BBC Trials Live 3D Rugby by Satellite

"The BBC is to test screen the Rugby Six Nations match between Scotland and England live and in 3D HD to a select audience. The event is a joint venture between BBC Sport and the3DFirm, a consortium comprising media communications firm Can Communicate, 3D specialist Inition and hire and post production house Axis Films, writes Adrian Pennington.

The project has been in development with BBC Resources and the3DFirm since the start of the year. The 8 March event is claimed to be the first ever live test screening of an international sport in 3D HD although more accurately it is likely to be the first event to be satellite-delivered and screened in 3D (in February 2007, the National Basketball Association teamed up with Vince Pace's 3D outfit, PACE, to offer the first-ever live sports event in 3D HD with footage delivered to the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas via fibre cabling).

Technical details for the Riverside event have not been finalised but it is understood that three 3D rigs comprising dual Sony HDC950s will capture the action. One will be positioned up high for wide shots with two at pitch level. The dual HD streams will be transmitted multiplexed to down link at Riverside Studios, demultiplexed and combined on reception before projection onto a large screen for an audience wearing stereoscopic glasses.

According to Aashish Chandarana, BBC Sport innovations executive the process is very much at a test stage. "We're not saying that this is how people will watch sport in the future but it proves the ability of the technology and introduces some editorial decision making."

"We're trying to do something no-one's tried before and bounce dual HD signals around and re-encode them as a 3D experience," said Chandarana. "Editorially it will not be a fast-cut TV experience but more the experience you'd get if you were at Murrayfield. We're experimenting with camera positions. There won't be too many fast-cuts, fast pans or zoom close ups. The director will be new to this too."

The 3D feed will be standalone and not cut into BBC Sport's live host broadcast and will be supplied with surround sound. Audio commentary will probably be provided via a mix of Radio 5Live, TV commentary and clean sound feed (each will be trialled and the audience reaction gauged).

"3D is taking off as a big screen event around the world for recorded material. There may be interest in broadcasting live events to big screen venues and if there is we want to be at the forefront of those producing it."

Axis will also post produce a short highlights package in 3D.

Coincidentally the Riverside Studios, formerly owned by the BBC, were the location of the BBC's first broadcast of colour transmissions in 1967."

Source: TVB Europe

3D Keeps on Rolling

"A number of articles have come to my attention. None individually is Earth-shattering, but taken together, they show the interest in 3D displays is strong and growing.

According to Adam Kunzman at TI, they have 5500 digital cinema screens deployed and 1200 of these screens 3D enabled. On the TV side, they think that once they get the final numbers, there will be 500K 3D-enabled RPTVs in the installed base from Mitsubishi and Samsung. That represents about 75% of the DLP RPTV sales in 2007. He believes TI will reach 1M RPTVs by the end of 2008. 1M units in the installed base is a magic number that starts to get the attention of the game developers.

Hannah Montana 3D opened Superbowl Weekend and grossed $31.1M in 683 theaters, a record for any movie on Superbowl weekend. To date, it has grossed $62M, a record for any 3D movie or for any concert movie. This compares, for example, to $27.5M opening weekend for Beowulf on 3,153 2D and 3D screens. I’ll bet the owners of the other 517 3D screens regret not booking Hannah.

At the Game Developers Conference, there was a demonstration of a new 3D technology developed by France-based Trioviz, a start-up co-founded by Christophe Brossier. Unfortunately, Insight Media was not there to see the demo and details of the technology have not been revealed. Once any stereoscopic 3D material has been encoded by Trioviz, it can be put on a DVD, played on any DVD player and shown on any television. Bloggers have compared this anaglyphic system as a more sophisticated version of ColorCode-3D.

Two-LCD displays similar to the Planar StereoMirror display are available from both Omnia Tecnologias in Madrid, Spain and 7Data in Seongnam, Korea. 7Data is exporting to North America its monitors as either professional monitors or as game kiosks through RedRover Co. Ltd. While it is not clear whose patent takes priority on this technology, Fergason Patent Properties’ (Planar), Omnia’s or 7Data’s, there is no current talk about litigation.

DDD reports it has signed two new deals with Samsung Electronics that will support the roll-out of Samsung’s 3D TVs. This includes a bundling agreement as well as a licensing agreement that will lead to an embedded 3D processor inside Samsung TVs. Under the terms of the agreement, DDD and Samsung will work jointly to implement DDD’s TriDef real-time 2D-to-3D conversion and 3D image processing architecture in a format that is compatible with Samsung’s next generation 3D HDTV displays.

DDD also inked a deal with Hyundai for its TriDef Core, an embedded 3D image processing solution for 3D HDTVs. It will be used in the new Hyundai 46" LCD HDTV, which is being introduced in Japan to support the recently announced BS11 3D television programming from Nippon BS Broadcasting Corporation. The Hyundai TV is based on Arisawa Xpol technology and is already being demonstrated in stores in Japan with 3D material on a Blu-ray disk.

For those interested in stereoscopic 3D, the breadth of support it is getting from the entertainment and consumer electronics industries is good news, since it shows 3D isn’t likely to be a flash-in-the-pan fad the way 3D movies were in the 50s. Expanded versions of these stories will be in the March edition of Large Display Report."

By Matt Brennesholtz, Display Daily

Apple: Let ProRes Go Pro

"Apple’s ProRes codec is great, boasting great images and manageable files sizes, but its wider adoption is hampered by its proprietary distribution model. When Apple got into the editing business at the turn of the century it was a very different company. Avid had threatened to abandon the Mac platform, and Apple wanted to continue selling high end workstations to the professional video market. Few dared to imagine that Final Cut Pro would eventually challenge Avid as the dominant professional NLE.

While I’ve been quite pleased using ProRes 422 as an editing codec, I’ve been hampered in adopting it in a wider range of tasks. Visually, ProRes compares well to Avid’s DNxHD family of codecs, but unlike DNxHD ProRes is Mac-only. I can’t send a ProRes encoded QuickTime file to a PC for encoding, as a source for After Effects work, or import into an Avid or Premiere Pro system. Because Avid’s DNxHD is cross-platform, and Avid has a track record of supporting legacy codecs in later revisions, I have used all manner of Avid codecs for archiving purposes.

Most importantly, Avid allows me to share its codecs with clients and colleagues. By making its codecs available for download, I can be confident that anyone who needs to open my files can. (One notable exception: Avid’s IMX codecs are not publicly available due to licensing issues.)

ProRes only ships with Final Cut Studio 2. There’s no publicly available download. I’m not authorized to zip them up and email them to a client.

While Avid aggressively sought to have its DNxHD codecs declared VC-3 compliant by SMPTE, made the codecs available for third party licensing, and increased their usability to a broad range of post production pros by adding alpha channel support, Apple has clung to its traditionally closed, proprietary model. It’s hard to understand what Apple gains from this approach.

Development of Apple’s ProApps has proceeded at a healthy pace. Extending Apple’s industry reach through ProRes can only be a good thing. Since Apple’s saving all that money passing on NAB, maybe a few development dollars towards a cross-platform, public release of ProRes might be a nice consolation prize.

If Apple remains completely averse to a free, public release, it might consider bundling it with QuickTime Pro (assuming Apple plans on keeping ProApps in the corporate fold)."

By Frank Capria, ProVideo Coalition

Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D

Footage from the upcoming live-action 3-D feature Journey to the Center of the Earth screened for the first time this past weekend at San Francisco’s Wondercon.

Producer Charlotte Huggins spoke with IESB about the film, the 3-D and where films like Avatar and Star Wars 3-D stand in the grand scheme of things.

How did this project come to you?
The way that I got involved was that I was making movies predominately for IMAX 3-D or for theme parks or specialty venues. I was always looking for a property that would work for a true stereoscopic movie. The ideal property would be something that took people into a place where they would never, otherwise, get to go like the center of the Earth. When I found that Walden Media was developing Journey to the Center of the Earth, we just thought that it was a natural evolution to take it and make it 3-D. They just loved it because they had done the IMAX 3-D movies with James Cameron. They loved the idea of 3-D and were very open to it. Technically, it’s a little more difficult to make a movie in 3-D but creatively, once you’ve embraced it, it all follows from there. That was four and half years ago.

Was the process that involved?
Every movie has a long lead-up time. We spent a couple of years developing the movie. But we conceived it in 3-D, shot it in 3-D and we’ll release it in 3-D. There’s never been a movie that has gone through all three phases in 3-D.

Did you have trouble keeping up with the evolving process of 3-D?
We didn’t because we were sort of on the cutting edge of 3-D. I had come from 3-D and Eric Brevig, the director, came from 3-D. In fact, that’s how we met on the set of Honey I Shrunk the Audience 16 years ago. Eric and I sort of came to the project with an innate understanding of 3-D. And then James Cameron and his partner Vince Pace came along with the capture technology. You could call it filming, but it’s not really filming if it’s digital so we call it capturing. They had the stereoscopic rigs. In fact, the rigs we had on Journey are the exact same one Cameron is using on Avatar. So we were the guinea pigs. Cameron and his team were great because we were really testing the technology and although I was worried, we never had a problem.

James Cameron seems to be saying that this is the future of film.
Cameron and everyone else. Filmmakers like it because it’s a new tool just like sound was a new tool and color was a new tool. 3-D is a new tool. That’s not to say that every movie should be 3-D but that every movie should have that option -- that added dimension to the story and the experience. Certainly in a movie like Journey, 3-D is really an enhancement to the experience. Cameron has embraced it. Spielberg, Lucas, Rodriguez, Peter Jackson. They’re all embracing 3-D.

And there’s talk of going back and making 2-D movies into 3-D.
Well, when you make a 3-D movie, you can always go back and show it in 2-D but if you make a 2-D movie, you can’t always show it in 3-D. So you make it in 3-D and you always have 2-D or 3-D options.

But isn’t there talk of going the other way? Hasn’t George Lucas talked about going back and adding 3-D to Star Wars?
Right. They are actually talking about – and they’ve been experimenting with – doing a 3-D conversion. They take each optic in each frame of each scene and map that object and create the 3-D. It’s pretty impressive.

But it’s painstaking process?
It is. It’s expensive. It’s slow. But it’s beautiful. That’s what they did on Nightmare Before Christmas. It’s amazing. They did the best 3-D conversion I’ve ever seen. They really did it carefully and it just looks beautiful. That movie wasn’t conceived for 3-D. It just has so much 3-D stuff in it that it came out beautiful. Polar Express they did the same thing. But those are movies that live in a surreal space.

Is it something that’s significantly harder to do with live-action actors?
Yes, it’s harder and ultimately less satisfying. It’s fun and particularly if you could do Star Wars and create Star Wars in 3-D, it would blow peoples’ minds. You feel like you’re there. It’s a very intimate experience. You feel like you’re in the ship with them. We’re all Star Wars fans. It’s three generations at least. You have three generations of people who would love to be on the ship with them or involved in a battle. You don’t just watch it. You experience it.

What’s next for you after this one?
I have another movie coming out at the end of summer called Fly Me to the Moon that is also animated 3-D. It’s about three flies who jump on board Apollo 11 and go to the moon with Collins, Armstrong and Aldrin. We’ve got Aldrin in the movie but it’s an all-animated feature. It opens August 22nd.

And Buzz Aldrin does a voice?
No, he plays himself. He comes on at the end of the movie and says, “There were no flies on Apollo 11” and then you cut and, of course, he’s the picture on TIME magazine because Armstrong took the picture of him. Then you zoom in and there’s the flies.

In terms of old movies in 3-D, what would you like to see be done?
That’s a good question. I think an Indiana Jones or a Star Wars because those are the movies I grew up loving. I watched them in college and now my kids love them. Those movies are so made for 3-D. You just want to be in those environments with those people.

Do you know if Spielberg and Lucas took any precautions on the new Indiana Jones to maybe one day turn it into 3-D?
No, I think they just went 2-D. But maybe the next one. That would be fun.

By Silas Lesnick,

3ality Bytes in 3D

Steve Schklair is justifiably proud of his 3D camera rig: its remote lens controller, and a dash of AI (artificial intelligence), solves an age old problem of selecting and maintaining focal planes, and thus, which image components present in the foreground, midground or background of the final picture. I wish I could show you what I mean, but just look at 3ality Digital’s new crowning glory, the cinema release “U2 in 3D” ‘music video’ and you’ll see it – in the crowd, in the band, and in the close-ups of hands, faces and guitars – variable depth of field and the subject remaining rock solid in its 3D plane.

Schklair explains what 3ality do. “We manufacture stereoscopic camera systems with sophisticated artificial intelligence that automatically aligns and adapt to mechanical and lens imperfections that can increase costs, reduce quality and cause eyestrain.”

3ality's 3D Sony/Zeiss rig

Why so stable? “We use AI to remove the eccentricity that each lens is manufactured with, and which is critical when marrying stereoscopic images. We build backup tables for all our lenses and this eliminates misaligned images.”

Much of this focal plane resolution was unable to be fixed in-camera, and had to be painstakingly adjusted optically, if at all. With Digital Intermediate 4K processing this can be achieved to a greater extent, but the 3ality 3D camera rig significantly reduces the amount of post-processing required.

Based on two Sony HDVS HD-SDI cameras and two Zeiss DigiZoom lens, and using a prompterstyle refraction system to overlay one lens over another, 3ality’s rig complements their new handheld stereoscopic rig based on miniature Iconix HD cameras. Images are recorded on location hard drives for uncompressed recording or onto HDCAM SR tape. Lens table and position metadata is a critical component of the recorded signal.

3ality’s Steve Schklair with portable Iconix 3D rig

Rejecting the faddism of 3D, Schklair points out that recent Hollywood release ‘Beowulf opened’ in 850 theatres across the US in 3D, while every major Hollywood Studio has a 3D project in production. He’s right and in fact, Dreamworks is going exclusively Stereoscopic in all future productions, including ‘Monster vs Alien’ in 2009 and ‘Shrek Goes Fourth’ in 2010.

So, are producers willing to extend shooting schedules or budgets for 3D? “Absolutely not,” declares Schklair. “3D must not extend the schedule – it still has to be a 45 days shoot, for example.”

Shcklair has seen a great interest in digital cinemas and their ability to display non-traditional program material. He calls this ODS, or ‘Other Digital Stuff’ which could be short form music videos, indy video, commercials and stills – anything that might give D-Cinema an edge over traditional display media, be it at home, or at the Megaplex. In fact, Schklair doesn’t see 3D finding its greatest success with feature length films – it’s the ODS that will sell the benefits.

What about viewing U2 in 3D? Well, seeing and hearing ‘Miss Sarajevo’ in 3ality’s preview suite means it will look and sound good – but it actually looked and sounded bloody amazing – almost hyper-real in its unique interpretation of what the eye sees.

If you get the chance, see U2 in 3D, then decide if 3D is fashion or future. Even if you don’t warm to the experience, you still have to admire Schklair and his team at 3ality for single-handedly working harder to promote HD D-Cinema than the combined marketing efforts of most broadcasters."

Author: Brett Smith
Editor: Phil Sandberg
Source: BroadcastPapers Content + Technology

IPTV: What is it and how does it work ?

An interesting webcast provided by SMPTE Professional Development Academy.

Guiding Light

"Three-dimensional moving pictures have not changed much over the decades. Even Disney’s latest contribution, “Meet the Robinsons”, relies on the audience wearing the same kind of polarising glasses that were used more than 50 years ago. Television has moved on a little more than cinema, but not much. Designs exist for screens that feed separate images to a viewer’s right and left eyes, thus achieving the same effect as the polarising specs. Unfortunately, only one viewer at a time is able to benefit, because he has to sit in line with the centre of the screen in order for it to work.

That may be about to change. A new form of display being developed by Ian Sexton and his colleagues at De Montfort University, in Leicester, England, could allow people to watch 3DTV from anywhere in the room, without having to resort to glasses. Better still, it can be modified to allow a whole family to view, rather than just a lone individual—and it might even let different people watch different channels at the same time.

All three-dimensional representations of moving images work by fooling the brain into constructing a 3D perception from two slightly different images arriving at different retinas. The brain can be fooled this way because this is how it perceives depth when confronted with the real world rather than a flat screen.

Existing 3DTV (at least, the sort that does not need glasses) creates the separate images by showing them as alternating lines across the screen. The light from the lines is directed to the appropriate eye using either tiny lenses or diffraction gratings over each pixel (the dots of which the picture is composed). These are arranged so that one set of rows can be viewed only from the right-hand side, while the other can be seen only from the left.

It sounds clumsy, but it works—for a single viewer. What Dr Sexton and his colleagues have done is to adapt the technique to steer each image in several directions at once. The result is that moving images can be seen in 3D by up to four people, even as they squabble about who should sit where on the sofa.

To make this possible, Dr Sexton has added two new gizmos to the equipment. One is a system that tracks the whereabouts of the audience’s heads. The other is a novel diffraction technique known as holographic projection.

The head-tracking system, which was developed by the Fraunhofer Heinrich-Hertz Institute in Germany, works by calculating how far away a head is, based on its apparent size (the direction is obvious, of course). It is also able to identify and monitor the position of the eyes, so it knows exactly where each image needs to be beamed and passes this information on to the holographic-projection system.

The term holographic projection does not, in this case, refer to a holographic image of the sort most people would understand by the term. That would be the ultimate in 3DTV, but is still some way off. Rather, it is a way of projecting beams of light wherever they are needed.

This is done using a special type of liquid-crystal array developed by a Cambridge-based firm called Light Blue Optics, with which Dr Sexton has been collaborating. The alignment of the liquid crystals in the array controls the direction in which light is reflected from them. That alignment is, in turn, controlled by the tracking system. The upshot is that the crystals can steer light from a single pixel towards four separate points corresponding to the places where the viewers’ right or left eyes are. If that pixel were receiving signals from different channels, more than one programme could be shown at once (although the viewers would obviously need headphones for the sound tracks).

It will probably be a few years before you can have one of these at home. Mass production, Dr Sexton reckons, is a decade away. But specialised applications—particularly in medicine—should be much closer. It would help doctors a lot, for example, if the images from endoscopes could be shown in 3D. But that is something you would probably not want to see in your living room."

Source: The Economist

Panavision SSR

"Panavision showed a prototype of their solid-state recorder with its docking station. It stores about 20 minutes of 4:4:4 or 40 minutes of 4:2:2 1920x1080/24p material, weighs 6 pounds, and docks to a Genesis where the SRW-1 deck normally goes."

By Adam Wilt, ProVideo Coalition

Virtual White Calibration

"Pixar’s Rob Bogart and Rick Sayer discovered that digital projectors calibrated to the DC28 (Digital Cinema Initiative) spec clipped certain colors in “Cars”, and found that the gamut attached to the DC28 reference white point didn’t accommodate films timed to D65 or D55 white points. They offered Virtual White calibration as the solution—an expanded gamut that encompasses all three white points and includes most of the colors encoded in most of the DCI Distribution packages (DCPs, the “release prints” of digital cinema), which, surprisingly, the DC28 projector gamut does not do nearly so well. Sony have already modified their SXRD projectors for Virtual White, and other projector suppliers are following suit."

By Adam Wilt, ProVideo Coalition

U2 3D Trailer

Turning 3-D into a Business

"A call for industry standards for stereoscopic 3-D, both for theatrical release and in the home, was hammered home during a 3-D presentation Wednesday at the Hollywood Post Alliance's annual Technology Retreat.

"It's simply the lack of standards that is preventing the studios from taking content that they have in 3-D and formatting it onto a piece of plastic and having it play back in a player to a television that is 3-D capable," said Alan Bell, executive vp and chief technology officer at Paramount. "Clearly, home video in 3-D is essential to the converging business models."

Wednesday's 3-D session explored how the format is "moving from a science project to a business." During the session, the often-cited advantages of 3-D were applauded, but speakers also identified problems and issues that must be addressed.

Disney's "Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour", which grossed $31.5 million in its opening weekend, was deemed an overwhelming success, and Disney president of distribution Chuck Viane encouraged the retreat audience to proceed with 3-D.

But he emphasized the need for deployment of more 3-D systems, saying: "That we could only have 683 theaters to play 'Hannah Montana' is backward movement in our business. In order for this to succeed, we must be in the thousand-plus range."

But Millard Ochs, president of Warner Bros. International Cinemas, warned 3-D enthusiasts, "We are not motivated to put in more 3-D (systems) until there is more product."

Similarly, Mann Theatres CEO Peter Dobson said: "Does the business model work? So far, no. There aren't enough movies." He suggested that at least 10 titles per year are needed. So far, six have been announced for a 2008 release.

Viane said that roughly 18 3-D films have been announced, with such leading directors as James Cameron and Robert Zemeckis on board. He also reported that "G-Force," a live-action/CG feature from Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films, will be a 3-D stereoscopic film.

"All the major studios are producing or considering 3-D projects," he said. "As a result, it will become easier to market these films."

Buzz Hayes, Sony Pictures Imageworks' 3-D producer of stereoscopic 3-D films, explained that for an exhibitor to install a 3-D ready digital system, a digital cinema setup is needed (virtual print fee models are helping theaters owners with these costs). Then the 3-D system is needed, which would run $50,000-$100,000. Additionally, there are the costs of glasses; if they are not the disposable models, cleaning and care of the eyewear is an added expense.

Hayes also presented an analysis of the costs of producing 3-D features. He reported that the incremental costs of producing a 3-D version of a computer-animated film is typically 8%-15% of the below-the-line costs of the film, while the incremental costs for a live-action 3-D feature would be closer to 15%-25%. Converting a 2-D film to 3-D, he added, is estimated to cost $75,000-$125,000 per minute, depending on the complexity of the material.

Disney's Viane estimated the markup for a 3-D movie ticket averages 20%.

Howard Lukk, vp production technology at Disney, emphasized that when planning a 3-D production, every aspect from dailies to previews to encoding needs to be examined.

Jim Mainard, head of production development at DreamWorks Animation, cited immediate production challenges. For one, he said that rendering for 3-D can add roughly 30% to that expense. "$2 million-$3 million more on a film like ours," he said.

Paul Chapman, senior vp technology at Fotokem, the facility that posted the "Hannah Montana" film, walked attendees through the post process. He emphasized the need for technical standards.

On that subject, standards-setting body the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers has published 3-D file format standards and is working on additional 3-D theatrical standards. Some theatrical 3-D recommendations have been presented to the community by studio consortium Digital Cinema Initiatives. No group has started to address standards for home entertainment.

Home entertainment was, however, a big part of the discussion. "I think it is very possible that we will have a 3-D home release this year," said Texas Instruments' Doug Darrow, pointing out that 3-D-ready TV sets have entered the market.

"The real issue is going to be (identifying) the distribution format," he added."

By Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter

AMPAS Image Interchange Format

"For me, the big news of the day was the AMPAS presentation on the proposed Image Interchange Format (IIF). Like the Advanced Authoring Format (AAF) and the Material eXchange Format (MXF) before it, IIF is intended to be a universal media-interchange format. Unlike AAF and MXF, IIF appears to be tightly targeted, well constrained, and not too ambitious for its own good, so it actually has a better-than-even chance of being highly useful right out of the gate.

IIF is intended to be “the digital replacement for 35mm negative” as a known quantity for exchanging and manipulating images of up to 4k resolution and 16 bit pixel depth (in this case, the “half-precision floating-point” format, encompassing 30 stops of dynamic range with the coarsest step between levels of 0.1%). It’s based on ILM’s proven OpenEXR image format, constrained to a fixed, wide-gamut color space (ACES - Academy Color Encoding Space - encompasses every visible color in the spectrum), one of three storage schemes (uncompressed, PIZ lossless, and B44A lossy), and limitations on the elements allowed in OpenEXR files to those that (to oversimplify a bit) are playable in real time.

A well-designed system architecture imports images through an Input Device Transform to account for camera or film scanner differences; digital camera images can transform straight to the ACES representation, while scanner inputs normally transform first to an APD file - Academy Printing Density, an improved, better specified (and documented) analog of a Cineon Printing Density file - and thence via an “unbuild” transform to ACES. ACES uses linear-light coding and can encompass bright sunlight to deep shadow in a single scene within its 30-stop latitude, and it’s the format all effects and compositing are performed in. From ACES, a Reference Rendering Transform (RRT) file is generated; the “digital release print” with film-style compressed shadows and highlights and a dynamic range of a paltry 1,000,000:1. From that RRT master, Output Device Transforms for particular devices - DVDs, Digital Cine projectors, film stocks, etc. - allow that single graded master to provide properly corrected versions for each release format, including further compressions for their limited latitudes and differing brightness / contrast / saturation / gamma requirements.

There are other aspects, too: a Color Transform Language to provide color mapping functions from gamma correction through 3D LUT generation; separate XML files to carry scene metadata; methodologies to allow mapping even highly-processed camera images to be mapped back to original scene linear-light values with consistent colorimetry. I’ve probably missed a few, too.

All this IIF stuff codifies and rationalizes a lot of current practice,unifying it under a consistent set of transforms, definitions, and methodologies that should serve to greatly reduce the confusion, translation failures, and impedance mismatches encountered when handing off material between post facilities. Cool stuff: sensible, nicely designed, and practical enough to implement.

Look here for more info: "

By Adam Wilt, ProVideo Coalition

Snell & Wilcox Introduces iCR Version 3.0 at the 2008 NAB Show

Snell & Wilcox iCR V3.0, is a major upgrade to its multi-award winning integrated content repurposing platform.

Version 3.0 adds dozens of new features to the iCR platform and enables users to industrialize and streamline their file-based video repurposing operations reliably while achieving higher quality and lower bit rates.

iCR V3.0 features new universal conversion tools that enable users to create multiple variants of HD and SD programs easily while remaining in the file-based domain. Through a simple wizard that makes operations intuitive while reducing operational errors and complexity, users can perform, in a single step, complex conversions that include resolution, aspect ratio, and color space conversion, as well as advanced deinterlacing, film pulldown removal, and automated audio retiming.

Standards conversion in iCR V3.0 is handled by software-based Alchemist IP, which now delivers a level of quality that rivals Snell & Wilcox's world renowned hardware systems. Significant performance improvements also increase operational efficiency and allow practical operation in a pure file-based environment.

Advanced MPEG-4 authoring capabilities include encoding to ASP, H.263 and H.264 (AVC), AAC, AMR, and Dolby D audio, as well as file wrapping for a diverse range of outputs including ATSC, DVB and CableLabs Transport Streams, ISO MP4, 3GP, and QuickTime. This allows iCR to create professional quality deliverables for a very broad range of content delivery platforms including mobile TV, broadband TV (Web), VOD, IPTV, and portable media players.

With as much as 40 percent of a typical customer's ingested content needing to be re-encoded due to issues that could have been detected and fixed easily at the mastering stage, the system's realtime QC functionality has proven to be a key productivity enabler. Quality control functions now include onscreen display of output levels and alarm states, as well as a large number of fully automated functions. The user can now generate, review, and annotate quality control reports, and export XML-based reports to asset management systems.

Finally, iCR 3.0 offers enhanced enterprise-level integration with a new plug-in API that allows easy expansion of the system's capabilities and accommodating of any specific workflow requirements. Additionally, through strong scripting support and a SOAP/Web Service interface, iCR offers an unrivalled solution to enterprise-level integration for mastering, repurposing, and quality control.

iCR 3.0 enables its users to create high-quality, error-free digital masters of their content and repurpose them for distribution on multiple revenue-generating platforms. It offers support for a wide range of codecs including MPEG-2/IMX, MPEG-4, DV, DVCPRO, QuickTime, and uncompressed video - offering streamlined repurposing support for a wide range of devices, including HDTV displays, VOD, IPTV and broadcast playout servers, Web, mobile phones, and portable media players.

Source: BroadcastBuyer

DVEO Launches Low Latency H.264 High Definition Encoder/Decoder For IPTV & Videoconferencing

DVEO, will introduce their new low latency MPEG-4 HD or SD encoder/decoder system at the Hollywood Post Alliance Technical Retreat for post production professionals.

InstaView HD is a real time, 4:2:2, high resolution HD or SD encoder/decoder system. H.264, also called MPEG-4 Part 10, or MPEG-4 AVC, is a video compression standard. It has the same video quality as MPEG-2, and uses less than 60% of the bandwidth.

The new system delivers HD (up to 1080p) or SD video and super wideband audio across IP networks at bandwidths from 256 kbps to 10 Mbps. It achieves end-to-end latency of less than 70 milliseconds. This is significant because most broadcast encoders have latencies above 500 milliseconds. The system includes a built-in decoder for two-way video communication, making it particularly valuable for applications such as viewing and discussing movie “dailies” in a video conference. This new technology is considerably less expensive than sending and receiving video over satellite.

The encoder/decoder supports full motion video at 720p/60, 720p/50, and 1080i, plus 1080p at 30 frames per second. It has two input ports -- one for HD-SDI/SD-SDI with embedded digital audio, and one for analog video (RGBHV/YPbPr) and audio. The decoder has two output ports -- HD-SDI/SD-SDI with embedded digital audio, and analog video -- RGBHV/YpbPr, or DVI. Both types of inputs and outputs can be compressed at the same time, at adjusted frame rates.

Audio and video are synchronized to within 20 milliseconds or less. The system also features web-based management, closed captioning support, video noise filtering and reduction, and text or logo insertion.

InstaView HD is available now. An optional version is available with up to five two-way HD channels, so it can send multiple unicast or multicast streams from a single system.

Suggested Retail Price InstaView HD: $25,000 U.S.

Source: BroadcastBuyer

HD and Digital Cinema Camera Comparison Chart

Tom Fletcher has compiled a comprehensive chart comparing features, specs, and rental costs for the many different digital camera systems they offer including models from Arri, RED, Sony, and Panasonic.

HD and Digital Cinema Camera Comparison Chart

Tom Fletcher has compiled a comprehensive chart comparing features, specs, and rental costs for the many different digital camera systems they offer including models from Arri, RED, Sony, and Panasonic.

Source: Digital Cinema Society

3D Studio Tour

A tour of the 3D movie production process with Steve Shaw of Axis Films.
Play the video in Windows Media Player or VLC (copy and paste the link into the player if it doesn't launch the video automatically).

Source: BBC News Technology

3-D HD

An interesting article by Phil Streather.

Source: High Definition Magazine

3ality Digital 3-D Camera Rig used on U2 3D

Source: HD Magazine Digital Edition


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Astro Systems Introduces 56-inch 4K x 2K Monitor

"Targeting screening rooms and broadcast studios, Astro Systems has introduced a 56-inch 4K x 2K liquid crystal display monitor that offers 3840 x 2160 resolution and the support for both DVI-D (4 channels) and HD-SDI (4 channels/Dual Link) signals. The new DM-3400 monitor offers a versatile alternative to the traditional 4K x 2K projection environment, handling RGB 4:4:4 signals as well as four input channels for a quad display view.

The monitor has multi-rate support (60p, 60i, 24PsF) and automatic detection of the field (frame) frequency. The HD-SDI input is compliant to ITU-RBT, 1769 and accepts 1-, 4-, or 8-channel inputs. It also offers adjustable brightness, contrast, and chroma levels. Users can also adjust levels for each RGB channel with a remote control. The DM-3400 monitor has one channel of AES/EBU audio with an HD-SDI embedded audio output."

Source: StudioDaily

Big Picture Experience from Mobile Devices is One Step Closer to Reality with DLP Chip

"Texas Instruments has announced the availability of a DLP Pico chipset, which includes an imaging chip and a processor to enable a new class of handheld and mobile projection products.

These ground breaking chips, which will be available in the second half of 2008, deliver functionality that will improve the visual display experience from handheld devices and transform their use from “tiny screen” viewing to “big picture” viewing allowing others to share in the video and graphics experience.

Taking multimedia content beyond the confines of mobile devices, the DLP Pico chipset can be paired with a TI OMAP application processor to deliver the ultimate mobile user experience. The best-in-class imaging, video and graphics processing capabilities enabled by OMAP processors, paired with the DLP Pico chipset projection and imaging capabilities provide the perfect combination for “big picture” viewing of content stored on mobile devices.

The DLP Pico chipset will consist of the DLP Pico chip and the DLP Pico processor (DDP1500 and DDP1505). The DPP1500 is targeted at embedded applications for handheld devices, while the DDP1505 will serve the standalone handheld companion market. The DLP Pico solution delivers an aperture ratio of more than 92 percent, tens of thousands of pixel elements, switching speeds of less than 20 microseconds and DarkChip native contrast ratio process technology. In addition, the chipset is capable of displaying the widest color gamuts possible with the flexibility to operate with the latest in LED illumination technology. DLP enables safe, affordable and reliable products that will not fade or degrade over time and use."

Source: BroadcastBuyer

Walt Disney Studios International and Arts Alliance Media Sign Digital Cinema Deployment Agreement

"Walt Disney Studios International ("Disney") and Arts Alliance Media ("AAM"), one of Europe's leading providers of digital film distribution services, have reached a non-exclusive long-term agreement for digital cinema rollout across Europe. Disney is the latest studio to support the AAM DCI-compliant rollout. Under the terms of the agreement, Disney will supply European exhibitors with its feature films in digital format and will make provisional contributions towards the digital cinema hardware costs of AAM-deployed DCI-compliant screens.

AAM is the only company in Europe to have signed long term digital cinema deployment agreements with Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures International, Paramount Pictures International and Sony Pictures Releasing International. These agreements cover the conversion of up to 7,000 screens over the next few years.

In November 2007, the first European cinema chain, CGR Cinemas in France, signed up with AAM to convert 100% of its 400 screens to digital. AAM is currently creating a fully integrated DCI-compliant digital cinema network within the CGR Cinémas infrastructure. This network includes digital cinema systems, including projectors and servers, central storage servers and a Theatre Management System.

Widespread commercial digital cinema rollout across Europe will enable exhibitors, distributors and the entertainment industry at large to reap the substantial benefits of digital cinema: consistently high quality non-degradable prints, new programming opportunities - alternative content and premium ticket shows, notably 3D films and live satellite events (opera, concerts, sports, etc), as well as vastly reduced print production and logistics costs."

Source: DCinemaToday

3D, That Was Then, This Is Now

An interesting article by Vince Pace.

Spectroniq Moves 3D TV Closer to the Goal

"As a 3D enthusiast, the goal I refer to here is to have a TV with useable 3D capability in everyone’s home. Let’s start this discussion with a few words on the current lay of the land.

Both Samsung and Mitsubishi offer DLP based rear projection HDTV products that are 3D enabled. These sets require the use of active glasses and produce 3D imagery that looks just great. About 500,000 3D enabled TVs of this type have already been sold.

At the Electronic Imaging, Stereoscopic Display and Applications Conference held earlier this week in San Jose, I had a chance to solicit opinions from many well informed people regarding the effects of these TVs on the 3D marketplace. I repeatedly heard the following: big screen TV retailers are indeed showing these 3D enabled TV models but they are not set up to demonstrate the 3D capability. When asked about the 3D capabilities of the sets, sales persons at these retailers generally knew the capability existed but could provide little additional, let alone meaningful information. A typical response was to be directed to the web site of the appropriate company. The general consensus was that very few owners of the 3D enabled TV sets are actually using the 3D feature.

One other fact before drawing a conclusion: rear projection TVs represent only a small and diminishing portion of TVs sold. People want and are buying flat panel TVs.

Add all this up and the bottom line is that these 3D enabled RPTVs are not leading the way to wide scale adoption of 3D technology in the home. Rather, the current reality is that these 3D enabled RPTVs actually represent a relatively small number of regular 2D TVs.

There are no surprises in answer to the question: why is this the state of affairs? The first reason is general: to penetrate widely, a 3D TV needs to be a flat panel display. The second reason is the usual "lack of available 3D media". Beyond this is the fact that these TVs are not set up such that they can just be turned on and immediately display in 3D - from any source. Rather, proper hardware and software are need and these must be set up properly.

With these comments as background, there was a recent announcement of a new product. It has been designed with features that represent progress of the type needed to address some of these issues.

It is the model IQ3D-A46 by Spectroniq. This is a 46-inch 1080P 2D/3D HDTV. The specifications of this HDTV in normal 2D mode are comparable to other LCD HDTVs. The specifications are, however, not the point of this article and will not be further discussed. Rather, the points of interest are the 3D related technologies included in the TV.

To start with, the 3D display is based on circularly polarizing, micro-polarizer technology licensed from Arisawa. Viewers are required to wear passive glasses.

The suite of electronic technology utilized in the Spectroniq 3D TV was developed by Kerner Optical Research and Development. Most significantly, the TV has built in 2D to 3D conversion technology. This software was developed by Sensio Technologies. As described by Brad Nelson, the CTO at Kerner, this provides the capability to watch 3D TV from all common inputs including broadcast, cable, DVDs and PC based computer games. Actually, since the quality of converted 3D is somewhat dependent on subject matter, Nelson referred to this capability as 2½D TV. None-the-less, for the first time, a consumer can turn on a TV set and see 3D imagery deriving from essentially any video source. In our opinion, this is a big deal!

In addition, there is (currently) a short list of video titles on the Sensio web site that have been prepared for 3D viewing. These DVDs can be played on a standard DVD player and produce stereoscopic 3D on the Spectroniq TV. In common with DLP RPTVs, it is also possible to obtain software from third parties that enable a wide range of PC based video games to display in stereoscopic 3D.

The Spectroniq 3D model IQ3D-A46 is expected to be available starting summer, 2008. The pricing was not yet available but I was told that it would be comparable to a high end Sony LCD HDTV of comparable size. I checked this out on line and found prices all over the map but the range was around $2,500 ± $750.

Among several things that 3D technology needs to accomplish to penetrate widely into the home, being a "no-brainer" (turn it on and it shows 3D) is one of them. So...having taken a step in that direction, hats off to Spectroniq and the model IQ3D-A46."

By Art Berman, DisplayDaily