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Lin Kayser on the Decision to Sell IRIDAS to Adobe


In a letter to customers, IRIDAS founder Lin Sebastian Kayser explained the decision to sell the company, and reassured existing customers that the company’s engineering and support teams will remain intact.

The letter is reprinted below.

On September 8th, Adobe acquired the key technologies that our team developed over the last 10 years, including FrameCycler, SpeedGrade and MetaRender. I know that as an IRIDAS customer this may come as a surprise.

The ecosystem in the postproduction and production world is changing fast. Many technologies, like color grading, that once were incorporated only into very high end products are becoming core to all video and film production.

IRIDAS has helped to drive this change. In the decade since the company was founded we’ve seen so much more become possible and we’ve enjoyed being on the vanguard:

– When I started in my living room in 2001, it was a breakthrough that FrameCycler could playback a few hundred uncompressed frames from RAM.

– When we introduced SpeedGrade in 2003, people laughed at our idea of using the GPU for real time image processing, today it is the norm.

– When we started de-bayering DALSA 4K frames in real-time in 2007 it was a very exotic workflow, and today RAW motion picture pipelines are central to high quality work.

– Our first stereo workflow eight years ago was only noticed by a handful of people, but today stereoscopic is part of many high quality productions.

– We started to share our vision of the future at NAB 2011 and many of you helped to validate it. To bring this vision to life we made big steps including doubling the size of our R&D team last year, but even with these changes, we felt we only scratched the surface of our potential.

Over the years, many companies have offered to acquire IRIDAS and we always said no; successful acquisitions are a challenge to execute, so when Adobe approached us I thought “We are doing fine, we have a plan, why should we be interested?” But there are a couple of things that are different about Adobe as a company.

First of all, Adobe is a company that has indeed successfully integrated products from many companies it bought – products like After Effects are central to their leadership. Also Adobe is a true engineering company not only investing massively in pure research, but also bringing it to market – Premiere’s Mercury Playback Engine and After Effects Warp Stabilizer being only two examples. Many recent research results in HDR or new camera concepts coming from Adobe research truly impressed our team.

We also see a convergence of trends, as RAW High Dynamic Range image capture comes to the broader market the need for tools such as those IRIDAS developed is exploding; but our company was sized to service a specialist market.

After many discussions we realized that bringing IRIDAS technologies into Adobe was the correct path forward for both companies.

Adobe has hired both our engineering and our support teams. Patrick Palmer and I will also be joining to ensure success.

There are a number of changes that will come with the move, so we have put up some information on to keep you informed.

I know some of you will have questions and concerns and we will start to reach out to you around IBC next week.

Feel free to contact me with any immediate concerns. The support questions will still be answered, by the people you have worked with in the past, although the email address may be from Adobe.

Patrick and I both look forward to exciting products that combine both IRIDAS and Adobe technologies to meet the challenges of the future.

All the best,
Lin Sebastian Kayser
Director Engineering, Adobe
Founder of IRIDAS

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