Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Toolbox

  • Monday, Sep. 3, 2018
London show explores hidden world of facial recognition
The U.S. installation "Face Values," by designers Zachary Lieberman, sat demonstrating in the chair, and R. Luke DuBois, not pictured, which explores the role of facial detection technology in society is displayed during a media preview for the London Design Biennale at Somerset House in London, Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. The event runs from September 4 to 23. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
LONDON (AP) -- 

A new exhibition in London explores how computers' ability to read faces is changing the world, in ways that aren't fully understood.

British police use facial-recognition technology to scan crowds for suspects. Owners of the latest iPhones can unlock their phones with face ID. Supermarkets are testing the use of facial recognition to eliminate check-out tills.

Curated by New York's Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum , "Face Values" is the U.S. entry at the multinational London Design Biennale .

R. Luke DuBois, one of the show's designers, said Monday many of us have little idea what information is being gathered on us — and we should.

The Biennale opens Tuesday and runs to Sept. 23 at London's Somerset House

  • Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018
Deluxe One to make international debut at IBC
Andy Shenkler, chief product officer for Deluxe
LOS ANGELES -- 

Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc. (Deluxe) has announced that its presence at IBC2018, which runs from September 13-18 in Amsterdam, will mark the international debut of Deluxe One, its groundbreaking solution that addresses today’s complex content creation and delivery challenges.

Trusted by the largest studios, programmers and distributors for their most important and complex projects, Deluxe’s end-to-end post-production and distribution services take content from lens to living room, anywhere in the world. Deluxe One, virtualizes these services in the cloud, giving customers the opportunity to leverage these powerful solutions, regardless of workflow, to maximize the value of their content.

“The response to the Deluxe One launch in the spring was incredibly positive and we’re excited to introduce it to a broader audience,” said Andy Shenkler, chief product officer for Deluxe. “The global nature of content today has our customers grappling with more titles, formats, and languages than ever before, making the content supply chain the most complex it has ever been. Deluxe One simplifies this process, making it easier and faster to get quality content to audiences all over the world.”

Deluxe One provides a unified platform for customers to manage their content--from creation to delivery--all in one place. Built on a micro-services architecture with open APIs, customers choose the services they need –– from content acquisition and title and asset management, to localization, distribution, and OTT playout – unifying a traditionally fragmented media supply chain and giving customers control and visibility into their workflows.

In contrast to traditional closed-silo solutions, Deluxe One is designed to be open, allowing for integration with third-party solutions for improved collaboration.

With customers’ assets and data connected in the cloud, Deluxe One accelerates today’s complex workflows by automating tasks to reduce hand-offs or errors, and speeding up turnaround times. The streamlined process means content can get to more screens, more markets, and more viewers, without added time and expense.

Demonstrations of Deluxe One will take place at the Deluxe Stand, Hall 7 C29, at IBC2018.

  • Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018
TELEFE deploys ARRI LED lighting in new studios
ARRI LED lighting illuminates a TELEFE studio
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- 

TELEFE, Argentina’s broadcast television network--which was acquired by international media group Viacom--launched its latest studios for news production and other live programming. Upon completion of this exclusive project, the studios are now fully operational with all ARRI LED lighting. The venture was carried out with BVS, a technology integrator and the ARRI representative in Argentina.

As part of the integration process with Viacom, TELEFE is developing further into 11 studios with comprehensive expansion at its new location in Martínez, Buenos Aires province. The recently completed news and broadcasting facility contains a 600-square-meter studio which was built and equipped following firm ecological sustainability guidelines.

Everything was designed to conserve energy not only by utilizing LED lighting, but also by minimizing heat dissipation. This resulted in the lowest possible electrical consumption by air conditioning equipment.

Thanks to support and guidance from BVS, the channel chose ARRI to accomplish their goals. Hernán Winnik, commercial director at BVS, explained, ”When TELEFE was considering the need for a state-of-the-art studio, with the main priority being the implementation of high quality light, we immediately thought of ARRI LED fixtures.”

“The set supports four daily newscasts and we’ve been able to ensure that each one gets its own distinct lighting set up. By utilizing control of only RGB, we establish a different lighting mood for different artistic treatments, without spending too much time or having to relocate the equipment,” said Gustavo Capua, SVP finance, technology and operations, Viacom/TELEFE.

ARRI’s line of L7-C and L10-C RGB+W LED Fresnels were used. To replace soft lights, new S60-C LED SkyPanels were used. All the fixtures work with DMX 512 and RDM protocols, which provide communication between lighting control equipment and the light fixtures themselves.

ARRI and BVS ensured that TELEFE was given all the tools and know-how necessary. “We held a three-day workshop on lighting controls and communication protocols for this system. Approximately 30 technicians from TELEFE participated,” said Wilson Zeferino, ARRI director of sales, Latin America. “TELEFE’s new facilities are state-of-the-art on an international level and we are very proud that the TV network acknowledges the value of our LED lights. These studios will serve as a model for the entire region.”

  • Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018
Marshall Electronics to introduce CV506-H12 miniature high-speed camera at IBC
Marshall's ultra-high-speed CV506-H12 camera
TORRANCE, Calif. -- 

Marshall Electronics is expanding on its assortment of miniature HD cameras with the new ultra-high-speed Marshall CV506-H12, which will be on display at IBC 2018 (Booth #12.D20), Sept. 14-18 in Amsterdam. The CV506-H12 is built for capturing high-speed action for detailed, high-definition, slow-motion video.
 
“Releasing a miniature 120fps camera to 1080p and other resolutions was a natural add-on to our camera line,” said Tod Musgrave, director of cameras at Marshall. “Many of our customers are using our mini HD cameras for slow-motion replay and analysis.”
 
The CV506-H12 offers the following resolution and frame rates settings:

  • Progressive HD (1080p and 720p) at 120 fps
  • Interlaced HD (1080i) at 50, 59.94, and 60 fps

The CV506-H12 is among the first additions to Marshall’s latest generation of compact and miniature cameras utilizing a fully redesigned body style and form factor. Special attention was given to enhance durability in the field with the addition of new structural “wings,” designed to give greater protection to rear connectors during use.

The CV506-H12 can be controlled through RS485 (Visca) and has a range of adjustable image settings including Paint (Red/Blue), White Balance, Gain, Pedestal (black), Gamma, Shutter and more. It has a 2-Megapixel  1/2.8-inch sensor with single HDMI 2.0 output.  

The M12 lens mount can be used with fixed prime or varifocal lens options, and the lightweight, small footprint build enables it to be placed easily into tight, hard-to-reach locations for unique angles and viewpoints. The CV506-H12 is designed for use in broadcast, live sports, machine vision, process analysis and any other slow-motion application.  

  • Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018
Golden Horse film “Alifu, the Prince/ss” produced with URSA Mini 4.6K and DaVinci Resolve Studio
Colorist Zoe Chang
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design announced that the Golden Horse Award-winning film “Alifu, the Prince/ss” was shot with its URSA Mini 4.6K digital film camera and graded by colorist Zoe Chang with DaVinci Resolve Studio and the DaVinci Resolve Advanced Panel.

Directed by Yu-lin Wang, lensed by DP Pan-yun Wang and starring Utjung Tjakivalid, Yi-lan Chao, Pong Fong Wu and Chu-seng Chen, “Alifu, the Prince/ss” is a drama that tells the story of 25-year-old hair stylist Alifu and his friends as he is torn between realizing his dream of becoming a woman and inheriting the chief position handed down by his father, since he is the only son of an aboriginal tribal chief. The film won Best Supporting Actor and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Golden Horse Film Festival 2017 and was also selected for the “Asian Future” section of the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival.

On a tight budget of $250,000 for the whole project, director Yu-lin Wang needed a digital film camera that was affordable but still capable of providing high-end footage. As a longtime user of the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K and Blackmagic Cinema Camera, Wang was confident in the image quality produced by Blackmagic Design’s cameras and decided to use the URSA Mini 4.6K camera for the film.

“In addition to the powerful features at a low cost, the URSA Mini 4.6K’s size fits me perfectly, and it doesn’t feel heavy when shoulder-mounted. Plus, most of our interior scenes were actually shot at locations such as old buildings and bars in Taipei where the space was tight, but it was very easy for me to carry the camera around, following actors or setting it up in a bar’s small restroom or bar counter section,” said Pan-yun Wang.

To save costs, the crew decided not to use lights whenever possible and to make the most of natural light sources instead. Artificial lights were used only when natural light was too dim. For night scenes, only specific areas were lit up, so most of the footage looked very dark.

The lack of lights created challenges for colorist Zoe Chang, who is known for her excellent DI work on popular Chinese films “Monkey King 3: Kingdom of Women,” “Devil and Angel,” “Our Shining Days,” “Black & White 2: The Dawn of Justice,” “Cook Up a Storm” and “End of Summer.”

“Director Wang still wanted us to produce a high quality film at a low cost.  I have been in the DI field for many years, but I still couldn’t relax when faced with such a challenge,” said Chang.

Chang didn’t understand the director’s vision until she saw the RAW footage shot with the URSA Mini 4.6K in DaVinci Resolve Studio for the very first time. “With its 15 stop of latitude, I saw the details hidden in the highlights and blacks, which could be retrieved. What amazed me the most were a couple of backlit interior scenes shot at a window. I had never before handled a high-end digital film camera that could retain the scenery out of a window in backlit footage,” she recalled.

She explained how she handled the looks of the film, “I didn’t want to go with a greenish look for the blacks as it would make the character’s face look very dirty, especially since Alifu is a Taiwanese aborigine whose skin tone tends to be dark, and since most of the scenes were not well-lit. Plus Alifu is a transgendered person and he is a stylist, a profession that produces beauty, so I wanted to help build the character, who is sensitive and sentimental, with carefully handled skin tone and rich colors.

“When setting the look for the film, I produced three tones for the director to choose from. For the first one, the blacks inclined towards reddish brown and the areas in the midtone that had neutral colors were tinted with water blue, so the characters could stand out from the background. For the second tone, the said colors were enhanced a little bit more. For the third tone, there was not too much grading for a natural, neutral tone.”

The director chose the second color scheme as the tone for all daylight interior and exterior scenes. However, the film consists of three major stories: Alifu and his tomboy roommate; the civil servant who becomes a drag queen at night; and the transgender pub owner and the plumber she loves. As such, Chang continued to make further refinements depending on scenes and stories.

She explained with a couple of examples, “For the scenes full of lust, I added more purple. For pub scenes, with the help of DaVinci Resolve Studio’s Power Windows, I was able to increase the saturation for the colors of the lights in specific regions, so the image matched the intoxicating music. A dark grayish blue look was produced for hospital scenes. For night interior scenes, I would tint the windows and areas near the windows with dark blue while enhancing the warm tone near light sources to increase the depth of space. In the seaside and railway station scenes, as well as the scenes that the son of Alifu and the tomboy are in, the warm tone of the highlights was enhanced.

“When Alifu gets back to his tribe for the hereditary succession ceremony after changing his sex, I gave up the reddish brown tone in the blacks and gave it a little bit of blue instead to set off the traditional red clothing. To avoid affecting the lip color while enhancing the red on the clothes, different colors on the clothes and headdresses were isolated and enhanced, and DaVinci Resolve Studio’s Power Windows and tracking were very useful and accurate, saving a lot of time.”

Pan-yun Wang commented on the DI work for the film, “Zoe crafted each frame with her experience and skills, so the details and colors were perfectly shown to the audience. Especially for the clothes and headdresses worn by Alifu and the hereditary succession ceremony scene, vivid colors and well-matched brightness and darkness were precisely presented. She is not only a master at grading blockbusters, but also a blessing for extremely low cost productions!”

  • Monday, Aug. 20, 2018
Shotgun Software unveils Pipeline Award winners
The 2018 Pipeline Awards ceremony
VANCOUVER, B.C. -- 

During last week’s SIGGRAPH convention in Vancouver, Shotgun Software, an Autodesk company, announced the winners of its annual Pipeline Awards, honoring outstanding achievement in pipeline tool development. This year’s winners highlight the best pipeline innovation around the world, with teams from the UK, Australia, South Korea, and the Netherlands all showing their workflow ingenuity.

This year’s Pipeline Award winners are:

  • UTS Animal Logic Academy for Turret (Sydney, Australia): Turret connects Shotgun and Pixar’s Universal Scene Descriptions (USD) to create a lightweight file resolver architecture that works across a range of content creation applications. Turret has been the cornerstone of the studio’s USD-based system plugin and has transformed overall workflow by pushing the latest data out automatically rather than requiring artists pull data manually. By assembling their scenes using Pixar USD with Shotgun to handle file abstraction and versioning, this educational facility has combined learning about cutting edge pipeline technology with building a system that allows them to rapidly author content and track it in Shotgun.
  • 4th Creative Party for LAEL (Busan, South Korea): LAEL is a dashboard where artists, production teams, TDs, and support staff can manage data associated with the projects they are working on. It provides artists an in-context view into the work that’s assigned to them, as well as easy access to associated files and metadata they need to do their job well. Production and support teams have access to a rich set of functionalities that provides a simple, robust way to manage file ingestion and client deliveries, and TDs have everything they need to manage the structure of a project on disk at their fingertips.
  • Zoho Studio for Shotgun Slate (Rotterdam, Netherlands): Acting as a digital slate, this tool records on-set data during shoots and pulls shot data from Shotgun to efficiently fill out the slate with key information like camera type, lens, and focal length. The slate itself runs on an iPad and is captured for each plate shot, and then stored within Shotgun. Shotgun Slate offers an effective way to manage many plates, significantly speeding up the process on set.
  • Territory Studio for Territory Toolkit (London, UK): Territory Toolkit is a set of plugins for Adobe Creative Suite and Cinema 4D, giving Territory’s motion graphics artists a Shotgun-based structure and level of control directly within their chosen application. While VFX applications like Maya and Nuke are already supported by Shotgun, this proprietary tool bridges the gap between Territory’s VFX and motion graphics teams, allowing for smooth transition between all of the DCC apps the studio uses, and eliminating problematic and time-consuming manual data-entry.

“Now more than ever, amazing pipelines are game changers for our clients.  These toolsets not only automate repetitive tasks to maximize artist’s creative time, they actually help artists reach beyond what they could do on their own before - literally giving them the ability to contribute more and better creative to a project,” said Don Parker, VP/GM for the Shotgun family, Autodesk.  “It has always been Shotgun’s mission to help pipeline creators design and build pipelines as efficiently as possible, and it’s amazing to see another year of inspiring tool development.  We’re honored to celebrate the tools and their builders again this year.”

  • Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018
BOXX workstation qualifies for Autodesk Flame 
BOXX's APEXX W5 workstation
AUSTIN, Texas -- 

BOXX Technologies announced that its APEXX W5 workstation has achieved Autodesk Flame qualification, joining an elite group of systems recommended by Autodesk to run the advanced film and television visual effects software. BOXX is a leading manufacturer of Autodesk-recommended workstations, while Flame is the preferred application of production studios and post houses throughout the world.

“At BOXX, we are committed to helping VFX artists, animators, film editors, and other post professionals work faster and more efficiently,” said Shoaib Mohammad, BOXX VP of business development and services. “If you rely on Flame or other professional applications, APEXX W5 will help you increase productivity while dramatically improving completion times.”

The most advanced BOXX workstation platform, APEXX W5 features an 18-core Intel Xeon W-series processor for rapid workload loading and processing, while up to four NVIDIA® Quadro™ graphics cards provide unparalleled support for GPU-accelerated compute applications. Flame only utilizes two GPUs, making the custom-configurable W5 ideal, and with additional PCI-E slots, liquid cooling, and 512GB of system memory, it delivers high-powered performance for all Flame features from 3D visual effects, compositing, and conforming, to editing, color grading, and finishing. The high powered BOXX workstation also provides state-of-the-art performance for rendering, simulation, deep learning, and multi-display applications. 

“We’re pleased to see the BOXX APEXX W5 workstation as a qualified Flame solution,” said Will Harris, Autodesk Flame Family Product Manager. “The W5 provides outstanding support for Flame’s rich list of features, enabling users to accelerate their post workflow, expand opportunity for more iterations, and meet critical project deadlines.”

  • Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018
DigitalFilm Tree embraces DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio
Ramy Katrib
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design announced that postproduction facility DigitalFilm Tree (DFT) has moved its full pipeline, including editorial, color, visual effects (VFX) and delivery, into the newest release of DaVinci Resolve Studio, version 15, which was released this month.

DFT is no stranger to being a first adopter of the newest technology, establishing itself as a top finishing house for high-end broadcast, OTT and feature film projects. Notably, DFT was one of the first companies to use Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve Studio, in 2009 on “NCIS: Los Angeles,” shortly after Blackmagic Design purchased DaVinci Systems.

The move to DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio was carefully planned and was the culmination of a series of tests on the public beta since its release at NAB in April 2018. “We always focus on providing customers and artists with the best tools available,” said Ramy Katrib, founder and CEO of DigitalFilm Tree. “We knew the final release of 15 would come soon, so we used the public beta to methodically test and integrate DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio into all our post departments.”

One of the biggest advancements in the new software was the addition of Fusion VFX, and DFT’s incorporation of the tools into its VFX department was both welcome and complex. “We wanted to utilize the unique workflow that DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio offers, allowing all our artists from editorial, conform, color, and VFX to work in the same project at the same time,” said Katrib. “Rather quickly, our VFX and color departments started using Fusion because it’s right there in DaVinci Resolve Studio, with little to no round tripping to other apps! Even in the early stages, we are experiencing the power of Fusion and the efficiency of real time collaboration.”

With DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio, postproduction collaboration is fully realized, and it was these tools that motivated the entire company to make the transition quickly. “I was already comfortable with the speed and power of the Color page in DaVinci Resolve Studio,” said Patrick Woodard, sr. colorist at DigitalFilm Tree. “However, now with DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio, I can work interactively with other artists while I grade, making our team far more efficient and creative than ever before.”

Unlike other tool sets, DaVinci Resolve 15 combines the power of a full NLE, award winning color, Fusion VFX, Fairlight audio and delivery tools together in one application. Artists at every level can work on the same timeline at the same time, increasing both efficiency and speed of delivery. “With today’s quick turnaround demands and fast technical and creative revisions, it makes sense to have editorial and conform, color and VFX all making forward progress, at the same time,” said Katrib. “Whether at DigitalFilm Tree or remotely, DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio allows our clients to iterate across the entire post process in one timeline. Now when they sign off, our delivery times are far shorter because we output the final master right from DaVinci Resolve Studio. Throughout the mastering process, we present our clients with a persistent camera RAW finishing environment. Post production is exciting again, with amazing collaboration across technical and creative departments, on every project.”

More than four years ago, DFT leveraged DaVinci Resolve Studio and its IT logistics capabilities to offer remote post services. At first, they offered remote DaVinci Resolve Studio color systems for clients across the world, allowing them to see and sign off on their projects as if they were sitting in a brick and mortar color bay in Los Angeles.

“As we are evolving to IP-based post processes and services, DaVinci Resolve Studio brings the entire post process to our clients, wherever they are, far or near,” said Katrib. “Current clients utilizing our remote post services, which we call GeoPost, include TBS’ ‘Wrecked’ for which we provide remote dailies from Fiji, ABC’s ‘American Housewife’ for which we provide remote color and VFX review, and the CW’s ‘The 100’ for which we provide remote titling, conform, color and VFX review.”

With DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio’s expanded collaboration and remote features, Katrib is excited to grow DFT’s services on a global basis. “DaVinci Resolve Studio continues to be a game changer, and it’s everywhere. Now, with a complete shared workflow in one package, the post production paradigm will change dramatically for everyone and for the better.”

  • Sunday, Aug. 12, 2018
Conductor elevates Mac Moore to president
Mac Moore
OAKLAND, Calif. -- 

Conductor Technologies announced that sr. VP of sales and marketing Mac Moore has been named president. With more than 20 years experience guiding enterprise software partnerships globally, Moore has been a vital asset to the Conductor team since joining ahead of the cloud rendering platform’s SIGGRAPH 2017 launch. He assumes the president role from co-founder Kevin Baillie, who remains at the helm of Conductor’s board of directors but is shifting his primary focus to creative leadership at VFX studio Atomic Fiction, which recently signed an agreement to be acquired into Deluxe’s global VFX brand, Method Studios.

“From his first day on the job, Mac has been my right-hand man. He constantly blows me away with his depth and breadth of knowledge, and how personally committed he is to our mission of bringing efficient, enterprise-scale cloud rendering to the market,” said Baillie. “He knows cloud rendering and the M&E space like the back of his hand and has tangible love for our customers, which makes him the ideal person to shepherd Conductor along its remarkable growth path.”

Moore noted, “Throughout my career, I’ve gravitated towards transformative technology, and cloud has completely altered how we think about and execute in the content creation ecosystem. Conductor’s position in leading the cloud charge brought me here, and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to guide it forward.”

Prior to Conductor, Moore led a worldwide sales team for Autodesk’s Media & Entertainment division, helping navigate the company’s transition to SaaS and cloud-based models. Moore began his career in creative technology as an Software Applications Engineer at Mentor Graphics before eventually expanding into project management and broader business development roles. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University, and is based in Raleigh-Durham, NC.   

Conductor’s cloud rendering platform launched into commercial availability mid-summer 2017, after a two-year customer beta, and to date has achieved dynamic scale of over 100,000 simultaneous cores. Conductor will be showcased at SIGGRAPH 2018.

  • Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018
Cooke to bring lens Innovations to IBC
Cooke Optics S7/i Full Frame Plus lens
LEICESTER, UK -- 

Cooke Optics will present its latest lens ranges and focal lengths on Stand 12.D10 at IBC 2018 running from Sept. 13-18. The 65mm Macro and 21mm lenses for the Panchro/i Classic range are now in production and will be available for demonstration for the first time on the stand, along with lenses from the S7/i, miniS4/i, Anamorphic/i, Anamorphic/i SF and families.

“It is 20 years since we built our flagship S4/i prime lenses, which are still in demand and back-ordered to this day,” said Les Zellan, chairman, Cooke Optics. “I’m very proud of what we have achieved since then, launching a further seven lens sets--all designed and built from the ground up for industry use--that give cinematographers incredible choice while retaining our famed ‘Cooke Look’ across the range. While it’s nice to look back for a minute, the Cooke team and I are fully focused on the future, with a new range to launch at IBC and more innovations to come.”

The S7/i Full Frame Plus lens range was the first large format lens set on the market, and has been purpose-built to cover the new full frame cinema camera sensors up to the full sensor area (46.31mm image circle), including the RED Weapon 8K, ARRI ALEXA LF and Sony Venice.

Panchro/i Classic prime lenses offer the vintage look of the beloved Speed Panchros but with the benefit of modern housing, mounts and glass.

The Anamorphic/i 45-450mm T4.5-22 zoom lens features 10x zoom front anamorphic, 5’10” MOD from image plane and 3’11” close focus from the front of the lens.

Anamorphic/i SF (“Special Flair”) lenses features a coating that provides even more of the flare, bokeh and other aberrations synonymous with the anamorphic look. The miniS4/i range delivers smaller, lighter lenses that offer the same resolution, optical quality and reliability as the S4/i, but at a lower price. The 5/i family offers T1.4 speed and a focus ring that illuminates when you need it, as well as superb optical and mechanical performance, control of flare, distortion, veiling glare and spherical aberrations at full aperture.

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