Friday, February 24, 2017

Toolbox

  • Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017
Autodesk scores awards season wins on two high-profile fronts
A scene from "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" (courtesy of Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm Ltd.)
SAN FRANCISCO -- 

In the Best Visual Effects category of the Academy Awards, all five nominees--Deepwater Horizon, Doctor Strange, The Jungle Book, Kubo and the Two Strings and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story--were created with help from Autodesk Maya and in some cases, additional Autodesk offerings including: Autodesk 3ds Max, the Autodesk Flame Family, the Arnold renderer and Shotgun Software. Outstanding visuals for all five films were produced by thousands of talented artists working out of visual effects studios across four continents, with work spanning previsualization, visual effects, virtual cinematography, post-production, color grading and more.

Additionally Autodesk recently scored an Motion Picture Academy Scientific and Technical Achievement Award. The honor was presented to Marcos Fajardo, Alan King and Thiago Ize for the Arnold renderer, a modern ray tracer designed to efficiently render the complex geometry in computer-generated imagery (CGI) animation and visual effects films. The technology was awarded for its highly optimized geometry engine and novel ray-tracing algorithms, which unify the rendering of curves, surfaces, volumetrics and subsurface scattering, and marks the 10th Sci-Tech Award presented to scientists, designers and technologies from Autodesk.

“The amazing display of artistry in the Oscar-nominated work each year consistently raises the bar, and we’re proud to have lent a hand in providing the technology for artists to bring amazing stories and visuals to audiences worldwide,” said Autodesk SVP Chris Bradshaw. “Autodesk congratulates all of this year’s nominees and appreciates the many studios that used Autodesk offerings to contribute to this year’s Academy Award-nominated films. And to see Arnold, our newest addition to Autodesk Media & Entertainment, earn a Sci-Tech is icing on the cake.”

  • Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017
Bruce Anderson named CEO of Dejero
Dejero founder/CTO Bogdan Frusina (l) and CEO Bruce Anderson
WATERLOO, Ontario -- 

Dejero, known for cloud-managed solutions that simplify the transport of live video and real-time data across remote or mobile IP networks, has named Bruce Anderson as its new CEO, taking over from Brian Cram who has headed the company for the last five years.

Hailing from Zimbabwe, Anderson is a veteran senior executive with a 20-year record of managing international businesses for multinational corporations, most recently for the global commodity producer and trader firm Glencore. 

“Joining Dejero at a time of accelerated growth for the company and huge change that is taking place across the entire media and entertainment sector is hugely exciting,” said Anderson. “I look forward to taking the business forward as we expand Dejero’s portfolio and increase our presence across the globe. I particularly look forward to meeting Dejero’s existing customers and partners and to working with the in-house team to drive the next phase of our growth.” 

“We are delighted to welcome Bruce Anderson to the team, as he brings in-depth global experience and expertise to our company at a time when Dejero is poised to sustainably grow not only geographically, but also into new market verticals,” said Bogdan Frusina, founder and CTO of Dejero. 

Anderson’s priorities as he hits the ground will be to drive the launch of new connectivity solutions later in the year, that provide fast, reliable and secure access to the public Internet and private networks. The new Dejero products and services will enable news companies and production teams to access media assets at a broadcast centre or studio, and quickly transfer very large files from their vehicle while on location or in transit, saving valuable time.

Other priorities for the new CEO will include further expansion of the Dejero portfolio within the LATAM, EMEA and APAC markets, supported by a recent $14 million growth financing deal that was recently struck with Wellington Financial LP.

Frusina continued, “I would like to warmly thank Brian Cram as he transitions his responsibilities to Bruce having accomplished so much in his time as CEO. Brian had always intended to pass the reigns over, it was just a matter of timing and he has now decided that the time is right. Bruce is the perfect candidate to take over from Brian in that respect.”

Cram remains an investor in Dejero.

  • Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017
FUJIFILM launches “MK” series of cinema lenses
FUJINON'S MK18-55mm cinema lens
WAYNE, NJ -- 

The Optical Devices Division of FUJIFILM has unveiled the MK Series of cinema lenses for E-mount cameras, which boast advanced optical performance, ultra-compact and lightweight design, as well as superb cost performance. The first in this series to be introduced, the FUJINON MK18-55mm T2.9, is a standard zoom with an 18-55mm focal length. It will be available in early March for $3,799. The entire “MK” series is designed with the “emerging” cinematographer in mind, whether shooting a live event, online programming, documentary, corporate video, wedding, independent or short film production.

The next in the series, the FUJINON MK50-135mm T2.9, will be available this summer. With a combined focal length range of 18mm-135mm in the Super 35mm format, together the first two “MK” lenses cover the most frequently used range utilized by emerging cinematographers. The series offers fast lenses with T2.9 speed across the entire zoom range, enabling a shallow depth-of-field.

“The rapid growth in popularity of content produced by emerging cinematographers has expanded the use of cinema and digital photographic cameras,” said Tom Fletcher, director of sales, Optical Devices Division of FUJIFILM.  “And the heightened need for programming has, in turn, boosted demand for high-performance cinema lenses, which are ideal to achieve a shallow depth-of-field and a beautiful bokeh. However, since they are typically large, heavy and expensive, those involved in online and other lower cost productions often opt for interchangeable lenses for digital cameras, which have been more affordable and mobile. The problem is that interchangeable lenses for digital cameras are designed primarily for shooting stills, and therefore prone to focus shift and optical axis shift while zooming.”

The “MK” lenses are designed to maintain consistent color temperature with all FUJINON cinema lenses, which simplifies color grading. The series also inherits the FUJINON cine lenses’ advanced edge-to-edge optical performance and low distortion, while boasting compact and lightweight design as well as outstanding cost/performance. The MK18-55 and MK50-135mm weigh in at a light 980 grams/2.16 lbs with front diameters of 85mm and lengths of 206mm. The MK18-55mm’s minimum object distance (MOD) is .85 meters/2.78 feet, while the MK 50-135mm’s MOD is 1.2m/3.93 feet.

“Many independent shooters use DSLR lenses, which aren’t designed for moving images. Still lenses breathe considerably, and they have no adjustable manual iris,” said Fletcher. “Our MK’s have a seamless manual iris, zero breathing, no ramping or zoom shift, and 200-degree focus rotation. They maintain focus completely throughout the zoom range while covering Super 35mm sensors.”

In addition to their lightweight and compact build, the “MK” lenses are designed from the ground up with the operator in mind. Only one matte box and one filter size are needed between the lenses. Time-saving features include a macro function that allows for a broader range of close-up shooting, and gears for the three rings are positioned in the exact same place, which eliminates the need to re-position accessories when switching lenses.

The lenses each contain a Flange Focal Distance adjustment function to achieve optimal camera and lens matching. The short flange focal distance contributes to the lenses’ compact size and lightweight.  Distances are listed in feet and meters.

The iris supports seamless adjustment that is free of clicking. This enables precise exposure adjustment without any sound from clicking between T-stops.

The lenses also feature three rings for manual and independent adjustment of focus, zoom, and iris (aperture), with the gear pitch of 0.8M (module). The focus ring can rotate fully up to 200 degrees to facilitate precise focusing.

The “MK” lenses are compatible with E-mount cameras with the Super 35mm*/ APS-C sensor.

X Mount versions of the MK lenses (with focal lengths of 18-55mm and 50-135mm) used in the FUJIFILM X Series line of digital cameras (with APS-C sensors) are being developed for launch by the end of this year. Information about the X Mount lenses will be provided as soon as more details are confirmed.

  • Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017
Bexel to feature Clarity 800 camera at NAB
Clarity 800 camera
LAS VEGAS -- 

As a part of its specialty camera initiative, Bexel announced the launch of Clarity 800, a custom-built camera that’s billed as being the world’s first miniature, high-frame-rate (HFR) point-of view camera for live production. 

Building on Bexel and Camera Corps’ experience of using specialty cameras in live broadcast, the company developed the standard-setting Clarity 800 camera system to meet sports and event producers’ increasing demand for high-quality, real-time HFR video. The Clarity 800 offers HFR processing in HD up to 8x (480 fps) and 1080p for superior quality and can handle all video formats, including 1080i and 720p. The camera delivers complete camera functionality in a form factor that is only 4.7 inches high, 2.56 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. The Clarity 800 easily integrates into a live event ecosystem, operating as a broadcast camera system with real-time processing via fiber optics and integration with industry-standard video servers. Key features include a full-function camera remote control panel for paint control of the camera and a positive-lock lens mount with lens control of focus, iris, and zoom motors.

The camera will be on display in Bexel’s booth (C6025) at the NAB show in Las Vegas April 22-27.

  • Monday, Feb. 20, 2017
Symply brings digital storage solutions to BVE 2017
SymplyRAID 4U Storage System
TORRANCE, Calif. -- 

Symply, a global provider of high-performance digital storage solutions, will demonstrate a comprehensive range of storage systems for media and content creators at BVE 2017 in London, exhibiting with Global Distribution in hall S1-8, stand J30. 

“Today’s media professionals are adopting a more collaborative workflow to keep pace with extraordinary demands, such as faster turnaround times, higher resolutions, content format changes, and evolving acquisition and delivery approaches. They need storage solutions that meet these requirements, and more, at an affordable price point,” said Alex Grossman, CEO and president at Symply. “At BVE 2017, we will demonstrate our high-performance, lightning-fast, and affordable digital storage solutions for all workflows, from the single editor to an entire facility.”

At BVE 2017, Symply will also demonstrate SymplyRAID, a high-performance, high-throughput RAID storage system with low latency and massive capacity for large-scale media workflows. Ideal for broadcast and post facilities with existing infrastructure, including Xsan and StorNext workflows, SymplyRAID supports 4K and beyond, without the increased complexity and high costs typically associated with adding more capacity. Intuitive and easy to install, SymplyRAID is available in 3U 16-drive and 4U 24-drive configurations with capacities for any size needed. Increased performance and massive scalability is easy with the addition of SymplyRAID expansion systems.

In addition, Symply will showcase a new desktop storage solution developed with Promise Technology. The Pegasus3 SYMPLY EDITION RAID storage system features lightning-fast 40 Gb/s Thunderbolt™3 performance, full RAID protection, and the powerful SymplyGO storage management suite, allowing creative professionals to generate high-resolution video and rich media content on Mac® and Windows® systems. It is available in three models: the Pegasus R4, Pegasus R6, and Pegasus R8, delivering four, six, and eight drive configurations of RAID storage, respectively.

  • Friday, Feb. 17, 2017
SmallHD debuts billion-plus color 17-inch monitor
SmallHD's 1703-P3 monitor

SmallHD introduces its first reference grade monitor, the 1703-P3. The monitor features true 10-bit color processing to deliver over a billion colors. It covers 100 percent of the DCI-P3 color space, features a 1500:1 contrast ratio and 179° viewing angle, along with SmallHD’s Pagebuilder OS and large toolset.

“It’s really all about P3 and color confidence. This monitor offers true reference grade cinema color, covering 100% of the DCI-P3 color space, which makes it the perfect monitor for DIT’s on-set and for mastering in post,” said SmallHD co-founder Wes Philips. 

The 1703-P3 is designed to serve the color display demands of both on-set and post production color grading professionals. Each 1703-P3 monitor comes pre-calibrated for DCI-P3 mastering, covering 100% DCI-P3 with a Delta E average of 0.5. Users can easily install their own 3D LUT calibration with advanced color management solutions like Light Illusion’s, LightSpace CMS, or SpectraCal’s CalMAN.

The monitor provides for one HDMI and two SDI inputs, as well as one HDMI and two SDI outputs. The fast and intuitive operating system allows ganging of on-screen tools like HD waveform, vectorscope, false color, focus peaking and 2x zebra bars simultaneously, at the user’s preference. A Dual View function allows the user to monitor two input sources at the same time with a side-by-side view.

The 1703-P3 has a bright 450-nit display that supports any LUT workflow through SmallHD’s ColorFlow 3D LUT Engine. This enables 3D LUT support, allowing previously created colorizing look-up tables to be used on-set. LUTS can be applied via the monitor’s full-size SD slot. This information can also be pushed downstream to other monitors. A LUT altered on-set with 3rd party software, such as LiveGrade, can be viewed on the monitor and/or downstream monitors, and uploaded to an SD card for reference in post. 

Ruggedly constructed of milled aluminum, this monitor is built to withstand the demands of production sets. And it conveniently features numerous ¼-inch and 3/8-inch threaded mounting points, as well as a VESA mount and RapidRail accessory mounting system. The 1703-P3 can easily power wireless accessories like Teradek with built-in 2-pin LEMO auxiliary power. For truly wireless operation, it can be powered by optional V-mount and Gold-mount battery packs. 

List price for the 1703-P3 is $3999, and it is slated to begin shipping late February 2017.

  • Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017
Blackmagic Design technologies deployed in Oscar-nominated films
Mahershala Ali (l) and Alex Hibbert in a scene from "Moonlight" (photo by David Bornfriend/courtesy of A24)
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design’s Pocket Cinema Camera digital film camera, as well as its DaVinci Resolve Studio editing, grading and finishing solution, were used on some of this year’s Oscar nominated films, including “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Arrival” and “Moonlight.”
 
Some of the 2017 Oscar nominated films that used Blackmagic Design products include:

  • “4.1 Miles” graded with DaVinci Resolve by colorist Chris O’Dea;
  • “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio by colorist Stefan Sonnenfeld of Deluxe’s Company 3;
  • “Arrival” graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio by colorist Joe Gawler of Harbor Picture Company;
  • “Fire at Sea” graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio by colorist Andrea Orsini of Grande Mela Film;
  • “Hacksaw Ridge” featured several action scenes shot on Pocket Cinema Cameras by DP Simon Duggan;
  • “Joe’s Violin” graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio by colorist Erik Choquette of Outpost Digital, the post facility for RadicalMedia;
  • “Moonlight” graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio by colorist Alex Bickel of Color Collective;
  • “Nocturnal Animals” graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio by colorist Siggy Ferstl of Deluxe’s Company 3;
  • “Silence” graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio by colorist Tim Stipan of Deluxe’s Company 3; and
  • “Tanna” graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio by colorist CJ Dobson.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017
Avid unveils innovations for next-generation newsroom
BURLINGTON, Mass. -- 

Avid® (Nasdaq: AVID) announced the availability of innovations for the next-generation newsroom. Powered by the Avid MediaCentral® Platform, the next-generation newsroom is based around a complete story-centric workflow that connects production teams anywhere in the world via the cloud and takes their stories beyond traditional media outlets. It includes multiple Avid solutions and new feature enhancements—including several new panes within MediaCentral | UX—for fast, efficient, modern newsroom management and news production.
 
The story-centric workflow puts the story at the center of news operations, and provides the best and most comprehensive tools and workflow solutions to enable news teams to plan, gather, create, collaborate, manage and deliver news to a wider range of viewers across multiple platforms. This holistic approach allows for more dynamic and organic storytelling and greater workflow agility--both inside and outside the newsroom.
 
In addition to news teams, anyone who needs to plan and schedule resources, gather information and distribute content around specific topics or stories can benefit from the story-centric workflow. It enables teams to quickly find and access the media and information they need to tell multiple angles of a story and increase viewer interest. Content can be pushed across a variety of platforms as the story evolves, including on-air, online, and on mobile devices. Audiences can get up-to-the-minute information and contribute to live broadcasts through social media interaction. And news teams can move away from traditional rundown-driven workflows, accelerating their ability to react to changing information.
 
“Today’s media organizations are under intense pressure to deliver stories to a broader range of outlets including social media, boost ratings without necessarily increasing resources, more easily incorporate social content, and engage a broader audience,” said Alan Hoff, vice president, Market Solutions, Avid. “The new story-centric workflow enables our preeminent customer community to capitalize on these opportunities while improving efficiency across workflows and resources, and future-proofing their investments with flexible licensing and deployment options including cloud-enabled workflows.”
 
The products that comprise the story-centric workflow include MediaCentral®| UX, iNEWS®, Interplay® | Production, Media | Distribute, Media Composer® | Cloud, Maestro™, and Social Media Hub. MediaCentral | UX, the cloud-based web front end to MediaCentral, is the hub and catalyst in the story-centric workflow, so customers who already have iNEWS and/or Interplay | Production systems can manage every facet of a news story from a single user interface.
 
Several new capabilities within MediaCentral | UX facilitate the story-centric workflow and integrate with other platform-connected solutions like iNEWS and Interplay | Production. They include the ability to create, and manage assignments and resources, and to gather story-related content in a collaborative workspace.  In addition, new integrated panes for Maestro and Social Media Hub provide seamlessly integrated graphics management and social media interaction.
 
With the new MediaCentral | UX Assignments pane now available, the story-centric workflow enables users to:

  • Assign and manage stories with a virtual assignment desk. Users can assign teams, resources, topics, and destinations to a story, which can then be easily searched for, filtered, updated, and managed throughout its evolution
  • Build a story by gathering and associating graphics, video, text, tweets, social media posts, and other potential story-building content in the Elements area of the Assignments pane
  • Sync stories across newsrooms with richer metadata tagging in MediaCentral | UX. Users can associate categories, topics, and tags to a story to enable better content searching and management across all accessible local and remote databases
  • Aggregate Twitter and Facebook content and display social media postings (from Social Media Hub) as on-air graphics (via Maestro)
  • Remotely access online and archived footage, scripts, and information back at the station or anywhere on the network and shoot, write, edit, and deliver stories from any location in the world using MediaCentral | UX and Media Composer | Cloud
  • Easily deliver a single story across multiple formats for viewing on TV, in a web browser, on a mobile device, or through a variety of social media platforms with direct integration between MediaCentral | UX and Media | Distribute
  • Broadcast up-to-the-minute graphics with the new Maestro pane in MediaCentral | UX, which allows users to drag and drop clips and images directly into Maestro templates to create and update real-time graphics quickly for on-air versions of stories

 
The MediaCentral | UX Assignments pane is available at no additional charge for customers who upgrade to MediaCentral | UX version 2.9.

  • Monday, Feb. 13, 2017
RED Digital Cinema provides cameras, accessories to USC film school
LOS ANGELES -- 

Elizabeth M. Daley, dean of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, announced that RED Digital Cinema has agreed to provide the school with state of the art digital cinema cameras and accessories. Valued at $700,000, the cinema-style camera systems provided by RED will be used by students in the School’s Division of Film & Television Production.
 
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to exploit the unique filmmaking capabilities of the RED Digital Cinema camera in the production of our student projects,” said professor Michael Fink, Kortschak Family Division Chair in Film & Television Production. “This means more students will get more exposure to these fine cameras on a regular basis, expanding their facility in cinematography.  Our Advanced Cinematography, and Student Advanced Projects classes will be the first to benefit, and we’re very much looking forward to seeing the stories the students create with our new RED cinema cameras.”
 
“RED has always been committed to supporting emerging filmmakers,” said Jarred Land, president of RED Digital Cinema. “To have the opportunity to help advance the technology available to the students of one of the premier Cinematic Arts institutions in the world is something we are very excited about.”

  • Friday, Feb. 10, 2017
Cospective releases cineSync 4.0
Cospective CEO Rory McGregor
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA -- 

Cospective, creator of innovative software solutions to visual communication challenges, has announced the release of cineSync 4.0, a ground-breaking update to its Academy Award-winning remote review and approval solution.

cineSync 4.0 introduces a new iOS app, an overhauled video playback system, deeper production tracking integrations with Shotgun and ftrack, and a wealth of enhanced security features in cineSync Pro Studio--including on-demand watermarking via a new integration with MediaSilo’s Safestream.

Introducing cineSync Pro Studio
cineSync 4.0 has been developed in conjunction with the security departments of several major studios, meeting their requirements at every step. This has resulted in the creation of a new package in addition to cineSync and cineSync Pro: cineSync Pro Studio. 

cineSync Pro Studio includes all of the features of cineSync Pro, but introduces some major new security features:

Watermarking
A new integration with MediaSilo’s SafeStream watermarking technology allows for automated, on-demand, individual watermarking of all review files. All guests in the review will receive customisable files watermarked with their name, cineSync session key, IP address and the review time/date. The process is fast and efficient, due to Safestream’s scalable architecture.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Cospective to enable production and visual effects teams to collaborate securely on high-profile projects,” says Kai Pradel, CEO of MediaSilo. “Our joint goal is to remove friction from creative workflows while still ensuring the highest level of protection for valuable pre-release content.”

Guest authentication
For additional review security, guests are authenticated in advance--only guests who have been approved will have review access. This system has been designed in conjunction with Hollywood studios to allow the maximum control over who has access to review material, while imposing as few technical hurdles as possible. All reviews are also tracked in the management portal, allowing admins to see when reviews occurred and who was involved.

Other cineSync 4.0 features include:

cineSync iOS
A new cineSync app for iOS is now available, enabling guests to join cineSync reviews from mobile devices. The app integrates seamlessly with Shotgun and ftrack, meaning review information and media can be pushed securely to mobile devices. Files are automatically deleted at the end of the review, but all drawings and saved frames can be saved back to Shotgun or ftrack by the session host.

Revamped video playback
cineSync 4.0 features an overhauled video playback system. QuickTime has been retired and replaced by a new, adaptable video architecture. This means that cineSync 4.0 can support a wide array of video formats, resolutions, and frame-rates across all platforms.

Production tracking integration
cineSync 4.0 features a deeper integration with production tracking tools Shotgun, ftrack, and NIM. Users can browse and load media playlists directly from these applications, and access seamless transfer and recording of review information, saved frames and other feedback.

Rory McGregor, Cospective CEO, commented: “We worked closely with the world’s biggest production studios on cineSync 4.0. Security was a key concern. In working in close collaboration with MediaSilo and their SafeStream technology, we’ve met these concerns and more, delivering a tool that’s not only better positioned to deliver efficient, streamlined reviews, but also to do so in with the highest possible level of security and in a completely dependable environment. cineSync 4.0 is poised to service the unique needs of creative collaboration today.”

Jake Morrison, Marvel Studios VFX supervisor, stated: “Communication is vital in postproduction, but not at the expense of security. The cineSync team has elegantly addressed this both across desktop and, most awesomely, on the go with a cineSync app. Anything that protects the filmmakers’ creative vision makes me sleep better at night and cineSync 4.0 will do just that.”

cineSync 4.0 is out now. Cospective will continue to roll out new features for cineSync, cineSync Pro and cineSync Pro Studio over the coming months.

Users with a valid subscription to an existing cineSync package will be eligible to upgrade to the latest version.