The Digital Production Partnership (DPP) has today unveiled a major industry report, “The Bloodless Revolution: A Guide to Smoother Digital Workflows in Television.” The report is the first published guidance on digital workflows to be issued on behalf of ITV, Channel Four and the BBC. It seeks to help producers and suppliers achieve a smoother transition to fully digital production.
The new guide follows the publication of the DPP’s report on breaking down the barriers to digital production (The Reluctant Revolution, September 2011). One of the claims made in the first report was that the pace of change in the industry was held back by a lack of commonly agreed ways of working. It observed that greater guidance is needed if the industry is to complete its move from tape-based to file-based production.
I suspected that this year's show wouldn't be as overloaded with new product as last year because most of the major players have already rolled out the flagships that will carry them for the next few years. I found this to be somewhat the case but not entirely as there were definitely a handful of "show stoppers" on display. The emphasis this year seemed to be much less on new, groundbreaking wares and more "this is what we're working with now, and here's how we can do it better."
While NAB is in many ways a portal of things to come, this year there were far fewer 3D announcements and a lot more emphasis on 4K which is evident in the current market as well. 3D has struggled to gain much, if any, traction outside of theatrical content and the resolution war is heating up now that all the major manufacturers are, or will be (IBC is next), intro-ing cameras offering greater than HD resolution. This is interesting because it's really not much different than the megapixel war with consumer digital cameras. Resolution while incredibly important is still relative to optics, image processing, presentation, and many other factors. Bigger isn't necessarily better though it's obviously a huge marketing opportunity for these vendors.
Once upon a time there was a small Australian company that made capture cards, I/O and monitoring devices, routers and converter boxes. But when Blackmagic Design purchased DaVinci three years ago and subsequently rolled out both a hardware-enhanced and software-only version of Resolve, the company made clear it was not afraid to jump into completely new product categories, upending expectations as it went.
It has since been in both acquisition (Teranex) and development mode (USB 3.0, Thunderbolt). And on Monday, Blackmagic took another Evel Knievel leap and introduced the Blackmagic Design Cinema Camera, a 2.5K/1080HD camcorder that records uncompressed RAW, ProRes and DNxHD and features a built-in SSD recorder. Didn't see that one coming, did you? Neither did we.
At the San Francisco Supermeet Friday 27th January, Adobe’s Al Mooney revealed a sneak peek at a new application for the Creative Suite called Prelude.
Essentially Prelude is an ingest, logging and rough cut tool. It’s designed to make it easy to add log notes (a.k.a. metadata) quickly and easily, then perform a rough first string out to send to a craft (skilled) editor for the real work.
Among other things, the looming arrival of the Interoperable Master Format (IMF) is illustrating that the digital media industry is now capable of moving "nimbly and quickly" to create technical standards to address and evolve the ways that it packages, moves, and protects precious content in the form of digital assets in a world where the technology used to do all that, and the very industry itself, is fundamentally changing at a startling rate.
Unlike the DCI spec, IMF is not built of wholly new parts. Wherever possible, the file package will consist of existing pieces combined together in an MXF-flavored wrapper. This should, Chang hopes, make it easier for businesses across the industry to adapt without huge infrastructure changes in most cases as IMF comes to fruition.
"With IMF, we are using existing standards—a form of MXF (called MXF OP1A/AS-02) to wrap the files, and parts of the Digital Cinema format and other formats that many manufacturers already use," says Annie Chang, Disney's VP of Post-Production Technology and chairwoman of the SMPTE IMF work group. "So, hopefully, there is not much of a learning curve. We hope that most of the big companies involved in the process won't be caught unaware, and will be able to make firmware or software upgrades to their systems in order to support IMF. Hopefully, companies will not have to buy all new equipment in order to use IMF.
Grass Valley has unveiled a powerful 3D toolset for its EDIUS multiformat nonlinear editing software and has added 3D support for editing peripherals that provides users with a complete stereoscopic 3D postproduction workflow. The STOR 3G and STORM 3G Elite editing platforms —are both supported via the EDIUS timeline with stereoscopic 3D I/O through a single 3G SDI source and/or dual 3G SDI signals.
The new 3D features of the EDIUS 3D preview version software include:
- 3D clip native support
- 3D clip pairing
- 3D clip adjustment, including automatic convergence adjustment
Magnetic 3D, a provider of autostereoscopic “glasses-free” 3D displays and digital signage solutions, today announced the release of two new software packages as well as additional tools and plug-ins for the creation and playback of Enabl3Dcontent on Magnetic 3D displays.
Mixture, the company’s 3D content creation and compositing software, is a professional tool that puts the ease of glasses-free 3D content development at the fingertips of any designer. The software includes real-time multi-stream video editing and compositing capabilities, native support for both 32-bit and 64-bit operating platforms, expanded input and output formats including H.264, improved key frame handling, streamlined workflow and layout, and support for external post-production programs such as NUKE and After Effects.
3D Impact Media launches the RealityCreator and the RealityMapper at the animago Award & Conference in Berlin. The tools make it simple for visual effect artists to create, convert and postproduce 3D content. In addition, the tools bring 3D to the next level and make it possible to create glasses-free 3D content.
The RealityCreator enables the artist to upgrade 2D images or videos to 3D-ready content. This can be done fully automated or semi-automatically. The RealityMapper transforms your stereoscopic content (with 3D glasses) into autostereoscopic (glasses-free) 3D content. It also allows the correction of stereoscopic 3D material.
The engineers over at Blackmagic Design continue their mad dash to update and upgrade DaVinci Resolve. The end of last week saw the release of Resolve 8.1. This comes after the huge 7 to 8 upgrade we saw earlier in the year but this incremental update to 8.1 adds some pretty significant features itself.
Probably the headline feature is support for Final Cut Pro X’s new XML format. Secondary to that but equally important to those using Resolve in a grading facility is better Avid Media Composer roundtripping and some FCP7 XML updates. Plus you can even use Resolve 8.1 as a go-between to move from FCPX to FCP& or maybe Media Composer to FCPX! That is if that need ever really arose. Read on for a list of changes and some experiments with roundtripping.
Another NAB, another shake-up. The trends of cheaper and more collaborative technology were taken to new heights at this year’s show. I know we always come away from these events saying things like, ‘there’s never been a better time to be a content creator’.
Le 17 octobre s’est tenu dans l’auditorium de Francetélévisions un Atelier Dig-it intitulé « Dématérialisation des contenus à la TV : les clés de la réussite ! » réunissant les meilleurs spécialistes français de la question, ainsi que plusieurs experts internationaux.
Harmonic Inc has announced the release of the new Omneon MediaGrid System Software Version 3.1, designed to support the performance needs of high-end post-production workflows. Equipped with this software, MediaGrid storage systems can support ingestion, editing, colour correction, grading, and manipulation of uncompressed media. This advance extends the success of previous MediaGrid versions in post-production workflows for use with high-bit-rate compressed formats such as ProRes 444 and Avid DNxHD.
"Most post-production companies use complex and expensive Fibre Channel SAN storage because it's been the only alternative that meets their performance needs," said Ravi Parthasarathy, senior director, product line management, media storage at Harmonic. "MediaGrid provides the post-production industry with a new storage paradigm that will meet its demanding performance requirements, uniquely maintain consistent levels of performance over time, reduce costs, and simplify operations."
Another NAB show has come and gone and most all broadcasting professionals are back home, snuggled into their edit suites, camera storage rooms and executive offices dreaming of all that cool gear we got to play with that is not yet shipping. There’s always a ton of gear that is announced and demonstrated that won’t be shipping for months (or maybe even years) to come. Some of them even win awards.
I usually like to wrap up the really big show with a list of winners and losers for the NAB that has just passed … at least, I like to do that for the more post-production-centric toys and services we see mainly in the South Hall. But this year will be a bit different.
Due to its advanced codec, multiformat file support and unparalleled speed, the Grass Valley EDIUS high-definition (HD), nonlinear video editing software is quickly becoming one of the dominant solutions among editors working in the digital news and professional video production industries. At NAB 2012 Grass Valley will demonstrate the latest version (EDIUS v.6.5), with a comprehensive 3D editing workflow and native support for raw footage captured with digital cinematography cameras from RED Digital.
The new EDIUS software boasts a comprehensive 3D workflow, complete with 3D stereoscopic editing tools and new 3D support across its editing peripherals. The full family of 3D-compatible Grass Valley editing peripherals-such as the STORM 3G 3D and STORM 3G Elite 3D accelerator cards (with stereoscopic 3D I/O through a single 3G SDI source and/or dual 3G SDI signals)-are now all supported from the EDIUS timeline. EDIUS software and hardware supports all of the most common stereoscopic modes-including the Side-by-Side, Top & Bottom and Line-by-Line display methods.
The BBC is experimenting with iPads to speed production and better incorporate metadata at the point of acquisition for use throughout the programme’s lifecycle, writes Adrian Pennington.
The focus of the Automated Production project at BBC R&D and demonstrated at BBC R&D North, is to use data and networking tools to power programme workflow. Alongside major pieces of IT research for post production and playout it is an attempt “to take it back toward the cameras and to the people making the programmes,” explained Lead Technologist, Jon Rosser.
The long-awaited AXF open format for long-term preservation and storage is designed to support interoperability among systems and ensure future access to valuable, file-based assets regardless of type or how they are stored.
New 64-bit Media Composer, Symphony and NewsCutter offer unparalleled workflow speed, flexibility and time savings; available for Mac OS and Windows
Media Composer version 6, Symphony version 6 and NewsCutter version 10 are rebuilt from the core on an entirely new open, 64-bit architecture that raises the bar for performance, flexibility and productivity. With this version, Avid is also introducing a sleek, new User Interface – designed to speed workflows while simultaneously preserving the same functionality that so many professionals have built their careers on. In addition, these systems include support for third-party hardware, AVCHD and RED Epic support with Avid Media Access (AMA), an Avid DNxHD® 444 codec, and support for Avid Artist Color.
Nitris DX is available with one or two Avid DNxHD or AVC-Intra chips and supports full resolution and full frame stereoscopic workflows.
NetApp today announced a new solution for bandwidth-intensive environments that offers leaders in the media and entertainment industries high performance and always-available data access to maximize their collaborative efforts and improve workflow processes.
The NetApp Media Content Management (MCM) solution provides the infrastructure needed for video professionals and content developers to ingest, produce, process, archive, and deliver data with the flexibility to scale performance and capacity.
In recent testing by ATTO Technology using the company's Celerity Fibre Channel Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) with Multipath Director technology, the NetApp MCM solution outperformed all previously tested storage subsystems. New benchmarks were set across several media industry test regimens, including the number of uncompressed HD video streams simultaneously supported for Final Cut Pro editors. With four Macintosh clients running Final Cut Pro 7, the NetApp MCM solution played back 22 uncompressed HD (1920 x 1080, 10-bit YUV) video streams overnight without dropping any frames.
Hollywood DI in conjunction with Sony Electronics, Avid and Blackmagic Design will provide a technology preview of the Sony SR Codec workflow at the SMPTE 2011 Technical Conference and Exhibition, Oct. 24-27 at Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa in Hollywood. Incorporating many of the latest SMPTE standards, Avid Media Composer editing software and Blackmagic Design’s color correction software, DaVinci Resolve deliver the benefits of a standards-based architecture.
Hollywood DI will demonstrate a cost-effective workflow for editing and coloring SR Codec digital content leveraging its FLOworks methodology.
Hollywood DI will conduct a technology preview of the interchange of SR Codec footage between Avid Media Composer and Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve. The demonstration footage was shot on Sony’s F65 CineAlta camera and converted to the SR Codec using the SRMASTER Recording system.
There have been a couple of iOS apps introduced recently that might be of interest to those working in post. One aims to control your NLE as you kick back on the couch for viewing a cut, one is an update to an ever useful timecode calculator and one is a rather specialized color grading tool. There can probably never be enough iOS apps for post, so I welcome them all, especially the useful ones.
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