News for June 2005

Bergman HD Film…

Bill Hogan posted the following on the TIG:

Director Ingmar Bergman is still working and at age 85 wrote and directed SARABAND. The film stars Liv Ullmann whose daughter Linn has Ingmar Bergman for her father.

Bergman who has pioneered much in his career shot this film in HIGH DEFINITION. And he allows this film to be only shown in HD.

The film will screen in HD at 7:30 pm, Thursday, June 30 at the American Cinematheque’s AERO Theatre in Santa Monica.

The film will use HDCam playback and will be shown on the Panasonic 7000 Series projector courtesy of Birns & Sawyer in Hollywood. This projector has a contrast ratio of over 2000 to 1 so the image on the AERO screen will be terrific.  NO SPECIAL effects CGI in this film to get in the way.

Details of the screening maybe found here.
The AERO Theatre is at 1328 Montana Ave in Santa Monica.

More on the film

Sounds excellent.

imdb entry

Posted: June 30th, 2005
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Spontaneous internal deletion…

Eindhoven manufacturer Philips has patented a method for preventing unauthorised copies of digital music and video files. The idea involves separating the storage memory on the player into two parts. One part holds the media content as an encrypted file, the other part stores the key necessary to decrypt the content for playback. If an attempt is made to try to copy the material, the key is automatically erased, effectively making the media unwatchable.

This sounds a little extreme, and probably will not be all that popular with consumers. I mean, it’s a little bit like lending a friend a book, which then suddenly bursts into flames…

DIGITAL SELF-ERASURE OF KEY COPY-PROTECTED STORAGE The invention is related to the field of copy protection of digital content.

Digital storage modules are increasingly being used for storing digital content such as video, music and pictures. In many applications, such as MP3 (MPEG audio layer 3) players and PVRs (Personal Video Recorders), it is essential that the content be downloaded and stored in a storage module of the local device. Content providers are allowing paying subscribers to download content that is protected by copy right. The subscribers have no right to further distribute the content, but illegal copying has become so epidemic that it is discouraging providers from providing content for subscriber download.

Content providers are looking for ways to prevent pirates from illegally distributing the downloaded content. Previously proposals to prevent illegal copying of downloaded content have not been satisfactory. Most proposals have depended on encryption of the downloaded material, but even technically unsophisticated copiers have been able to circumvent such protections. For example, A hard disc drive module used in a PVR can be removed and the encrypted contents duplicated.

In the invention herein, a storage module is provided with multiple portions of memory including a first portion and a second portion. Content is stored in the first portion and information is stored in the second portion that is required in order to access the content stored in the first portion. When unauthorized use of the storage module is detected then the second portion is blank erased so the content can not be used.

Blank erasing data is destroying data by, for example, overwriting the data with blanks, so that the data can not be recovered. Normally when data in a storage module is erased the data itself is not modified, but a flag is marked to indicate that the location of the data is free for writing data into. One of the advantages of only blank erasing the second portion and not the first portion is that normal memory management can be used for the first portion and the special blank erasing procedure only has to be available for the second portion. Another advantage is that blank erasing may take much longer than marking that the memory position is available.

For example, the unauthorized use may be removal of the storage module from the device containing the storage module such as a VCR or MP3 player; the unauthorized use may be breaking open of the device or the module; the unauthorized use may be an attempt to read data from the module while the module is disconnected from the device.

 more information…

Posted: June 26th, 2005
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Revision Sparks off Linux…

Re:Vision have announced support for Sparks (Autodesk’s plugin system) on Linux. Currently available are Twixtor, the timewarping system, and RealSmart MotionBlur, a, well, motion-blur system.

more information… 

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Posted: June 24th, 2005
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HDV Powerpak for DV Rack…

Serious Magic have started shipping their PowerPak add-on for their DV Rack software (read our DV Rack review). This effectively allows DV Rack to be used with the HDV camcorder range. The DV Rack software already allows users to monitor DV signals during recording, giving an unprecedented level of quality control during production. Hopefully a full-blown HD system is in the works…
more information…

UPDATE: We are planning to use HDV Rack in the digital production of “The Toilet Guy“. Stay tuned for more on that.
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Posted: June 23rd, 2005
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HDCAM SR & 4k Production…

Rick Harding & Chris Bone have written a paper on behalf of Sony, proposing a method for full 4k digital intermediate production using an HDCAM SR data pipeline. I will outline the pertinent features in this article.

The basic idea is that you shoot on film and then telecine the film material to HDCAM SR, maximising the dynamic range, cropped to the aperture required (unlike film, HDCAM SR has a 16:9 aspect ratio, like most HD formats, meaning the film must be letterboxed or cropped). The video tapes then serve as the basis for viewing dailies, and offline editing. Now, here’s where the complicated bit comes in: the HDCAM tapes are then used for a pseudo-online edit. Basically, the HDCAM material is conformed and colour graded, as if it were the 4k material (t is possible that the feature is edited offline at uncompressed HD resolution, in which case it does not need to be conformed, just graded). This means that the graded HDCAM material can be used for high-quality screening purposes (and by extension, as video masters, though the paper does not suggest this explicitly). At the final stage, the original film is dug out, scanned at 4k resolution (probably using selected takes from the final EDL), conformed using an EDL, and colour grading applied via a CDL. This then forms the basis of the digital master.

Effectively, the HDCAM SR material serves as a proxy for the 4k film scans until the end of the production, rather than the current trend, which is to use 2k data proxies for the 4k scans.

The benefits should be clear– it is much more convenient (and faster and less expensive) to manage HDCAM SR data than it is to manage 4k scans throughout the pipeline, but there are a few potential problems with this method:
#1 – Dustbusting– both the HDCAM telecined footage and the 4k scans will have to be dustbusted separately, assuming that the HDCAM SR output is used for the video master.
#2 – Risk of damage — The film is effectively scanned twice. Right now, that’s about the same as what most DI processes involve- once to do dailies, once for digitisation. However, one of the advantages of DI is that it potentially allows for film to be scanned only once, particularly if digital dailies are used. With time, I reckon that most filmmakers will become as obssessed with limiting film handling as they are with secondary colour grading.
#3 – Limited options for pan & scan — because the film image is cropped during the telecine process, it is not possible to pan & scan the entire film image from the HDCAM material (unless the footage is zommed in). This means that selected shots must be panned & scanned from the 4k material.
#4 – There is limited support for CDLs in most grading applications, and CDL workflows, although good on paper, have not been reliably used across different systems.
#5 – Cost savings — it remains to be seen whether the money saved is significant in practice, especially considering that the material is either conformed twice or edited directly at HDCAM SR resolution.
#6 – Visual effects — visual effects would probably be done outside of this pipeline, and supplied as 4k data. This means that they must also be converted to produce HDCAM SR copies for inclusion during the conform.

UPDATE: I’m including a copy of the original slide, which should explain the process a little more clearly.
Sony HDCAM SR 4k workflow
Click the thumbnail to view the full-size image.

Posted: June 23rd, 2005
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