'll have servers for whatever is commercially out there in the market, whether that's Dolby, QuVis, Kodak or Doremi, because we have to encode content for the theaters, and I need a way to QC (quality control) it," Schklair says.

The company also intends to offer 3-D-specific digital color timing and editorial services using proprietary technology in the theater. The bulk of the company's R&D was completed by 3ality's Munich-area hardware and software development company; the company, formerly 3D-IP, was acquired last year by 3ality. Schklair says that down the road, the company hopes to add postproduction capabilities to its Germany operations. As for the Burbank base, multiple editing and postproduction suites will be equipped with a combination of proprietary and off-the-shelf software systems.

The first release to come through 3ality's pipeline will be "U2 3D," helmed by Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington and slated to open in the fall. The concert film featuring the band U2 was shot on location in such cities as Buenos Aires and Mexico City using as many as nine Sony F950 Cine Alta digital cinematography cameras and recording to HDCAM SR format. It is in postproduction.

Many digital-cinema enthusiasts believe such alternative content as concerts and sporting events will help bring additional revenue to 3-D-equipped theaters. Schklair confirmed that 3ality has both concerts and sports projects in the plans, though he declined to name titles.

As to future developments, Schklair believes 3ality is about six months away from being able to deliver content to 3-D-equipped theaters live, via satellite or fibre. The company's Munich base is completing R&D to make this happen."


Telestream Introduces Pipeline Network Encoder

"Telestream has announced a new hardware product that offers a novel approach to the way video professionals ingest tape-based media into file-based workflows.

Pipeline is an industry-first network encoding device that provides SDI ingest into Telestream's FlipFactory and Episode applications as well as 3rd party products, including Apple's Final Cut Pro. The encoder is accessible to multiple users over the network, providing a more reliable and cost-effective alternative to traditional PC capture card solutions. A series of Pipeline products are being introduced today to meet the needs of broadcast, post-production and new media workflows.

Pipeline is comprised of a series of network-accessible video capture products that provide hardware encoding and decoding of serial digital video and audio. Two models, single-channel Pipeline and multi-channel Pipeline Quad, will be introduced at NAB to address a variety of professional encoding needs. Pipeline is also designed for direct integration with 3rd party products and workflow solutions.

Pipeline provides real-time, frame-accurate video capture and encoding to multiple formats, including DV25/50, IMX 30/40/50 and MPEG-2 I-frame (PAL & NTSC). File transfer begins while ingesting from tape to provide fast throughput and accelerate users' workflows. Shared network access and RS-422 deck control enable access to the tape deck by multiple users. Pipeline is software configurable to provide the output formats users need. It is network-upgradeable to easily add new features and formats, like H.264 and Windows Media, as they become available from Telestream.

Telestream's shared network resource approach provides significant advantages over conventional server/capture card solutions. Pipeline eliminates operating system and driver incompatibilities as well as host processor bottlenecks. It also removes the need to use an expensive broadcast server channel to ingest media into file-based workflows.

Designed for the desktop, initial offerings include single-channel Pipeline for Apple's Final Cut Pro editing application and Telestream's FlipFactory and Episode transcoding products. Pipeline for Final Cut Pro includes all the advantages of other models. Real-time media encoding to DV 25/50 and IMX 30/40/50 provides more choices than conventional video capture solutions. In addition, Pipeline intelligently detects and delivers formats required by the Final Cut project bin.

For Telestream's FlipFactory transcoding workflow automation and Episode media encoding products, Pipeline provides a fast, efficient means to capture and ingest media from tape or live sources. Importantly, media transfer to FlipFactory and Episode begins immediately while encoding in Pipeline, to enable faster job processing. Transcoding into proxy or other formats happens simultaneously during the encode process, greatly improving overall workflow throughput.

The multi-channel Pipeline Quad offers additional features, such as confidence monitoring and redundant power supplies, for higher volume needs. It is especially useful for the capture of multiple live feeds and tape ingest into digital libraries. With four channels in a single rack unit chassis, Pipeline Quad provides unparalleled encoding density, saving valuable rack space and power for broadcasters and content owners.

Pipeline applications include batch ingest from an EDL file which allows users to encode multiple clips from a single tape. It streamlines digitization of tape for ingest into archives, online libraries and digital asset management workflows. Since Pipeline is bi-directional, it can also be used to print clips to tape for sharing with clients and colleagues. A complete Software Development Kit (SDK) provides easy integration with 3rd party products and destination applications.

Priced at $1,950, single channel Pipeline will be available shortly after NAB through Telestream's direct sales and worldwide resale channels as well as from the Flip4Mac online store."


Doremi Cinema Hits 2700 Installation Mark for its DCP-2000 Cinema Server

"Doremi Cinema is pleased to announce that it has reached the 2,700 installation mark for its DCP-2000 cinema server. The DCP-2000 server has been part of every major deployment of digital cinema worldwide including those by AIX, Technicolor Digital Cinema and XDC.

With over 1 million play dates completed, Doremi Cinema is the only server manufacturer with the real-world experience to further the quality and reliability of its product. Exhibitors and network owners alike have confirmed this by continuing to include the DCP-2000 in their digital cinema rollouts.

Doremi Cinema continues to add advanced features to the DCP-2000 to keep it comfortably ahead of the competition. Some of these features included 3D playback, CineLink II strong link encryption, and Thomson's NexGuard and Philips' CineFence forensic watermarking."


Shamrock Capital Growth Fund invests in REAL D 3-D Digital platform

"Michael Lewis, chairman and CEO of REAL D, and Stephen D. Royer, managing director of the Shamrock Capital Growth Fund, announced jointly today that Shamrock, the Burbank-based, private-equity firm, is investing $50 million in REAL D, the leader in digital 3-D technology. Further terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The financing round from the Shamrock Capital Growth Fund will fund the rapid development of REAL D’s delivery systems and support its leadership in delivering lifelike visual images for cinema and beyond. Earlier this month, REAL D announced its acquisition of Boulder, Colorado-based ColorLink, one of the world’s leading inventors and suppliers of photonics-based solutions. This acquisition will significantly enhance REAL D’s product offerings and production capabilities.

REAL D is bringing the premier digital 3-D experience to cinemas worldwide. With over 700 screens in 14 countries currently and 1000 screens expected later this year, REAL D has the world’s largest 3-D platform."


First installation of mastering facilities in Russia

"The first Digital Cinema mastering station in Russia has been installed as a part of the national Digital Rollout programme developed by the Head Data-Computing Centre (GIVC) of the Federal Agency of Culture and Cinematography, and the ComSat company, with the support of the Russian Ministry of Culture. This installation means that now, not only foreign, but also national films can be projected onto digital screens with DCI-rated image quality. Coming only a few months after the opening of the first digital cinema in Saint Petersburg, this installation is a big step towards a full-scale digital rollout in Russia.

Doremi Cinema's DMS-2000 mastering station was selected by the Head Data-Computing Centre to create Digital Cinema movie files. Today Doremi is a leading developer and supplier of DCI JPEG 2000 digital cinema servers and encoders. Several DCP-2000 cinema servers are already installed at commercial cinemas and laboratories in The Russian Federation.

With the DMS 2000, Head Data-Computing Centre will provide encoding/mastering of JPEG 2000 files in 2k resolution conforming to DCI specifications. The Doremi system also enables the mastering of pre-show content such as publicity, documentary films and video clips."


Call out for 3-D digital-cinema standards

"Disney's preparations to release "Meet the Robinsons" on March 30 in 3-D demonstrates a pressing need for 3-D digital-cinema delivery standards to help the movement proceed forward.

"We are having to create eight different file formats for the digital-cinema equipment currently used for 3-D display," Disney vp production technology Howard Lukk said. "Add the different languages that also have to be delivered for worldwide release, and that makes up to 42 separate packages at the moment."

These packages would be used to deliver digital 3-D versions of the film to about 650 digital-cinema screens worldwide that are expected to be 3-D ready for the release.

"It is very time-consuming and expensive to create all the versions to play on all those different screens throughout the world," Lukk said. "(The lack of standards) impacts every 3-D release that we do, and it impacts everyone else who would do a 3-D release. We really need to get some standards set around 3-D; if nothing more, at least the file-delivery format."

Standards-setting body the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers already has started work toward standardizing 3-D delivery. A 3-D ad hoc committee exists as part of SMPTE's digital-cinema standards-setting initiative. "The problem is that sometimes it is a very slow process," Lukk said.

To assist in the effort, Lukk encouraged manufacturers to come to a consensus on a standard to simplify 3-D content delivery.

This is not an insignificant issue, particularly at a time when distributors and exhibitors have identified 3-D as a killer app for digital cinema, and in doing so, kicked 3-D interest into high gear. "If we don't get our heads around a standard, it is going to complicate things and make it difficult to deliver 3-D," Lukk said."


DIMENSION 3 expo, the first conference on 3D images

Avance Rapide Communication, in partnership with avec Nicéphore Cité and UP3D (the French association of 3D image producers), is organising the first edition of Dimension 3 expo , the 3D image forum. The event will take place in Chalon sur Saône (Burgundy, France) from June 5 to 7, 2007, at the Espace des Arts.

more information

Panasonic AJ-HDP2000 2K

"Panasonic will show the new AJ-HDP2000 2K Processor, which allows professionals to record and process pristine quality 2K and HD images to D-5 VTRs for editing, interchange and distribution.

Designed specifically for use with telecine systems and especially within the rapidly growing DI workplace, the AJ-HDP2000 processor uses JPEG2000 compression, the same compression scheme specified by the Digital Cinema Initiative for cinema release. The AJ-HDP2000 processor accepts 12-bit 4:4:4 2K 2048 x 1080 resolution film image data, or 12-bit 4:4:4 sampled 1920 x 1080 HD images, and records to the AJ-HD3700H, AJ-HD3700A and AJ-HD3700B D-5 HD VTRs for editing, archiving and distribution. Using the advanced compression algorithm, film can be converted to digital data for subsequent processing in advanced DI environments.

The AJ-HDP2000 will be available in August at a suggested list price of $35,000."


Sony F23 camera

"One of the highlights from Sony will be the long-anticipated F23 camera, which will support 4:4:4 1920 by 1080 RGB imaging. It is the newest member of Sony's high-end CineAlta line of acquisition products for digital television and motion picture content creation. It uses three 2.2 megapixel 2/3-inch type progressive CCD imagers and a 14-bit A/D converter. The system will support 1080/23.98P, 24P, 25P, 29.97P, 50P, 59.94P, 50i and 59.94i formats.

The new system will share the HDC-F950 camera’s 1920 by 1080 RGB 4:4:4 design, but also incorporate several new features, the direct result of feedback from production professionals.

The SRW-1 digital 4:4:4 recorder will dock directly to the top or to the tail of the new system. This eliminates the need for cumbersome cable handling between the camera and recorder. When more mobility is required, the recorder can also be tethered using a “dual-link” cable connection so the camera is as small and light as possible.

In order to be film user-friendly, the camera body will be compatible with a variety of film camera accessories, including bridge plates, matte boxes and follow focus units. These can be attached to the unit without modification. For increased durability and reliability, and to withstand the numerous lens changes that often happen on location, the F23 system will use a harder material for its lens mount (B4 type).

When used with Sony’s SRW-1 VTR, the new camera system can capture and record variable speed images from 1P to 60P (1P to 30 FPS at 4:4:4 and 1P to 60 FPS at 4:2:2) at the full HD resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. This allows for quick- or slow-motion functionality, also known as undercranking or overcranking, to produce special motion effects commonly used in high-end production.

The F23 system is expected to be available late this spring."


NEC announces newest addition to STARUS DLP Cinema projector family

"NEC Corporation of America, a premier provider of IT, network and storage solutions, today introduced the STARUS NC1600C DLP Cinema projector to its family of digital cinema projectors. NEC’s STARUS NC1600C ensures that midsize theatres with screens from 26 to 49 feet wide have a cost-effective, high quality projector with the latest technologies designed specifically for their requirements.

The complete family of STARUS digital cinema projectors also includes the STARUS NC2500S, the world’s brightest DLP Cinema projector for large-sized screens tested up to 82 feet wide, and the NC800C, the world’s smallest and lightest DLP projector for smaller theatres, screening rooms, and post-production facilities with screen sizes up to 28 feet wide.

The NC1600C will be available worldwide in September 2007."


OpenCube to highlight latest MXF tools

"OpenCube Technologies will demonstrate its most recent advances in streamlining HD and SD workflows at NAB2007, including the next generation of its MXF Tools.

The French company's MXFTk Toolbox, comprised of multiplatform C++ SDK, Graphic Applications and Viewer, provides a top-quality toolkit that enables interoperability in media exchange and metadata management.

The MXFTk Version 2.0 includes new key features offering the possibility of rapid handling of the MXF format as defined by SMPTE. New features include the management of MXF files with external references from Op1a to Op3c, the support of MXF D-Cinema formats based on MXF DCP creation and interoperability with most camcorders, NLEs and broadcast servers of the industry.

OpenCube will also showcase updated versions of its MXF/GXF Viewer, a graphic application able to handle the rapid management of MXF and GXF media, with associated metadata- and format-conversions tools."


Muvico chooses Sony SXRD 4K projectors for conversion to digital technology

"Muvico Entertainment will build the world’s first theater complex with Sony’s 4K SXRD projectors in all its theaters. The projectors will be installed in Muvico’s new Chicago area entertainment complex, as the initial step in converting the chain’s 12 theaters (228 screens) across the United States to digital technology.

According to Muvico, the new 18-screen facility, scheduled to open this August in the suburb of Rosemont, Ill., will have all of its theaters equipped with SXRD projectors: a combination of the SRX-R210 unit, a 10,000-lumen model, and the SRX-R220 model, an 18,000-lumen unit, as well as Sony’s LMT-100 media block system.

Muvico said it also plans to follow this first installation with SXRD roll-outs in three more of its locations by 2008. The chain is now working with Sony to secure proper services for installation and maintenance of the systems."


Digital Cinema pioneers Walter Ordway and Harry Mathias join Panorama Entertainment Systems

"Panorama Labs, the company pioneering magneto-photonic crystal technology, announced today that Walter Ordway, who “just might be the man who invented digital cinema” according to Variety, has joined the company’s advisory board. He will provide expert guidance to the company’s Panorama Entertainment Systems division in all aspects of its operations, from development of its digital cinema 4K MOD projector technology to business strategy and product rollout.
Harry Mathias has joined the company as vice president of research and development."

sources: 1 2

Christie’s new CP2000-ZX boosts company’s cinema leadership worldwide

"Christie, a global leader in visual solutions for entertainment, business and industry, expands its popular line of 2K resolution Digital Cinema projection solutions with the introduction of the Christie CP2000-ZX DLP Cinema projector. Setting a new industry benchmark for performance, value and flexibility, the Christie CP2000-ZX is up to 50% smaller by volume than its nearest competitors, yet brighter at 17,000 lumens. Exceptionally easy to operate and maintain, the ZX model offers maximum installation options for small to medium size theaters. It is also the perfect solution for post-production facilities seeking an advanced Digital Cinema system at a more affordable price.

The much-anticipated projector, with its integrated single-phase ballast, is significantly smaller and lighter than standard-size DLP Cinema projectors. All controls are at the rear of the projector, making it easy to install and easy to use in the most challenging environments. It utilizes a standard Christie CDXL lamp or the new high efficiency Christie CDXL SD lamp, which can be replaced by the same projectionist that operates the 35mm systems, with similar cost of ownership. Brightness levels can be customized from 9,000 – 17,000 lumens, for screens up to 45 feet wide (14 meters).

The Christie CP2000-ZX features the same support for Digital Cinema and alternative content as the famed Christie CP2000. Unlike the competition, it also supports the processing of HDCP encrypted signals through its DVI inputs and various integrated input cards, allowing for optimum presentation flexibility. All controls are available from the compact, local user panel, Control Display Panel (CDP) or from any web browser on a networked computer. The feature-packed CP2000-ZX is the most affordable, flexible, and easy-to-use DLP Cinema solution on the market today."


GDC Technology launches new generation of Digital Cinema server to meet DCI specifications

"GDC Technology, one of the leading solution providers of digital cinema, today unveiled new digital cinema product – SA-2100 DSR Digital Film Server which is 33% smaller in size and designed to meet DCI specifications such as Texas Instruments Cinelink 2, Hollywood’s approved forensic watermarking and FIPS-140 security features. The new SA-2100 server supports DCI defined DCP 2k and 4k digital cinema packages, and JPEG2000 and remains backward compatible with the MXF MPEG2 Interop format. GDC Technology is one of the founding members of MXF MPEG2 Interop group and its MXF MPEG2 format was selected by the studios as the transitional digital cinema format before the availability of DCI defined DCP format.

The new SA-2100 server is designed to work in cinema multiplex with Theater Management System (TMS) and Network Operations Center (NOC) which support operations such as scheduling of playlist, content rights management and collection of playout log information. The SA-2100 server is a cost-effective and flexible solution for digital cinema and alternative content sources to be playout in a seamless pipeline; various formats of content such as live interview, on-screen advertisement and feature films can be programmed to playout without the need to re-initialize the server and/or projector for different image formats. The server accommodates other image codec such as JPEG, MPEG2 and MPEG4 to support full suite of alternative content applications not found in other digital cinema servers. GDC Technology’s servers are well tested with different makes of DLP Cinema projectors since 2001. Since the servers are based on open architecture such as LINUX operating system, they can easily export the user interface and controls to DLP Cinema projectors equipped with high performance touch-panel PC. GDC Technology’s DCI-2000 Digital Cinema Integrated System is an answer to the exhibitors’ need of a fully integrated projector – server system with a single focal point of control."


Red Digital Cinema announces full price list

"Red Digital Cinema President Jim Jannard, and the Red team announced the price list for Red One and accessories. Despite what many sceptics have said, the main prices have held. The Red One camera body remains at the announces US$17,500. Accessories have come in at both above and below the prices people expected. Red have also bundled combinations of accessories into production packs: A Basic Production pack for US$1250 and a Premium Production Pack for US$2750. The Production Packs are the rails, cradles, mounting plates, shoulder pads and other items needed to convert the body into a production-ready camera.

Prices have also been announced for Power Packs, Monitor options and Digital Media options. The power packs are comparable with professional battery systems as are the Electronic Viewfinder and 5.6" LCD screen options (US$2950 and US$1700 respectively). Storage options are diverse - from the 320 GB Red Drive at US$900, an "Express Card" Flash module for people who want to supply their own flash media, through to the Red RAM 64GB pack of SATA-connected Flash memory in an External Drive housing for US$4500.

Red Digital Cinema President Jim Jannard also announced, at the forum, that Red reservation holders will receive a $2,500 credit towards their choice of accessories. So the Red One camera and Premium Production Pack will cost a reservation holder US$17,750."


Dolby Previews Dolby 3D Digital Cinema at ShoWest 2007

"At ShoWest today, Dolby Laboratories unveiled details of its new Dolby 3D Digital Cinema technology, designed to provide consumers with an impressive 3D experience.

Dolby 3D provides exhibitors and distributors an efficient and cost-effective 3D solution. The ability to utilize a white screen gives exhibitors a cost advantage, as no special equipment associated with a “silver screen” is required. The ease of shifting from 3D to 2D as well as moving the film between different size auditoriums provides compelling flexibility.

Dolby 3D uses a unique color filter technology that provides a very realistic color reproduction. Dolby 3D also provides extremely sharp images thus delivering a great 3D experience to the audience from every seat in the house.

The Dolby 3D solution uses the white screens installed in most theaters today as well as standard digital cinema projectors, eliminating the need for a dedicated 3D auditorium. The solution simply adds a retractable color filter wheel accessory to the digital projector. Furthermore, the filter wheel automatically moves away from the light path when switching from 3D to 2D digital cinema presentations. Leveraging Dolby Digital Cinema technology, exhibitors easily can transfer movies down to a smaller auditorium later in the movie’s run.

Dolby 3D Digital Cinema works with comfortable and lightweight passive viewing glasses that require no batteries or charging. Initially, 3D glasses will be reusable, eliminating the need to reorder glasses and minimizing environmental impact. In the future, Dolby expects to offer the option of disposable glasses that the moviegoer can keep as a souvenir.

Unique to the Dolby 3D solution, the technology also simplifies the process of creating and distributing 3D movies. There is no need for extra color correction or other compensation processes in postproduction, as all processing is performed in the server. This innovative approach not only saves time and money, but it simplifies the overall process as the color correction is the same for both 3D and 2D digital cinema presentations."


Twentieth Century Fox announces worldwide print agreement with Deluxe Entertainment Services Group

"Twentieth Century Fox, a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, today announced the signing of a worldwide print services agreement with Deluxe Laboratories a unit of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group. The deal marks the return of international 35mm printing to Fox’s historic roots at Deluxe, which began as the film and camera department of Fox in 1915 until its divestiture in 1989. The agreement includes the duplication of both celluloid and digital prints as well as Digital Cinema delivery and logistics services.

The Deluxe Digital Cinema unit has been working behind the scenes for several years to make digital cinema a practical reality. This is the first worldwide contract of its kind signed between a major Hollywood studio and a provider of Digital Cinema distribution services."


THX launches cinema services program to help accelerate D-Cinema adoption

"THX, the leading provider of technologies, certification programs and quality assurance standards for the entertainment industry, today launched THX Cinema Services, a turnkey solution to support the cinema industry’s transition from film to digital projection systems. Barco, a global leader in digital cinema, has selected THX Cinema Services as a preferred service provider for future installations of its digital projection systems.

With a network of highly trained technicians, THX Cinema Services will focus on the installation, calibration, maintenance and service of D-Cinema equipment, analog projection and audio equipment, as well as training of cinema personnel.

THX Cinema Services addresses the growing need for technical expertise to support North American cinema screens that will make the transition from film to digital. It offers a comprehensive set of service offerings for D-Cinema and analog projection, within both THX Certified and non-Certified venues, including installation, project management and support. Additionally, THX Cinema Services technicians will be trained to work with a variety of cinema equipment manufacturers and technology formats to ensure the highest quality from venue to venue."


NEC announces advanced features for the STARUS Digital Cinema Screen Server

"NEC Corporation of America has announced enhancements to its STARUS screen server at ShoWest 2007, allowing theatre operators to easily build and manage playlists that support both JPEG2000 and MPEG2 files.

In addition to providing simple scheduling and playlist administration, the new screen server also incorporates an improved user interface to minimize training and accelerate adoption.

NEC's STARUS screen server supports 3D films and enables 2K and 4K playback. It also meets cinema industry standards providing enhanced security features, including CineLink II encryption and both Thomson's NexGuard and Philips' CineFence forensic watermarking technologies.

The new STARUS screen server offers selected multiplex functionality, allowing multiplex control at the screen server level so that the theatre operators can remotely monitor all servers within the multiplex from any one server. It also enables screen servers to continue running scheduled playlists, even in the case of a network outage."


Doremi provides DCP-2000 servers in Technicolor north american deployment

"Doremi Cinema has delivered over 150 DCP-2000 cinema servers for Technicolor Digital Cinema's North American deployment of end-to-end digital cinema services and equipment.

Many of these units will be used in REAL D's 3D deployment for Disney's animated feature film, "Meet the Robinsons". Doremi Cinema has also completed a supplier agreement with Technicolor Digital Cinema for potential future orders.

The DCP-2000 cinema server will be installed at major exhibitors including Mann Theatres, ArcLight Hollywood's Cinerama Dome, and National Amusements. Doremi Cinema currently has over 2,700 installed cinema servers worldwide."


The Big Picture

An interesting article by Bill Mead about Digital Cinema rollout.

Barco introduces three new 2K digital cinema projectors

"Built on the DP100 chassis, the DP-3000 is Barco’s new flagship, and the brightest “large venue” digital cinema projector in the industry. Using TI’s 1.2 inch DLP Cinema chip, the DP-3000 is designed for screens up to 30m (98’) wide. With a 2000:1 contrast ratio, new lenses, a new optical design and high efficiency 6.5kW lamps, the DP-3000 exemplifies Barco’s hallmark attributes of image quality, reliability and robustness :

Barco’s two new “mid venue” digital cinema projectors both incorporate Texas Instrument’s 0.98 inch DLP Cinema chip. This remarkable new 0.98 inch DMD (Digital Micro-mirror Device) offers the same pixel resolution (2048x1080) as its larger 1.2 inch counterpart, but its smaller size offers significant advantages. For the projector and the digital cinema facility itself, this new technology translates directly into a smaller, more compact package, lower power consumption, lower operating costs and longer lamp run-times — without sacrificing Barco’s renowned image quality, modularity or system flexibility.

The DP-2000 is Barco’s new platform for large and mid-market venues, and is designed for screens up to 20m (65’) wide :

The DP-1500 is Barco’s new mid and small-venue projector, designed for screens up to 15m (49’) wide. In particular, the DP-1500 is ideal for applications that could not previously accommodate (or afford) a full 2K system :

All three new digital cinema projectors are designed for both 2D and 3D applications, and all offer Barco’s new “Communicator” touch panel for intuitive operations, Barco’s sealed engine for the ultimate in optical path protection, and an optional SNMP agent for local or remote monitoring.

The new touch panel can be used to drive the projector, alternative content switcher and server. Because of the open architecture of the new projectors, they can be used with all DCI compliant servers, thus providing customers the assurance that the projectors will operate with the server of their choice. This is in line with Barco’s strategy of being server-agnostic."


ITRI Launches Micro-retarder Technology for Naked-eye Viewing

The most important display technology being discussed lately, apart from full HD (High Definition) capability, is 3D (three-dimensional) technology. According to the Taiwan-based Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), 3D interactive imaging will be the next trend after HD. As a result, the industry has readied itself to develop 3D LCD monitors.

Many people know of 3D imaging from DLP cinemas in amusement parks. By simultaneously viewing left- and right-hand (stereoscopic) images, audiences can enjoy more lively visual entertainment. This form of technology comes closer to people's lives and can be used with, for example, televisions.

At this year's IFA tradeshow in Berlin, Texas Instruments DLP introduced a 3D HDTV, demonstrating the possibility of cinema-quality 3D experience. Samsung and Mitsubishi have already started shipping this product to the US. According to John Reder, EMEA Business Development Manager of Texas Instruments, Samsung has converted its entire TV line to 3D and is now the number one DLP TV manufacturer (in terms of sales) in the US. Mitsubishi's higher-end product line is also now entirely 3D.

The Taiwan-based panel manufacturer, AUO Optronics (AUO), has commented that 3D imaging applications will start in the video-gaming industry, followed by automobile and gambling applications. At this year's Display Taiwan tradeshow, Taiwan-based Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) launched its 22W 3D panel to meet the needs of the digital gaming market and is moving into mass-production in the third quarter of 2007. Another Taiwanese panel manufacturer, Chunghwa Picture Tubes (CPT) also displayed a 20.1W panel to attract the attention of international buyers. The company has successfully developed a whole series of 3D panels, from 7 inches to 37 inches. At the IVR EXPO 2007 in Tokyo, ITRI demonstrated a 42-inch 3D LCD TV.

Not only industry but also research institutes are optimistic. According to iSuppli, the global 3D display market is expected to grow from 4.98 million units in 2007 to 8.12 million units in 2010. An international research study has also predicted the global 3D monitor scale will expand from US$ 300 million in 2007 to US$ 2 billion or even higher by 2010.

However, many 3D TV products still require users to wear glasses for viewing, which may slow market acceptance. Therefore, in order to stay at the forefront of this trend, ITRI has arranged a collaborative effort by CMO, AUO, CPT, HannStar and several digital content & system providers, including Digimax Inc. and International Games System (IGS). The companies will devote themselves to developing 3D imaging, especially naked-eye 3D display technology.

The key component of this new technology is called micro-retarder and is made using ITRI's patented fabrication process. Simply by attaching a micro-retarder to the front of an LCTV, viewers will be able to enjoy natural and vivid pictures, complete with depth perception, with the naked eye or using a pair of light-weight polarization glasses. Chun Jung Chen, Manager of ITRI's 3D Display Department says that the technology provides higher resolution and a wider horizontal viewing angle. 'Some mobile phone panel manufacturers have come to us to discuss the possibility of cooperation,' he adds. Evelyn Tsai, ITRI's Promotion Manager, also notes that they are expecting a warm welcome from the video-gaming industry, panel manufacturers and system providers. According to Tsai, ITRI plans to cut into 3D imaging applications, starting from small- and medium-sized monitors, and develop personal 3D stereoscopic digital photo frames, stereoscopic video games and even remote medical treatments. Nonetheless, Chao-hsu Tsa from ITRI's 3D Display Department, emphasizes that, although naked-eye 3D display technology will inevitably be a trend in the future, current shortcomings in image quality, cost, viewing angle, and content availability mean that stereoscopic displays will continue to dominate the market share for at least 3 to 5 years yet.

Noticeably, 3D development requires high integration, combining cutting-edge hardware and software systems with digital content such as games and movies in order to create a complete industry chain. At present, the range of 3D digital content is fairly limited for consumers. 'We are trying to work with content providers so they can catch up with the technology that is out there,' says Reder. 'In the past, 3D displays were quite high-end and were used only in professional or commercial type applications. Now they can move in the mainstream very cost-effectively. I think it took the content providers by surprise, so we are working with them to enable [mainstream marketing].'

Micro-retarder is prerequisite for stereoscopic display. It is a glass-based optical thin film consisting of horizontal or vertical stripes with alternating null and half-wave phase retardation. Micro-retarder is usually adhered directly to the surface of the LCD screen, so 3D image is produced.

Instead of using the traditional method, ITRI applies laser-scanning on micro-retarder, which is featured with equipment cost-down, space saving, easy processing, and environmental protection. Moreover, the 3D image can be viewed without glasses, or called naked-eye 3D image technology.

Source: CompuTrade

intoPIX launches single chip 4K JPEG 2000 decoder

"Fully compliant with DCI standards the IPX-JP4K is a single chip IP providing single tile processing of up to 4096x2160 pixel resolution at 24 fps, 12 bit per component. Based on a mid-sized Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGA platform the IPX-JP4K promises all the efficiency, security, control and reprogramming benefits so far associated with intoPIX single chip 2K processor. Moreover, it significantly lowers 4K decoding cost and enables the potential for a single chip 4K Mediablock, including AV processing and subtitles."


AMWA to sponsor MXF Mastering Format Project demonstration at NAB

"The MXF Mastering Format Project demonstration, “Putting AAF and MXF to Work,” at NAB2007 will now be sponsored by the AMWA (Advanced Media Workflow Association). Formerly the AAFA (Advanced Authoring Format Association), the AMWA, together with Turner Broadcasting System, will sponsor the first public demonstration of the MXF Mastering Format Project with Marquis Broadcast, Metaglue, Omneon, Open Cube Technologies, Pro-Bel, Quantum, Snell & Wilcox, Softel and TMD.

This is a long-term initiative that is being led by Turner Broadcasting System. Its aim is to bring a fresh approach to MXF and to provide proposed, real-world solutions for key workflows, focusing on creating a single MXF master file from which multiple versions of a program may be created. This project currently includes two key strands: MXF Mastering Format and the MXF Processor API. The work, which started two years ago, will be open to comment. The demonstration will be in the Summit Room of the Renaissance Hotel."


Kodak to unveil first “universal” and fully integrated digital system

"Kodak will unveil and demonstrate its comprehensive digital cinema solution, the Kodak Theatre Management System (TMS), to exhibition and distribution managers at the 2007 ShoWest Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas next week.

Kodak also announced that in April it will begin installing prototypes of the Kodak Theatre Management System at multiple sites throughout the United States. The Kodak TMS will be the exhibition industry’s first ever ‘universal’ digital system designed to manage all content from all suppliers and bring new workflow efficiencies to the cinema.

The Kodak Theatre Management System includes a server driven by unique and proprietary Kodak-written software connected to the cinema’s ticketing system. Directed by the theatre’s ticketing system, the fully integrated TMS will automatically load all content from multiple suppliers via hard drive or satellite and distribute it to targeted screens over the in-cinema network. Decryption keys are also loaded, migrated and managed over the network.
The Kodak TMS is at the heart of the fully-integrated Kodak solution, which includes all networked content players and feature projectors, as well as Kodak service and support.

Kodak intends to support the solution with an innovative Business Plan. “Our plan is aimed at exhibitors intending to convert at least half the screens in their complex,” Mayson says, “because we believe a commitment of that scope is necessary for them to experience the benefits of a network solution – and to have the same ‘print movement’ flexibility they now enjoy with analog.”
The term of payback for TMS is expected to be seven years, after which the exhibitor will own the system.

Mayson emphasizes that there are no hidden obligations in the Kodak Plan. “There are no requirements that customers buy lamps from Kodak, no hidden usage charges for exhibitors, and there is no limitation on their sources of content. Those choices are up to the exhibitor; we respect the ways they need to run their business.”


intoPIX JPEG 2000 decoder compatible with Philips CineFence watermarking solutionCineFence watermarking solution

"Following tests of its single chip FPGA decoding core intoPIX has announced the full compatibility of its DCI compliant IPX-JP2K JPEG 2000 decoder with the advanced Philips CineFence digital cinema watermarking solution.

Tests, which comprised of a 2K screening of the demanding animated short movie ‘Elephants Dream’ produced by the Open Orange Movie Project, were first made to confirm the absence of any visible artifacts on the screen. These were then followed by a recording of the projected image using a consumer grade camcorder to successfully identify the server, projector, location and date codes using Philips CineFence watermarking detector."