News for July 2005

DCI Releases Digital Cinema Specifications and Requirements…

DCI Specifications
It’s been three years in the making, but the time has come at last. The Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) today announced the release of their requirements and specifications for compliant digital cinemas, available for public download. Start throwing out those useless mechanical projectors now! Well, it will probably be a while before the DCI specifications are widely adopted, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
Go to the DCI website, download the specs, or read on for the full press release.
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Posted: July 28th, 2005
Categories: News
Comments: 2 comments

Autodesk goes 64-bit…

Autodesk announced at Siggraph that its latest range of systems will support 64-bit processing.
Autodesk Media & Entertainment

Discreet Fire 7 and Discreet Smoke 7 are the latest versions of Autodesk’s advanced non-linear editing and finishing systems. They have been completely re-architected as 64-bit applications, and come with many powerful new creative tools and workflow and productivity enhancements including a redesigned Motion Estimation Timewarp, a new Gap Effect operator and numerous new effects A/V tools.

Well, “re-architected” sounds like a made-up word but is it another case of Autodesk leading where others will follow, or will it be marketing hype and hot air?

Read on for the full press release.
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Posted: July 22nd, 2005
Categories: News
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Kevin Mullican, CTO, iO Film…

iO Films
Kevin Mullican of iO Film, sends his thoughts:

We are digital intermediate company, having completed more than 10 full 2k DIs. We have performed all manner of DI, 3 and 4 perf 35mm, 16mm, HD, Viper, DV, dBeta, and a mix of all of the above.
We built our own scanners (2k and 4k, 12-bit, 1700:1 contrast, area array CCDs with LED lamp houses). We expose 5242 as negative on Arri Lasers.

In terms of grading, from a high-level overview, the professional grading solutions are functionally almost equivalent. They each have areas in which they excel, but these differences are nominal. We evaluated Film Light, Lustre, Nucoda, and Silicon Color. We saw Assimilate after we had already made a vendor decision.

We chose Nucoda for two reasons:
1) They support the SAN
2) The project files are ASCII (that is, they are easily editable by scripts).

For dust-busting, we chose MTI because it has a fantastic interface. MTI uses binary project files, however we are still able to manipulate them with our internal scripts.

Our pipeline is a home grown mySQL job. There is no complete commercial solution for lineup/scanning/conforming. That is why we wrote our own.

Our color management system is also proprietary (the color management systems are still too rudimentary to be of any real use, so that is why we wrote our own there as well). As for DCI, because we have our own color system, support for the spec is simple. We have already completed one DC delivered project. I sit on the Academy File Format committee, and am involved in defining the file interchange format.

On the storage side of things, we have a 30TB SAN that allows all functions to be performed simultaneously without the need to copy files (scan, dustbust, conform, grade, render, and shoot). For example in a really tight schedule, we might be scanning reel 4, conforming reel 3, grading reel 2, and shooting reel 1, all at the same time.

Posted: July 21st, 2005
Categories: Personal accounts
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Lustre 2.6 ships…

Autodesk Media & Entertainment
Autodesk today announced a new release of its digital color grading and conforming system, Lustre.
Lustre 2.6, which premiered at NAB, offers a few new features over 2.5.

Key New Features in Lustre 2.6 System
• New editorial metadata architecture and subsystem enables powerful new conform and editorial capabilities
• XML-based cut files enable more transparent cross-vendor interoperability
• Intelligent handling of problematic edit decision lists (EDLs)
• Expanded film key code and video timecode handling
• Expanded flags system and new integrated notes for greater project collaboration
• Enhanced linear-mode primary colour correction
• User-selectable keyer source as pre/post input primary
• Improved browser performance with fast parsing of huge clip libraries
• Autodesk Stone Shared optimisation increases real-time performance from centralised storage area network (SAN)

To summarise all the marketing blurb, some things that were broken have now been fixed.
What I’d really like to see (other than all the stuff mentioned in my review of Lustre 2.5), is the black-and-white interface rumoured for Flame & Fire put into here too…

Posted: July 21st, 2005
Categories: News
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ClickStar Inc. to offer instant gratification…

Revelations, Morgan Freeman’s production company, and computer technology giant Intel have teamed up to offer the ClickStar movie download service.

About ClickStar
ClickStar, Inc. is a premium movie service that has been established by Revelations Entertainment partners Morgan Freeman and Lori McCreary and Intel Corporation. The new digital distribution company is focused on bringing top Hollywood movies directly to consumers over the broadband Internet. ClickStar connects filmmakers to film fans worldwide, delivering first-run feature films and talent branded channels.

ClickStar, Inc. offers branded online services where consumers can easily access, purchase, and download pre-DVD, first-run Hollywood films and artist created entertainment channels through numerous viewing portals. ClickStar will bring the best of the movies to its audience in a brand new home entertainment experience.

Consumers around the world have interest in high-quality, early-window and exclusive content that can be securely and easily accessed from a variety of broadband connected devices in the digital home — from televisions, to personal computers to mobile devices. ClickStar has been created to leverage this evolution in consumer demand.

Read on for full press release
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Posted: July 19th, 2005
Categories: News
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