Wednesday, February 21, 2018


  • Wednesday, May. 31, 2017
ARRI Rental showcases expanding ALEXA 65 lens range at Cine Gear 
A couple of the ALEXA prime 65 lenses

Under the banner of “Your story, your look, your lens choice”, ARRI Rental is showcasing its growing range of full-coverage 65 mm format lenses at Cine Gear 2017 in Los Angeles. 

With the popularity of ARRI Rental’s exclusive ALEXA 65 camera system continuing to increase, not just for high-end feature films but also diverse television and commercial productions, demand for richly varied lens options is strong. The line-up of four distinct 65 mm lens series first announced at Camerimage 2016 is now in use on multiple projects, with cinematographer feedback directly influencing technical developments and entirely new optics being added as a result of creative partnerships with filmmakers. This collaborative approach to the ALEXA 65 lens program reflects ARRI Rental’s commitment to personalized service and support on a global scale.

Originally the ALEXA 65 system was launched with two lens series: Prime 65 and Vintage 765. The Prime 65 lenses are high-performance modern optics with full Lens Data System (LDS) functionality, and have recently been joined by seven higher speed Prime 65 S lenses, with a smooth, slick look. The Vintage 765 lenses were built in the late 1980s for the ARRIFLEX 765 65 mm film camera; they offer a filmic look and gentle focus fall-off.

Anthony Dod Mantle ASC, BSC, DFF used both Prime 65 and Vintage 765 lenses on the Oliver Stone film Snowden. “The first four or five weeks in Munich involved quite a bit of VFX, so I shot with the Prime 65 lenses and they performed perfectly,” he says. “But then we were travelling to Washington, Hong Kong and Hawaii, with less VFX, and I instinctively felt that I needed a change. There wasn’t time to test the Vintage 765 lenses, but I took them because I knew they were beautiful and softer, and the wrap-around and fall-off would be different. It was a leap of faith and they are slightly more irregular in the colors, but it was an intuitive thing and I was very pleased I did it.”

Other films to have paired the ALEXA 65 with Prime 65 lenses include Thor: Ragnarok, Life, War for the Planet of the Apes, Transformers: The Last Knight, The Great Wall, Sully, Planetarium, The Solutrean and The Dark Tower, which also used Vintage 765 lenses. Newton Thomas Sigel ASC worked entirely with the Vintage 765 series on Reginald Hudlin’s upcoming movie, Marshall.

ARRI Rental’s Prime DNA lenses are the most varied and bespoke of all ALEXA 65 optics. An eclectic and ever-evolving collection of lenses, the Prime DNA series mainly comprises vintage glass, often exhibiting unusual but highly creative and emotionally engaging characteristics. Among the first cinematographers to make use of Prime DNA lenses was multiple Academy Award-winner Robert Richardson ASC, who chose them for the Andy Serkis-directed feature film Breathe. “Lensing is one of the most important issues,” Richardson says of the ALEXA 65 system. “It’s vital that we have a choice ranging from vintage and softer glass to newer lenses with modern coatings, so that we can move through different environments and optimize the flaring and contrast for specific situations. ARRI Rental gave me a stunning set of lenses.”
Greig Fraser ASC, ACS, who used the ALEXA 65 on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, turned to Prime DNA lenses when he selected the system again for Mary Magdalene, directed by Garth Davies. “Working closely with ARRI Rental we were able to develop lenses that had the right look and feel for the film; I used them in conjunction with some of my own lenses, so we had a really nice and rounded mix of glass with the qualities we needed,” says Fraser. “As cinematographers we should want more tools. If we have more lenses then there are more possibilities, and we all benefit from those possibilities. What I’ve learned out of this process with ARRI Rental is that I just need to find the right combination of lenses for each story, regardless of what set they are from.”

Most recently, Bradford Young ASC has been shooting with ALEXA 65 and Prime DNA lenses on the as-yet untitled Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film in London. New focal lengths have been added to the series by the ARRI Rental lens development team to meet his specific creative needs. Young notes, “With taking on a new format I felt out of my ‘zone’ because I had to re-think the way I re-frame ideas, scenes, logic, light. On top of that, I have to adopt and adapt to a new wave of optics that will hopefully keep the process intuitive. For me, the process of realizing cinema is a deeply personal process. Lenses and format have to be ready to adapt to my particular taste. DNA glass is a revelation and revolution in my journey to anchor my artistic residue into a particular story – truly my way of seeing, thus my way of feeling. No other glass has afforded me this opportunity. It’s a true game-changer!”

  • Wednesday, May. 31, 2017
FOR-A to highlight graphics/animation integration with live video switchers at InfoComm
HVS-2000 video switcher
CYPRESS, Calif. -- 

At the upcoming InfoComm 2017, FOR-A will showcase the integration between its range of video switchers with ClassX 2D/3D character generation and live motion graphics/playout software, along with FGP-400 Insight multi-channel video server and FA-505 multi-channel/multi-function signal processor. InfoComm runs from June 14-16 at the Orange Convention Center in Orlando.

The FOR-A/ClassX combination will be seen in the FOR-A booth (#2381) where ClassX’ graphics, 3D animation and video playout will be teamed up with FOR-A video switchers, including the HVS-2000 2 M/E switcher and the 1 M/E HVS-100 Express.

ClassX offers a complete solution with real-time 2D and 3D motion graphics and titling, SportsGraphics, SocialServer, MOS newsroom interface, clip playing automation, picture-in-picture and a multi-functional scripting facility.

“With ClassX, our FOR-A portfolio becomes a complete range of best-in-class solutions,” said Hiro Tanoue, president of FOR-A America.  “Adding ClassX to the FOR-A suite of live production switchers strengthens our graphics reach to end users in university, digital signage, live events, and sports production applications. We can’t wait to show off our new and cost-effective graphics creation tool to the InfoComm crowd.”

Front and center in the FOR-A InfoComm booth will be the HVS-2000 switcher. With its easy-to-use control panel, the HVS-2000 offers 3 M/E capability, a 4K 3D DVE expansion card, and a 2SI software option. Offering the capabilities of a 7 M/E system, the HVS-2000 is ideal for a wide array of production environments and for 4K productions. The switcher offers MELite™, which allows a traditional AUX bus to transform into a functional Mix Effects with cuts, mix, wipes, keys, and DVE including full preview.

First introduced at NAB in April, the HVS-100 Express video switcher is controlled via any tablet, handheld or laptop type device with a web browser as opposed to a ‘hard’ control panel. New at NAB are features such as additional multi-view layouts and audio to accompany transition graphics.

Any computer device with a web browser can control the HVS-100 Express. It accepts simultaneous SD and HD inputs and supports 3G and 4K production; as well as HVS-100TB2 Thunderbolt™ 2 I/O expansion cards, which allow users to transfer video content with a single cable through computers and interface with other devices, such as character generators, virtual studios and/or file-based/IP products. The price tag of the HVS-100 Express was recently reduced to $7,900.

The FA-505 is a five-input, five-output signal processor that supports wide color gamut and high dynamic range matrices from ITU-R BT.709 to IT-R BT.2020 - making it an essential processing unit in 4K production. Other features include a dynamic range conversion function that allows SDR-to-HDR conversion, and the ability to store conversion algorithms internally.

  • Wednesday, May. 31, 2017
Toshiba's future imperiled by shaky ethics, nuclear fiascos 
In this Jan. 30, 2017, file photo, a man walks past an advertisement of Toshiba Corp.'s products in Tokyo. The future of Toshiba Corp. is imperiled as the 140-year-old Japanese energy and electronics colossus mulls selling its prized computer chip operations to stay afloat. That strategy may buy it time, but is no cure-all, and the company will still be entangled with the nuclear operations that helped hasten its downfall. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)
TOKYO (AP) -- 

Japanese technology giant Toshiba Corp.'s last-gasp strategy for staying afloat - selling its prized computer chip operations - may buy the company time but is no cure-all.

The 140-year-old Japanese energy and electronics colossus will be bereft of its most profitable and promising businesses and still entangled with the nuclear units that brought about its downfall.

Dogged by misfortune and mismanagement, Toshiba, whose roots date to the age of telegraphs and arc lamps in the 1880s, has warned of "substantial doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern."

In hindsight, the Tokyo-based company's first big misstep was its 2006 purchase of the U.S. nuclear unit of Westinghouse, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month.

But a massive accounting scandal and accounts from former Toshiba employees suggest more pervasive problems within its management.

Threatened with delisting of its shares, Toshiba reported a 950 billion yen ($8.4 billion) net loss for the fiscal year ended March, although the results were released without its auditors' approval.

Toshiba's ascent paralleled Japan's rise as an industrial power. One of its founders, Ichisuke Fujioka, the son of a samurai, brought the incandescent light bulb to Japan and forged an alliance with General Electric.

Toshiba developed Japan's first radar and microwaves, electric rice cookers and laptop computers. It also invented flash memory, the ubiquitous computer chips that store and retain data for digital cameras, smartphones and all sorts of other gadgets and now are its most profitable business.

The company got into the nuclear business in the 1970s, decades before its $5.4 billion purchase of Westinghouse from British Nuclear Fuels Ltd.

At the time, the U.S. government was encouraging construction of reactors and China was embarking on a massive expansion of atomic energy, but analysts said Toshiba was paying too much.

"I'd like to make this the first success story," then-Chief Executive Atsutoshi Nishida declared, alluding to the dismal track record of other high-profile Japanese acquisitions, such as Mitsubishi Estate's purchase of Rockefeller Center and Sony's of Columbia Pictures.

Catastrophe struck in March 2011, when three reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant sank into meltdowns after a tsunami devastated much of Japan's northeastern coast.

Two of the six reactors there were built by Toshiba.

That marked a turning point for the industry as some nations stopped building new nuclear plants. Six years on, most reactors in Japan are idled, awaiting stricter safety checks.

Toshiba's troubles aren't confined to its nuclear business.

Even before 2011, Muneo Morokuzu, a retired specialist on nuclear fuel cycles, and several other former Toshiba employees interviewed by The Associated Press said they had noticed an erosion of accountability at Toshiba.

Morokuzu joined the company in 1970 and took pride in what he calls "a spirit of humanity" among Toshiba workers. But he disapproved of misuse of company money. He was appalled by Toshiba higher-ups who used black company limousines for what he saw as personal outings, and he respected those who took cabs and paid out of their own pockets.

"It's a problem when the border between your own purse and the company purse becomes blurred," Morokuzu said. "I feel so sad. The brand has been tarnished. I hope Toshiba can pull together."

In 2015, Toshiba acknowledged that it had been systematically falsifying its books since 2008, as managers tried to meet overly ambitious targets. An investigation by an outside panel found profits had been inflated and massive expenses hidden across the board.

Koichi Okamoto, a professor of sociology at Toyo Eiwa University and governance expert who has researched Toshiba's problems, faults the company's senior leaders.

"If leaders at the top start violating compliance, then no one can stop them. So bosses shouldn't talk too much about making profits because that is already understood," he said.

"Big or small, companies like that will eventually go down."

The nuclear disaster deepened troubles brewing elsewhere at Toshiba under hard-driving Nishida, who rose to the top after leading its successful T1100 notebook computer project.

While Nishida was CEO, the company began focusing on two pillars of its sprawling business - nuclear power and computer chips. The aim: to temper the ups and downs of the volatile semiconductor sector with relatively stable growth in the nuclear business.

But, Toshiba was losing ground elsewhere as its once-stellar consumer electronics business took a beating from low-cost Chinese manufacturers and high-end Korean brands. Dell, Apple, Acer of Taiwan and China's Lenovo, among others, were meanwhile gobbling its market share in the personal computer business.

Last year, Toshiba sold its household appliance business to Midea Group of China, which is using the Toshiba brand name. It also has sold its medical equipment business to Japanese camera maker Canon.

Many viewed Toshiba's Westinghouse deal as a risky bet from the start.

Masashi Goto, a former Toshiba engineer who specialized in nuclear containment vessels, said Nishida was overly confident, as his background was not in the industry.

Although the nuclear division required relatively few staff and was insulated by its long-term government contracts, at the price Toshiba paid it was a gamble, he said.

Despite mounting desperation over soaring costs at Westinghouse, even after the Fukushima disaster, Toshiba's top management clung to the idea of a nuclear "renaissance."

The stricter safety regulations after the Fukushima disaster and extra complexities of the new kinds of reactors it was building have added to Westinghouse's headaches.

The crisis deepened when Westinghouse bought nuclear contractor CB&I Stone & Webster in December 2015, seeking to assert control over projects that were floundering amid delays and soaring costs.

The projects are not even half done, and a whistleblower in the U.S. has raised questions about the deal.

Toshiba is No. 2 worldwide in manufacturing flash memory chips, its mainstay business with the most obvious promise. It spun off the business in April, preparing to sell it to repair its decimated finances.

Taiwan's Hon Hai, which owns Apple iPhone maker Foxconn, was reportedly keen to buy the chips business, as are Toshiba's joint venture partner Western Digital and a U.S.-Japanese-government backed consortium.

Western Digital has sought arbitration over the planned sale, seeking the exclusive right to negotiate with Toshiba.

If Toshiba survives, what likely will be left are its infrastructure operations, such as railways, power systems and factory automation, and its nuclear power business, given its responsibility for running and decommissioning 17 reactors in Japan, including those at the Fukushima plant.

Current Toshiba President Satoshi Tsunakawa says the Westinghouse purchase was a mistake and has promised not to take on new nuclear projects.

The company says it is considering selling Westinghouse, but even if it does Toshiba must still shoulder some Westinghouse-related costs. How much remains unclear.

Toshiba is facing 20 lawsuits in Japan filed by banks, individuals, overseas investors and other parties seeking damages totaling 50 billion yen ($450 million).

The company is suing Nishida and four other former Toshiba officials for 300 million yen ($3 million) in damages for losses resulting from bogus bookkeeping. Nishida and the others deny wrongdoing, according to court records.

Nishida declined to be interviewed when a reporter visited his home in suburban Yokohama, a modest, middle-class dwelling typical of "salarymen" in Japan.

Goto, who now opposes nuclear power, likens reactors to bedridden patients, who must be cared for and eventually properly buried, an onerous, decades or possibly centuries-long task for the industry.

"Even after Fukushima, Toshiba management did not have the wisdom to change course," he said.

  • Wednesday, May. 31, 2017
Vicon partners with Technicolor Experience Center 
Vicon's Jeff Ovadya

Vicon, a motion capture (mocap) technology specialist for the entertainment, engineering, virtual reality and life science industries, has announced its partnership with the Technicolor Experience Center (TEC) in Los Angeles. The TEC has invested in 28 Vicon Vantage cameras, which will allow it to continue to develop content, platforms and technology for virtual reality, augmented reality and other evolving media applications.
“Vicon has a critically important role to play as part of the TEC community,” said Marcie Jastrow, SVP of Immersive Media at Technicolor and head of the Technicolor Experience Center. “Vicon is a leader in motion capture technology that ensures storytellers deliver experiences of the highest quality and artistic intent.  Our partnership with Vicon represents another step in the continuum of the TEC’s vision to create the future of immersive experiences through collaboration with best-in-breed innovators.”  
As immersive experiences continue to evolve, so do the technologies that help shape the stories being told. Vicon mocap technology is designed with today’s needs and tomorrow’s desires in mind to enable facilities like TEC to deliver stories in new and even more immersive ways. Intelligently designed to work cohesively with all aspects of animation and film production, Vicon Vantage offers TEC the most powerful processing algorithms and electronics, combined with industry-leading tracking and data fidelity. Vantage continuously monitors its performance with a host of sensors, which allow technicians visual feedback through the on-board camera display, in the software, and on Vicon’s Control app.
“As a company that’s driven by a passion for technology, it was ideal for us to partner with the Technicolor Experience Center, which is equally passionate about developing and creating immersive experiences,” said Jeff Ovadya, sales director at Vicon. “With our superior, powerful and affordable motion capture solutions, the TEC can develop one-of-a-kind immersive experiences with outstanding accuracy and clarity.”

  • Wednesday, May. 24, 2017
FUJIFILM/FUJINON to showcase wares at Cine Gear Expo
FUJINON MK50-135mm T2.9 zoom

The newly launched “MK” Series of cinema lenses from the Optical Devices Division of FUJIFILM, along with the UA Series of HDR zooms, will make their Cine Gear debut next month. Also showcased during this event will be the entire range of FUJINON PL mount Cabrio and Premier zooms. The Cine Gear Expo 2017 exhibition runs June 2-3 in Hollywood’s Paramount Studios.

In addition to the new lens highlights, a projection room within the company’s booth will return after a strong customer reception to a similar event held during Cine Gear 2016. A variety of lens technicians from around the country, such as Matthew Duclos, of Duclos Lenses, are scheduled to discuss and compare the optical traits of FUJINON cinema style lenses throughout both days of the show.

“Cine Gear draws its sizeable crowd from some of our most active and involved customers,” said Tom Fletcher, director of sales, Optical Devices Division of FUJIFILM. “While we’ve participated in Cine Gear Expo since its inception, hosting a projection room with independent optical technicians from various rental houses and service facilities is relatively new. We’re looking forward to connecting with our existing customers more dynamically in this way as well as with an exciting, new group of potential FUJINON customers.”

With the first in its series introduced in February of this year, “MK” lenses are currently designed for E-mount cameras and boast advanced optical performance, ultra-compact and lightweight design, as well as superb cost performance. The FUJINON MK18-55mm T2.9 is a standard zoom with an 18-55mm focal length. It is currently available for $3,799. The FUJINON MK50-135mm T2.9 will be available this summer. With a combined focal length range of 18mm-135mm in the Super 35mm format, together the first two “MK” lenses cover the most frequently used range utilized by emerging cinematographers. The series offers fast lenses with T2.9 speed across the entire zoom range, enabling a shallow depth-of-field. The entire “MK” series is designed with the "emerging" cinematographer in mind, whether shooting a live event, online programming, documentary, independent or short film production.

  • Monday, May. 22, 2017
Baseball coming June 1 to virtual-reality headsets 
This photo provided by MLB Advanced Media shows a Stream Live MLB Games demonstration in the company's new At Bat VR app. Baseball games will soon arrive on virtual-reality headsets. (MLB Advanced Media via AP)

Baseball games will soon arrive on virtual-reality headsets.

Video in the new At Bat VR app won't be in VR. Rather, the app places you behind home plate and shows you graphical depictions of each pitch, including a colored streak (red for strikes and green for balls) tracing the ball's trajectory. The data come from sensors Major League Baseball already has installed in all of its stadiums.

The app also lets you hover over icons to see the speed and type of each pitch, as well as which parts of a strike zone is strong or weak for a particular batter. Traditional TV coverage of the games will appear on a virtual screen in front of you, alongside play-by-play information and individual player stats.

It's more information that casual baseball fans will want, but hard-core fans might get a kick from having this perspective supplement what they see with regular TV cameras. Baseball's regular At Bat app does have some of this information, but not in 3-D and not while watching video.

At Bat VR will also have a section for 360-degree video packages, but not of actual games.

At Bat VR is included with Major League Baseball's existing streaming packages. For live video, that starts at about $87 for the season. At Bat VR is also subject to the usual blackouts for local teams; in such cases, the graphical depictions will still be available, but not the live video within the headset. (Audio is available with the cheaper At Bat Premium subscription for $20; non-paying users get just the graphics and stats.)

The VR app comes out June 1 and works with Android phones and headsets compatible with Google's Daydream VR system. There's no version for iPhones.

  • Thursday, May. 18, 2017
Ymagis Group appoints Anne Feret as head of Eclair post division
Anne Feret

Ymagis Group, the European specialist in digital technologies for the film industry, announces the appointment of Anne Feret as VP, Europe for the Post Production division. For the past eight years, Feret was the international sales administrator and VP of the cinema arm of Zodiak Rights/ Banijay Rights.

Feret is a graduate of the ESSEC business school. She started her career at Pandora in 1996, where she was in charge of television and film sales, and sales administration manager. Feret acquired extensive experience in business affairs, financing and international feature film, TV series and documentary sales, working in senior executive positions for various top-tier production companies, including Cipango Films (now EuropaCorp Télévision), Korava Productions, AF Consulting and Banijay Rights.

Feret said, “This is the start of a new adventure in a rapidly changing sector driven by innovation with new technologies such as our EclairColor HDR solution and UHD 4K. All my energy and expertise are already focused on creating growth opportunities and increasing synergies through our different sites to achieve our expansion goals in Europe.”

Feret is based in Paris-Vanves and reports directly to Christophe Lacroix, Eclair sr. VP.

Eclair is organized around its six main divisions:
• Post Production, managed by Anne Feret
• Theatrical Delivery, managed by Daniel Danciu
• Digital Distribution, managed by Serge Sépulcre
• Versioning and Accessibility, managed by Bouchra Alami
• Restoration and Preservation, managed by Yves Gringuillard

Eclair has offices in Berlin, Karlsruhe, Madrid, Barcelona, London, New York, Liège, Vicenza, Rabat and in France, in Vanves, Issy-les-Moulineaux, Auxerre and Strasbourg.

  • Wednesday, May. 17, 2017
Google unveils latest tech tricks as computers get smarter 
Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the end of his keynote address of the Google I/O conference Wednesday, May 17, 2017, in Mountain View, Calif. Google provided the latest peek at the digital services and gadgets that it has assembled in the high-tech tussle to become an even more influential force in people's lives.(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Google's computer programs are gaining a better understanding of the world, and now it wants them to handle more of the decision-making for the billions of people who use its services.

CEO Sundar Pichai and other top executives brought Google's audacious ambition into sharper focus Wednesday at an annual conference attended by more than 7,000 developers who design apps to work with its wide array of digital services.

Among other things, Google unveiled new ways for its massive network of computers to identify images, as well as recommend, share, and organize photos. It also is launching an attempt to make its voice-controlled digital assistant more proactive and visual while expanding its audience to Apple's iPhone, where it will try to outwit an older peer, Siri.

The push marks another step toward infusing nearly all of Google's products with some semblance of artificial intelligence — the concept of writing software that enables computers to gradually learn to think more like humans.

Google punctuated the theme near the end of the conference's keynote address by projecting the phrase, "Computing that works like we do."

Pichai has made AI the foundation of his strategy since becoming Google's CEO in late 2015, emphasizing that technology is rapidly evolving from a "mobile-first" world, where smartphones steer the services that companies are building, to an "AI-first" world, where the computers supplement the users' brains.

AI unnerves many people because it conjures images of computers eventually becoming smarter than humans and eventually running the world. That may sound like science fiction, but the threat is real enough to prompt warnings from respected technology leaders and scientists, including Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking.

But Pichai and Google co-founder Larry Page, now CEO of Google corporate parent Alphabet Inc., see it differently. They believe computers can take over more of the tedious, grunt work so humans have more time to think about deeper things and enjoy their lives with friends and family.

Other big tech companies, including, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook, also are making AI a top priority as they work on similar services to help users stay informed and manage their lives.

Google believes it can lead the way in AI largely because it has built a gigantic network of data centers with billions of computers scattered around the world. This while people using its dominant internet search engine and leading email service have been feeding the machines valuable pieces of personal information for nearly 20 years.

Now, Google is drawing upon that treasure trove to teach new tricks to its digital assistant, which debuted last year on its Pixel phone and an internet-connected speaker called Home that is trying to mount a challenge to Amazon's Echo. Google Assistant is on more than 100 million devices after being on the market for slightly more than six months and now is trying to invade new territory with a free app released Wednesday that works on the operating system powering Apple's iPhone. Previously, the assistant worked only on Google's Android software.

Google's assistant will be at a disadvantage on the iPhone, though, because Siri — a concierge that Apple introduced in 2011 — is built into that device.

A new service called Google Lens will give Assistant a new power. Lens uses AI to identify images viewed through a phone. For instance, point the phone at a flower and Assistant will call upon Lens to identify the type of flower. Or point the camera at the exterior of a restaurant and it will pull up reviews of the place.

Pinterest has a similar tool. Also called Lens, it lets people point their cameras at real-world items and find out where to buy them, or find similar things online.

Google Photos is adding a new tool that will prompt you to share photos you take of people you know. For instance, Photos will notice when you take a shot of a friend and nudge you to send it to her, so you don't forget. Google will also let you share whole photo libraries with others. Facebook has its own version of this feature in its Moments app.

One potentially unsettling new feature in Photos will let you automatically share some or all of your photos with other people. Google maintains the feature will be smart enough so that you would auto-share only specific photos — say, of your kids — to your partner or a friend.

Google is also adding a feature to Photos to create soft-cover and hard-cover albums of pictures at prices beginning at $9.99. The app will draw upon its AI powers to automatically pick out the best pictures to put in the album.

AP technology reporter Tali Arbel contributed from New York.

  • Tuesday, May. 16, 2017
Octopus Newsroom promotes Lukas Kotek to CTO
Lukas Kotek
PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- 

Octopus Newsroom, a globally active producer of television broadcast newsroom automation systems, has promoted Lukas Kotek from project director to chief technology officer. Reporting to founder and CEO Petr Stokuc, he will be responsible for development, project delivery, training and support across Africa, America, Asia and Europe.

Kotek said, “My role will be to ensure that we continue to deliver the most effective possible solutions matching the latest news production workflows, new delivery channels and the widest possible range of viewing platforms.”

Kotek studied cybernetics, information and control systems at the University of West Bohemia before joining Prague-based MAM and broadcast automation specialist Aveco in 2004 where he advanced to the role of projects and support director. He joined Octopus Newsroom in 2015 to making greater use of his widened experience and face new challenges. 

Established in 1999, Octopus Newsroom is a producer of standalone newsroom computer systems. Octopus Newsroom advocates an open ecosystem using the MOS protocol which enables customers to choose freely among high-quality providers of graphics, playout, MAM, prompters, traffic-handing and advertising solutions. Octopus Newsroom has successfully installed systems into more than 200 channels around the world. Based on Unicode, Octopus Newsroom products support all major character sets including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese.

  • Monday, May. 15, 2017
Technicolor invests in Baselight X to meet increasing demands for HDR finishing
Maxine Gervais, sr. supervising colorist, Technicolor

Technicolor has extended its color grading capabilities in Hollywood with FilmLight’s Baselight X system. Baselight X is the latest and most powerful implementation of the Baselight colour grading and finishing system.
HDR color grading services are available at Technicolor’s postproduction facilities globally, but its Hollywood center obviously represents a major film and television production market. The expansion in Baselight grading in this location reflects the increasing demand from the local industry to deliver an uncompromised finish that still pushes creative boundaries. Baselight X provides exceptional power and performance for HDR projects, along with color space management.
HDR is not the only technology where Technicolor is very active. Over the past few years, the group has made a significant commitment to the growth of several next-generation entertainment formats, such as 120fps stereo 4K, 8K UHD and other custom display formats. The architecture of Baselight X ensures Technicolor can rise to the challenge to work at the maximum resolution through every stage in the process--from the original source material to the final deliverables.
Technicolor’s sr. supervising colorist, Maxine Gervais, has worked with Baselight for many years. “Of the many things that are important to better serve my clients, one is to work directly from raw camera files,” she explained. “The ability to debayer these files live not only saves time, but it preserves image detail that can be accessed and manipulated during the DI.”
The Ultra HD video output – available on all Baselight systems – provides a full 4K 4:4:4 display output at frame rates up to 60p, allowing the user to view 4K work at its native resolution. Additionally Baselight X also incorporates a large, ultra high-speed storage system that connects directly to the internal image processing components, addressing Dolby’s requirement to play 4K 4096x3112 16-bit film scans and cache the results to disk at the same time.
“As camera technologies evolve, it’s become common for shows to capture and deliver 6K raw files,” added Gervais. “And some shows are moving towards a 4K VFX workflow too. The additional processing power and storage capacity of Baselight X is essential in allowing me to work with today’s larger files, without sacrificing the real-time playback with complex colour grading and compositing that my clients have come to expect.”
Technicolor and FilmLight have a long history of collaboration, with Technicolor facilities in Montreal, New York, Los Angeles and London all offering Baselight as part of their DI pipeline. This gives Technicolor’s colorists and color scientists ultimate real-time control over high-resolution, high-bit depth HDR grading and finishing.