By Scott Lehane
The annual International Broadcasting Convention in Amsterdam, Sept. 6-11, has become a Mecca for the production and post industries over the last few years, driven in a large part by its extensive conference program.
Hot topics this year include 3D production tools and techniques, the advent of 4K production and post, as well as a growing interest in mobile video as broadcasters the world over struggle to develop a mobile strategy.
This year, show organizers have added an IPTV Zone, alongside the popular Mobile Zone in Hall 12. In addition, there will be two mini-conferences in the schedule, examining the issues and opportunities that mobile television and IPTV provide.
The organization has also added a Digital Signage Zone to address that burgeoning market.
Of course, the hype and buzz surrounding Red Digital Cinema is expected to continue unabated at IBC. The company will host a series of free screenings at IBC’s “Big Screen” theater. The sessions will cover the technology and workflow behind the Red One 4K Digital Cinema Camera.
Red recently announced that director Steven Soderbergh is planning to use the Red One on his next two feature films — Guerrilla and The Argentine.
IBC will mark the European debut of Quantel’s Genetic Engineering — a new open teamworking infrastructure for post and DI that increases efficiency and speeds up the workflow.
One of the key demos for Quantel this year will be its support for stereoscopic 3D — a concept that is generating a lot of buzz in the industry. Quantel will be showing both iQ and Pablo running real-time, interactive stereoscopic 3D.
Digital Vision will launch two new products at IBC. A new software-based restoration tool will be introduced into the company’s line of image enhancement products (joining the DVNR and DVO), and a new tapeless grading/finishing system designed specifically for broadcast television and multiformat requirements will round out the company’s Nucoda line. Features, pricing, and product names will all be unveiled at the show.
Da Vinci will highlight the Resolve hardware/software platform and the numerous applications that reside on it, such as Splice virtual telecine technology, Resolve Conform, and Resolve DnD dirt and dust tools. At the demo stations, Resolve will be accessing material on a Bright Systems’ BrightDrive shareable media storage system.
The company will give customers a preview of the new Resolve 4.2 system. New features include Resolve TLC, which offers colorists full telecine and advanced machine control, and an Audio Ingest capability for total synchronization in the DI workflow. Other Resolve features being demonstrated include a new 2K node providing da Vinci 2K functionality, including six-vector corrections, Custom Curves, ripple, and support for external mattes to isolate regions or colors quickly for selective processing.
The company will introduce 10-bit and 12-bit support on its 2K Plus systems to meet DCI projection standards, as well as support for ASC Color Decision Lists.
Da Vinci also will demonstrate new Revival version 5.0 software for the company’s flagship image restoration system. At IBC, Revival will be interfaced with an ARRI scanner to demonstrate Revival’s built-in dirt detection matte. As film is scanned, Revival interprets the information embedded in the scanned files and creates a matte of the detected dirt area for later recall and viewing.
FilmLight will demonstrate 4K grading via Baselight, driving a Sony 4K projector in DCI color space.
The company will also be using Baselight to control a Grass Valley Spirit Classic telecine, emulating a traditional telecine workflow. In addition, the company will be demonstrating a Mac laptop version of Baselight, as well as real-time color grading from a DVS SAN at 2K.
MTI Film will unveil three new applications: CONVEY for CONTROL Dailies, Correct DRSTM Version 6 and Control Dailies Multi-Stream Option for digital acquisition.
CONVEY is a sister application to CONTROL Dailies, providing file-based deliverables from media ingested by the CONTROL Dailies system. CONVEY will debut its first module, AUTO-DVD, which automates the creation of fully authored DVD images with visible watermarking for added security.
Autodesk will showcase the latest versions of its visual effects, finishing, color grading, and animation products, with workflow demonstrations highlighting interoperability between various Autodesk applications. Daily client presentations will illustrate real-world examples of industry professionals’ use of Autodesk products on such projects as feature film Namibia: Struggle for Liberation, Hyundai spot Fluid Quality and Faithless music video Bombs.
Iridas will be demonstrating its new SpeedGrade DDS — an application for digital dailies creation. SpeedGrade DDS offers data-logging, color correction and real-time tape playout. SpeedGrade DDS will be available as a stand-alone application or bundled with the new ARRISCAN film scanner. IBC will see also the launch of SpeedGrade DI 2007, Iridas’ high-end grading and film finishing application. The new version introduces numerous refinements and new features including significantly enhanced secondaries, tracking tools, and the DualStream stereoscopic grading module.
Thomson Grass Valley will be showing a beta version of its Bones Dailies system, which offers image restoration, data management and color correction tools, enabling individual time-consuming dailies processes to be performed in parallel by multiple artists on a storage area network.
Codex Digital will be showing its new portable field recorder. Expected to ship in late 2007, the Codex Portable can record from virtually every high-end digital camera on the market, including HD cameras in video mode and data-mode cameras such as the ARRI D-20 and Dalsa’s Origin.
Designed as a compact and rugged field recorder, meant to be carried on an operator’s shoulder, it features two dual-link HD-SDI inputs, Infiniband and Ethernet data-connections (1Gbps and 10Gbps), timecode and control ports, eight channels of audio, HD and SD monitoring of all formats up to 4K, and MP4 wireless video output.
Fast Forward Video will be introducing its Omega HD — the next-generation of the Omega Deck line — the company’s flagship high-end digital video recorder for the broadcast industry. The Omega HD records SD and HD video with high-quality JPEG2000 compression up to 100 Mbits/sec. The recorder allows users to store multiple SD and HD video files and create video clips, loops, and playlists from the front panel for many applications, including graphics and key fill, spot insertion, and sports/instant replay.
The Omega HD uses standard SATA drives and accepts FFV’s next-generation Xi and NDT 200 recordings, and it offers accurate frame control via RS 422 or Gigabit Ethernet using standard control protocols.
One of the big draws at the Band Pro Film & Digital booth will be its Sony F23s. Since Sony chose BandPro as their partner in the sales and marketing of the F23 in the U.S., Band Pro has sold F23s to a half-dozen film rental houses. The first six were delivered to PACE HD in May. “With its ergonomics and performance, the F23 is a natural for people coming from film,” says Band Pro’s chief technology officer, Michael Bravin. “The biggest segment to embrace the new camera is commercial production because of the F23’s offspeed capabilities.” Band Pro clients Clairmont Camera and The Camera House, both in L.A., have already rented the F23 for spot shoots. New York City’s All Mobile Video has just completed two commercials with their two F23s and Dallas-based Electric Light and Power is servicing the Dallas market. Band Pro has also sold F23s to the Plus 8 division of Panavision.
BandPro will also be hosting Iconix, makers of the HD-RH1 1/3” progressive 3CCD HDTV Camera — a small HD remote
head point-of-view camera system.
Cooke Optics will showcase the new Cooke /i dataLink, a small box that mounts easily to any camera and records the focus, zoom, iris settings and other pertinent data of each take, allowing the metadata to be passed on to post. This enables VFX and DI artists to create more accurate, better-looking visual effects, and saves significant time in the postproduction process.
Cooke will also announce the most recent companies to support /i technology, joining RED, Avid, Dalsa, Arri, Cinematography Electronics, Mark Roberts Motion Control, Preston Cinema Systems, CMotion, The Pixel Farm, Service Vision and Aaton.
Canon will be showing its new, uncompressed, high-bandwidth digital transmission system – the DT-150 HD Canobeam transceiver. With a range of up to 1 km, the DT-150 Canobeam is a Free Space Optic transmission system designed for situations where fiber-optic cables or microwave links are impractical. It relies on infrared light to deliver a bidirectional, uncompressed 1.5 Gbps transmission of embedded digital video, audio, and camera-control signals on a single HD-SDI or SD-SDI stream.
It is ideally suited to live HD and SD television events including sporting events or outdoor concerts where fiber links are impractical.
The company will also introduce its DIGISUPER 100AF and 86AF Auto-Focus long-field HDTV Lenses. This auto focus technology enables camera operators to concentrate on the action shots while maintaining the images in focus.
Sachtler will be showing its new fluid heads – the FSB 2 and FSB 6. The FSB 2 is designed for payloads from 0 to 4.4 pounds while the FSB 6 is built for 2.2 to 13.2 pounds.
Sachtler’s new FSB Cell is a new 7.2 volt lithium-ion rechargeable battery for MiniDV and HDV cameras, which is placed directly under the camera. The underside of the FSB Cell has the same shape as a sideload plate, enabling it to sit perfectly on the new FSB 2 and FSB 6 fluid heads.
Leveraging its experience developing the power system for the Panavision Genesis Digital Camera, Anton/Bauer has developed its new CINE-VCLX – a multi-purpose 560 watt hour power source for digital cinema cameras, such as the new Sony F-23 CineAlta. It features two regulated, simultaneous 28 volt outputs (three-pin XLR) and a 14 volt output (four-pin XLR), able to operate two film cameras or a film camera with a Preston lens control system. It can power virtually all film cameras including most models from Arriflex, Panavision and Aaton.
After re-evaluating its popular Series D Lighting Kits, Arri has decided to improve handling and mobility further by providing wheels as an option on its compact cases. Previously, wheels were only attached to heavy-duty cases. Rugged nylon roller blade wheels withstand the abuse of production demands, while molded protection bumpers and the reinforced wheelbase provide durability.
Vista Tripods, a division of the Tiffen Company, will be showing its new Attaras tripod — a lightweight, sturdy tripod for today’s breed of light weight cameras. The Attaras tripod is designed for a variety of field, studio and educational applications. It features an aluminum construction for indoor and outdoor use.
Written by Scott Lehane