• Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015
Genstar Capital to acquire Telestream
Dan Castles, co-founder/CEO, Telestream
NEVADA CITY, Calif. -- 

Private equity investment firm Genstar Capital has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Telestream, Inc, a provider of live and on-demand digital video tools and workflow solutions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed as both companies are privately held. The transaction is expected to close mid-January.

Telestream will continue to operate as an independent entity with existing management teams continuing their current roles. Headquarters will remain in Nevada City, California with offices in Virginia, San Francisco Bay Area and Germany.

“Genstar’s mid-market focus and deep expertise in the software industry will enable Telestream to further accelerate our growth,” said Dan Castles, Telestream’s co-founder and CEO. “Over the past several years, Telestream has experienced its most significant growth. We look forward to our new partnership with Genstar as we increase our investment in existing products, accelerate our reach into new customer verticals and fuel our next phase of development through additional M&A activity. Our product portfolio and business models are well suited for the Genstar environment.”

Eli Weiss, a managing director of Genstar, said the acquisition “is consistent with our strategy of investing in vertical market software companies. Telestream is a leader in its market and has posted profitable growth since its founding. As even more content is generated and viewed on more devices, we believe the company will continue its demonstrated growth trajectory, and we will support Telestream’s experienced and successful management team to expand organic growth via new product releases and pursue add-on acquisitions.” 

Telestream’s growth and profitability has consistently outpaced the market and has been achieved both organically and through strategic acquisitions. The company’s product line includes media processing platform Vantage, live production and streaming software Wirecast, and its new video playback and inspection tool Switch. 

  • Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015
Rickard Öhrn joins ChyronHego as COO
Rickard Öhrn

Rickard Öhrn has joined ChyronHego as chief operating officer. Öhrn brings a 20-year career in executive-level business management to ChyronHego, where he is responsible for the company’s global operations and business growth in EMEA. Öhrn is based in Stockholm and reports directly to ChyronHego president and CEO Johan Apel.

ChyronHego (NASDAQ: CHYR) is a leader in broadcast graphics creation, playout, and real-time data visualization with a wide range of products and services for live television, news, and sports production. Joining forces in 2013 with over 80 years of combined industry expertise, Chyron and Hego Group offer award-winning solutions--such as the TRACAB™ player tracking system and the end-to-end BlueNet™ graphics workflow--under the collective ChyronHego brand. Headquartered in Melville, New York, the company also has offices in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Mexico, Norway, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Prior to joining ChyronHego, Öhrn served as CEO of Research and Analysis of Media (RAM), a research and marketing firm for the media industry with close to 1,000 customers in 17 countries. As CEO, he led the business to achieve a 20 percent profit margin. Prior to RAM, Öhrn served as chief operating officer for Svenska Tracab AB, a ChyronHego partner at that time and a leader in real-time digital player-tracking technology for arena-based sports. He also previously founded and served as CEO of two Swedish management consulting firms, Novocap Management and Borneo Management Consulting, and was CEO and founder of Active Time Investment Ltd., a Hong Kong-based investment firm that established the first online poker gaming site in Russia.

He holds a degree in French from the Université de Savoie in France and a degree in Economics from Lund University in Sweden, and has completed courses in marketing and project management from Sweden’s RMI Berghs School of Advertising and Marketing.

  • Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015
Razer launches Nabu X wearable device at CES
Razer's Nabu X

Razer, a leader in connected devices and software for gamers, announced at CES the launch of Razer Nabu X, a wearable that delivers notifications from smartphones, tracks fitness data, and has social band-to-band capabilities, all in a discreet form factor. The Razer Nabu X will be priced at $19.99 to qualified fans at Razer’s Insider forums and start selling on Jan. 13. Retail units will be shipping in spring for $49.99.

The Razer Nabu X uses three colored LED indicators and vibrations to alert users of any notifications received on a paired smartphone, while the Razer Nabu features an OLED private message screen that displays short text previews of incoming notifications. Both the Razer Nabu X and Razer Nabu will work with the full suite of third-party developed applications available on the Nabu Marketplace.

“The greatest barriers to entry for new technology are price and complexity, and we’ve eliminated both of those with the Razer Nabu X,” says Min-Liang Tan, Razer co-founder and CEO. “We’ve taken what makes the Nabu such a compelling wearable--discreet notifications, activity tracking and band-to-band communication--and incorporated them into the Nabu X. It’s the basic alternative to the Nabu that’s extremely affordable and simple to use.”

The Nabu X’s sensor module houses a highly precise accelerometer, paired with finely tuned algorithms to ensure the most accurate activity data is captured for its users. A vibration motor ensures users are discreetly notified of incoming notifications, and the three LEDs can be color-customized to indicate what type of notification is being received. The sensor module is also detachable to allow users to mix and match between three planned strap colors: black, white, and green.

The Nabu X is designed for absolute comfort during daily wear with a soft-rubber finish, extensive water resistance, and one-size-fits-all watch-like strap. It’s also easy to use, with wrist-turn detection and light taps on the sensor module to activate the LED indicators.

Like the Razer Nabu, the Nabu X can be paired to connected apps on a user’s iOS or Android smartphone where collected data can be displayed and device settings can be finely tuned. Connected apps can be discovered via an in-app marketplace, with more to be added over time.

  • Monday, Jan. 5, 2015
Ikegami to debut HC-HD300 studio camera system to UK at BVE 2015
Ikegami HC-HD300 camera
NEUSS, Germany -- 

Ikegami’s HC-HD300 makes its first UK exhibition appearance at BVE 2015 in London, February 24-26. Introduced at BIRTV 2014 and now deliverable, the HC-HD300 is a highly flexible docking-style camera for studio or field operation.

A compact and aggressively-priced addition to Ikegami’s broadcast-ready Unicam HD product line, the HC-HD300 delivers the outstanding imagery and has the same rugged construction. It is equipped with a 1/3 inch bayonet lens mount and employs three 1/3-inch CMOS progressive-scan 1920 x 1080 native sensors in RGB prism formation. The camera delivers high quality pictures in all commonly used HD video formats: 1920 x 1080/50i, 1920 x 1080/59.94i, 1280 x 720/50p, 1280 x 720/59.94p, and 720 x 576/50i (PAL) 720 x 480/59.94i (NTSC).

Typical performance characteristics of the HC-HD300 in 1080/59.94i output mode are 1,000 television lines horizontal resolution, 58 dB signal-to-noise ratio and 2,000 lux sensitivity (89.9 per cent white reflection) at F10 aperture. Equivalent aperture in 1080/50i mode for this light level is F11.

Camera gain can be attenuated from mid level to -3 or -6 dB, or increased by +3, +6, +9, +12 or + 18 dB. Integral neutral density filters (100 per cent, 25 per cent, 6.2 per cent and 1.6 per cent) can be switched in as required, plus operator-selectable 3,200, 4,300, 6,300 and 8,000 kelvin electronic colour conversion. An electric shutter can be set to 1/100, 1/120, 1/250, 1/500, 1/1,000 or 1/2,000 second speed.

Supporting features of the HC-HD300 include the focus assist and lens aberration correction functions employed in Ikegami’s established UnicamHD range of cameras.

The camera can be operated under local control or in conjunction with a newly developed control system. This consists of an FA-300 fibre adapter and BSF-300 base station. Light in weight and compact in size (1.5RU), the BSF-300 base station is easily integrated into any studio, mobile truck, or portable flypack. When using a hybrid fiber camera cable, the base station provides power to the fibre adapter and the camera itself.

OpticalCON Duo connectors allow use of SMPTE hybrid camera cables at up to 350 meters with a 2 inch viewfinder or 250 meters with a 7 inch viewfinder. For longer links up to 10 kilometres between camera and based station, duplex single-mode fibre with common optical LC connectors for can be deployed.

The HC-HD300 weighs 4.5 kg including FA-300 fibre adapter and measures 139 x 270 x 337 mm (width x depth x height). Operating voltage range is 11 to 16 volts and power consumption (excluding FA-300) is 19 watts. The camera is designed for use within an ambient temperature range of -20 to +45 Celsius and 30 percent to 90 percent non-condensing operating humidity.

Ikegami HDK-97 ARRI large-sensor broadcast production camera
Also on show on the Ikegami stand at BVE 2015 will be the HDK-97 ARRI camera. Jointly developed by Ikegami and ARRI, this is a pioneering new broadcast-style production camera with digital cinema characteristics. The HDK-97ARRI makes it possible to employ a large format sensor in a multiple camera operation. The result is a best-of-both-worlds image acquisition system ideal for use in multi-camera studio and field applications, including conventional broadcast camera operation and classic video operator control of multiple cameras.

Centered around ARRI’s Super 35mm CMOS sensor with its associated support circuitry, the system provides cinematic qualities such as natural colour rendering, very wide dynamic range and progressive frame rates such as 23.98p. Ikegami’s broadcast-grade distribution allows fibre transmission via up to 2 kilometres of SMPTE hybrid fiber/copper camera cable.

The HDK-97 ARRI incorporates a docking style camera head from the Unicam HD camera series plus Ikegami’s latest 3G FPGA-based DSP. Features include complete real time control of all grey scale, colour, and detail functions. A new 3G transmission system transports video from camera head to CCU, as well as 3G transmission from CCU to camera head.

NAC Hi-Motion II sports broadcast camera
For slow-motion applications, Ikegami will exhibit the NAC Hi-Motion II sports broadcast camera. Jointly developed by NAC Image Technology and Ikegami, the Hi-Motion II delivers broadcast-quality slow-motion images at up to 20 times slowdown. The Hi-Motion II employs three-sensor 1920 x 1080 native technology and has a broadcast industry standard B4 lens mount. Features include simultaneous record and replay (96 gigabytes), up to 1,000 frames per second 1920 x 1080 capture, integral shutter and full remote control with paint, flicker suppression, and EVS system compatibility via an LSM panel.

Representatives on the Ikegami stand, F25, will include Ikegami Electronics UK general manager Mark Capstick and NAC Image Technology International sales manager Andy Hayford.

  • Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014
Dalet releases AmberFin 10.5

Dalet Digital Media Systems, a provider of software-based solutions for media organizations, has announced the release of Dalet AmberFin, version 10.5, which enables customers to make the best possible pictures with unprecedented flexibility for their businesses. This major update to the Dalet AmberFin platform marks the debut of Dalet AmberFin Dark enterprise transcode, Cinnafilm Tachyon GPU-accelerated frame-rate conversion (as part of (AT)3 toolbox), XAVC support, ARD-ZDF MXF Profiles and other significant features.

Ben Davenport, Dalet’s director of marketing, stated, “This significant release confirms Dalet’s investment and commitment to the AmberFin platform. Dalet AmberFin Dark is completely scalable, enabling businesses to start small and expand to an enterprise-grade solution. Meanwhile, unlike other vendors, who may only provide a single technology option for temporal conversions, the inclusion of Tachyon as a tool in the (AT)3 toolbox allows users to choose the best solution for their businesses or even a combination of different technologies.”

Dalet AmberFin is a high-quality scalable transcoding platform with fully integrated ingest, mastering, QC and review functionality, enabling facilities to make great pictures in a scalable, reliable and interoperable way. The inclusion of Tachyon within the (AT)3 toolbox gives Dalet AmberFin users the ability to perform faster standards conversion while maintaining the high quality pictures that the Dalet AmberFin platform is known for. The Dalet AmberFin Dark transcoder efficiently turns the content that owners have into the content their customers want. With all components running as Windows services, users can build transcode farms on commodity IT hardware as appliances--minimizing downtime, reducing maintenance costs and enabling complete ‘lights-out’ operation.

“(AT)3 is a real innovation from Dalet, acknowledging that different sectors of the industry and different content types require different approaches to frame-rate conversion,” explains Matthieu Fasani, Dalet AmberFin product manager. “Adding Tachyon to the collection of tools in the (AT)3 toolbox provides customers with the complete flexibility to address those different requirements. For the first time, users are also able to combine those tools in a single-pass operation to achieve unprecedented levels of conversion quality. (AT)3 is available as part of Dalet AmberFin Dark, which is supported with full redundancy, network licensing and Windows services architecture. The technology can be deployed in a data center. ARD-ZDF profiles are vital to helping to solve the problem of file interoperability for media facilities in Germany, in a similar way to Dalet AmberFin support for the DPP initiative in the UK, for which it gained compliance in September.”

Dalet AmberFin 10.5 feature highlights include:

Dalet AmberFin Dark – A new service-based architecture allowing users to build enterprise-scale, fault-tolerant transcode farms while enabling backwards compatibility in the API for existing customers

XAVC (HD) support for transcode-in and playback, increasing codec support, especially in the area of camera acquisition

Cinnafilm Tachyon – GPU-powered, motion-compensated frame-rate converter available as a technology option in the (AT)3 toolkit

ARD-ZDF MXF Transcode Profiles facilitate file interoperability for media facilities in Germany

And SCC Sidecar Transcode Output – 608 Caption data can be extracted from files during a transcode to a .scc sidecar

  • Monday, Dec. 29, 2014
Tiffen unveils CES 2015 product lineup

The Tiffen Company, a manufacturer of imaging accessories, has announced its new product lineup for the 2015 International CES exhibition, which will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center from January 6-9. Defining the trend for image maker gear and technology, Tiffen will be giving show attendees an exclusive inside look at a number of new breakthrough products at booth C10441, including the CES Innovation Honoree Steadicam CURVE.

“We have spent decades immersed in the image making world and consider ourselves master architects when it comes to developing innovative digital imaging accessories,” said Steve Tiffen, president and CEO of the Tiffen Company. “The connection we have with the imaging community runs deep. From skateboarders and soccer moms to wedding photographers, independent filmmakers and Hollywood cinematographers, we have crafted Tiffen products that transcend genres and skillsets, connecting everyone through the art of image making. Laying the groundwork for 2015, our new Tiffen products carry forward that core DNA innovation and define the image making trends of tomorrow.”

The special star of this year’s Tiffen show offerings is CES’ newest Digital Imaging Innovation Honoree, Steadicam CURVE. The CES Innovation Awards is an annual competition honoring outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products.

A groundbreaking camera stabilization product from the Steadicam brand, CURVE’s compact form factor gives GoPro users the freedom to shoot shake-free video. The CURVE handle can be locked for use as a handgrip for capturing the most adventurous shots, or folded up to fit in a back pocket for maximum portability. CURVE provides Steadicam Hollywood stabilization to the action-oriented GoPro user, promising a flawless shot every time. Steadicam CURVE for GoPro is designed specifically for use with GoPro HERO, GoPro HERO2, GoPro HERO3, GoPro HERO3+ and most recently, GoPro HERO4 Black and Silver cameras.

Also joining Steadicam’s consumer-friendly lineup of gear at CES 2015 is the SOLO camera stabilizer and monopod. The Steadicam SOLO has been ingeniously engineered for versatile shooting with both DSLRs and camcorders, and can be used hand-held, as a monopod, or with the optional Arm & Vest, making it suitable for a wide range of prosumer and professional video productions.

For CES 2015, Tiffen is rolling out brand new products designed with today’s technological needs in mind. The latest is the ZING imageTaker collection, the ultimate solution for perfecting iPad photography. The ZING collection includes an innovative iPad case that gives users the ability to quickly switch from protecting to shooting, all without the trouble of removing the iPad from the case. Carry, shoot and protect in style, all in one step, with ZING’s lineup of cases, pouches and straps.

Tiffen will also be showcasing the latest updates to Tiffen Dfx. Version 4 now offers OFX plugin support for compatibility with digital intermediate workflows such as Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve and Assimilate Scratch, as well as The Foundry’s high-end NUKE visual effects program. Dfx Version 4 also adds historical photographic processes and motion picture film stocks to its extensive collection of features and capabilities.

Featuring cutting-edge filter technology, Tiffen’s brand new XLE Series filters help color correct images captured during long, extreme exposure shooting, producing a smooth, softening effect on objects and matter in motion. On display at CES 2015, the APEX, the ADVANTIX and the AXENT XLE filters are the ultimate imaging tools designed to provide control for these issues on a wide range of sensors and lenses in various lighting environments.

For run-and-gun location lighting, the Lowel PRO Power LED is a compact focusing light available in hi-CRI tungsten or daylight color, with impressive output and a wide fresnel 8:1 focus range for lighting from a distance. Dimmable without color shift, the light works with both AC power and its special DC accessory battery system, which can clamp-mount to the stand or be used with a shoulder strap for handheld lighting. The Lowel PRO light is ideal for on-the-go shooting and small location studio setups.

  • Wednesday, Dec. 24, 2014
Tiffen unveils Steadicam Curve and Smoothee Compatible with HERO4 Camera
Steadicam Curve

The Tiffen Company, a manufacturer of imaging accessories, announced that Steadicam Curve and Steadicam Smoothee now support GoPro HERO4 Black and Silver editions, adding to the list of compatible camera models.

At just a half-pound, 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 are now endless for GoPro users. For the most adventurous shots, GoPro users can lock in the ergonomic handle for unparalleled stabilization. At just a half-pound, Curve is the perfect companion for any journey all over the world.

The lightweight, agile and easy-to-use Steadicam Smoothee features an innovative, patented design built around a durable mono-frame metal structure. The turnkey handheld solution ships with an easy-to-use interchangeable mount for expanded camera capture options. The Smoothee can also be used with an iPhone 3Gs/4/4s/5/5s, GoPro HERO 2/3/3+.

Steadicam Curve is available today for $99.95, and Steadicam Smoothee is available for $149.95.

  • Monday, Dec. 22, 2014
PO Group grades and finishes "American Dreams in China" on Mistika
"American Dreams in China" (image courtesy of WE Pictures Ltd.)

Chinese facility Post Production Office Group (PO Group) graded and finished American Dreams in China on Mistika. Produced and directed by Hong Kong’s Peter Chan, the Mandarin-language film brought in $87.6 million at the box office.

PO Group purchased from SGO a Mistika 4K Colour Grading and Finishing System, a Mistika Assist Station and an SGO SAN to support their Stereo 3D and high end color grading services for film and commercials projects a few years ago. Founded in 2003 by entrepreneur and actor, Nicholas Tse, PO Group is the largest post house in Hong Kong, which grosses over one billion Hong Kong dollars annually, with branches in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing.

American Dreams in China is Peter Chan’s first digital camera shoot where he filmed the entire movie using ARRI Alexa and recorded it on Codex. His strong affection for the filmic look set the tone and brief for PO Group’s colorist Antonio Zhang to work with, selecting Mistika for the grading and finishing of the entire movie.

Zhang explained the color grading process, “I chose the ARRI Log C as the default debayer and applied a FPE (Film Print Emulation) 3D LUT on top of all of the shots to mimic the ‘filmic look’ that Peter Chan was after. Also, my aim was to preserve the highlighted elements and enhance them further by revealing even greater details where possible.”

The film is based on a true story about three friends who graduated from Peking University and go on to build a successful English language school in China called “New Dreams.” This school helps to make the dreams of Chinese teenagers come true. As the film covers a time-span of over 3o years which involved various scenes flicking backwards and forwards into the present and past, the PO Group team combated this challenge by setting the looks for each time period. The first part covers the time the three friends study in Peking university and the second focuses on them building the language school, followed by their success in the stock market.

“For the first look,” said Zhang, “we tried to make the colours more vivid to depict university life and the passion for the characters’ start-up days. We used an old 1980’s Chinese magazine as a reference and made the grade look really old but colorful.” He added, “The second look had to be really cool, professional and business-like, and due to the fact the characters had a lot of arguments, the cool tone helps to portray that antagonistic atmosphere effectively.”

While the 4K Mistika system forms PO Group in Beijing’s principal system, the Mistika assistant station is a fully capable file-based Mistika system in its own right, which allows the studio to increase efficiency and throughput, by having an assistant to the main colorist to prepare projects in advance, or to work alongside to ensure the smooth running of even the most complex projects. The SGO SAN not only allows the two Mistika’s to share project assets, but also allows the media sharing to extend to all other technical facilities at PO. Projects of various formats occupy the facility’s pipeline from 2K to 4K, and S3D to higher frame rates. With the SGO Mistika and SGO SAN, PO Group have built a very efficient pipeline.

“Mistika was the perfect grading and finishing tool for this movie.” Zhang said. “It has a strong editing function, and we were also able to achieve both the conform and grading in Mistika. This really created a smooth and effective workflow, as I could grade from the original ARRI RAW Raw file and easily change the debayer for individual shots which was so convenient.”  He concludes, “Flexibility is really important to us here at PO Group,  especially as we face a lot of different digital camera formats, however Mistika’s compatibility with various camera formats is a great advantage and provides an excellent high-end service for us throughout the entire postproduction process.”

  • Monday, Dec. 22, 2014
Grass Valley hires Bill Hadsell as product manager for digital media workflows
Bill Hadsell

Bill Hadsell joins Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, as product manager responsible for the Ignite automated production system and the Vertigo Suite for branding graphics automation and asset management. Hadsell brings to the position many years of experience in product management and design for the broadcast industry.

“These two product families play important roles in the operations of our customers, automating production and enhancing broadcast graphics,” said Hadsell. “I’m looking forward to building on the success already enjoyed by these solutions and working with our development team to add even more features that address the needs of the market.”

The Ignite automated production system allows a single operator to manage control room devices used to produce live newscasts and event programming. With Ignite technology, users can easily control on-air timing, accommodate last-minute show changes and direct any type of production on the fly. The solution also provides more opportunities to repurpose content for digital multicasting and webcasts, increasing overall production value.

The Vertigo Suite for branding graphics automation and asset management is designed for easy and highly productive graphics generation. Scalable to meet the needs of a wide variety of broadcast environments without the high operating costs, Vertigo simplifies the creation of sophisticated, multilayer graphics combining text crawls, animated graphics, DVEs and audio inserts. Vertigo delivers a choice of highly productive workflows and a choice of dynamic rendering models using graphics templates, which suit even the most demanding applications, such as business news graphics.

  • Monday, Dec. 22, 2014
Avid releases new version of Media Composer

Avid today announced that the latest version of Avid Media Composer| Software, which allows video professionals to acquire, manage, edit, and deliver native 4K and other high-res media faster and more efficiently than ever, is now available.

Leveraging the new Avid Resolution Independence architecture and Avid DNxHR encoding, Media Composer offers the most complete and flexible end-to-end workflow for file-based editing of any resolution. This new release helps content creators deliver higher quality content in more collaborative, powerful, and efficient ways – a key part of Avid Everywhere. Leveraging the Avid MediaCentral Platform, Media Composer is part of the Avid Artist Suite of industry-standard creative tools.

Avid Resolution Independence provides a holistic, platform-centric approach that puts no limits to the resolutions customers can capture, edit, and output. Media professionals can work with the broadest variety of media in every resolution – SD, HD, 4K and beyond – using their existing infrastructure. Media Composer is the first Avid product to support Resolution Independence, with support for more products and solutions across the MediaCentral Platform coming soon.

At the center of the Avid Resolution Independence architecture is Avid DNxHR, a new extensible media codec that makes it possible to edit and deliver high-res content within HD-capable infrastructures. Offering greater beauty without the bandwidth, DNxHR scales from lightweight proxies to mastering-quality high-resolution media.

Other new capabilities in the latest version of Media Composer include enhanced color management, high frame rate support, high-efficiency proxy workflows, and timesaving background rendering of high-resolution media.

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