Thursday, August 17, 2017

Toolbox

  • Thursday, Jun. 29, 2017
Blackmagic Design ships remote Bluetooth Camera Control app for URSA Mini Pro
Blackmagic Camera Control app for URSA Mini Pro now available for iPad in the Apple app store
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design has released Blackmagic Camera Control, a free iPad app that lets customers remotely control their URSA Mini Pro cameras via Bluetooth, along with Camera 4.4 Update for URSA Mini Pro cameras. The new Blackmagic Camera Control app is based on the open protocol for URSA Mini Pro cameras that Blackmagic Design demonstrated at NAB earlier this year.
 
Camera 4.4 Update can be downloaded free of charge from the Blackmagic Design website. Once installed, customers can download the Blackmagic Camera Control iPad app from the Apple app store.
 
All URSA Mini Pro cameras feature built in bluetooth connectivity, which until now has not been enabled. The built in bluetooth will allow customers to to send and receive commands from up to 30 feet away. Once the camera is paired with the iPad, customers can remotely power URSA Mini Pro on or off, change all major settings, adjust and add metadata using a digital slate and trigger recording. The Blackmagic Camera Control app is perfect for customers that need to control cameras in hard to reach places such as on cranes, drones, in underwater housings and more.
 
To make URSA Mini Pro’s Bluetooth support even more flexible, Blackmagic Design has developed a new, open protocol and is publishing a developer API, along with sample code, for customers that wish to build their own camera control solutions. This free API and sample code will be available later this summer.
 
In addition to the Blackmagic Camera Control app, Blackmagic Design has also released Camera 4.4 Update which enables Bluetooth functionality and adds new preset timecode options on URSA Mini Pro cameras. The update also adds compatibility with Canon 18-80mm T4.4 for iris, focus and record trigger, along with improved EF, PL and B4 support, improved digital slate functionality and improved zebra stripe overlays on URSA Mini 4K cameras.
 
“URSA Mini Pro has become incredibly popular because of its amazing image quality combined with broadcast features and controls, built in ND filters and interchangeable lens mount,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “The new Blackmagic Camera Control app and open API means that the possibilities are truly endless. Customers are going to have the tools they need to build completely custom remote control solutions of their own design using the new Bluetooth support.”

  • Wednesday, Jun. 28, 2017
EditShare expands UK footprint with new office
EditShare's new Soho office
BASINGSTOKE, UK -- 

EditShare, a technology specialist in intelligent shared storage and media management solutions, will expand its UK operations with a brand new office opening in London’s Soho district in July 2017.

The central London location features full demonstration capabilities of Ultra HD workflows and beyond, plus EditShare’s professional and business development services, providing the local creative community a place to gain hands-on experience along with expert guidance for building next-generation editorial and VFX workflows.

Paul Saint, EMEA sales director at EditShare who will be spearheading the new Soho office, commented on the concierge service atmosphere they aim to create for London’s creative community: “We want to ensure London-based clients can visit and see EditShare Flow production asset management and XStream EFS scale-out storage solutions in a complete, working environment. With the addition of senior support and workflow staff, we are readily equipped to serve the Soho and greater London market with speed, efficiency and expert guidance.” The new EditShare Soho office is located at 48 Warwick Street in central London.

EditShare’s portfolio has expanded greatly over the years, from award-winning EFS scale-out shared storage, to media asset management, archiving, editorial and now QC, with its recent acquisition of QC specialist Quales.

“The new facility, located on Warwick Street in the Soho neighborhood of London, is a testament to our commitment to creative agencies and facilities where speed, reliability and efficiency are of the essence,” said Peter Lambert, worldwide sales director for EditShare. “We are always listening to our clients’ needs and requirements. One of these needs was a closer relationship with EditShare. This investment in the new Soho office puts EditShare right next door.”

  • Tuesday, Jun. 27, 2017
Vicon acquires IMeasureU
OXFORD, UK -- 

Vicon, the motion capture (mocap) technology specialist for the entertainment, engineering, virtual reality and life science industries, has announced the acquisition of IMeasureU. Fusing wearable technology sensors and proprietary software, IMeasureU has developed a high-fidelity motion measurement system that enables researchers, coaches and elite athletes to benefit from data-driven performance insights.
 
Vicon has been tracking Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) technology closely for several years, and this acquisition enables Vicon to accelerate product release plans in this fast-growing and attractive sector.  A natural extension of the Vicon product suite, the data produced by IMeasureU’s IMU sensors can be integrated with, and analyzed through, Vicon’s existing end-user applications.
 
IMeasureU bolsters Vicon’s position as a strong and profitable market leader in movement and tracking technology, adds a new growth dimension, expands Vicon’s markets in existing verticals and offers clear cross-selling opportunities to existing customers.
 
IMeasureU products and markets
Founded in 2013 and based in Auckland, New Zealand, IMeasureU has developed a motion measurement system based on fusing IMUs with proprietary software to provide high-fidelity movement and workload data. These wearable sensors are lightweight and small, enabling researchers to monitor and manage a person’s recovery following an injury.
 
IMeasureU has two core business lines, IMU-Research and IMU-Step. Both business lines apply the same technology but target different markets. IMU-Research is well-established, selling systems to researchers in the life sciences, entertainment and engineering sectors where Vicon is already a market leader. IMeasureU and Vicon share several clients, including Harvard University, and there are clear and immediate applications for the technology right across Vicon’s client base.  
 
IMU-Step is focused on the elite sports market, and assists in the rehabilitation of injured players. By attaching IMU sensors to the injured player, sports scientists and coaches can track the strain an athlete is under throughout rehabilitation. This enables better management of the player’s training regime and ultimately minimises the time taken to return from injury.
 
The acquisition of IMeasureU gives customers added flexibility and opens up a greater variety of motion measurement applications - providing a relatively low-cost way to measure a person’s movements. As no additional camera equipment is required, data can be captured outdoors and researchers can monitor multiple subjects at the same time outside of a laboratory environment.
 
Commenting on the acquisition, Mark Finch, founder of IMeasureU, said: “It has always been at the core of IMeasureU’s philosophy to strive for excellence and precision. This is why the team is extremely excited about joining forces with Vicon, the market leader in motion capture technology. The two companies complement each other perfectly and we are excited about combining our expertise to drive global growth and innovation.” 
 
Imogen Moorhouse, CEO of Vicon Motion Systems, said: “The acquisition of IMeasureU is an exciting step forward for Vicon. The core IMeasureU technology broadens Vicon’s market appeal and also provides benefits to many of our existing customers. The ability to measure outside of the laboratory combined with the opportunity to add inertial measurements to optical tracking will enable new ways of working within the Vicon environment. As always, this will be backed up by our world-leading customer support.”
 
Moorhouse continued: “In addition, IMU-Step not only enables growth in the exciting area of elite sports but in other vertical applications where a lower-cost measurement system provides the most relevant data. The company culture at IMeasureU is a natural fit with Vicon’s and we’re really looking forward to working with Mark and the IMeasureU team.”

  • Monday, Jun. 26, 2017
Utah Scientific developing next-generation IP solutions
Utah Scientific's hybrid router with Arista's switching platform eases migration to IP.
SALT LAKE CITY -- 

Utah Scientific announced it is working to develop next-generation solutions that integrate Utah Scientific’s advanced hybrid router technology with Arista Networks’ switching platform to ease broadcast customers’ migration to IP-based operations.

“At Utah Scientific, we’re committed to developing solutions that can support our customers’ current SDI workflows but also help usher them into the new world of IP operations,” said Scott Barella, chief technology officer, Utah Scientific. “Arista’s Extended Operating System, media and entertainment-specific APIs, and other features, along with our 30-year track record perfecting SDI routers, make a formidable team to prove the hybrid SDI-IP model completely and develop comprehensive router-switcher solutions.”

“Utah Scientific shares our commitment to open standards and hybrid solutions that give broadcast customers a clear path to IP-based video applications,” said Nick Ciarleglio, systems engineer for Arista Networks. “Arista’s reliable and extensible networking platforms work with Utah Scientific’s IP platform to deliver hybrid SDI/IP routing and native IP-transport solutions for our mutual customers.”

  • Monday, Jun. 26, 2017
Foundry, J Cube partner to boost CG ecosystem, improve Katana and Maya pipelines
LONDON -- 

Creative software developer Foundry has entered into an exclusive agreement with software R&D company J Cube to provide the Multiverse Studio toolset as a unified ecosystem for Katana and Maya.

As part of Foundry’s commitment to driving creativity, this new collaboration will allow artists to significantly reduce the time it takes to transport files between 3D applications--including Maya and Katana--freeing up more time to deliver creative work.

Berj Bannayan, partner and VFX supervisor at Soho VFX, said: “We’ve been using Multiverse here at Soho VFX for over a year, for our Alembic pipeline that incorporates Maya, Houdini and 3Delight. It’s been transformative for us, being used in everything from The Shallows to Ben Hur and Logan. The integration into our existing pipeline has been straightforward and we’ve been outputting some positively giant Alembic caches that we’re now handling easily. It’s great stuff!”

Multiverse Studio customers will have access to a commercially supported set of MaterialX, Alembic and USD tools unified in all Katana and Maya versions, on all platforms. This will help make customers’ investments work better for longer, without the need to develop in-house or upgrade due to incompatible versions.

Multiverse’s innovative toolset also solves wider industry problems. It allows for fast and memory efficient I/O, provides dynamic management of hierarchies in Maya and procedural geometry rendering, facilitating accurate motion blur for varying topology simulation caches in Maya and Katana. It also offers new functionality that allows retiming of geometry caches at render time, without the need to re-export geometry caches with adjusted motion samples.

Foundry will resell Multiverse Studio for Katana and Maya as interactive and batch licenses. The pricing scheme includes the first year of maintenance for each license type and activates Maya, Katana, plus any future DCC app implementations.

Jody Madden, chief product and customer officer at Foundry, commented: “We are excited to offer artists the opportunity to add Multiverse Studio to their Katana and Maya pipelines, helping to relieve the immense pressure to deliver better, faster and cheaper work. As well as supporting Pixar’s open source project and the industry demand for USD tools, we wanted to have a commercially supported ecosystem around Katana that simplifies the creative process. Ensuring that Katana is easily integrated into more pipelines is an important contribution to the VFX and animation industries, and we’re proud to be part of this exciting collaboration.”

Paolo Berto Durante, chief technical officer at J Cube Inc, commented: “Foundry has always been skilled at identifying innovative software solutions that improve the production experience and change the industry for the better. We are delighted Foundry’s attention is now focused on Multiverse, with this collaboration providing our tools to a larger audience, worldwide. We can’t wait to see what artists are going to create with it.”

  • Thursday, Jun. 22, 2017
FUJIFILM provides technical service & maintenance support at FIFA Confederations Cup
The FUJINON UA14x4.5B handheld zoom lens
WAYNE, NJ -- 

The Optical Devices Division of FUJIFILM is offering comprehensive support for users of FUJINON 4K UHD and HD lenses at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia. Taking place now through July 2, the matches are being played in four stadiums across four cities: Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Kazan and Sochi. A team of FUJINON engineers is on-location in Moscow to provide ongoing technical support throughout the duration of the FIFA Confederations Cup.

FUJINON provides this service to its clients at major sports and entertainment events around the globe.

  • Wednesday, Jun. 21, 2017
Bexel adds 300 Litepanels Astra 6X LED Lights to its inventory
Bexel adds Litepanels Astra 6X Daylight to inventory.
BURBANK, Calif. -- 

Bexel is upgrading its lighting inventory with the addition of 300 brand-new Litepanels® Astra 6X LED panels. The new lights will be key components in Bexel’s ongoing support of customers who require turnkey lighting solutions in any location at outdoor sporting venues.

“The new Astra 6X panels are not only brighter, but they offer the versatility sports broadcasters need to light the announce booth or just about any location for an on-camera shot or interview — the football sideline, the locker room, the basketball courtside, the baseball dugout, or in the pits for NASCAR,” said Lee Estroff, VP, account development at Bexel. “Litepanels lights have been in our inventory for more than five years, and their quality and reliability have made them highly popular with our clients. We’re making this major investment in the Astra 6X to keep our lighting inventory on the leading edge and give our customers the brightness and flexibility they need for any venue and in all types of conditions.”

As announced at the 2017 NAB Show, the next-generation Litepanels Astra 6X LED panel is 50 percent brighter than the first-generation Astra light and six times brighter than Litepanels’ original 1 x 1 panel, which broke new ground in the lighting industry when it was first introduced. Even with its greater intensity, the Astra 6X draws less power than its predecessor, which allows for longer battery run time. In addition to delivering higher-quality color rendering, the panels can be powered by professional camera batteries, making them ideal for productions looking to save power and reduce costs.

Bexel’s new inventory of Astra 6X lights will arrive just as the company’s sports-broadcasting clients gear up for the college and pro football seasons and head into baseball playoffs.

“As always, Pat Grosswendt and the Litepanels team provided outstanding expertise in helping us design this new Astra 6X lighting solution,” Estroff added. “With their help, we were able to figure out a configuration for on-location sports broadcasting that reduces the number of lighting banks needed for the same output, which therefore reduces rental and shipping costs for our customers. Litepanels is a valued and trusted partner.”

  • Monday, Jun. 19, 2017
Post on BBC One’s "Broken" completed in DaVinci Resolve Studio & Fusion Studio
A scene from "Broken"
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design has announced that picture post on BBC One drama “Broken,” including the conform, grade and VFX compositing, has been completed using an editorial pipeline featuring DaVinci Resolve Studio and Fusion Studio.
 
From acclaimed screenwriter Jimmy McGovern, Sean Bean plays Father Michael, a Catholic priest presiding over a parish in the North of England. He serves as a confidante, counselor and confessor to a congregation struggling to reconcile its beliefs with the challenges of modern day life.
 
Overseeing postproduction on the six-part drama was LA Productions' post supervisor, Patrick Hall. “Having completed the offline, we moved the project across to DaVinci Resolve. Relinking the ProRes 4444 media, we were able to work natively in 4K during the conform and grade.”
 
The references for “Broken” were pretty bold from the start, according to Hall. “The director and DoP drew inspiration from American reportage photography in the 1960s and 70s, guys like William Eggleston and Steven Shore,” he said. “These photographers spent a lot of time exploring communities in the deep South of America, communities that had very little money, but who had very strong beliefs. It was a fascinating mirror of the characters in Broken, and the story we wanted to tell.”
 
The starting point for the entire grade was a series of five look up tables (LUTs) which allowed Hall and his team to emulate the different styles reflected in the various photographic references.
 
“As with any drama series, one of our greatest challenges was consistency. The emulation LUTs alongside Resolve’s ColorTrace proved particularly useful when it came to delivering multiple versions for international distribution. Copying grades across took seconds, rendering a complicated, time-consuming process relatively straight forward.”
 
VFX for the prime time drama was composited and rendered using Blackmagic Design’s Fusion Studio.
 
“We had around 90 VFX shots across the series and then many more flares and OFX plugins which we introduced directly through Resolve,” said Hall. “In fact, we even relied on Fusion Connect during the offline assembly edit which afforded us the ability to send VFX shots into Fusion during the offline process as a rough cut. That was incredibly useful once we came to the conform as we were able to simply tweak those early Fusion files based on the online material.”
 
LA Productions carried out a range of VFX work including the generation of 3D rain particles and sky replacements. “Our production crew shot all of the train footage used on the series in one go. That presented continuity issues when using it across the series. It was our job to make it fit,” Hall explained. “In several instances we needed to add rain to the train window. We did that using Fusion’s particle generator and then applied motion blur to soften those effects and match with the original footage.”
 
Hall concluded, “DaVinci Resolve and Fusion is an incredibly powerful, node-based workflow that is incredibly quick and very simple to use once you know how. I don’t know of any workflow that’s quicker and more efficient for the conform, grade and VFX on a prime time television drama.”

  • Monday, Jun. 19, 2017
Digby Davies named CEO of VER
Digby Davies
GLENDALE, Calif. -- 

VER, a global provider of production equipment and engineering support, has announced the appointment of Digby Davies as CEO. 

Davies has nearly 30 years of industry experience, including 11 as COO and then CEO of technology services provider PSAV. He has a unique perspective as a former VER client.
 
“It was the experience I had as a ten-year VER customer that enticed me to be part of this global, growing company,” said Davies. “For me, what sets VER apart is its culture of above and beyond service, relentless  problem solving, consistently hiring the best people in the industry, and always providing added value. My goal is to preserve this culture for our 1,600 employees and our clients.”

  • Friday, Jun. 16, 2017
NY Fox affiliate WICZ-TV becomes 1st FOR-A ClassX graphics solutions customer
The ClassX premium graphics suite of products.
CYPRESS, Calif. -- 

FOR-A® Corporation of America announces that Vestal, N.Y. based Fox affiliate, WICZ-TV, has become its first ClassX graphics solutions customer. FOR-A and Italy-based ClassX recently entered into a joint partnership that names FOR-A the exclusive dealer of the ClassX premium graphics suite of 2D/3D character generation and live motion graphics and playout software in North, South and Central America. The agreement also gives users the ability to integrate ClassX’s powerful and cost-effective suite of graphics with FOR-A’s live production switchers.

WICZ-TV has purchased three ClassX real-time broadcast graphics products for content graphics creation, playout and social sharing. WICZ-TV’s new production package includes the ClassX CastaliaCG software to easily create broadcast graphics animations. The station has also purchased the ClassX LiveBoard for powerful, reliable broadcast graphics playout, along with the SocialServer for intuitive, easy social network interaction. WICZ-TV is integrating its ClassX software solutions with the station’s broadcast news ticker created by Ontario-based company Bannister Lake, called Super Ticker.

“Our intent in using our new ClassX CastaliaCG with the Super Ticker is to easily display the data from the character generator into our on-air graphics tickers for things like school closings, weather warnings, and more,” explained Mike Melnyk, chief engineer, WICZ-TV. “We began using our new ClassX suite a few months ago, and they’ve proven to be effective tools for our productions. I feel like we’ve only begun to tap into its full potential, but I’m already impressed.”