• Friday, Sep. 12, 2014
Flame/Shotgun integration introduced at IBC
Flame 2015 Extension 2
AMSTERDAM -- 

At IBC 2014, Autodesk has unveiled Flame 2015 visual effects software Extension 2, with includes support for Shotgun Software, a cloud-based production tracking, review and asset management platform. Just last month at SIGGRAPH in Vancouver, Shotgun, recently acquired  by Autodesk, announced an iPhone Review app, Shotgun Desktop and MARI integration. Since the acquisition earlier this summer, the expanded development team (triple the number of coding engineers) has been on hyper drive.

Shotgun already has a strong workflow with Maya, 3ds Max, MARI and other third party applications. The new Flame/Shotgun integration will enable Flame artists to quickly and efficiently share project work with producers, supervisors, clients, managers and other artists in the cloud and accelerate the flow of diverse project media across creative pipelines.

Key integration highlights:
• Publish Conformed Sequences from Flame and Flame Assist to Shotgun – using Shotgun, facilities can set up the distribution of project shots, which can be assigned to artists as needed;

• Automated Access to Media and Batch Setups in Flare – when launching Flare from Shotgun, Batch setup and shot media will automatically load, eliminating the need for artists to search the network for media;

• Shot Versioning – Once published, new Flare shots are immediately available in Flame, so artists can update a shot, series of shots or all shots within the Flame timeline to versions created by Flare artists throughout the facility;

• Shot Review and Approval – Artists can send Flame or Flare clips directly to Shotgun’s review and approval tools, allowing project stakeholders to annotate and approve shots within the software.

  • Thursday, Sep. 11, 2014
Dalet unveils integrated platform solutions at IBC 2014
AMSTERDAM -- 

Dalet Digital Media Systems, a provider of software-based solutions for media organizations, unveiled its new platform lineup: Dalet Brio (high-density ingest and playout), Dalet AmberFin (high-quality transcoding), and Dalet Galaxy (enterprise MAM). These three distinct, yet tightly integrated platforms enable Dalet to answer both the current and future requirements of the media industry with a range of complementary products and modules that address targeted applications as well as combine to offer best-in-class business solutions.

An expert in MAM-driven workflows, Dalet has been actively looking to add value to video processing, an essential component of all broadcast media. AmberFin, a sophisticated platform for video ingest, complex media manipulation, transcoding and quality control (QC) solutions within the Dalet family, extends and enhances the company’s integrated workflow capabilities. Unique among transcode vendors, AmberFin has developed its own video processing technology and set of patents.

“By integrating resources and innovative technologies into three unique and collaborative platforms, Dalet can address the changing needs of the industry driven by growing consumer demands for more content on more devices,” commented Ben Davenport, director of marketing, Dalet. “The combination of these three platforms allows us to offer the most complete and forward-thinking solutions for media organizations to optimize their human resources and media assets. Operators in news, sports and programming will reap tremendous efficiencies and productivity by applying Dalet’s latest technologies.”

Moreover, customers need not fear being locked down to any particular solution. Dalet’s non-proprietary, open-systems approach permits interoperability between its technology and third-party solutions.

Dalet Galaxy is the latest and most advanced version of the Dalet Media Asset Management platform. The landmark development initiative leverages more than 10 years of successful MAM development and customer input. Dalet Galaxy is the industry’s first business-centric, Media Asset Management platform for managing media workflows, systems and assets throughout the multimedia production and distribution chain.
IBC2014 sees Dalet highlight a number of new features and enhancements to the Dalet Galaxy including optimized, multi-version, multi-lingual program preparation workflows. Dalet will also preview the latest integration to Adobe Anywhere.

The Dalet Brio platform is designed to facilitate the ingest and playout of broadcast-quality video in SD and HD formats. New for IBC2014, the Brio3 video server packs up to 12 physical channels into a compact chassis with the embedded 3D graphics engine, Dalet Cube and a variety of storage combinations. Dalet Brio features a combination of cost-effective standard IT components with built-in redundancy.

Dalet Brio embeds critical applications that facilitate a wide range of production tasks including sports logging, highlight production, replay, gang ingest, gang playout and more. Applications include Multi-camera Recording, VTR Ingest and Print to Tape, Loop Record, Time Delay Player, Multichannel Player with Graphics, and Highlights Production, making Dalet Brio an ideal workflow solution for fast-paced, task-specific productions such as news, sports and studio.

Dalet AmberFin is a high-quality, scalable transcoding platform with fully integrated ingest, mastering, QC and review functionalities, enabling facilities to make great pictures in a scalable, reliable and interoperable way. AmberFin software runs on cost-effective, commodity IT hardware that can adapt and grow
as the needs of your business change.

At IBC, Dalet will launch its implementation of the GPU-accelerated, motion-compensated frame rate conversion technology, in partnership with Cinnafilm, delivering fast, high-quality standards conversion. As part of the Dalet AmberFin Advanced Adaptive Temporal Transform Toolbox (AT)3, Cinnafilm Tachyon joins the existing CPU-based frame rate converter and ACC advanced cadence correction and removal.

  • Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2014
Codex Action Cam on display at IBC
Radiant Images' Freedom POV camera.
LONDON -- 

Codex, known for its prowess in RAW recording and workflow, is shipping Codex Action Cam, billed as a small camera with a big workflow. In the aftermath of its NAB 2014 debut, the point-shoot-post system is now being used on feature and advertising productions in Europe and the US, as well as being innovatively modified and adapted by customers into specialist 2D and 3D stereo shooting packages. Codex Action Cam is one of the highlights at the Codex stand (Hall 11.C71) at IBC 2014, September 12-16 in Amsterdam.

Codex Action Cam can be deployed as an action|POV camera system, 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 3D stereoscopic conversion. It 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 Codex.

Among the first US customers for Codex Action Cam is Radiant Images in Los Angeles, which provides innovative digital cinema solutions, high-end cameras and equipment to the film and entertainment industry worldwide. The company’s in-house engineering team has developed a new range of camera rigs with Codex Action Cam--fitting Codex Action Cam heads with a wide variety of miniature prime and zoom lenses, housing Codex Action Cam with a helmet to create the Freedom POV Camera, and different easy-carrying systems for the Camera Control Recorder, battery packs and lens/focal control systems. Radiant Images recently provided a Codex Action Cam POV package on the commercial for Sledgehammer Games/Activision’s Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare, releasing November 2014, and is also taking orders for other Codex Action Cam packages on new commercials and feature productions.

Radiant Images co-founder Michael Mansouri said, “The dynamic range of the Codex Action Cam HD CCD delivers exceptional image quality, especially in the highlights. Above all it is a versatile point-shoot-post package that can be developed and deployed in new and exciting ways, while delivering a workflow you can trust.”

Moving Picture Company creative director, Paul O’Shea, who supervised the visual effects on Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare, said, “Codex Action Cam allows us to work in the tightest situations, and capture exciting POV action, without compromising the quality that we need for creating visual effects. The images from Codex Action Cam can be blended seamlessly with those from other digital cameras too. Indeed, on Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare the camera quality was so good we could use it as a second unit camera to shoot bluescreen plates.”

In Europe, cinematographer Stijn Van Der Veken SBC ASC adapted the Codex Action Cam package to shoot nighttime stunt sequences on Alles Voor Lena, a sci-fi feature scheduled for 2015 release, directed by Lukas Bossuyt, through Caviar Films in Brussels. The Codex Action Cam head was mounted on a helmet, skydiver style, rated at 400 ASA, using a C-Mount Kowa 5.5mm lens. The Camera Control Recorder, plus a Teradek wireless video transmitter, were fitted inside a small backpack. The RAW camera footage was transferred via Codex Capture Drives to a Mac laptop and converted to 10-bit DPX using the Codex Virtual File System.

German 3D stereo specialist manufacturer Stereotec has incorporated Codex Action Cam into its new ultra-compact Nano Rig, a mirror/beam-splitter rig that can be used for native stereoscopic acquisition either handheld, on Steadicam and other stabilising systems, with traditional camera fixtures such as cranes and dollies, as well as for underwater cinematography. Stereotec has also developed the Side-By-Side Mini Rig incorporating Codex Action Cam. Stereotec’s Nano Rig will be shown on the Codex stand at IBC 2014.

“Thanks to the diminutive size of the Codex Action Cam heads, we have been able to develop a new range of small, lightweight and easy-to-use 3D stereo rigs, with the Camera Control Recorder delivering a solid workflow to the production,” said Florian Maier, senior stereographer and founder of Stereotec. “With Stereotec rigs, cinematographers now can shoot in even tighter places and create extraordinary new perspectives, from a economical, unobtrusive, ultra-high quality, all-in-one package.”

  • Tuesday, Sep. 9, 2014
Digital Vision unveils lineup for IBC 2014
Kelvin Bolah
LONDON -- 

At IBC 2014 Digital Vision will unveil a revolutionary automated archive workflow, and return to its roots with new software-based transcoding technology, the new Golden Eye 4 scanner, Thor 4K, and updates to both its grading and restoration platforms.

Digital Vision has been able to transition its business across both the broadcast and archive worlds due to its heritage and continued development of its technology in motion compensated standards conversion, automation, media management and monitoring.

The Golden Eye 4 archive scanner, unveiled for the first time in Europe, incorporates many new features and enhancements including universal optics--a single lens, motor driven, multi-axis optical system for precision image sizing, position and focus. Users can scan any film size from 8mm to 70mm without changing the optics.

In addition Digital Vision will present Bifrost Archive Bridge, a unique scalable solution, suitable for archives of any size, comprising various workflow components that can be utilized either as a complete end-to-end solution or integrated into existing infrastructures depending on individual requirements.

Digital Vision will also demonstrate the latest 2014 versions of the Nucoda color grading suite incorporating AJA Kona support. With AJA’s interoperability with established editing products, traditional editing suites can now become grading suites without the requirement for additional hardware or investment.

There are also a range of enhancements to Phoenix, the world’s premier film restoration software, including enhanced Grain, Flicker and Paint tools. Digital Vision will also demonstrate real-time 4K image processing using THOR hardware.

“Our new products like Loki, Thor and Bifrost offer advanced solutions for our traditional client base while also bringing exciting opportunities to take Digital Vision tools to new markets,” said Kelvin Bolah, managing director, Digital Vision. 

  • Monday, Sep. 8, 2014
Ikegami to roll out HC-HD300 HDTV camera at IBC
Ikegami's HC-HD300 camera.
NUESS, Germany -- 

Ikegami has chosen IBC 2014 (Sept. 12-16) in Amsterdam as the venue for the introduction of the HC-HD300, a compact and aggressively-priced high-definition camera designed for a wide range of applications. These include satellite and cable television presentation studios, independent program making, training studios and religious television channels.

The HC-HD300 is equipped with a 1/3 inch bayonet lens mount and employs three 1/3-inch CMOS progressive-scan sensors, each with 2.2 million pixels, in RGB prism formation. It delivers high quality pictures in all commonly used HD video formats: 1920 x 1080/59.94i, 1920 x 1080/50i, 1280 x 720/59.94p, 1280 x 720/50p and 720 x 480/59.94i (NTSC), 720 x 576/50i (PAL).

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 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.

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 per cent to 90 per cent non-condensing operating humidity.

Available options include the newly-developed FA-300 fibre adaptor and BSF-300 base station. The HC-HD300’s output cable is fitted with a Neutrik opticalCon Duo connector to provide efficient protection against dust. Up to 250 metres of cable can be connected direct to the camera, extendable to 10 kilometres by using external power.

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 Ikegami HC-HD300 will be deliverable from December 2014.

Ikegami’s Broadcast and Professional Video Division will exhibit on stand 11.A31 at IBC. Company representatives will include Masanori Kondo (president, Ikegami Europe), Peter Grimm (general manager, broadcast business development) and Michael Lätzsch (broadcast and professional video division manager).

  • Monday, Sep. 8, 2014
Grass Valley to demonstrate new IP Technology at IBC
Grass Valley's NVISION 8500 IP Gateway
MONTREAL -- 

Broadcasters seeking to accommodate viewers’ demands for high-quality live programming, delivered in real time and on demand across multiple platforms, are increasingly considering developing IP-based workflows to handle changing bandwidth, scalability and flexibility requirements. Grass Valley, a Belden Brand, will feature a series of IP-enabled solutions at its IBC 2014 booth to help customers choose the right option for their needs.

A technology demonstration of Grass Valley’s nonproprietary SDN (software defined networks)–based solution for managing an IP network will serve as the cornerstone of Grass Valley’s IP display at IBC. The breakthrough SDN-enabled control application is the key to establishing a familiar, broadcast-centric control environment that supports a hybrid workflow, controlling both serial digital interface (SDI) and IP simultaneously, and builds a bridge to the future.

“The SDN-enabled system is the foundation of our unique approach and design of a control system for broadcasters to make the transition to IP. It enables them to use available third-party routers and switches and a control architecture they’re already familiar with,” said Mike Cronk, sr. VP of strategic marketing, Grass Valley. “This flexible platform will evolve into our integrated configuration and control system for future-proof performance, expansion and reliability as customers embrace IP.”

With Grass Valley’s SDN-based control application, broadcasters will be able to control SDI and IP routing using the same common control panel surface already in their facility. Grass Valley’s SDN-based solution will support the use of third-party IT routers and switches and provides a reliable means for switching video and audio in the IP realm alongside standard SDI using a new integrated router configuration and control system. Grass Valley’s SDN-enabled solution is designed to function in both production and playout applications.

In addition to the technology demonstration of its SDN-based application, Grass Valley’s other IP-enabled products making their European debut at IBC 2014 include current modular and router products like the NVISON 8500 IP Gateway and the IRG 3401 IP Gateway module for Densité.

The NVISION 8500 IP Gateway converts and packetizes real-time, uncompressed, baseband video using SMPTE 2022-6 for transport over 10 GbE Ethernet networks. Once SDI signals are packetized, they can easily be distributed rack-to-rack, truck-to-truck, between floors of a facility and even between buildings or campuses, over IP networks. All signals support frame-accurate switching for use in live production environments. The IRG-3401 IP Gateway is a high-density, bidirectional DVB-ASI/IP gateway card, which runs on the Densité modular platform. The IRG-3401 IP Gateway card makes it possible for broadcasters to keep incoming DVB-ASI signals from remote locations fully operational—and jitter-free—while connecting them to IP networks.

Other solutions in Grass Valley’s IP portfolio include: IRD-3802/3811 MPEG decoders, SME-1901/11 streaming media encoders; Axino-400 IP transport stream loudness processor and the Kaleido IP series of multiviewers.

“The road to IP is just now being paved,” said Cronk. “Customers can expect to see a steady stream of IP-enabled solutions from Grass Valley as we deliver on the promise to keep our customers future-ready.”

Grass Valley is exhibiting at IBC 2014 from Sept. 12–16, 2014 in Hall 1: Stand D11.

  • Saturday, Sep. 6, 2014
Christie marks 14th straight year at Toronto Film Festival
The Elgin Theatre venue.
TORONTO -- 

Christie, a leader in advanced cinema technologies and visual displays, brings the 39th Annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) into sharper focus this year by lighting up an expanded list of venues with Christie 4K-resolution digital cinema projection.  With 4K submissions to the festival having doubled from 2013, Christie, the official projection sponsor for 14 consecutive years, will offer 4K screening capability at Roy Thomson Hall, Princess of Wales Theatre, The Elgin Theatre’s Visa Screening Room and Ryerson Theatre.  All TIFF Bell Lightbox cinemas also feature Christie 4K projection.

The Toronto International Film Festival is the world’s largest and most acclaimed public film festival, this year screening 392 features and 139 world premieres from 79 countries.  The Festival began Sept. 4 and runs through Sept. 14.

“In the short span of a decade, nearly 100 percent of Festival screenings have gone from traditional film to digital, reflecting a global technological revolution that has transformed the filmmaking world,” said Diane Cappelletto, TIFF’s director of technical production services. “Christie’s increasing presence throughout the Festival as the official digital projection partner has been instrumental in helping us meet the evolving needs of filmmakers by keeping pace with the speed of these changes.”

In addition to the use of Christie Solaria Series 4K and 2K DLP Cinema projectors, Christie is providing the Christie HD10K-M projector  with dual HD-SDI input module, and six Christie CineIPM 2K digital cinema image processors.

Christie is also supporting TIFF’s inaugural Festival Street initiative, September 4 – 7, during which King Street West will be transformed into a “pedestrian playground.” The event will feature live music, a pop-up show, food trucks, and art installations.  A Christie Roadster HD20K projector will illuminate the Rdio Music Zone and the Steve and Rashmi Gupta Family Stage, where high-energy performances will entertain the crowd. A full list of performers and more details can be found on TIFF’s website.

Christie will additionally support legendary filmmaker and Academy Award-winning visual effects pioneer Douglas Trumbull, who will lead a discussion, “Ad Infinitum: Bigger, Faster, Brighter Movies – The Changing Creative Landscape of Digital Entertainment,” on September 11 as part of TIFF’s Industry Conference, a professional development forum for registered Festival delegates.  Trumbull will demonstrate the power of 3D 4K 120 frames per second (fps) projection by presenting his groundbreaking short film, UFOTOG, on a Christie Mirage 4K projector. This film originally premiered in May at the Seattle Cinerama Theater’s 2nd Annual Sci-Fi Film Festival using the Christie Mirage 4K, the world’s first and only 4K DLP resolution projector running at a true 120Hz.

“With Christie’s unswerving support, I have been able to explore an emerging new and immersive cinematic experience that is made possible via 3D 4K at 120 fps. The screen seems to disappear, becoming a ‘reality window,’ which offers a powerfully emotive new relationship between viewers and the movie. As a writer/director this offers an exciting new challenge and opportunity to substantially improve and differentiate the cinema experience, bringing back a sense of awe and spectacle that is not possible with conventional 24 fps 2K,” said Trumbull.

“Christie continues to set the new standard for uncompromising image fidelity, brightness, and resolution, allowing filmmakers to share their visions with audiences in ways they never could before,” said Kathryn Cress, vice president of global and corporate marketing at Christie. “We considered it an honor to be a trusted digital projection partner of the Festival, providing our acclaimed 4K technology to help convey the stunning power of entries like Monsoon, which offer compelling and emotional visual experiences that only true 4K technology can deliver.”

Vividly shot in 4K, Sturla Gunnarsson’s Monsoon is a powerful and emotional reflection on the devastating rains that descend upon India, and their chaotic yet necessary impact on the country’s agriculture, economy, and lives of the people.  In addition to screening the film in 4K, Christie will also be powering some of this year’s other buzz-worthy selections. Among these is an account of the Pink Floyd frontman’s continent-crossing concert tour of The Wall Live Tour with the film Roger Waters the Wall, directed by Roger Waters and Sean Evans. 

“The Festival offers an unparalleled opportunity for both established and emerging artists to bring their vision to a world stage,” noted John Hallman, Christie’s director of Canadian sales. “With 4K-resolution becoming the new standard in digital cinema, Christie screenings at the Festival are as close to realizing filmmakers’ vision as one can imagine, offering the brightest and sharpest images in the industry.”

Around the globe, Christie’s digital projection sponsorships include Cannes, the British Film Institute and the prestigious Shanghai International Film Festival, where a Christie 4K projection system screened the fully restored classic Chinese film, Stage Sisters, revealing the film’s finer details that were not visible prior to 4K.

  • Friday, Sep. 5, 2014
RaceTech invests in Ikegami HDK-55 cameras
Ikegami's HDK-55 camera
LONDON -- 

RaceTech, a supplier of television pictures and other services to the British horse-racing industry, has chosen Ikegami HDK-55 cameras as part of a continuing major upgrade into high-definition production. The initial order is for 18 complete HDK-55 camera chains including triax adapters and base stations plus OCP-300 control panels.

“The HDK-55 is a high-performance fully digital HDTV camera which is ideally suited to the demands of live outside broadcast sports,” stated Mark Capstick, general manager of Ikegami Electronics UK. “Six of the 18 cameras have been delivered with SE-H750 system expanders which convert the portable camera into a full-facility studio camera. RaceTech has also ordered 20 OLED color viewfinders. This combination of options gives RaceTech’s OB crews the freedom to equip the cameras for a wide range of productions including the ability to reconfigure quickly and easily.”

Ikegami’s HDK-55 incorporates a 16-bit A/D and matching 16-bit digital signal processing to maximize the benefits of high bit-rate quantisation, providing natural colour even in shadow areas of the picture. 2/3-inch 2.3 megapixel AIT CCDs are employed to deliver a horizontal resolution of 1,000 lines with 60 dB signal to noise ratio at F10 (1080/59.94i) or F11 (1080/50i) sensitivity. The camera can be docked to an optional fibre adapter or triax adapter. In additional to the main output, auxiliary channels are available for a teleprompter and external monitor.

A fine-detail function further increases the realism of the HDK-55’s output by compressing the detail edge component when shooting high contrast scenes. Highlight-detail and several other detail functions can also be switched in. Lens aberration correction minimises the blur and coloured edges caused by chromatic aberration in lenses. A viewfinder-detail function allows the camera operator to increase the detail edges to the viewfinder video for easy focusing. This is augmented by a Quick EZ Focus function which enhances signal edges in the viewfinder so that the camera operator can make precise focus adjustment.

  • Friday, Sep. 5, 2014
SGO set to open office in France
Sergio Ochoa
PARIS -- 

Based in Madrid, SGO expands its European horizons further with the launch of a new office in France which will open its doors next month to serve a thriving creative community. Sergio Ochoa, credited with over 25-years as colorist and postproduction artisan, has been appointed by SGO to head its new Parisian-based subsidiary. With premises based in central Paris, SGO France will host Mistika color grading and finishing services and support.

“Strategically, it is of great importance for SGO to have a world-class location in France,” said Miguel Angel Doncel, CEO of SGO. “The new office will benefit our regional customers, and further extend SGO’s global philosophy to provide outstanding customer service. Sergio is an asset to SGO and his experience is an immense advantage.”

Ochoa, director of SGO France, noted, “I have known SGO for many years, as a Mistika customer from some of the world’s top post facilities while working on well-known commercials and feature films....I am very familiar with the French market which has been embracing Mistika for a while now, and the timing is right to set-up a permanent SGO presence in the region.”

Many leading French post companies have already invested in Mistika to provide creative solutions for film and broadcast productions. Level S3D used Mistika to post-produce the Oscar-winning Mr Hublot, whereas cutting-edge visual effects house Digitaline, with Mistika at the helm, works on commercials for major brands such as M&M, Citroen, Playstation, Pepsi, as well as feature films. Furthermore, Mistika was selected at Paris’ Digimage for the entire postproduction of The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. In addition, Digimage also chose Mistika for the French-language feature film Asterix & Obelix: On Her Majesty’s Service with Ochoa credited as stereoscopic postproduction supervisor on the project.

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

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.

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