Tag Archives: 4K

AJA ships HDR Image Analyzer developed with Colorfont

AJA is now shipping HDR Image Analyzer, a realtime HDR monitoring and analysis solution developed in partnership with Colorfront. HDR Image Analyzer features waveform, histogram and vectorscope monitoring and analysis of 4K/UltraHD/2K/HD, HDR and WCG content for broadcast and OTT production, post, QC and mastering.

Combining AJA’s video I/O with HDR analysis tools from Colorfront in a compact 1RU chassis, the HDR Image Analyzer features a toolset for monitoring and analyzing HDR formats, including Perceptual Quantizer (PQ) and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) for 4K/UltraHD workflows. The HDR Image Analyzer takes in up to 4K sources across 4x 3G-SDI inputs and loops the video out, allowing analysis at any point in the production workflow.

Additional feature highlights include:
– Support for display referred SDR (Rec.709), HDR ST 2084/PQ and HLG analysis
– Support for scene referred ARRI, Canon, Panasonic, Red and Sony camera color spaces
– Display and color processing look up table (LUT) support
– Automatic color space conversion based on the award winning Colorfront Engine
– CIE graph, vectorscope, waveform and histogram support– Nit levels and phase metering
– False color mode to easily spot out-of-gamut/out-of-brightness pixels
– Advanced out-of-gamut and out-of-brightness detection with error intolerance
– Data analyzer with pixel picker
– Line mode to focus a region of interest onto a single horizontal or vertical line
– File-based error logging with timecode
– Reference still store
– UltraHD UI for native-resolution picture display
– Up to 4K/UltraHD 60p over 4x 3G-SDI inputs, with loop out
– SDI auto signal detection
– Loop through output to broadcast monitors
– Three-year warranty

The HDR Image Analyzer is the second technology collaboration between AJA and Colorfront, following the integration of Colorfront Engine into AJA’s FS-HDR realtime HDR/WCG converter. Colorfront has exclusively licensed its Colorfront HDR Image Analyzer software to AJA for the HDR Image Analyzer.

The HDR Image Analyzer is available through AJA’s worldwide reseller network for $15,995.

Shutterstock Select: 4K footage shot on cinema cameras

Shutterstock has introduced a new tier of footage: Shutterstock Select. This collection of exclusive video clips includes far-ranging content — everything from everyday moments to blockbuster-worthy action scenes — all captured by industry pros using cinema-grade cameras. The Shutterstock Select video collection is available to download in both 4K and HD.

“As most filmmakers and cinematographers know, creating high-quality establishing shots are important to any film, but are also very expensive to produce,” says Jon Oringer, founder/CEO of Shutterstock.

This new tier offering features in-demand content categories, such as cinematic aerials, millennial adventure, gastronomy, action scenes and workplace scenes. The shots are filmed on high-end cinema cameras using cinema lenses.

According to Shutterstock’s director, creative video content, Kyle Trotter, a variety of cinema-grade equipment was used to create this collection. The Phantom Flex4K was used for super slow motion 1000fps footage. Contributors also used Red’s latest sensor, the Monstro, on some shoots and as a result filmed large format for some of the content. Additionally, they used the Shotover K1 and Cineflex (both camera rigs for helicopters). In terms of lenses, the Cooke S4s, ARRI/Zeiss Ultra Primes and Sigma Cine Primes were used. This footage was created with a particular focus on Hollywood-style camera movements, composition and acting.

Two of the contributors Shutterstock worked with and are highlighting in this collection are VIA Films’ Daniel Hurst and Aila Images’ Bevan Goldswain. “We aim to build the Shutterstock Select collection by working with more contributors [who can provide  high-quality content] we expect for this offering,” says Trotter. To learn more about contributing, check out their FAQ here.

 

MammothHD shooting, offering 8K footage

By Randi Altman

Stock imagery house MammothHD has embraced 8K production, shooting studio, macros, aerials, landscapes, wildlife and more. Clark Dunbar, owner of MammothHD, is shooting using the Red 8K VistaVision model. He’s also getting 8K submissions from his network of shooters and producers from around the world. They have been calling on the Red Helium s35 and Epic-W models.

“8K is coming fast —from feature films to broadcast to specialty uses, such as signage and exhibits — the Rio Olympics were shot partially in 8K, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be broadcast in 8K,” says Dunbar. “TV and projector manufacturers of flat screens, monitors and projectors are moving to 8K and prices are dropping, so there is a current clientele for 8K, and we see a growing move to 8K in the near future.”

So why is it important to have 8K imagery while the path is still being paved? “Having an 8K master gives all the benefits of shooting in 8K, but also allows for a beautiful and better over-sampled down-rezing for 4K or lower. There is less noise (if any, and smaller noise/grain patterns) so it’s smoother and sharper and the new color space has incredible dynamic range. Also, shooting in RAW gives the advantages of working to any color grading post conforms you’d like, and with 8K original capture, if needed, there is a large canvas in which to re-frame.”

He says another benefit for 8K is in post — with all those pixels — if you need to stabilize a shot “you have much more control and room for re-framing.”

In terms of lenses, which Dunbar says “are a critical part of the selection for each shot,” current VistaVision sessions have used Zeiss Otus, Zeiss Makro, Canon, Sigma and Nikon glass from 11mm to 600mm, including extension tubes for the macro work and 2X doublers for a few of the telephotos.

“Along with how the lighting conditions affect the intent of the shot, in the field we use from natural light (all times of day), along with on-camera filtration (ND, grad ND, polarizers) with LED panels as supplements to studio set-ups with a choice of light fixtures,” explains Dunbar. “These range from flashlights, candles, LED panels from 2-x-3 inches to 1-x-2 foot panels, old tungsten units and light through the window. Having been shooting for almost 50 years, I like to use whatever tool is around that fits the need of the shot. If not, I figure out what will do from what’s in the kit.”

Dunbar not only shoots, he edits and colors as well. “My edit suite is kind of old. I have a MacPro (cylinder) with over a petabyte of online storage. I look forward to moving to the next-generation of Macs with Thunderbolt 3. On my current system, I rarely get to see the full 8K resolution. I can check files at 4K via the AJA io4K or the KiPro box to a 4K TV.

“As a stock footage house, other than our occasional demo reels, and a few custom-produced client show reels, we only work with single clips in review, selection and prepping for the MammothHD library and galleries,” he explains. “So as an edit suite, we don’t need a full bore throughput for 4K, much less 8K. Although at some point I’d love to have an 8K state-of-the-art system to see just what we’re actually capturing in realtime.”

Apps used in MammothHD’s Apple-based edit suite are Red’s RedCineX (the current beta build) using the new IPP2 pipeline, Apple’s Final Cut 7 and FCP X, Adobe’s Premiere, After Effects and Photoshop, and Blackmagic’s Resolve, along with QuickTime 7 Pro.

Working with these large 8K files has been a challenge, says Dunbar. “When selecting a single frame for export as a 16-bit tiff (via the RedCine-X application), the resulting tiff file in 8K is 200MB!”

The majority of storage used at MammothHD is Promise Pegasus and G-Tech Thunderbolt and Thunderbolt 2 RAIDs, but the company has single disks, LTO tape and even some old SDLT media ranging from FireWire to eSata.

“Like moving to 4K a decade ago, once you see it it’s hard to go back to lower resolutions. I’m looking forward to expanding the MammothHD 8K galleries with more subjects and styles to fill the 8K markets.” Until then Dunbar also remains focused on 4K+ footage, which he says is his site’s specialty.

Quick Chat: Endcrawl now supports 4K

By Randi Altman

Endcrawl, a web-based end credits service, is now supporting 4K. This rollout comes on the heels of an extensive testing period — Endcrawl ran 37 different 4K pilot projects on movies for Netflix, Sony and Filmnation.

Along with 4K support comes new pricing. All projects still start on a free-forever tier with 1K preview renders, and users can upgrade to 4K for $999 or 2K for $499.

We reached out to Endcrawl co-founder John “Pliny” Eremic to find out more about the upgrade to 4K.

You are now offering unlimited 4K renders in the cloud. Why was that an important thing to include in Endcrawl, and what does that mean for users?
We’ve seen a sharp rise in the demand for 4K and UHD finishes over the past 18 months. Some of this is driven by studios, like Netflix and Sony, but there’s plenty of call for 4K on the indie and short-form side as well.

Why cloud rendering?
Speed is a big reason. 4K renders usually turn around in less than an hour. 2K renders in half that time. You’d need a beefy rig to match that performance. Convenience is another reason. Offloading renders to the cloud eliminates a huge bottleneck. If you need that late-night clutch render it’s just a few clicks away. Your workflow isn’t tied to a single workstation somewhere… or to business hours.

That’s why we decided to make Endcrawl 100% cloud-based from day one. And, yes, I’d say that using SaaS tools in production is more or less completely normalized in 2017.

Endcrawl’s UI

Are renders really unlimited?
Yes, they are. Unlimited preview renders on the free tier. Unlimited 2K or 4K uncompressed for upgraded projects. We do reserve the right to cut off a project if someone is behaving abusively or just spamming the render engine for kicks.

Have you ever had to do that?
After more than 1,000 projects, this has come up exactly zero times.

Can you mention some films Endcrawl has been used on?
Moonlight, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Ava DuVernay’s 13th, Oliver Stone’s Snowden, Spike Lee’s Chi-Raq, Pride Prejudice & Zombies and Dirty Grandpa, and about 1,000 others.

What else should people know?
– It’s still really fast. 4K renders turn around in about an hour. That’s 60 minutes from clicking “render” until you (or your post house) see a download link to fresh, zipped DPX frames. I cannot overstate how much this comes in handy.
– File sizes are small. Even though a five-minute 4K sequence weighs in at around 250GB, those same frames zip up to just 2.2GB. That’s a compression ratio of more than 100:1. On a fast pipe, you’ll download that in minutes.
– All projects are 4K under the hood now. Even if you’re on a 1K or 2K tier, our engine initially typesets and rasterizes all renders in 4K.
– 4K is still tough on the desktop. Some applications start to run out of memory even on lengthy 2K credits sequences — to say nothing of 4K. Endcrawl eliminates those worries and adds collaboration, live preview and that speedy cloud render engine.

Bluefish444 supports Adobe CC and 4K HDR with Epoch card

Bluefish444 Epoch video audio and data I/O cards now support the advanced 4K high dynamic range (HDR) workflows offered in the latest versions of the Adobe Creative Cloud.

Epoch SDI and HDMI solutions are suited for Adobe’s Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, Audition CC and other tools that are part of the Creative Cloud. With GPU-accelerated performance for emerging post workflows, including 4K HDR and video over IP, Adobe and Bluefish444 are providing a strong option for pros.

Bluefish444’s Adobe Mercury Transmit support for Adobe Creative Cloud brings improved performance in demanding workflows requiring realtime video I/O from UHD and 4K HDR sequences.

Bluefish444 Epoch video card support adds:
• HD/SD SDI input and output
• 4K/2K SDI input and output
• 12/10/8-bit SDI input and output
• 4K/2K/HD/SD HDMI preview
• Quad split 4K UHD SDI
• Two sample interleaved 4K UHD SDI
• 23, 24, 25, 29, 30fps video input and output
• 48, 50, 59, 60fps video input and output
• Dual-link 1.5Gbps SDI
• 3Gbps level A & B SDI
• Quad link 1.5Gbps and 3Gbps SDI
• AES digital audio
• Analog audio monitoring
• RS-422 machine control
• 12-bit video color space conversions

“Recent updates have enabled performance which was previously unachievable,” reports Tom Lithgow, product manager at Bluefish444. “Thanks to GPU acceleration, and [the] Adobe Mercury Transmit plug-in, Bluefish444 and Adobe users can be confident of smooth realtime video performance for UHD 4K 60fps and HDR content.”

A glimpse at what was new at NAB

By Lance Holte

I made the trek out to Las Vegas last week for the annual NAB show to take in the latest in post production technology, discuss new trends and products and get lost in a sea of exhibits. With over 1,700 exhibitors, it’s impossible to see everything (especially in the two days I was there), but here are a handful of notable things that caught my eye.

Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve Studio 14: While the “non-studio” version is still free, it’s hard to beat the $299 license for the full version of Resolve. As 4K and 3D media becomes increasingly prevalent, and with the release of their micro and mini panels, Resolve can be a very affordable solution for editors, mobile colorists and DITs.

The new editorial and audio tools are particularly appealing to someone like me, who is often more hands-on on the editorial side than the grading side of post. To that regard, the new tracking features look to provide extra ease of use for quick and simple grades. I also love that Blackmagic has gotten rid of the dongles, which removes the hassle of tracking numerous dongles in a post environment where systems and rooms are swapped regularly. Oh, and there’s bin, clip and timeline locking for collaborative workflows, which easily pushes Resolve into the competition for an end-to-end post solution.

Adobe Premiere CC 2017 with After Effects and Audition Adobe Premiere is typically my editorial application of choice, and the increased integration of AE and Audition promise to make an end-to-end Creative Cloud workflow even smoother. I’ve been hoping for a revamp of Premiere’s title tool for a while, and the Essential Graphics panel/new Title Tool appears to greatly increase and streamline Premiere’s motion graphics capabilities — especially as someone who does almost all my graphics work in After Effects and Photoshop. The more integrated the various applications can be, the better; and Adobe has been pushing that aspect for some time now.

On the audio side, Premiere’s Essential Sound Panel tools for volume matching, organization, cleanup and other effects without going directly into Audition (or exporting for ProTools, etc.) will be really helpful, especially for smaller projects and offline mixes. And as a last note, the new Camera Shake Deblur effect in After Effects is fantastic.

Dell UltraSharp 4K HDR Monitor — There were a lot of great looking HDR monitors at the show, but I liked that this one fell in the middle of the pack in terms of price point ($2K), with solid specs (1000 nits, 97.7% of P3, and 76.9% of Rec. 2020) and a reasonable size (27 inches). Seems like a good editorial or VFX display solution, though the price might be pushing budgetary constraints for smaller post houses. I wish it was DCI 4K instead of UHD and a little more affordable, but that will hopefully come with time.

On that note, I really like HP’s DreamColor Z31x Studio Display. It’s not HDR, but it’s 99% of the P3 colorspace, and it’s DCI 4K — as well as 2K, by multiplying every pixel at 2K resolution into exactly 4 pixels — so there’s no odd-numbered scaling and sharpening required. Also, I like working with large monitors, especially at high resolutions. It offers automated (and schedulable) color calibration, though I’d love to see a non-automated display in the future if it could bring the price down. I could see the HP monitor as a great alternative to using more expensive HDR displays for the majority of workstations at many post houses.

As another side note, Flanders Scientific’s OLED 55-inch HDR display was among the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, but with numerous built-in interfaces and scaling capabilities, it’s likely to come at a higher price.

Canon 4K600STZ 4K HDR laser projector — This looks to be a great projection solution for small screening rooms or large editorial bays. It offers huge 4096×2400 resolution, is fairly small and compact, and apparently has very few restraints when it comes to projection angle, which would be nice for a theatrical edit bay (or a really nice home theater). The laser light source is also attractive because it will be low maintenance. At $63K, it’s at the more affordable end of 4K projector pricing.

Mettle 360 Degree/VR Depth plug-ins: I haven’t worked with a ton of 360-degree media, but I have dealt with the challenges of doing depth-related effects in a traditional single-camera space, so the fact that Mettle is doing depth-of-field effects, dolly effects and depth volumetric effects with 360-degree/VR content is pretty incredible. Plus, their plug-ins are designed to integrate with Premiere and After Effects, which is good news for an Adobe power user. I believe they’re still going to be in beta for a while, but I’m very curious to see how their plug-ins play out.

Finally, in terms of purely interesting tech, Sony’s Bravia 4K acoustic surface TVs are pretty wild. Their displays are OLED, so they look great, and the fact that the screen vibrates to create sound instead of having separate speakers or an attached speaker bar is awfully cool. Even at very close viewing, the screen doesn’t appear to move, though it can clearly be felt vibrating when touched. A vibrating acoustic surface raises some questions about mounting, so it may not be perfect for every environment, but interesting nonetheless.


Lance Holte is an LA-based post production supervisor and producer. He has spoken and taught at such events as NAB, SMPTE, SIGGRAPH and Createasphere. You can email him at lance@lanceholte.com.

JVC GY-LS300CH camera offering 4K 4:2:2 recording, 60p output

JVC has announced version 4.0 of the firmware for its GY-LS300CH 4KCAM Super 35 handheld camcorder. The new firmware increases color resolution to 4:2:2 (8-bit) for 4K recording at 24/25/30p onboard to SDXC media cards. In addition, the IP remote function now allows remote control and image viewing in 4K. When using 4K 4:2:2 recording mode, the video output from the HDMI/SDI terminals is HD.

The GY-LS300CH also now has the ability to output Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) video at 60/50p via its HDMI 2.0b port. Through JVC’s partnership with Atomos, the GY-LS300CH integrates with the new Ninja Inferno and Shogun Inferno monitor recorders, triggering recording from the camera’s start/stop operation. Plus, when the camera is set to J-Log1 gamma recording mode, the Atomos units will record the HDR footage and display it on their integrated, 7-inch monitors.

“The upgrades included in our Version 4.0 firmware provide performance enhancements for high raster recording and IP remote capability in 4K, adding even more content creation flexibility to the GY-LS300CH,” says Craig Yanagi, product marketing manager at JVC. “Seamless integration with the new Ninja Inferno will help deliver 60p to our customers and allow them to produce outstanding footage for a variety of 4K and UHD productions.”

Designed for cinematographers, documentarians and broadcast production departments, the GY-LS300CH features JVC’s 4K Super 35 CMOS sensor and a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) lens mount. With its “Variable Scan Mapping” technology, the GY-LS300CH adjusts the sensor to provide native support for MFT, PL, EF and other lenses, which connect to the camera via third-party adapters. Other features include Prime Zoom, which allows shooters using fixed-focal (prime) lenses to zoom in and out without loss of resolution or depth, and a built-in HD streaming engine with Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connectivity for live HD transmission directly to hardware decoders as well as JVCVideocloud, Facebook Live and other CDNs.

The Version 4.0 firmware upgrade is free of charge for all current GY-LS300CH owners and will be available in late May.

Comprimato plug-in manages Ultra HD, VR files within Premiere

Comprimato, makers of GPU-accelerated storage compression and video transcoding solutions, has launched Comprimato UltraPix. This video plug-in offers proxy-free, auto-setup workflows for Ultra HD, VR and more on hardware running Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

The challenge for post facilities finishing in 4K or 8K Ultra HD, or working on immersive 360­ VR projects, is managing the massive amount of data. The files are large, requiring a lot of expensive storage, which can be slow and cumbersome to load, and achieving realtime editing performance is difficult.

Comprimato UltraPix addresses this, building on JPEG2000, a compression format that offers high image quality (including mathematically lossless mode) to generate smaller versions of each frame as an inherent part of the compression process. Comprimato UltraPix delivers the file at a size that the user’s hardware can accommodate.

Once Comprimato UltraPix is loaded on any hardware, it configures itself with auto-setup, requiring no specialist knowledge from the editor who continues to work in Premiere Pro CC exactly as normal. Any workflow can be boosted by Comprimato UltraPix, and the larger the files the greater the benefit.

Comprimato UltraPix is a multi-platform video processing software for instant video resolution in realtime. It is a lightweight, downloadable video plug-in for OS X, Windows and Linux systems. Editors can switch between 4K, 8K, full HD, HD or lower resolutions without proxy-file rendering or transcoding.

“JPEG2000 is an open standard, recognized universally, and post production professionals will already be familiar with it as it is the image standard in DCP digital cinema files,” says Comprimato founder/CEO Jirˇí Matela. “What we have achieved is a unique implementation of JPEG2000 encoding and decoding in software, using the power of the CPU or GPU, which means we can embed it in realtime editing tools like Adobe Premiere Pro CC. It solves a real issue, simply and effectively.”

“Editors and post professionals need tools that integrate ‘under the hood’ so they can focus on content creation and not technology,” says Sue Skidmore, partner relations for Adobe. “Comprimato adds a great option for Adobe Premiere Pro users who need to work with high-resolution video files, including 360 VR material.”

Comprimato UltraPix plug-ins are currently available for Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Foundry Nuke and will be available on other post and VFX tools soon. You can download a free 30-day trial or buy Comprimato UltraPix for $99 a year.

Sony intros extended-life SSDs for 4K or higher-bitrate recording 

Sony is expanding its media lineup with the introduction of two new G Series professional solid-state drives in 960GB (SV-GS96) and 480GB (SV-GS48) capacities. Sony says that these SSDs were designed to meet the growing need for external video recording devices docked to camcorders or high-performance DSLRs.

The new SSDs are an option for respective video recorders, offering videographers stable high-speed capabilities, a sense of security and lower cost of ownership due to their longer life. Using Sony’s Error Correction Code technology, the 960GB G Series SSD achieves up to 2400TBW (Terabytes Written), while the 460GB drive can reach 1200TBW, resulting in less frequent replacement and increased ROI. 2400TBW translates to about 10 years of use for the SV-GS96, if data is fully written to the drive an average of five times per week.

According to Sony, the drives are also designed for ultra-fast, stable data writing. Sony G Series SSDs feature built-in technology preventing sudden speed decreases, while ensuring stable recording of high-bitrate 4K video without frame dropping. For example, used with an Atomos Shogun Inferno, G Series SSDs are able to record video at 4K 60p (ProRes 422 HQ) mode stably.

When paired with the necessary connection cables, the new G Series drives can be effortlessly removed from a recorder and connected to a computer for file downloading, making editing easier and faster with read speeds up to 550MB/s.

G Series SSDs also offer data protection technology that keeps content secure and intact, even if a sudden power failure occurs. To add to the drive’s stability, it features a durable connector which withstands extreme repeated insertion and removal up to 3,000 times — or six times more tolerance than standard SATA connectors — even in harsh conditions.

Sony’s SSD G Series is expected to be available May 2017 at the suggested retail prices of $539 for SV-GS96 and $287 for SV-GS48.

DP John Kelleran shoots Hotel Impossible

Director of photography John Kelleran shot season eight of the Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible, a reality show in which struggling hotels receive an extensive makeover by veteran hotel operator and hospitality expert Anthony Melchiorri and team.

Kelleran, who has more than two decades experience shooting reality/documentary projects, called on Panasonic VariCam LT 4K cinema camcorders for this series.

eWorking for New York production company Atlas Media, Kelleran shot a dozen Hotel Impossible hour-long episodes in locations that include Palm Springs, Fire Island, Capes May, Cape Hatteras, Sandusky, Ohio, and Albany, New York. The production, which began last April and wrapped in December 2016, spent five days in each location.

Kelleran liked the VariCam LT’s dual native ISOs of 800/5000. “I tested ISO5000 by shooting in my own basement at night, and had my son illuminated only by a lighter and whatever light was coming through the small basement window, one foot candle at best. The footage showed spectacular light on the boy.”

Kelleran regularly deployed ISO5000 on each episode. “The crux of the show is chasing out problems in dark corners and corridors, which we were able to do like never before. The LT’s extreme low light handling allowed us to work in dark rooms with only motivated light sources like lamps and windows, and absolutely keep the honesty of the narrative.”

Atlas Media is handling the edit, using Avid Media Composer. “We gave post such a solid image that they had to spend very little time or money on color correction, but could rather devote resources to graphics, sound design and more,” concludes Kelleran.

Hollywood’s Digital Jungle moves to Santa Clarita

Digital Jungle, a long-time Hollywood-based post house, has moved its operations to a new facility in Santa Clarita, California, which has become a growing hub for production and post in the suburbs of Los Angeles. The new headquarters is now home to both Digital Jungle Post and its recent off-shoot Digital Jungle Pictures, a feature film development and production studio.

“I don’t mind saying, it was a bit of an experiment moving to Santa Clarita,” explains Digital Jungle president and chief creative Dennis Ho. “With so many filmmakers and productions working out here — including Disney/ABC Studios, Santa Clarita Studios and Universal Locations — this area has developed into a vast untapped market for post production professionals. I decided that now was a good time to tap into that opportunity.”

Digital Jungle’s new facility offers the full complement of digital workflow solutions for HD to 4K. The facility has multiple suites featuring Smoke, DaVinci Resolve, audio recording via Avid’s S6 console and Pro Tools, production offices, a conference area, a full kitchen and a client lounge.

Digital Jungle is well into the process of adding further capabilities with a new high-end luxury DI 4K theater and screening room, greenscreen stage, VFX bullpen, multiple edit bays and additional production offices as part of their phase two build-out.

Digital Jungle Post services include DI/color grading; VFX/motion graphics; audio recording/mixing and sound design; ADR and VO; HD to 4K deliverables for tape and data; DCI and DCDM; promo/bumper design and film/television title design.

Commenting on Digital Jungle Pictures, Ho says, “It was a natural step for me. I started my career by directing and producing promos and interstitials for network TV, studios and distributors. I think that our recent involvement in producing several independent films has enhanced our credibility on the post side. Filmmakers tend to feel more comfortable entrusting their post work to other filmmakers. One example is we recently completed audio post and DI for a new Hallmark film called Love at First Glance.”

In addition to Love at First Glance, Digital Jungle Productions’ recent projects include indie films Day of Days, A Better Place (available now on digital and DVD) and Broken Memories, which was screened at the Sedona Film Festival.

 

Review: BenQ’s 4K/UHD monitor

By Brady Betzel

If you have been dabbling in higher-than 1920×1080 resolution multimedia production, you have likely been investigating a color-accurate and affordable 4K/UHD monitoring solution.

If you’ve Googled the Dolby PRM-4220 professional reference monitor you probably had a heart attack when you saw the near $40K price tag. This monitor is obviously not for the prosumer, or even the work-at-home professional. You may have found yourself in the forum-reading rabbit-hole where Flanders Scientific, Inc. (FSI) comes up a lot — unfortunately, if you aren’t able to shell out between $2K and $8K then you have been left in the dark.

PV3200pt_regular_front2While Dolby, FSI and others, like Sony, have amazing reference monitor solutions they come with that price tag that is hot and fast stop for anyone on a work-at-home budget. This is where the BenQ PV3200PT 32-inch LED backlit LCD IPS monitor comes in.
BenQ has been around for a while. You may remember them being in stores like Best Buy or Circuit City (if you are that old). When I worked at Best Buy, BenQ was the option next to Sony, but I remember thinking, “I’ve never heard if BenQ!” Now, after playing around with the PV3200PT monitor, I know the name BenQ, and I won’t forget it.

Digging In
The 32-inch PV3200PT monitor is a professional multimedia monitor. Not only is it a gigantic and gorgeous 32-inch 10-bit display, it has some great technology running it — including 100% Rec. 709 color accuracy. If you don’t deal with the tech spec-nerdom behind color science, Rec. 709 is the international technical standard for high-definition color given by the Radiocommunication Sector (you’ve probably heard it referred to as CCIR if you’ve heard it at all).

Simply, it’s the standard that color is broadcast across television in a high-definition environment, and if you produce video or other multimedia across televisions you want as close to 100% accuracy in your Rec. 709 color as possible. That way you can be confident that what you are creating on your monitor is technically what most people will see when it is broadcast… whew, that is long and boring but essential to me saying that the PV3200PT monitor is 100% Rec. 709 accurate.

But it is not Rec. 2020 accurate, which is the newer standard applied to ultra-high definition television — think 4K UHD (2160p) and the imminent 8K UHD (4320p). So while you are accurate color-wise in HD space, you can’t necessarily rely on it for the wider range of color values that is offered in UHD, Rec. 2020. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but something to be aware of. And, once you see the price you probably won’t care anyway. As I write this review, it is being sold on BenQ’s website for $1,299. This is a really, really great price for the punch this monitor packs.

As a video editor, I love large, color-accurate monitors. Who doesn’t? I want my whites properly exposed (if possible) and my blacks detailed and dark; it’s a lot to ask for but it’s what I want and what I need when color correcting footage. While using the BenQ PV3200PT, I was not disappointed with its output.

Rotation
I am also testing an HP z1G3 all-in-one workstation at the moment, so I opened the BenQ box and plugged the PV3200PT right into the HP z1G3 mini-displayport and was off and running. I noticed immediately how many ways I could physically move the display around to match the environment I was in, including 90 degrees for some sweet Adobe Photoshop vertical work, visit www.postperspective.com to read all the articles at once, or even use it to display your Media Pool when using Blackmagic’ DaVinci Resolve 12.5 (and, yes, it does work with the vertical display!!) Using the PV3200PT vertically in Resolve was really mind opening and could become a really great way to use such big screen real estate.

To get the PV3200PT to rotate the image vertically I tried using the BenQ provided software, Display Pilot, but eventually realized that I had to use Nvidia’s Control Panel. That did get me into using the Display Pilot to break up the BenQ’s (and the other monitor for that matter) into quadrants to display multiple windows at once easily and efficiently.

I put Adobe Premiere on my left screen and set up the BenQ PV3200PT to have it split three ways: a large left column with Adobe Media Encoder and two right rows with Internet browsers. I really liked that feature, especially because I love to watch tutorials, and this type of set-up allows me to watch and create at the same time. It’s an awesome feature.

When using the PV3200PT I didn’t notice any lag time or smearing, which you can sometimes see on lower-priced monitors. I also noticed that they shipped the monitor with Brightness set to 100% and Color Mode set to Standard, so if you want your eyes to not bug out of your head after 10 hours of work and you want that Rec. 709 color, you need to enable that yourself. Luckily, the menu on the monitor is easy to navigate, which isn’t always the case with monitors so I wanted to make sure to point that out. It isn’t a touch screen monitor, so don’t be a dummy like me and poke at your monitor wondering why the menus aren’t working.

I hand picked a few tech specs below for the BenQ PV3200PT monitor that I felt are important but you can see the entire list here under Specs:
– Resolution: 3840×2160 (UHD – NOT true 4K)
– Native Contrast: 1000:1
– Panel Type: IPS
– Response Time : 5ms
– Display Colors: 1.07 B
– Color Gamut: 100% Rec. 709
– Color Bit 10bits
– Input connectors: HDMI 1.4, Display Port 1.2, mini Display Port 1.2
– Weight: 27 to 33 pounds depending on the mounting option installed

BenQ Vertical ResolveSumming Up
In the end I really loved this monitor, not only for its price but for the technology inside of it. From the beautiful 32-inch IPS real estate to the SD card reader and two USB 3.0 ports built in. I learned that I love the vertical feature and may have to incorporate that into my daily color correction and editing style.

One thing I didn’t mention earlier is the external OSD Controller included that allows you to quickly select between Rec. 709, EBU and SMPTE-C color spaces. Also included is the BenQ proprietary Palette Master Element Calibration Software that allows for custom calibration with devices like the Spyder by @Datacolor.

I would recommend taking a look at this beautiful display if you are in the market for a UHD, 100% Rec. 709 color accurate, adjustable display for around $1,299, if you are lucky enough to get in on that price.

Brady Betzel is an online editor at Margarita Mix in Hollywood, working on Life Below Zero and Cutthroat Kitchen. You can email Brady at bradybetzel@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter @allbetzroff. Earlier this year, Brady was nominated for an Emmy for his work on Disney’s Unforgettable Christmas Celebration.

Sony launches Z Series line of UHD TVs for 4K HDR

Sony recently introduced a line of UHD television displays that could be suitable as client monitors in post houses. Sony’s new Z series television display technology — including the X930D and X940D — has adopted Sony’s Backlight Master Drive backlight boosting technology, which expands brightness and contrast to better exploit 4K HDR. While testing will need to be done, rumor has it the monitor may easily comply with Ultra HD Alliance requirements, making this an excellent choice for large size monitors for the client experience.

To further enhance contrast, the Backlight Master Drive includes a dense LED structure, discrete lighting control and an optical design with a calibrated beam LED. Previously, local dimming was controlled by zones with several LEDs. The discrete LED control feature allows the Backlight Master Drive to dim and boost each LED individually for greater precision, contrast and realism.

Additionally, the Z series features a newly developed 4K image processor, the 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme. Combined with Backlight Master Drive, the Z series features expanded contrast and more accurate color expression. The 4K Processor X1 Extreme incorporates three new technologies: an object-based HDR remaster, dual database processing and Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR. With these three technologies, 4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme reproduces a wide variety of content with immersive 4K HDR picture quality.

The Z series runs on Android TV with a Sony user interface that includes a new content bar with enhanced content navigation, voice search and a genre filtering function. Instead of selecting a program from several channels, users can select from favorite genres, including as sports, music, news.

Pricing is as follows:

  • XBR65Z9D, 65″ class (64.5″ diagonal), $6,999 MSRP, available summer 2016
  • XBR75Z9D, 75″ class (74.5″ diagonal), $9,999 MSRP, available summer 2016
  • XBR100Z9D, 100″ class (99.5″ diagonal), pricing and availability details to be announced later this year.

Storage Workflows for 4K and Beyond

Technicolor-Postworks and Deluxe Creative Services share their stories.

By Beth Marchant

Once upon a time, an editorial shop was a sneaker-net away from the other islands in the pipeline archipelago. That changed when the last phases of the digital revolution set many traditional editorial facilities into swift expansion mode to include more post production services under one roof.

The consolidating business environment in the post industry of the past several years then brought more of those expanded, overlapping divisions together. That’s a lot for any network to handle, let alone one containing some of the highest quality and most data-dense sound and pictures being created today. The networked storage systems connecting them all must be robust, efficient and realtime without fail, but also capable of expanding and contracting with the fluctuations of client requests, job sizes, acquisitions and, of course, evolving technology.

There’s a “relief valve” in the cloud and object storage, say facility CTOs minding the flow, but it’s still a delicate balance between local pooled and tiered storage and iron-clad cloud-based networks their clients will trust.

Technicolor-Postworks
Joe Beirne, CTO of Technicolor-PostWorks New York, is probably as familiar as one can be with complex nonlinear editorial workflows. A user of Avid’s earliest NLEs, an early adopter of networked editing and an immersive interactive filmmaker who experimented early with bluescreen footage, Beirne began his career as a technical advisor and producer for high-profile mixed-format feature documentaries, including Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 and the last film in Godfrey Reggio’s KOYAANISQATSI trilogy.

Joe Beirne

Joe Beirne

In his 11 years as a technology strategist at Technicolor-PostWorks New York, Beirne has also become fluent in evolving color, DI and audio workflows for clients such as HBO, Lionsgate, Discovery and Amazon Studios. CTO since 2011, when PostWorks NY acquired the East Coast Technicolor facility and the color science that came with it, he now oversees the increasingly complicated ecosystem that moves and stores vast amounts of high-resolution footage and data while simultaneously holding those separate and variously intersecting workflows together.

As the first post facility in New York to handle petabyte levels of editorial-based storage, Technicolor-PostWorks learned early how to manage the data explosion unleashed by digital cameras and NLEs. “That’s not because we had a petabyte SAN or NAS or near-line storage,” explains Beirne. “But we had literally 25 to 30 Avid Unity systems that were all in aggregate at once. We had a lot of storage spread out over the campus of buildings that we ran on the traditional PostWorks editorial side of the business.”

The TV finishing and DI business that developed at PostWorks in 2005, when Beirne joined the company (he was previously a client), eventually necessitated a different route. “As we’ve grown, we’ve expanded out to tiered storage, as everyone is doing, and also to the cloud,” he says. “Like we’ve done with our creative platforms, we have channeled our different storage systems and subsystems to meet specific needs. But they all have a very promiscuous relationship with each other!”

TPW’s high-performance storage in its production network is a combination of local or semi-locally attached near-line storage tethered by several Quantum StorNext SANs, all of it air-gapped — or physically segregated —from the public Internet. “We’ve got multiple SANs in the main Technicolor mothership on Leroy Street with multiple metadata controllers,” says Beirne. “We’ve also got some client-specific storage, so we have a SAN that can be dedicated to a particular account. We did that for a particular client who has very restrictive policies about shared storage.”

TPW’s editorial media, for the most part, resides in Avid’s ISIS system and is in the process of transitioning to its software-defined replacement, Nexis. “We have hundreds of Avids, a few Adobe and even some Final Cut systems connected to that collection of Nexis and ISIS and Unity systems,” he says. “We’re currently testing the Nexis pipeline for our needs but, in general, we’re going to keep using this kind of storage for the foreseeable future. We have multiple storage servers that serve that part of our business.”

Beirne says most every project the facility touches is archived to LTO tape. “We have a little bit of disc-to-tape archiving going on for the same reasons everybody else does,” he adds. “And some SAN volume hot spots that are all SSD (solid state drives) or a hybrid.” The facility is also in the process of improving the bandwidth of its overall switching fabric, both on the Fibre Channel side and on the Ethernet side. “That means we’re moving to 32Gb and multiple 16Gb links,” he says. “We’re also exploring a 40Gb Ethernet backbone.”

Technicolor-Postworks 4K theater at their Leroy Street location.

This backbone, he adds, carries an exponential amount of data every day. “Now we have what are like two nested networks of storage at a lot of the artist workstations,” he explains. “That’s a complicating feature. It’s this big, kind of octopus, actually. Scratch that: it’s like two octopi on top of one another. That’s not even mentioning the baseband LAN network that interweaves this whole thing. They, of course, are now getting intermixed because we are also doing IT-based switching. The entire, complex ecosystem is evolving and everything that interacts with it is evolving right along with it.”

The cloud is providing some relief and handles multiple types of storage workflows across TPW’s various business units. “Different flavors of the commercial cloud, as well as our own private cloud, handle those different pools of storage outside our premises,” Beirne says. “We’re collaborating right now with an international account in another territory and we’re touching their storage envelope through the Azure cloud (Microsoft’s enterprise-grade cloud platform). Our Azure cloud and theirs touch and we push data from that storage back and forth between us. That particular collaboration happened because we both had an Azure instance, and those kinds of server-to-server transactions that occur entirely in the cloud work very well. We also had a relationship with one of the studios in which we made a similar connection through Amazon’s S3 cloud.”

Given the trepidations most studios still have about the cloud, Beirne admits there will always be some initial, instinctive mistrust from both clients and staff when you start moving any content away from computers that are not your own and you don’t control. “What made that first cloud solution work, and this is kind of goofy, is we used Aspera to move the data, even though it was between adjacent racks. But we took advantage of the high-bandwidth backbone to do it efficiently.”

Both TPW in New York and Technicolor in Los Angeles have since leveraged the cloud aggressively. “We our own cloud that we built, and big Technicolor has a very substantial purpose-built cloud, as well as Technicolor Pulse, their new storage-related production service in the cloud. They also use object storage and have some even newer technology that will be launching shortly.”

The caveat to moving any storage-related workflow into the cloud is thorough and continual testing, says Beirne. “Do I have more concern for my clients’ media in the cloud than I do when sending my own tax forms electronically? Yea, I probably do,” he says. “It’s a very, very high threshold that we need to pass. But that said, there’s quite a bit of low-impact support stuff that we can do on the cloud. Review and approval stuff has been happening in the cloud for some time.” As a result, the facility has seen an increase, like everyone else, in virtual client sessions, like live color sessions and live mix sessions from city to city or continent to continent. “To do that, we usually have a closed circuit that we open between two facilities and have calibrated displays on either end. And, we also use PIX and other normal dailies systems.”

“How we process and push this media around ultimately defines our business,” he concludes. “It’s increasingly bigger projects that are made more demanding from a computing point of view. And then spreading that out in a safe and effective way to where people want to access it, that’s the challenge we confront every single day. There’s this enormous tension between the desire to be mobile and open and computing everywhere and anywhere, with these incredibly powerful computer systems we now carry around in our pockets and the bandwidth of the content that we’re making, which is high frame rate, high resolution, high dynamic range and high everything. And with 8K — HDR and stereo wavefront data goes way beyond 8K and what the retina even sees — and 10-bit or more coming in the broadcast chain, it will be more of the same.” TPW is already doing 16-bit processing for all of its film projects and most of its television work. “That’s piles and piles and piles of data that also scales linearly. It’s never going to stop. And we have a VR lab here now, and there’s no end of the data when you start including everything in and outside of the frame. That’s what keeps me up at night.”

Deluxe Creative Services
Before becoming CTO at Deluxe Creative Services, Mike Chiado had a 15-year career as a color engineer and image scientist at Company 3, the grading and finishing powerhouse acquired by Deluxe in 2010. He now manages the pipelines of a commercial, television and film Creative Services division that encompasses not just dailies, editorial and color, but sound, VFX, 3D conversion, virtual reality, interactive design and restoration.

MikeChiado

Mike Chiado

That’s a hugely data-heavy load to begin with, and as VR and 8K projects become more common, managing the data stored and coursing through DCS’ network will get even more demanding. Branded companies currently under the monster Deluxe umbrella include Beast, Company 3, DDP, Deluxe/Culver City, Deluxe VR, Editpool, Efilm, Encore, Flagstaff Studios, Iloura, Level 3, Method Studios, StageOne Sound, Stereo D, and Rushes.

“Actually, that’s nothing when you consider that all the delivery and media teams from Deluxe Delivery and Deluxe Digital Cinema are downstream of Creative Services,” says Chiado. “That’s a much bigger network and storage challenge at that level.” Still, the storage challenges of Chiado’s segment are routinely complicated by the twin monkey wrenches of the collaborative and computer kind that can unhinge any technology-driven art form.

“Each area of the business has its own specific problems that recur: television has its issues, commercial work has its issues and features its issues. For us, commercials and features are more alike than you might think, partly due to the constantly changing visual effects but also due to shifting schedules. Television is much more regimented,” he says. “But sometimes we get hard drives in on a commercial or feature and we think, ‘Well that’s not what we talked about at all!”

Company 3’s file-based digital intermediate work quickly clarified Chiado’s technical priorities. “The thing that we learned early on is realtime playback is just so critical,” he says. “When we did our very first file-based DI job 13 years ago, we were so excited that we could display a certain resolution. OK, it was slipping a little bit from realtime, maybe we’ll get 22 frames a second, or 23, but then the director walked out after five minutes and said, ‘No. This won’t work.’ He couldn’t care less about the resolution because it was only always about realtime and solid playback. Luckily, we learned our lesson pretty quickly and learned it well! In Deluxe Creative Services, that still is the number one priority.”

It’s also helped him cut through unnecessary sales pitches from storage vendors unfamiliar with Deluxe’s business. “When I talk to them, I say, ‘Don’t tell me about bit rates. I’m going to tell you a frame rate I want to hit and a resolution, and you tell me if we can hit it or not with your solution. I don’t want to argue bits; I want tell you this is what I need to do and you’re going to tell me whether or not your storage can do that.’ The storage vendors that we’re going to bank our A-client work on better understand fundamentally what we need.”

Because some of the Deluxe company brands share office space — Method and Company 3 moved into a 63,376-square-foot former warehouse in Santa Monica a few years ago — they have access to the same storage infrastructure. “But there are often volumes specially purpose-built for a particular job,” says Chiado. “In that way, we’ve created volumes focused on supporting 4K feature work and others set up specifically for CG desktop environments that are shared across 400 people in that one building. We also have similar business units in Company 3 and Efilm, so sometimes it makes sense that we would want, for artist or client reasons, to have somebody in a different location from where the data resides. For example, having the artist in Santa Monica and the director and DP in Hollywood is something we do regularly.”

Chiado says Deluxe has designed and built with network solution and storage solution providers a system “that suits our needs. But for the most part, we’re using off-the-shelf products for storage. The magic is how we tune them to be able to work with our systems.”

Those vendors include Quantum, DDN Storage and EMC’s network-attached storage Isilon. “For our most robust needs, like 4K feature workflows, we rely on DDN,” he says. “We’ve actually already done some 8K workflows. Crazy world we live in!” For long-term archiving, each Deluxe Creative Service location worldwide has an LTO-tape robot library. “In some cases, we’ll have a near-line tier two volume that stages it. And for the past few years, we’re using object storage in some locations to help with that.”

Although the entire group of Deluxe divisions and offices are linked by a robust 10GigE network that sometimes takes advantage of dark fiber, unused fiber optic cables leased from larger fiber-optic communications companies, Chiado says the storage they use is all very specific to each business unit. “We’re moving stuff around all the time but projects are pretty much residing in one spot or another,” he says. “Often, there are a thousand reasons why — it may be for tax incentives in a particular location, it may be for project-specific needs. Or it’s just that we’re talking about the London and LA locations.”

With one eye on the future and another on budgets, Chiado says pooled storage has helped DCS keep costs down while managing larger and larger subsets of data-heavy projects. “We are always on the lookout for ways to handle the next thing, like the arrival of 8K workflows, but we’ve gained huge, huge efficiencies from pooled storage,” he says. “So that’s the beauty of what we build, specific to each of our world locations. We move it around if we have to between locations but inside that location, everybody works with the content in one place. That right there was a major efficiency in our workflows.”

Beyond that, he says, how to handle 8K is still an open question. “We may have to make an island, and it’s been testing so far, but we do everything we can to keep it in one place and leverage whatever technology that’s required for the job,” Chiado says. “We have isolated instances of SSDs (solid-state drives) but we don’t have large-scale deployment of SSDs yet. On the other end, we’re working with cloud vendors, too, to be able to maximize our investments.”

Although the company is still working through cloud security issues, Chiado says Deluxe is “actively engaging with cloud vendors because we aren’t convinced that our clients are going to be happy with the security protocols in place right now. The nature of the business is we are regularly involved with our clients and MPAA and have ongoing security audits. We also have a group within Deluxe that helps us maintain the best standards, but each show that comes in may have its own unique security needs. It’s a constant, evolving process. It’s been really difficult to get our heads and our clients’ heads around using the cloud for rendering, transcoding or for storage.”

Luckily, that’s starting to change. “We’re getting good traction now, with a few of the studios getting ready to greenlight cloud use and our own pipeline development to support it,” he adds. “They are hand in hand. But I think once we move over this hurdle, this is going to help the industry tremendously.”

Beyond those longer-term challenges, Chiado says the day-to-day demands of each division haven’t changed much. “Everybody always needs more storage, so we are constantly looking at ways to make that happen,” he says. “The better we can monitor our storage and make our in-house people feel comfortable moving stuff off near-line to tape and bring it back again, the better we can put the storage where we need it. But I’m very optimistic about the future, especially about having a relief valve in the cloud.”

Our main image is the shared 4K theater at Company 3 and Method.

Talking VR content with Phillip Moses of studio Rascali

Phillip Moses, head of VR content developer Rascali, has been working in visual effects for over 25 years. His resume boasts some big-name films, including Alice in Wonderland, Speed Racer and Spider-Man 3, just to name a few. Seven years ago he launched a small boutique visual effects studio, called The Resistance VFX, with VFX supervisor Jeff Goldman.

Two years ago, after getting a demo of an Oculus pre-release Dev Kit 2, Moses realized that “we were poised on the edge of not just a technological breakthrough, but what will ultimately be a new platform for consuming content. To me, this was a shift almost as big as the smartphone, and an exciting opportunity for content creators to begin creating in a whole new ecosystem.”

Phillip Moses

Phillip Moses

Shortly after that, his friends James Chung and Taehoon Oh launched Reload Studios, with the vision of creating the first independently-developed first-person shooter game, designed from the ground up for VR. “As one of the first companies formed around the premise of VR, they attracted quite a bit of interest in the non-gaming sector as well,” he explains. “Last year, they asked me to come aboard and direct their non-gaming division, Rascali. I saw this as a huge opportunity to do what I love best: explore, create and innovate.”

Rascali has been busy. They recently debuted trailers for their first episodic VR projects, Raven and The Storybox Project, on YouTube, Facebook/Oculus Video, Jaunt, Littlstar, Vrideo and Samsung MilkVR. Let’s find out more…

You recently directed two VR trailers. How is directing for VR different than directing for traditional platforms?
Directing for VR is a tricky beast and requires a lot of technical knowledge of the whole process that would not normally be required of directors. To be fair, today’s directors are a very savvy bunch, and most have a solid working knowledge of how visual effects are used in the process. However, for the way I have chosen to shoot the series, it requires the ability to have a pretty solid understanding of not just what can be done, but how to actually do it. To be able to previsualize the process and, ultimately, the end result in your head first is critical to being able to communicate that vision down the line.

Also, from a script and performance perspective, I think it’s important to start with a very important question of “Why VR?” And once you believe you have a compelling answer to that question, then you need to start thinking about how to use VR in your story.  Will you require interaction and participation from the viewer? Will you involve the viewer in any way? Or will you simply allow VR to serve as an additional element of presence and immersion for the viewer?

While you gain many things in VR, you also have to go into the process with a full knowledge of what you ultimately lose. The power of lenses, for example, to capture nuance and to frame an image to evoke an emotional response, is all but lost. You find yourself going back to exploring what works best in a real-world framing — almost like you are directing a play in an intimate theater.

What is the biggest challenge in the post workflow for VR?
Rendering! Everything we are producing for Raven is at 4K left eye, 4K right eye and 60fps. The rendering process alone guarantees that the process will take longer than you hoped. It also guarantees that you will need more data storage than you ever thought necessary.

But other than rendering, I find that the editorial process is also more challenging. With VR, those shots that you thought you were holding onto way too long are actually still too short, and it involves an elaborate process to conform everything for review in a headset between revisions. In many ways, it’s similar to the old process of making your edit decisions, then walking the print into the screening room. You forget how tedious the process can be.
By the way, I’m looking forward to integrating some realtime 360 review into the editorial process. Make it happen Adobe/Avid!

These trailers are meant to generate interest from production partners to green light these as full episodic series. What is the intended length of each episode, and what’s the projected length of time from concept to completion for each episode of the all-CG Storybox, and live-action Raven?
Each one of these projects is designed for completely different audiences, so the answer is a bit different for each one. For Storybox, we are looking to keep each episode under five minutes, with the intention that it is a fairly easy-to-consume piece of content that is accessible to a broad spectrum of ages. We really hope to make the experiences fun, playful and surprising for the viewer, and to create a context for telling these stories that fuels the imagination of kids.

For Storybox, I believe that we can start delivering finished episodes before the end of the third quarter — with a full season representing 12 to 15 episodes. Raven, on the other hand, is a much more complex undertaking. While the VR market is being developed, we are betting on the core VR consumers to really want stories and experiences that range closer to 12 to 15 minutes in duration. We feel this is enough time to tell more complex stories, but still make each episode feel like a fantastic experience that they could not experience anywhere else. If green-lit tomorrow, I believe we would be looking at a four-month production schedule for the pilot episode.

Rascali is a division of Reload Studios, which is developing VR games. Is there a technology transfer of workflows and pipelines and shared best practices across production for entertainment content and games within the company?
Absolutely! While VR is a new technology, there is such a rich heritage of knowledge present at Reload Studios. For example, one question that VR directors are asking themselves is: “How can I direct my audience’s attention to action in ways that are organic and natural?” While this is a new question for film directors — who typically rely on camera to do this work for them — this is a question that the gaming community has been answering for years. Having some of the top designers in the game industry at our disposal is an invaluable asset.

That being said, Reload is much different than most independent game companies. One of their first hires was senior Disney animator Nik Ranieri. Our producing team is composed of top animation producers from Marvel and DC. We have a deep bench of people who give the whole company a very comprehensive knowledge of how content of all types is created.

What was the equipment set-up for the Raven VR shoot? Which camera was used? What tools were used in the post pipeline?
Much of the creative IP for Raven is very much in development, including designs, characters, etc. For this reason, we elected to construct a teaser that highlighted immersive VR vistas that you could expect in the world we are creating. This required us to lean very heavily on the visual effects / CG production process — the VFX pipeline included Autodesk 3ds Max, rendering in V-Ray, with some assistance from Nuke and even Softimage XSI. The entire project was edited in Adobe Premiere.

For our one live-action element, this was shot with a single Red camera, and then projected onto geometry for accurate stereo integration.

Where do you think the prevailing future of VR content is? Narrative, training, therapy, gaming, etc.?
I think your question represents the future of VR. Games, for sure, are going to be leading the charge, as this demographic is the only one on a large scale that will be purchasing the devices required to build a viable market. But much more than games, I’m excited to see growth in all of the areas you listed above, including, most significantly, education. Education could be a huge winner in the growing VR/AR ecosystem.

The reason I elected to join Rascali is to help provide solutions and pave the way for solutions in markets that mostly don’t yet exist.  It’s exciting to be a part of a new industry that has the power to improve and benefit so many aspects of the global community.

UHD Alliance’s Victor Matsuda: updates from NAB 2016

Victor Matsuda from the UHD Alliance was at NAB 2016. The Alliance was formed about 15 months ago as 4K UHD products began exploding into the market. The goal of the Alliance was to establish certifications for these new products and for content. All of this is to ensure a quality experience for consumers, who will ultimately drive 4K/UHD adoption throughout the market.

Watch our video with Matsuda to find out more.

Digging Deeper: NASA TV UHD executive producer Joel Marsden

It’s hard to deny the beauty of images of Earth captured from outer space. And NASA and partner Harmonic agree, boldly going where no one has gone before — creating NASA TV UHD, the first non-commercial consumer UHD channel in North America. Leveraging the resolution of ultra high definition, the channel gives viewers a front row seat to some gorgeous views captured from the International Space Station (ISS), other current NASA missions and remastered historical footage.

We recently reached out to Joel Marsden, executive producer of NASA TV UHD, to find out how this exciting new endeavor reached “liftoff.”

Joel Marsden

Joel Marsden

This was obviously a huge undertaking. How did you get started and how is the channel set up?
The new channel was launched with programming created from raw video footage and imagery supplied by NASA. Since that time, Harmonic has also shot and contributed 4K footage, including video of recent rocket launches. They provide the end-to-end UHD video delivery system and post production services while managing operations. It’s all hosted at a NASA facility managed by Encompass Digital Media in Atlanta, which is home to the agency’s satellite and NASA TV hubs.

Like the current NASA TV channels, and on the same transponder, NASA TV UHD is transmitted via the SES AMC-18C satellite, in the clear, with a North American footprint. The channel is delivered at 13.5Mbps, as compared with many of the UHD demo channels in the industry, which have required between 50 and 100 Mbps. NASA’s ability to minimize bandwidth use is based on a combination of encoding technology from Harmonic in conjunction with the next-generation H.265 HEVC compression algorithm.

Can you talk about how the footage was captured and how it got to you for post?
When the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 was created, one of the legal requirements of NASA was to keep the public apprised of its work in the most efficient means possible and with the ultimate goal of bringing everyone on Earth as close as possible to being in space. Over the years, NASA has used imagery as the primary means of demonstration. The group in charge of these efforts, the NASA Imagery Experts Program, provides the public with a wide array of digital television, web video and still images based on the agency’s activities. Today, NASA’s broadcast offerings via NASA TV include an HD consumer channel, an HD media channel and an SD education channel.

In 2015, the agency introduced NASA TV UHD. Naturally, NASA archives provide remastered footage from historical missions and shots from NASA’s development and training processes, all of which are used for production of broadcast programming. In fact, before the agency launched NASA TV, it had already begun production of its own documentary series, based on footage collected during missions.

Just five or six years ago, NASA also began documenting major events in 4K resolution or higher. The agency has been using 6K Red Dragon digital cinema cameras for some time. NASA TV UHD video content is sourced from high-resolution images and video generated on the ISS, Hubble Space Telescope and other current NASA missions. The raw content files are then sent to Harmonic for post.

Can you walk us through the workflow?
Raw video files are mailed on physical discs or sent via FTP from a variety of NASA facilities to Harmonic’s post studio in San Jose and stored on the Harmonic MediaGrid system, which supports an edit-in-place workflow with Final Cut Pro and other third-party editing tools.

During the content processing phase, Harmonic uses Adobe After Effects to paint out dead pixels that result from the impact of cosmic radiation on camera sensors. They have built bad-pixel maps that they use in post production to remove the distracting white dots from the picture. The detail of UHD means that the footage also shows scratches on the windows of the ISS through which the camera is shooting, but these are left in for authenticity.

 

A Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve is used to color grade footage, and Maxon Cinema 4D Studio is used to create animations of images. Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Creative Suite are used to set the video to music and add text and graphics, along with the programming name, logo and branding.

Final programs are then transferred in HD back to the NASA teams for review, and in UHD to the Harmonic team in Atlanta to be loaded onto the Spectrum X for playout.

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You can check out NASA TV’s offerings here.

A glimpse at what Sony has in store for NAB

By Fergus Burnett

I visited Sony HQ in Manhattan for their pre-NAB Show press conference recently. In a board room with tiny muffins, mini bagels and a great view of New York, we sat pleasantly for a few hours to learn about the direction the company is taking in 2016.

Sony announced details for a slew of 4K-, HDR-capable broadcast cameras and workflow systems, all backwards compatible with standard HD to ease the professional and consumer transition to Ultra-HD.

As well as broadcast and motion picture, Sony’s Pro division has a finger in the corporate, healthcare, education and faith markets. They have been steadily pushing their new products and systems into universities, private companies, hospitals and every other kind of institution. Last year, they helped to fit out the very first 4K church.

I work as a DIT/dailies technician in the motion picture industry rather than broadcast, so many of these product announcements were outside my sphere of professional interest, but it was fascinating to gain an understanding of the immense scale and variety of markets that Sony is working in.

There were only a handful of new additions the CineAlta (pictured) line, firmware updates for the F5 and F55, and a new 4K recording module. These two cameras have really endured in popularity since their introduction in 2012.

The new AXS-R7 recording module (right) offers a few improvements over its predecessor the AXS-R5. It’s capable of full 4K up to 120fps and has a nifty 30-second cache capability, which is going to be really useful for shooting water droplets in slow motion. The AXS-R7 uses a new kind of high-speed media card that looks like a slightly smaller SxS — it’s called AXSM-S48. Sony is really on fire with these names!

A common and unfortunate problem when I am dealing with on-set dailies is sketchy card readers. This is something that ALL motion picture camera companies are guilty of producing. USB 3.0 is just not fast enough when copying huge chunks of critical camera data to multiple drives, and I’ve found the power connector on the current AXS card reader to be touchy on separate occasions with different readers, causing the card to eject in the midst of offloading. Though there are no details yet, I was assured that the AXSM-S48 reader would use a faster connection than USB 3.0. I certainly hope so; it’s a weak point in what is otherwise a fairly trouble-free camera ecosystem.

Looming at the top of the CineAlta lineup, the F65 is still Sony’s flagship camera for cinema production. Its specs were outrageous four years ago and still are, but it never became a common sight on film sets. The 8K resolution was mostly unnecessary even for top-tier productions. I inquired where Sony saw the F65 sitting among its competition, from Arri and Red, as well as their own F55 which has become a staple of TV drama.

Sony sees the F65 as their true cinema camera, ideally suited for projection on large screens. They admitted that while uptake of the camera was slow after its introduction, rentals have been increasing as more DPs gain experience with the camera, enjoying its low-light capabilities, color gamut and sheer physical bulk.

Sony manufactures a gigantic fleet of sensible, soberly named cameras for every conceivable purpose. They are very capable production tools, but it’s only a small part of Sony’s overall strategy.

With 4K HDR delivery fast becoming standard and expected, we are headed for a future world where pictures are more appealing than reality. From production to consumption, Sony could well be set to dominate that world. We already watch Sony-produced movies shot on Sony cameras playing on Sony screens, and we listen to Sony musicians on Sony stereos as we make our way to worship the God of sound and vision in a 4K church.

Enjoy NAB everyone!

Panasonic offers compact 4K Super 35 VariCam LT

At an event held in LA at the Directors Guild Theater, Panasonic introduced the VariCam LT, it’s next-gen of 4K cinema cameras. The lightweight The VariCam LT camcorder features the super 35mm sensor and imaging capabilities that its VariCam 35 offers, but with reductions in size, weight and price.

Incorporating this identical imaging “DNA” in a more compact rendition, the VariCam LT (model AU-V35LT1G) delivers 14+ stops of dynamic range with V-Log, and cinematic VariCam image quality and color science, as well as the VariCam 35’s dual native ISOs of 800/5000.

Weighing in at just at under six pounds, the VariCam LT is suited for handheld, SteadiCam, jib, crane, drone, gimbal and overall cinema verité work. The VariCam LT will also target owner/operators, independent filmmakers, documentary makers and corporate productions.

The VariCam LT will be available at the end of March in two packages, with a suggested list price of $18,000 (body only) and $24,000 (body + AU-VCVF10G viewfinder).

The VariCam LT handles formats ranging from 4K, UHD, 2K and HD, and like the VariCam 35, is fully capable of High Dynamic Range (HDR) field capture. The new 4K camcorder offers Apple ProRes 4444 (up to 30p) and ProRes 422 HQ (up to 60p) support for HD recording, as well as Panasonic’s AVC-ULTRA family of advanced video codecs.

New codecs introduced in the VariCam LT include AVC-Intra LT and AVC-Intra 2K-LT, both of which are designed to offer capture rates up to 240fps in imager crop mode, ideal for sports and other fast motion footage.

The new camera features color management capabilities along with VariCam’s extended color gamut and support for the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) workflow, which allows for full fidelity mastering of original source material. The VariCam LT offers in-camera color grading, with the ability to record an ungraded 4K master along with all on-set grading metadata. A new color-processing feature is V-Look, which acts as a blend of V-Log and video, and allows filmic documentary acquisition without the same need for intense color grading.

The VariCam LT differs from the VariCam 35 in being a one-piece, short-bodied camcorder versus a two-piece camera head plus recorder. While the VariCam LT does not feature parallel sub-recording, it does have an SD slot for high-resolution proxy recording. Proxy files can be wirelessly uploaded via FTP, which facilitates wireless color grading. Variable frame rates are available with LongG6 recording.

There is one expressP2 card for all formats, including high frame rate and HD/2K/UHD and 4K recording (the 256GB expressP2 card can record up to 90 minutes of 4K/4:2:2/23.98p content). RAW output from SDI will likely be supported by a firmware upgrade in early summer 2016.

The VariCam LT features an EF mount (vs. the VariCam 35’s PL mount), suitable for the wide array of lenses available for smaller cameras. The EF mount can be switched out to a robust standard PL mount, expanding the range of compatible lenses that can be used. The control panel can be separated from the camera body to facilitate realtime control and easy menu access. The camcorder has a production-tough magnesium body to assure durability and reliability in challenging shooting locations.

Other features new to the VariCam LT are power hot swap, IR shooting (further enhancing the camcorder’s extreme low-light capture at ISO 5000), 23.98 PsF output and image presets as scene files.

Among the camcorder’s top-level production assets are ND filters (CLEAR, 0.6, 1.2, 1.8), an optional OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) with optical zoom functionality, 24-bit LPCM audio for in-camera audio master recording, Focus Assist, anamorphic lens de-squeeze, special REC functions (PreRec, interval, one-shot), IP control via Panasonic’s AK-HRP200 camera remote controller, and built-in GPS.

Pro interfaces include 3G-HD-SDI x 3 (SDI-OUT X 2 and VF), LAN, genlock in, timecode in/out, USB2.0 Host and USB2.0 Device (mini B) and three XLR inputs (one 5-pin, two 3-pin) to record four channels of 24-bit, 48KHz audio. In addition, its flexible interfaces allow use of the Panasonic AU-VCVF10G viewfinder, as well as third-party viewfinder solutions.

Light Iron beefs up TV division, adds colorist Jeremy Sawyer

President Michael Cioni discusses increased episodic work and his studio’s growth.

The quality of television programming — broadcast, cable and streaming — has never been better… from the writing to the acting to the final look of the shows. In response to the new business this production has brought to its facility, Light Iron is growing its television episodic division with talent and gear.

New hire Jeremy Sawyer is a colorist who brings with him a wealth of experience with TV, including grading The Walking Dead, The Closer, South Park, Major Crimes, Limitless and The Affair. He comes to Light Iron from MTI.  Prior to that he spent time at Company 3, The Syndicate and Finish Post.

Light Iron’s Hollywood location is adding a second television bay, a new online room and a dailies department for in-house and overnight dailies. Expect a similar expansion at the company’s New York studio in early 2016. In both cases, new hardware has been added specifically for television workflow, such as UHD and HDR monitors and dedicated SAN storage.

Michael Cioni

Michael Cioni

“We are coloring with the Sony BVM X300, which satisfies our needs for HDR 4K displays,” explains Light Iron president Michael Cionni. “We are also using the Sony 940c for a consumer confidence monitor check for HDR 4K material, which our clients appreciate. Our newest, optimized 1 Petabyte SAN comes from Quantum and runs StorNext 5.”

 

Sawyer’s upcoming projects at Light Iron include Season 6 of AMC’s The Walking Dead, Season 1 of History Channel’s Live to Tell and Season 1 of OWN’s Greenleaf. The post house, which is a Panavision company, says to expect more hires in the near future.

In terms of color grading gear, Sawyer is currently using Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio, running on Supermicro computers with multiple Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X graphics cards to be optimized for 4K 60p content, which Light Iron is already using on one of their new shows — Wheeler Dealers  for Discovery Channel.

“Episodic projects make up about a third of our DI business in Los Angeles right now,” reports Cioni. “We expect to increase episodic finishing significantly in 2016 at our Los Angeles and New York facilities. Our newest location in New Orleans will support dailies and editorial for both episodic and feature projects.”

One can’t help but wonder how much of this television work is thanks to streaming services now creating their own content. “The truth is that OTT episodic content owners, such as Amazon and Netflix, are very interested in future-proofing their investments by embracing the same elements that Light Iron has been championing for years: file-based capture, mobile post, high dynamic range, wide color gamut and 4K-plus resolutions,” explains Cioni. “Our broadband clients are helping drive many of these innovations, and we’re excited that the balance of projects is shifting.”

Earlier in this piece, Cioni referenced Light Iron’s new studio in New Orleans. This location is part of parent company Panavision’s new 30,500-square-foot space, which will also house Light Iron’s first brick-and-mortar facility in Louisiana. The facility represents the first location the companies have shared since Panavision acquired Light Iron at the start of 2015.

Sony gives Rita Hayworth, Gene Kelly a 4K make-over in ‘Cover Girl’

Sony Pictures Entertainment has completed an all-new 4K restoration of Cover Girl, director Charles Vidor’s 1944 Technicolor musical that starred Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly. The restoration, completed under the supervision of Sony’s Grover Crisp, premiered at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in New York during Preserve and Project, its 13th international festival of film preservation.

Cover Girl was Columbia Pictures’ first big film shot in the Technicolor three-strip process. For the new 4K restoration, the team went back to the original 3-strip nitrate camera negatives.

“There was a preservation initiative with this film in the 1990s that involved making some positive intermediate elements for video transfer, but our current process dictates that we source the most original materials possible to come up with the best visual result for our 4K workflow,” recalls Crisp, who is EVP of asset management, film restoration and digital mastering at Sony Pictures. “The technical capabilities that we have now allow us to digitally recombine the three separate black and white negatives to create a color image that is virtually free of the fuzzy registration issues inherent in the traditional analog work, in addition to the usual removal of scratches and other physical flaws in the film.”

Crisp says they tried to stay as true to the Technicolor look as possible. “That specific kind of look is impossible to match exactly as it was in the original work from the 1940s and 1950s for a variety of reasons. With original sources for reference, however, it gives us a good target to aim for.”

The greater color range facilitated the recreation of a Technicolor look that is as authentic as possible, especially where original dye transfer prints were available as reference points.

In terms of challenges, Crisp says that aside from the usual number of torn frames, scratches and dirt imbedded in the emulsion of the film, there is always the issue of color breathing when working with the 3-strip Technicolor films.  “It is an inconsistent problem and can be very difficult to address,” he explains. “Kevin Manbeck at MTI Film has developed algorithms to compensate and correct for this problem and that is a big advancement.”

The film was scanned at Cineric in New York City on their proprietary 4K wetgate scanner.

“Working with our colorist, Sheri Eisenberg, we strived to get the colors, with deep blacks and vibrant reds, right.”

She called on the FilmLight Baselight 8 for the color at Deluxe (formerly ColorWorks) in Culver City. “It is a very robust color correction system, and one that we have used for years on our work,” says Crisp. “The lion’s share of the image restoration was done at L’Immagine Ritrovata, a film restoration and conservation facility in Bologna, Italy.  They use a variety of software for image cleanup, though much of this kind of work is manual. This means a lot of individuals sitting at digital workstations working on one frame at a time.  At MTI Film, here in Los Angeles, some of the final image restoration was completed, mostly for the removal of gate hairs in numerous shots, something that is very difficult to achieve without leaving digital artifacts.”

IBC Report: Making high-resolution panoramic video

By Tom Coughlin

Higher resolution content is becoming the norm in today’s media workflows, but pixel count is not the only element that is changing. In addition to the pixel density the depth of image, color gamut, frame rates and even the number of simultaneous streams of video will be important. At the 2015 IBC in Amsterdam there was a clear picture of a future that includes UHD 4K and 8K video, as well as virtual reality, as the future path to more immersive video and entertainment experiences.

NHK, a pioneer in 8K video hardware and infrastructure development has given more details on its introduction of this higher resolution format. They will start test broadcasts of their 8K technology in 2016, followed by significant satellite video transmission in 2018 and widespread deployment in 2020 in time for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The company is looking at using HEVC compression to put a 72Gb/s video stream with 22:2 channel audio into a 100Mb/s delivery channel.

In the Technology Zone at the IBC there were displays of virtual reality, 8K video developments, (mostly by NHK), as well as multiple camera set-ups for creating virtual reality video and various ways to use panoramic video. Sphericam 2 is a Kickstarter-funded product that provides 60 frames per second 4K video capture for creating VR content. This six-camera device is compact and can be placed on a stick and used like a selfie camera to capture a 360-degree view.

Sphericam 2

Sphericam 2

At the 2015 Google Developers Conference, GoPro demonstrated a 360-degree camera rig (our main image) using 16 GoPro cameras to capture panoramic video. At the IBC, GoPro displayed a more compact 360 Hero six-camera rig for 3D video capture.

In the Technology Zone, Al Jeezera had an eight-camera rig for 4K video capture (made using a 3D printer) and were using software to create panoramic videos. There are many such videos on YouTube that can be viewed as panoramic videos, which change perspective when viewed on a smart phone that has an accelerometer that will create a reference around which the viewer can look at the panoramic activities. The Kolor software actually provides a number of different ways to view the captured content.

Eight Camera rig

Eight-camera rig at Al Jeezera stand.

While many viewing devices for VR video use special split-screen displays, or even use smart phones with a split screen image while using the phone’s accelerometers to give the sense of being surrounded by the viewed image — like the Google Cardboard — there are other ways to create an immersive experience. As mentioned earlier, panoramic videos with a single (or split screen) are available on YouTube. There are also spherical display devices where the still or video image can be rotated by moving your hand across the sphere like the one shown below.

Higher resolution content is becoming mainstream, with 4K TVs set to be the majority that are sold within the next few years. 8K video production, pioneered by NHK and others in Japan, could be the next 4K video by the start of the next decade, driving even more realistic content capture and higher bandwidth and higher storage capacity post.

Multi-camera content is also growing in popularity to support virtual reality games and other applications. This growth is enabled by the proliferation of low cost, high-resolution cameras and sophisticated software that combine the video from these cameras to create a panoramic video and virtual reality experience.

The trends toward higher resolution, combined with a greater color gamut, higher frame rate and color depth will transform video experiences by the next decade, leading to new requirements for storage, networking and processing in video production and display.

Dr. Tom Coughlin, president of Coughlin Associates, has over 35 years in the data storage industry. Coughlin is also the founder and organizer of the annual Storage Visions Conference, a partner to the International Consumer Electronics Show, as well as the Creative Storage Conference

Bluefish444 bundling Scratch 8 with its Epoch 4K Neutron

Bluefish444, which makes uncompressed 4K/2K/HD/SD SDI video cards, has released a software bundle consisting of the Epoch 4K Neutron SDI/HDMI solution and Assimilate Scratch 8, a realtime digital intermediate system.

The Epoch 4K Neutron has a new half-height form factor that allows for integration into a broader range of chassis, including low-profile servers, small form factor (SFF) computers and low-profile Thunderbolt expansion chassis. The full-height shield option allows for integration in more traditional workstation computers and meets additional I/O requirements like AES/EBU, and also provides RS422 machine control and domestic analogue audio monitoring. In addition, the solution supports 3G SDI I/O configurations to allow for 4K SDI workflows. An HDMI mini-connector enables a 4K/2K/HD/SD HDMI monitoring preview and allows for color-critical monitoring on consumer HDMI displays supporting Deep Color.

Epoch 4K Neutron Turbo

Other features of the Epoch 4K Neutron/Scratch 8 bundle include cross-platform Windows and Mac OS X support; 4K 30p fps HDMI monitoring, 8-bit/10-bit/12-bit SDI monitoring and 4K/2K/HD/SD mastering and monitoring; stereoscopic SDI output; 12-bit precision color space conversions; eight-channel AES digital audio I/O; and stereo analogue audio monitoring. The solutions are compatible with Thunderbolt 2 expansion chassis offered by Bluefish444-qualified third-party partners.

postPerspective met with Bluefish444’s Tom Lithgow at IBC. He gave us a run down of the bundle.

Avid Artist|DNxIO box for high frame rate, 4K workflows now shipping

Avid has started shipping its Avid Artist|DNxIO, a hardware I/O interface designed to simplify and accelerate HD, Ultra HD, 2K and 4K workflows. Available as standalone hardware or bundled with Media Composer software, Artist|DNxIO allows users to capture, monitor and output media quickly — in the highest quality possible. And because the interface, which includes hardware by Blackmagic Design, is designed to be open and flexible, you can use it with Avid and other creative tools too. More on that in a bit.

Currently the company is offering users a path to upgrade: between now and September 30, customers can save more than 20 percent on Avid Artist | DNxIO when they trade in Avid Nitris DX or Avid Mojo DX, or selected Open IO hardware from AJA, Blackmagic Design, Matrox and MOTU.

Built on the Avid MediaCentral Platform, Avid Artist|DNxIO is compatible with Avid Artist Suite solutions and many third-party tools, including Blackmagic Resolve, Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects and others. It includes hardware by Blackmagic, which is a new I/O Connectivity Partner for the MediaCentral Platform.

Artist-DNxIO_Back_Enlarged

Avid Artist|DNxIO enables video pros to capture, monitor and output Ultra HD, 2K and 4K media, as well as HD and SD formats. Its fits in standard 19-inch equipment racks for easy integration in equipment rooms, and it’s quiet enough to place on the desk of an edit bay. The HD display allows editors to monitor media that is being ingested into and outputted from the system, even when the software is not running. A host of connections delivers fast switching among a range of input devices and sources for capture, as well as a range of monitors and output devices. Hands-on controls allow users to easily select video, audio, and timecode inputs as well as deck control.

Avid Artist|DNxIO is bundled with Blackmagic’s Fusion Connect plug-in for Media Composer. This gives users access to this node-based effects compositing tool from within the Media Composer user interface. Onboard DNxHR encoding for capture workflows will be enabled on DNxIO via a future no-cost firmware update. Updated software for supported creative editorial applications will be required to take advantage of this capability.

Here are some details of the release:
• Capture and playback up to 60 frames per second in HD format.
• Work faster and more efficiently with realtime or accelerated encode, decode, colorspace conversion, upconversion, down conversion and cross conversion with onboard hardware processing.
• Operation reliably with a redundant power supply
• Connect to a variety of computers using PCIe or Thunderbolt connections (cables sold separately)
• Easily integrate with existing workflows using multiple connections
• Timecode in/out is available on board
• Control the system from external devices using remote control ports
• Monitor media with confidence using a bright front-panel full 1080 HD LCD display.
• Get hands-on control over sources of video, audio, timecode, and remote control signaling
• Video inputs and outputs:
– Four SDI in, four SDI loop, four SDI out and four SDI repeated out, providing 12Gb/s in/out with support for single link, dual link and quad link (quad link in coming soon)
– Dual Optical SDI in/out which support 3Gb/s and 6Gb/s SDI – 12Gb/s support coming soon (modules not included)
– HDMI in and out
– Analog video in and out—component and composite
• Audio inputs and outputs:
– Balanced analog audio — four channels in, four channels out
– AES/EBU— two channels in, two channels out
– Consumer Hi-Fi inputs for MP3 players and other devices
– Front panel features mic input with 48V phantom power, mic level control, headphone connection, and headphone level control

Canon developing lightweight 4K projector for 2016

Canon is developing an LCOS projector that they say is capable of displaying video and still images at a resolution up to 4,096×2,400 pixels with 5,000 lumens of brightness. This level of definition surpasses the 4,096×2,160 pixel resolution of 4K digital cinema.

Thanks to ongoing advances in image quality and definition made possible by the introduction of a growing number of 4K production tools, Canon is using its proprietary optical technologies to make its entry into the 4K projector market in 2016.

Canon is developing the 4K projector as a new model within its REALiS series that achieves high brightness, ultra high-resolution and is also has a compact and lightweight body.

Equipped with three ultra-high-definition 4,096×2,400 pixel LCOS panels, the Canon 4K projector under development is being designed to support the projection of bright, HD content that “exceeds the resolution offered by 4K digital cinema.” While increases in brightness performance for projectors commonly requires larger lamps and cooling systems, resulting in increases in projector body size, Canon’s proprietary AISYS optical system hopes to deliver a 5,000 lumens performance while making significant reductions in body size and weight.

Additionally, the projector will feature a newly developed 4K wide-zoom lens capable of projecting large images from a short distance, as well as an optical focusing function that enables the projection of images on curved-surface screens.

Canon does want to remind people that since the product is currently under development, specs and availability might change.

Panel: The future of post production — 4K and HDR

By Larry Jordan

Last week, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel sponsored by KeyCode Media and Sony on “The Future of Post: 4K and HDR.” We spent 90 minutes discussing whether it was time for editors and post facilities to start editing 4K and/or HDR images, and what changes these new formats would require.

The panel featured Michael Cioni, president, Light Iron; Mike Whipple, executive director of post, Sony Pictures Entertainment; and Bryan McMahan, senior digital colorist, Modern VideoFilm.

Some Background
4K is the term used to describe image frame sizes that are close to 4,000×2,500 pixels. 4K actually has a variety of different aspect ratios – Michael Cioni listed six off the top of his head – along with a variation of 4K called Ultra HD (UHD).

HDR is the term used to describe High Dynamic Range video, which provides more grayscale values than traditional video. HDR is described as more “life-like,” and is especially notable because it provides richer blacks and more vibrant highlights.

HDR generally requires RAW files using a bit depth of 12-bits or greater. This means that file sizes will be much larger than standard HD video files. Also, for best results, HDR images should not use a compressed video codec. Additionally, footage needs to be captured during production as HDR, you can’t add it to footage after the fact during post.

Wide Color Gamut is the term used to describe video with greater color saturation than traditional video. Not “different” colors, but richer, more saturated colors.

In the shorthand of the panel, these formats were described as: more pixels, more gray-scales and more saturation. These new image standards are described in a SMPTE spec called “Rec. 2020.” This is similar in concept, but not in values, to the Rec. 709 spec we use for HD or Rec. 601 we used for SD.

As Cioni said: “People often speak of 4K or HDR or Wide Color Gamut. But it isn’t “or,” it’s “and.” The video we’ll be editing in the future will contain higher-resolution images and greater dynamic range and wider color gamut. Think of it as three legs of a tripod supporting the video of the future.”

Making Adjustments
New video technology often requires making adjustments to support it, however from the artist’s perspective, those adjustments are fairly minor. As McMahan described, there’s no difference from the creative perspective when grading 4K video vs. 2K or HD. There may be more pixels to work with, but the techniques he uses still work.

There is, however, a difference between color grading HDR video vs. “SDR” (or “Standard Dynamic Range” video as Cioni called it). McMahan said it took him a day or two to get comfortable with the new HDR format.

Once McMahan became comfortable with the format, he said it took him about the same amount of time to color grade an HDR master as an SDR master. In fact, “I think I can do HDR a little faster than SDR, because I have a broader palette to work with.”

The big difference with HDR, all three panelists stressed, was not the workflow, but getting a monitor that properly displays HDR video. Here, prices are not cheap. While no specific brands were suggested, a color-grade-capable HDR monitor is in the $30,000 price range.

Which brought up a key question for me: “Where’s the money?”

Who’s Buying?
Of the three panelists, only Cioni is directly involved in client prospecting and billing. So he and I talked about how editors and post houses would make money in this new format.

Cioni charges a “little bit” more for editing 4K video and “more” for HDR. We didn’t get into specific pricing.

Then he surprised me by saying, “The money for HDR and 4K won’t come from broadcasters or cable. They are a long way from updating their infrastructure to support this technology because the upgrades are expensive and time consuming. The market is broadband companies — Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Microsoft and Apple — who are able to instantly deliver 4K media directly to the home via the Internet.”

This agrees with trends I’ve been seeing. Traditional broadcast audiences are declining for everything but live events, while audiences for Internet-based video delivery are skyrocketing. The money is still in the older distribution formats, but the audiences are on the web.

Can You See the Difference, and Does It Matter?
We had a long discussion on whether the typical audience can actually see the image improvements of 4K. While panel members felt that 4K is instantly perceptible, I am less sure. On the other hand, if editing 4K allows editors to get more work, I’m in favor of it whether anyone can see the difference or not.

Where the panel was all in agreement was that the differences in HDR were massively better than traditional HD video. As Bryan said: “Once you’ve seen a properly graded HDR image, going back to SDR looks flat and lifeless.”

At this point, Cioni made an interesting comment: “It is easy to make a 2K, even a 1080 version of a 4K master file. Those conversion transforms are well known and don’t damage the image. With HDR, there’s no easy way to convert from HDR to SDR. For those cases, you’ll need to create two different color grades of your material.”

Hardware Needs
If an editor is successfully editing 1080 video, they can probably step up to 4K without needing to buy much new gear. Clearly, 4K requires more storage space and a 4K video monitor if you need to see your images pixel accurately. But for most creative editing, seeing the image at full resolution is not necessary, which means that editors don’t need a 4K monitor to do the creative cut.

However, as Michael Whipple pointed out, it is important to see the image at full resolution at some point during the edit just to make sure shots are in focus. Viewing images in less than full resolution tends to hide focus problems.

HDR and Wide Color Gamut video requires vastly larger storage due to the size of the source files, plus video monitoring gear that allows display of the extended color range images.

The big gating factor, as McMahan pointed out, is that an HDR monitor suitable for color grading is about $30,000. Which means we need to find ways to charge more to cover the costs of the gear required.

NOTE: Currently, Avid Media Composer, Premiere Pro CC and Final Cut Pro X don’t support HDR, except in a very rudimentary fashion.

Future Proofing
I decided to put Cioni on the spot by asking: “We are currently shooting 4K, 5K, even 6K images. NHK in Japan is planning on airing 8K images next year and 16K was demonstrated at NAB last spring. Should we just wait for three months for all the resolution specs to change again?”

Michael replied: “I expect 4K to be a standard delivery format for the next 10 years. While resolutions we use in production will continue to increase, the resolution we deliver will remain constant for a while. This means that editorial houses can standardize on a 4K deliverable.”

“HDR will take longer to develop because we need to get HDR-capable TV sets into the home to drive demand. The interesting thing about HDR is that it looks great regardless of the resolution of the video. HD, even SD, looks much better when displayed using HDR.”

Summary
It was a fascinating discussion, which made me realize that both high-resolutions and HDR/Wide Color Gamut are in our future. Bu maybe not today, due to a lack of widespread software support and companies focused on streaming to the web.

But, the future evolves faster than we think and last night’s discussion gave me a good idea of where we are headed. Thanks to KeyCode for allowing me to be a part of this discussion.

A video of the complete panel is below.

Larry Jordan is a producer, director, editor, writer, consultant and trainer who has worked in media for more than 40 years. He runs the LarryJordan.com and DigitalProductionBuzz.com websites.

Brian Pope opens post/VFX house Cognition in LA

The post and visual effects studio Cognition has opened in Los Angeles led by writer/producer Brian Pope. It features a management team that includes veteran colorist Dave Hollingsworth (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Adventures of Tintin) along with former Digital Domain VP/creative consultant Jeff Barnes.

Located near Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, Cognition currently offers high-resolution color grading and editorial finishing via SGO’s Mistika platform, as well as visual effects supervision and production.

The company is in the process of expanding the 3,000-square-foot facility they recently moved into. With completion expected by the fall, the facility will feature a pair of 4K digital cinema finishing theaters, a scalable visual effects pipeline, an emerging technologies research center and creative office space, all arrayed in a campus-like environment.

Cognition’s service offerings will encompass on-set and remote dailies, visual effects concept and design, on-set supervision, animation, graphics and deliverables. The company will also target photogrammetry, augmented reality and other new emerging fields as tools for previsualization, location scouting, visual effects production and other applications, helping to further blur the already diffuse lines between pre-, post and primary production.

The creative office space is earmarked for production companies, editorial operations and others who want to develop their projects in a collaborative, communal environment.

Says Pope, “Our business model positions production and what was traditionally called ‘post’ to be much more intimately — and interactively — linked, where producers and directors work in close proximity to the people producing the visual effects, color work and distribution packages. We believe the seamless integration of production with services such as color and VFX is not only a more organic way to fulfill the complex needs of today’s filmmakers, but will also serve to keep more work in Los Angeles and deliver a stronger, more innovative end product.”

Jeff Edson talks about Assimilate Scratch/Kinefinity camera bundle

Last week Assimilate announced a partnership with the Chinese camera company Kinefinity, which, says the company, provides a digital filmmaking path from on-set production to post to the high-growth Chinese marketplace, where Kinefinity has a large foothold.

Assimilate says this collaboration offers Chinese filmmakers an all-in-one solution for 2D/3D productions, from image capture with a high-resolution Kinefinity camera (4K, 6K) — which uses the KineRaw codec — to using Scratch tools for on-set data management and dailies and post, including conform, color grading, versioning, compositing, finishing and mastering. A key component of the partnership is the commitment to provide localized tutorials and technical support to the Chinese market.

The partnership also includes Kinefinity becoming a global reseller of the Scratch product line. Kinefinity is now offering a Kinefinity-Scratch bundle for new customers… worldwide. If someone buys a KineMini 4K or KineMax 6K camera, they receive one Scratch product license (a one-year subscription) for free. Kinefinity is also offering current Kinefinity camera owners special pricing for the purchase of Scratch.

In addition, Kinefinity is offering all of their camera customers the ability to acquire further Scratch licenses at a discounted price. (Without the discount, the current global pricing for Scratch 8.3 is one-year rental license at $650 US and a permanent license — including first-year maintenance/support — is $3,000 US.)

Jeff Edson, and milkshake

Jeff Edson, and a milkshake.

On the heels of this announcement we reached out to Assimilate CEO Jeff Edson to find out more.

Your announcement about this partnership emphasized the Chinese market, but you also mention these bundles are available worldwide. Are Kinefinity cameras only available in China?
No, the cameras are available worldwide. Kinefinity is building their channels outside of China, and have a reseller in Europe. But  this is clearly important to Assimilate from the standpoint of the Chinese market. For us this is a key partnership for that market: a localization and local support partner, etc.

In what other countries do you expect this bundle to play a big role?
With the number of digital cameras that keep coming to market — each one with their own set of unique offerings — we see more and more people who are camera neutral. Shooters are trying everything new that comes along, all in the name of creating the best images they can. I think that it is key for all cameras to be honest — a workflow that goes along with their cameras.

We see almost all cinema cameras providing some tool to get people from camera to some point in the post workflow. With the rate at which new technology comes to market, to keep this from becoming all about technology and focused on creating great stories, these kinds of bundles are important, in my opinion.

What are the benefits of this particular bundle for filmmakers? Is it only for the high-end or anyone shooting on any camera?
Kinefinity has a 4K Mini as well as their 6K high-end cameras. I talked a bit about the importance of these kinds of bundles with new cameras and, to be honest, the ability to deliver this kind of bundle helps with the deployment/use/success of using new cameras…so I  believe the target is everyone.

Can you walk us through the workflow benefits of this bundle?
It provides the kind of camera-to-dailies controls/workflow that is key to developing on-set looks and then takes it seamlessly to post and finishing, As you know, Scratch is used worldwide in all parts of the workflow, from on-set to finishing and everything in between. This provides filmmakers the ability to shoot with these new cameras and work in ways they are used to, focusing on the imagery as opposed to technology.

Can users expect other types of bundles like this with other camera makers?
Time will tell…there have been these kinds of conversations with camera vendors for years. For example, our relationship with Red started from day one. They did not bundle, but certainly promoted with us closely.

We have done some special promotions regionally with Sony, specifically in Latin America. It is not a bundle, per se, but it is a very aggressive offering with their F55/F65 cameras in that region. This was also done with Sony in the EMEA market.

At the channel level we have done a bundle with AJA Kona4/Io 4K products (via B&H) as well as announced a bundle with Bluefish444 with their 4K Neutron product. I believe that as all parts of the technology move ahead for 4K and beyond, focusing on workflow is more important than the pieces.

Anything I haven’t asked that you would like to add or elaborate on?
As you know from our history, Assimilate has always been on the front edge of technology in our markets, and the same is true with VR now. This is a market that screams for partnerships between the camera world and tools for finishing.

New firmware and Atomos Shogun support for AJA’s CION camera

AJA has released version 1.2 firmware for its CION 4K/UltraHD and 2K/HD professional production cameras.

CION v.1.2 updates offer improved white balance performance for overexposed image portions; improved video levels with higher IRE values available for various EI, gamma and color correction combinations; additional gamma and color correction options for higher EI 800 and EI 1000 values; and new internal video gamma LUT for external monitoring of the “expanded 1” or “disabled” gamma selections when an external LUT device is not in use.

In addition, an automatic white-balance alarm notifies users if an image does not contain a sufficient value of white or grey to perform an appropriate white balance, which in turn triggers the software to revert to the unity setting. AJA has also added an interval record (timelapse) indicator for the superimposed monitoring overlay, and SMPTE or full RGB range values can now be selected for the main SDI outputs.

CION v.1.2 firmware is field-upgradeable and can be uploaded to the camera via a built-in Web interface with a standard Web browser. The free update is available for download from https://www.aja.com/en/products/cion#support.

In other CION camera news, the Atomos Shogun portable recorder now supports external recording of AJA Raw files captured by the CION camera. Atomos Shogun users can record CION’s AJA Raw files at 4K and UltraHD resolutions at up to 60fps.

DP Phedon Papamichael gets flexible with Codex Action Cams for Infiniti

For an Infiniti QX50 SUV branding film, Oscar-nominated cinematographer Phedon Papamichael ASC, GSC, called on dual Codex Action Cam point, shoot and record packages to capture handheld location and road footage that was then intercut with 4K footage from the principal Red Dragon cameras on the production.

Papamichael, known for big-screen cinematography on movies including The Descendants, The Ides of March, The Monuments Men and Nebraska (a 2014 Oscar nom), often shoots and directs commercials, where he can focus his attention on each moment and try out the vary latest gear. It was in that vein that he shot and co-directed this film for the Infiniti QX50.

Main

In the film, Chinese superstars Archie Kao and Zhou Xun portray a couple who decide to break the rules during a typical car shoot and get a taste of freedom in the new SUV. Chased by paparazzi on motorcycles, they make their way to the Griffith Observatory and evade capture by going off-road in Griffith Park. Other scenes were shot in the high desert near the Mojave Desert and at Zuma Beach north of Malibu, where they frolic on the sand, shooting movies on their cellphones. They eventually return the car to the soundstage, where the frustrated director looks at the cellphone footage of their escapades.

The film was directed by Jaume Collet-Sera, through production company Bullitt. Papamichael took over directing duties on the final day of the five-day shoot, which involved beauty stage work of the vehicle. The toolkit, mainly provided by CamTec in Burbank, included two Red Dragon cameras, a drone mounted with a Panasonic Lumix GH4, an Edge vehicle and crane, three Canon 6Ds shooting timelapse footage, plus two Codex Action Cams.

“We initially added the Codex Action Cams to our camera package for traveling car logo/badge shots and other moving details,” reports first AC Jeff Porter. “But when Phedon and Jaume saw that you can literally hold the Action Cam head in the palm of your hand, they wanted to play. They saw an opportunity to shoot unscripted, spontaneous moments with the actors driving in the Infiniti SUV.”

However, limited space inside the car meant there was no room for camera operators or focus pullers. Consequently, Papamichael and Collet-Sera were given small, handheld monitors, and quickly instructed in how operate the Codex Camera Control Recorder.

“We literally held the cameras with one hand and went free-driving with the actors,” says Papamichael. “Because we used these small cameras, we were able to get probably 100 set-ups on a 30-minute drive. It was great. From the back seat, I could hold Action Cam out the window and point it through the side window of the front seat, getting a hostess-tray-type shot. I could rake the car and get the actress’ reflection in the rear-view mirror. We were working quickly and winging it. There’s a lot of shaking and bumps in there, but it definitely made for some usable shots that we could never have gotten otherwise.”

The Action Cam is a tiny remote camera head that shoots up to 60fps. With a single co-ax cable to the Codex Camera Control Recorder, it delivers a proven workflow. It uses a 2/3-inch single-chip sensor with a global shutter to capture 1920×1080 HD images with wide dynamic range. Papamichael appreciated the Action Cam’s compatibility with professional grade cine lenses — in this case he opted for Super 16-format Zeiss, with a C-mount-to-PL-mount adaptor.

“I could roll the iris with one finger,” adds Papamichael. “The little monitor was lying on my lap and I could pull my own focus to a degree. I would open it up and get the image flared out, or we’d come out of a tunnel and I’d roll the iris closed. People are excited about the footage we got. I’m thinking that with short edits, it will integrate pretty well with the Red footage we shot. Action Cam gives you a lot of possibilities —and it’s certainly a fun option to play with.”

Phedon Papamichael

Phedon Papamichael

The Action Cams recorded 1920×1080 imagery that Codex tech Nick Lantz converted to 10-bit DPX files. For the most part, a rate of 25fps was called for, as the commercial is meant for broadcast in China, although Papamichael sometimes shot up to 50fps. The Red cameras were set up to capture images at 4K resolution with 5:1 compression. Papamichael used Optimo zooms on these cameras in part because he likes the way they flare.

“The beautiful moments that Phedon and Jaume captured of Archie and Xun with the Action Cams could not have been achieved with a process trailer, or with a camera operator and focus puller jammed into the front seat,” says Porter.

NatureFootage offering free 4K edited reels

As Ultra HD monitors become more widely available, demand for 4K, 5K and even 6K content has increased dramatically. From trade shows to video decor to digital signage, Ultra HD is becoming the new industry standard and the need for content is on the rise.

NatureFootage, which represents over 400 cinematographers worldwide with over 50,000 4K to 6K video clips in their online collection, is trying to help fill the need with footage of nature and wildlife, oceans and underwater, people and adventure. Their content is sourced using cinema cameras like the Red Epic, Canon’s C500 and 1 DC, the Panasonic GH4, Sony’s F55, as well as DSLR cameras.

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NAB 2015: Sony aims to make 4K mainstream

By Fred Ruckel

The NAB Show is just under a month away. “Viva Las Vegas,” as they say. This week I had the pleasure of attending Sony’s Pre-NAB press conference to discuss what Sony will bring to the show floor. This year their theme is “Beyond Definition” and, as usual, Sony will have its large booth featuring 11 sections and a central area for meetings.

Sony’s main focus for NAB 2015 is on making 4K mainstream. Sony introduced numerous technologies and methodologies to help people ease the transition into mainstream 4K. From cameras to editing and storage to archiving, Sony has Continue reading

JVC at Sundance with new pro cameras

JVC is at Sundance in Utah showing off its new GY-LS300 4KCAM Super 35mm camcorder at the New York Lounge, sponsored by the New York Production Alliance. Designed with DPs, documentarians and photographers in mind, the GY-LS300 features a JVC 4K Super 35mm CMOS sensor and records 4K Ultra HD, Full HD with 4:2:2 sampling, SD and Web-friendly proxy formats to non-proprietary SDHC and SDXC media cards.

The camera also features an industry standard Micro Four Thirds (MFT) lens mount, but JVC’s own Variable Scan Mapping technology maintains the native angle of view for a variety of lenses. As a result, using third-party lens adapters, the camera can accommodate PL and EF mount lenses, among many others.

“Sundance is the ideal venue to launch our new GY-LS300 and showcase its shooting flexibility for filmmakers,” said Craig Yanagi, manager of marketing and brand strategy, JVC Professional Video. “Our Variable Scan Mapping technology electronically adapts the active area of the Super 35 sensor to provide native support for many different lenses from a variety of manufacturers.”

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At the New York Lounge, JVC is also showcasing its new GY-HM200 4KCAM camcorder, which is also targeted at pros. The GY-HM200 captures 4K Ultra HD, 4:2:2 Full HD (50Mbps) and SD imagery with a 1/2.3-inch BSI CMOS chip. A built-in 12x zoom lens with optical image stabilizer also offers 24x dynamic zoom in HD mode.

Both the GY-HM200 and GY-LS300 include a 3.5-inch LCD display and 1.56 megapixel color viewfinder, dual XLR audio inputs (mic/line switchable) with built-in phantom power, an integrated handle with hot shoe and dedicated microphone mount as well as SDI and HDMI video outputs. Each camera also features a built-in HD streaming engine with Wi-Fi and 4G LTE connectivity for live transmission directly to hardware decoders, the Wowza Streaming Engine and the ProHD Broadcaster server powered by Zixi. Integrated support for several streaming protocols including RTMP also allows the cameras to stream instantly to Ustream or other Web-based destinations while simultaneously recording to SDHC/SDXC media cards.

The long-awaited AJA CION camera is now available

AJA CION 4K/UltraHD/2K/HD production camera, which was introduced at NAB 2014, is now shipping globally. In-camera recording directly to the Apple ProRes family of codecs, including 12-bit ProRes 444, enables image capture to AJA Pak SSD media at up to 4K/60p and offers compatibility with a wide range of post apps. CION also outputs AJA Raw HFR at up to 4K/120p. CION captures internally to 12-bit ProRes 444.

CION offers advanced monitoring flexibility for a wide range of productions. Users can choose a combination of 2 x 4K/UltraHD and 3 x 2K/HD or 8 x 2K/HD, check each camera feed in multi-cam set-ups through an integrated LAN connection, and monitor remaining recording time all in tandem. The LAN port and embedded webserver facilitates full remote configuration and control, so users can set up and control or gang control multiple CION cameras via a standard web browser.

Made from a lightweight-yet-strong magnesium alloy and featuring a contoured suede shoulder pad, CION is easy and comfortable to setup and operate. Using AJA’s Pak Dock on set, CION operators can also achieve lightning fast transfer speeds via Thunderbolt or USB3 for immediate access to files for editing. Third-party lens mounts are available.

CION features:
• Sensor: 4K APS-C sized CMOS sensor with an electronic global shutter. 12-stops of dynamic range.
• Exposure index: 250, 320, 500 and 800
• Gamma: Disabled, Normal, Normal Expanded, Video and Expanded 1
• Recording Formats and Resolutions: Apple ProRes 4444, Apple ProRes 422 (HQ), Apple ProRes 422, ProRes 422 (LT) and Apple ProRes (Proxy); 4K (4096×2160), UltraHD (3840×2160), 2K (2048×1080), HD (1920×1080). 2K and HD are hardware scaled from the full 4K sensor for high-quality over-sampled images and retention of field-of-view.
• Media: Record to AJA Pak SSD media available in 256GB and 512GB capacities. Transfer via Thunderbolt or USB3 with optional AJA Pak Dock; Complete 10-bit and 12-bit workflow from HD to 4K.
• Raw Support: Output AJA Raw via 3G-SDI at up to 4K 120 fps or via Thunderbolt at up to 4K 30 fps.
• Lens Mount: Industry standard PL mount, removable, with third-party mounts available for Canon EF/FD, Nikon F/G-Mount, Leica M, ARRI Bayonet, Panavision and B4 ENG lens types.
• Connectors:
4 x 3G-SDI/HD-SDI outputs (4K/UltraHD/2K/HD)
2 x 3G/HD-SDI monitor outputs with overlay support
1 x HDMI output offering support for 4K and UltraHD or scaled 2K/HD
1 x HDMI output for 2K/HD
2 x mic/line/48v XLR analog audio inputs
2 x LANC control ports
1 x LTC input connector
1 x Reference connector
1 x USB connector
1 x 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN connection
1 x Mini TRS headphone jack
1 x 4-pin XLR power connector
1 x input power connector for attaching third-party battery plates
1 x P-TAP output power connector
1x Thunderbolt connector
• Optical Low Pass Filter and IR cut filter: An integrated OLPF (Optical Low Pass Filter) reduces unwanted moiré effects while still retaining vital image detail. The infrared (IR) cut filter produces high-quality colors within the image by blocking unwanted light wavelengths.
• Back Focus Adjustment: The mechanical calibration of the distance between lens and sensor allows finely tuned adjustments to ensure the sharpest image quality possible.
• Industrial design: Lightweight magnesium chassis, built-in confidence monitor, standard playback controls and connectors placed to optimize functionality. Integrated “cheese plates” fitted to both the top and the bottom of the chassis provide easy mounting of accessories. All CION accessory connection points use open standards, including 15mm rods, 1/4-20 and 3/8-16 threaded holes, and M6 hirth-tooth rosettes.
• User interface: Via operator side panel display, control knob and buttons or via LAN connection using a web-browser; no software installation required.

Pricing for CION is US MSRP $8,995. AJA Pak SSD media is available at a US MSRP of $695 (256GB) and $1,295 (512GB). AJA Pak Dock is available at a US MSRP of $395 along with a host of other AJA camera accessories. Click here for a list of AJA CION resellers.

Third-party camera accessory manufacturers including Alphatron, MTF, Portabrace, Wooden Camera, Vocas, Zacuto, Arri and many others have already produced several accessories, from viewfinders to lens mounts and protective cases for CION and are available through their respective retail channels. Support for AJA Raw has already been announced by workflow companies, including Adobe and Colorfront.

Panasonic ships high-end VariCam35, Varicam HS for docs

Panasonic is now shipping its VariCam 35 and VariCam HS cameras. The VariCam 35 handles formats ranging from 4K RAW to the more common 4K, UHD, 2K, HD and ProRes capture formats used in high-end filmmaking, commercials and episodic production as well as live 4K events. The companion 2/3-inch VariCam HS produces HD imagery for documentary, sports or SFX slow-motion applications with high-speed 1080p image capture of up to 240fps.

The VariCam 35 and VariCam HS both offer Apple ProRes 4444 and ProRes 422 HQ support for HD recording. Both VariCams include Panasonic’s AVC-ULTRA family of advanced video codecs.

The VariCam 35 (suggested price of $55K) and VariCam HS (suggested price of $46K) incorporate a design where the 4K and 2/3-inch camera heads are separate from but dockable to the common, shared recording module, enabling pros to switch between s35mm and 2/3-inch camera heads to best suit their project’s needs. This system flexibility can be expanded with an umbilical cable between the s35mm 4K camera and the AVC-Ultra recorder, providing “box” camera functionality for jibs, cranes and other remote camera needs.

Both models feature a removable control panel to facilitate realtime control and easy menu access when the camera is in a fixed or remote position. They feature a production-tough aluminum alloy body to assure durability and reliability in the most challenging shooting locations.

The VariCam 35 uses a new Panasonic super 35mm MOS sensor for 4096×2160 (17:9) 4K image capture; this imager when combined with the AVC-ULTRA codecs for 4K enables manageable and practical 4K production file sizes. The new imager boasts an impressive 14+ stops of latitude and faithfully captures high-contrast, wide dynamic range imagery.

Through a strategic product development alliance with Codex Digital, Panasonic will deliver a high-speed 4K uncompressed RAW recorder for the VariCam 35 camera. This dedicated recorder will capture uncompressed 4K VariCam RAW (V-RAW) at up to 120fps, bolstering the VariCam 35’s suitability for high-end cinema applications.

VariCam 35

VariCam 35

Color management capabilities provide a much extended color gamut, and permit support for an Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) workflow for full fidelity mastering of original source material. The VariCam 35 also affords in-camera color grading.

To maximize the dynamic range of the recorded images, Panasonic has developed a new log curve (V-Log) which maps the 14+ stops of image data to the recorded file. The VariCam 35 permits the assignment of various LUTs to individual recording channels and camera outputs.

For example, shoot UHD and record non-destructively with the V-Log LUT, but assign a ”baked-in” 709 LUT on the HD/proxy recording for a realtime normal contrast look for editing and pre-grading. The camera’s monitor, EVF and EVF outputs have similar selectable LUT capabilities. The VariCam 35’s In Camera Grading feature is fully flexible, with the camera able to record an ungraded 4K master (with associated metadata grading information) and graded (baked in) HD image simultaneously.

Among the camera/recorder’s high-end production features are realtime, high frame rate, variable speed 4K recording up to 120fps, and advanced workflows with parallel, simultaneous 4K/UHD, reference 2K/HD and proxy recordings for in-camera on-set color grading and monitoring/editing ease. The camera also features a newly-developed OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) with optical zoom functionality.  24-bit LPCM audio is added for in-camera audio master recording.

The VariCam 35 delivers an unprecedented breadth of recording formats, including 4K and UHD in AVC-ULTRA 4K, and 2K and 1080p HD in AVC-Intra 100/200 and ProRes. Addressing the need for high-speed file exchange, the camera encodes a high-resolution 3.5Mbs proxy in parallel with 4K and 2K production formats, enabling fast, efficient offline editing. Metadata management will also be available and any metadata is written to all recording formats to enable easy match-back to high resolution or 4K master files.

Pro interfaces include:  3G-HD-SDI x4 for 4K QUAD output; an HD-SDI out for monitoring (down-converting from 4K); a dedicated VF HD-SDI output complete with all of the EVF status and display data; and two XLR inputs to record four channels of 24-bit, 48KHz audio. The VariCam 35 features a standard 35mm PL mount.

The VariCam 35 uses Panasonic’s new expressP2 card for high frame rate and 4K recording. The camera is equipped with a total of four memory card slots, two for expressP2 cards and two for microP2 cards. The new 256Gbyte expressP2 card can record up to 90 minutes of 4K/4:2:2 content. The microP2 card is designed for recording HD or 2K at more typical production frame rates.

VariCam HS
The VariCam HS uses three new 1920x1080p MOS imagers with 14 stops of latitude, providing control over a wide range of lighting conditions for 1080p native recording/operation. The camera/recorder incorporates a classical RGB imager/prism system that provides equi-band full resolution color processing for critical applications.

VariCam HS

Among the camcorder’s key features are realtime high frame rate and off-speed recording to 240fps in 1080p (using AVC-Intra Class100), plus the ability to ramp/change frame rates during record. The new VariCam HS offers 24-bit LPCM audio capabilities. Controls such as matrix, detail, gammas and a new Log recording capability allow for precise creative control over image parameters.

The VariCam HS features a range of recording formats, including AVC-Intra Class100 (recording as 1080/24p, 25, 30p, 50 or 60p with VFR up to 240p), AVC-Intra Class200 (up to 30p/60i) and 12-bit sampled AVC-Intra Class 4:4:4 (up to 30p).

The VariCam HS comes with V-Log in addition to FilmRec and Dynamic Range Stretch (DRS) image contrast management controls. The VariCam HS features Panasonic’s Chromatic Aberration Compensation (CAC) technology to minimize lateral chromatic aberrations and improve the Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) of the optical system. The VariCam HS also offers in-camera color grading.

The VariCam HS encodes a high-res 3.5Mbs proxy file in parallel with higher bandwidth production formats, enabling fast offline editing. Pro interfaces include RGB4:4:4; a 3G-HD-SDI out to support 1080/60p; an HD-SDI out for monitoring; and two XLR inputs to record four channels of 24-bit, 48KHz audio. The camera’s 2/3-inch B4 lens mount enables use of a remarkable variety of prime lenses and servo zooms, lensing possibilities simply not available on larger formats.

The VariCam HS also uses Panasonic’s new expressP2 card for high frame rate recording (frame rates above 60fps). The new 256GB expressP2 card can record about 32 minutes of 240p 1080 HD video.

 

Geoff Stedman on the evolving media storage landscape

Earlier this year, storage industry vet Geoff Stedman came on board as senior VP of Quantum’s StorNext solutions product portfolio. You might remember him from his many years at Omneon and then Harmonic after the company was acquired.

He spent seven years in total there before deciding to try something new: a role as VP of marketing for an enterprise IT storage company, Tintri. After two years the pull of the media and entertainment industry was just too much for him, and Stedman (pictured, above) returned.

Considering Stedman’s background and unique perspective — taking a break from an industry he knows so well and looking at it with a new set of eyes — we decided to pick his brain a bit about storage technology and where it’s headed into the future.

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Matrox SDI cards offer 12 reconfigurable I/Os from SD to 4K

Matrox Video is now offering Matrox X.mio3 FH and DSX LE4 FH SDI cards, part of the next generation of Matrox DSX Developer Products. The half-length PCIe cards offer up to 12 reconfigurable I/Os, from SD to 4K, along with support for AES/EBU, LTC and GPIO. All inputs have built-in frame synchronizers to generate clean SDI signals for any environment.

On Matrox X.mio3 FH, multi-channel hardware processing accelerates compute-intensive operations including motion-adaptive de-interlacing, up/down/cross scaling and mixing/compositing for all resolutions.

Matrox X.mio3 FH and DSX LE4 FH will get the attention of OEMs who need to create advanced channel-in-a-box systems, video servers, broadcast graphics systems, encoders, transcoders, multiviewers, switchers and other digital media equipment.

Comprehensive development tools in the Matrox DSX SDKs for Windows or Linux include versatile file reading/writing, memory management, streaming synchronization, and a large selection of software codecs and effects. A prototyping tool provides a graphical representation of all hardware components so developers can simulate and test their use cases within minutes, before writing a single line of code. From a single development effort, broadcast equipment manufacturers can create a variety of products at a full range of price/performance levels.

“With 12 SDI channels, our new products give OEMs a unique 4K broadcast CG solution with support for live input, graphics compositing and 4K fill and key outputs on a single card,” says Alberto Cieri, senior director of sales and marketing, Matrox Video. “Full compliance with the SMPTE ST 425-5 specification for image mapping for the quad link 3GB/s SDI interface ensures worry-free connectivity with other equipment in the broadcast chain for 4K workflows.”

Matrox Xmio3 FH and DSX LE4 FH will be available in December 2014.

Super Star Power Productions ramps up for 4K DI, finishing

Will Holman, owner of Super Star Power Productions (SSPP) in Play Vista, California, is currently ramping up his “home studio” with some high-end gear. His most recent purchase is a Quantel Pablo Rio 4KO color and finishing system.

Holman, who began his career in the industry 13 years ago as an actor in projects such as Ali, Austin Powers Goldmember, SWAT, Hired Guns and The Bold and the Beautiful. Holman soon discovered a second talent — for writing and directing — which led him to set up his own production and post company to look after his own and friends’ projects.

“On set I found that I innately knew exactly how I wanted scenes to turn out; I always had a director’s mindset, so handling production and following through to my own post facility seemed like a perfect fit,” says Holman.

SSPP grading suite 3smallWhat makes SSPP different from any other post facility is that it is not only a one-stop color and finishing environment, but also a complete house with kitchen, living areas, bedrooms etc. “We’re catering to a certain clientele,” he explains. “Our goal is to offer a complete post- production environment in a rental property — so our clients can live with the film and finish it faster. Building it in Playa Vista also makes good sense — it’s LA’s fastest growing entertainment hub — there are a ton of entertainment companies setting up here.”

“I first came across Pablo five years ago through Michael Cioni (Light Iron CEO) and I’ve had my eye on it ever since,” he says. “I’ve looked hard at all the other high-end finishing systems, but for me, Quantel is the perfect fit. Pablo Rio is the most efficient hub there is for finishing as a full package — with it I can do everything from conforms and edits to bringing in effects and of course color correction and deliverables, all in realtime at 4K. Of course, the quicker you can do something the more money you can make, and Pablo Rio streamlines the filmmaking process; it’s a key part of getting projects from pre-production through production and post to delivery as fast as possible, more efficiently while delivering a supreme product in terms of quality.”

SSPP kitchensamllSSPP already has its first projects booked in, with post for a short film due to start immediately and several other movies to follow. “Our goal is to service low- to mid-budget films, offering the same or better experience that clients can get at the larger post houses, but at a lower cost and in an environment that’s naturally conducive to creativity — and more comfortable too!” reports Holman.

In addition to the Pablo, SSPP features Qube Cinema XP-I d-cinema server;
Qube Cinema Xi 4K integrated media block; Barco DP4K-P post production projector; four Acoustic Smart seats (4); Klipsch 7.1 surround sound; Stewart Filmscreen Daily Dual screen system; SnoMatte 100 non-perf screen for color grading; and 3D RealD Ultimate Screen.

Archiving solutions at NAB: saving more for later

By Tom Coughlin

With all the 4K content being created for new media workflows and more demonstrations of higher frame rate, image depth, multiple camera projects and even higher future resolutions all that rich content has to live somewhere. The 2014 NAB gave some indications of the future of media archiving. This article will look at developments at several companies providing products for the media archiving industry.

Active Archive Alliance’s chair Floyd Christofferson, director of storage product marketing at SGI, gave me a briefing on their recent activities and the current state of active archiving. I also attended a session at the NAB focused on active archiving. Floyd said that 80-85% of all data, Continue reading

Eyeon at NAB with new Generation 4K

Toronto — Visual effects and post solutions developer Eyeon Software was at NAB with Generation 4K, its new playback and production solution for 4K HFR up to 120fps stereoscopic.

Incorporating full 7.1 HD audio as well as the ability to drive cinema projectors, such as the Christie Cinema and Mirage series, Generation 4K provides a path to an advanced HFR playback workflow.

Facilities such as Blur Studio, Legend3D, Muse VFX, and VFX director, Douglas Trumbull, have contributed a variety of production requirements to help define another user-driven offering in the escalated 4K workflow.

“I chose to work with Eyeon because they are the only outfit already prepared to go 3D 4K at 120fps,” says Douglas Trumbull. In fact, Eyeon Software and Trumbull Studios have announced the first public screenings of UFOTOG — a 10-minute technology demonstration of a 4K 3D movie at 120 frames per second. Directed Trumbull and produced at Trumbull Studios, this experimental sci-fi tale demonstrates Trumbull’s new process called MAGI; a new cinematic language that invites the audience to experience a powerful sense of immersion and impact that is not possible using conventional 24FPS or 3D standards.

UFOTOG will premiere at Paul Allen’s iconic Seattle Cinerama Theater as the headlining event at the annual Science Fiction Film Festival Sunday May 11, 2014.

See the end of this piece for the UFOTOG trailer.

Here are some features:
• High Frame Rate playback
• Image format support for DPX, EXR, QuickTime, JPG, RED, Canon C500, and more
• CDL and LUT color support
• Per clip and overall color tuning
• Stereo adjustments via inter-ocular alignment and edge cropping
• Editing and trimming
• EDL import, linking directly to the production workflow

Working with Generation AM for the studio desktop workflow, the Generation 4K offers
• Version control and the ability to compare many different versions of shots
• Annotations and Notes for organization of production workload
• Logical effects stacks
• Event scripting to support other pipelines, such as Nuke, AE, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Maya
• Specific stereoscopic tools for both conversion and visual effects
• Advanced scripting environment of Python and Lua
• Ability to extend existing proprietary technologies

Eyeon Generation 4K retails at $9,995 for the software-only version. It’s $19,995 for a loaded system.

NAB: Some 4K storage offerings

By Tom Coughlin

Digital technology has accelerated the push to higher resolution and higher frame rates. Faster processors, higher data rate networking and larger storage capacities are primary enablers for these developments. This demand brought major infrastructure companies to the NAB show, such as Intel, AMD and Microsoft, but it also brought over 70 companies offering some digital storage technology.

Post production drives significant demand for storage capacity. We will look at the storage offerings of several companies for post work in this article. Let’s start with Avid and their introduction of Avid Everywhere. This is a content sharing and distribution platform leveraging cloud services and offering more flexible software licensing plans. On the storage Continue reading

NAB: AJA’s Bryce Button talks about the new Cion 4K camera

Las Vegas — At NAB, AJA turned heads with the introduction of its new camera. That’s right, an AJA camera: the Cion. While there were some rumblings prior to AJA’s announcement just before the show opened, it was still a kick to hear president Nick Rasby describe the shoulder-mount 4K/UHD/2K/HD offering. And when they announced the price ($8,995) there was an audible gasp in the room… a room filled with your typically cynical journalists. The camera will be available for purchase this summer.

Cion, which is based on the Apple ProRes family of codecs — including 12-bit 444 — comes with Thunderbolt connectivity and allows for PL Mount glass. According to the company, they opted for ProRes codecs because they are well established in many post workflows and offer wide compatibility with editing, color correction and finishing apps. Continue reading

Quick Chat: Larry Jordan on NAB 2014

By Randi Altman

As we approach NAB 2014, postPerspective thought it would be fun to throw a few questions at Larry Jordan (www.larryjordan.biz), who will once again be at the show with his podcast Digital Production Buzz,  (@DPBuZZ).

What do you think will be the hot topic at NAB this year?
Clearly, 4K is all the rage. We’ll see 4K everywhere — cameras, monitors, software… What’s interesting to me, though, is that computers are essentially 4K-capable already. The real Continue reading

Panasonic intros its first 4K cinema camera, more

New York — At its annual pre-NAB press conference, Panasonic gave a glimpse at some of the products they will be showing at NAB this year, including the company’s first 4K cinema camera.

The VariCam 35 features a new super 35mm MOS sensor for native 4096 (17:9) 4K images, and AVC-Ultra in multiple formats, including 4K, UHD, 2K and HD, and 4K Raw.

The 4K camera head is separate but dockable to the recording module. It’s expandable with Continue reading

Free 4K production workflow seminar in NYC this Thursday

New York — Cinedeck, Sony and Dulce Systems are hosting a 4K workflow seminar this Thursday, February 27 at All Mobile Video in New York City.

Cinedeck’s latest software for 4K capture, enables one MX deck to record a master and create all deliverables in realtime, with shared metadata for easy match back and fluid transition from production to post production.

At the event you can see the Cinedeck MX4K working with with a Sony F55 and Dulce Systems storage array. Details are below.

Date: Thursday, February 27th, 2014
Time: 12pm to 3pm
Place:  All Mobile Video, 515 W. 57th Street (between 10th & 11th Ave).

 

HPA Tech Retreat Blog: A display made for humans

By Tom Coughlin

Indian Wells, California — At the 2014 Hollywood Post Alliance Retreat (http://hollywoodpostalliance.org), the session on “Better Pixels: Best Bang for the Buck” gave some interesting insights on how we can make better displays — displays made for humans. Continue reading

HPA Tech Retreat blog: 4K-ready content, fast production with dual content cameras

By Tom Coughlin

Indian Wells, California — Although current content distribution is at HD, it is clear that 4K distribution will be commonplace in just a few years. As a result, many content producers are capturing content in both HD formats and 4K formats.

As might be expected, this increases the total data rate needed to capture this dual format content as well as the resulting storage capacity requirements. The actual size of the total content package depends upon the 4K content format.

Continue reading

Cinedeck supporting 4K with hardware, software offerings, adds HD delivery standards

New York – Cinedeck, which makes capture systems for digital cinema, broadcast and post, is offering new product and software releases supporting 4K production and HD delivery standards that are being adopted by major broadcasters.

With the new Cinedeck MX4K recorder and V.5 software release for its RX3G and MX recorders, Cinedeck reinforces its capability to keep editorial processes efficient by simultaneously capturing and creating edit-ready deliverables.

The Cinedeck MX4K features two channels of 4K YUV10 30fps recording from 4K and Ultra HD sources, including the Sony F55 camera, while simultaneously creating edit-ready HD master and proxy deliverables, plus streamable H.264s. Cinedeck MX4K also down-converts the 4K camera feeds in realtime for on-set HD monitoring.

The 4K, HD master and proxies are all simultaneously recorded to the MX4K’s embedded SSD drives, with edit-ready deliverables written to SAN for immediate access, and can be encoded to the full gamut of ProRes or Cineform profiles. Users can apply a variety of industry-standard or custom Look-Up-Tables (LUTs) to the Proxy, H.264, on-board display and HD outputs. Cinedeck will release RX3G and MX support for additional digital cameras, framerates, codecs and color spaces in the coming months via a string of software updates.

“Key differentiators of the Cinedeck 4K workflow, versus other recording options, lie in Cinedeck’s ability to simultaneously create HD master and proxy and streamable deliverables, while maintaining global file naming and metadata,” said Charles D’Autremont, founder and CEO of Cinedeck (www.cinedeck.com). “These capabilities are of great advantage in efficient content creation, as editors can begin their work immediately with the peace-of-mind that edits will seamlessly relink between offline and online processes.”

A prime feature of Cinedeck’s V.5 software release for the Cinedeck RX3G and MX, is the addition of the AS10/AS11-compliant acquisition and delivery standards — XDCAM HD Op1A, AVC Intra-100 Op1A and D-10 (IMX) Op1A.

These new codec/wrapper specifications are championed by the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA) in the US, plus the UK’s Digital Production Partnership (DPP), and are being adopted by broadcasters worldwide.

Leveraged by Cinedeck RX3G and MX, these latest standards remove ambiguities during production and delivery processes, by including editorial and technical metadata, and ensure a consistent set of information for the processing, review and scheduling of programs. Cinedeck’s V.5 software release also includes enhanced Edit While Record, EDL and H.264 support features.

Cinedeck will show 4K on the Cinedeck MX, and showcase the new V.5 software, at the HPA Tech retreat in Palm Springs, 17-21 February.

Matrox Mojito 4K now offers 4K 10-bit H.264 intra-frame rendering

Montreal — Matrox is now offering 10-bit H.264 intra-frame rendering via the company’s Matrox Mojito 4K quad 3G-SDI 4K video monitoring card for use with Adobe Premiere Pro CC on Windows platforms. Matrox Mojito 4K enables realtime monitoring and output of video footage at resolutions up to 4096 x 2160 and at frame rates up to 60 fps (4Kp60).

Matrox Mojito 4K, priced at $1995 US not including local taxes and delivery, is available now through a worldwide network of authorized dealers.

“With the Mojito 4K card, Matrox leads the way in 4K post production with Adobe Premiere Pro CC, providing the only solution that offers 10-bit H.264 intra-frame rendering for a complete end-to-end 4K delivery workflow,” says Wayne Andrews, product manager at Matrox. “Until now, all renders were done at a maximum resolution of 1080; Mojito 4K lets users ingest, edit, render and export in full 4K.”

Key features of Matrox Mojito 4K
– 4K (4096×2160), QFHD (3840 x 2160), 2K(2048×1080), HD and SD output resolutions
–  60 fps frame rate support, even at 4K resolution
–  2K, QFHD/UFD and full 4K 10-bit H.264 intra-frame rendering for Adobe Premiere Pro CC
–  SD, HD and 3G-SDI connectivity per SMPTE 259, 292 and 424/425M Level A and Level B mapping
–  8- and 10-bit YUV output at all resolutions and frames rates
– Up to 16 channels of SDI embedded audio support
– Bi-level and tri-level genlock input
– Single ¾-length PCIe card with five full-size BNC connectors directly on the card bracket
– Highly optimized Adobe Mercury Transmit plug-ins for Adobe Premiere Pro CC, Adobe Prelude CC and Adobe SpeedGrade CC
– WYSIWYG support for Adobe After Effects CC and Photoshop CC

Support for 10-bit H.264 intra-frame rendering is part of Matrox driver release 1.1 for Windows, which is available now to registered users as a free download from the Matrox Website (http://www.matrox.com).

SpectraCal offers auto calibration of JVCs 4K reference monitor

Wayne, New Jersey – SpectraCal, a Washington State-based provider of display calibration solutions, has released CalMan 5, Version 5.2.3, which features auto calibration of JVC Professional’s RS-840UD Reference Series 84-inch 4K LCD monitor.

Used by integrators, installers, professional calibrators, and consumers, CalMan provides a professional and repeatable method to calibrate video displays for home theaters, commercial AV installations, and broadcast production and post production facilities.

According to Derek Smith, SpectraCal (http://www.spectracal.com) founder and CTO, the main benefits of CalMan’s new JVC auto calibration capabilities include speed, accuracy, and reduced training requirements. “Calibrations that used to take hours now take less than 10 minutes,” he explained. “Plus, our testing shows that the auto calibration routinely returns an essentially optimal result, which is particularly important for ultra-high resolution 4K displays.”

The software also means less time and expense needed for training. “An integrator used to have to send someone to training to even begin to work on calibrating a display,” Smith added. “Now you can give this solution to a tech with relatively little training, then they can follow the step-by-step instructions in the workflow and get good results quickly.”

According to Gary Klasmeier, product engineering manager at Wayne’s JVC Visual Systems Division, CalMan 5 provides a convenient and methodical calibration approach to programming the ISF functions in the panel by means of DDC (Direct Device Control) via RS-232. “ISF calibration settings are automatically locked into protected memory locations, ensuring the RS840UD remains in calibration,” he added. “The SpectraCal team completely understands the challenges of display calibration, which is why JVC is pleased to once again collaborate with them.”

JVC’s (http://pro.jvc.com) RS-840UD Reference Series monitor features an IPS LCD panel with 120Hz refresh rate, 10-bit color depth, and 3840×2160 native screen resolution (four times the resolution of full HD). Housed in a slim bezel with a 178‑degree viewing angle, the ELED-illuminated monitor produces vibrant, natural images from a variety of HD and 4K input sources using three single HDMI 30p or quad HDMI 60p inputs. The monitor is also compatible with JVC’s GY-HMQ10 4K compact handheld camcorder.