W&W Communications Introduces Low-latency H.264 Architecture

"W&W Communications announced today its ultra high-performance, high channel-density, low-latency and low-power Taos architecture for the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (Part 10) video-coding standard. The Taos architecture is specifically optimized for video surveillance, two-way video communications and wireless video network applications, where very high channel densities, high performance, low latency and power efficiency are critical requirements.

Taos shatters through the H.264 performance barrier by being the first to enable encoding of 1920x1088 resolution video at full 60 frames per second in single chip implementations. It is also the first to smash through the channel-density barrier for H.264 with 8 simultaneous encode channels in D1 resolution at full 30 frames per second. In addition to providing superior performance and image quality it is the first to achieve near-zero end-to-end encode-decode latency, a significant ability for the rapidly growing latency-sensitive focused markets.

Taos has end-to-end encode-decode latency of less than 2ms. This unprecedented "zero" latency is crucial for video conferencing, telepresence and video telephony applications, wireless video distribution networks, where channel flipping, navigation and gaming requires instant feedback and for automated video surveillance systems where a facility needs to be secured immediately upon intruder detection.

Taos delivers the same video quality at roughly half the bit rates of MPEG-2. Other features include a flexible encoder toolset with in-loop de-blocking filter, single-pass bit rate control, content-adaptive noise filtering, programmable cost functions for motion vector and prediction mode coding, efficient search algorithms, large search area, 1/2 and 1/4 pixel motion estimation interpolation and error resiliency and concealment. Next to Baseline Profile, Taos ads support for Main and High

The first products based on the Taos architecture are scheduled for sampling in Q3-Q4 2007."


Intelligent Gadgets Announces Immediate Availability of syncVUEpro

"Intelligent Gadgets has announced the immediate availability of syncVUEpro - a new and significantly enhanced version of its flagship Skype-based media review and approval tool.

Building on the powerful collaborative media sharing capabilities of syncVUE, syncVUEpro adds key capabilities such as the ability to review online QuickTime media, Intelligent Playlists, FTP support, voice notations and a graphics layer.

syncVUEpro adds innovative new collaborative enhancements, including:
- Synched Online Video Access: syncVUEpro adds the ability to view and collaborate with perfectly synched online video directly from the Web, eliminating the need to forward or FTP media files to all participants. Simply enter the URL location to the media file and all participants in the session can immediately begin to watch and review the movie.

- Graphics Layer: Draw, make notes or annotations directly to the shared media for all participants to see (and add to) in real time.

- Voice Notes: Record audio notes to add comments, recommendations or ideas to recall later or share with a colleague not in the session at a later date.

- Intelligent Playlists: A new versatile database enables users to track all assets (media files) wherever they may reside; on a server, local or networked drive, or on the web.

- Built-in Automatic FTP Synching: New built-in FTP function allows media within a project to be automatically uploaded to multiple FTP locations. Clients running syncVUEpro can receive media files as they become available - keeping everyone in the project in-sync at all times.

- Storyboard HTML Export: Printed video frames with graphics, titles, notes and timecode can be exported as HTML files for viewing locally or on the web.

syncVUEpro is available immediately with prices starting at US$199.95 for a single-seat license. Volume discounts are available.


Harmonic Agrees to Acquire Rhozet

"Harmonic has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Rhozet Corporation, a privately-held company based in Santa Clara, California.

Rhozet offers software-based universal transcoding solutions that facilitate the creation of multi-format video for Internet, mobile and broadcast applications.

The addition of Rhozet's software transcoding technology is expected to enable Harmonic's existing broadcast, cable, satellite, and telco customers to seamlessly create and deliver high quality Internet and mobile video programming. It is also expected to expand Harmonic's presence into the online video service provisioning market, where Rhozet's transcoding solutions are today in use by leading Web video content providers including Amazon.com, MSN and Yahoo!.

The $15.5 million dollar purchase price is comprised of cash and the value of approximately 1.1 million shares of Harmonic stock, as set forth in the definitive agreement. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is anticipated to close by the end of July 2007. Excluding charges for the amortization of intangibles, the transaction is expected to be neutral to Harmonic's earnings per share for the second half of 2007.

The Rhozet product line includes Carbon Coder, a stand-alone software transcoding application, and Carbon Server, an enterprise-level distributed transcoding management application. This highly scalable solution is designed to allow users to start with a single system that can be expanded to a large transcoding server farm, and includes features such as load balancing and failover protection for maximum reliability.

Rhozet's solutions have been deployed by more than 100 customers including Amazon.com, Ascent Media, BT, CBS, Channel 10 Israel, Detroit Public Television, Entertainment Television, ESPN, MSN, MTV Networks, News Broadcasting Japan, ProSieiben.Sat1, Sony, Technicolor, Telekom Austria, The FeedRoom, thePlatform, The Weather Channel, TVAzteca, and Yahoo!."


Philips introduces the BlueBox: bringing existing 2D video alive in 3D

"Philips 3D Solutions is introducing the BlueBox, a service suite of advanced 3D content creation tools that converts 2D video content to 3D.

The first major 3D content creation service on the BlueBox is the WOWvx Spacer. This empowers content creators by enabling efficient (semi-automatic) and high quality offline conversion of existing 2D video content to the 2D-plus-Depth format, used in the Philips WOWvx 3D Displays. Philips 3D Solutions will further enhance BlueBox's capabilities by adding new 3D content creation services over time.

Content creators will now be able to produce 3D content much more quickly, at lower cost and in unprecedented high 3D quality. The easy-to-use tools allow designers to profit from their creativity in content creation by automating a large part of the work with no compromise in high quality standards. Using the Philips 3D tools enables designers to convert their own content within their own premises, saving a lot of time.

The Commercial Release of the BlueBox will be end of Q3 2007."


MPEG-4 aacPlus Confirmed Clear Winner in EBU Multi-Channel Listening Test

"Coding Technologies, the leading provider of audio compression for digital broadcasting, mobile media, and the Internet, today announced that the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) has chosen its MPEG-4 aacPlus audio codec as a clear winner in a recent multi-channel audio test. The EBU found that the codec is the only one capable of delivering superior surround audio across a wide range of bit rates; all broadcasting applications, including mobile, SD (Standard Definition), and HD (High Definition) TV. This is Coding Technologies’ second listening test victory with the highly regarded EBU. In a previous 2003 stereo comparison, aacPlus outperformed each and every other codec in the test field.

The multi-channel audio system and quality evaluation test carried out by EBU is a stringent, independently run blind listening test which compares the audio quality and performance of audio codecs across the market place.

The listening test determined that aacPlus, at bit rates between 128 and 192 kbps, outperformed all other surround sound codecs in terms of efficiency, while scoring overall audio quality results in the ‘excellent’ range. This remarkable level of audio quality was only reached by its competitors while operating at twice the bit rate and above. Additionally, a corresponding workshop held by the EBU revealed that aacPlus multi-channel audio encoding is now fully capable of handling and utilising Dolby metadata.

Coding Technologies’ aacPlus codec represents a breakthrough in audio compression efficiency that delivers high fidelity stereo and multi-channel audio at far lower bit rates than previously thought possible. Broadcasters deploying aacPlus achieve extremely high quality audio while gaining considerable reductions in bandwidth requirements. For example, HD broadcasters can deliver crystal clear 5.1 surround sound in as little as 160 kbps while SD broadcasters can deliver excellent quality stereo at 48 kbps.

aacPlus is an MPEG-4 standardised audio codec. It is the combination of the industry standards AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) and Coding Technologies’ SBR (Spectral Band Replication) and PS (parametric Stereo) compression methods."


Teresis Launches Online Version of Asset Management Technology

Teresis Media Management, the developer of the first and only complete video production asset management solution, today announced the launch of an online version of its software. Teresis Online harnesses the full power and benefits of Teresis technology in a "software as a service" business model, making it more affordable and accessible to a wide variety of customers from the independent film producer to the largest entertainment production companies.

Aiming to alleviate much of this strain on production companies, Teresis Online offers a unique opportunity for producers to cut budgets and significantly reduce post-production time while raising the quality of the final product. Leveraging the convenience of the Internet, Teresis Online delivers all of the features and benefits of the Teresis software – the first platform to enable productions companies to repurpose their existing content and develop original content for new emerging markets such as the internet, cell phones, and VOD. Teresis Online is the industry's first and only complete production asset management system that is entirely browser and Internet based. It is also the first to integrate outsourced transcription services (through a partnership with Terescription) and the first to support Avid and Final Cut Pro editing software.

Additional features and benefits include the ability to:

- Edit video online
- Digitize multiple tapes at once and repurpose media for editing in Avid or Final Cut Pro
- Print labels and manage master tape vault
- Log and transcribe 50 percent faster
- View dailies with hyperlinked scenes and takes
- Search and annotate with hyperlinked time codes to media
- Create two-column scripts
- Create sequences and edit decision lists all from a web browser
- Build dynamic storyboards for collaborative development and faster approval process
- Manage all assets including releases, permissions, contracts, artwork, audio, still photos and royalties
- Approve cuts virtually and eliminate the need for shipping tapes and DVDs


Teresis Launches Online Version of Asset Management Technology

Teresis Media Management, the developer of the first and only complete video production asset management solution, today announced the launch of an online version of its software. Teresis Online harnesses the full power and benefits of Teresis technology in a "software as a service" business model, making it more affordable and accessible to a wide variety of customers from the independent film producer to the largest entertainment production companies.

Aiming to alleviate much of this strain on production companies, Teresis Online offers a unique opportunity for producers to cut budgets and significantly reduce post-production time while raising the quality of the final product. Leveraging the convenience of the Internet, Teresis Online delivers all of the features and benefits of the Teresis software – the first platform to enable productions companies to repurpose their existing content and develop original content for new emerging markets such as the internet, cell phones, and VOD. Teresis Online is the industry's first and only complete production asset management system that is entirely browser and Internet based. It is also the first to integrate outsourced transcription services (through a partnership with Terescription) and the first to support Avid and Final Cut Pro editing software.

Additional features and benefits include the ability to:
- Edit video online.
- Digitize multiple tapes at once and repurpose media for editing in Avid or Final Cut Pro.
- Print labels and manage master tape vault.
- Log and transcribe 50 percent faster.
- View dailies with hyperlinked scenes and takes.
- Search and annotate with hyperlinked time codes to media.
- Create two-column scripts.
- Create sequences and edit decision lists all from a web browser.
- Build dynamic storyboards for collaborative development and faster approval process.
- Manage all assets including releases, permissions, contracts, artwork, audio, still photos and royalties.
- Approve cuts virtually and eliminate the need for shipping tapes and DVDs.


A 'Monster' May '09 for 3-D

"DreamWorks Animation's "Monsters vs. Aliens" has been slated for domestic release May 15, 2009, a week earlier than previously announced. Helmed by Conrad Vernon and Rob Letterman, the film is in production and will be distributed domestically by Paramount Pictures.

"Monsters vs. Aliens" -- now confirmed as the official title with the release date -- will be the first DWA film produced in stereoscopic 3-D.

May 2009 is shaping up to be a crowded month for tentpoles -- and 3-D. James Cameron's 3-D stereoscopic film "Avatar" is slated for May 22, which was the planned release date for "Monsters." Also, Walt Disney Pictures' "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" opens May 1.

"We think this is the best spot for us considering the competitive landscape and release schedule for other animated as well as 3-D product that year," said Anne Globe, head of worldwide marketing and consumer products for DWA. "Not to mention the fact that this date worked unbelievably well for us on "Shrek the Third" as well as other films."

With two anticipated 3-D stereoscopic films set to debut during the frame, the digital-cinema community also is watching this release window. Joshua Greer, president and co-founder of 3-D provider Real D, said his company is on track to have 4,000 3-D-ready digital-cinema screens installed in the U.S. by May 2009, though that number might increase.

"Monsters" is described as a reinvention of the classic 1950s monster movie into an irreverent modern-day action comedy. Lisa Stewart will produce the film.

By Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter

Film Processing Technology from Hitachi Converts 24fps Film to 60fps Refresh Rates

"Hitachi has unveiled a film processing technology that solves a problem that has challenged TV design engineers for more than years. Since the advent of television, there has always been a mismatch between the motion of films seen in a movie theater and the way that same motion appears on television. Through a technology called Reel60, Hitachi applies a technique that correctly translates the 24fps motion of movies to video frame rates.

Hollywood’s 24fps do not match TV systems that show 60fps. A conversion technique called 3:2 pull-down correction is used to make the 24 frames of film fit the television’s faster 60 frames. As this conversion is done, the viewer can often observe a jerky visual effect that is called judder. It appears as if the image is jittery or stuttering and is especially noticeable when the picture pans or makes sweeping, side-to-side movements.

With Reel60, a technique is applied that accurately and automatically eliminates the jerky motion. By creating interpolated frames based on the original film images, the technology smoothes out the movement and correctly matches the original motion. The result is smooth motion, whether it’s a passing vehicle or a camera pan from across the screen.

Reel60 applies sophisticated algorithms to assess and interpolate missing picture information during rapid motion interlaced video sequences. The Hitachi processor references various film frames to predict motion at any given space and time to increase detail and correct for motion artifacts in those sequences. The result is an ultra-fast technique, available in Hitachi’s new HDTVs, that is designed to replicate the original motion of objects and make corrections in real time for the smoothest viewing experience possible.

Consumers can take advantage of the benefits of Reel60 technology in three new HDTV flat-panel displays: the 1080 50in HDTV (model P50V701), and the Director’s Series 1080 HDTVs in both 50in (model P50X901) and 60in (model P60X901) screen sizes."


SyncVue Video Demonstration

Video demonstration of SyncVue, a remote review and collaboration tool.

FilmLight Develops Noise and Grain Reduction Software

"FilmLight, a leading manufacturer of film scanning, colour grading and colour management technology, has developed a new software-based noise and grain reduction tool, integrated into its Baselight colour grading systems. The software relinquishes the need for hardware noise reducers while providing significantly greater control and flexibility.

The new Temporal Degrain feature will be available in the latest release of Baselight v.3.2 which also includes extended functionality for image rotation and stabilization. Additionally, this release will enable support for full optical flow noise reducers, such as those featured in The Foundry’s Furnace.

Temporal Degrain is indicative of an industry trend where conventional hardware tools are being replaced by software offering improved performance and broader feature sets. “Just as software colour graders are supplanting hardware colouring systems, software noise reduction will replace the traditional and more limited hardware tools,” commented FilmLight Director Steve Chapman. “They offer a more flexible and creative solution.”

Temporal Degrain is based on an optimised, temporally-based degrain algorithm developed by the FilmLight engineers. The creative requirement is to have interactive response of the controls, similar to tuning in a radio station - over crank, roll back, or settle on a value. The algorithm is both fast enough to be “tuneable” enabling the operator to view changes and see the results onscreen and flexible enough to go anywhere inside a Baselight grading stack—that is before or after grading, and inside keys and shapes. This flexibility is not available in hardware noise reducers.

“This feature allows the operator to produce keys within the grading application. Similarly, noise reduction can be selectively applied, or withheld, from a specified area of the frame such as a person’s face,” Chapman explained. “The keying capabilities of hardware noise reducers are crude by comparison. This is much more of a creative tool.”

As a software tool, Temporal Degrain is resolution independent and can be applied to any imagery from SD to 4K. Baselight’s newly-added support for full flow optical noise reducers extends the system’s noise reduction capabilities further still. Such sophisticated algorithms can be used to reduce grain or noise in complex imagery, such as scenes involving fast moving objects. Baselight 3.2 supports this technology in a way that allows complex motion vectors to be reused for different levels of noise reduction and other motion-based effects."


HD Data Recording Goes Portable

"Up until recently, hard drive recorders, which are increasingly being used on feature film sets to record high-resolution images as data, have been bulky, kludgey contraptions that necessitated a special rig with wheels to move them around. With the introduction of compact and feature-rich systems from suppliers like Codex Digital, SpectSoft and S.two, that’s about to change dramatically. These new systems free directors and DPs to move around the set more than they ever could before.

At the recent CineGear2007 exhibition in Los Angeles, Codex Digital showed its new portable digital cinematography recorder, which is about the size of a toaster. The Codex Portable is battery powered, and, like its larger predecessor, includes dual-channel 4:4:4 and 4K recording on removable (hot-swappable) RAID DiskPacks, an integrated touchscreen controller, 8 channels of digital audio and a Virtual File System.

Using visually lossless compression, the Codex Portable’s Virtual File System allows all recorded material to be accessed via a network in a variety of file formats, with all copying, translation and format-conversion done invisibly and on-demand. It also features a built-in touchscreen interface and dedicated transport controls.

S.two’s DFR4K Digital Field Recorder also made its debut at CineGear (although it was shown in prototype form at NAB in April). The new DFR4K features full integration with the Dalsa Origin 4K camera using InfiniBand fibre connections.

Unlike the Codex Portable, the DFR4K records uncompressed data, at up to 4K resolution. It plays Dalsa 4K images in real time up to the maximum supported frame rate of the Dalsa camera and uses 24V DC power.

The DFR4K uses S.two’s D.MAG removable hard drive system and can be configured with expandable storage capacity, depending upon the project.

Both the Codex Portable and S.two’s range of removable hard drive recording systems can work with virtually any digital cinematography camera system, such as the Sony CineAlta range, Dalsa Origin, Grass Valley Viper FilmStream, Panavision Genesis, Arri D-20, Red One Digital Cinema System and the Vision Research Phantom series.

Another HD production unit to get smaller, lighter and easier to carry around is the RaveHD Cube system from SpectSoft. It weighs about 50 lbs., is 1 cubic foot in size and can be configured with up to 8 TB of RAID0 or 7 TB of RAID5 storage. The new SATA storage array records to removable drive cartridges usable by existing RaveHD systems as well as others.

Capacity options for the RaveHD Cube include: 2 TB (160 min) to 8 TB (640 min) of 4:4:4 at 24 fps or 2 TB (134 min) to 8 TB (536 min) of 4:4:4 at 30fps. It can use the following power options: 90-264V AC at 50-400Hz; 90-380V DC; and 28VDC.

The RaveHD software package providing VTR emulation and an onboard UPS power supply (for up to 15 min. backup time at full load) are also standard. Options offered include an LCD display and embedded Monster Software Package.

RaveHD is a Linux-based, uncompressed digital disk drive recorder designed for HD and graphics production. RaveHD works natively with industry standard image sequences that sit on a standard file system and uses standard file protocols to move frames on/off the disk. The unit’s architecture allows it to work with both uncompressed standard and HD video in a variety of workflows."

By Michael Grotticelli, Studio Daily

HD Projection Technology Shines Bright

"Research and development of new high-resolution video projection systems is in high gear, with JVC and Gennum among the manufacturers making significant advancements in 4K x 2K display technology.

JVC has been previewing what it bills as the world’s highest pixel density projection chip, one that could enable future 4K2K projectors to be smaller, lighter, and more affordable. The chip can deliver images that are more than four times the resolution of today’s high-definition video.

The newly developed 1.27-inch (approximately 43 percent area reduction) 4K2K D-ILA device chip offers 4096 x 2400—about ten megapixels—and a 20,000:1 contrast ratio.

Gennum, another major player in the fast-moving HD projection market, is showing an image processing solution and reference design to drive 4096 x 2160 pixel displays.

While previous industry demonstrations of 4Kx2K have used custom processing solutions, often utilizing multiple field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to manage the complexity, Gennum’s new 4Kx2K reference design incorporates two of its GF9450 image processors to power the display.

The GF9450s, powered by VXP technology, provide full motion-adaptive deinterlacing, professional quality scaling up to 4Kx2K, frame rate conversion and various image enhancement technologies such as 3D noise reduction, compression artifact reduction and detail enhancement.

The low power of the GF9450, under 3.5 watts, is also key to emerging 4Kx2K displays as it will eliminate the need for a fan to cool the device. This makes it possible for Gennum’s technology to be incorporated into the small footprint of flat panel display electronics while delivering the processing bandwidth and image quality expected of very high-resolution displays.

Gennum said it will have a single chip solution for 4K displays by the fourth quarter of this year, which would enable new projection products based on the design to be available for sale by the second half of 2008."

By Michael Grotticelli, Studio Daily

Thomson Delivers Transformers via Satellite Simultaneously to Domestic and International Theatres

"Reinforcing its global leadership in digital cinema, Thomson, through its Technicolor Digital Cinema business, today announced it is the first to deliver a motion picture via satellite day-and-date to international and domestic theatre locations utilizing an integrator neutral digital cinema distribution network.

This achievement marks the first time an integrator such as Technicolor has transmitted a feature to theatres equipped with its own digital projection systems as well as to theatres with systems managed by other integrators. “It’s an important step forward in establishing the vendor-agnostic distribution model that the studios have been asking for,” said Curt Behlmer, executive vice president of Technicolor Theatrical Services and COO of Technicolor Digital Cinema.

Technicolor now provides a full-service digital distribution network that offers both electronic and physical delivery of digital content to theatres worldwide. “We are no longer limited to satellite deliveries that only reach theatres with Technicolor-owned digital projection systems,” states Joe Hart, VP digital distribution services for Technicolor. “Our integrator neutral distribution network, combined with our world class physical distribution operation, enables us to deliver any content to any system, anytime, anywhere.” Technicolor’s satellite network is currently capable of delivering digital content to over 200 theatre locations in North America and Europe, and will expand in parallel with increasing digital cinema projection system installations.

Transformers also marks the debut of Technicolor Digital Cinema’s 24/7 toll-free worldwide exhibitor customer support call center, offering both translation and interpretation services, managed from Technicolor’s distribution facility in Wilmington, Ohio.

Technicolor Digital Cinema offers distribution services for all digitally equipped theatres worldwide. As part of its digital cinema equipment beta test in North America and Europe, Technicolor has installed digital projection systems for several prominent exhibitors including ArcLight Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome, Mann Theatres, National Amusements, Wehrenberg Theatres, Zyacorp’s Cinemagic Stadium Theatres, and Kinepolis Group in Belgium.

Technicolor intends on a broader rollout of complete digital projection systems in up to 5,000 screens over the next three to four years. The company intends to equip at least 15,000 screens in the United States and Canada, through the initial rollout and additional phases, over the next 10 years."


LVS Releases New MVR Broadcast Video Server

New MVR Broadcast replaces 10 VTRs by a rack mount PC with a single interface.
Main features :
- Frame accurate sync among all channels (with genlock)
- 4 to 16 video inputs (SDI - composite)
- 4 to 32 independent audio inputs (analog XLR - jack3,5)
- MPEG-2 at 2 to 25 Mbps file output
- I-frame to GOP30 with any IBP configurations
- 4/3 and 16/9 modes
- Image preprocessing
- Support of progressive 720 x 576 (25p)
- Many hours of internal recording cap for 10 cameras
- Confidence monitor loop-through (Internal VGA frame)
- 4U rack (400W, 20kg, 60cm depth)

Europe Eyes Digital

An interesting article by Bill Mead about Digital Cinema rollout in Europe.

Newest Kinepolis Multiplex goes 3D with New Barco 2K Digital Cinema Projectors

"Barco, a pioneer in digital cinema, is proud to announce that its latest range of 2K digital cinema projectors has been installed in Kinepolis’s newest cinema multiplex at Oostende, Belgium. At the opening of the multiplex this weekend, Barco’s 2K digital cinema projectors and Dolby 3D technology will enable Kinepolis to create a radically new 3D cinema experience for its visitors.

Exactly one year after its opening of Kinepolis Brugge, Belgian’s number one cinema chain will open its newest multiplex in Oostende this weekend. The new multiplex is the chain’s 23rd in Europe and houses eight state-of-the-art cinemas with a total of 1,755 seats. Kinepolis Oostende incorporates many of the revolutionary concepts from its Brugge multiplex - including the “open foyer” concept, seat reservation and ticket control facilities. Kinepolis Oostende has been fitted with Barco’s latest range of digital cinema projectors, the DP-3000 and DP-1500, which were launched at ShoWest in March this year.

The new range of Barco digital projectors present cinema-goers not only with the highest quality digital cinema film experience but also with the opportunity to experience more alternative content in digital format, such as prestigious events, television series, live concerts and of course the recently launched XL Gaming experience (large-screen video games) for gamers. In addition to these digital experiences is Kinepolis’s most exciting new experience - digital 3D cinema. The digital 3D movie experience engages the audiences in something much richer and more compelling than they are used to seeing in the cinema. The events on-screen seem closer to real life. Kinepolis plans to equip each of its 23 complexes with one 3D auditorium.

The DP-3000 is Barco’s new flagship, and the brightest “large venue” digital cinema projector in the industry. Using Texas Instrument’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. Because of its incredibly high light output, the DP-3000 is projector of choice for 3D digital cinema.

The DP-1500 is Barco’s new mid and small-venue projector, designed for screens up to 15m (49’) wide. Like its sister the DP-2000, the DP-15000 incorporates Texas Instrument’s new 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 cost and longer lamp run-times — without sacrificing Barco’s renowned image quality, modularity or system flexibility."


Interview of Vince Pace

An interesting interview of Vince Pace about live 3D shooting.

Steven Soderbergh to Shoot "The Argentine" and "Guerrilla" Exclusively with RED Cameras

"In a very brave move, Steven Soderbergh has chosen to shoot "The Argentine" and "Guerrilla", starring Benecio del Toro, with RED prototype cameras. Soderbergh will shoot RED at full 4K resolution, REDCODE RAW and record to Compact Flash.

"This is the camera I've been waiting for my whole career: jaw-dropping imagery recorded onboard a camera light enough to hold with one hand. I don't know how Jim and the RED team did it--and they won't tell me--but I know this: RED is going to change everything." Steven Soderbergh.

The prototypes are two generations newer than Boris and Natasha, the cameras Peter Jackson used to shoot "Crossing the Line" in New Zealand a couple of months ago. The RED 18-55mm T3 (f2.8) CF lens and many RED accessories were also chosen by Soderbergh for these movies. Shooting begins in Spain July 24th."

From Jim Jannard, RED Digital Cinema

Pace, Quantel Team on 3-D post System

"Vince Pace, who co-developed the Fusion 3D camera system with director James Cameron, has been working closely with manufacturer Quantel on the design of a 3-D stereoscopic postproduction system.

Last week, Quantel and Pace presented private technology demonstrations of the developing system. Quantel's Mark Horton estimated that there were about 100 visitors to Pace's Burbank office, including directors, visual effects supervisors, postproduction execs and representatives from most of the major studios.

Horton said the feedback was encouraging and that as a result, Quantel intends to release the toolset as a product. A shipping date has not been determined, but Horton said that it would be a new version release of Quantel's Pablo digital intermediate/color grading system. Current Pablo customers would have the option to upgrade.

The goal is to increase speed, reduce cost and add creative flexibility in 3-D stereoscopic filmmaking. Quantel said the technology is being developed to enable creative post decisions to be made and viewed in 3-D in real time.

"I'm excited to make post go as quickly as possible and make this a reality so we can do more and more 3-D projects," Pace said.

With growing interest in 3-D coming out of Hollywood, numerous manufacturers are looking to get into the 3-D post realm. In September, for instance, Assimilate introduced 3-D capabilities in its Scratch digital intermediate system, which is a part of the post workflow being used on the upcoming U2 concert motion picture "U2 3D."

By Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter

Startup Taking 3-D Mobile

"Director Randal Kleiser and inventor Michael Mehrle are introducing a technology designed to enable the viewing of 3-D content on such mobile devices as PDAs and iPods without the use of special glasses.

Their startup, Neovision Labs, has developed this unique technology called iFusion, which is patent pending.

In addition to offering a new capability to consumers, Kleiser, whose credits include "Grease" and "Honey I Blew Up the Kid," and Mehrle believe this unique technology has the potential to help forward the 3-D movement by giving the studios a venue in which to repurpose their 3-D-produced content after its theatrical release.

Noting that 2-D features make up a large portion of their revenue from DVD sales, Kleiser estimated that there are about 40 3-D films in some stage of production that "have no life" after the theater. "Now they could be repurposed for cell phones and iPods," he said. "There is such a need (for an additional 3-D distribution platform). There is content that needs to be shown somewhere."

Mehrle, president and founder of Neovision, said that iFusion is an optical system designed to deliver affordable stereo 3-D content to any type of flat-panel display without the use of special glasses; it is not device-dependent because no software or hardware modifications are necessary. Mehrle said that this technology could therefore also be built for use with television displays or computers/laptops.

The attachment would be secured over the device screen. Mehrle said the attachment would be marketed as an accessory for hand-held devices and would list for about $50.

This technology does not convert a 2-D film to 3-D; rather, consumers would download 3-D content to the device for viewing. The content could be animated or live-action films produced in 3-D or films that were produced in 2-D and later converted to 3-D (like "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas"). In addition to features, 3-D shorts, 3-D special-venue films and other such content could be used with the system.

The content has to be specially encoded for this application. "Basically, it's zero added costs. You can do it on a laptop," Mehrle said.

Kleiser said he hopes this development would help grow 3-D production. As a director, he is excited about the possibilities that 3-D offers to filmmakers. "The director wants to make the audience feel visually like part of the story; that's what 3-D does," Kleiser said. "Directors have another tool that they can use for dramatic emphasis. (Images) could come out of the screen into their faces, the way we would use a close-up."

Neovision is seeking additional equity funding in order to expand.

Previously released 3-D content includes Sony Pictures' "Monster House" and the Walt Disney Co.'s "Chicken Little" and "Meet the Robinsons." Among the upcoming titles are James Cameron's "Avatar," Robert Zemeckis' "Beowulf" and the concert film "U2 3D." DreamWorks has announced that all of its animated films will be released in 3-D beginning in 2009."

By Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter

Cinesoft Releases Media Batch

"Cinesoft today announced Media Batch licensing is available for immediate purchase with discounts until July 31, 2007. First developed as an in-house proprietary tool by Maro Solorio's OneRiver Media in 2006, this technology allows production team members and their clients to view, download and approve media files all within a production facility's own website server.

The Media Batch system lives transparently on the production facility's website server transforming it into an actual production tool. Clients no longer have to deal with clumsy FTP clients or scattered emails with bloated attachments. Everything is presented to the client in a straightforward fashion with a high-end graphical user interface that can be customized to the production facility's look-and-feel, including logo implementation and copyright notices.

Users can sort lists and columns, search for files with filtering and view media directly in their web browser with any supported inline web format like QuickTime, WMV, FLV, SWF, MP3, JPEG, and dozens more. Viewing the contents of a ZIP file is even possible before downloading it. And whenever a file is viewed, saved or approved, digital fingerprints that include IP addresses, hit counts and time-stamps are also stored in the system, giving the administrator a detailed description of user activity.

The latest Media Batch FLV viewer includes a complete timecode based system that is automatically generated from the file no matter what frame-rate is used. The user can then add marker points to the FLV timeline in real-time as well as in-points and out-points. From these marker points, users can then add notes as well as the ability to DRAW directly on the video image enabling powerful whiteboard/diagram functionality. Every action is automatically saved directly to the server so users never have to manually save their progress.

Admins can lock files, hide files, hide columns, rename columns, set expiration values based on dates, hit counts and accumulated bandwidth, add detailed project manager information for each list and countless other powerful features to keep things organized and professional. All of which can be saved as custom presets to further speed up future list creations.

Media Batch Pro - Regular Price US$895, now US$695.
Media Batch Pro Gold Bundle - Regular Price US$1195, now $995.
Media Batch Pro Platinum Bundle - Regular Price US$1295, now $1195."


64th Venice Film Festival Selects Doremi Cinema

"The Venice Film Festival, one of the most prestigious of its kind, has selected Doremi Cinema as its digital cinema technology partner for its 64th edition, running from August 29 to September 8, 2007.

Doremi’s widely adopted mastering station DMS-2000 will be used for the production of the Digital Cinema Packages (DCPs) thanks to the expertise of two companies: Bewegte Bilder in Germany and Digimage in France.

In addition, all digital screenings will run on Doremi’s DCP-2000 digital cinema server. The DCP-2000 is the world’s most installed JPEG2000 cinema server with over 3200 installations to date. Features of the server include JPEG2000 and MPEG2 MXF playback, 3D stereoscopic playback, CineLink II encryption, and forensic watermarking."


DTS Digital Cinema Debuts FilmStore CMS at Cinema Expo 2007

"DTS Digital Cinema introduced its FilmStore Content Management System at the recent Cinema Expo 2007.

The system is designed to provide a complete solution for management of digital content within a multiplex, and consists of three interrelated components: FilmStore Director content management software, FilmStore Central ingest and storage system, and the FilmStore Digital Cinema Player. Together they provide a powerful digital cinema management system, from the ingest of content through playout and presentation.

FilmStore Central is the core of the FilmStore Content Management System and the main repository from which content can be distributed as needed to multiple screens. The FilmStore Central stores features, trailers and advertising content and serves that content to individual players via high-speed network connections. FilmStore Central also serves as a redundant storage medium for each screen player in a multiplex as well as supporting extensive activity logging, performance reporting and system maintenance.

The FilmStore Digital Cinema Player will store up to three full-length 4K features or many 2K features plus trailers, advertising and other content. Designed for rugged operation in a 24/7 environment, the FilmStore player can be used as a standalone digital cinema player for a single screen, or in a multiplex configuration when used with FilmStore Central. It has been designed to fully support the DCI specification for 2K resolution JPEG2000 content, with optional capabilities for playback of 4K and HD-MPEG2.

FilmStore Director is the central control interface for the cinema. Designed for ease-of-use by exhibitors, FilmStore Director software is intuitive, allowing exhibitors to focus on managing their content rather than managing a computer system. It provides direct control of the FilmStore Central and can independently view or manage any player in the cinema, from virtually any location. With FilmStore Director’s drag-and-drop functionality, managers can easily create new shows, schedule and supervise receipt of content and keys, manage and monitor system security.

The FilmStore Content Management System is one of several innovations that form the DTS Theatre Management System, a comprehensive suite of products engineered to support the build-out and operation of a fully digital cinema environment. The FilmStore system has been demonstrated at Cinema Expo, with planned availability for delivery during Q3 2007."


IRIDAS Extends RAW Support to ARRI D20 Camera

"IRIDAS, who introduced the first live playback of RAW files earlier this year, today announced support for real-time de-Bayering of ARRI D20 digital camera footage. The ARRI RAW file format, which offers 3K resolution and 12-bit color depth, can be played directly in FrameCycler and SpeedGrade. Since RAW files are one third the size of uncompressed RGB formats, this means substantially lower storage requirements and will save filmmakers the time that would otherwise be required to render RAW footage before it can be viewed.

"The new IRIDAS RAW playback capability is the link that has been missing until now," said Achim Oehler, D20 project manager at ARRI. "Now we have a seamless solution for working with the D20 RAW data in its native format."

"Working with RAW is just so much more efficient," said Lin Kayser, IRIDAS CEO. "There's less data to move, less to store, and yet you're working at full 3K resolution. This will be tremendous for digital dailies workflows with the non-destructive color correction capabilities of SpeedGrade DDS, for example."

The ARRI D20 is the third RAW file format supported by IRIDAS. CineForm RAW, and the Phantom camera RAW format are the others.

Support for the ARRI D20 3K RAW format will be made available with SpeedGrade DDS, IRIDAS new digital dailies application scheduled for release in August 2007, as well as the other SpeedGrade and FrameCycler applications.


IMAX 3D Version of Beowulf to be Released November 16, 2007

IMAX Corporation, Paramount Pictures, Shangri-La Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures announced that Beowulf, the latest film from Academy Award winning director Robert Zemeckis, the filmmaker behind such box office successes as Forrest Gump, The Polar Express, the Back To The Future series and What Lies Beneath, will be released domestically in IMAX 3D simultaneously with the motion picture's premiere in conventional theatres on November 16, 2007. The film will be released internationally within three weeks of the domestic launch. Beowulf will be digitally converted into IMAX 3D and re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of the IMAX Experience through IMAX DMR (Digital Re-mastering) technology. Paramount Pictures will be the distributor of the motion picture to IMAX theaters domestically, and Warner Bros. Pictures will be the distributor internationally.

"IMAX 3D has enabled us to tell stories in a whole new way, and we are very excited to offer moviegoers a chance to experience Beowulf in this incredible format," said Robert Zemeckis. "IMAX lends itself to the incredible image detail in Beowulf and in 3D, it will transport the audience directly into the story."


Cinema Expo Attracts Industry Biggies

"Cinema Expo kicked off with a bang as Jeffrey Katzenberg and Jerry Seinfeld touched down in the Netherlands to help beat the drum for a buzzing Paramount slate.

The hot topic on day one of the Amsterdam confab was 3-D cinema. Katzenberg, who reiterated his pledge that all DreamWorks Animation projects released in 2009 will be in 3-D, led the charge with an impassioned call to arms. “3-D is an experience unlike anything we have seen before. It is not a gimmick, not a trick. It is not your dad’s 3-D ... It is the most exciting development in cinema in 60 years.”

Katzenberg predicted “a large portion of tentpoles will migrate to 3-D,” thanks to the leadership of the “alphas of the moviemaking group” -- James Cameron, Robert Zemeckis, Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg. Katzenberg also said his discussions with Michael Bay and Ron Howard suggest more heavyweights are catching the 3-D bug.

Katzenberg said of the 65-70 pics that generate 80% of the U.S. box office, two-thirds “would provide a premium experience if offered as 3-D.”

But while many Hollywood brass are evangelical about the benefits of 3-D cinema, European exhibs continue to struggle to make the transition to digital cinema -- a prerequisite for 3-D. Panels and seminars plotting a road map for European digital rollout dominated the morning sessions at the RAI center, with the complexities of virtual print fee deals and the cost of DCI-compliant equipment repeatedly held up as stumbling blocks.

But it was not all grumbling. News that Fox and Universal have struck non-exclusive VPF deals with facilitator Arts Alliance Media -- a big step toward European digitization -- was greeted warmly by delegates."

By Archie Thomas and Leo Barraclough, Variety

Expo Hails Groundbreaking Deal

"Cinema Expo 2007 opened with a bang today as news spread around the show's RAI center HQ that one of the major roadblocks to the expansion of digital cinema across Europe has been lifted.

Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures Intl. and European digital film distribution services outfit Arts Alliance Media have reached virtual print fee agreements, which could accelerate digital cinema deployment across Europe.

The groundbreaking deal -- the first virtual fee agreement made in Europe -- will see 7,000 digital screens deployed in the next few years, according to AAM. Europe has 32,000 screens.

The virtual print fee is a way for movie distributors to subsidize the $75,000-plus cost of converting an analog screen to digital. Because distributors don't have to pay for 35mm print rentals, they save money on digital movies and are willing to help subsidize the transition.

Fox and Universal have committed to distribute digital content to AAM DCI-compliant digital cinema projection systems in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Italy, the Nordic region and Benelux.

"This represents a significant step in that it is the first virtual print fee deal," said London-based digital cinema expert David Hancock, from research org Screen Digest. "There could have been no further d-cinema rollout progress without this step."

However, Hancock added a note of caution: "The concept still has to be sold to most European exhibitors."

"These milestone agreements finally offer European exhibitors a viable commercial model to adapt their screens to digital cinema and put together a sustainable rollout strategy," said AAM CEO Howard Kiedaisch.

The agreements are non-exclusive and AAM is locked in similar discussions with Buena Vista Intl. and Paramount Pictures Intl.

Kiedaisch promises "further signings with other studios and independent distributors shortly."

"This arrangement represents the very first significant plan to finance and roll out DCI compliant digital projection systems across Europe," said Julian Levin, Fox's executive veep, digital exhibition and non-theatrical sales and distribution.

"The image quality, content, security and distribution/exhibition efficiencies, including 3-D exhibition, offered by digital projection clearly exceeds 35mm film. We are delighted to have closed this arrangement with our colleagues at Arts Alliance Media who have the experience and technical expertise to manage this process."

AAM installed the U.K. Film Council's 240-screen digital screen network in April.

"The digital world is the future, and we as a studio are committed to its continual and sustained growth," said Duncan Clark, executive VP of Universal Pictures Intl. "We look forward to supplying our movies to this new digital platform and, along with audiences, reaping the rewards by continuing to enhance the theatrical experience."

By Archie Thomas, Variety

A Celluloid Hero Goes Digital

"The shift from film to digital will be a crucial test for Technicolor, a storied Hollywood name that invented the cameras, lenses, and film-processing techniques that made possible classics like The Wizard of Oz. In time, all theaters will likely get their movies in electronic bits, beamed via satellite, stored in a theater's computer servers, and shown with high-resolution digital projectors. That will cut out the current process of making 60 pounds of film and shipping it to multiplexes in battered metal cans. Technicolor is the world's biggest supplier and distributor of those film prints, with a revenue stream estimated to be worth about $900 million by Screen Digest, a London research firm. That business is expected to vanish slowly over the next decade, which is why the company is so focused on making the transition to digital.

But Technicolor, which was bought in 2000 by Thomson of France for $2.1 billion, is up against an aggressive new entrant, Access Integrated Technologies (AccessIT), as well as Digital Cinema Implementation Partners (DCIP), a joint venture of the three biggest theater chains, Regal Entertainment, AMC Theatres, and Cinemark. This summer could be the tipping point in the digital transition, as the number of U.S. theaters capable of showing movies in digital form finally exceeds 10% of the 35,000 U.S. screens. "This is a disruptive technology environment," says AccessIT CEO A. Dale "Bud" Mayo.

Technicolor is no stranger to evolving technology, and the arrival of digital cinema hasn't taken it by surprise. If anything, the company, now based in Camarillo, Calif., expected the change-over to happen more quickly. For almost eight years it has worked and reworked its digital strategy to appeal to the six major studios, as well as to theater operators. In 2000, just a year after Star Wars: Episode I made its debut—an event generally regarded as the first major digital release—Technicolor formed a joint venture with Qualcomm. A year later, they announced plans to convert 1,000 theaters to digital projection.

But theater owners balked at paying for new equipment, and studios decided to form a committee to make sense of the incompatible systems being installed. The number of movies released in digital form slowed to a rivulet. After setting up equipment in about 60 theaters, Technicolor laid off most digital cinema employees in 2002.

By the time digital installations resumed in 2005, AccessIT had dived in. The Morristown (N.J.) company, with annual revenues of $16.8 million, has built the nation's biggest network of digital cinemas, with systems in 2,700 individual theaters and plans to have 4,000 installed by October (a basic system costs about $100,000). Last year, Technicolor resuscitated its digital cinema group, installing industry veteran Curt Behlmer as chief operating officer. It plans to digitize 15,000 screens in the next decade.

For now, there is still a tremendous amount of manual labor and physical transportation in digital distribution. For the latest Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, Technicolor packed about 1,000 500-gigabyte hard drives containing the movie in foam padding, placed the 8-lb. drives in orange plastic briefcases, and shipped them on DHL delivery trucks to theaters. There the hard drive was plugged into a server and the movie loaded, a process that takes about as long as the movie itself. A few films are transmitted by satellite today, a method most expect to dominate once dishes are installed atop enough theaters. AccessIT now uses satellite for 60% of its distribution. Technicolor is just starting. "It's certainly not efficient today," says Behlmer. "But over time we should be able to take advantage of the efficiencies digital distribution creates."

The player who assembles the biggest network of digital screens may not find a treasure chest waiting. Theater owners don't pay the equipment's full cost up front (some seem reluctant to pay anything). Instead, studios help finance gear over a 10-year term by paying a fee each time they send a new movie to play on it. Those fees start at about $1,200 and drop over time to zero. That's when studios start saving money.

Technicolor hopes to profit from digital services such as producing and encrypting the movie file and then sending it to theaters. In any case, Technicolor CEO Lanny Raimondo says he won't mourn the death of film if it is replaced by satellite-delivered streams of bits. "What we would bemoan," he says, "is if we didn't make the transition."

By Scott Kirsner, Business Week