• Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014
ALEXA ProRes3.2K scheduled for release in early 2015
ALEXA XT ProRes 3.2K for UHD TV

ARRI announces ProRes 3.2K, a new recording format for its ARRI ALEXA cameras that will become available through a software update scheduled for release early next year. ProRes 3.2K allows the same easy upsampling in post to UHD deliverables as ARRIRAW Open Gate does to 4K. These formats, combined with ALEXA’s dynamic range, make the camera suitable for any type of production with any distribution requirements.

The majority of digital film and television productions continue to capture, postproduce and distribute in HD or 2K, formats for which ALEXA provides a solution. Widespread adoption of UHD/4K post workflows, as well as availability of UHD displays in consumer homes and 4K projection in movie theaters is at least one to two years away--even in the most progressive markets. However, some film and program makers are already concerned about protecting their work for future developments. The ongoing debate regarding high dynamic range (HDR) displays, which have an even greater effect on viewing experience than higher spatial resolution, only adds to these concerns.

ALEXA product manager Marc Shipman-Mueller commented, “Designed from the outset to be adaptable and future-proof, ALEXA can easily accommodate productions that choose to follow a UHD or 4K workflow. The camera’s stellar overall image quality in combination with ProRes 3.2K or ARRIRAW Open Gate allows for simple up-sampling to UHD or 4K in a quality at least as good as other contenders. And because of their unequalled exposure latitude and highlight handling, ALEXA images are already uniquely HDR-compatible. Put simply, ALEXA remains the safest available capture tool for asset longevity, no matter what future standards come to fruition.”

For TV productions looking for a UHD deliverable, ALEXA XT cameras and ALEXA Classic cameras with the XR Module upgrade offer the new and cost-efficient ProRes 3.2K recording option. At data rates far below uncompressed ARRIRAW, ProRes 3.2K provides the benefits of the well-established and efficient ProRes workflow. As an additional benefit, most lenses fully cover the 3.2K image circle that results from the 16:9 ProRes 3.2K image. A straightforward up-sample from ProRes 3.2K using standard post tools delivers UHD images of the highest quality for broadband and broadcast.

Many high-profile movies have been shot in ARRIRAW 2.8K and up-sampled to a 4K DCP with spectacular results, an example being the last James Bond film, Skyfall. To further improve upon this option, ARRI introduced the ARRIRAW Open Gate recording format for ALEXA XT cameras earlier this year. Open Gate records the full 3.4K ALEXA XT sensor area for an optimal up-sample in post to a 4K DCP.

Open Gate has been enthusiastically received by the feature film industry and is in use on numerous productions already, including Warcraft, San Andreas, Pixels, Goosebumps and Sicario, the latest movie lensed by Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC. Other feature films are shooting ARRIRAW 16:9 or ARRIRAW 4:3 and using Open Gate selectively for VFX shots, including Terminator: Genesis, Fantastic 4, Agent 47 and Deus Ex Machina.

Recent demonstrations of high dynamic range (HDR) displays have shown the extraordinary visual impact of increased dynamic range and sparked a debate over how and when they will be introduced. ARRI has been working with Dolby at major trade shows to help showcase Dolby Vision display technology, which is capable of 100 times more brightness than a conventional TV. This has contributed to a spreading awareness in the industry that dynamic range is an even more important factor than spatial resolution in creating a superior visual experience. Recognizing this, other companies such as Thomson, Philips and the BBC are working on their own HDR solutions.

ALEXA’s unrivalled exposure latitude, highlight handling and color science already result in images beyond the capabilities of current display technologies. The Dolby Vision presentations have revealed how much better ALEXA images look when displayed with extended dynamic range, proving the enormous and as-yet untapped potential of ALEXA-originated material to be remastered for future HDR display standards.

  • Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014
Codex to advance workflows at IBC 2014
Codex Panasonic V-Raw Recorder

Codex, a leader in RAW recording and workflow, will showcase the ease with which Codex Vault Platform and Codex recording systems can be integrated with the latest production, monitoring and DI post technologies--from partners including ARRI, Panasonic, Canon, Sony, RED, Dolby, FilmLight and Leica--to deliver robust, streamlined workflows for motion picture, television and commercials production, at the Codex stand (Hall 11.C71) during IBC 2014, September 12-16, in Amsterdam. Codex will also show new workflows for ARRI’s AMIRA UHD ProRes output, and Codex Action Cam, now shipping, the new ultra-compact, all-in-one, digital cinema camera and recording package for 2D and S3D production.

Chief among the Codex exhibits is Vault Platform, the modular workflow system providing fast, reliable transfers of camera data to internal storage, plus metadata management, transcoding to a multitude of dailies formats and archiving to LTO tape. The latest Vault Review module enables the playback of HD, 2K and 4K material for review, QC and basic color grading--making Vault a fully featured dailies, QC and archiving system. Plus it adds the power of GPU processing, enabling transcoding at speeds far greater than real time. Brand new at IBC, Codex will show Vault Platform running on the latest Mac Pro workstation.

Codex has extended support to encompass even more digital cinematography cameras, and will highlight its end-to-end RAW recording solutions for ARRI ALEXA XT and Canon C500 cameras, as well as showing how Codex workflows, powered by Codex Vault, support the latest 4K cameras from Sony and RED. Codex now delivers ProRes UHD workflows for ARRI’s AMIRA camera, via Vault and the Codex CFast 2.0 dock for ARRI AMIRA. Additionally, Codex is partnering with Leica to showcase the latest Leica Summilux-C series lenses, as used in the Codex/ARRIRAW workflows on Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and X-Men: Days Of Future Past, plus a selection of Leica’s new Summicron-C Prime lenses.

Codex is now shipping Codex Action Cam--the small camera with a big workflow. The new product can be deployed as an Action | POV camera system on commercials, TV and movie productions, as a companion camera when regular packages are too large for the situation or location, or as a Witness Cam to capture depth information for VFX compositing or stereoscopic conversion. Codex Action Cam comprises a tiny HD camera head and a Codex Camera Control Recorder that delivers full remote control of the camera, plus the proven workflow of the industry-standard Codex.

At NAB 2014 Codex and Panasonic announced a strategic product development alliance, whereby Codex is working exclusively with Panasonic to deliver the only compact, high-speed 4K uncompressed RAW recorder for Panasonic’s VariCam 35 camera. The dedicated recorder, to be shown at Panasonic’s stand during IBC (Hall 9.D40 and 9.C45), captures uncompressed 4K VariCam RAW at up to 120fps. Codex’s Vault workflow system supports the rapid transfer of digital camera originals for post-production and archiving. The Codex V-RAW recorder connects directly to Panasonic’s VariCam 35 camera eliminating cabling completely, to facilitate greater efficiency and higher mobility while shooting. It is compact and lightweight and provides the reliability that customers expect from Codex solutions.

Focusing attentions on critical on-set procedures, Codex and FilmLight will demonstrate the results of their successful technology collaboration that links Codex Vault to the Baselight grading system. This allows grading decisions, made on-set with the Baselight FLIP real-time image processor, to be viewed and rendered into dailies deliverables on Vault.

There will also be a technology demo of Dolby’s Dolby Vision Display Prototype that supports Dolby Vision, utilising breakthrough quantum dot technology to create over 2,000 nits of brightness while retaining a 0.003 nit black, delivering an astounding 600,000:1 contrast ratio or 16eV (f-stops) of dynamic range. The Dolby Vision Display Prototype will be integrated with the ARRI ALEXA XT, FilmLight FLIP and Codex Vault.

Codex recording and workflow technology has been used on hundreds of motion picture productions worldwide. Recent and forthcoming releases to rely on Codex products include: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Jupiter Ascending, Hercules, Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, The Fault In Our Stars and Mad Max: Fury Road.

  • Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014
Tiffen releases Steadicam Curve for GoPro
Steadicam Curve

The Tiffen Company, a manufacturer of digital imaging accessories, announced the availability of the Steadicam Curve for GoPro. Steadicam’s most lightweight and compact camera stabilizer yet, the Curve can be purchased online and in stores.

Curve is designed specifically for action-packed, one-handed GoPro camera shoots. Combining Curve’s compact form factor with Steadicam’s legendary stabilization technology, the possibilities for shake-free video have now opened up for GoPro users. For the most adventurous shoots, GoPro users can lock in the ergonomic handle for a rock-solid grip. Weighing in at just a half-pound, Curve is the perfect accompaniment for any journey, be it shooting school sports, taking it for a thrill ride in the skate park, or zooming down a mountain on skis or snowboard.

Steve Tiffen, president and CEO of The Tiffen Company, said “With GoPro filmmaking now at an unprecedented level, we knew we had to design a Steadicam device laser-focused on the needs of these action users. We’re excited to see Curve on shelves across the country, and look forward to viewing the never-before-possible adventure shots GoPro users create with the help of Steadicam Curve.”

  • Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014
Digital Nirvana to introduce Media Management Platform at IBC
Digital Nirvana's Media Management Platform
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

At IBC 2014 in Amsterdam, Digital Nirvana will introduce its Media Management Platform, which offers a suite of applications that allows users to capture, edit, share, and manage content--as well as prove compliance, monitor and analyze video. Digital Nirvana will exhibit this platform in the booth of EMEA Gateway during the IBC convention--Hall 9, Stand B14.

Professionals using the new Digital Nirvana platform can capture content from multiple live video feeds in original recording and proxy format; edit, capture and store live video feeds; quickly repurpose content for multiple platforms and export it for final editing, rebroadcast, MAM, and archiving; manage and search content using advanced search terms; log and monitor video for regulatory or licensing requirements and quality control; and compare, review and analyze content for competitive analysis, legal reviews, and cross-functional collaboration.

  • Friday, Aug. 29, 2014
Autodesk sets lineup for IBC
Artist's rendering of Autodesk's IBC booth.

Autodesk is heading to Amsterdam for the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC, September 12–16) with updates to its VFX, postproduction and 3D animation creative tools. In Hall 7, Stand D.25, Autodesk will feature a lineup of speakers from creative shops around the world and also host a special Flame Awards event in celebration of this year’s most outstanding Flame talent.

Visitors to the Autodesk stand can check out the newest feature additions to Flame and Flame Premium 2015 visual effects software; upgrades to Smoke 2015 video editing and effects software and its new desktop subscription model; and cutting-edge technology integrated into Maya 2015 and 3ds Max 2015 releases. For the first time since its acquisition of Shotgun Software in June, Autodesk will also showcase new developments integrated into Shotgun’s production management solution. Autodesk software will also be featured at partner booths: NVIDIA stand 7.J39 (Maya); AMD 7.H35 (Maya and 3ds Max); and Promise 6.C11 (Maya and Smoke).

Autodesk will also stream product demonstrations and customer showcases during IBC--live in the Autodesk booth and on demand virtually on AREA . Presentations include:
-- Framestore’s Oliver Bersey will demonstrate how the Oscar-winning VFX studio for “Gravity” is using Flame 2015 to create film and commercial VFX;
-- Postproduction manager and sr. VFX compositor Emilio Pérez from Madrid and Dubai-based boutique creative shop, Serena Digital, will showcase its newest projects;
-- Production Tools Developer Alex Jackson is slated to speak about Framestore UK’s Shotgun workflow in films such as “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “The Tale of Despereaux”
-- Andreas Rathmacher, from German creative shop Velvet, will present its VFX and animation workflow;
-- US-based design and VFX artist Greg-Paul Malone will demo the full capabilities of Flame 2015.

And on Saturday, September 15, at 6 pm CET, Autodesk will celebrate the achievements and awe-inspiring work of the Flame community during a special after-hours IBC 2014 Flame Award event. The festivities will include the unveiling of the 2014 Flame Award Winner, as well as special recognition honors and a live on-stage Flame demonstration from design and VFX artist Malone.

  • Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014
New resources at Canon Digital Learning Center
A scene from the Canon XF 200/205 Camcorder Tutorial Series.

To help photographers and filmmakers better understand the features of their equipment, The Canon Digital Learning Center has posted several new educational resources created with the professional image maker in mind. Here’s a snapshot of the most recent content:

Canon XF 200/205 Camcorder Tutorial Series
In this brand new video tutorial series, Canon Digital Learning Center contributor Jem Schofield explains how to use the top features of the XF200 and XF205 HD camcorders. The series discusses several key benefits of the cameras, including the optics and zoom range, how to quickly access features, and understanding all the tools that help control image quality, such as Wide DR gamma, waveform monitor and dynamic range. To watch the series, visit here.

RC-V100 Remote Control Unit Walkthrough
In this video, learn how the RC-V100 Remote Control Unit is a tool designed for those who need flexibility in shooting situations where direct camera control may not be possible or ideal. Viewers will understand which cameras the remote controller is compatible with, how to connect the remote controller and customize settings, and basic operations that will help users maximize the benefits of the tool to its fullest and allow for easier production. To access the video, visit here

Canon Quick Tip Series
To keep expanding your Canon knowledge base, keep an eye out on the Quick Tips series, where Canon Technical Advisors are constantly sharing helpful imaging tips, unique product insights and key technologies. Recent tips include how to remove dust spots in images, a discussion of RAW Image Fundamentals, and how to use the High Speed Sync Speedlite feature.

Look out for upcoming Quick Tip videos on Manual Focus and STM Lenses, Magnification Shift in Cinema EOS cameras, and Highlight Tone Priority.

To watch the series, visit here

  • Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014
Tickets to go on sale for PLASA’s Behind the Scenes fundraiser

The Behind the Scenes Happy Hour, hosted by PLASA, will go on sale to the public on September 2. The biggest pre-LDI party of the year will take place on Thursday, November 20, from 6pm-8pm at the Westgate Las Vegas (formerly The Las Vegas Hotel). Tickets are $50 each and includes an open bar, hors d’oeuvres and music. All proceeds go to benefit Behind the Scenes, the only industry charity that provides grants to ill or injured entertainment technician professionals. $30 of each ticket is tax deductible, and tickets are expected to sell quickly.

Starting September 2, tickets can be purchased online here or they can be ordered through people’s LDI registration.

Current sponsors for the Behind the Scenes Happy Hour include: 4Wall Entertainment (Diamond), Altman Lighting (Diamond), CHAUVET Professional (Diamond), I.A.T.S.E. (Diamond), LDI (Platinum), Ultratec (Platinum), Barbizon Lighting Company (Gold), PixelFLEX (Gold), RC4 Wireless (Gold), Stage Equipment and Lighting, Inc. (Gold), TOMCAT USA, INC. (Gold), Total Structures (Gold), TRUSST (Gold), Heartland Scenic Studio, Inc. (Silver), iWeiss Theatrical Solutions (Silver) LEX Products (Silver), Alan Rowe & Tristan Smith (Silver), Sapsis Rigging Inc (Silver), Shepard Exposition Services (Silver), Stan Pressner (Silver) and Mike Wood Consulting, LLC (Silver). Official media sponsors: Lighting&Sound America and Protocol.

The goal of Behind the Scenes Happy Hour is not only to throw a great party but also to raise money for the Behind the Scenes charity, which provides financial support to entertainment technology professionals when they are ill or injured or to their surviving family members. Funds are granted which can be used towards medical care, basic living costs and funeral expenses. Behind the Scenes, an initiative of the PLASA Foundation (formerly the ESTA Foundation) brings help and hope in times of great need. At this time, it will replace the Rock Our World Awards and Cocktail Reception.

  • Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014
SMPTE announces 2014 honorees and award winners

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) revealed the outstanding industry members who will be recognized Thursday, Oct. 23, at the SMPTE 2014 Honors & Awards held in conjunction with the SMPTE 2014 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles.

Honorary Membership in the Society recognizes individuals who have performed eminent service in the advancement of engineering in motion pictures, television, or in the allied arts and sciences. It is the Society’s highest accolade. This year, SMPTE honors three technologists for their innovations, which have left a lasting impression on the industry.

--George Lucas is best known as a writer, director, and producer responsible for iconic American films, but Lucas is also a pioneer in the adoption of new technologies for motion picture production and exhibition. Lucas founded Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) in 1975, and it has gone on to produce visual effects (VFX) for nearly 300 films. Among many other innovations, ILM invented the OpenEXR file format in 2000 to support high dynamic range (HDR) imaging. The animation studio Pixar was founded as the Graphix Group of Lucasfilm in 1979. In 1981, Lucas co-founded the sound company THX to advance the quality of theatrical sound systems. In 2002, “Star Wars: Episode II-Attack of the Clones” was the first major Hollywood feature to be captured digitally, on 24p high-definition (HD) video cameras. In his determination to push the medium of cinema with new technologies and techniques, Lucas encountered both support and skepticism. It is now clear that his perseverance and vision were key factors in the eventual widespread adoption of digital cinematography in motion picture production.

--Leonardo Chiariglione is generally considered to be the driving force behind the development of the MPEG set of standards that underpin today’s many digital moving pictures applications. Chiariglione’s constant push for a simple, standardized moving pictures toolbox began in 1988 with the founding of the International Standards Organization (ISO) Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG) group, and it continues to the present day. Chiariglione has forcefully maintained focus on timely standardization, technical simplicity, and efficiency. The wide adoption of MPEG-2 to MPEG-4, in particular, is apt testimony to the contribution Chiariglione and the MPEG group has made to date.

--The Honor Roll posthumously recognizes individuals who were not awarded Honorary Membership during their lifetimes but whose contributions would have been sufficient to warrant such an honor. John Logie Baird (1888-1946) is inducted into the SMPTE Honor Roll in recognition of his lifelong contributions as a pioneer in television technology. His accomplishments include the first live television demonstration (in 1925), the first publicly shown color television system (1928), and the first fully electronic color television picture tube. The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) began transmitting with the Baird system in 1929. Baird continued to develop new technology including a mechanical color system in 1939 (adopted by CBS/RCA); a 500-line 3-D system in 1941; and an electronic 600-line color display in 1944. Baird lobbied for post-war standardization of his 1,000-line electronic color television system.

Medals, other honors
The Progress Medal is the highest SMPTE medal award, and it recognizes outstanding technical contributions to the progress of engineering phases of the motion picture, television, or motion imaging industries. Ioan Allen has earned the 2014 Progress Medal Award in recognition of his many contributions to the motion picture and television industry, specifically his innovations in sound research and development programs at Dolby Laboratories, including Dolby Stereo®, Dolby Spectral Recording (SR), and Dolby Digital, as well as his ongoing contributions to worldwide standards organizations.

The Archival Technology Medal recognizes significant technical advancements or contributions related to the invention or development of technology, techniques, workflows, or infrastructure for the long-term storage, archive, or preservation of media content essence. The 2014 award will be presented to Neil Beagrie in recognition of his long-term contributions to the research and implementation of strategies and solutions for digital preservation. Beagrie played a key role in the development of a collaborative approach to the study and dissemination of knowledge relating to research data management, digital preservation, digital curation, and data archive. He was responsible for establishing the Digital Preservation Coalition, with more than 35 major members from industry, national libraries, broadcasters, and archives. In addition, he was responsible for establishing the digital preservation program within the Joint Information Systems Committee. This program helped to create the Digital Curation Center, which seeks to actively manage, preserve, and curate digital data throughout the research life cycle.

The David Sarnoff Medal recognizes outstanding contributions to the development of new techniques or equipment that have contributed to the improvement of the engineering phases of television technology, including large-venue presentations. Clyde D. Smith Jr. will receive the 2014 award in recognition of his pioneering work in the application and deployment of digital technologies in the broadcast network environment, including the development of automated, server-based closed-captioning systems, as well as optimization of digital media to address the issue of audience disaggregation and to provide the capability to seek out viewers on their preferred platform and make a rich selection of programming available to them in their preferred environment. Smith’s experiences, contributions, and support have provided critical guidance to the development of a meaningful educational experience for local broadcast engineers.

The Digital Processing Medal recognizes significant technical achievements related to the development of digital processing of content for cinema, television, games, or other related media. The 2014 award will be presented to Barry Haskell for his contributions to the digital transmission and coding of images over a 44-year career. Haskell has published more than 70 technical papers and holds more than 125 patents. He is the author or co-author of three books, including one of the foundational books on MPEG. Haskell managed the compression research group at Bell Labs, making major contributions to the MPEG standards, and followed that at Apple Computer, where his research team made significant contributions to the H.264/AVC standard.

The Kodak Educational Award honors an individual who advances the educational process at any level through innovative and inspirational methods, and it recognizes outstanding contributions in new or unique educational programs utilizing the technologies of film. Steve Wright will receive the 2014 award for his service in visual effects as an accomplished practitioner and master trainer. Wright’s specialization is in the digital domain, but he has long been an advocate for visual effects education in workflow for both film and digital intermediates. He has worked to perfect and to implement color management paradigms in compositing, cementing the place of film in digital postproduction and promoting stronger understanding of film’s value in digital compositing. Wright has been a master visual effects trainer since 2005, and his two books, “Compositing Visual Effects: Essentials for the Aspiring Artist” and “Digital Compositing for Film and Video,” are among the very few that actively instruct in film color science for digital intermediate and compositing.

The Samuel L. Warner Memorial Medal recognizes outstanding contributions in the design and development of new and improved methods and/or apparatus for motion picture sound, including any step in the process. Ville Pulkki will receive the 2014 award for his outstanding contributions in the field of spatial sound reproduction and multichannel audio rendering, including the two-dimensional and three-dimensional panning methods of vector-base amplitude panning (VBAP) and non-unitary vector-base amplitude panning (NVBAP). The value of Pulkki’s contributions is underscored by the emergence of immersive sound in the cinematic and broadcast arts.

The Technicolor/Herbert T. Kalmus Medal recognizes outstanding contributions that reflect a commitment to the highest standards of quality and innovation in motion picture postproduction and distribution services. The 2014 award will be presented to Jim Houston for his leadership and contributions in the application of digital technologies to motion picture production and postproduction processes. As an industry leader, he established a state-of-the-art digital finishing facility for a wide range of postproduction processes including digital intermediates, digital cinema mastering, and restoration. Houston has played a key role in the development of standards related to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Academy Color Encoding System (ACES), as well as various standards for video and motion picture mastering.

The Workflow Systems Medal recognizes outstanding contributions related to the development and integration of IT file-based systems and infrastructures into production processes. Philip Tudor will receive the 2014 award for his foundational contributions to professional media file formats and for early implementations of file-based workflows. Tudor has worked tirelessly in numerous SMPTE committees and in the Advanced Media Workflow Association (AMWA), focusing on developing standards and specifications for file-based essence and metadata interchange. His pioneering work on tapeless audio and video capture, Material eXchange Format (MXF), and the Advanced Authoring Format (AAF) led to the implementation of workflows at the BBC. Tudor continues file-based workflow innovation with the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) and IP Studio, which focuses on file-based workflows for live television production within an Internet protocol (IP) environment.

The Camera Origination and Imaging Medal honors the recipient by recognizing significant technical achievements related to invention or advances in imaging technology including sensors, imaging processing electronics, and the overall embodiment and application of image capture devices. Eric R. Fossum will receive the 2014 award in recognition of his leadership in the invention and development of the complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) active pixel sensor (APS) technology. This advancement was first published in 1993 while Fossum worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Additionally, he promoted the new technology to a broad range of manufacturers as a new way of making camera image sensors. CMOS image sensor technology is now widely deployed in motion picture and television cameras, cell phones, medical devices, security systems, and many other professional and consumer applications.

Each year, one SMPTE Journal Award is presented to the author of the most outstanding paper originally published in the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal during the preceding calendar year. The 2014 SMPTE Journal Award will be presented to Andrew B. Watson for “High Frame Rates and Human Vision: A View Through the Window of Visibility,” published in the March 2013 issue of the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal. Journal Certificates of Merit will also be presented to Benjamin Bross, Heiko Schwarz, and Detlev Marpe for their May/June 2013 Journal article titled “The New High-Efficiency Video Coding Standard.”

The Citation for Outstanding Service to the Society, which recognizes individuals for dedicated service for the betterment of the Society over a sustained period of time, will be conferred upon five SMPTE members:

--John Beckhaus, for his dedication and service to the Australia Section over the past decade. Beckhaus has served on the Section board since 2003, taking on the additional roles of membership chair, providing a contact point for queries from regional membership, and minute secretary, ensuring comprehensive reporting of both Section board and subcommittee meetings. He has also served six terms as audio visual (AV) chair for the biennial Australia Section conferences, managing the complex requirements of conference presenters. Beckhaus is a dedicated Section member, always working behind the scenes to ensure the success of the Australia Section meetings.

--Siegfried G. Heep, for his contributions to the Hollywood Section, as well as his instrumental role in the reinvention of the Society’s annual Honors & Awards Ceremony. Heep has served as a role model for active involvement in SMPTE as both a Hollywood Section member and manager. In 2007, he was enlisted as the technical director for the newly reimagined Honors & Awards Ceremony, transforming the event from a small ceremony to the full-fledged, high-quality awards event that it has become today. Heep has reprised his role each year since, helping to improve the show in terms of technical production, quality, and prestige.

--Federico Savina, for his leadership and support of the Italy Section over the past 25 years. As one of the original SMPTE Members who petitioned for the formation of the Italy Section in 1989, Savina has been a long-term contributor to the Section, serving the Section board for 10 years in the roles of secretary/treasurer and manager. Savina attends and contributes to all Section activities and was instrumental in bringing the SMPTE Regional Seminar to Rome in 2013. A professor at Roma University, Savina strives to raise the bar in digital cinema (D-Cinema) education, and he is working to provide his students with an introduction to the industry through participation in SMPTE.

--T.J. Scott Jr. for his leadership and commitment to raising the standard of quality for Atlanta Section events. His close alignment with developing trends and innovative technologies, as well as his substantial contacts in the industry, have led to a collection of well-executed, technically inspired monthly meetings. Through Scott’s efforts, the Atlanta Section has seen growth in both its membership and meeting attendance. His contributions to the production of the Section’s 2007 “Video Over IP” seminar in particular set the bar for excellence in special event programming. All subsequent special events have been sold out, reinforcing SMPTE’s reputation for producing exceptional and inspired events.

--Peter M. Weitzel for his instrumental role in re-establishing the SMPTE U.K. Section, and for his leadership in driving the growth of the Section and the quality of programming provided to its members. A driving force behind the U.K. Section, Weitzel’s enthusiasm, determination, and outreach, especially to students and universities, have contributed to the 200-percent increase in the Section’s membership during its first two years of operation. His passion for the Society’s core mission and goals is ever-present as he works to increase the visibility and impact of SMPTE at both a global and regional level.

Standards bearer
The Excellence in Standards Award recognizes individuals or companies that have been actively involved in advancing the Society’s standards activities and processes. The 2014 award will be presented to John Hudson for his sustained efforts in the development and evolution of standards relating to real-time electrical and optical streaming media interfaces for video and D-Cinema production. Hudson authored the SMPTE 3Gb/s serial digital interface (SDI) standard in parallel with his work developing the necessary components, resulting in a rapid and successful adoption of the interface by the industry, and he is a key player in the development of 6Gb/s and 12Gb/s UHDTV SDI interfaces. Hudson’s SMPTE work is characterized by commitment and competence, combined with an attitude of cooperation and collegial relations with colleagues and competitors.

As previously announced, eight new SMPTE Fellows also will be recognized during the event: Hanno Basse, Thomas G. Edwards, Joseph J. Kane, Jr., John McCoskey, Andrew Quested, Vince Roberts, Jim Starzynski, and Colin R. Wright.

  • Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014
Telestream expands file-based workflow capabilities with Vantage v.6.3
Telestream's Vantage, v. 6.3
NEVADA CITY, Calif. -- 

Telestream, a provider of video transcoding and workflow solutions, announced a new release for its Vantage platform, which provides a broad range of enterprise-class transcoding and file-based workflow automation software products. Available immediately through Telestream’s worldwide sales distribution network, the latest version of Vantage (v.6.3) brings new content production automation features, support for more transcoding formats to facilitate multiscreen delivery and new device interoperability capabilities.

“With the latest release of Vantage, we continue to enhance our automation capabilities to eliminate pain points in our customers’ workflows,” said Paul Turner, VP of enterprise product management at Telestream.  “From templated output created via popular NLEs to auto assembling DPP compliant bundles, the new features in Vantage further reduce the need for manual intervention, allowing our customers to become more efficient and profitable.”

Focusing on the growing needs of content owners seeking to develop multi-platform distribution architectures, the latest version of Vantage includes support for more transcoding formats across the Vantage Transcode product family.  Full 4K support and HEVC encoding are now available in Vantage Transcode Multiscreen and Vantage Transcode IPTV VOD.  In addition, XAVC decoding and ProRes 4444 encoding have been added to Vantage Transcode Pro.

Automated content production is now even easier with Telestream’s Post Producer application, which runs on the Vantage platform. With Vantage 6.3, editors can design production templates in Avid, Adobe and Final Cut Pro editing systems. Post Producer can then use those templates to mass-produce hundreds of customized outputs automatically. This facilitates the creation of templates and lets users visualize how a template will look prior to rendering.

With the Digital Production Partnership (DPP) initiative’s October deadline quickly approaching, Vantage adds several new capabilities for assembling and encoding DPP AS-11 MXF files.  The Vantage DPP Workflow Portal allows entry of DPP metadata and the creation of multi-part DPP packages from one or more media files.  Post Producer automatically assembles the DPP timeline, including bars, tones, slates and correct multi-part spacing. The entire DPP solution is completely unified and includes full encoding, timeline rendering and metadata assembly without requiring editing personnel or XML programmers.

Vantage 6.3 also adds the ability to accept work orders from a standard spreadsheet, allowing hundreds of jobs to be submitted easily using a spreadsheet exported as a CSV.  This simplifies submission for Vantage users who typically organize media metadata and instructions in a spreadsheet; these sheets can now be provided directly to Vantage.  A single work order can contain instructions for hundreds of jobs, each with a different source file including instructions for content assembly and graphics application, transcoding parameters, delivery information, subtitle files, titles to be applied, FTP destination, and more.  Work order structure is entirely customizable to allow complete control over process automation.  This powerful new feature streamlines the automation of Vantage transcoding and Post Producer workflows, and is included in all products on the Vantage platform.

Vantage now includes a new proxy viewer for the Web Workflow Portal, improving frame accuracy and adding features such as title safe guides, captioning, and hot key control (JKL-style).  This improves the usability of the Web Workflow Portal, and allows operators to be more efficient.

Vantage 6.3 brings additional new features to users. Improved dashboard metrics – including storage space remaining, CPU load, database size, and other metrics – provide a full picture of the hardware utilization across a Vantage Array.  When using the reporting option, Vantage now allows historical reports showing usage levels across multiple machines and services. Reports can also be generated showing daily, hourly, or weekly usage and peak server capacity to ensure proper resource planning and improve turnaround. A new SQL deployment tool offers improved database support, allowing easier installation into SQL enterprise environments.

Vantage partner integrations have also been expanded with the addition of Nexidia QC integration which automates quality control for closed captions, languages, and video descriptions. The Nexidia QC integration enables Telestream Vantage users to utilize Nexidia QC’s full functionality anywhere in the Vantage workflow, ensuring media meets FCC regulations.

  • Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014
Robert Rodriguez, Troublemaker Studios adopt Avid Everywhere for “Sin City: A Dame To Kill For”

Director Robert Rodriguez and his team at Troublemaker Studios have embraced Avid Everywhere to create the 3D feature film Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. Rodriguez’s vision for his latest feature was brought to life by the Avid MediaCentral Platform, using solutions from the Avid Artist Suite and Avid Storage Suite, to power fast, efficient and collaborative workflows. By relying on Avid, the editorial team was able to focus completely on the creative storytelling for the movie while meeting aggressive project deadlines and budgets.

“The performance of Avid’s solutions has allowed me to keep my post process quick, streamlined, and personal,” said Robert Rodriguez whose other directorial credits include Machete, Planet Terror, Sin City, the Mexico Trilogy, and From Dusk Til Dawn. “These products, and the workflows they drive, enable me to collaborate with a close creative team to make big features in a family environment.”

Co-editor Ian Silverstein worked collaboratively with Rodriguez using the Avid Media Composer | Software (part of the Avid Artist Suite) to cut multiple versions of scenes in a continually evolving, sculpting process involving constant back and forth between them. “Media Composer takes you into the stratosphere of a completely different realm of what you can do. It’s just got better and better over the years,” said Silverstein.

Avid’s ISIS shared storage solution (part of the Avid Storage Suite) enabled multiple editors to work on sequences at the same time, and provided expanded storage capacity. “The way ISIS handles project sharing helped streamline the whole process and make it all run smoothly,” said Jay Mahavier, digital conform editor and first assistant editor.

Media Composer also helped the team cope with time pressures and the multiple deliverables needed for a stereo 3D film. “We had to deliver three full features: the mono version, the left eye and the right eye,” explained Mahavier. “The ability to manage all of that data is one of the strengths of Media Composer. A lot of people look at it as merely a video editing tool, but as an assistant editor, it’s also a database of information that I can use to manage and organize the project, and make sure that it gets done right.”

The sound department’s workflow was centered on the Avid Artist Suite’s industry-standard Avid Pro Tools | Software for sound editing and mixing. The mix stage included Pro Tools systems for dialogue, music, effects, and recording – all networked together using Satellite Link. The sound team used Pro Tools | HDX, enabling all the sound effects elements from the editors to be carried through to the final mix without any pre-dubbing or premixing. Some reels feature 500 or more sound effects.

The speed of Pro Tools | HDX enabled the team to experiment with different creative ideas while adhering to demanding time and budget pressures. “Usually in feature films, there’s never really time to experiment creatively because the stage time is so expensive,” said Brad Engleking, sound supervisor/re-recording mixer. “But the processing power of Pro Tools | HDX frees up more time to try things you might not have otherwise, enabling the creative process. Your actions become more intuitive so that you think about what you’re trying to accomplish instead of how you’re going to accomplish it. That’s what Rodriguez calls ‘mixing at the speed of thought.’”

“Avid Everywhere is delivering the advanced workflows and innovation that enable filmmakers like Robert Rodriguez and his team at Troublemaker Studios to focus on bringing their creative visions to life - to amaze and inspire their audiences,” said Jennifer Smith, senior VP and chief marketing officer, Avid. “The underlying principle of Avid Everywhere is to help creative professionals strengthen their connection with their audiences.”

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