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The lineup at the Red booth started forming just moments after the show floor opened for NAB 2007. And right to the bitter end, the line stretched around the side and back of the booth.The company has built up such overwhelming marketing hype that it needed bouncers to control the flow of fans and customers, (not a common problem at a technical trade show like NAB). Red promises to begin shipping its $17,500 4K cameras in May, and although the first units will not be fully functional, they will record Redcode RAW 4K. By the end of the show, the total number of cameras on order topped 3,500 and according to the company’s tentative shipping schedule it will take until at least December to clear the backlog.At the booth, the company was showing a 12-minute 4K short film called Crossing the Line shot by Peter Jackson and cinematographer Richard Bluck, using an early prototype of the camera.The company announced a deal with precision lens manufacturer, Cooke Optics to add Cooke’s “/i Technology” to the specification of its Red One camera and Red lumina and prime lenses./i technology enables film and digital cameras to automatically record key lens and camera data for every shot and provide it to postproduction teams as metadata, streamlining numerous post and visual effect processes.Red joins a growing list of companies including Arri, Avid, Cinematography Electronics, CMotion, Preston Cinema Systems, The Pixel Farm and Service Vision in supporting /i Technology.”A big challenge that people have perceived is that a 4K camera is going to (generate) this huge amount of data,” says Ted Schilowitz, Red’s official Leader of the Rebellion. “Sure, that’s true if you’re shooting uncompressed, (and the camera can shoot uncompressed if you want), but we’ve been really focusing on the whole compressed workflow using Redcode RAW, because that makes the camera affordable.” In terms of workflow, Red users will rely on the company’s Redcine application, free transcoding software that comes with the camera, as a way to ingest and transcode Redcode RAW footage into files that can be imported into standard NLEs.But at the show, Apple announced that it will support Redcode natively in an upcoming release of Final Cut Studio 2.The new version, which includes Final Cut Pro 6, Motion 3, Soundtrack Pro 2, Compressor 3, also adds a new professional color grading and finishing application called Color—included in the bundle at no extra cost. (A move that made many in the post business nervous, where color grading is one of the most expensive parts of the process).”Final Cut Studio 2 was specifically designed to enable the rapidly growing community of over 800,000 Final Cut editors to animate, mix, grade and deliver their work as a natural extension of the editorial process,” said Rob Schoeben, Apple’s VP of applications product marketing.Developed with much less fanfare, Silicon Imaging introduced its highly-anticipated SI 2K camera. The company demonstrated the workflow behind the camera along with partners Iridas, Cineform, Cine-tal, and Rising Sun Research. The group of companies have developed an innovative workflow around the SI 2K camera, that allows the cinematographer and director to maintain their look throughout the entire production and postprocess. With Iridas’ SpeedGrade software embedded in the camera, users can images in the viewfinder with a Look Up Table (LUT) already applied. But the LUT remains as separate metadata, which isn’t baked in until the end of the DI process. Cine-tal monitors enable users to view their shots on set, while a LUT from Rising Sun Research gives accurate representation of what the film out will look like (calibrated to various film stocks).Jeremy Pollard, Rising Sun’s vice president of sales and marketing explained that, “You can have a look that’s relevant on a range of different film stocks, but the calibration is different. We’re starting to see a range of different tools where calibration and look development are treated as two different things.” Rising Sun’s film-calibrated LUTs are also used by Chrome Imaging, da Vinci and Apple to match various film stocks. Those calibration LUTs (along with the filmmakers’ actual desired look) get passed along through the postproduction pipeline, embedded in Cineform’s RAW codec as non-destructive metadata, all the way to the DI suite.Iridas was also demonstrating with other key partners who have adopted the company’s “.look” format for nondestructive look up tables, including, Vision Research, makers of the Phantom high-speed digital camera and S.Two, makers of the Digital Film Recorder, as well as Arri, which has adopted Iridas’ system in the Arriscan to deliver dailies with custom designed looks already applied.Another major camera release at the show was the next generation in Sony’s CineAlta line—its new F23. In terms of workflow, the production process for HD-CAM SR is already well established. What makes the F23 different are its design and ergonomics—tailored to a more filmic use. The F23 relies on three, 2/3-inch, 2.2-Megabit CCDs and delivers either a 4:2:2 or 4:4:4, 1920 X 1080P image. Sony revealed that its LA-based distributor BandPro Film and Digital already has 100 cameras on order. Quantel introduced a new infrastructure for post and DI applications called Genetic Engineering. Genetic Engineering gives users a completely open technology SAN-based environment. The system enables every eQ, iQ or Pablo to access the same media and can work completely independently.”SAN-based teamworking is a continual drag on efficiency, with multiple copies of media clogging up disk space and leading to significant media management issues, especially when working at resolutions of 2K and above,” said Steve Owen, director of marketing. “Genetic Engineering allows multiple users to access the same clips at the same time without copying or moving media. Reliable playout is guaranteed and Genetic Engineering handles all the different resolutions in real time and without creating any new media. Linux or Windows-based third party systems can hook into the shared space just as easily as Quantel machines—there are no proprietary APIs.”The “GenePool” lies at the heart of Genetic Engineering. Available in either HD RGB or 4K configurations, the GenePool can host guaranteed multiple streams and its large RAID-protected workspace—up to 80TB—can accommodate multiple, movie-length projects simultaneously. The company’s FrameMagic frame level media management technology keeps track of each and every frame being worked on in the Genetic Engineering environment. This enables, for example, film scanners to scan directly into the GenePool, while restoration and dust-busting applications can work on media, but only the modified frames are added saved pack into the system and automatically spliced into the original.Autodesk introduced its new Incinerator 2007—a new release of its Incinerator clustering technology for the Autodesk Lustre 2007 digital color grading system which incorporates the latest multi-core CPU technology, Infiniband networking and GPU acceleration to deliver a real-time color grading environment.At IBC the company adopted a subscription-based model for its new product releases, and one of the key new extensions was its Lustre Color Management feature for its visual effects systems (Inferno, Flame and Toxic), editing and finishing systems (Fire, Smoke), conforming system (Backdraft) and color grading system (Lustre). Based on a set of LUTs the system is designed to accurately and consistently emulate how a digital image will appear when printed to film across Autodesk products.Thomson introduced a new module for its Grass Valley Bones platform called Bones Dailies which offers image restoration, data management and color correction tools, enabling individual time-consuming dailies processes to be performed in paralle
l by multiple artists on a storage area network.”The idea behind Bones Dailies is that post houses can get more throughput out of their various suites, which today cannot be as efficient as they might be,” said Jeff Rosica, senior VP broadcast and professional solutions for the Grass Valley business within Thomson.Grass Valley was also showing a new version of its film scanning platform—the Grass Valley Spirit HD telecine. The new machine shares all its optical and mechanical components with the Spirit 4K film scanner, allowing the Spirit HD to be upgraded on site with just a day or two of downtime to accommodate 2K or 4K digital intermediate postproduction.The new Spirit HD scans at all SD and HD formats, in both 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 color resolutions. Outputs are available as SDI, HD-SDI, dual link HD-SDI and as data, allowing the Spirit HD to be used as the input to 1920 x 1080 digital intermediate postproduction. Gates are available for both 35mm and 16mm film.FilmLight conducted a joint demonstration with Grass Valley where the company’s Baselight software-based color grading system was used to control the Spirit Classic DataCine. “The combination of Baselight and Spirit makes traditional telecine workflows more productive,” explained Andrew Johnston, FilmLight’s director of marketing. “Colorists can use the Spirit’s color correction and other tools for routine tasks, and employ Baselight for shots that need extra finessing.”The company also had an interesting demo in conjunction with Avid where the Baselight was passing ASC CDL metadata to Avid Adrenaline systems to maintain color information through the editorial process.For its part, Avid, which has seen some major management shuffles in the upper echelons since IBC, unveiled its new Avid Unity MediaNetwork 5.0 system powered by the Avid Media Engine. By consolidating several hardware components into a single, integrated file management system and storage server, the Avid Unity MediaNetwork 5.0 system delivers twice the performance of previous generation Avid Unity systems at a lower price point. The system scales from 4 to 40 terabytes in SD and HD configurations.One key new feature in the company’s flagship Media Composer system is ScriptSync, which uses speech recognition technology to analyze the script text and automatically sync it with its associated media.Digital Vision was also demonstrating alongside Avid—demonstrating its support for high-end color grading within the Avid postproduction environment, using the Avid DNxHD codec. The company has added direct access to DNxHD encoded media within its Film Master grading system.

Written by Scott Lehane

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