Dark Energy Solves Major Problems for Broadcasters and Media Providers:

 

Texture Aware Upres

Broadcaster/media provider problem:  HD/SD content requires a consistent, reliable UHD upscale solution

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  • Millions (perhaps billions) of SD/HD content hours
  • Inconsistent upscaling results. When it comes to noise/image texture, the results can be mixed:
    • A straight upres turns “sand into marbles”
    • Attempts to denoise using typical denoise features results in a significant loss of detail and dry images
  • HD capture is still prevalent, content continues to be generated
  • UHD content is lagging UHD device proliferation

The Right Way

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  • High end post utilizes the best tool for each step in the resolution changing process
    • Denoise without losing detail
    • De-interlace using a 100% vertical resolution de-interlacer
    • Remove pulldown (broken cadence as well)
    • Upres using the correct algorithm given the source/target resolution
    • Sharpen as needed without introduction of “ringing”
    • Replace raster-appropriate image texture to preserve the illusion of sharpness and details
  • The “right way” is often expensive, time consuming, and requires outsourcing

The Desired Solution: A single, automated, accurate plug-in for existing transcoding workflows

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  • Plug-in solutions allow for minimal training to achieve a better result
  • Automatically adjusts algorithms for source and target resolutions
  • Addresses noise/grain issues automatically
    • Follow best practices used in high-end post
    • Maintain image quality. Sand looks like sand, not marbles.
    • Objects don’t turn “plastic”
  • Create high quality images that are believable at any resolution.

 

The Dark Energy Solution

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  • Follows best practice, high-end post method
  • Plug-in for Telestream Vantage, Imagine Selenio, Harmonic PMC, Wohler RadiantGrid
  • Fully automatic for any source/ target resolution
  • 5 key user-adjustable settings
    • Allows flexibility sans complexity
    • Ensures image essence is maintained
  • Fast (100% GPU)
    • 1.35x real-time for HD
    • 2.0-2.5x real-time for UHD

Examples:

Click here to view a full size sample of Dark Energy Plug-in for Transcoders’ upres capabilities as compared to the competition.


Click here to view a full size sample of Dark Energy Plug-in for Transcoders’ upscaling capabilities as compared to the competition.


Bitrate Optimization

Dark Energy Bitrate Reduction Dramatically reducing bitrates in distribution encodes

Problem: Low Bitrate Encoding Destroys Image Quality

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  • Bandwidth is typically the key factor in determining image quality
  • Artistic image texture presents problems with heavy compression
  • Bitrate and quality are typically an inverse relationship
  • Last mile dictates the need for 7-20 Megabit delivery to set top boxes

Current solution: Encode it, Ship it

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  • Existing compression technologies account for noise (image texture), but are limited and begin to block/band once the rate drops below 20 megabits
  • Bitrate inequality of channels dictates some programs will have less bandwidth to work with. When live events (i.e. Superbowl) occur, bandwidth is often robbed from Peter to pay Paul.
  • Compression blocking/banding is just expected
    • TV manufacturers try to address situation with “MPEG Noise Reducers”
    • SD signals compound problem due to televisions trying to upres and denoise images simultaneously. The end result is mediocre image quality.

 

Desired Solution: Higher quality, low bit-rate encodes

  • Generate assets with existing workflows that will preserve details at lower bitrates – with minimal training
  • Achieve image quality closer to mezzanine in the 7-20 megabit range
  • Flexibility to either reduce bit-rate while maintaining image quality, or maintain bit-rate and increase image quality
  • Reduced reliance on TV manufacturers to upres and/or noise reduce in order to achieve a quality viewing experience for the end user

Bitrate Reduction: Sample Images

Mezzanine ProRes HQ Control Images @ UHD
12, 16, 18 Megabit UHD h.264 @ UHD

Mezzanine ProRes HQ HD

Image processed with Dark Energy

Image processed with Dark Energy

Mezzanine ProRes HQ vs. 12Mb H.264 Dark Energy

12 Mb H.264 Dark Energy vs. 12 Mb H.264 no Dark Energy

12 Mb H.264 Dark Energy vs. 16 Mb H.264 no Dark Energy

12 Mb H.264 Dark Energy vs. 18 Mb H.264 no Dark Energy


Image Optimization

Broadcaster/media provider problem: Automatically optimizing images

Dark Energy Professional has been used for years to restore the most prolific titles in the history of cinema. Dark Energy Professional is known for being able to remove any grain structure, reveal details masked by grain/noise, and then “virtually develop” any image texture/grain profile the user desires. Dark Energy’s grain mastery is truly a differentiator in the world of film and video restoration.

The same automated toolsets of our GUI-based Dark Energy Professional are used in Dark Energy for Transcoders; creating images that often outperform results from high end post facilities.

Dark Energy for Transcoders creates mezzanine files which are vibrant because it removes noise (compression, sensor, grain, etc) and replaces it with believable, raster-appropriate image texture.