vsnIPtransfer Unveiled At IBC 2007

"The Spanish company vsn-JustEdit will unveil a new state-of-the-art content transfer technology over IP at IBC 07, for the first time in Europe.

In Amsterdam vsn will showcase the latest generation of the ActivaStream product family, starring a peer-to-peer software tool, vsnIPtransfer. This flexible solution allows users to transfer high quality broadcast content through DSL or 3G lines between 10 to 20 times faster than the standard available technology today.

All search processes are managed by a powerful software application installed on a PC or a laptop. Users can access to the content catalogue, browse, select representative keyframes and preview the lo-res proxies, prior to any hi-res content download. Shortly after the transfer starts, incoming files can already be previewed and/or edited.

vsnIPtransfer is bound to set a revolution in the broadcast content contribution and delivery markets.

vsn’s IBC booth will host several real demonstrations using a local Wi-Fi network. SDI-quality content upload/download @3Mbps and live camera signal transmission @4Mbps will be shown and tested, both processes perceptibly lossless.

ActivaStream, a new vsn product family, features the latest available developments in encoding-decoding technology, video compression, signal processing and IP transfer, such as peer-to-peer technology, all managed by a very friendly and intuitive GUI.

A 15-day vsnIPTransfer trial is available for download, both in Spanish and English languages."

Source: BroadcastBuyer

D-Cinema Coming Soon To This Movie Theater

"At the International Broadcast Convention IBC in Amsterdam, Fraunhofer research scientists are presenting important components of an all-digital film-production chain.

Fascinating picture quality, excellent colors, no shudder, no scratches, no noise – digital cinema offers extra-special movie enjoyment. In Guildford near London and in Chicago, moviegoers can visit the first D-Cinemas and enjoy films in 4K quality. 4K stands for a resolution of 4096 x 2160 pixels or 8 megapixels. By way of comparison: a conventional TV picture has a resolution of 0.4 and high-resolution HDTV a resolution of 2 megapixels. At present, however, there are not many films available in 4K format: Spiderman 3 and Ocean’s 13 were the first big movies to be made in 4K resolution. “It will be some time before the entire chain of movie making, from filming, post-production and distribution to projection, has been converted to digital technology,” states Hans Bloß, spokesman for the Fraunhofer Digital Cinema Network. Fraunhofer research scientists are presenting important components of the all-digital film production chain at the IBC in Hall 8

Digital shooting and storage
“To make films for D-Cinema you need a high-resolution digital camera,” explains Hans Bloß. “The ARRI-D20, which we have developed in cooperation with movie equipment manufacturer ARRI Cine Technik, represents an initial step in this direction.” The camera is already being used for HD productions. The three-part film Africa, mon amour was shot using a D20. “The D20 enabled us to film all the color tones correctly even in extreme lighting conditions,” says Frank Küpper, Production DoP.

A new omnidirectional camera system will even be able to shoot live panoramic pictures with an angle of nearly 150° and a resolution of up to 5K. This is made possible by the special design of the system, in which five HD cameras are integrated in a rack with a mirror. The mirror deflects the optical path of the individual cameras so that the picture is captured from a common viewpoint but in different directions. The camera pictures join seamlessly together to present a panoramic view of up to 150°. “These high resolution panoramic pictures are interesting for the transmission of soccer matches, for example. In a public viewing situation the audience could experience the game as if they were in the stadium,” explains Peter Kauff of the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich-Hertz-Institut, HHI. The concept will be shown at the IBC. The system has a modular structure, enabling the rack to be fitted with up to twelve HD cameras. This means that even 360° images can be produced.

Gigantic volumes of data arise in the production of digital movies – about 20 to 50 gigabytes just from filming individual scenes, and up to 20 terabytes uncompressed for a whole movie (with a shoot ratio of 10:1). To store all this information on set, an easily carried high-performance recorder is required. Fraunhofer research engineers have developed the portable Megacine. The recorder can store images in the new Digital Cinema (DC) format or in High Definition (HD). The unit has a capacity of one to two terabytes – this means that image data can be recorded for up to one hour in uncompressed DC quality. In the MegacineJ2k version, a JPEG2000 hardware encoder has been added to expand the range of formats. This enables all the advantages of the scalable data format, such as various resolution levels etc., to be used in further processing.

Digital film packages
35mm film is transported in film cans, and digital film in the Digital Cinema Package (DCP). The DCP contains all the requisite information, from film data and sound to subtitles, either encoded or unencoded. The encoded DCP is distributed to the movie theaters on physical media, such as hard disks, or by satellite. “The IIS is developing software tools for producing and checking DCPs,” explains Siegfried Foessel of the IIS. These include a J2K plugin for the production of SMPTE-compliant JPEG2000 files as well as DCP authoring and validation software, which all facilitate the creation of a digital film package.

But how can the digital movies be archived? In the EU project EDCINE, research scientists at the IIS are cooperating with European partners on the development of a concept for digital film archiving."

Source: BroadcastBuyer

DVS Presents New CLIPSTER Real-time 4K Features

"A new hardware accelerator enables CLIPSTER users to perform significant post production stages such as zoom & pan, primary color correction, 3D LUT, and cropping in real time, even at 4K. The real-time processing allows even resource-consuming special effects editing without delay. CLIPSTER supports 100 different graphics formats, ensuring flexible content importing and real-time conversion of video footage to the desired format or resolution.

As a one-stop DI solution, CLIPSTER allows a wide variety of post production stages to be carried out from the same workstation, including film editing, conversion of output formats, color correction, and even film restoration. CLIPSTER is known worldwide to be the only system capable of processing uncompressed graphics file sequences such as DPX or 16-bit TIFF in real time, without prior conversion."

Source: BroadcastBuyer

SAMMA Systems Launches The World's First Real-Time Analog To Digital Lossless Migration System

"SAMMA Systems has further revolutionized media preservation with the introduction of SAMMA Solo – the world’s first real-time, complete analog to digital migration solution.

The compact, semi-automated and quiet system complements SAMMA Systems’ robotic-based solution designed for large analog libraries by offering a cost-effective alternative to organizations possessing fewer tapes.

Finding effective methods to digitize analog assets, not only to preserve the content for the future but also provide greater access so assets can be monetized, has won recognition as an industry priority. SAMMA Solo is being launched as a real-time, cost-effective solution that provides advantages over manual transfer methods while offering the highest-quality end results. SAMMA Solo encodes mathematically lossless MJPEG2000 files in real-time in addition to other standard formats such as MPEG-2, H.264, Windows Media and Real Media.

SAMMA Solo is ideally suited for organizations planning to transfer approximately 6000 hours or less of analog tapes to the digital domain. Easily operated by non-technical users, SAMMA’s Analysis Engine comprises the heart of the new system that delivers multiple auto correction features and extensive metadata reporting.

SAMMA Solo is a turnkey, compact and affordable, digital migration solution that incorporates many of the same elements of the larger SAMMA robot; automatic analytics, video enhancements and extensive metadata reporting.

SAMMA Solo is available for purchase or lease."

Source: BroadcastBuyer

Fnord Software ships ProEXR plug-ins for Photoshop and After Effects

"Fnord Software has shipped ProEXR, a set of 6 plug-ins to provide complete support for the OpenEXR file format in Adobe Photoshop and After Effects. Both Adobe applications include basic support for OpenEXR, but ProEXR provides access to important features of the format including multiple image layers, preservation of color space information, and choice between all compression options available in the latest OpenEXR libraries. The ProEXR Photoshop plug-in sells for US$95 while the After Effects plug-ins are free and open source.

With ProEXR, artists working in Photoshop CS3 Extended can work with layered EXR files and save projects as EXR without collapsing layers. This one file can then be opened in digital compositing applications such as After Effects, Shake, Nuke, and Fusion. In many cases, OpenEXR is the only layered format the application supports.

In After Effects, the 5 free plug-ins included with ProEXR take care of everything from OpenEXR file I/O, to extraction of channels into a composition, to automated project set-up from a layered file. They are open source to ensure that production facilities have unlimited ability to integrate After Effects with their OpenEXR-based pipelines.

Other features unique to ProEXR include the retention of OpenEXR color space information, support for both 32-bit and 16-bit floating point pixels, and full control over alpha channel processing in Photoshop.

ProEXR for Photoshop is available for Mac OS X and Windows as a 15-day trial version which can be permanently unlocked by purchasing a serial number. The included After Effects plug-ins are free and do not require a serial number. All Mac plug-ins have been compiled as Universal Binary to take advantage of the Intel processors found in new Apple hardware."

Source: The Digital Production Buzz

JPEG2000 - The Professional Compression Scheme

An interesting document about JPEG 2000.

Convergent Design Announces First CompactFlash Based HD Field Recorder

"Convergent Design has announced Flash XDR (Xstream Data Recorder), the first CompactFlash based ultra-portable HD field recorder.

Flash XDR features HD-SDI (with embedded audio and time-code), 1394, LTC (time-code), and ASI (MPEG2 over SDI) I/O, 4-Channel AES inputs as well as two CompactFlash card slots in a lightweight, battery-powered box.

The innovative design utilizes scalable HD MPEG2 compression to capture video at HDV, XDCAM HD, or 50 Mbps 4:2:2 data-rates. Flash XDR carries a list price of US $4995.

By utilizing MPEG2 encoder / decoder technology combined with CompactFlash storage, Convergent Design has substantially reduced the weight (2 kg), power (8 watts), size (127x89x165 mm), noise (no fans) and cost compared to disk-drive or tape based recorders. The low-power, compact design makes it easy to carry Flash XDR on any shoot and enjoy a full-day of battery-powered operation. The rugged, all solid-state construction allows use in extreme conditions, (such as helicopters, back-packs, and race-cars), where traditional disk or tape based systems would fail.

Compactflash is now an ideal storage media for an HD field recorder. CompactFlash is an industry-standard memory, widely available, offering 2X the performance and 1/3 the cost (16GB for US $300) of proprietary flash-based cards. CompactFlash is hot-swappable, highly-reliable, and 100% solid-state; so there are no heads to crash, tapes to jam, or drop-outs. Very low power consumption (5% of disk drives), combined with long-life (10K insertions/removals, 100K read-write cycles) and price-parity with HDV Firewire drives (on a GB basis) make CompactFlash an attractive media. Capacities are ever increasing, with 16 GByte cards (69 minutes of 1080i HDV storage) readily available today and 32 / 64 GB cards expected in the near future. Finally, a Firewire-800 based reader (included with Flash XDR) supports 340 Mbps file-based transfers, so an hour of HDV (1080i) footage can be transferred to a laptop editor in under six minutes!

"Edit While You Shoot", in 50 Mbps 4:2:2 MPEG2 HD Quality Flash XDR writes video footage to CompactFlash in either QuickTime or .m2t file formats. When one of the two hot-swappable Compactflash cards is filled, Flash XDR automatically starts recording to the 2nd card. Editors can then eject the first card; quickly transfer the video (using the Firwire-800 reader) and edit while continuing to shoot. Now your laptop can be productively used as an editing tool, avoiding the lengthy ingest from the old Firewire direct-to-laptop capture method.

You are no longer limited to just HDV data-rates; dial down the compression and select XDCAM HD (35 Mbps) or 50Mbps 4:2:2 (422P@HL), full-raster 1920x1080 / 1280x720p video with up to 4-channels of uncompressed 16-bit 48Khz audio. In addition to the standard 1080i/p and 720p formats, you can also utilize 1080p23.98, perfect for digital cinematography. The high-quality Sony MPEG2 CODEC employed in Flash XDR enables selectable bit-rates, so you can match your rate to the job requirements. Non-proprietary, industry-standard MPEG2 means you have a wide range of editing and transmission options."


Cinesoft - Media Batch Lite

Ascent, HP Teaming on "Digital Vault"

"Ascent Media Group and Hewlett-Packard have formed a strategic alliance to co-develop, market and deliver services and technologies that enable clients including studios to archive, repurpose and distribute media digitally for the multichannel market.

As part of the agreement, AMG and HP will co-develop a service platform and provide consultation and support services. The announcement formalizes the companies' three-year collaboration through which they have serviced such customers as Sony Pictures Entertainment and Paramount Pictures.

"The shift we're seeing in the media industry from physical to digital processes is as significant as the move to digital transactions by the finance and securities industry -- one of many industries HP has helped migrate to digital," said Tom Kuehle, vp digital content services at HP. "By creating a digital vault and enabling secure processes for handling transactions of media companies' most valuable assets -- their content -- HP and Ascent will help maximize those assets in this changing market."

Services are centered in AMG's $17 million, 100,000-square-foot Digital Media Data Center in Burbank, which houses a digital archive with a petabyte of online and nearline storage integrated across a global mesh network. AMG is launching additional network hubs in New York, London and Singapore, enabling the alliance to take a customer's ingested content from any of these locations, repurpose it and distribute it electronically worldwide."

By Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter

CineForm Intermediate HD and 2K QuickTime Codecs Ship for Intel-Based Macs

"CineForm today announced that QuickTime versions of its HD and 2K CineForm Intermediate codecs are shipping in production for Intel-based Macintosh computers running Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

CineForm QuickTime movie files are now compatible on both Windows and Mac OS X computers. CineForm QuickTime files eliminate the need for massively large DPX files as a common exchange format between platforms, thus enabling the industry's first practical cross-platform and cross-application post-production workflow. Mac OS X software applications supported with the first production release include Adobe's CS3 Production Premium, Apple's Final Cut Pro, Motion, QuickTime Player, Media 100, and Pomfort Silverstack. CineForm is also offering a free decoder for Intel-based Macs called Neo Player Mac.

The CineForm QuickTime codec is now shipping with CineForm's Neo HD/2K and Prospect HD/2K products. The Neo and Prospect product families provide high-definition editing support for a broad range of industry post-production software, including from Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Media 100, Sony, and others.

Each product purchase provides both a Windows and Mac OS X activation emphasizing the new simplicity of cross-platform compatibility. CineForm's QuickTime codec supports digital workflows from standard definition all the way to 2048x2048, including the 12-bit CineForm 444 format suitable for film scanning, animation, and high-end compositing. CineForm's free Neo Player for Mac allows all users of Intel-based Macs to play CineForm QuickTime files within most Mac video applications, including Adobe CS3, Apple Final Cut Pro, and QuickTime player, regardless of whet her the files were created on Windows or Mac.

NEO HD/2K and Prospect HD/2K, which include the CineForm QuickTime codec for Mac OS X, are available for immediate purchase with a starting price of $599. Certain free upgrades and special pricing is available to existing CineForm customers. Neo Player for Mac is available as a free download from CineForm's website."


High Definition Is Here - And The Future Should Be Progressive Scanning

"Over the past two years, the EBU has been giving HDTV demonstrations, drawing record crowds. They centred on a core question for the broadcasting world: what image format standard should be chosen for the future of HDTV?

All cameras and all displays, whether in broadcasting organizations or in private households, are either already using, or will use, progressive scanning. Technically speaking, nothing justifies an intermediate stage with interlaced scanning. Converting a scanning system from interlace to progressive can never be perfect. We have everything to gain from moving on to progressive. In addition, modern compression technologies that adapt to the picture content are less efficient with an interlaced signal. All computer and flat panel television screens use progressive scanning.

It would be incoherent not to adopt the same principle for new broadcast services. Finally, manufacturers of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray DVD equipment use progressive scanning for virtually all their products. It is logical, and self-evident, that broadcasters' migration plans should involve the use of progressive scanning, 720p or 1080p, both in production and broadcasting. Does practice confirm the theory?

This is the purpose of the EBU demonstration. The physical set-up is similar to the earlier years. Three screens positioned very precisely in relation to the viewer will show the same sequences in 1080i/25, 720p/50, and 1080p/50. New sequences will be shown, and what is new too, is that each screen will be divided into two demonstrating the impact of the production process on the HDTV image quality: on one side of the screen, visitors will see the original image, on the other, the same image that was impaired by the production process.

For the purpose of the technology demonstration the open standard compression system JPEG2000 will be used. Later the impact of the production process on the image quality after broadcasting at a variety of bit rates compressed with H.264/AVC, will be demonstrated. As visitors will notice, this experiment shows which path is best for a migration.

The optimal migration from the current 625i/25 is to 1080p/50, though an intermediate stage of 720p/50 may be needed. Producing programmes in 1080p/50 now means that the quality is ready for when consumers can watch 1080p, and it ensures a longer life for productions. The downside is that it is twice as demanding in terms of uncompressed data rate as the 720p or the 1080i. Consequently there are still some years to go until an end-to-end 1080p/50 chain will become available.

For today, 720p/50 transmission gives an image quality better than 1080i/25 at the same or less use of spectrum, for consumer screens of up to about 50-inch diameter. For the future, perhaps with much larger screens and even higher resolutions than 1920x1080 pixels, transmission in 1080p/50 gives much better results than in 1080i/25 with the same or lower bit rate. For broadcasters, the best route ahead with full motion progressive HDTV is very clearly marked."


Panasonic Delivers New AJ-HDP2000 2K Processor

"Panasonic has announced the delivery of its new AJ-HDP2000 2K Processor for the D-5 HD VTR, a new high-quality mastering solution for use in production of movies, commercials and high-end video content.

Designed for post production, telecine systems and dual-link 4:4:4 HD video system cameras, the AJ-HDP2000 provides a cost-effective and efficient method of recording, editing and archiving 2K and 4:4:4 HDTV images on the post-production standard D-5 HD mastering video tape recording system. Coupled with Panasonic’s AJ-HD3700H, AJ-HD3700A or AJ-HD3700B D-5 HD VTRs, professionals can record, playback and edit full 12-bit 4:4:4 2K 2048 x 1080 resolution film image data or 12-bit 4:4:4 sampled dual link 1920 x 1080 HD images onto videotape for editing, archiving and distribution.

The AJ-HDP2000 processor uses JPEG2000 compression, the same compression scheme specified by the Digital Cinema Initiatives for cinema release, to convert film to digital data for subsequent processing in advanced DI environments while maintaining its core resolution. The processor’s encoder ensures that images remain faithful throughout the recording process, minimizes distortion and resolution degradation, and offers optimized bit rate control and increased error tolerance for reliable interchange required in editing.

The AJ-HDP2000 comes equipped with the industry-standard SMPTE 372M Dual Link SDI input/output interface. Video signal, audio signal and TV are embedded into one system for connection to high-end linear and telecine equipment. The 2K Processor also features a 4:4:4 to 4:2:2 conversion capability that allows professionals to output a 4:2:2 video signal from the units HD-SDI terminal for easy interfacing with high definition equipment. The AJ-HDP2000 maintains full eight-channel 24-bit recordings, as well as the ability of the system to handle compression audio streams for multi-channel / second language applications. Time Code in/out is embedded on XLR. Maximum record time is 155 minutes at 24fps HD / 2K modes. A software upgrade for the AJ-HD3700 series D-5 HD VTRs is required and is available through Panasonic Broadcast Service.

The AJ-HDP2000 is shipping now at a suggested list price of $35,000."

By Neal Romanek, Digital Cinematography

Mitsubishi Planning 3D Blu-ray Player

"Along with a few other tech journalists, we spent a couple of hours over at the Westchester Country Club, which is gearing up for The Barclays PGA Tour event. What the hell were we doing there? Well, as part of a marketing deal with the PGA Tour, Mitsubishi is the "official large outdoor video display provider" of the Tour and the PR team wanted us to see some of these displays in action along with the Tour's ShotLink technology, which tracks players' shots almost down to the centimeter (the info is displayed on those giant Mitsubishi scoreboards). That's all sort of interesting if you're a golf fan, but things got a little sexier when Mitsubishi reps took us into a hospitality suite, handed us each a pair of fancy 3D glasses and showed us a demo of some new 3D-imaging technology they were working on.

The demo was run from a massive Dell desktop and output onto a large DLP set. In an effort to inject new life into the fading rear-projection category, the company's pitch was that the 3D technology worked with existing DLP TVs and projectors (due to DLP's native 120Hz refresh rate, which allows you to split it into 60/60 for 3D) but not with LCD and plasma displays.

Most of us were pretty impressed by the demo, which included clips from movies, commercials, and sporting events. There was real depth to the 3D and you got that whole feeling of things poking out at you from the screen. All the demo material had been shot in 3D, but the kicker to the whole presentation was that Mitsubishi apparently has a Blu-ray player in its labs that can convert existing 2D movies into 3D on the fly. Better yet, according to company reps, it may be available early next year.

We are pretty skeptical it's going to show up anytime soon and have doubts that converted 2D content is going to look all that great in 3D. But the 3D movement is gathering more momentum as other companies like Samsung and Philips continue working on ways to bring 3D into the home. Ideally, you wouldn't have to wear glasses (Philips is trying to integrate 3D right into the display), but we have a feeling you're only going to get a true Imax-like 3D experience with some eyewear.

While Mitsubishi wasn't ready to get into pricing, one would expect to pay a premium a special-featured Blu-ray player. That said, Mitsubishi hinted that it was in discussions with one game console manufacturer to integrate the 3D technology into the system. The Wii's not capable of such feats and Microsoft's in the HD DVD camp, so one would have to assume it's Sony and the PS3.

We know. It's all rampant conjecture. But eventually, HD and 2D just aren't going to cut it. We may be a few years away from that, but there's chatter out there. Anybody out there itching for 3D at home?"

By David Carnoy, CNET Asia

Digital Cinematography Camera Comparison

An interesting article from HighDef.

FootageBank HD 3rd Edition HD Format Guide

"FootageBank HD has announced availability of its third edition of the popular HD Format Guide. Designed as a working tool for the HD footage client, the new HD Format Guide consists of a poster size chart that is easy-to-read and features simple layouts covering current and upcoming HD and HDV formats. A terminology section helps demystify the terminology of HD image capture, scanning modes, conversion terminology and color sampling. Details are provided regarding conversion solutions and options for both tape and data deliverables."

RED One Arrives at First Owners by August 31st

"Although later than originally thought, Red Digital Cinema's RED One camera will start arriving at the door of patient end users on Friday August 31st.

According to Red's founder, Jim Jannard :
"Serial numbers 1-25 will be delivered August 31st (next Friday).
Serial numbers 26-50 will be delivered Sept, 7th (following Friday).
There will be a slight delay due to IBC for the next batch of deliveries."


Kinepolis Selects Dolby 3D for Major European Deployment

"Dolby Laboratories today announced that the Kinepolis Group has selected the new Dolby 3D Digital Cinema technology to outfit 17 screens throughout Europe.

Kinepolis recently opened its 23rd cinema multiplex, in Ostend, Belgium, and installed the first Dolby 3D system in Europe. The Belgium-based exhibitor plans to convert one screen per complex using the Dolby 3D system.

Dolby 3D provides exhibitors with an efficient and flexible solution designed to give consumers a superior 3D experience. The technology utilizes the white screen already in auditoriums, so exhibitors do not have the added costs nor the quality compromise associated with the use of a “silver screen” required by some 3D systems. Additionally, Dolby provides reusable 3D glasses which are cost-effective and environmentally friendly for exhibitors.

Dolby 3D uses a unique color-filter technology that provides realistic color reproduction and extremely sharp 3D images to the audience from every seat in the house. The solution adds a retractable filter-wheel accessory to any DLP digital cinema projector that can be easily moved out of the light path when switching from 3D to 2D digital cinema presentations. Therefore, exhibitors can transfer movies into a smaller auditorium equipped with Dolby 3D later in the movie’s run."


Microspace in Orbit with D-Cinema Content

"Microspace Communications said that it has commitments to install its satellite service for the delivery of digital-cinema content at 250 locations in North America, representing an estimated 2,500 screens.

The company also said Friday that it anticipates reaching 500 locations by the end of 2008.

Meanwhile, the company is looking to grow in new markets. "We are looking to Europe being our next area of expansion," said Curt Tilly, Microspace's manager of digital-cinema distribution.

Methods of delivering digital-cinema content include shipping hard drives and satellite distribution. "For a small number of locations, satellite delivery for any industry doesn't make a lot of sense," Tilly said. "Our rough break-even point, we think, is about 400 locations. We can go back to the studios with 400 locations and say that we can be more cost-effectlve than the process of duplicating drives, shipping drives, tracking drives and getting them back. There are also advantages with security; satellite delivery is getting more secure than a hard drive. It's also going to be more efficient in a theater from a workflow point of view."

Tilly said that Microspace might deliver as many as 20 movies via satellite by year's end. "We have a very strong lineup of content available from the studios," he said. "As these get installed, we will have content to put across the network and into exhibitors' hands."

The Microspace system supports multiple digital-cinema platforms including those from Kodak and Dolby.

By Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter

Kulabyte Announces its New Express Encoding Series with H.264 Support

"Kulabyte has shipped Kulabyte Express Premier, the first product in the new Kulabyte Express Product line-up.

The Kulabyte Express series is a high speed, high quality SD & HD encoding product line that incorporates support for a broad range of industry-standard video codecs such as On2 VP6 for Adobe Flash, MainConcept H.264 (Adobe Flash 9 Compatible) and Microsoft Windows Media 9/VC-1 :

- Kulabyte Express Lite – Simple and portable transcoding application for dual-core laptops and desktops. Starting at $395

- Kulabyte Express Pro – Easy to use transcoding and real-time capture encoding application for desktops and workstations up to 8-cores. Starting at $895

- Kulabyte Express Live – High quality live 2-pass VBR encoding with streaming output. Starting at $1,495

- Kulabyte Express Premier – Automated workflow transcoding and real-time capture encoding with streaming output. Starting at $1,495

- Kulabyte Express Enterprise – Massively scalable, comprehensive multi-server solution for large networks. Starting at $14,995


OpenCube at IBC 2007

OpenCube will present a full range of solutions with expanded capabilities, as well as an innovative new product release :

- XFConverter v1.0 seamlessly connects heterogeneous systems by directly converting format wrappers MXF, GXF, Quicktime and AVI.

- MXFTk version 2.1 OpenCube MXF Toolkit has been upgraded with several new features.

- XFReader v2.1, the essence agnostic MXF and GXF viewer for Windows has been adapted to work with the HD and SD Decklink boards, providing users with a fast, cost-effective solution for transforming their PCs into MXF SDI players.

- OpenCubeHD DDR v2.1 is now able to generate DCP MXF files with either Jpeg2K encoding (DCI compliance) or Mpeg2 encoding (Mpeg Interop).

- OpenCubeSD v2.1 MXF gateways have been enhanced with VDCP control protocols, Mpeg2 SD encoding and review, and Jpeg2k encoding within MXF Op1a file format.

MainConcept Licenses Core Codec Technologies To Adobe For Adobe Flash Player

"Adobe Systems has agreed to license MainConcept's H.264 and AAC technology for integration into its flagship Adobe Flash Player software, which reaches 98% of all Internet enabled PCs worldwide.

Adobe has licensed the x86, PowerPC and ARM versions of MainConcept's H.264 and AAC decoders."


Digital Cinema: Theatre Circuits Climb Aboard a Fast-movin Train

"The world’s largest digital-cinema exhibitor, Carmike Cinemas of Columbus, Georgia, currently has 1,921 screens equipped in 181 locations. Carmike will celebrate its 2,000th digital installation at the Pines One theatre in Silsbee TX on Sept. 1, 2007 with screenings of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Attending the celebration will be W.S Rosser, 85, who just this year retired as manager of the historic single-screen, 410-seat theatre. Rosser, who has been an exhibitor his entire life and has managed the Pines One since its opening in 1947, is in the unique position of having seen the full transition from black-and-white to color, from carbon arcs to xenon bulbs, from changeover reels to platters, and now to satellite delivery of files that are digitally projected.

Carmike, along with their digital-cinema provider AccessIT and equipment partners Christie Digital and Doremi, has been installing systems at a rapid pace approaching 300 systems a month since beginning in January 2006. Installations slowed during the past June and July to keep as many active screens open as possible for summer titles, but resumed in mid-August, with the plan to complete all of Carmike’s approximate 2,450 screens by late fall 2007.

When Carmike began installations early in 2006, they typically decided to equip half the screens at each complex with digital, leaving the 35mm projectors in place until the supply of digital titles caught up. By early 2007, the studios were making available all major titles in the DCI format, so the pattern changed to equip all the screens at each complex with digital, leaving a only the minimum number of 35mm projectors alongside the new digital projectors to accommodate the occasional film print.

Carmike deserves credit for being the first major circuit to fully commit to digital. Dale Hurst, their director of marketing, comments, “It’s truly an exciting time for us. I’m proud to be a part of the Carmike family, as they have been so aggressive in making the change to digital.”

Rave Motion Pictures, of Dallas, Texas, is the second-largest digital exhibitor, with approximately 316 of its 427 totals screens equipped. Rave is on target to equip its entire circuit with 100% digital by Sept. 1. Rave is also partnered with AccessIT and using primarily Christie projectors with Doremi servers. Rave was also early into 3D partnering with Real D and Dolby in the fall of 2005 for Disney’s Chicken Little 3D launch. Currently, Rave has at least one 3D system at each of its 27 complexes and plans to continue adding 3D capability as more content becomes available.

Rave charges the same ticket price for its digital screenings as its 35mm film but has added a small premium to the 3D ticket prices. Jeremy Devine, Rave’s VP of marketing, observes, “The public is just now becoming aware of digital picture, and Rave is working with its partners at DLP Cinema, AccessIT and Real D to build the brands that will drive the audience to seek out a digital presentation.”

AccessIT, which was instrumental in the Carmike and Rave conversions, has also developed relationships with a number of regional exhibitors who have made substantial commitments to digital. AccessIT’s exhibitor partners also include Celebration! Cinemas with 129 screens equipped, digital-cinema pioneer UltraStar Cinemas with its entire 102-screen circuit equipped in early 2006, Galaxy Theatres with its 67 screens equipped, and Emagine Entertainment with 46 screens equipped.

National Amusements (NA) is in the final stages of installing 120 of Technicolor’s 2K digital projection systems at 14 locations. NA had previously installed 44 systems using Real D 3D projection systems in 44 locations on 45 screens, bringing them to a total of 164 digital screens. Following the completion of the pilot testing program with TDC, negotiations will get underway to establish a workable business model for full rollout of digital projection systems. The experience gained through the pilot program will determine National Amusements’ next steps forward.

Recently, NA signed an agreement with National CineMedia LLC to join their Cinecast Network, the largest digital in-theatre live network in North America. This pact allows them to expand their existing alternative programming, such as simulcasts of concerts, children’s programming and other unique concepts.

Bill Towey, senior VP, operations, comments, “Digital technology has already provided National Amusements with some powerful entertainment programs and contributed to increased attendance at our theatres. We were one of the first theatre companies to offer alternative content via digital projection systems. In 2002, with the Broadway Theater Network, we showed the play Jekyll & Hyde. We were also the first theatre circuit to feature live, high-definition sports broadcasting. Patrons have given us very positive feedback about the clearness and crispness of digital. Families are pleased because it provides us with the way to deliver Kidtoon Films, which is a family event on Saturday and Sunday mornings offering a new, original G-rated animated movie every month. Digital also is a more effective and efficient way for our theatres to offer businesses who rent our theatre locations for company events interconnected audio/video presentations and meetings between locations.”

In additional to National Amusements, TDC has also deployed 27 screens with Wehrenberg Theatres and 22 screens with Zyacorp Entertainment, and is also deploying systems in premier locations for Mann Cineams and ArcLight Cinemas.

AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark USA Inc. and Regal Entertainment are all early pioneers in digital cinema. AMC began initially equipping selected screens as early as 2000 with 1.3K projectors and now has expanded to 115 equipped screens with full 2K DCI-capable systems. Similarly, Regal Cinemas began early with selected deployments and has recently expanded to 123 digital screens, most of which are 3D-enabled using the Real D technology. Cinemark has approximately 33 screens equipped also with Real D 3D systems.

In the spring of 2005, these three circuits joined together to launch National CineMedia, LLC (NCM), charged with developing a digital pre-show network and exploring a unified approach to the mainstream theatrical digital conversion. The three companies represent a total of over 14,000 screens. In March 2007, NCM, along with the three parent exhibitors, created a separate legal entity, Digital Cinema Implementation Partners LLC (DCIP), to further develop the strategy and specific plans for playback of theatrical titles.

According to Travis Reid, CEO, DCIP is in the final stages of finalizing studio and vendor arrangements. DCIP hopes to be in the a position to start offering their deployment packages in the first quarter of 2008 and, because of the large number of screens involved, looks to a three- to four-year rollout process. With a primary focus on the needs of their primary owners, DCIP also intends to open up its deployment plan to other exhibitors.

NCM will continue to handle pre-show and alternative programming using its own infrastructure and equipment. DCIP plans to be vendor-agnostic by offering exhibitors a choice of DCI-specified equipment. According to Reid, their primary concern is maximizing the interoperability and minimizing the amount of complexity in the systems from an operations standpoint. “Scale is the significant benefit DCIP brings to the table, in terms of purchasing power as well as spreading the development costs across a larger number of systems.”

DCIP’s current and initial focus is on the U.S. domestic market, but it is eyeing Latin America as its first international priority due to its parent partners’ interests in Mexico and South America.

The Cinema Buying Group (CBG) is an independent association of North American exhibitors who have come together to increase their purchasing power of digital equipment. CBG member organizations currently represent in excess of 4,000 screens, and will likely continue to grow in the coming months. According to Wayne Anderson, its president, CPG has recently issued a Request for Proposal to all known third-party systems integrators for between 4,000 to 6,000 digital systems. The RFP includes DCI-specified projectors, servers, theatre-management software, system integration, installation and support. The CBG is expecting the third-party integrators who respond to negotiate with equipment manufacturers and service providers, as well as incorporate any available studio incentives into the contract system pricing. The CBG member companies will be able to specify to the contracted third-party integrator their individual requirements for specific vendor and model preferences. The integrators receiving the RFP are expected to respond by mid-September 2007, whereupon the CBG member companies will evaluate the proposals and make a decision this fall. Once the CBG purchase contract is in place, the CBG will not be accepting additional members.

The first wave of the North American digital conversion is underway, with over 3,500 screens already converted. Pioneering exhibitors like Carmike, Rave, National Amusements, UltraStar and many others, working with integrators like AccessIT and Technicolor Digital Cinema, have led the way. The second wave of installations is already on the horizon, with the CBG’s potential of 6,000 screens together with the DCIP representing a potential of up to 14,000 screens, all planning initial deployments in early 2008."

By Bill Mead, Film Journal International

Adobe Extends Web Video Leadership with H.264 Support

"Adobe Systems today announced the latest update for Adobe Flash Player 9 software, code-named Moviestar, which includes H.264 standard video support - the same standard deployed in Blu-Ray and HD-DVD high definition video players - and High Efficiency AAC (HE-AAC) audio support, as well as hardware accelerated, multi-core enhanced full screen video playback. These advancements will extend Adobe’s leadership position in Web video by enabling the delivery of HD television quality and premium audio content through the ubiquitous Adobe Flash Player and pave the way to expand rich media Flash experiences on the desktop and H.264 ready consumer devices. The latest update for Adobe Flash Player 9 will be available in beta for immediate download later today on Adobe Labs. The final release is expected to be available via update in the fall."


The MXF Mastering Format

An interesting article from Broadcast Engineering.

Cinema Buying Group-NATO issues Digital Cinema Request For Proposals

"The Cinema Buying Group-NATO (CBG-NATO) issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) to digital cinema equipment and service providers on behalf of the members of the CBG-NATO — small to medium-sized independent theaters in the United States and Canada (more than 4,000 screens represented).

Through the RFP, CBG-NATO members seek to acquire digital cinema equipment and service on favorable terms, funded in whole or part through “virtual print fee” (VPF) arrangements, which ensure their ability to provide high quality and reliable digital exhibition service to patrons in their markets.

“The CBG and NATO believe that smaller and regional independent theater companies deserve a fair opportunity to participate in the digital cinema revolution,” said J. Wayne Anderson, CBG-NATO Managing Director and independent theater operator. “This RFP will help bring the benefits of digital cinema to theater patrons across North America.”

The purpose of this RFP is to solicit proposals from qualified vendors to provide digital cinema equipment and service to the members of the CBG, and to determine as promptly as possible thereafter which vendor’s proposal best suits the needs and interests of the members of the CBG.

The RFP will be posted on the CBG website and the NATO website. To be considered, all proposals must be received by the CBG not later than 12 noon (EDT), Friday, September 28, 2007.

At the time of the issuance of this RFP, CBG management intends to select a digital cinema equipment and service vendor for its members before the end of the calendar year 2007."


Panasonic updates P2 Viewer to P2 Content Management Software

"Panasonic has recently released a new version of their free P2 viewer software, now named P2 Content Management Software, with support for OS X. This version not only displays P2 media, but also allows you to ingest, search, and organize your footage. You can add text or audio memos, export it out, back it up, archive and restore your footage."


Dauger Improves Video Compression Cluster Technology

"Dauger Research has upgraded its Pooch QuickTime Exporter plug-in, which speeds up the latest generation of high-definition H.264 compressed movies in desktop video editing applications.

Essentially, Pooch simplifies the process of assembling and operating a high-performance parallel computer. Directing clusters — which can be managed by version 1.2 of the Pooch (Parallel OperatiOn and Control Heuristic) application — has been simplified for Macintosh users working with applications like iMovie and Final Cut Pro.

The plug-in automatically “parallelizes” video compression from video-editing applications. It extracts and partitions the source video data, assigning it to other nodes. The compressed video data is then returned for sorting and assembly into the final movie. The Pooch technology, available in standard and pro configurations, is targeted to video podcasters, online educators, or others who want to distribute HD and SD content online with fast turnaround.

The compression speed now possible with the Pooch QuickTime Exporter, Dauger said, is the best H.264 performance that can be accomplished with general-purpose hardware. It supports numerous other codecs including: H.261, MPEG-4, Motion JPEG, AAC, Lossless, and MACE.

Features of version 1.2 include compression presets for specific devices and deinterlacing for progressive displays. The technology achieves its best speed advantage, the company said, when compressing with multiple codecs. The software’s newest feature — the simultaneous creation of movies in multiple sizes — is ideal for targeting many device types from one source.

The Pooch QuickTime Exporter is a Universal parallel code, meaning it can use mixed clusters of multi-Core Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs and uses the Message-Passing Interface (MPI) supercomputing-industry standard.

Pooch is priced between $300 and $350, depending on the desired version."


LVS MPEG Patcher

MPEG Patcher is a free tool provided by LVS which can display/modify timecode and DAR data in MPEG-2 files.

Usage :
List :
  mpp <file> -tc : list every TC (read only)
  mpp <file> -dar : list every DAR (read only)
  mpp <file> -all : list both (read only)

Patch TC :
  mpp <file> <hh:mm:ss:ff> : patch every TC (read/write)
  mpp toto.mpg 10:00:00:00
    -> each TC += static offset (firstTC = 10:00:00:00)

Patch DAR :
  mpp <file> <43|169|221> : patch every DAR (read/write)
  mpp toto.mpg 169
    -> each DAR = 16:9

md5 : 47B763C6F68AB9C29C8FE45732D71088

Toboggan MediaTransfer to Revolutionise MXF ingest Into AVID

"MOG Solutions is pleased to announce the release of their new product, the Toboggan MediaTransfer, the first automated solution to support multiple media ingest devices to move MXF media into AVID environments.

Avid Workgroup solutions support the acquisition and export of media assets using standard open integration points. Thanks to Avid’s open solutions architecture, applications such as Toboggan MediaTransfer can be easily created to take advantage of media exchange and enhance customers’ workflows.

Through the automation of the ingest process, Toboggan MediaTransfer eliminates the multiple steps that are required by a video editor to move all their MXF files into Avid environments. The user can also share their content for maximum productivity and ingest files in the background while editing in Avid video editors.

Supporting all MXF camera manufacturers’ devices, like Panasonic P2, Sony XDCAM, Grass valley Infinity, Ikegami Editcam along with other MXF devices, Toboggan MediaTransfer offers its users a simple one-touch solution, with hot-folder and hot-swap modes that trigger the transfer process in a fully automated way. The user will be able to track the ingest process, either remotely or locally, using a web interface to check the progress and status of ingest. Acknowledging the importance of metadata, the Toboggan MediaTransfer will auto detect and import the metadata coming from the XDCAM, P2 and Infinity products.

This new product is available in a standalone and a workgroup version. The standalone version will allow ingesting media files in the background while the editor works on his files. The workgroup version provides a ingest station to move files into Avid MediaManager or Avid Interplay environments. Toboggan MediaTransfer is compatible with AVID Unity MediaNetwork, AVID Unity ISIS, AVID MediaManager, AVID Interplay, AVID Unity LANShare, AVID NewsCutter and AVID Media Composer."


CN Films Chooses SmartJog's Digital Delivery Technology

"CN Films has named SmartJog, the global leader in secure digital delivery of entertainment media, to operate a platform for digital delivery of independent European films.

Exhibitors will be able to browse a catalog of movies, watch low resolution trailers, and then deliver the file via SmartJog directly to the networked location once a programming agreement has been reached. The platform, which will be developed by CN Films and managed by SmartJog, is part of a project, supported by the MEDIA program of the European Commission, aimed at finding new distribution services dedicated to independent distributors and exhibitors.

CN Films plans to use the SmartJog service to ensure the fast and secure delivery of media to current clients and also as a way to reach new Exhibitors from all over the world. CN Films will develop their own website using SmartJog’s technology and digital delivery network. SmartJog’s fully automated and monitored system will manage the end-to-end logistics and guarantee media’s security and integrity.

SmartJog provides a global distribution and file transfer platform to facilitate the entertainment industry’s transition to digital by replacing physical logistics with electronic intermediation via a secured network. SmartJog’s network continues to grow with over 3,000 members globally in broadcasting, post production, motion picture and TV distribution. With offices in Paris and LA, SmartJog ensures 24/7 supervision and integrity of service. SmartJog was created in 2002 and is a subsidiary of TDF, a leading operator and provider of audiovisual, new media and broadband services to Radio, TV and telecom operators based in Paris.

Since 2002, CN films has organized the International Digital Film Forum (IDIFF). That manifestation follows the development of digital in the whole chain of cinema, thanks to an exhibition, seminars and workshops. It is within this framework that was created in 2006 the first Digital Film Market (DIFIM). CN films also develops consulting about releases in digital in a European context, towards European distributors.



"AXMEDIS is an open framework and solution for cross-media media content production, protection and multichannel distribution.

AXMEDIS consortium consists of over 35 partners(such as DSI, TISCALI, BBC, Telecom Italia, TEO, ELION, HP, EUTELSAT, ILABS GIUNTI, ACIT, EXITECH, AFI, UPC, Univ Leeds, FHGIGD, EPFL, etc.) actively producing innovative research results with new tools and solutions, developing real trials and demonstrations for automated content production and distribution.

The AXMEDIS Framework is designed to reduce costs and increase efficiency. It provides support to automatize all the backoffice aspects (access to any CMSs and databases, processing, adaptation, fingerprinting, licensing, transcoding, MPEG-21, OMA, metadata enrichment, reporting, accounting, etc.). It supports the whole value chain and allows the convergence of the media and interoperability of content to enable multichannel distribution (mobile, satellite, kiosk, iTV, etc.). The framework integrates content processing solutions, content management systems and their interoperability, workflow, and adopts new methods and tools for innovative, flexible and interoperable DRM and harmonise B2B and B2C areas for DRM. It brings the DRM model into the B2B area and increases content accessibility with P2P legal platforms for B2B and B2C levels. The Framework includes content tools for MPEG-21 authoring, and players for PC, PDA, STB, PVR, HDR, Mobiles, etc.

The AXMEDIS Framework is developed for all, from small to large industries, with a common interest in the exploitation of new technologies and solutions. It can be used to set-up and built a large range of applications and services in the area of content production, protection and distribution. AXMEDIS Framework is distributed with a dual licensing model: Open source for non commercial purpose and with Affiliation for commercial and supporting users, companies and institutions."


Holographic Storage Makes Its Commercial Debut at IBC 2007

"InPhase Technologies, the leader in holographic data storage systems and media, will exhibit the world’s first commercial holographic data storage product at IBC 2007. A breakthrough in data storage, the InPhase Tapestry product has a capacity of 300 GB and will enable broadcasters to record 2,100 minutes (35 hours) of broadcast-quality video on a single disk at a transfer rate of 20 MB/s (160 megabits per second) in less than 4.5 hours (250 minutes).

InPhase and Ikegami will demonstrate the initial product resulting from their agreement, an Ikegami-branded 300 GB external holographic drive associated with a PC. The drive provides a cost-effective, tapeless solution for archiving large video files finished on non-linear editing systems and acquired with Editcam and Editcam HD tapeles camcorders.

The Ikegami-branded InPhase external holographic drive will enable users of Ikegami’s Editcam and Editcam HD camcorders to transfer edited or camera-original video content via FireWire or FTP interfaces to highly stable 300GB cartridges with all the advantages of tapeless nonlinear archiving and retrieval. Editcam and Editcam HD acquisition will continue to utilize Ikegami’s hard-disk-based and solid-state FieldPak2 media, which can be overwritten for repeated use.

The InPhase family of Tapestry holographic drives includes data capacities that range from 300 GB to 1.6 TB on a single disk. The development of what is the first commercial holographic product to reach the market was enabled by InPhase’s development of key recording techniques and holographic media, the commercial availability of critical components, strong partnerships with leading storage innovators, and government funding."


Digitalvideo Computing (DVC) IBC 2007 Preview

"DVC Digitalvideo Computing will showcase the new uncompressed dual-channel ClipRecorder XTreme X2.

In Film Space Mode it features recording and playback of two HD DPX file streams at the same time in the same timeline.

In Clip Mode ClipRecorder XTreme X2 operates like a two channel uncompressed player for HD/2K formats up to 1080/50p or 2K/25p. ClipRecorder XTreme X2 with its internal SAS disk array fits into just 3U of vertical rack space.

DVC will also present the latest member of its ClipDisk Player Family, the ClipDisk2000, with JPEG2000/MPEG-2 support for 2K and HD resolutions.

ClipDisk2000 is powered by MikoM´s JPEG2000/MPEG-2 technology.

A new Import Manager software simplifies import of video files such as AVI, MXF, Quicktime and WMV to the ClipDisk Player.

The intuitive MediaControl software makes it easy to setup multiple ClipDisk players for syncronized playback and to control all players via an IP network."