NAB 2008: The Report Part 2

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Tue, 05/13/2008 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

De ja Vu in Las Vegas as 3D and 4K Dominate the Conversation For the second year in a row the National Association of Broadcasters convention held last month in Las Vegas was a relatively quiet affair. As evidence of this one of the big stories at the convention was the fact that two major companies – Avid and Apple – weren’t there. Despite their absence as exhibitors both companies had ample presence at the show in other booths and in a host of shared announcements with other companies. Manufacturers for the most part elected to offer upgrades and enhancements to existing products and announced a sizable number of relationships with other companies. That manufacturers are seeking safety in partnerships and mergers is not a surprise given the nature of changing production and post-production landscape. And it’s not bad news for prospective buyers of filmmaking tools and is in fact to be expected in a sluggish economy in the middle of what is a huge transitional era on many fronts. The hot topics in digital cinema as they been for months were 3D and 4K and manufacturers answered the growing demand with products and press releases. But as always there were some new developments scattered across the vast exhibit halls. Here are the highlights from the show floor that captured our attention: Sony is expanding the functionality of its HDCam SR videotape recorders adding new file transfer capabilities to its SRW-5800 deck and introducing an affordable companion player deck model SRW-5100 to the product line. The SRW-5800 model is a studio editing deck with HDCAM SR recording and playback capability. It has 880 Mbps recording capability and supports 4:2:2 1080 50P/60P 4:4:4 1080 HQ recording and Dual-Stream (3D) recording modes. “HDCam SR technology is the industry format of choice for digital TV and motion picture production as well as for high-end post-production and computer graphics ” said Rob Willox director of Sony Electronics’ content creation group. “With these new capabilities and products our decks greatly improve and enhance the HD and digital intermediate production workflows.” With the new HKSR-5804 file transfer option board users can transfer Digital Picture Exchange files over Gigabit Ethernet networks allowing for importing and exporting of 4:4:4 RGB content in high-bandwidth applications such as DI work. Also with the HKSR-5804 board the deck can now record HD standard signals as well as uncompressed data recording of up to 4K full aperture (4096 by 3112) images for media interchange data back-up and archiving with picture monitoring. Quantel’s iQ/Pabro/MAX and DVS’ Clipster will be the first third-party products to support this workflow according to the companies. The HKSR-5804 option board is planned to be available this fall at a suggested list price to be determined. Availability and suggested list pricing for the SRW-5100 deck will be announced later. The newest addition to the HDCam SR family is the SRW-5100 model. It has 880Mbps “playback-only” capability which includes 4:2:2 1080 50P/60P 4:4:4 1080 HQ and Dual-Stream modes. Sony’s line of HDCam SR decks also includes the SRW-5000 and SRW-5500 models. These have been adopted for use in a range of production applications including episodic TV programming commercials sports and digital cinematography as a high-end mastering format. The expanding family of Sony’s XDCam EX video production technology now includes new models that increase the benefits of a solid-state workflow. These include the PMW-EX3 camcorder the PMW-EX30 deck and the PHU-60K professional hard-disk unit. Sony also introduced a prototype 32 GB version of the SxS Pro solid-state memory card. “These new products significantly upgrade solid-state production while continuing the series’ heritage of ExpressCard technology – the new standard of PC card interface ” said Bob Ott vice president of professional and optical products for Sony Electronics. “Now users have access to an enhanced workflow and greater functionality plus all the benefits of the original XDCam EX camcorder including superb full HD 1920 by 1080 image quality without spatial offsetting.” The PMW-EX3 camcorder features similar functionality to the PMW-EX1 but it allows user to make lens choices depending on the nature of their project through its interchangeable lens system.The PMW-EX3 features gen-lock and timecode in/out for multi-camera operation. The PMW-EX30 model is Sony’s first solid-state memory recorder/player. The 1080i/720P switchable unit has an HDMI digital connection for use with an external monitor. It has HD-SDI in/out making it ideal for recording live HD content as well as dubbing to other formats. The deck can also be used as an SxS PRO card reader/writer and for feeding content to existing HD and/or SD non-linear editing systems. Specifically designed for use with XDCam EX camcorders the PHU-60K hard-disk unit is a 1.8-inch 60 GB external storage unit with an USB 2.0 interface. Users can achieve approximate recording times of 200 minutes in 35 Mbps HQ (high-quality) mode and 260 minutes in 25 Mbps SP (standard play) mode. When attached to a camcorder the hard-disk unit functions just like an SxS Pro card with thumbnail views available on the LCD panel of the PMW-EX1 or PMW-EX3 camcorders or PMW-EX30 deck. Sony’s CyberCapture technology allows clips to be recorded at a stable transfer speed leading to fewer frame drops under challenging conditions such as extreme temperatures or vibrations and shock. A new “dumping” system is used to protect the HDD from a 1.5m drop and buffer memory is used to allow recording immediately after powering on. Also a salvage function enables restoration of content damaged by battery/cable disconnection or accidental powering down during recording. A 3-D G sensor and the buffer memory allow for stable recording. When the G sensor detects that the unit is being dropped the head of the HDD is immediately parked to protect the HDD. The content is temporarily stored in the buffer memory and then restored in the HDD when it is operating again. Approximately 12 hours of continuous operation are possible on a small size BP-U30 battery. Sony plans to introduce a 32GB SxS PRO memory card later this year. One 32GB SxS PRO memory card will record 100 minutes of full HD 1920 by 1080 video at 35 Mbps and 140 minutes of 1440 by1080 video at 25 Mbps. Pricing will be announced at a later date. The Clip Browser software ships with each XDCam EX camcorder at no additional charge. Version 2.0 in is the works. Enhancements will include the capability to use XDCam EX content within a DV editing workflow. Optional plug-in software separately under development for Clip Browser 2.0 will export XDCam EX files on SxS memory cards to Professional Media discs allowing XDCam HD optical disc products to seamlessly interoperate with content shot by the XDCam EX camcorder. Other optional plug-in software under development for Clip Browser 2.0 will enable XDCam EX files to be viewed on a range of portable consumer devices or to be uploaded to video sharing web sites. Non-linear editors can deliver higher-quality footage and accelerate the post-production process by editing XDCam EX files natively. Major NLE vendors have solutions that support a true file-based workflow with XDCam EX files without the need for transcoding. Adobe is announcing native support for XDCam EX through its Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 video editing and production software. Also this summer Avid’s non-linear editing systems are expected to fully support 35Mbps HQ (high quality) mode at 1920x1080/60i and 1280x720/60p. The new XDCam EX products are expected to be available in the third quarter of 2008. Pricing is as follows: PMW-EX3 – suggested list price less than $13 000 PMW-EX30 – suggested list price less than $6 000 PHU-60K – pricing to be announced Sony’s new high-definition viewfinder is designed to provide a lower-cost of entry into HD for production professionals needing an affordable versatile eye-piece that delivers high levels of color accuracy and reproduction. The new viewfinder model HDVF-200 is designed for use with many of Sony’s professional high-definition cameras and camcorders. These include Sony’s recently announced PDW-700 XDCam HD camcorder the HDC-1500/1000/1550/1400/1450 series of multi-format studio and field cameras the HDC-3300 Super Slow Motion camera and the HDW Series of camcorders. “This new viewfinder is an excellent alternative for professionals looking for low-cost HD attachments ” said Ott. “It was created to be extremely flexible and for use with camera systems across our entire product line.” The HDVF-200 model has a two-inch CRT screen (viewable area measured diagonally) and is designed to give shooters a high-quality viewing option in shoulder-mount applications. According to Ott the unit’s price and feature set make the viewfinder ideal for production professionals working in a range of applications including television production houses rental houses education government and more. When using the new viewfinder the camera’s eyepiece can be removed allowing for “direct viewing” through the HDVF-200 unit itself. The viewfinder also incorporates a re-designed inner loupe to reduce distortion in the corners of images and to increase viewing angles. The HDVF-200 viewfinder is expected to be available in May at a suggested list price of $3 000. Panasonic Broadcast announced that it has doubled the card memory capacity of its 64GB P2 card and showed new additions to its line of P2 HD solid-state products. The reusable 64GB P2 card is ideal for long-form production and other applications that require long record times and is scheduled for initial deliveries in fall 2008. Autodesk and Hitachi Kokusai Electric are the newest professional video product suppliers to announce their support for Panasonic’s solid-state P2 HD technology. With the addition of Autodesk and Hitachi a total of 29 companies have publicly announced their support including production storage and peripheral systems compatible with Panasonic’s P2 HD Technology. Panasonic’s new VariCam 3700 offers full native 1920x1080-pixel acquisition and independent frame recording with 10-bit/4:2:2 sampling. The HPX3700 2/3-inch 2.2 megapixel 3-CCD camera also offers a 4:4:4 RGB dual-link live output which is ideal for composition of visual effects even while recording. The VariCam 3700 records in full-raster 1920x1080 resolution in AVC-intra 100 and records in AVC-Intra 50 and DVCPro HD as well. Its variable frame rate function has a range from 1fps to 30 fps in 1-frame increments and it is equipped with three HD-SDI outputs (dual-link plus monitor). The VariCam 2700 offers 2/3-inch native HD resolution 3-CCDs and produces cinema-quality independent frame 1080 and 720 images with 4:2:2 10-bit sampling in AVC-Intra 100. The camera also supports recording in a more bandwidth-efficient AVC-Intra 50 compression. It offers intuitive operation with advanced gamma setting variable frame rates (from 1 fps to 60 fps in 720p mode) as well as two separate HD-SDI outputs. Pansonic’s AG-HPX170 solid-state handheld camcorder enables high definition and standard definition recording the widest zoom lens in its class and a HD-SDI interface for connection to baseband production and distribution infrastructure all in a lightweight 4.2-pound body. The camera is equipped with three new premium 1/3-inch CCDs and a high-performance digital signal processor with 14-bit A/D conversion and 19-bit processing to deliver broadcast quality independent frame recordings. The HPX170 offers a 13X Leica Dicomar zoom lens with a 28mm wide-angle setting (the widest in its class) and a 20-step frame rate selection in 720p mode for variable-speed shooting in the 12fps to 60fps range to acquire fast- or slow-motion in-camera effects. All of the new cameras are backed by Panasonic’s five-year limited warranty and will be available fall 2008. JVC Professional Products Company introduced the new 720p and 1080i signal selectable GY-HD200UB ProHD camcorder. It provides selectable live transport stream output capability of either 1080 60i and 50i signals or 720 24p 25p 30p 50p and 60p through the IEEE 1394 connection. The selected IEEE 1394 output signal can also be recorded into the ProHD DR-HD100 Hard Disk Recorder as either .m2t or .mov QuickTime files. “The dual 720p and 1080i live transport stream capability of the new GY-HD200UB provides unmatched flexibility and efficiency in a professional shoulder mount HD camcorder ” said Craig Yanagi national marketing manager creation products JVC Professional Products Company. “Combined with the DR-HD100 Hard Disk Recorder with Native File Recording capability the GY-HD200UB camera system becomes the fastest and most efficient ‘shoot-to-edit’ professional HD camera system in the industry.” The GY-HD200UB also offers full-frame 1280 x 720 progressive imaging and 720p recording as well as a 14bit A/D converter and a 14.4v power system standard. The selectable 60p and 60i acquisition capability of the GY-HD200UB is ideal for HD news and sports acquisition while filmmakers and HD dramatic productions will appreciate the native progressive image capture and the “overcranked” recording for superb slow motion images during 24p final output. The GY-HD200UB is immediately available with a suggested list price of $5 995 including 16:1 Fujinon lens and Anton-Bauer battery system. A camcorder head only version the GY-HD200CHUB is available for $5 695. JVC also announced that Avid will support the company’s ProHD format in its new line of Media Composer NewsCutter and Symphony editing systems. Avid customers will now be able to natively ingest high definition material acquired from JVC ProHD camcorders VTR and hard disk recorders. “This support in the latest Avid editing systems represents JVC’s continuing commitment to providing professional HD production as it should be: ubiquitous efficient and affordable ” said Yanagi. “Avid’s support of ProHD greatly expands the range of editing and distribution capability for our global users.” “We’re happy to announce our support for the ProHD format in our newly-announced line of editing solutions ” says Ken Miles director of third party business development at Avid. Increasingly our customers are able to work with more formats and increase the speed productivity and creative output of their projects. We look forward to seeing the many projects created on our systems with JVC cameras.” Band Pro Film and Digital announced that it has teamed with optics manufacturer Schneider Kreuznach to produce a new line of HD C-mount lenses specifically designed to enhance the performance of leading 1/3-inch HD cameras like the Iconix HD-RH1F and Toshiba IK-HD1. Due to their compact size and extreme portability new 1/3-inch chip cameras are fast becoming a popular choice for film and video productions. According to Band Pro’s president Amnon Band “With the growing use of these cameras we saw there was also a growing need for a new generation of high-end optics that would free them from the limitations of SD and raise their performance to the level of true high definition.” The new C-mount lenses he said will be ideal for shooting everything from sporting events commercials and music videos to television dramas and special shots in feature films. The team plans to produce a family of lenses beginning with wide angle normal and telephoto primes in 2009 with an eye to creating additional focal lengths and zooms in the future.The new HD C-Mount lenses will be manufactured at Schneider in Bad Kreuznach Germany and distributed worldwide exclusively by a Band Pro Film and Digital and its companies. Codex Digital announced the extension of its HD 2K 4K systems with support for ARRI’s new D-21 and future cameras developed by ARRI. The Codex Recorder and Codex Portable field recorder already support the ARRI D-20 in data-mode. Marc Shipman-Mueller product manager for cameras and lenses at ARRI said Recording RAW data has various advantages including a better image quality and more flexibility in post. Now that the HD workflow for the D-21 is going well we are concentrating more on the RAW data workflow. We are very pleased to work closely with Codex Digital who offer real on-set advantages and a very smooth workflow in post.” Getting the best possible pictures is of paramount importance ” said Paul Bamborough a co-founder of Codex Digital. “We think the ARRIRAW T-Link is a great advance because it allows the maximum possible resolution and dynamic range to be passed down the production pipeline from the camera into post-production. In the case of the ARRI D-21 that means 12-bit samples at the camera's full resolution. This is a great fit with data-oriented systems such as the Codex Recorder because unlike tape Codex is not tied to one standard. We can record whatever format is given to us and then immediately produce all the traditional deliverables that may be needed. Gamma and Density announced that its 3cP on-set color correction system is now available as software for all cinematographers. The software has been used on 20-plus films and television shows including 10 000 B.C. Quantum of Solace Iron Man The Kite Runner The Tudors Babel and the upcoming State of Play. Several top cinematographers have used it including Rodrigo Prieto Ueli Steiger Roberto Schaeffer Guillermo Navarro Jerzy Zielinsky and Ousama Rawi. 3cP enables cinematographers to preview and communicate color decisions to colorists and others in the post-production process whether they’re producing dailies doing pre-post matching special effects or performing the final color grade for the digital intermediate. 3cP is also one of the first systems to use the American Society of Cinematographers Color Decision List functionality for the cross-platform exchange of primary RGB and saturation color correction data on a big-budget film. Iridas announced the release of SpeedGrade XR. Designed as a companion product for RAW camera workflows SpeedGrade XR features Iridas ' new RealTime RAW2.0 technology providing superb image quality for review grading and finishing of unrendered RAW formats at any resolution. The ability to stay in RAW for post-production offers filmmakers considerable advantages: RAW files provide more image data than RGB formats yet are just one third the size. Along with realtime interpolation of RAW formats SpeedGrade XR can play video formats (QuickTime and AVI) at HD 2K and 4K resolutions. The application offers primary and secondary grading tools refined conform capabilities animated masks pan and scan and numerous FX shaders such as bleach bypass Technicolor 3-Strip and more for creating stylized looks. In addition Iridas DualStream technology for real-time stereo playback and grading is now offered standard. For final output SpeedGrade XR renders to any standard video or file format. SpeedGrade XR runs on Max OS X and Windows XP and sells for $20 000. Sachtler a Vitec Group brand presented a host of new products. SOOM is the world’s first multifunctional camera support system for Mini DV to HDV camcorders. Developed to solve the shooter’s dilemma of which type of camera support to transport to studio or location Sachtler’s new SOOM configures into four distinct support tools all in one compact easy-to-carry system. In SOOM TriPod mode the system’s 75mm bowl can be mated to a Sachtler FSB and features single-stage legs providing a vertical height range from 27-56-inch and an integrated TriSpread mid-level spreader that delivers stability even over uneven ground. For more height TriPod becomes HiPod via its integrated center column the SOOM Tube capable of telescoping vertically to a variable lens height of over eight feet—ideal for shooting over obstacles or crowds. In Monopod configuration the SOOM Tube removes from the tripod to function as a monopod sporting a height range of 34-62-inch. A foldaway foot bracket allows the operator to firmly secure its base to the floor. For going low the TriSpread mid-level spreader removes from the standard tripod to become a single-stage baby tripod with a height range of 8-19-inch. This system may be reconfigured from one function to the next quickly and easily and without tools. Sachtler also unveiled what it says is the world's first carbon fiber spring arm artemis ACT 2 C Upgrade and the artemis ACT 2 Vest for popular camera stabilizing systems including the artemis EFP EFP Pro SDI HD Cine and Cine HD. Working in collaboration with race car industry experts Sachtler's engineers developed the carbon fiber upgrade for the artemis ACT 2 Spring Arm. Offering optimal response to vibration the new lighter weight and torsion-free ACT 2 C Upgrade handles payloads from 24-57 pounds/11-26 kilograms. When combined with the new artemis ACT 2 Vest operation of the camera stabilizing system is optimized. The ergonomically designed vest now offers a new padding system designed to offer a comfortable fit for any body type. The ACT 2 Vest features six moveable pads that are designed with a soft wicking core and covered with top grade nylon Cordura. So the wearer stays dry and comfortable throughout the shoot. Furthermore ACT 2 pads are easy to position and remove for washing. Both the Vest and Arm feature industry standard connections for compatibility with systems by Sachtler and other manufacturers. Sachtler’s Reporter 8LED is a compact light fixture requires the power input of just eight watts yet produces a light output of 34 foot candles at three feet (310 lux at one meter). With an input voltage range of six to 24 volts the fixture is ideally suited for work with everything from compact 7.2-volt HDV camcorders to popular broadcast cameras for a variety of shooting applications. The Sachtler Reporter 8LED is available in a standard daylight version. An alternate LED module converts the color temperature to Tungsten balanced light output. Optional accessories give the unit a broader application spectrum and allow an operator to change the beam angle. The new Combi 1-40 Pedestal is a full-featured steerable lightweight and portable camera pedestal. When paired with a Sachtler Video 25 Plus FB fluid head it provides a 78 pounds (35.5 kilograms) payload enough to handle portable style cameras even those equipped with teleprompters. Sachtler’s Combi 1-40 pedestal sports an air-filled column for a smooth on-shot ped up of a full 21 inches (54 centimeters) from 31 to 52 inches (79 to 133 centimeters) above the floor. It features a built-in pressure gauge and can be filled from a compressor or provided hand pump. To transport the Combi 1-40 pedestal can be easily separated into its components: column steering ring and dolly without tools. Its shipping weight is 45 pounds (20 kilograms) without a case. New from Fujinon was the HA23x7.6BE a lens that includes updates to its predecessor the HA22x7.8BERM. The new HA23x7.6BE is designed to support a wide range of high-end HD field production applications. The 2/3-inch HD lens has 23 times magnification and a focal length ranging from 7.6mm at the wide end zooming out to 175mm to capture extreme telephoto shots. At 1X the lens has a maximum relative aperture of 1:1.8 up to 122mm and 1:2.65 at 175mm and a minimum object distance of 0.8 meters from the front of the lens. With the 2X extender engaged the focal length ranges from 15.2 to 350mm with a maximum relative aperture of 1:5.3 at 350mm. The lens measures 100x223.6mm and weighs only 1.8kg. Red Digital Cinema announced two new cameras and a chance for the early adopters of the Red One camera to trade up. Scarlet is a smaller version of the Red One. It will feature a 2/3-inch 3K Mysterium sensor and the company says will be capable of shooting from 1-120fps. It will feature an 8-x-2.8 zoom lens – not interchangeable – full auto and manual modes of operation FireWire 800/USB 2.0 a still image capture mode and will be compatible with many of the accessories of the Red One. The expected price is $3 000. Epic is a 5K digital cinema camera which the company says will nevertheless be smaller than the 4K Red One. The company claims it will feature a full frame S35mm New Mysterium X sensor shoot at 1-100fps up to 100MBps Redcode raw recording to Red Flash two XLR inputs HD-SDI HDMI FireWire 800/USB 2.0 and will weigh 6 pounds. Expected price for the Epic is $40 000. Owners of the Red One can trade in their camera on an Epic and deduct the full $17 500. Red says both cameras will be available next year. Maintain your cynicism. Thomson also announced that its Thomson Grass Valley Bones Dailies system has premiered at Technicolor Content Services in Montreal Canada on the independent production Punisher: War Zone. Bones Dailies – part of the Bones suite of digital intermediate tools – is designed to speed the movie workflow by simplifying the process of producing daily review copies of the previous day’s shoot and at the same time capturing the information created in the process for use later in the shoot. For example color-grading information is recorded as metadata in the Color Decision List standard format to be used as the basis for the final finish. The standard was created by the American Society of Cinematographers with input from Technicolor Content Services. For Punisher: War Zone TCS is using a four-seat Bones Dailies layout which divides the dailies process into logical steps: ingest audio and video; sync; grade and finally play out to various formats. Shot over a 40-day period in late 2007 on 35mm negative the theatrical feature was directed by Lexi Alexander and photographed by cinematographer Steve Gainer ASC. Digital dailies for the shoot in Montreal were delivered in both standard definition on Digital Betacam and high definition on HDCam-SR. “The dailies team at Technicolor Montreal was very pleased with the results of using Grass Valley’s new Bones Dailies system ” said Daniel Vermette vice president of marketing and sales for TCS Montreal. “It saved time and provided us with great flexibility in the delivery of high quality dailies to our client.” “Bones Dailies is not a black box with specified functions it is a workflow revolution that can benefit all areas of post ” said Thomson’s Rosica. “Bones Dailies saves both time and money and improves the quality of dailies deliverables using a templated way of working thus making it easier for the operator to follow the process. This process also allows the telecine room to be released much sooner than ever before saving more money.” Eastman Kodak Company collaborated with Lasergraphics to provide customers with Kodak Digital Ice Technology to improve the quality of motion picture film scanning. Through this new arrangement Lasergraphics will be offering Digital Ice Technology on their Director series of film scanners. “This is a great example of Kodak providing access to innovative technology that benefits customers within the motion picture industry ” said Kim Snyder president of Kodak’s Entertainment Imaging Division. “Digital Ice Technology provides an important level of quality assurance in today’s evolving film/digital workflow. This technology further supports our customers’ efforts to maintain standards for image quality improve overall efficiency and protect the creative integrity of motion picture content.” The software is designed to automatically detect and eliminate dust scratches and other anomalies while film images are being converted to digital files for post-production. Kodak Digital Ice Technology Version 2.0 incorporates an option for providing “uncorrected” image data along with the output defect matte generated by the software that can be used with other post-production applications making it a state-of-the-art tool for creatives and end users. “We are pleased to offer our customers automated dust-busting capabilities ” said Dr. Stefan Demetrescu CEO of Lasergraphics Inc. “This upgrade enables facilities to create pristine digital picture files faster and more cost- effectively. Digital Ice Technology streamlines the workflow for digital intermediate visual effects broadcast film restoration and other applications.” Dolby Laboratories announced that it has expanded the global presence of its Dolby SCC2000 Secure Content Creator a scalable mastering solution for JPEG 2000 digital cinema compression encoding packaging and encryption. As studios release more digital content in the JPEG 2000 format post-production and digital intermediate facilities want to be equipped with the proper mastering resources to create digital movie files for distribution to cinemas. The Dolby SCC2000 addresses the emerging industry standards including the JPEG 2000 image format. Dolby has seen the adoption of its Secure Content Creator solution increase tremendously in regions outside the United States said John Carey vice president marketing Dolby Laboratories. The SCC2000 has gained traction in Europe and Asia specifically China which is in the midst of converting to the JPEG format specified by Digital Cinema Initiatives. Since the SCC2000 deployment with the China Research Institute of Film Science and Technology a year ago Dolby has increased its penetration in China conducting deployments with Digital Magic HuaLong Film Digital Production and the Shanghai Film Group. Digital Magic has served Asia film for over 30 years and understands the changing dynamic of the film industry said Percy Fung president of Digital Magic. The Dolby SCC2000 seamlessly fits into our workflow to provide us an integrated environment for producing digital cinema packages along with the flexibility to deliver digital content in the JPEG 2000 format. In addition a number of key studios and post-production facilities have installed the Dolby SCC2000 in locations throughout the world. Sites include SSI Advanced Post National CineMedia and Deluxe Digital Cinema (United States); Framestore CFC (United States/United Kingdom); Kino Holdings Limited (United Kingdom); CinePostproduction GmbH and Optical Art GmbH (Germany); GRID bvba and nWave Pictures (Belgium); Titra Film Paris (France); Artech Polska (Poland); Nedcipro BV (The Netherlands); SamFilm (Iceland); Imagica (Japan); Goldenduck International (Thailand); and The Korean Film Council (Korea). SSI prides itself on featuring state-of-the-art equipment and our commitment to quality has played a large role in our becoming one of the premier post services facilities in Hollywood said Gary Fradkin director of engineering SSI Advanced Post. The addition of the Dolby SCC2000 reinforces our dedication to adopting the latest in post-production technology to better serve our customers. Since 1933 Titra Film Paris has been a trailblazer in movie subtitling and the Dolby SCC2000 has eased our transition into the age of digital cinema postproduction said Isabelle Frilley chairman of Titra Film Paris. The movie subtitling industry is a very fast-paced environment and the Dolby SCC2000 helps us keep up with the demand as it is one of the easiest and quickest solutions for encoding in JPEG 2000 and packaging subtitles we have seen on the market. Goldenduck is dedicated to supporting digital cinema as the screen count in Thailand has increased exponentially over the last few years said Yupayong Liewluck strategic business development Goldenduck International. The Dolby SCC2000 is the perfect solution for Goldenduck as it reinforces our commitment to quality while allowing us to deliver on the demand for digital cinema content in Thailand. Stratacache featured the OmniCast for Digital Cinema which is capable of distributing the movie industry’s largest files in any format. The system can move media at up to 300Mb/s across satellite terrestrial wireless or hybrid networks. intoPix technology demonstrated the benefits of the Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA platform which enables a full JPEG 2000 HD 4:4:4 encode to decode of 12 bit source images in real time via a DVI output. The new encoder is based on a single Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA. Its capabilities exceed current digital cinema specifications allow encoding of multi-stream HD images in real-time at up to 120 frames per second adding another significant benefit to JPEG 2000’s scalability and up-to-lossless compression quality. DVS unveiled the Pronto3 disk recorder which handles compressed and uncompressed data from HD to 2K for the entire scope of applications from post-production to large-screen presentation. Pronto3 is designed for production and presentation applications using SD and HD material as well as for projects that require real-time 2K dual link or formats like 1902x1080p at a frame rate of 60p. Juergen Heger DVS senior product manager says For years DVS digital disk recorders have epitomized reliability combined with innovative features. With Pronto3 we offer users an opportunity to implement disk recorders that are perfectly adapted to their individual workflow. Bright Systems demonstrated its new BrightClip intelligent data recording technology integrated with da Vinci’s Resolve digital mastering suite and Revival restoration system. This was the first showing of a third party BrightClip-enabled software application. “BrightClip brings dramatic benefits to collaborative digital post-production workflows ” said Bill Robertson general manager at da Vinci Systems. “The task of disk optimization is a burden to facilities. By integrating BrightClip into our product line we are providing customers with increased predictability and performance.” “We are very excited to be demonstrating BrightClip at NAB for the first time integrated into such prestigious products as Resolve and Revival ” said Antony Harris CEO Bright Systems. “The uptake from leading software developers to integrate BrightClip with their products has been extremely positive.” Other developers supporting BrightClip include ARRI Film and TV and Thomson Grass Valley. Drastic Technologies also recently announced that it would integrate BrightClip into its range of digital disk recorders. “No other system guarantees that file sequences and media streams are laid down in the most optimal pattern or that multiple writers will not cause data to become interleaved causing systems to slow down and stop working efficiently ” said James Brooks development manager Drastic Technologies. “Before BrightClip systems had to be 'kludged' together with multiple storage pools paper access systems – and a lot of waiting. With BrightClip everything can run into the system as fast as the operators can ingest it.” BrightClip can be set up for use with applications either direct through API or indirect through an administrative interface. With the API an application developer has full access to the dynamic pre-allocation functionality within their application. Alternatively if an application is not BrightClip-enabled an administrator can set up a watch folder to utilize the BrightClip recording technology. BrightClip files appear as normal alongside regular project and other files making their use entirely transparent. Celco featured the new Firestorm 4K the latest in its line of Firestorm Digital Motion Picture Recorders and announced its immediate availability. The Firestorm 4K is designed for HD 2K and 4K acquired productions digital intermediates digital trailers tape-to-film transfers archive-to-film and digital film restoration. The new Firestorm 4K offers significantly faster speed than the previous Firestorm 2X recorder when recording HD 2K and 4K resolution images onto intermediate film stock. In addition Celco said it has enhanced the image sharpness and quality of the image output with its latest generation film imaging technology. The system is powered by Celco’s new Linux host computer and film recorder driver software making it easy to integrate into production workflows. The Firestorm 4K comes as a complete system which includes the film recorder host computer driver software and 2000-foot film magazines. The Firestorm 4K also has Celco’s FilmOut Pro Advanced Film Recording Software. FilmOut Pro is an intuitive Graphical User Interface that controls the film recorder and includes imaging tools such as sharpening degrain image formatting resizing and color management functions. A unique feature is the interactive A/B image comparison slider that allows the user to view images before and after different image processing tools have been applied. FilmOut Pro also includes FinalView a viewing tool that displays the final image and its exact position on film. John Constantine Celco’s director of marketing said “We realized there was a need for a low cost high performance film recorder to address the global move into digital intermediate and higher resolution film finishing. The new Firestorm 4K is the perfect solution for post-production facilities offering affordability speed and pristine high resolution digital image transfers to film.” Digital Ordnance demonstrated the 3D version of its Frame Thrower review and approval system. The new 3D review and approval system provides a way of viewing of 3D images and is presented in a single enclosure. Dual 4:2:2 outputs for left and right channels are provided. “We spent considerable time researching post facilities to find out where the bottlenecks were when 3D material arrived from a production ” said Daryll Strauss Digital Ordnance founder and CEO. “Frame Thrower 3D is the first 3D review and approval system specifically designed to solve these issues.” Digital Ordnance’s flagship product Frame Thrower a network attached real-time playback system for film and HD content is available in 2D and 3D versions and integrates smoothly into any post-production pipeline making it the system of choice for such facilities as LAIKA Disney/Buena Vista and Technicolor DCS. Avid Band Pro Film and Digital Bright Systems Celco Cine-tal Systems Codex Digital DVS Digital Ordnance Dolby Laboratories Fujifilm Recording Media Fujinon Gamma and Density Iridas intoPIX JVC Professional Products Company Kodak Entertainment Imaging Division Lasergraphics Panasonic Broadcast & Television Sachtler Stratacache Thomson Grass Valley ,126
The Colors of Light,2008-05-14,DP Xavier Perez Grobet Brings Director Gil Kenan’s City of Ember Vision to Life For generations the people of the City of Ember have flourished in an amazing world of glittering lights. But Ember's once powerful generator is failing and the great lamps that illuminate the city are starting to flicker. Now two teenagers in a race against time must search Ember for clues that will unlock the ancient mystery of the city's existence and help the citizens escape before the lights go out forever. The feature film City of Ember is due for release in October. Based on the novel by Jeanne DuPrau the film is directed by Gil Kenan and the cast includes Bill Murray and Tim Robbins. Director Photography Xavier Perez Grobet of worked hard to maintain the director’s vision for the film using various light sources ranging from tungsten lights to kitchen fittings and flashlights. He also mixed different color temperature lights such as fluorescent bulbs with tungsten bulbs accompanied by different color gels. “Overall the film was a really big challenge for me ” says Grobet “Every set had a different code of lights filters and sources that together formed City of Ember. That world could not have been formed without the help of the Cooke S4 lenses.” A long-time user of Cooke lenses Grobet chose the S4 lenses for this project because he liked the resolution and crispness that they lend to Super 35 film. “They helped me achieve my creative vision as the lenses had the right focal lengths with amazing resolution. Shooting with wide angle lenses meant that I needed the least distortion possible coupled with the best quality; the S4s gave me that option ” says Grobet. Grobet faced many challenges due to the film’s sets. “We had to shoot in a lot of tight spaces with low ceilings and used wide angle lenses to capture the shot ” he says. “Cooke’s lenses provided the highest quality and the least distortion for these kinds of situations.” “We are very pleased with the results that our lenses have produced on City of Ember” says Cooke Optics chairman Les Zellan “Xavier is an extremely talented DP and we feel privileged to have him as a champion of our lenses.” 20th Century Fox will distribute City of Ember. ,127
The Spirit,2008-05-14,The Orphanage’s Film Master is put to its First Test The upcoming Frank Miller film The Spirit which was shot with the Panavision Genesis camera completed its visual effects digital intermediate and color grading work at The Orphanage in San Francisco. The Orphanage purchased a Digital Vision Film Master finishing system to extend its creative and workflow management services to include digital intermediate and color grading. The Spirit is the studio’s first project that leverages the Film Master. Stu Maschwitz co-founder VFX supervisor and director at The Orphanage says “If a vendor gives me a shot that’s 99-percent there rather than send it back and ask them to perfect the color I can do that work immediately. [Then we] potentially have a final shot instead of needing another iteration. Because that shot can then be used in the DI as is because we’re using Film Master for both processes it also solves that huge frustration of having VFX artists slave over the look of a shot only to have it re-created again in DI.” Maschwitz says “We evaluated a number of systems looking for the best combination of a software system with a hardware interface and an approach that was familiar and comfortable for high-end colorists. Every time I looked under the hood of Film Master I liked what I saw. The way the tools work the order they’re presented in how they interact with the panels – it’s all incredibly well thought out.” Simon Cuff Digital Vision president and COO says “The Orphanage’s implementation of Film Master pulls together two highly creative processes – VFX creation and DI – which are typically serial and combines them to enhance the creative elements and increase final quality. Film Master offers the most complete set of conform grading finishing and image enhancement tools that make it an ideal platform for the converging VFX/DI workflow.” Digital ,128
There are as many as 15 major 3D movies slated for 2009 ...,2008-05-14,There are as many as 15 major 3D movies slated for 2009 but talks have stalled between DCIP and the studios putting those releases in jeopardy. We’ll have an in-depth look at the situation in our next Report. ,129
At the Tipping Point,2008-05-15,New Study says Europe is poised for a Mainstream Digital Cinema Deployment A new study – Digital Cinema: Global and European Roll Out Business Models and forecasts to 2012 – argues that Europe has reached a tipping point for digital cinema development and is ready for a wide-scale roll-out. As David Hancock the report's lead author says The insurmountable obstacle of exhibitor access to key content has been removed with four studios now backing a roll-out program and the building blocks for a mainstream market deployment are in place. The report analyzes the business models being developed the value proposition for both exhibitors and distributors the remaining challenges for deployment companies the forecasted speeds of adoption by all territories and key driver territories and companies. As Hancock explains in the report The key building blocks for the European market are moving into place and the CGR deal indicates that a viable model has been found. However it would be naïve to suggest that the conversion to digital is proving easy and the key issue that continues to tax people in Europe is how to pay for it for all levels of the market. The US market has evolved along commercial lines and the second phase of the digital conversion is just about to begin led by AccessIT. The situation in Europe has the added elements of market complexity differing cinema cultures and governments all of which are keen to ensure that no players are left behind in the switch. This implies that a number of business models will be made available to European exhibitors and distributors with the element of competition offering a choice of viable alternatives. For distributors the financial benefit is clear cut in print cost savings of around $1.5 billion a year and this explains the emphasis on distributor savings in the financial models being built to finance the digital conversion. While the value proposition for the exhibitor needs to become clearer digital 3D theatre management and alternative content are beginning to offer a valid economic incentive to convert. Going further digital cinema offers independent exhibitors the chance to adapt their business model to offer a much wider range of content to a broader range of customers and this could ultimately be exploited by exhibitors to fund digital conversion themselves. Globally there were 5 500 high-end digital cinemas at the end of 2007 (5.5 per cent of global modern screens) up from 2 996 the previous year with 78 per cent of those in the USA. The report forecast that 30 per cent of the world's modern screens will be digitized by 2010. Other key findings: At the end of 2007 5.5 per cent of the world's modern screens were converted to digital; by 2012 this will rise to 48 per cent. The dominant business model for digital conversion is the Virtual Print Fee but there may be other models entering the market The driver market is the USA but significant government involvement is pushing other countries such as China UK and Norway. Despite almost full digital provision of studio movies in the USA a key obstacle to overcome in Europe outside of the business model is the provision of art house and European content. The main financial beneficiaries in the short-term are distributors but digital 3D and alternative content are forming the beginnings of a persuasive business case for the exhibitor. The digital conversion will cost an approximate $10 billion worldwide over the next ten years. Research and Markets Ltd. ,130
The Empire Strikes Back,2008-05-15,New York Attorney General Introduces Piracy Protection Act Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the introduction of legislation to combat the creation distribution and sale of illegally recorded movies in New York State. The legislation has been endorsed by the leaders of both the New York State Senate and Assembly and will reduce film piracy through expanded enforcement by the Attorney General’s Office and tougher penalties for offenders. A new Special Assistant Attorney General is also being named to coordinate local and state law enforcement efforts against piracy.   Film piracy has been devastating to the nation’s economy eliminating potential jobs and earnings for U.S. workers and costing both national and state governments millions of dollars in uncollected tax revenues. A report by the Institute for Policy’s Innovation in 2006 found the following: Motion picture piracy costs U.S. workers $5.5 billion annually in lost earnings. The cost of motion picture piracy prevented the creation of 141 030 new jobs. Motion picture piracy costs governments at all levels $837 million in lost tax revenue. Absent piracy an additional $147 million in corporate income taxes from motion picture corporations $91 million in other taxes on motion picture production or sales and $599 million in personal income taxes from employees would have been paid annually to federal state and local governments. According to recent industry reports over 50 percent of all illegally recorded movies are filmed in New York. Once films are recorded organized crime syndicates then often distribute them nationwide. Despite this fact New York State only charges illegal film recording as a violation merely imposing a small fee on offenders. The Piracy Protection Act brings the existing illegal recording statute up-to-date by making it a Class A misdemeanor to either illegally record a film or live performance or use an illegal recording for commercial purposes. First time offenders face the possibility of up to one year in jail and a $1 000 fine and multiple repeat offenders will be charged with a felony which brings even higher penalties. “New York has become the hub for a criminal network dedicated to film piracy ” said Cuomo. “The wide distribution of pirated films originating from New York costs our state vital economic resources including thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue. We are all paying a price for the leniency given to this type of organized crime and I will not let it continue on my watch.” Cuomo also announced today that in conjunction with this legislation the Attorney General’s Office is creating a new Special Assistant Attorney General to coordinate local and state law enforcement efforts against film piracy. The Special Assistant Attorney General will work with the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force which investigates and prosecutes criminal networks that operate across county and state lines. This person will also work with local police and district attorneys to aggressively pursue emerging and existing organized crime enterprises that peddle pirated films across the state and country. The legislation was introduced by State Senators Frank Padavan and Dale Volker and in the Assembly by State Assemblyman Codes Committee chairman Joseph R. Lentol. Padavan said “Film and music piracy has quickly become a major part of the growing criminal counterfeit epidemic. Year after year multimedia piracy has had an adverse impact on New York’s economy. This wave of criminal activity has cost the entertainment sector billions in income while leaving New York State with a significant loss in tax revenue. In order to effectively and proactively combat the emergence of multimedia piracy we must enact legislation on the state level that will increase criminal penalties for these crimes and send a clear message that counterfeiting and piracy will no longer be tolerated in New York.” Volker said “Let’s be clear video piracy is not a victimless crime. Every pirated film from a theater in our state represents millions of lost dollars in state revenues that would otherwise used by local governments to pay for essential services assist our school districts or be reinvested for in-state productions. Additionally the thousands of New Yorkers involved in the motion picture industry are at risk of being downsized based on these financial losses exacerbated by pirated films. This is unacceptable and it is why we must proactively deal with this crime and make those who perpetuate it responsible for their actions.” Lentol said “Piracy is a serious burden for New York City and New York State and individuals who illegally record films and performances in theaters should not get a free ride. This legislation is a critical tool to ensure that these criminals pay the price for their actions. I want to thank the Attorney General for working with us on this issue and for utilizing his office to be an important part of the enforcement of our piracy laws.” Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said “When someone participates in multimedia piracy they are stealing from artists and hurting the entertainment industry that is such a large part of New York’s economy. I commend the Attorney General Senator Padavan and Senator Volker for putting forward legislation that sends a clear message that such piracy is a serious crime and that those who engage in video piracy will be held accountable for their actions.” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said “I am proud to be supporting this legislation to combat piracy in New York. This bill will help us address film piracy at its source and will be an effective deterrent to criminals who profit at the expense of our entertainment community. I commend Attorney General Cuomo for working with the legislature and offering an effective solution to this growing problem.” Tina Fey said “As an actor a writer and a New Yorker it's discouraging to see the widespread effects piracy has had on our industry. Piracy is an issue that is often overlooked but is one that has an enormous negative impact on every person who works in entertainment from the stagehands to the actors to the producers and so on. It means a great deal to have our Attorney General Andrew Cuomo speak out on behalf of all New Yorkers within the artistic community of this city and State. And remember when you buy a DVD you should not be able to see the heads of people watching it in a movie theater at the bottom of the screen.” Dan Glickman chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America said “Motion picture piracy is a widespread problem that not only costs the film community billions of dollars but comes at a tremendous cost in terms of jobs and the overall economy of New York and the country. I am pleased Attorney General Cuomo recognizes the importance of this issue and is working hard to take it on.” Jeff Zucker president and CEO of NBC Universal said “The current tidal wave of counterfeiting and piracy undermines future growth and kills jobs in the entertainment industry and in all innovation-dependent sectors of the U.S. economy. Enhanced penalties and specialized dedicated enforcement resources are key to fighting piracy and counterfeiting. I applaud Attorney General Cuomo for this initiative and in particular for his groundbreaking decision to create a specialized deputy in his office dedicated to fighting piracy. We believe this act of leadership is a model for modern law enforcement nationwide.”   New York division president of Screen Actors Guild Sam Freed said “The bottom line is that people who illegally record and sell bootleg videos are stealing from actors which hurts actors and all workers in entertainment. Attorney General Cuomo has created a new Special Assistant Attorney General a first-of-its-kind position to directly address this problem. I want to thank the Attorney General for his hard work and dedication to this issue.” Russ Hollander Eastern executive director of the Directors Guild of America said “Piracy hurts all artists including our directors and their teams. It is very important for all of us that action is taken to prevent the rampant theft and distribution of pirated materials. Thanks to the efforts of Attorney General Cuomo we will now have stronger legislation on the books and increased efforts of law enforcement to aggressively pursue those who engage in piracy.” Thomas C. Short international president of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Moving Picture Technicians Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States its Territories and Canada said “The cost of piracy for our members cannot be understated. Every year millions and millions of dollars that would go to higher wages new jobs as well as healthcare and other benefits are lost to a criminal network that profits from the sale of pirated materials. I applaud Attorney General Cuomo for taking this issue head on and standing up for workers in New York and across the country.” Robert Sunshine executive director of National Association of Theatre Owners of New York State said “Illegal piracy is rampant not just in Hollywood but all over New York City as well. Camcording in theatres all over the city are sold to bootleggers and are out on the street and online within a day of a movie opening and this causes severe economic problems for the movie theatre community. We are extremely grateful to Attorney General Cuomo for taking the lead on piracy and providing this much needed assistance to the entire entertainment industry.” ,131
A First for France,2008-05-15,CGR Cinemas Arts Alliance Media Install Digital 12-Plex at La Rochelle CGR Cinémas one of France’s largest cinema chains and Arts Alliance Media have announced the installation of France’s first fully digital 12-plex cinema at La Rochelle. This is a significant milestone for the French motion picture industry and further proves the viability of the Virtual Print Fee business model for Europe’s widespread transition to digital cinema. One hundred CGR screens are scheduled for installation by July as part of the AAM and CGR exclusive agreement to digitally equip 100 percent of the circuit’s 400 screens. In addition to the 12-plex already installed in La Rochelle installations will take place over the next three months at CGR’s sites in La Meziere Villenave D’Ornon Lattes Torcy Brignais Blagnac Lanester Mantes La Jolie Epinay Niort and Colmar. To date a total of 19 screens have been equipped with DCI-compliant 2K digital projection systems within eight different CGR multiplexes across France in the cities of La Rochelle Blagnac Brignais La Meziere Lattes Niort Villenave d’Ornon and Torcy. At the La Rochelle site – the first one to be fully equipped in digital - a one-month extensive test and analysis phase has now begun which will allow CGR and AAM to assess network interactivity software and data reliability solutions. To enable a smooth transition to digital the 35mm projection systems remain in place so each screen can play 35mm or digital prints as needed. We are very happy to see that La Rochelle is France’s first multiplex entirely converted to digital. This is the first step towards the total transition to digital of our screens. This will open new perspectives to our group in terms of 3D and alternative content as well as faster and more flexible programming and increased efficiency ” says Jocelyn Bouyssy chief executive officer CGR Cinémas. Gwendal Auffret AAM’s managing director of digital cinema says “La Rochelle is a benchmark for the digital cinema transition in France and in Europe. Thanks to CGR the French cinema industry has now a great opportunity to witness and understand the operations of a fully digital cinema. We look forward to the next phase of our rollout with such a great innovative partner.” Sébastien Bruel CGR’s technical director says “We have worked closely with Alexandre Brouillat of AAM and with CDS our integrator partner in order to design and install a technical infrastructure that supports and enhances our processes from the delivery of content to the projection: it meets our highest expectations. This flagship installation will allow us to validate our network strategy make sure our security requirements are met and set up our new operational processes before the next installations.” Arts Alliance Media