News for April 2008

First feature fim on youTube…

Dubbed as the first full-length feature film to appear on youTube (I have no way of verifying if this actually the case and would be very surprised if it was), the independent movie “The Cult of Sincerity” opens with a hybrid advertisement/donation plea. Although the film has apparently been around for a while, there’s no IMDb listing for it, so it will be interesting to see if it becomes popular.

Watch the film here…

Posted: April 23rd, 2008
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Coming soon…

On a fairly regular basis, the research I do here makes me think “how come there isn’t something out there that does this?” It’s happened recently with the lack of methods to generate Digital Cinema Packages (as Scott Kirsner recently pointed out…) and then again with the lack of dithered grading methods…

But very occassionally, I stumble upon a solution to a problem within the post industry that is actually viable. Although we’re not yet ready to reveal the details of what exactly this solution will be, I can certainly talk about the problem we’re hoping to solve, and something that will strike a chord with a lot of people, I’m sure.

For the past 10 years, and with increasing frequency as film gets phased out, there has been the problem of how to archive digital footage in a way that provides no limit on the quantity of data and that doesn’t degrade. Over the last few months, there’s been talk of holographic storage… as well as many other proprietary methods, but they all share similar weaknesses: they are bound to specific hardware, they are largely untested in real-world scenarios, and they are inacessible.

With more people turning to Red and similar digital capture methods, the problem is only getting worse. People are finding that they have lots of data files and nowhere to put them. And I suspect that in a few months from now, a lot of people who are new to this will discover that their backup strategy has failed. This happened with the boom in digital photography, but was less of a problem because the volume of data in question was typically limited to gigabytes, not terabytes. For most digital photographers, having a USB backup disk is enough protection for their images. But for people with digital masters or RedCode rushes, that simply isn’t viable. In addition, while digital photographs are normally the responsibility of a single person, film shoots belong to organisations, so several people may need access to it at any time.

As well as the data integrity implications of long-term archiving, there are also security implications- making sure that only authorized people have access to it, and that if the data falls into the wrong hands, that it is unusable. Being able to store and retrieve the data in a very simple way is a bonus.

We’ve still got some way to go on this before we can say we have a system that fulfills all these criteria, but at the present time it seems like the technology part of it is in the can. Hopefully I will have more details on this soon.

Posted: April 19th, 2008
Categories: News
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Dithered Colour Correction for 4k and Beyond…

This is how digital colour correction works:

If you change the brightness for any part of the image, all the selected pixels are affected in the same way.

In one of my previous rants, I proposed that resolution was more important than bit-depth… Since then, I’ve been wondering why, in practice, this is never the case. After some thought, I realised that the way digital colour correction works is different from changing the exposure of film.

Changing the exposure of film, on microscopic level, affects the image like this:

The individual grains are not affected uniformly. It’s that a percentage of the grains become exposed (or not), not that every grain becomes more exposed. To the viewer, the result from a distance is that the affected region is brighter. It’s also the reason that grain structures are visible.

Until now, it didn’t make sense for colour correction software to work like this: the resolution of images was too small to make sense. However, for 4k and beyond, non-uniform (or dithered) colour-correction may very well yield superior control over the colour-correction process.

So the question I find myself asking is, why don’t any high-end colour grading systems offer this kind of functionality?

Posted: April 19th, 2008
Categories: Articles
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New Red Cameras “Put Other Manufacturers to Shame”…

Although I couldn’t make it this year, the long arms of NAB have reached me in London. One of the hottest announcements was Red’s new line-up for 2009.

First off, the Red Ray, a hardware-based RedCode player.

Secondly, the much-anticipated Scarlet, a camera targeted at the lower end of the market. The Scarlet boasts a 3k resolution, with frame rates of 1-120 fps. So much for low-end.

Finally, something which has been kept very quiet, the new Epic camera. This is an improvement over the Red One, with 5k resolution and a full super-35 size sensor.

Although Red are not taking pre-orders this time, they are offering a deal that sounds too good to be true: buy a Red One today and then part-exchange it against the cost of the Epic (the pricing of which has yet to be set) at it’s purchasing price. As one member of the CML… put it,

…the RED ONE to EPIC trade-in program certainly puts other manufacturers to shame.

Posted: April 16th, 2008
Categories: News
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Redemption build 5 released…

Build 5 is now available (the Windows version is still unchanged).

Noteworthy changes are the separation of metadata and user colour settings, and the addition of multiple batch-processing templates.


1. Import update method now matches by Reel, Camera, Clip, Start TOD Timecode and Date rather than filename.
2. There are two sets of colour parameters, one for the clip’s metadata and another, user-defined one. Importing CSV files will only write to the metadata parameters.
3. Added button to paste colour parameters from metadata.
4. Added button to reset colour parameters to defaults.
5. Added an ID field to clips table for indexing purposes.
6. Added infrastructure for multiple project tracking (note multiple projects are not implemented yet…)
7. Added template tags for metadata values. For example {ISO Meta} will be replaced with the value stored in the ISO metadata field. {ISO} will be replaced by the custom ISO value.
8. Added ability to copy and paste values via a “colour clipboard”.
9. Redline-specific options have been placed into their own tab under the revamped “Batch script generation” area.
10. You can now create and work with multiple templates.
11. Added some text to the UI to make the purpose of different sections a little clearer.
12. Added {RedDate} template tag, which uses the older (6-digit) method of calculating the numeric date value. New templates now use this method for the output path by default.
13. Added a button to generate some example templates.

Download and more information…

Posted: April 14th, 2008
Categories: Tools
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