News for April 2005

NAB 2005 in 5 minutes…

Well, I was at NAB all week long, but I was so busy I ended up seeing very little of the trade show. So here’s a digest of what went on…

nab floor

Autodesk was exhibiting the new Lustre 2.6, and their new Toxik effects system. The idea behind Toxik is that it’s fully scalable, in the sense that you only pay to use it when there’s a project to do. We’ll take a more in-depth look at those later on. More importantly, Autodesk was fairly successful in pushing the fact that they are now known as Autodesk M&E rather than Discreet, which caused a great deal of confusion and annoyance at the show. Having said that, the stand was a real crowd-pleaser and 30 minutes after the show had finished, there were still demos in the booth to an audience of maybe 100 people.

Da Vinci had a rather impressive line-up, as all their Telecine systems have been ported over to a software-based solution (“Resolve”) for use in DI.

Kodak had a very uninteresting set-up, as it seemed like they were just there to collect mailing addresses and not to actually demo anything.

Pandora seemed very excited about their new “software”-based grading systems, however on close inspection, it seemed that they were still hardware-based to some degree and didn’t seem to offer much in the way of features or design over previous products.

Nucoda broke down their DI system into a number of components. Each of them seemed fairly pedestrian.

Thomson/Grass Valley were showing off the Specter FS, which can now work off of a SAN directly, the Spirit 4k (and there was talk about the 2k, but it was absent) which works as both a scanner and a telecine, and the new Bones DI software, combining editing, repair and scaling tools, but only a rudimentary colour grading line-up.

Sony was once again throwing its weight behind its 4k projector, and again I didn’t get to see it.

Panasonic was fairly quiet, still pushing it’s P2 storage paradigm, this time as part of the new DVCPRO HD camera.

Several things struck me at the show. The first is that the vast majority of DI systems cater for more of a telecine style approach. I’ve not seen any products which take a film lab approach and make it digital. By this I mean on that is very simple, allows conforming by key numbers and just has a simple printer light system for grading. Simple being the key. I have no doubt that such a system will be necessary in the coming months as digital cinema gains a footing.
The second was that *everyone* seemed to be talking DI. Between going to the toilet and queing for the (somewhat abysmal) food, there was no escape from people talking about the digital intermediate process. It was apparent that many of them didn’t know what they were talking about, though this didn’t really seem to matter…

Posted: April 26th, 2005
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Lustre 2.6 announced…

Autodesk today announced Lustre 2.6, along with a new “Incinerator” system accelerator.
Hopefully many of the editorial problems I encountered with the previous version have been resolved, we’ll see at NAB.

Autodesk is introducing Discreet® Lustre® 2.6 – the latest version of its industry leading digital colour correction system, and the Autodesk® IncineratorTM 1.0 system that is planned to enhance the real-time performance of future Lustre-based products. New to the market, the Incinerator system is an inline cluster of configurable processing units that connect to one or more Lustre stations, boosting system performance and interactivity during digital colour grading sessions. The Lustre 2.6 system delivers a host of new features, including additional conform and editorial capabilities.

Full press release: Read more »

Posted: April 14th, 2005
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Arri Lusts after Autodesk…

Not to be outdone by the Assimilate / Imagica partnership, Autodesk has announced in a press release that it will provide a “seamless end-to-end digital intermediate workflow” using Arri hardware.

Autodesk and ARRI are committed to providing customers with the highest quality open workflows for the mastering of digital film content. The companies plan to continue working together to offer enhanced workflows and capabilities to customers that embrace their industry leading solutions. One area of active research between the two companies is the future use of infrared data from the ARRI scanner to assist in the digital removal of dirt, dust and scratch damage from film scans.

Well to me that doesn’t sound like anything to go nuts over, if anything they may be shooting themselves in the foot by seeming to be abandoning their user base who already use Thomson or Filmlight scanners (but I’m sure that’s not going to be the case).

Full press release follows Read more »

Posted: April 14th, 2005
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Imagica Assimilated…

Following the announcement that Assimilate’s Scratch product will ship with Kodak’s Display Manager, Assimilate have now announced ties with Imagica.

Assimilatemade two concurrent press releases, first to announce Scratch as a front-end for Imagica’s Cinecure restoration system, and then somewhat unsurpisingly to announce a strategic partnership between the two companies. This partnership will no doubt strengthen the position of both companies in the industry, who were previously facing stiff competition for manufacturers with similar hardware/software ties.

“ASSIMILATE and IMAGICA technologies are aligned to deliver complete, affordable, high-performance DI solutions. This partnership enables post facilities to create – for the first time – a truly integrated, streamlined, high-performance, high-resolution, digital film-to-data pipeline on a modular, open-architecture platform,” stated Jeff Edson, president and CEO of ASSIMILATE. “This is truly a synergistic relationship of leveraging the technologies, products, and expertise of two companies to deliver a more powerful and cost-effective solution for digital film.”

Well, I’m not sure that all of that is true, but nevertheless, it looks as though Assimilate is certainly making waves.

Full press releases follow. Read more »

Posted: April 14th, 2005
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Autodesk M&E NAB Lineup…

Autodesk Media & Entertainment have announced details of their demo line-up for NAB later this month.

• Brian Reid from Technicolor Toronto, who will demo a Reactine spot and its use of the Discreet Fire® and Smoke systems
• Kevin Baillie, Jonathan Harman and Shadi Almassizadeh from The Orphanage, who will demo how they used Autodesk 3ds Max® to deliver some amazing shots for Sin City, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Hellboy
• Mark Casey from ILM, who will demo work done with the Discreet Flame® and Discreet Inferno® systems on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Van Helsing
• Jeff Olm from SPI, who will demo Spider-Man 2 and the use of the Flame system to create some shots for this award-winning blockbuster film
• Philippe Soeiro and Philippe Reinaudo from Éclair Laboratoires, who will demo how they used the Discreet Lustre® and Inferno systems on Alexander, and the Lustre system on A Very Long Engagement
• Verdi Sevenhuysen from R!OT, who will demo how the Inferno system was used to create the Steve McQueen Ford Mustang spot. He will also explain how the Inferno system work tied in with the Lustre system
• Culley Bunker from Base 2 Studios, who will demo how they used Autodesk Combustion® for the Black Eyed Peas “Let’s Get it Started” video, and other music videos

Full press release: Read more »

Posted: April 4th, 2005
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