Pathfire and Warner Bros. Create First Ever File-Based HD, Long-Form, Syndication Delivery Service

"Warner Bros. Technical Operations and Pathfire have teamed up to create a full-service, end-to-end HD Programming distribution network, capable of delivering content to over 1,400 broadcast facilities. This partnership enables Warner Bros. to deliver High Definition (HD) Syndication via Pathfire's Digital Media Gateway (DMG) network of servers, and represents a giant leap forward for the television industry.

The service was launched on April 11, 2007 when Warner Bros. delivered long-form programming encoded at its Los Angeles-based Global Digital Media XChange facility (GDMX) to WSB-TV in Atlanta. The station, an ABC affiliate, is owned by Cox Television, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises. The delivery utilized the existing Pathfire infrastructure to enable the satellite delivery of the programming. The content arrived on the Pathfire DMG Server located at WSB, and was transferred to a Grass Valley Group K2 Media Server via Pathfire's DMG HD Server Connect for Programming. This strictly file-based process enables stations to benefit from a streamlined workflow by cutting the time and hands required to get a program ready for air.

Utilizing the Pathfire DMG HD delivery network, GDMX delivers file-based HD content on-demand, virtually without delay. Pathfire provides end-to-end technology to enable this delivery all the way to the station's play-to-air server, providing delivery confirmation to the providers. Pathfire enables native integration into play-to-air servers, as well as providing transcoding to either 1080i or 720p to match a station's infrastructure."


Dolby Digital Cinema Recommended for FIPS Level 3 Certification by InfoGard

"Dolby Laboratories today announced that its Dolby Digital Cinema server has been recommended for a Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140-2 Level 3 validation certificate. InfoGard Laboratories, an accredited Cryptographic Module Testing Laboratory under Lab Code 100432-0 of the National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program, submitted the recommendation for the Dolby Digital Cinema server to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for FIPS 140-2 Level 3 validation, as outlined by the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) specifications.

Achieving FIPS Level 3 compliance would mean that the Dolby Digital Cinema server meets the highest level of protection required by DCI to prevent thieves and hackers from accessing the "master-quality" motion picture files used in digital cinema systems. FIPS are security standards developed by the NIST and cover detailed specifications for physical and mechanical design, electronic circuitry, software, interfaces, and algorithms.

The official NIST validation process is expected to take six months."


Omneon Supports New Tapeless Facility At Bayerischer Rundfunk

"Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) has deployed an Omneon Spectrum media server system to support tapeless operations in a new state-of the-art facility in Munich.

Within the new BR facility, the Spectrum servers support retrieval of material from the archive, nonlinear editing, studio production, and on-air playout. The new workflow at BR begins with the ingest of material into the Omneon server systems, and later into a Front Porch Digital DIVArchive system through Harris iMedia. Integration of the facility’s 64 Avid editors and six Avid Unity systems with the Omneon servers via Marquis Medway brings the servers and editing stations into a unified working environment.

The BR production server system consists of three Omneon modules, each featuring 24 to 31 channels of MXF-wrapped MPEG IMX 50-Mbit video and 600 hours of storage. The Omneon Spectrum system’s native MXF implementation was another reason BR selected the platform. MXF streamlines direct transfer of files over the broadcaster’s IT infrastructure, allowing BR to avoid multiple stages of compression and decompression so that interchange is more straightforward. BR was one of the first German broadcasters to apply MXF as its house standard."


BitCentral Demonstrates Integrated SD/HD News Production and Collaborative Peer-to-Peer File-Sharing Solution at NAB 2007

"BitCentral, a provider of video content management and distribution solutions to the broadcast market, featured a dynamic exhibition of Précis and Oasis at NAB 2007.

BitCentral provided live demonstrations illustrating how Précis and Oasis together give broadcasters the ability to create newscasts and allow content to be shared among other stations within an owner group or to a group of independent stations.

The BitCentral Précis News Production System is an integrated file-based workflow management and archive solution for broadcasters looking to improve speed-to-air and video quality of their SD and HD video assets from acquisition to air. Précis requires no changes to a station infrastructure and installation is quick. Précis is browser-based, making it fully scaleable to as many journalists as required, regardless of where they're located. The system comes with a complete scalable archive solution integrated with iNews and ENPS.

BitCentral’s Oasis transforms how news professionals access story information both on a local and national level. Oasis eliminates the cumbersome and time consuming process of shipping tapes back and forth by enabling convenient and streamlined file sharing between specific stations within an owner group or between several independent broadcast outlets, expediting the delivery of time sensitive material. The system is completely non-proprietary and interfaces with popular production systems so users can transparently share information that can be accessed anywhere via a browser interface. Oasis is offered as a standalone product or as a complement to BitCentral’s nationally established Précis News Production System."


IMAX and Warner Bros. Pictures Dive into Third Original IMAX 3D Adventure

"Warner Bros. Pictures and IMAX Corporation announced that they will embark on a third original IMAX 3D co-production for release to IMAX theatres in 2009. With the working title "Deep Sea-quel," the IMAX 3D picture will be made by the same team behind the highly successful co-production of Deep Sea 3D, which has already grossed $40 million in IMAX theatres around the world since it premiered in March 2006. Deep Sea-quel will offer a uniquely inspirational and entertaining way to explore the impact that global climate change has had on ocean wilderness.

The new IMAX 3D adventure will transport moviegoers to some of the most exotic and isolated under sea locations on earth, including Southern Australia, New Guinea and others in the Indo-Pacific region and allow them to experience face-to-face encounters with some of the most mysterious and stunning creatures of the sea.

The picture will be shot by award-winning Director/Cinematographer Howard Hall, produced by Toni Myers, executive produced by Graeme Ferguson, and produced for Howard Hall Productions by Michele Hall. In addition to last year's Deep Sea 3D, Hall, Ferguson and Myers were all part of the accomplished filmmaking team behind IMAX's first underwater 3D adventure, Into The Deep, which has grossed more than $70 million since its 1991 release."


Xprove Opens Free Accounts

"Leaving the announcement for the post-NAB quiet, Xprove have quietly announced the introduction of free accounts to use their review and approval system. The free account is limited 100 MB (half hour of material with decent WMV 9 or H.264 compression) and a single project. This will be useful to a lot of people with only occasional review and approval needs. The free account has no ads, no Xprove branding and can use it for real client work.

Xprove have also added some new features. Most notable is custom branding. Your Xprove site now looks like it's part of your web site. Now you too can have one of those fancy "client log-in" links on your home page."


AJA Delivers Io HD

"In a joint venture between Apple and AJA Video Systems, AJA introduces the Io HD natively supporting Apple’s new ProRes 422 format.

AJA’s Io HD allows 10-bit, 4:2:2 full-resolution HD editing on the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro via its FireWire 800 (IEEE-1394) interface. The portable device, wrapped nicely in a sleek design with an easy-to-carry handle, includes up-, down-, and cross-conversion, all at 10-bit hardware-based quality and is designed for Apple's new Final Cut Pro 6 for professional editing, and other QuickTime applications on Mac OS X for graphics, audio and digital content creation.

Io HD supports both Apple ProRes 422 and ProRes 422 HQ, in 720 and 1080 HD—capture (compression) and playback (decompression) are all handled directly in the Io HD.

Running on a new AJA-built driver, similar to the KONA driver, Io HD offers SD/HD analog inputs and outputs, SD/HD digital I/O including HD-SDI and HDMI, as well as RS-422, Genlock, Balanced analog and AES audio, and LTC time code connections.

According to AJA, Io HD will be available by the end of July of 2007 for $3,495."


Jahshaka Project Releases Jahplayer 3

"The Jahshaka Project has announced the release of jahplayer v0.2.0.

JahPlayer is a professional grade media player capable of playing uncompressed video and image sequences at resolutions as high as 2K and 4K in real-time and features a robust set of image analysis and asset management tools. Jahplayer uses a completely hardware accelerated pipeline, allowing you to maintain the aspect ratio of the source media or change it on the fly, and is capable of both disk based playback and ram based playback.

It has a variety of professional features including:
- Variable frame rate control
- Real-time aspect ratio control
- RGBA color channel views
- A & B media playback channels with both A/B & AB playback
- Full audio support (including audio only tracks)
- Real-time hardware based pan and zoom
- Dynamic edit points stored in the database
- Dynamic thumbnail generation
- GPU based visualization tools (RGB parade)

Jahplayer supports a wide variety of media formats from AVI to Mpeg and QuickTime and has powerful image sequence management with support for JPEG, TIF, TARGA and the latest HDR formats, including EXR and DPX. It can also down sample 4k images to 1k or 2k, and includes extensive encoding functionality to allow you to transcode media to and from a variety of different formats (including output to DV, MPG and FLV).

With its dynamic python based UI, jahplayer allows you to work at any resolution or screen size, or toggle over to full screen, 16:9 mode for HD client review sessions. Jahplayers unique reel based asset management system allows you to create and track multiple reels on the fly, and loading media is as easy as just dragging your assets straight into the timeline. You can choose between asset data views, exploded filmstrip views or even a multi-shot reel based timeline.

Along with Jahplayer you now also get jplayer, a miniature version of the jahplayer with all the same power and functionality in a sleek package. jplayers desktop integration and ease of use gives you one tool to play back all your media files, with full support for everything from DivX to QuickTime, AVI and Mpegs.

Jplayer sports real time pan and zoom, is resolution independent, can be run from the command line, has HDR sequence support, and includes a dynamic, real time video wall that can be used for the playback of multiple shots, color grading or digital dalies.

Jahshaka - the parent application - is the worlds first OpenSource Realtime Editing and Effects System. Jahshaka takes advantage of the power of OpenGL and OpenML to give its users exceptional levels of performance. It currently supports Linux, OsX, Irix and Windows, with Solaris is on the way. Jahshaka is licenced to the public under the GNU GPL agreement."


Tektronix Introduces HD Picture Quality Analyzer

"Tektronix showed its new PQA500 picture quality analyzer, which incorporates eight new Tektronix patents.

The PQA500 provides a complete suite of measurement and diagnostic tools for picture quality analysis including full support of HD formats. Video developers and broadcasters can quantify subjective video responses with the PQA500, enabling them to tune their video offerings for differences in format and delivery mechanisms. This allows them to consistently produce an optimal customer viewing experience.

Picture quality testing is often performed by having several people view a piece of video under controlled conditions and rate it. Another evaluation method is review by a video expert. The PQA500 provides an automated alternative through practical, efficient and reliable picture quality assessment of HD/SD and low-resolution clips like CIF and QVGA.

Using a Human Vision Model, the PAQ500 uses quantitative techniques to predict subjective video quality ratings, not only between video of the same video standard, but also between 1080i and 720p HD, HD and SD, 525 line and 625 line SD, 30 fps and 25 fps, SD and CIF, HD and CIF. This capability enables direct support of video repurposing involving conversion from one video standard to another.

There are 19 calibration parameters incorporated into the PQA500 that serve to fully implement the Human Vision Model. These parameters are formulated based on the data available from thousands of published results of experiments in vision science. The parameters support evaluation and comparison among differing file and video formats, frame rates, viewing conditions and display models."


Bluefish Technologies Introduces New Products

"Bluefish Technologies introduces the 2K|Lust video card, which is ideally suited for digital intermediate applications. The 2K|Lust provides 2K, HSDL, HD and SD SDI I/O. Media can be ingested using Bluefish's Symmetry software in a variety of formats, including 10 bit 4:4:4, 4:4:4:4 RGB Cineon, DPX and others.

Bluefish is also announcing that its RAGE N|CODE solution, an affordable high quality, real time encoding system for all high def video resolutions, will now support the H.264 codec in addition to MPEG-2. Applications for RAGE N|CODE include HD archival for studios and broadcasters, accelerated export from Adobe Premiere Pro, live streaming applications, post production and digital content creation, and HD-DVD/Blu-Ray authoring."


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to Feature IMAX 3D Finale

"IMAX Corporation and Warner Bros. Pictures announced that select scenes of the IMAX DMR version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be digitally converted into an IMAX 3D Experience. IMAX Corporation plans to use its proprietary 2D to 3D conversion technology to transform approximately 20 minutes at the end of the film - which is being digitally re-mastered into the unparalleled image and sound quality of The IMAX Experience using IMAX DMR (Digital Re-Mastering) technology - into IMAX 3D.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix will be released in IMAX theatres and conventional theatres on July 13, 2007, and Warner Bros. Pictures will be the exclusive distributor of the film to IMAX theatres worldwide."


ViewCast Releases New Osprey-700 HD Audio/Video Capture Card

"ViewCast Corporation has released its new high-definition (HD) video capture card, the Osprey-700 HD.

The new Osprey-700 HD is an HD-SDI and SD-SDI A/V input card designed for broadcasters and content owners needing to repurpose HD and standard-definition (SD) content for IP video distribution and video-on-demand applications.

With the ability to meet all video resolution needs, from 1080i and 720p to SD, the Osprey-700 HD provides raw HD capture and HD input scaled to SD and lower resolutions appropriate for streaming. The Osprey-700 HD is an excellent choice for ingesting HD/SD video for archiving and/or transcoding.

The Osprey-700 HD card includes the new Osprey Aviator encoder management software, which features advanced audio and video pre-processing tools such as an audio dynamic-range compressor and graphic equalizer, advanced video de-interlacing, and a vector scope and waveform monitor. The Osprey-700 HD is compatible with Osprey Digital SimulStream to allow the output of multiple streams from a single media source to multiple applications.

By utilizing the high-speed PCI Express bus, the Osprey-700 HD provides the bandwidth required for high-resolution video capture in applications for a wide range of HD resolutions including 1080i (60/59.94/50 Hz) and 720p (60/50 Hz).

The Osprey-700 HD offers HD-SDI/SD-SDI video input with embedded SDI audio. It also supports extraction of vertical blanking interval (VBI) data for closed-captioning and Teletext applications."


Dolby Does 3D

"ShoWest 2007 provided another big boost to digital cinema. With numerous announcements and equally enlightening panel presentations on the subject, it nonetheless seemed at times as if the deployment of d-cinema systems was becoming old news. Instead, all the excitement was bubbling up into a new dimension. After an exclusive media preview on March 12, news that Dolby Laboratories had developed another and apparently more flexible cinema solution for digital 3D quickly spread throughout the convention. Theatre operators and technology experts signed up in record numbers at the Dolby tradeshow booth to attend an invitation-only demonstration of the all-new Dolby 3D Digital Cinema (D3DDC). And even though the company carefully spoke of a "sneak peek" and about developments that are "still in the early stages of testing," from all accounts received, people were deeply impressed by what they saw. [Disclosure: Due to an eye deficiency, this author cannot properly see any images produced by 3D systems.]

After a mere six months of "working very hard" to develop hard- and software and testing both, "we are very happy with the way it looks to date," states Tim Partridge, Dolby Laboratories' senior VP and general manager. Though it won't be commercially available--list price is expected to be just under $20,000 with no recurring licensing/marketing fees--until the re-release of A Nightmare Before Christmas and the new fantasy of Beowulf later this year, "we wanted to show the progress that we've been making and just how good the system looks," Partridge explained.

As for the reasons to enter the digital third dimension, he ventures that Dolby "built its reputation on producing innovative cinema presentation technology" from back in the 1970s to Dolby Digital Cinema today. "Having seen the reactions of both the public and the studios to digital 3D and knowing ourselves that digital-cinema technologies would allow for a much better experience in 3D, we started thinking about our own system. The idea was to combine the advantages of each of the present systems and none of the inherent disadvantages," Partridge confirms, all the while "creating the same level of quality or better." Determined to develop a solution that would be "a bit more practical and hopefully more cost-effective," Dolby "searched the world" and finally connected with INFITEC GmbH from Germany as technology partner.

Headed by engineer Helmut Jorke, who tells FJI that he has "been fascinated by stereoscopic images ever since looking through a View-Master as a child," INFITEC technology originated from a research project of DaimlerChrysler AG. Under the rather scientific project title of "wavelength multiplex visualization system," Jorke and his team investigated how "to improve image quality and enlarge functionality in virtual-reality systems." In early 2003, INFITEC became an independent company licensed by DaimlerChrysler to market and further improve on those results.

Without getting into too much physiological and technical detail, INFITEC uses a sophisticated and extremely fine-tuned color/filter wheel--the name actually stands for "interference filter technology"--to take advantage of the way in which the human eye receives light and our brains process the information. Light waves entering the eye are "separated into three different spectral ranges by three types of receptors that are related to the primary colors blue, red and green," Jorke explains. Consequently, the Dolby 3D system uses six color bands--three for each eye. Reducing them to very narrow bandwidth in conjunction with complementary images for the right and left eye facilitates the use of one light source in a single-lens projector.

Placing the corrective filter wheel in the light path before the image is formed allows for higher lamp power without impacting the DLP Cinema chip. By ShoWest, Dolby had tested with both NEC and Barco projectors. "The picture itself does not go through any active filters," Partridge details. The implementation of INFITEC's spectral color-separation technology "leads to a spectacular-looking image, very sharp and clear."

Unlike polarization systems, in D3DDC there is no need for a silver-coated screen and larger picture sizes are possible without fall-off in brightness towards the edges. Instead of being bound by a dedicated 3D house, the 3D feature can move into any multiplex auditorium over the course of its run. With the filter wheel automatically moving out of the way, switching back into the second dimension takes just seconds.

In other words, exhibitors can continue to use their existing white screens without having to resort to battery-powered active glasses. Rather, D3DDC works with lightweight passive-viewing glasses that, by being reusable, will minimize environmental impact and carry a lower cost than for one-time use. To clean them, Dolby recommends industrial dishwashers with a cycle that takes no more than 90 seconds. In the future, they nonetheless expect to offer the option of disposable souvenir glasses.

Last, but certainly not least, Partridge addresses how the technology "also simplifies the process of creating and distributing 3D movies," saving filmmakers time and studios money in the process. "There is no need for extra color correction--it is, in fact, the same for both 3D and 2D digital-cinema presentations--or other compensation processes in post-production, as all processing is performed in the server." Currently, he says, "we are working with SMPTE and the DCI studios to establish one file format across the industry, so that a single 3D file can be sent to any cinema." Once the standard has been set, all the servers will be able to play out the same file, he predicts, including 2D should the cinema not be equipped. "There is no reason why the other systems could not do that."

While on the subject, Partridge also states his belief "that all vendors must adhere to digital-cinema standards to ensure interoperability for a viable digital-cinema business globally." To that end, ShoWest marked the DCI-required JPEG 2000 upgrade to some 280 installed Dolby Digital Cinema systems. In addition to continued MPEG-2 encoded capabilities for alternative content, Dolby also added the option to accommodate 4K file ingest as well as making security enhancements with Texas Instrument's CineLink2 link encryption and video forensic watermarking.

"We believe that Dolby Digital Cinema is equipped with the necessary features and functionality currently specified by DCI," Partridge concludes. "It is a milestone year for the digital cinema industry"--in and by any dimension, we might add."

By Andreas Fuchs, Film Journal International

RED Digital Cinema Announces New Camera, Lenses, 4K Displays and 4K Projectors to Come

"In their new super-sized tent at NAB 2007 RED Digital Cinema were showing working RED One cameras, just weeks away from shipping to customers. They are also showing footage from an upcoming Peter Jackson WW1 movie shot in New Zealand with two RED One prototypes.

With their credibility now firmly established as they deliver the first RED One cameras later this month, RED Digital Cinema can no longer be dismissed. So when they announce amazing new low price points for Prime and Zoom lenses, it's time to sit up and pay attention. Announced Monday are a compact 18-50mm f2.8 close focus zoom for US$6,500 projected for "Summer 2007".

Also announced were a set of prime lenses: 15mm f2.8, 25mm f1.9, 35mm f1.9, 50mm f1.9, 85mm f1.9, with a price of US$20,000 for the complete set of five lenses, which are expected to be available in "Fall 2007". These Prime Lenses are not available individually, only as a set, but when the set costs considerably less than any other single Prime, I can't imagine that being a problem for anyone.

The previously announced 300mm Prime and 18-85 zoom lenses are still on the roadmap.

RED also announced that they are developing a "Professional Pocket Camera" - a miniature camera with few details announced other than "it won't be made of plastic" !

Also exciting is that RED Digital Cinema will be producing a new line of 4K displays (none currently available from any source) and a new 4K projector. If they keep the same breakthrough price and performance ratio I think I might just set up that home theater after all !"


Sony Continues The Evolution Of XDCAM Tapeless Acquisition Technology

"Sony is continuing the evolution of its XDCAM line of tapeless acquisition by unveiling new technologies at NAB. These include recording to ExpressCard high-speed flash media, as well as 50 Mbps 4:2:2 optical disc recording.

Future versions of the XDCAM system are planned to include a camcorder and deck with multi-format 2/3-inch HD progressive CCDs (1920 by 1080), recording bit-rate of 50 Mbps, 1080 and 720 native recording and eight channels of audio. The camcorder, deck and drive will support both single- and dual-layer versions of Sony’s Professional Disc media for the XDCAM system, which enables recording up to approximately 100 minutes at 50Mbps HD 4:2:2.

The planned XDCAM EX unit will expand upon Sony’s XDCAM line of tapeless acquisition technologies, using flash memory technology: the SxS memory card specification, with high-speed transfer technology compliant to the ExpressCard industry standard. According to Ott, ExpressCard’s higher speed and smaller form factor will make Sony’s evolution to flash media a natural progression and open the door to a broader range of applications for tapeless production.

The planned camcorder is based on MPEG-2 compression technology with three-inch imagers. It will be switchable between 1080/60i and 720/60P, and be capable of recording 1080/50i/30P/25P/24P and 720/50P. The camera will also have slow and quick motion functionality.

The camera will feature two card slots, and users will be able to record approximately 120 minutes of content on two16 GB card. Sony is planning to introduce both 8GB and 16GB flash memory media initially."


S.two Announces 4K Version of Digital Film Recorders

"S.two Corporation announced the international debut of a new 4K recorder based on the industry standard D.MAG digital film magazine.

“We have always stated that we would support new Digital Cinematography cameras as they come along,” states S.two VP of Marketing Steve Roach. “We have confirmed orders for new product deliveries following this show to run with Dalsa cameras as well as other 4K products as they come to market. Our product was conceived as a 4K capable platform from the beginning so this is a natural evolution of our technology adding portability.”

The DFR4K uses a new single D.MAG4 disk magazine. “As has been our tradition, current customers will be offered an upgrade path to 4k and higher resolutions,” says S.two president Chris Romine."


Sample Digital, Digital Dailies, Dax Solutions Roll Up Into New Company

"Sample Digital Holdings is securing financing to enable the roll-up of three independent digital media service suppliers ( Digital Dailies, Sample Digital Media Services and DAX Solutions ) into a single entity. Hyperion Entertainment Group is backing the roll-up.

The combined company, to be named later, will provide studios, networks, and independent production companies with a suite of production workflow acceleration and media management tools, including digital dailies, content distribution, encoding services and increased customer support.

Digital Dailies and DAX together currently supply web-based digital production workflow and digital dailies solutions, a service that minimizes inefficiencies throughout the content creation, distribution and approval process. Both companies currently supply web-based and set top box applications that create a secure online environment.

Led by founders Josh C. Kline ( CEO - Digital Dailies, Sample ) and Patrick Macdonald-King ( CEO – DAX ), the companies involved in this stage of the roll-up are :

- Digital Dailies is a desktop and set top box solution provider of online dailies services to studios and production companies.

- DAX Solutions is a supplier of production workflow acceleration tools, streaming dailies and set top box solutions.

- Sample Digital is a media encoding facility.

Josh C. Kline, CEO of Sample Digital and Digital Dailies, will become Chairman of the new entity, while Kline will focus the majority of his time as the CEO of Secure Path Technology, a metadata services company and North American Registration Agency for the ISO Standard ISAN (International Standard Audiovisual Number)."


Thomson Provides Digital Cinema Mastering and Distribution Services for Walt Disney Pictures’ Meet the Robinsons

"Thomson, through its Technicolor Digital Cinema business, today announced it has provided the digital cinema mastering and distribution for Walt Disney Pictures’ Meet the Robinsons.

Technicolor digitally mastered and distributed Meet the Robinsons for 892 screens worldwide. Domestically, the feature was distributed to 582 screens in Disney Digital 3-D and 138 screens in digital 2-D. The feature was distributed internationally to 105 screens in 3D and 67 screens in 2D. In addition, Technicolor created all traditional 35mm film prints for the release.

Technicolor Digital Cinema offers distribution services for all digitally equipped theatres worldwide. As part of its beta test in North America and Europe, Technicolor has installed digital cinema projection systems with 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.

Thomson intends on a broader rollout of complete digital projection systems in up to 5,000 screens over the next three to four years. Thomson 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."


Focus Enhancements Announces ProxSys PX-1

"Focus Enhancements today announced the latest addition to the ProxSys family of Media Asset Management (MAM) solutions. The PX-1 is the industry's first entry-level, turnkey MAM system that fully integrates both hardware and software into an easy-to-setup, easy-to-use digital media asset solution.

Designed to service small- to medium-sized organizations, the PX-1 gives digital media professionals the ability to assign timecode-based metadata to their HD or SD video content which, when combined with its proxy preview, enables lightning fast search and retrieval. Through the PX-1's intuitive web browser interface, users can create projects and containers from which content can be copied, transferred, shared, or deleted.

The PX-1 can simultaneously manage up to 10 concurrent users connected anywhere in the world. It supports nearly all SD and HD video formats, popular graphic and audio formats, as well as many data formats, including PowerPoint and Word documents.

Also included with the PX-1 is the Focus Enhancements Capture Suite and Media Import software. With this client-based software, users can capture live video, import existing digital media folders and files, or seamlessly import video content from Focus digital disk recorders and/or Panasonic P2 MXF format while preserving all native metadata.

Additional PX-1 features include :
- MPEG-1 System and Elementary support
- MPEG-2 Program, Transport, Elementary, and all 18 ATSC format support
- DV (AVI Type 1 and 2, Raw)
- User Rights Assignments
- Ability to create and define unlimited numbers of metadata fields
- Search routines including exact match, fuzzy, and wildcard
- IBM Xeon-based Server
- 1TB of internal RAID storage
- Dual 1000/100/10 LAN
- SuSe Linux O/S
- Ultra320 SCSI Controller for storage expansion

PX-1 is expected to be available the end of April 2007 for a US MSRP of $19,950 through Focus Enhancements' worldwide dealer and distributor network."


Avid Unveils New Play-To-Air Server: MediaStream 9000

"Avid has unveiled the MediaStream 9000 system, the newest addition to the company’s comprehensive line of MediaStream HD and SD play-to-air-servers.

The new system extends the broad playout functionality of the MediaStream family with version 3.31 software that supports Sony XDCAM HD and Long-GOP HD and SD media formats. In addition, the MediaStream 9000 system offers improved playout performance via the new Palladium Store 2000 storage array, a next-generation storage architecture that offers scalable capacity of 3 to 48 terabytes (TB), and higher throughput with bandwidth of 680 Megabits-per-second, per array. MediaStream 8000 customers will be able to upgrade to MediaStream 3.31 software to take advantage of the new XDCAM HD and Long-GOP playout capabilities.

Utilising a 2 Gigabit (Gb) Fibre Channel interface, the MediaStream 9000 server is optimised for delivering superior HD playout performance. In addition to supporting XDCAM HD and Long-GOP HD media, the MediaStream 9000 system is built around the new Palladium Store 2000 storage architecture, providing customers with the option to choose either 250 GB or 500 GB storage drives, with capacity of 15 drives per array. Furthermore, customers can link together a total of eight Palladium Store 2000 arrays, providing up to 48 TB of storage per MediaStream 9000 chassis. Using the MediaStream 9000 server, customers will experience approximately 50 percent greater drive capacity and media throughput – whether they rely on dedicated storage to deliver content to a few channels, or deploy a comprehensive network of MediaStream 9000 systems to play out content to 100 channels simultaneously.

MediaStream 9000 is expected to be available in Q3 2007 and is priced starting at Euro €62,800, UKP £43,600, USD $69,700. Avid expects version 3.31 of MediaStream software to be available for MediaStream 8000 customers in Q2. The 3.31 software upgrade will be available at no additional cost to MediaStream 8000 customers under warranty or a support contract."


DCI announces digital, 3-D specs

"Digital cinema took another step toward the mainstream Sunday as Digital Cinema Initiatives announced a new version of its d-cinema specifications, its first-ever specs for 3-D and the selection of technology company Cinecert to finish developing test procedures for DCI compliance.

The DCI, a joint venture of the studios, did not originally anticipate the 3-D boom that has grown out of digital cinema and was silent on 3-D technical specifications. As a result, incompatible 3-D systems have proliferated. Studios releasing a film in 3-D have since had to create as many as seven different 3-D digital cinema "packages".

Digital cinema consultant David Reisner said that Sunday's announcement, which is a one-page addendum to the DCI specs, would put the business on notice that there should be "only one format for distribution, not multiple formats for distribution". Which format wins out, though, remains to be seen.

The selection of Cinecert as DCI's testing company moves the industry a step closer to answering one of the major questions remaining for d-cinema: Who will decide whether a product can be called "DCI-compliant" ?

The question is vital to manufacturers, because there is little market for non-DCI-compliant d-cinema hardware, and exhibitors need assurances their expensive d-cinema hardware will work as advertised.

DCI had contracted with a German research institute, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, to develop tests for DCI compliance. Cinecert has a six-month contract to complete the work Fraunhofer started and to develop a set of testing procedures and standard tests. Once Cinecert has finished, DCI will choose testing entities.

Version 1.1 of the DCI spec introduces nothing new, but incorporates the many errata that have been compiled as users have begun to apply the DCI spec. By putting those errata into the main body of the spec, rather than dozens of addenda, "This makes it much, much, much easier for someone who wants to know what the DCI spec is and makes it much easier for anyone who needs to use that spec to conduct business," says Reisner.

It also was announced on Sunday which studios would take over the leadership roles in DCI after the current leadership term expires at the end of September. Now, Universal is the tech leader and Paramount is the management leader. In October, Sony takes over tech leadership and Warners takes over management leadership.

The lead studios decide which of their execs will work on DCI projects and coordinate with the other studios when an issue requires the attention of all."


Network Electronics Launches Suite of 3Gb/s Video Transport Solutions at NAB 2007

Today the most commonly used HDTV formats are 720P or 1080i. However, moving forward the broadcast industry will transition to 1080p 50/60 for HD due to higher picture quality and the benefits enabled by being able to down-convert to multiple HD and SD formats and standards.

Transporting 1080p50/60 requires twice the bandwidth of the current HD-SDI interface (1.5Gbps), which means that the signal can be transported by either dual link HD (2x 1.5 Gbps) or 3Gbps 3G-SDI Single Link connectivity. At NAB 2007, Network Electronics demonstrates router and optical transport solutions for single link 3G-SDI for HD, offering a number of economic and technical advantage over dual 1.5 Gbps HD transport.

3G-SDI electrical interface :
- Support HD bitrates up to 3Gbps
- Single 75 ohm Coax with BNC
- SDI (SMPTE 259M), HD-SDI (SMPTE 292M) compatible
- Similar performance as existing HD interfaces
- Re-use of infrastructure, BNC, cable, patches etc. for shorter in-house applications
- Physical robustness and simple connectivity

International standards support :
– SMPTE 424M (physical interface)
– SMPTE 425M (format mapping)
– ITU-R BT 1120-3 part 4 2005

Sources: 1 2

Sony LEDs the Way

"If you work on color correcting in post, or have to match cameras in the field, it’s easy to rue the passing of CRT technology. While that analog technology had its limits, moving to LCD monitors meant losing track of colors such as emerald green and dark red, since backlighting the screen with fluorescent tubes greatly limits color fidelity.

At their Sunday press conference, Sony provided a solution with its BVM-L230 LCD video reference monitor; the 22.5-inch HD monitor employs a newly developed LED backlight system and display engine capable of producing 1,024 levels of gray scale. The ability to render a greater number of luminance values directly influences color reproduction fidelity.

Sony claims the new LCD panel is the industry’s first with to offer a 10-bit driver, replacing 8-bit technology, which is capable of only 256 levels of gray scale. Besides covering the range of broadcast-standard color spaces, the new monitor supports the latest digital cinema standards; SMPTE C, EBU, and ITU 709 color gamuts are available via button selection.

An LED backlighting system is also inherently more durable, better standing up to impacts and vibration. Since they’re mercury-free, you’re also benefiting the environment, compared to fluorescent-based systems.

The BVM-L230 LCD video monitor is expected to be available this fall, at a suggested list price of about $25,000."


Bidirectional XDCAM Data Transfer with Flip4Mac

"Telestream has introduced new Flip4Mac media software tools that let Macintosh Final Cut Pro users work bi-directionally with images captured with Sony’s XDCAM gear.

Flip4Mac XDCAM Component (v2.1), a QuickTime component and Final Cut Pro plug-in, allows the direct ingest of media from Sony XDCAM camcorders and compact decks into Apple’s Final Cut Pro editing suite. The new version also works with DV, HDV and IMX MPEG content, and can export IMX 30/40/50 files back to XDCAM devices.

The ability to access file-based XDCAM content, either as low-res proxy or at full bandwidth, in SD or HD formats, and move MXF media between Apple’s Final Cut Pro real-time editing software and XDCAM devices, enhances workflow options.

Flip4Mac XDCAM Component places a .mov file directly into the user’s project bin. File transfer is performed over a Gigabit Ethernet connection for fast transfer of low-res proxies or high-res media files.

With the Flip4Mac XDCAM Component software, users can import and browse Sony systems for quick access without going to baseband video. File preview enables scene preview and selection prior to import.

Flip4Mac XDCAM Component Version 2.1 ($495) and all other Flip4Mac products will be demonstrated in the Telestream at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention"


XDCAM HD's New Innovations at NAB

"Sony will give NAB attendees a sneak peek at the third generation of its XDCAM HD recording system, which offers 4:2:2 processing and increased data capture of up to 50 Mbps (from the current limit of 4:2:0 at 35 Mbps). MPEG-2 and its inherent long GOP structure will continue to be supported. A dual-layer Blu-ray disc will offer 100 minutes of record time.

This new functionality won’t be shipping until later this year or sometime next year. Sony said increasing the picture quality and making the cameras and related equipment 1080i/720p switchable is paramount to the future of the format. For the foreseeable future, the cameras will use ½-inch CCDs, but a 2/3-inch XDCAM HD camera is planned for some time in 2008. [Sony said their current ½-inch imagers use the entire surface area, making them comparable in acquisition quality to others’ 2/3-inch CCDs.]

The company will also show a new NAS server, called HDXchange, that initially will only handle 25 Mbps HDV files and takes full advantage of the XDCAM HD’s proxy system, MXF files and metadata to speed up the HD production process. It also includes support for QuickTime, AVI, DVI, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 files and offers built-in server applications for content management and distribution. This enables the HDXchange to work seamlessly with Apple Final Cut Pro, Avid’s Liquid and Sony’s Vegas NLE software."


Apple Introduces Final Cut Server

"Apple today introduced Final Cut Server, a powerful new server application that works seamlessly with Final Cut Studio 2 to provide media asset management and workflow automation for post production and broadcast professionals. A scaleable server application that supports workgroups of any size, Final Cut Server includes a cross-platform client that enables content browsing, review and approval from within a studio or over the Internet. Final Cut Server automatically catalogs large collections of assets and enables searching across multiple volumes via an intuitive user interface. Final Cut Server is designed to manage the flow of work, as assets and projects move from producer to editor to artist through the entire production process.

Final Cut Server automatically catalogs content, generating thumbnails and low resolution clip proxies in the process. Broad search capabilities extend from simple keywords to complex combinations of IPTC, XMP and XML metadata. Final Cut Server can configure a range of highly specific access controls that define user permissions on an asset or project basis.

Final Cut Server includes customizable templates that manage the flow of work typically found in broadcast, post and education environments. Sophisticated watch-and-respond systems can be configured to track the progress of assets, alert editors as projects move through the production pipeline and automatically notify producers by email when a project is ready for evaluation. In addition, location-independent review and approval tools enable clients to view, annotate and approve content from anywhere.

Final Cut Server includes a time-saving shot selection and editing tool that supports drag and drop integration with Final Cut Pro 6 projects. An offline/online workflow enables editors to work with HD proxies in the field on a MacBook Pro. Final Cut Server integrates directly with Compressor 3 for delivery and provides pristine format conversions for publishing to broadcast television, web, iPod, Apple TV, DVD and mobile phones.

Final Cut Server will be available this summer through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $999 (US) for one server and 10 concurrent client licenses, and $1,999 (US) for one server and unlimited client licenses."


Final Cut Pro 6 Able to Import and Edit 4K Redcode RAW Files

Latest version of Final Cut Pro is now able to directly import and edit 4K Redcode RAW files from RED cameras. You can find more information about possible workflows between RED camera and Final Cut Pro in this video interview of Ted Schilowitz by Mike Curtis, the editor of the excellent HD For Indies blog.

Apple Introduces a New HD Post-Production Codec in Final Cut Studio 2

"ProRes 422, a new full raster, 10-bit 4:2:2 post production format produces stunning HD quality at SD file sizes, making it ideal for working efficiently across a SAN or on a MacBook Pro in the field. Companies including Panasonic, Sony and RED are embracing ProRes 422 as they continue to innovate on the next generation of cameras.

Apple ProRes 422 and Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) are 8- and 10- bit, full-resolution VBR formats with target bit rates of 145 Mbps and 220 Mbps."


Digital Cinema System Specification v1.1 and Draft Stereoscopic Digital Cinema Addendum v0.9

"Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) has adopted and is releasing a revised Version 1.1 of its Digital Cinema System Specification. The new Version 1.1, dated April 12, 2007, incorporates the 148 erratum previously released for Version 1.0 of the Specification. With the integration of the erratum into the body of the Specification, readers will now be able to use the Specification without having to cross-reference to these 148 errata.

Additional Specification erratum items continue to be evaluated and will be posted after agreement by the DCI membership that the erratum is needed. Future errata will modify the DCI Specification, Version 1.1.

DCI is also releasing a Draft Stereoscopic Digital Cinema Addendum, Version 0.9, dated April 12, 2007. This document defines high-level technical requirements and specifications for the mastering, distribution and theatrical playback of stereoscopic digital cinema content. This document will be integrated into DCI’s Digital Cinema System Specification at a future date."

Digital Cinema System Specification v1.1
Draft Stereoscopic Digital Cinema Addendum v0.9

Wafian Unveils Field DVRs

"At NAB2007, Wafian will introduce the HR-1-P and the HR-2 direct-to-disk video recorders.

According to the company, the Wafian HR-1-P is the world's first portable direct-to-disk field 1920x1080, 10-bit 4:2:2 HDSDI video recorder using the CineForm Intermediate format. The unit's base configuration can record over 10 hours (at 160 Mbps) of master quality footage. Its hot-swappable media drive allows for an optional 160 GB solid state disk that can hold more than two hours of video.

The Wafian HR-2 is a 10-bit 4:4:4 dual-link video recorder for digital film acquisition. The HR-2 records into CineForm 444 format at 360 Mbps.

All of Wafian's direct-to-disk HD video recorders (HR-1, HR-1-P, and HR-2) lower the cost of HD acquisition by recording master quality footage in directly editable CineForm Intermediate format, providing efficient nonlinear tapeless workflows. Recorded clips are stored in .MOV or .AVI file wrappers and are immediately viewable on Mac (Intel-based) and Windows computers."


Marquis Unveils New Features For Medway Media Highway At NAB

"Marquis Broadcast, specialist in broadcast workflow studies and software solutions, is announcing a number of new developments for its Medway Media Highway system at NAB 2007, including extended support for HD, and powerful new transcoding capabilities.

Marquis also announces integration with a range of broadcasting systems including, for the first time, Avid MediaStream playout servers.

Medway enables media files from multiple sources to be moved seamlessly between multiple vendor platforms without incurring bottlenecks in workflow caused by file incompatibility. Media is moved at full capacity network speeds and with complete reliability in any format including DV and 50-Mbps IMX.

Marquis is announcing extended HD support for Medway, enabling media captured on Sony XDCAMHD and DVCPro100 camcorders to be quickly and easily transferred between file servers and postproduction and broadcasting applications using Medway as the media highway. Users will be able to browse files captured using Sony XDCAM HD and DVCPro100, and read and write them to a range of servers by rewrapping media and its associated metadata in the appropriate formats to ensure the process is smooth and efficient. This functionality adds to that already available for Ikegami FieldPak and Panasonic P2 media storage.

Marquis is also showing Medway’s powerful new media transcoding functions enabling broadcasters to achieve higher levels of interoperability in their acquisition to playout processes. Medway is now able to transcode video sequences created on Avid and other editing systems quickly and easily to a range of servers for immediate playback. Medway transcoding is compatible with DV25 PAL and NTSC with stereo audio, and PC-based Avid systems, Leitch Nexio 4000 and 3600, .AVI PC based servers, and Omneon QuickTime. Broadcasters no longer need to spend time outputting to tape and re-ingesting media. Instead, Medway automatically initiates a fast transfer from the source application to the target destination server in the selected format.

Marquis and Avid have agreed a number of partnership and licensing agreements. Medway now supports all DNxHD formats and includes support for the Avid MediaStream server. Medway also supports Interplay systems, with extended metadata support under development."


Snell & Wilcox Alchemist Ph.C - IP Raises the Bar For Software-Based Standards Conversion

"In anticipation of the NAB2007 introduction of the Alchemist Ph.C – IP file-based standards conversion software, Snell & Wilcox offers a radically improved approach to file-based international program exchange.

Utilizing the same algorithmic expertise that has made the company the industry's undisputed leader in frame rate standards conversion, Alchemist Ph.C – IP has been designed to deliver transparent conversion of file-based video, audio, and metadata between the 625/50 (PAL) and 525/60 (NTSC) standards, and vice versa.

"Until now, no software-based product operating in the tapeless domain could provide conversion quality nearing that of our Alchemist Ph.C motion-compensated standards converter," said Joe Zaller, vice president of strategic marketing at Snell & Wilcox. "Consequently, those companies seeking the highest-possible conversion quality were forced to decode file-based media to baseband, convert the content through an Alchemist Ph.C, and re-ingest it once again. The Alchemist Ph.C – IP changes all this, providing Ph.C motion compensated conversion performance within the file-based domain and dramatically reducing the time required to deliver top-quality content in the appropriate broadcast standard."

Alchemist Ph.C – IP is a true plug-and-play system, requiring no user setup and providing simple drag-and-drop operation. In addition to providing superior frame-rate conversion of video material, it also provides seamless conversion and handling of audio and metadata.

Because this new conversion system runs on commodity IT hardware, it offers post-production and duplication facilities a low cost of entry into high-end standards conversion, and a valuable tool for the shift toward IT-based operations.

Recognized as the industry benchmark for quality motion measurement and used by the majority of the world's major broadcasters and postproduction facilities, Snell & Wilcox's Alchemist Ph.C – IP delivers clear and crisp outputs from a wide range of video input material. Like the hardware-based Alchemist Ph.C system, the new Alchemist Ph.C – IP accepts and outputs 626/50(PAL) or 525/60(NTSC) files in a range of formats including MXF and MPEG2 program streams."


OpenCube Technologies Tackles The MXF Ingest Process At VRT

"OpenCube Technologies has signed an agreement with VRT to undertake advanced MXF-based software solutions that streamline its news process management. VRT is the public broadcasting network of the Flemish community in Belgium.

In the course of its file-based digital news-migration process, VRT wanted to make absolutely certain it could effectively integrate its Camcorder journalist clips into the media-fabrication process. VRT’s goal was to transfer seamlessly media that was shot with Panasonic P2 Camcorders — based on native MXF OpAtom implementation — into a production workflow and media asset management using MXF Op1a with advanced-handling of both on the field and ingest metadata.

OpenCube Technologies specializes in MXF format and ingest gateways that provide high-performance workflow. By using its powerful MXF toolkit and several existing software modules, OpenCube has created the perfect solution to meet the needs expressed by broadcaster VRT. OpenCube’s software enables VRT to perform in one single process the unloading of clips from P2 cards, the conversion of media from MXF OpAtom to MXF Op1a, the transfer of on-the-field metadata, the inclusion of MXF DMS-1 ingest metadata and ftp streaming transfer to Ardendo’s Ardome system.

This method of process-managing offers the best, most cost-effective solutions in media ingest. To achieve this software system, OpenCube’s team worked in close collaboration with the VRT team to produce exactly the desired results. To reach this objective, OpenCube’s MXF software has relied on innovative technologies, notably SOAP protocol and XML exchanges.

Several OpenCube P2-to-MXF-OP1-ingest packages were installed and, since March 2007, have been used in real production environments."


Pomfort SilverStack v1.2 update shown at NAB '07

"Pomfort updates its image sequence manager for film and video production workflows, "Pomfort SilverStack", to version v1.2. Pomfort SilverStack for Mac OS X provides lightweight but professional handling of image sequences including extensive features for viewing, managing and exporting of image files including DPX and Cineon formats. The current update includes features for improved metadata management, accelerated and extended file handling and new automation features.

Designed in close collaboration with industry professionals and field-tested in post production and digital intermediate scenarios the approved workflow tool combines features for daily media management as expected from high-end color correction and conforming tools :

Pomfort SilverStack enables operators to browse sequence-based and timecode-oriented with a unique info-timeline, open movie-typical file types such as DPX, Cineon, TIF in practically any resolution (NTSC/PAL, HD, 2k, 4k, 6k), edit SMPTE timecodes and frame rates in headers of entire DPX image sequences, view color-channels and a selective RGB histogram, apply gamma- or 1D and 3D LUT-based linearization for logarithmic film material, apply primary color correction and playback of preview movies of image sequences on any machine using built-in QuickTime-based player.

The application of Pomfort SilverStack's features for the creation of QuickTime movies from high resolution image sequences is shown at the upcoming NAB '07 in Las Vegas. The use of Pomfort SilverStack's vast number of options for movie creation such as resolution, codec, textual burn-ins such as SMPTE timecodes, custom metadata, primary color correction and linearization filters is shown at the ARRI booth for the digital intermediate process with the ARRISCAN film scanner.

Pomfort SilverStack comes with its own render queue Cinemator, a Mac typical pro-style user interface and utilities such as a Spotlight plugin and Automator workflows for Mac OS X. It is available as a free trial download, a single seat, full featured license is priced at 395 USD.

Pomfort Software has its headquarter located in Munich, Germany. Pomfort Software fills gaps in existing professional video and movie production workflows with tools that are handcrafted with a high level of attention to details but without losing the focus on the key features. The team has gained experience in professional media production scenarios since 2004 and in software development for Mac OS X since 2001. Pomfort already released the Pomfort FrameCalculator."

CineForm Announces NEO Family of HD and 2K Post-Production Software for Both Windows and Macintosh Platforms

"CineForm today announced a new product family called NEO that supports high-resolution HD and 2K media source acquisition and online editing for both Windows and Macintosh platforms. NEO uses the Visually Perfect CineForm Intermediate format to enable an online compressed Digital Intermediate workflow. The NEO family has three members - NEO HDV, NEO HD, and NEO 2K - each of which address specific feature and pricing needs within the high-resolution post-production market. CineForm is also announcing that new versions of its existing products – Aspect HD v5, Prospect HD v3, and Prospect 2K v3 - will all gain new features, including expanded support for HD-SDI acquisition and expanded support for cross-platform QuickTime features. These features are also available in the NEO family of products. As part of its expanding product lineup, CineForm is also announcing new lower pricing for its Prospect HD and Prospect 2K family of products.

The NEO family is designed to offer similar features and performance on both Windows and Macintosh PCs, with resulting CineForm Intermediate files being cross-platform compatible. Applications including Adobe’s Premiere Pro and After Effects, Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Motion, Autodesk’s Combustion, and Sony’s Vegas are but a few of the post-production applications that will be supported by the NEO family. NEO HDV targets users of HDV or DVCPRO HD camcorders, and includes support for special modes in Sony, Canon, JVC, and Panasonic camcorders such as inverse telecine, format conversion, spatial resampling, and others. NEO HD offers full-raster 10-bit precision for those demanding higher visual fidelity in their broadcast or film productions. NEO 2K includes the new CineForm 444 12-bit RGB format for professional film, compositing, and keying workflows. To enable cross-platform file compatibility, all products offer users the choice to write CineForm files with either an .AVI or QuickTime wrapper, and will also include the ability to re-wrap existing .AVI files into QuickTime files (and vice versa).

In addition to on-going support for AJA’s Xena family of HD-SDI cards, CineForm’s existing products all gain support for direct-to-disk acquisition using the Decklink family of HD-SDI cards from Blackmagic Design, plus the Blackmagic Intensity (HDMI) card. Files can be written to either CineForm .AVI or QuickTime files. With CineForm’s recent focus on supporting Macintosh PCs, all of its products are gaining new features to ensure cross-platform (Windows and Mac OS X) file and workflow compatibility.

NEO HDV, NEO HD, and NEO 2K will be priced at $249, $599, and $799 respectively. NEO for Windows will be available for purchase in early May. Availability of NEO for Mac OS X will be announced later.

Prospect HD v3 will be priced at $999, and will now include both the “Edit” and the “Ingest/Edit” capabilities that were previously provided in separate versions of Prospect HD. Prospect 2K-Edit, which now includes single-link HD-SDI ingest, will be priced at $1999. Both will be available for purchase in early May."


CineForm Announces 12-Bit RGB Codec For HD and 2K Direct-To-Disk Media Recording and Online Post-Production Workflows

"CineForm announced that its CineForm Intermediate codec family now supports a 12-bit RGB format called CineForm 444, offering spatial resolutions up to 2048 x 2048 pixels. Further, CineForm’s Windows-based Prospect 2K editing software for Adobe Premiere Pro now supports real-time, multi-stream editing of CineForm 444 content on its editing timeline. A version of CineForm 444 compatible with Intel-based Mac OS X QuickTime video applications will be released in the near future.

Intended for professional film, digital cinema, and broadcast applications, CineForm 444 offers real-time software-based direct-to-disk recording of dual-link HD-SDI sources onto Windows (and soon Mac OS X) computers as an alternative to traditional tape-based recording. Tape-based recording requires an extra tape-to-disk transfer process prior to beginning post production which is eliminated by using CineForm 444 direct-to-disk recording. Setup parameters allow selection of whether files will be written to QuickTime MOV or AVI file formats for cross-platform (Windows / Mac OS X) compatibility. Recorded CineForm 444 files are immediately available for online editing using Adobe Premiere Pro or After Effects on Windows, with compatibility soon to be offered for Final Cut Pro and other non-linear editing and compositing software."


ZyGoDigital Announces ZyGoMJ2K Bundle

"ZyGoDigital, a leading provider of live video compression and streaming technologies for the defense and security industries, today announces the release of ZyGoMJ2K Bundle for playing Motion JPEG .mj2 file format video in QuickTime.

ZyGoMJ2K Bundle ($199 for either OS/X or Windows operating systems) is designed for the serious video creator who needs to view and edit Motion JPEG 2000 videos captured with machines such as RGB Spectrum’s DGy. The ZyGoMJ2K component will play the original .mj2 file back using the QuickTime Movie Player and allow the user to export the video as a QuickTime movie, or avi file. ZyGoMJ2K is bundled with the ZyGoTimeCode component, which reads the GMT marker in the .mj2 file and displays GMT during video playback."


Silicon Imaging Announces Availability of SI-2K Digital Cinema

"Silicon Imaging in partnership with AltaSens announced the availability of the SI-2K series of digital cinema cameras, a DCI-spec 2K digital cinema camera solution powered by the ProCamHD 4562 CMOS color sensor.

The 2/3" ProCamHD 4562 CMOS color sensor gives the SI-2K cameras the flexibility to shoot at various 2K Digital Cinema Initiative compliant formats and frame-rates for theatrical distribution, and at standard 1080P Progressive HD frame-rates for general broadcast television production. In addition, the high-speed readout and region-of-interest capabilities of the ProCamHD 4562 allows the SI-2K to shoot at up to 150 frames-per-second for slow-motion visual effects.

Unlike current-generation HD cameras, which destructively process and compress their imagery at the acquisition stage, the SI-2K streams images as raw "digital negatives" over a standard gigabit Ethernet connection. An Intel Core 2 Duo processor-based system non-destructively processes the raw digital negatives in real time to the visually perfect CineForm RAW codec where up to four hours of continuous footage can be captured on a single 160GB notebook drive.

The SI-2K camera incorporates a new set of capture, camera control, 3D color correction, metadata management and display tools. It enables cinematographers to get ideal exposure, focus and composition and enables them to communicate their desired look to the post-production team.

The SI-2K MINI with SiliconDVR recording software, embedded SpeedGrade technology, and universal lens-mount system bundled with an included PL-mount option is $14,500 and available now, with shipment in 1-2 weeks.

The SI-2K, which includes an embedded version of SiliconDVR recording software and integrated SpeedGrade technology, is $23,500. Orders are currently available with shipping in June. Silicon Imaging is also announcing a special NAB promotional discount of $2000 off the retail price for orders placed by April 30, 2007."


1 Beyond Announces Portable Uncompressed HD Direct-to-Disk Multi-Function Recorder

"1 Beyond will announce the new HD D2D-Max uncompressed HD recorder for MAC and PC at NAB 2007. Available immediately for $18,995 including 2.4 TBs of storage, the HD D2D-Max is the industry's first portable uncompressed HD direct-to-disk multi-function recorder, supporting maximum quality uncompressed HD with RAID protection.

The 1 Beyond HD D2D-Max records virtually all HD formats:
- Single Link 4:2:2 and Dual Link 4:4:4 HD-SDI (commonly known as Sony HDCAM SR or Thompson Viper Format)
- 4:4:4:4, 2K HSDL
- Full bandwidth 4:4:4 RGB at 10-bits (12-bit capable) for 1080i, 1080p, and 720p formats
- Native uncompressed DPX, Cineon, TGA, TIFF, BMP, YUV, AVI and QuickTime files

It can also convert between 4:4:4 and 4:2:2 formats for Single Link HD-SDI output and has 4:2:2 machine control.

The 1 Beyond HD D2D-Max comes with a standard with 2.4 TBs of shock mounted low mass storage for up to 20 hours of uncompressed SD, 7.6 hours of uncompressed HD in 8-bit 720P 24 or 4.3 hours of 10-bit 1080i 30. The disks are swappable allowing virtually unlimited storage and to allow the video to be used for instant editing on MAC or PC NLE systems while additional shooting is done.

Moreover, for the first time with this new system, uncompressed HD video can be fully protected in RAID 3, 5 or the ultimate 6. RAID 6 allows for one disk to fail and still have full RAID 3 equivalent protection so production can continue. A second disk can fail with still no data loss. The 1 Beyond HD D2D-Max also has very low RAID overhead. RAID 3 overhead leaves 2.2TB and RAID 6 leaves 2.0TB of usable storage."


Kulabyte & AMD To Demonstrate World's Fastest Video Encoding Solution At NAB 2007

"Kulabyte's Kulabyte Professional Encoding Suite powered by Dual-Core AMD Opteron processors in an 8-socket server configuration is the industry’s fastest video encoder solution utilizing standard codec engines like On2 Flash, VC-1, MPEG-2 and MPEG-4.

Kulabyte’s TimeSlice technology delivers faster than real-time encoding, noticeably improved picture quality and significant bandwidth savings, while utilizing industry standard codec engines. When deployed with dual-core AMD Opteron processors, tests show that 16-core encoding servers deliver a 60% increase in speed and efficiency over competitive multi-core processing platforms, which are currently limited to a maximum of 8-cores in a single server. Digital media creators can encode, and distribute digital content at speeds more than 12 times faster than industry-standard codec times at comparable prices.

Whether uploading to user-generated Web sites, transporting over broadcast, cable, or satellite networks, or encoding for file storage, professional DVD authoring houses, post-production facilities, television studios, film archives, user-generated Web sites, and mobile video producers can benefit from the Kulabyte solution powered by AMD Opteron processors. The advantages of faster encoding are particularly desirable for time-sensitive content such as news, sports and live broadcasting as well as the explosion of consumer generated video content on the Web and mobile platforms.

Kulabyte Professional Encoding Suite is a patent-pending multi-core encoding system that can operate using most OEM standards-based video codecs and will be demonstrated at NAB 2007 using AMD Opteron processors."


Philips Launches New Forensic Watermarking Tool

"Complementing its extensive portfolio of content identification products, Philips introduces VTrack, an advanced watermarking technology that offers PayTV providers a new tool to get a grip on illegal content duplication and distribution.

VTrack embeds an imperceptible and indelible unique identifier into the video signal in a consumer friendly manner, as it does not restrict personal use and enjoyment of entertainment content, but pirated content can be traced back to a specific PayTV subscriber. By utilizing watermarking technology in set-top boxes, content pirates will expose themselves to greater legal risk if they attempt large-scale redistribution of improperly obtained content. Philips VTrack will enable content providers to confidently broadcast more high definition and early release material that is typically at higher risk for piracy.

The VTrack forensic watermarking product, designed especially for digital consumer devices such as set-top boxes and integrated digital TVs, provides the industry with an ideal solution to protect premium, copyrighted content spanning across PayTV, Video on Demand, and hotel TV. VTrack supports HD and SD content, is format independent and is therefore transparent for current and next generation codecs, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264/AVC and VC-1

VTrack digital watermarks are extremely robust and cannot be separated from the content or altered. Even after severe quality degradation of the video such as scaling, cropping, compression and even camcorder copying, the pirated content can still be traced to a specific PayTV subscriber."


Root6 Debuts New ContentAgent Features At NAB

"ROOT6 Technology of London, UK will demonstrate new V2.2 software for ContentAgent, its universal file transcoding, management and distribution platform.

Now offering an H.264 encoding option, ContentAgent enables users to transcode material in any format for HD DVD and Blu-ray DVD creation, as well as for distribution to iPods and mobile phone networks.

A new reel-assembly feature enables a mix of video standards and file formats to be imported and assembled in a single reel. Cuts only editing allows in/out points to be marked and heads and tails to be removed if necessary.

For Video-On-Demand applications, a TrickPlay feature is included which encodes material at defined multiple speeds. This provides a much smoother viewing experience for VOD customers when browsing or fast-forwarding. Like other processes within ContentAgent, this may easily be incorporated within a workflow, saved as a template and re-used at will to automate repetitive tasks.

Audio is not forgotten as V2.2 software now supports multi-channel audio up to 16 channels.

Other important features demonstrated at NAB will include options for transcoding 2K and 4K DPX files, the output of Avid compatible MXF and DNxHD files and universal standards/aspect ratio/frame rate conversion."


Cinea Announces Expanded Watermark Support For Current & Next-Generation Codecs

"Dolby Laboratories subsidiary Cinea, has expanded support for its ultralight Running Marks watermarking technology to include compressed domain message insertion in MPEG-2 HD, H.264 SD, and H.264 HD.

With its support for next-generation codec technology, Cinea can provide system operators and suppliers with a comprehensive lightweight approach to forensic watermarking that makes the unique serialization of video streams easy and affordable.

As announced at IBC2006, the Running Marks "ultralight" message inserter is a fundamental component of the Running Marks forensic watermarking technology, enabling unique serialized watermarking across the content distribution chain. The marking of unique video streams offers content owners and system operators the capability to track theft of content back to an individual device.

The patented Running Marks architecture separates the processing-intensive image analysis stage from the efficient message insertion stage. As a result, the Running Marks message inserter can support a wide spectrum of consumer devices, from legacy set-top boxes and media-enabled mobile phones to portable media players and personal computers.

Running Marks is also a fully renewable system. This allows Cinea to quickly and efficiently update watermarks with a revised security code in the event that a Running Marks watermark is ever compromised. It also allows for updates to preprocessing and recovery methods on the back end without requiring changes to equipment already at use in the field."


DALSA Introduces New Camera Models, On-board Data Recorder and Anamorphic Lenses

"DALSA Digital Cinema, a leader in 4K motion picture capture, announced today that it is expanding its award-winning 4K product line to include new 4K camera models, an on-board 4K data recorder and new 4K anamorphic lenses.

DALSA Evolution 4K Camera, a smaller form factor model that incorporates the company’s latest generation frame transfer CCD image sensor, delivering unmatched image detail, industry-leading exposure latitude, and superior highlight handling performance. The new camera, which uses cine-lenses and has a real optical viewfinder, also includes a new live HD/SDI output feature for enhanced on-set monitoring and direct HD recording if desired. Available early 2008.

The DALSA Origin II is a field-proven 4K cinematography camera based on the original award-winning Origin camera. The newly updated model features DALSA’s latest generation frame transfer CCD image sensor and includes new ease of use features such as a simplified touch screen interface, 24 reference white balance curves/display LUTs and an enhanced "Visualize" on-set image analysis toolset. No other digital camera offers better performance, whether the image sensor is CCD or CMOS. Available now.

Flashmag is a unique untethered solution for recording RAW, uncompressed 4K data from the Origin II and Evolution 4K cameras, ensuring unparalleled image quality and portability in the widest variety of shooting conditions. Based on high speed, non-volatile, solid-state memory, the DALSA-designed compact device captures 20 minutes of RAW, 16-bit, uncompressed 4K data or 40 minutes of RAW, mathematically-lossless data. The recorder also doubles as a fully portable playback device for on-set review of dailies. The Flashmag performs image reconstruction (RAW Bayer to RGB) on-board in real time and then plays back at “Super 2K” resolution via dual HD/SDI outputs. Available early 2008.

DALSA is expanding its own line of high performance PL-mount cine lenses to include new 4K Anamorphic lenses. Built for DALSA by Eric Peterson of A&S Precision and designed by legendary lens designer Dan Sasaki, the new anamorphic models will give cinematographers the unique opportunity to shoot anamorphic widescreen digitally using the full resolution capability of DALSA’s frame-transfer CCD image sensor. The new anamorphic lenses completely cover DALSA’s high performance 4K chip through all focal lengths to deliver beautiful, sharp, crisp, clear pictures. Available late 2007."


MOG Solutions at NAB2007

"MOG Solutions will take this opportunity to reveal Toboggan Media Transfer, our new integrated solution for moving MXF media into AVID environments. Ingesting content from MXF cameras into Avid video editors and workgroups is now an easy and automated task, eliminating the multiple steps that are required in editor-initiated workflows.

MOG Solutions will also be demonstrating the continuously enhanced set of MXF, GXF and Metadata management tools, ranging from software development kits, wrappers and unwrappers to players and filters, all of them with a single goal in mind: make MXF easy to adopt and exploit. These MXF tools, already selected by many major players in this industry, provide state-of-the-art technology to their users, advocating MOG Solutions as the leader in the MXF technology. Always in sync with new developments, MOG Solutions is now providing support for the MXF AVC Intra Format announced for the new P2 HD camera."


Review: Rhozet Carbon Coder

An interesting review of Rhozet Carbon Coder :

M.O.S. Sync Metadata Collection And Tracking System To Premiere At NAB 2007

"Metadata Origination Systems is launching its on-set metadata origination, collection and tracking system at NAB 2007 in Las Vegas. The system comprises the M.O.S. MONSTER, MINUTES, Minuteman, TranScript and Silo products to transform the way metadata is collected during a production.

The rugged M.O.S. MONSTER server sits on set and gathers metadata generated during the production process, from project information to status of the camera and lens on every frame.

Once metadata has been gathered using the M.O.S. MONSTER the TranScript combines it with shot information. The combined data comprising Metadata and all shot information for the take is ready immediately for real time ingest to the Avid editing environment.

M.O.S. demos will be running during show hours April 16-19 in the SpectSoft suite #730 at the Renaissance Hotel adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center. "


Thomson To Unveil Prototypes & Proof Of Concepts For New Products & Technologies At NAB 2007

"Thomson's Technology division is cementing its leadership position in media and entertainment technology research with a series of prototypes and proof of concepts for new products and technologies at NAB 2007.

The DiscPack is a prototype for a portable, high-end electronic camera recording system that stores up to two hours of uncompressed 2K content, making it the most efficient device of its kind, to date. The distributed I/O scheduler demonstrates technology that maximizes performance of a storage system shared by multiple applications. The prototype enables the simultaneous ingest, processing and output, in real-time, of up to four 2K data streams in real-time.

The digital media archiving proof of concept lays out a powerful, visually lossless compression solution for pre-release digital content. It offers the most efficient, space-saving mezzanine compression solution for file-based workflows. The digital media packaging and delivery proof of concept details a single master solution for all content delivery channels, including digital cinema.

Thomson's Technology division will also showcase, among other prototypes and proof of concepts, conclusive research in: real-time, 2K proxies during 4K scanning; metadata collection; debanding; real-time 2K/4K streaming via WAN; high bit-depth video processing and compression; wireless mobile distribution; and video delivery over DVB-H and WiFi systems."


Glue Tools to launch Cineon/DPX Pro v2.5 with Playback, 3D LUTs & Final Cut Studio Integration

"Glue Tools announced that v2.5 of its Cineon and DPX QuickTime Components will be released at NAB 2007. This new release includes a large number of new features and enhancements to the QuickTime Components. New for v2.5, is Playback, 3D LUTs and full integration with Apple's Final Cut Studio.

On capable systems with high-speed storage, the Cineon/DPX Components can achieve playback speeds. On slower machines, including laptops, the ability to “scrub” through a shot, is now possible. Regardless of the system’s capability, the Cineon/DPX Components enable any QuickTime application to have a Cineon or DPX frame flipper “built-in.”

With the Glue Tools Components, productions can import and export Cineon or DPX sequences right into Final Cut Pro. No additional processing is required. Metadata from the Cineon and DPX files also goes directly into Final Cut Pro, along with the Timecode and Imagery. Information concerning color choices, shot notes, and other slate information is passed from the Cineon or DPX header right into Final Cut’s XML format. Also, Cineon or DPX frames can be exported directly out of Final Cut Pro. No rendering needed. The Glue Tools Components are ideal for sending DV or HD shots off to Digital Intermediate sessions or even to Film.

3D LUT files can be used with the Cineon & DPX Components as well. Files that are created during the digital intermediate session, or LUTs created by hardware devices such as the LUTher box, can be used. Currently Pandora and LUTher style text file LUTs are supported, but other formats will be added shortly.

For Computer Visual Effects facilities, or Film restoration companies, Alpha channel support will be a handy benefit, too. The DPX component offers full Alpha Channel support, both import and export, as well as 1-bit IR dirt & scratch information. The 1-bit dirt & scratch layer is especially handy for dust removal, and correction of scratchs or burn marks.

When the components are used within Apple's QuickTime Player, the production staff has the ability to create QuickTime movies out of a range of Cineon or DPX frames, for later review. This is a cost effective alternative to the expensive digital playback systems currently on the market. With this solution, production staff can preview Cineon or DPX sequences on their own laptops or desktop computers. If they have the Cinematographers/Colorists' LUT files they can even see the frames as they were intended.

Products are now available as one of three packages:
GlueTools Cineon/DPX Pro + FCP - $399
GlueTools Cineon/DPX Pro - $249"


SmartJog Launches New Solutions at NAB 2007

"As part of its Theatrical solutions offerings, SmartJog announces new products and solutions. By combining its SmartDelivery & SmartDam products, SmartJog allows for almost instantaneous delivery of TV Spots, Trailers and EPKs while allowing for a fully collaborative workflow between local offices.

SmartJog also continues to bring innovations to the post production business by adding functionalities to its acclaimed SmartTools suite of products including new formats :
- Input Formats : Quicktime Movie files, DVC Pro, Uncompressed 8BIT, D-10 (AES3 audio).
- Output Formats : MJPEG A, DVCPRO50, DVCPRO25, Uncompressed 8BIT 4:2:2, H.264, Quicktime D10/IMX.

SmartJog’s Television solutions offer distributors a one-stop place for all their program servicing needs. New features to be released at NAB include :
SmartJog automation systems will revolutionize the way broadcasters receive content. By integrating time consuming processes of transcoding, wrapping and transferring to its servers into an automated protocol, SmartJog drastically reduces Ingest time.

SmartJog will also be introducing its new wrapping tools to be compatible with the most popular broadcaster play-out servers, including GXF, Quicktime movie, MXF and SAF."


FFV Announces Next-Generation Omega HD DVR With JPEG2000

"Fast Forward Video has announced the next generation of the Omega Deck, FFV's flagship high-end DVR for the broadcast industry, the Omega HD.

The Omega HD records high-definition (HD) and standard-definition (SD) video with high-quality JPEG2000 compression up to 100 Mbit/s.

The Omega HD allows users to store multiple HD and SD video files and create video clips, loops, and playlists from the front panel for many broadcast and film production applications, including graphics and key fill, spot insertion, and sports/instant replay. The dual-channel Omega HD also provides simultaneous playback and record.

The Omega HD delivers outstanding image quality that is virtually indistinguishable from the original. This is partly the result of utilizing JPEG2000's wavelet compression, which provides superior compression performance at higher bit rates and enhances users' ability to scale and edit images.

The new recorder uses standard 2.5-inch SATA drives and also accepts next-generation Xi and NDT 200 recordings. The Omega HD's file formats are compatible with Grass Valley REV PRO removable media, and it offers frame-accurate control via RS-422, used by most machine controllers, or via Ethernet using standard control protocols.

Available in either single or dual-channel configurations, the Omega HD is the ideal replacement for SD DVRs, as well as analog tape decks, in broadcast and film applications. It delivers all the advantages of clean digital images and the random-access, nonlinear benefits of hard-disk media, as well as the familiar transport controls, inputs, and outputs found on current analog VTRs.

The recorder features an intuitive front-panel touch screen that provides access to record and playback settings including user-selectable compression (from 2:1 to 20:1) and playlist management.

The Omega HD will be available in Q3 2007 from FFV's worldwide network of distributors with a suggested retail price under $20,000."