PixelStrings Announced for 2018 HPA Engineering Excellence Award
As featured in PostPerspective
The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) Awards Committee has announced the winners of the 2018 HPA Engineering Excellence Award. Winners were determined at a blue ribbon judging session held at IMAX on June 16. The awards will be given out on November 15 at the 13th annual HPA Awards gala at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
The Engineering Excellence Award was created to spotlight and reward companies and individuals providing services to the professional media content industry for their outstanding technical and creative ingenuity in media, content production, finishing, distribution and archiving. The HPA Awards launched in 2005 to recognize creative artistry, innovation and engineering excellence in the professional media content industry.
Joachim Zell, chair of the HPA Awards Engineering Committee says, “Once again, the Engineering Excellence judging sessions brought us outstanding presentations from a variety of companies at work in different parts of the media and entertainment ecosystem. The presenters are representative of the amazing work that great companies and brilliant individuals are bringing to the marketplace. The judges had a strong field of excellent technologies to evaluate, and the results were extremely close. Based on the effort, talent and time from the presenters and the enthusiasm of the judges, it is clear that the HPA Engineering Excellence award is meaningful to our industry, and I want to personally thank our presenters and our intrepid judges. Congratulations to the winners and to the entrants for truly impressive work.”
Cinnafilm – PixelStrings
PixelStrings is a cloud-based video conversion service focusing on ultimate playback quality for media. Leveraging the award-winning framerate conversion, retiming, artifact/noise/telecine correction and transcode technologies from Cinnafilm, this PaaS enables the mass creation of best-possible video versions while leveraging infinite, GPU-enabled cloud compute power. The platform is a growing hub of other best-of-breed media technologies and is a simple pay-as-you-use toolset available 24/7 through a browser. PixelStings enables the freedom of a predictable OpEx process.
“Winning the HPA Engineering Award is such an amazing honor for us,” says CEO Lance Maurer. “The Cinnafilm team has created something truly special with PixelStrings — when respected peers recognize the impact an endeavor like this represents to our industry, it is really quite special.”
Read the full article on PostPerspective
Remastering for the Future: A Cinnafilm Image Processing Workflow Event
DATE AND TIME
Fri, May 4, 2018
1:00 PM – 4:30 PM PDT
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Spielberg Theatre at the Egyptian
6712 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Join us for an educational and fun exchange on image processing techniques used to restore and convert content for today’s various format and home theater viewing demands. We will cover all of our image processing methods (frame rate conversion, scaling, artifact removal, retiming, and more), and hear about other user solutions as well. We will explore optimal ways to leverage Cinnafilm image processing tools to resolve these tough issues and discuss new concepts like cloud-based processing combined with IMF wrapping. This event is FREE, and seating is very limited, so please sign up soon!
1pm – Rescuing 20th Century Television Content – by Ernie Sanchez, Cinnafilm
Random telecine, digital dropouts, 420 422 chroma noise, SD->HD scaling, luminance noise, progressive delivery – all can prevent your archived content from being remonetized in today’s OTT environment. We’ll go over techniques to simplify the process of unlocking the value of your archived content. Ernie Sanchez, co-founder of Cinnafilm, will demonstrate how to recognize the various problems encountered when trying to submit older assets to OTT playback services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and iTunes – and how to use the image optimization and frame mechanics toolset available in the Tachyon, Dark Energy, and Wormhole product lines to make those submissions easier.
145pm – Standards Transcoding in the Cloud? – by Marc Leonard, Cinnafilm
For many, asset management in the Cloud can be a scary prospect – not to mention transcode and delivery. Cinnafilm’s new PixelStrings PaaS is designed to remove complexity and make it simple. We will discuss the benefits and challenges of this idea, and how it can be leveraged to optimize content for IMF for delivery to Netflix. Marc Leonard, a workflow specialist and software engineer at Cinnafilm, will use the PixelStrings platform to show how content can be safely placed in S3 and converted in the cloud. He will show how a complex image processing workflow (24/25 low frame rate conversion combined with a proper noise reduction) is created, tested, and finalized. In addition, he will demonstrate how the new CineCert IMF wrapping solution works.
215pm – “Where has the Time Gone?” – Retiming Broadcast and OTT Content, and When and Why Retiming is an Important Part of Production and Broadcast – by Fausto Sanchez, Performance Post
Post production and production have undergone many changes over the past years, resulting in new pressures and challenges related to how we produce and consume media. It has resulted in a tremendous need to modify, shorten, and expand content quickly. This presentation will discuss modern tools to aid in retiming workflows for broadcast and OTT content.
3pm – Short Break
315pm – Essential IMF for Cloud Automation – by John Hurst, CineCert
John Hurst will explain features of the IMF file format that are designed to support workflow automation and efficient localization. Producers of multi-market, multi-language content will learn how to reduce time to market and improve the quality of delivered material. John is the co-founder and CTO of CineCert, a consulting and software publishing group that develops computing technologies for professional media applications. CineCert is the developer of the DCI Compliance Test Plan, is a licensed DCI test laboratory, develops open source software, manages SMPTE standards development, and provides training and technology strategy consulting for various client interests in the fields of digital cinema and consumer channel servicing. CineCert’s mastering and encryption software is widely used by studios and service providers to realize global, autonomous distribution platforms.
345pm – A New Hope for Film Restoration – A New Technique – by Mike Verta
Reconstructing a stunning 4K master purely from film print sources? Yes, and proof it can be done. This presentation explores an ongoing, private restoration of Star Wars Episode 4 by Mike Verta. Mike has worked on marquee projects in a multitude of post production capacities during the 30 years he’s been in Los Angeles – as a VFX supervisor, composer, director, editor and more. His interest in film restoration stems not just from a love of film and history, but from a love of detail, precision, and tackling technical challenges in depth – a perfect contrast, he feels, to the organic, unbounded freedom which fuels creativity.
Background: As with many films, the original 1977 Star Wars negative is heavily damaged, degraded and incomplete. This made it a perfect candidate to explore a new technique: recruiting data from multiple print sources to recover a new 4K master image. Using a combination of off-the-shelf software and proprietary techniques and tools – particularly in image registration, comparative analysis, and color-matching – Mike was able to restore an image which surpasses all current O-Neg based restorations in detail and color fidelity. One of the many advantages of this process is that it is considerably less destructive in cleaning processes. Whereas typical cloning/painting of dirt and scratches means painting on and thus altering the original image, this approach scans alternate sources for the target area, replacing the damaged section of the frame seamlessly with undamaged original material. The effect is pure restoration – pristine original material is revealed behind the dirt or scratch. Similarly, by analyzing and combining multiple sources, print grain/IP grain is nearly eliminated, leaving the only grain all sources have in common: the original negative grain. This greatly improves detail and clarity while preserving the original image – a denoising process which is non-destructive and does not suffer from typical smoothing or temporal artifacts. While the process is far from point-and-click, the results are stunning and offer a chance to restore archival material to levels previously believed impossible, rivaling (and in some cases, curiously, surpassing) the original negative image.
Cinnafilm, Inc. is a global leader in innovative video optimization solutions for theatrical, broadcast, OTT and web delivery. Our patented file-based software solutions are true game changers in the demanding field of hyper-quality image processing. Our tools are relied upon by many of the world’s premiere studios, networks, production companies and their collective creative service suppliers.
We solve many complex imaging challenges, including mixed cadence correction and frame rate conversions, noise reduction and texture management, artifact removal and dead pixel restoration, automated and custom retiming, resolution interchange and standards conversions, and transcoding and complex image packaging.
Combined, these tools provide the finest-looking, optimized video and image sequences for “media now and everywhere” distribution models.
Continuum | 01
Cinnafilm proudly announces its NEW cloud image processing service, PixelStrings
For over a decade, Cinnafilm has carved a reputable name for itself by providing stellar image processing solutions producing great looking content for cinema, broadcast and OTT. Whether you are pulling together random camera footage prior to edit, fixing an old clip with bad telecine artifacts and noise, or converting outputs for custom distribution in different markets, we ensure your content looks as good as mathematically possible. That is our value proposition to you. From iPhone to IMAX and every format in between, we strive to make sure your investment looks as good as your images.
Now, with the advent of unlimited GPU cloud compute, we are able to deliver our technology as a direct-to-consumer PaaS for the first time, and in a pay-as-you-go model that is simple and predictable. Anyone who is familiar with our products will find all the standard settings here, and everything we do is assembled into one ecosystem for single-pass rendering.
PixelStrings is a bold step for Cinnafilm, and big ideas like this take time to evolve. Our intent is to grow a community of users as we grow the toolset – we are all in it together. Over time, you will see more killer features added like CineCert’s IMF wrapping, our own Wormhole retiming solution, fast, efficient cloud storage options provided by FileCatalyst as well.
At NAB will show PixelStrings V2.0, which offers added features and codecs.
Read more about PixelStrings here: http://www.postperspective.com/emails/Cinnafilm/ppnews-Cinnafilm-180321.html
Here are some screen shots from the PixelStrings platform:
RadiantGrid Redux – Filling the Enterprise Transcoder Gap
In the 2000s, Rhozet Corp. released an enterprise-grade transcoder called Carbon Coder. It dominated the market by providing great encoding quality, outstanding multicore processor utilization and the ability to start as a self-contained system and then scale to any size of farm desired. And, it did all this at an entry price point of just $5,000 (USD). Carbon Coder had its strengths and weaknesses, but without a doubt, it created a solid niche in the market which has never been filled since it was discontinued.
When Cinnafilm purchased RadiantGrid from Wohler last year, we initially saw it as an opportunity to ensure the viability of our Wormhole retiming product, provide an all-in-one solution that many of our clients had asked for in the past, and help strengthen the relationships we had with the mutual clients we had built with RadiantGrid’s former parent company, Wohler. But when we received customer inquires about the transcoder we quickly realized this exceptional transcoding product had much more to offer…
Recognizing that the gap in the enterprise transcoding market had never been filled since Carbon Coder was discontinued, it was time to break out the shovels and start filling. We knew that Rhozet already provided an exceptional example at what people want: features, scalability, quality, low price – yeah, sounds easy. But we wanted to make it even harder on ourselves, so we are also addressing many of the shortcomings which caused thousands of Carbon Coder users to leave their beloved Rhozet. All while maintaining the same $5,000 price point!
So here we go:
- Start with a self-contained solution for $5,000 that includes
- Full 10-bit CODEC support in a 16-bit pipeline
- Ingest/Demux/Decode nearly any container/CODEC type WITHOUT having to know ANYTHING about the file
- DPP video legalization
- Watch folder system or MAM-based control (via XML)
- High-performance, multi-core, multi-threaded architecture
- 4 simultaneous transcoding outputs
- Gridded transcoding, which allows users to divide a single file into multiple pieces for incredibly fast transcoding
- Make it Expandible as necessary
- Add additional simultaneous transcoding outputs to fully leverage multiple, high-core CPUs (vertical scaling)
- Add a manager ($3,000 USD) and additional nodes to create the right-sized farm (horizontal scaling)
- Add Tachyon, Dark Energy, Wormhole, Dolby, Linear Acoustic options to meet workflow needs
- Put a roadmap together that makes sense
- 64-bit platform
- ProRes HQ, H.265, J2k support
- Rec 2020, HDR, ACES support
If you are a Carbon Coder user and have longed for the ability to add ProRes without breaking the bank, or just wanted a 10-bit pipeline, or needed video legalization, RadiantGrid may be worth a look.
Bending Space and Time – What’s New with Cinnafilm Products
SpaceTime is the idea of taking three-dimensional space and fusing it with the single dimension of time, into a four-dimensional continuum. We view our technology along the same 4D continuum.
To better reflect how our products are developed, and to recognize that each of them are all part of the same parent concept, Cinnafilm is updating the name of our product library – SpaceTime. Today, the library is known as the tachyon.dll, but it has always been much more than just Tachyon. This one little DLL has all of the spatial magic of Dark Energy, the frame mechanics of Tachyon, and the retiming wizardry of Wormhole. Calling it just “tachyon.dll” seemed a little undeserving. Starting with the 8.0 release, the library will be referred to as the “spacetime.dll”. Pretty cool huh?
Release number – with this update, we have decided to make all SpaceTime feature sets an 8.0 release going forward. In this way, we have only one set of release notes to provide. So, as of this release we are at Tachyon 8.0, Dark Energy 8.0, and Wormhole 8.0. The only exception is Dark Energy Professional, which is a different code base. That will remain a 5.0.
So what’s new in SpaceTime 8.0?
The primary advancement in Tachyon 8 is our fifth-generation motion compensation engine. This new engine reduces the potential for the tearing/warping of overlayed text and graphics in video. The algorithms in Tachyon 8 work to prevent the overlay from losing its edge significantly better than what Tachyon 7 could do. In future releases we expect this technology to advance even further.
Also new in Tachyon 8 is the addition of more granular controls of the motion compensation engine, and an easier grouping of Tachyon controls. As seen in the screenshot below, there are two banks of controls for motion estimation. This provides users the ability to control how both normal motion and extreme motion in the video is handled, allowing for greater granularity when settings need to be moved off of AUTO.
New in Dark Energy is additional filters for handling specific types of noise, new 32-bit per color channel adjustment, a more template-friendly interface, and some renaming of noise reduction filters to match Dark Energy Professional. We’ll let you take a look below at the user interface before we dive in:
Power Spatial Filter is formerly known as “Denoise Amount.” The reason being is when you process using a Dark Energy Professional template, we believe it is good to know which filter correlates to the Dark Energy for Transcoders GUI.
Smooth Spatial Filter is a new filter for video noise that has a pattern to it, but is subtle. This is not a filter that has the division of color spectrum into different frequency ranges, so it is limited in its scope. It is a good general filter if you have tape transfer or other 420/422 conversion noise.
Basic Spatial is for noise that appears to have a pattern, is typically monochromatic, and is clearly visible. It often looks like multiple lines in a diamond shape or as a string of small circles at edges of objects. This filter can be destructive, so we recommend using the Dark Energy Professional template or experimenting with very good monitors to ensure you retain the right sharpness of image.
Single Event Artifact Removal is formerly known as Dust Bust. We felt that since this filter can remove digital dropouts in addition to artifacts associated with film scans, it made more sense to be descriptive in the type of function it performs.
32-Bit Color Adjustment is a filter that accurately pushes the RGB values of the frame as well as makes adjustments to Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, and Gamma. Submitting a Dark Energy Professional template is the ideal way to use these filters, so we recommend not using the GUI until you are familiar with the sensitivity of these filters.
If you have the plugin and would like a demonstration of how to create an advanced template in Dark Energy Professional, let us know. Using these templates is especially helpful when dealing with exceptionally challenging footage that is not getting fixed with the plugin and/or film footage where the grain structure changes scene to scene.
There are no updates currently for Dark Energy Professional, which is at 5.0.
Wormhole has advanced with two new exciting features for global retiming without using the Wormhole Segmentation Interface: Starting Timecode and Black Omission Threshold.
Starting Timecode allows users to set the point where Wormhole begins the retiming calculations. For example, if there are 2 minutes of slates and color bars at the beginning of the video file and the program starts at 01:00:00:00, you can instruct Wormhole to not consider the first 2 minutes in the retiming calculations.
Black Omission Threshold is a setting that allows black segments inserted in the video file to not be retimed and be omitted from the retiming calculations.
With these two settings, users will not have to use the Wormhole Segmentation Interface for files that have a known program start timecode and program breaks identified by x number of black seconds inside the video file. Instead, they just specify it one time in the profile and submit jobs at will via XML or using the watch folder.
Wormhole will be added to PixelStrings later this year, and these global settings will be what is presented in that toolset.
NAB 2018 & Other Chaos
Come see us on the floor. Introductory offer of 10% off for PixelStrings credits. Use this code: RIP_HAWKING_PIDAY_2018A
For a demo, contact email@example.com.
And lastly, we have a new website. We’re super proud of it. Check it out!!