• Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014
Chaos Group releases V-Ray 3.0 for Maya
V-Ray 3.0 for Maya
SOFIA, Bulgaria -- 

Chaos Group has released V-Ray 3.0 for Maya, delivering a powerful new set of features and optimizations focused on speeding up lighting, look development, and rendering workflows.

“This is, by far, the most substantial upgrade for our rendering pipeline since we switched to V-Ray five years ago,” said Kirk Shintani, head of 3D at a52.

Throughout the V-Ray 3.0 for Maya development cycle, Chaos Group worked with artists and studios to benchmark and analyze a number of production scenes. From their research, they found opportunities for significant speed increases as their team refined each section of code. These advances, coupled with beta feedback, bring about many of the key features in V-Ray 3.0 for Maya including:

o Faster Ray Tracing and Rendering Performance. V-Ray 3.0 for Maya introduces a faster ray tracing core that significantly speeds up a number of calculations for global illumination, lighting, shading and more. For additional speed gains, V-Ray 3.0 also includes an option to enable the Intel Embree ray caster for static and motion-blurred geometry, proxy objects and instances.

o Faster Feedback. V-Ray 3.0 for Maya adds a new Progressive Image Sampler with a full range of production features and is compatible with all of V-Ray’s GI algorithms such as irradiance map, light cache, and brute force path tracing. The Progressive Image Sampler generates quick feedback even with complex features such as volumetric effects, depth of field, and motion blur. An enhanced V-Ray RT engine renders directly in the Maya Viewport and supports animated sequences as well as final frame rendering.

o Advanced Characters and Creatures. V-Ray 3.0 optimizes shading and rendering of millions of strands of semi-transparent hair with greater speed and efficiency. For added detail and realism, V-Ray 3.0 now supports subsurface scattering with object-based and ray traced illumination, and the new VRaySkinMtl skin shader.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014
Grass Valley unveils Karrera K-Frame S-series Video Production Center Switcher at SMPTE
Grass Valley's Karrera K-Frame S-series Video Production Center switcher

The all-new Karrera K-Frame S-series Video Production Center switcher from Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, features a new compact frame with internal power supply, new controller module with ImageStore and multiviewer capability, and the new triple mix/effects (M/E) module. The company will be highlighting the Karrera K-Frame S-series Video Production Center switcher at a number of global tradeshows in the next several weeks.

This production switcher offers broadcasters a flexible, cost-effective solution with easy setup, streamlined workflows and high-quality content to support next-generation formats and technologies. Karrera K-Frame S-series is designed to address production needs in a full breadth of environments from mobile trucks to fixed facilities such as stadiums, broadcast facilities, product facilities, corporate environments, houses of worship and educational institutions.

Attendees at SMPTE 2014 Annual Technical Conference in Hollywood on October 20-23, HD World in New York on November 12-13, and Inter BEE in Tokyo November 19-21, will see the solution in action and learn more about its advanced features.

“We’re excited to introduce a new, mid-sized model that offers the same fast, efficient and creative capabilities that can be found in our traditional Kayenne and Karrera switchers,” said Mike Cronk, senior vice president of strategic marketing, Grass Valley. “As an integral component of creating live television coverage of sports, entertainment and news from studio and mobile facilities, the new Karrera K-Frame S-series includes familiar controls and intuitive interfaces.”

Together with the Kayenne family of solutions, the Karrera family comprises a series of 1080p-capable production switchers that provide outstanding operational efficiency and performance due to scalability, processing power, and flexibility. They feature a mix of more keyers, digital image processing, scalers, M/Es, and I/O than other systems on the market, giving users more processing capabilities to improve production values. In addition, all Grass Valley K-Frame systems can be configured for UHD/4K productions with no change in hardware or software.

The new Karrera K-Frame S-series can easily be configured to match specific user requests. A single frame with its six M/E and 80x48 I/O maximum capabilities can be split to provide separate resources for multiple panels, and many advanced features, including DoubleTake and Source Rules, can be enabled by software licenses. “Upgrading is simple with most options being software- rather than hardware-based,” added Cronk. “And they are extensible by providing interfaces and controls to cameras, routing switchers, and servers.”

  • Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014
Canon rolls out second-generation EOS C11 Mark II Digital Video Camera

Canon U.S.A. Inc. unveiled the Canon EOS C100 Mark II Digital Video Camera, the latest edition to the Canon Cinema EOS line of professional Super 35mm 8.3 megapixel CMOS cameras and the second-generation version of the popular Canon EOS C100 Digital Video Camera.

Designed for economical film and video productions such as documentary and remote broadcast crews, wedding and event coverage, indie film productions, as well as film schools and business and government users, the new EOS C100 Mark II Digital Video Camera, features advanced image processing, AVCHD and MP4 1920x1080/60p recording, uncompressed YCbCr output from HDMI, and many other new and enhanced capabilities for improved picture quality, operability, and convenient handling. Delivering a cinematic look with shallow depth of field and high sensitivity in low-light environments, the new EOS C100 Mark II camera weighs just 2.5 lbs. and is compatible with over 103 Canon EF Series lenses, including STM models which can deliver smooth and silent autofocus during filmmaking.

“Canon’s commitment to the advancement of tools for visual expression takes another major step forward with the introduction of the EOS C100 Mark II Digital Video Camera,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO of Canon U.S.A., Inc. “Drawing on input from Canon’s global community of Cinema EOS camera users and from digital filmmakers using Canon EF lenses--100 million of which have now been produced worldwide--the company has added new capabilities to the EOS C100 Mark II from its predecessor that powerfully leverage our considerable expertise in optics, imaging, and digital signal processing. The result is an improved, affordable Super 35mm CMOS digital camera that is designed to provide outstanding HD image quality, operational performance, ergonomics, and workflow convenience.”

Design Enhancements
Optimized for one-person operation, the new EOS C100 Mark II camera has a mobile core design enabling users to choose their preferred style of shooting. The existing design has been enhanced to include a large-size detachable eyecup for the camera’s large 68-degree tilting 0.45-inch 1.23 megapixel color EVF (electronic viewfinder). Clearly marked red trigger buttons on the camera body, top handle, grip, and a built-in mono microphone on the camera body ─ for times when the top handle is not attached ─ can be used to capture basic sound for audio notation or as an aid to audio syncing during post.

Another major redesign of the new EOS C100 Mark II over its predecessor is an innovatively hinged 3.5-inch 1.23 megapixel OLED display panel, delivering 100 percent field-of-view coverage, wide color range support, and improved viewing even in bright sunshine. The new hinge design ─ which folds the panel shut when stowed, protecting the OLED surface ─ opens 180 degrees to reveal function keys and a joystick. The panel can open even further to 270 degrees to deploy against the side of the camera to provide monitoring for directors and other production personnel. Additional design improvements on the camera body include 17 assignable recessed function buttons, dual SD card slots with a transparent cover, and a simplified battery insertion and removal release.

Visual Expression
Previously available only as an optional upgrade for earlier Cinema EOS models, Dual Pixel CMOS AF is a standard feature on the new EOS C100 Mark II, providing enhanced autofocusing capability. The Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology helps provide smooth and consistent autofocus, so that focus transitions are natural looking and subjects can remain in focus even as they move off center. In addition, the compatibility of Dual Pixel CMOS AF with Canon EF autofocus lenses combines outstanding optical tools with a wide range of creative options. It’s ideal for shooting sports, weddings and many more productions where focus pulling by a single operator is not feasible, such as when the video camera is attached to steadicams or drones. The EOS C100 Mark II Digital Video Camera also includes Face-Detection AF, a first in the Cinema EOS camera line, which utilizes contrast detection AF to maintain focus across most of the image plane, an advantage in one-person electronic news gathering (ENG) situations.

Imaging and Recording
Central to many of the new features of the new EOS C100 Mark II Digital Video Camera is its advanced Canon DIGIC DV4 image processor. The Canon DIGIC DV4 image processor separates the RGB output from the camera’s 8.3 Megapixel CMOS imager into three individual 8 megapixel signals (as opposed to 2MB in the EOS C100) for noticeably improved image quality. The Canon DIGIC DV4 processor also includes a new debayering algorithm to help minimize moiré and reduce video noise even at high ISO speeds. (high-sensitivity recording on the camera ranges from ISO 320 to 80,000).

Another important benefit of the Canon DIGIC DV4 processor is Full HD recording in both the high-quality professional format AVCHD or the popular web-friendly MP4 format at a variety of bit rates (up to 28 Mbps and 35 Mbps, respectively), resolutions, and frame rates (up to the smooth look of 59.94p) to suit practically any production need. For special-effect requirements, slow and fast motion MP4 recording at up to 1920x1080/60p can also be performed.

Users can choose from multiple formats that support MP4 or AVCHD to suit a wide variety of production, post, and output needs. The EOS C100 Mark II camera’s dual SD card slots can record in one or both formats simultaneously for back-up, or convert AVCHD and MP4 files into smaller MP4 files for web upload. Extended clip times can be achieved by recording continuously from one card to the other without a break. In addition, a Data Import Utility application is included that can seamlessly join divided files to help reduce work during editing and to import video file data from an SD card inside the camera or a card reader.

As with the other cameras in Canon’s Cinema EOS line, the new EOS C100 Mark II Digital Video Camera includes Canon Log as a recording choice, providing maximum dynamic range for post-production color grading. New, however, is the addition of a built-in LUT (look-up table), enabling users to view the camera’s live video signal in Wide DR (dynamic range) or the BT.709 (TV standard) color space on the OLED or any external monitor connected to the camera’s locking HDMI® output (this feature can be turned off in the menu). Uncompressed video output (with time code data and 2:3 pull-down markers superimposed) can be output via HDMI to an external recorder.

Connectivity Innovations
The addition of wireless file-transfer capabilities further expands the versatility of the new EOS C100 Mark II camera for multiple production applications, including transferring time-critical news video or backing-up files. Utilizing dual 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz frequencies, the camera can transfer video files via FTP server for instant relay, or send MP4 video to the web browsers of laptops or tablets for viewing and storage (even on PC’s lacking playback software). Remote control of the camera is also enabled via a compatible smartphone, tablet, or laptop. The new EOS C100 Mark II Digital Video Camera also includes compatibility with the optional multi-functional Canon RC-V100 Remote Controller, which can be used to adjust image quality and other important operations from a distance, a handy feature for shooting from a jib arm, drone, or other inaccessible location.

In addition, the optional Canon GP-E2 EOS GPS Receiver can be connected to the EOS C100 Mark II Digital Video Camera using a USB cable to record location and time information during shooting, a helpful feature for editing and archiving.

Pricing and Availability
The Canon EOS C100 Mark II Digital Video Camera is scheduled to be available at the end of December 2014 for an estimated retail price of $5,499.

  • Friday, Oct. 17, 2014
Camera Department CES offers lens prep & checkout training to ICG Local 600
Day one of the Advanced Lens Prep & Checkout workshop from the Camera Department Continuing Education Series.

The Camera Department Continuing Education Series hosted on Oct. 9, 10 and 11 their first set of workshops with support from the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600. Sponsored by CW Sonderoptic and camadeus Film Technologies, the workshop entitled “Advanced Lens Prep & Checkout” drew a large number of Southern California cinematographers, 1st assistants and camera operators to the Leica Store and Gallery in West Hollywood to learn more about the art and craft of lens evaluation in a rental environment.

Camera Department CES offered three workshop sessions, each opening with Steven Poster, national president of ICG Local 600, offering words of advice to union members about the importance of prep, continued learning and hard work.

Next, Matthew Duclos, long-time lens technician and COO of Duclos Lenses, lead the class through the finer points of lens design, cleaning and prep. After an introductory presentation that pointed out several myths and misconceptions, the group moved over to a camera to see what lens tests could easily and accurately be performed when the rental house does not have a projector. Later, the group went into the projection room to learn how to read a projection, what to test for, what matters and what doesn’t.

Sebastian Lumme, managing director of camadeus, said, “This event was a great success. We had a strong turnout from the Local 600 and strong presenters in both Steven and Matthew. The feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive and we look forward to doing more of these workshops.”

“The Advanced Lens Checkout workshop was just the beginning,” said CW Sonderoptic marketing director Seth Emmons. “Sebastian and I plan to continue building new seminars around the needs of the men and women who work in the camera department. So much of our industry revolves around mentorship and shared learning, which is great and sets the cinematography world apart from other industries. We simply want to bring a lot of that knowledge into one place for those who want to learn more or learn deeper.”

Poster added, “Training is key to our mission at the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600. When companies with the caliber of CW Sonderoptic and camadeus offers us training on any level our members will always take advantage of the opportunity to further their skills. I wish every member could take advantage of the knowledge imparted at a seminar like this one at the Leica Store.” 

Local 600 members and other production professionals who wish to receive more information about future Camera Department Continuing Education Series workshops are encouraged to like the CDCES Facebook page or email directly at info@cdces.org to join the mailing list. The next series of workshops will take place on December 4-6, 2014 in Los Angeles.

The ICG Safety app will soon be released for iOS and Android devices. More information about the Safety app will be available on the Local 600 website in the coming weeks.

Local 600 members also qualify for special financing and discounts on the range of products offered by camadeus Film Technologies.

  • Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014
Bexel gets into flow with Grass Valley's LDX XS cameras

Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, expands camera sales to Bexel with 10 LDX XtremeSpeed (LDX XS) 6X ultra-slow-motion cameras as well as eight K2 Dyno Replay Systems. Currently, Bexel has 15 LDX XS cameras and six K2 Dyno systems on rental at the MLB Playoffs, as well as NFL and NCAA football games. The new camera and server system will provide Bexel’s clients with a new, sophisticated ultra-slow-motion workflow with improved replay for sharper imagery and more engaging replay highlights, especially during live sports productions.

Bexel is a provider of high-end audio and video equipment rentals, production gear and fiber services in the United States and Latin America. Bexel provides engineered systems and integration solutions to television production and film crews. This new purchase builds upon the company’s existing fleet of Grass Valley cameras, which includes 28 LDX Première advanced imaging camera systems that were acquired in 2013.

“The LDX camera series provides overall flexibility in format, setup and functionality to meet our market demands,” said Tom Dickinson, chief technology officer at Bexel. “But the LDX XS breaks new ground when coupled with the K2 Dyno. It’s an extremely efficient replay system with the K2 Dyno controller, as two LDX XS cameras can work in 6X replay in one single K2 Dyno, reducing the overall cost of the system while increasing functionality. These systems can provide 1X, 3X and 6X workflows in 1080i and 720p and 1X and 3X workflows for 1080p broadcasts, so our clients have the production format flexibility they need.”

The LDX XS cameras work in tandem with the K2 Dyno replay system with its AnySpeed dynamic playback technology that provides smooth playback at any speed from zero to 200 percent and all speed transitions for ultra-slow-motion playout. For fast turnaround time with productions, Bexel’s clients don’t have to wait for the LDX XS to transfer clips from an internal storage device, as the footage is available immediately.

Grass Valley’s future-ready XCU XtremeSpeed XF Fiber transmission system supports the large real-time bandwidth required by the LDX XS cameras without any compromises. The rack-mounted XCU cradle is fully compatible with the 3G transmission XCUs, which makes the XCU chassis easily transportable between trucks, studios and flypacks.

  • Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014
Canon rolls out ultra-telephoto zoom lens for large-format single-sensor cameras
Canon's CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 lens with its removable Digital Drive unit.

With the increasing use of large-format single-sensor 4K cameras for field productions like sports and nature documentaries, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, has introduced the new ultra-telephoto CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 Ultra-Telephoto Zoom lens. With the world’s longest focal length (75-1500mm with its built-in 1.5x extender) and highest (20x) magnification among Super 35mm zoom lenses[i], the new CINE-SERVO zoom lens offers cinematographers new possibilities for shooting scenes in HD, 2K and 4K on single-sensor cameras. The new Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm zoom lens is an ultra-telephoto lens with 4K optical performance and a removable digital drive unit to accommodate either broadcast or cinema-style production.

“The use of large-sensor 4K cameras is rapidly spreading beyond motion pictures and episodic television, into many new types of productions such as broadcast sports and nature documentaries,” said Yuichi Ishizuka, president and COO, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “We are proud to deliver a lens with the advanced 4K optical performance, impressive focal range and operational versatility required to serve the creative needs of today’s growing community of 4K and UHD image makers.”

Available in either EF- or PL-mount, the new Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 Ultra-Telephoto Zoom lens leverages Canon’s decades of expertise in optical design, computer simulation, and advanced glass materials to achieve a balance of ultra-telephoto 4K optical performance and image brightness with a compact form factor of only 15.9 inches in length (PL version) and a weight of just 14.6 pounds. This combination of advantages provides outstanding aberration correction and high image quality extending from the center of the image to all edges. For professional users, this lens enables close-up 4K imaging of wildlife subjects or athletes while maintaining the physical distances necessary in such shooting situations.

Ruggedly built, the durable new Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 Ultra-Telephoto Zoom lens features a removable Digital Drive unit for traditional EFP-style (electronic field production) operation with a convenient zoom/rocker switch, programmable zoom and focus settings, and data connections for use with broadcast-type field/studio servo-demand controls for zoom and focus. Removal of the drive unit enables Cinema-style operation of the CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm lens, including clearly engraved barrel markings, an 11-blade iris to help achieve smooth “bokeh,” and compatibility with lens-support rods, matte boxes, and other cinema accessories.

The new Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 Ultra-Telephoto Zoom lens is compliant with industry-standard camera-to-lens communication protocols to help ensure compatibility and maximum performance with multiple brands and models of 4K, UHD and HD cameras. These standards include 12-pin serial communication (common to major broadcast camera brands), Cooke’s /i Technology and Canon EOS-LENS data communication technology (employed by the EOS C500, EOS-1D C, EOS C300 and EOS C100 Cinema cameras). In the case of the Canon Cinema EOS system, precise lens data – including aperture setting – is displayed in the EOS camera’s viewfinder, as well as recorded in the video file as metadata along with the model name of the lens and the given focal-length setting.

Broadcast-style operation
The new Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 Ultra-Telephoto Zoom lens integrates advanced broadcast-style operability features that Canon developed as a leading maker of HDTV lenses for major sports coverage, wildlife photography, and ENG (Electronic News Gathering). These features include servo control of focus, zoom, and iris settings via the lens’ removable Digital Drive unit. Ergonomically designed for operator comfort, the unit integrates a high-precision, high-resolution 16-bit microprocessor encoder linked to a convenient zoom/rocker switch that provides immediate start-up. This encoder enables camera operators to smoothly zoom at a variety of speeds, from a very fast 1.5 seconds to a very slow 180 seconds from full-wide to full-telephoto. Additionally, the encoder is capable of transmitting accurate analog and serial data for zoom, focus and iris settings through the Drive unit’s 20-pin connector, allowing for this lens to be incorporated into most existing virtual imaging systems.

Operators can also manually control focus and iris settings from the drive unit or use it to program focus, zoom position/speed, and iris settings if desired, allowing for precise, repeatable lens operation. A small LCD display on the drive unit displays current settings for operators. Focus can also be adjusted manually by rotating a knurled rubber collar on the lens. Combining both broadcast operability and the accuracy required by cinematographers, the lens features a 180-degree focus rotation angle. With environmental-performance capabilities that stand up to typically unforgiving broadcast sports and wildlife shooting environments, the lens employs a tough, optimal chassis structure, and is weather and shock resistant. In addition to its three 20-pin connectors, the drive unit also has a broadcast-standard 12-pin power connection for remote-control operation. The lens also utilizes 700mA of power.

Cinema-style operation
With its Digital Drive unit/hand grip removed, the new Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 Ultra-telephoto Zoom lens provides digital filmmakers with the advantages of its 1500mm focal length (with 1.5x extender) and 4K optical performance. Facilitating cinema-style use, lens-barrel markings are clearly engraved in both feet and meters on both sides of the barrel, and focus indicators on the front side of the lens are marked on an inclined surface to make them easy to see from the back of the camera. Additionally, luminous paint is used for the scale display on one side of the barrel to help make the markings visually identifiable in the dark. Both 0.8 type and 0.5 type gear module focus accessories can be used, and gear positions support the use of a follow focus and all other standard electronic accessories. With a 31.4mm image circle, this lens will cover industry standard Super-35mm format sensors.

A red alumite identity color is used for the lens’ mount area to indicate conformance with Canon Cinema EOS optical technology’s many outstanding features such as support for EOS-LENS data communication. A structure enabling the lens’ EF mount to be replaced with a PL mount, or vice versa (electrical system included), is also incorporated. This conversion upgrade can be provided at authorized Canon service centers. The EF and PL versions of the lens are designated CN20x50 IAS H/E1 and CN20x50 IAS H/P1, respectively.

The new Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 Ultra-Telephoto Zoom lens joins Canon’s CINE-SERVO 17-120mm T2.95 lens, CN-E15.5-47mm T2.8 L and CN-E30-105mm T2.8 L Compact Cinema Zoom lenses, CN-E30-300mm T2.95-3.7 L and CN-E14.5-60mm T2.6 L full-size Cinema zooms, and six Cinema prime lenses as a comprehensive Canon family of professional lenses designed to meet a wide variety of 4K single-sensor Super35mm digital production needs. Canon is a leading global lens brand serving photographers, sports producers, broadcasters, and theatrical filmmakers. Earlier this year, the Company celebrated a milestone having produced its 100 millionth EF lens*.

Pricing and Availability
The new Canon CINE-SERVO 50-1000mm T5.0-8.9 Ultra-telephoto Zoom lens is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2015 for a suggested list price of $78,000. 

  • Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014
Facilis and StorageDNA solutions fuel Coolfire Studios
Roxanne Henry, media asset manager at Coolfire.

Coolfire Studios is a full-service entertainment company serving a diverse client-base. The St. Louis-based studio specializes in production, postproduction and motion graphics, working on everything from original TV series to commercials, branded content and more. The company leverages a workflow fueled by Facilis TerraBlock shared storage, and StorageDNA LTO LTFS archiving and archive asset management solutions that facilitate an advanced level of creativity in-house.

The studio first brought TerraBlock and DNA Evolution on board two years ago, while producing 10 one-hour episodes for the Style Network series “Resale Royalty.” Shooting occurred over 83 days resulting in approximately 24 terabytes of raw footage that had to be stored, edited and archived. Coolfire assembled a setup composed of 18 Avid Media Composer workstations connected via Ethernet to TerraBlock, with a DNA Evolution X200-24 Linux turnkey system featuring a 24-slot autoloader and two LTO tape drives for archiving. TerraBlock provided a flexible workflow for storing and accessing the data, while DNA Evolution’s LTO LTFS technology streamlined archiving and archive asset management for the project.

“With 18 workstations simultaneously referencing projects and media files for the show, ‘Resale Royalty,’ we needed shared storage that was fast with multi-user Read/Write functionality. To be able to have one a central area like TerraBlock that everyone could play on, in an organized fashion was vital,” said Roxanne Henry, media asset manager, Coolfire. “DNA Evolution further simplified the job, making archive runs quick and consistent; we could also verify the data after the fact, giving us the confidence that our data was secure.”

Noting the success of the dual-implementation for the project, Henry added, “It was a definite triumph, and integrating both products was a great adventure. Having such efficient equipment allowed our team to focus less on the technology and spend more time being creative to make the show look better overall.”

Over the last year, Coolfire has continued to take on an expanding project load, carving out a local niche for itself in network and long-form programming, with DNA Evolution and TerraBlock playing an integral role. “DNA Evolution and TerraBlock have brought us to where we need to be, technically and infrastructure-wise, to be able to keep up with the volume of projects flowing in,” Henry said. 

TerraBlock has also been used by Coolfire for other network shows including: “Alternate Route” (Esquire Network), “Carver’s” (SyFy) and “Salvage City” (Discovery Channel), and the team is currently in post for an upcoming six episode series, “Weekend Fix” (Esquire Network). “Because TerraBlock is fast, we’re able to edit native C300 in Media Composer, giving us the flexibility to avoid the hassle of an online/offline workflow, and our network approvals are in full resolution,” Henry said. “TerraBlock encompasses our three ‘must-haves’ in a shared storage solution: multi-user Read/Write functionality; the ability to create volumes on the fly without having to take users down; and the flexibility to increase volumes--all at a fraction of the cost of traditional SAN systems. It offers a nice blend of functionality and affordability, and as a smaller company that’s growing rapidly, that’s important to us.”

With more than 600 terabytes of media assets in house and more content coming in on a daily basis, DNA Evolution has proven to be crucial in Coolfire’s archival process. “DNA Evolution gets our data onto LTO tape incredibly fast, allowing us to keep up with incoming data. Having an archival product that runs in a quick, efficient manner ensures redundancy of our footage. The fact that DNA Evolution formats LTFS is an added benefit because it allows anyone to read the data if you need to send an LTO tape out of house,” Henry explained. “These features are important in an enterprise archive solution, and from a functionality standpoint, DNA Evolution blows its competition out of the water, with features that uniquely cater to video users. The fact that we could also use it to conform an online is also appealing, and something we’d like to explore integrating into our workflow in the future.”

Whether for a small or mid-sized company or large enterprise, Henry believes the benefits of a solid shared storage and archiving workflow are indisputable. She concluded, “The ability to have a shared storage solution like TerraBlock pays for itself, but you also need a complementary archiving solution like DNA Evolution to manage your data and get the most out of your shared storage. DNA Evolution and TerraBlock are a great match; even through heavy post schedules and high data rates, they’ve proved themselves time and time again.”

  • Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014
Codex hires Jurgen Kantenwein as head of technical marketing
Jurgen Kantenwein

Codex, which provides in high-end digital recording and workflow equipment for motion picture and television production, has recruited Jurgen Kantenwein as its new head of technical marketing. Kantenwein brings over 20 years of experience in digital film workflow to Codex, gained from working with production and post production companies worldwide, and will take a lead role in developing and marketing the company’s current and next-generation products for motion picture and high-end TV production and post.

Among his career milestones, Kantenwein was a founder, CTO and director of The Posthouse AG in Hamburg and The Posthouse Ltd in Wellington, New Zealand, from 1999 to 2003. During this time he oversaw the deployment of some of the first DI grading systems on Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, helping to co-develop the color grading software used on these movies, which is now Autodesk’s Lustre system. Prior to this Kantenwein consulted as a systems integrator to high-end post houses in Germany and London, including Das Werk, Optical Art, Cinemedia and VTR Group (now Prime Focus).

Kantenwein joins Codex after working for a decade as a technical consultant on 2D and 3D stereo digital film, DI and postproduction system design and installations for facilities across Europe and Asia, including Molinare in London, Focus Fox Studios in Budapest, Hamburg Media School, Elektrofilm in Berlin, Deutsche Telecom T- Online in Frankfurt, plus Filmlab, Century Communications and Pixion in India. Most recently he project-managed the design and installation of an innovative, 4K, data-centric workflow at Spice Shop, a post facility in Bangkok, Thailand.

“Jurgen has a remarkable depth and breadth of data-based workflow knowledge, accumulated over many years working with leading companies around the world,” said Sarah Priestnall, VP of market development at Codex. “His experience and insight into the evolving digital media landscape is invaluable for Codex as the company puts increased momentum into its existing and future product strategies that balance the artistic needs of creative filmmakers with the latest advances in technology.”

“Smart system design and supporting the integration of new, innovative technologies into high-end media and entertainment companies are great fascinations to me,” said Kantenwein. “So I jumped at the chance to work with the remarkable brand that is Codex. In this new technical marketing role, it will be my task to focus on providing new and improved workflow solutions that meet the needs of customers in a dynamic marketplace--today and tomorrow.”

  • Monday, Oct. 13, 2014
AJA Io 4K supports 4K playback for “Gone Girl” VFX review
A scene from David Fincher's "Gone Girl" (Photo by Merrick Morton/20th Century Fox).
GRASS VALLEY, Calif. -- 

AJA Video Systems’ Io 4K device for professional video and audio I/O was used to facilitate 4K playback for VFX review on director David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” from 20th Century Fox and New Regency. Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn, “Gone Girl” stars Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tyler Perry and was released by 20th Century Fox on October 3.

The “Gone Girl” production workflow was very ambitious from the get go, captured in 6K using RED Dragon cameras. The film’s postproduction engineer, and CTO of Open Drives, Jeff Brue oversaw the systems integration supporting the complex workflows required of working in such high frame rates.

“AJA’s Io 4K was used as a reference grade device as it allowed us to playback DPX frames without any tearing or artifacts when reviewing VFX shots,” explained Brue. “The Io 4K was ultimately chosen for the quality level, absolute sync and also for the fact that it can operate in 10-bit.”

AJA Io 4K connects to any Thunderbolt 2-enabled device, and offers a broad range of professional video and audio connectivity, supporting the latest 4K and UltraHD workflows. For “Gone Girl,” Io 4K was connected to the Thunderbolt 2 output from an HP Z820 workstation running Adobe After Effects CC and Adobe Premiere Pro CC, which was used to edit the entire film . This was the hero VFX workstation driven in-house at David Fincher’s production company to complete subtle visual effects that mostly included performance retiming and recombination, split screen comps and opticals.

“When you’re working on a feature film project with this high of a data rate, you have to have a cohesive system to manage all of the 6K, from storage to the playback device. You have to know that everything works together and that the peformance is reliable. AJA Io 4K provided that reliability along with absolute frame accuracy which was a necessity,” concluded Brue.

  • Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014
Grass Valley to present at SMPTE 2014 and the IEEE Broadcast Symposium
Klaus Weber, senior product marketing manager, cameras, Grass Valley

Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, will be attending the SMPTE 2014 Annual Technical Conference and the 2014 IEEE Broadcast Symposium to discuss the new technology challenges broadcasters face today. Topics Grass Valley will cover include solutions related to next-generation broadcast formats and emerging infrastructure, including IP in live broadcast, OTT, 4K, 8K, and beyond HD.

SMPTE 2014 will be held October 20–23 in Hollywood, California, with Grass Valley and Belden presenting three papers:

►  “Internet Protocol Networks in the Live Broadcast Plant,” presented by Ken Buttle, principal engineer, Grass Valley; Sara Kudrle, product marketing manager, infrastructure, monitoring and control, Grass Valley; and Charles Meyer, chief technology officer, production, Grass Valley. This paper examines the different approaches to facility signal routing and timing, demonstrating the tradeoffs between different network technologies and their suitability for live broadcast workflows. This presentation will be held on October 21 at 10:15 a.m. in Salon 1 and is part of “Networked Media in the Facility—Part 1.”

►  “Further Developments in 4K (12 GHz) Single-Link Coaxial Cable,” presented by Stephen Lampen, multimedia technology manager/product line manager at Belden. This paper outlines the hurdles 4K signals present and some of the existing solutions, including 4K quad-link, 4K dual-link, and 4K single-link coaxial cables, as well as 6 GHz and 12 GHz cables. This presentation will be held on October 22 at 4:45 p.m. in Salon 2 and is part of “UHDTV: Building the Plane in Flight.”

►  “Beyond HD—The Status of the Image Acquisition Solutions for the Next-Generation Broadcasting Formats,” presented by Klaus Weber, senior product marketing manager, cameras, Grass Valley. This paper explains the different potential solutions of 4K or UHD image acquisition, including their strength and limitations, with the focus on live broadcast productions. This presentation will be held on October 23 at 3:00 p.m. in Salon 1 and is part of “Image Processing Part 1: Methods for Creating High-Quality Images beyond HD.”

In addition, Grass Valley’s Western Region Governor for the SMPTE Board of Governors, Sara Kudrle, will chair two sessions at SMPTE 2014 on file-based workflows on October 22 beginning at 8:30 a.m. in Salon 1:

►  “Tools of the Trade—Conversion, Captions and Compression,” will take an overview of happenings within the Joint Task Force on File Formats and Media Interoperability and then consider emerging tools that are enriching our workflows.

►   “Meaningful Media Management—Taking us to the Second Screen and Beyond!” will explain a method of facilitating complex workflows by first identifying media in a meaningful manner. The session will also explore the management and migration of media to other devices and second screens.

Additionally, visitors to the booth (#217) at SMPTE 2014 will see some of Grass Valley’s leading-edge solutions, including the LDX Compact 4K camera, Kaleido multiviewers and the Karrera K-Frame S-series Video Production Center.

Kudrle of Grass Valley will also participate in a broadcast panel for emerging infrastructure at the 2014 IEEE Broadcast Symposium on October 15 in San Antonio, Texas. The panel will focus on in-plant distribution infrastructure considerations for future television plants. Michael Masucci, enterprise systems engineer at Belden, will also speak at the conference, participating in a panel discussion on copper/fiber wiring and interface considerations for in-plant super-high-speed networks.

“As we look at emerging trends and new technologies, we are committed to helping our customers be Future-Ready,” said Mike Cronk, senior vice president of strategic marketing, Grass Valley. “Not only are we thinking about our products and services in terms of an integrated workflow, but how we can educate broadcasters on what’s to come. These conferences allow us to both inform and discuss where the broadcast industry is headed, and we welcome the opportunity to be part of the conversation.”

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