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)
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
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.
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.
And lastly, we have a new website. We’re super proud of it. Check it out!!
Cinnafilm Eyes the End-Game With PixelStrings Cloud Transcoding
PixelSrings offers pristine conversions for all formats and frame rate, VIA the cloud.
Cinnafilm, which has been an industry fixture for close to a decade, has always been interested in finding ways to make pictures look better at a reasonable price. Their latest product doesn’t veer from that goal — PixelStrings combines Cinnafilm’s image processing technology with cloud computing and storage, and it’s accessible via a web browser.
We reached out to Cinnafilm founder and CEO Lance Maurer to find out more about the company’s evolution and its latest product.
You’ve been offering technology in this industry for years with Cinnafilm and its products. Can you talk about how that all began and how it led to PixelStrings?
I love a good back story, and I think ours is a great one. As with any technology, Cinnafilm was born from a recognized technological gap in what was available to me as a creative. I worked as an aerospace engineer, but spent most of my free time (and money) trying to make my independent 16mm movies look right. After going through countless iterations, transfers, NLE filters and getting crazy quotes from facilities with expensive boxes I found that nothing accessible was even close to being good enough. This drove me to Chris and Ernie (my co-founders) to ask, “Can’t this be done better and less expensively?” That was 2004. By 2009, we had a patented software technology good enough that ARRI OEM’d it, and Kodak used it to “regain” production content.
In 2010, when cinema tools went “commodity,” we decided not to go down that dark path and transitioned instead to the more stable broadcast market, where we could be disruptive again. Over the next eight years, we established a reputation for solving the hardest imaging problems for all areas of professional media. We know how to make smooth, pristine pictures for any format regardless of the source. Cinnafilm technology works on the front end to fix issues before they go to editorial (which saves considerable time and money) and on the back to ensure all revisions look their best. And when cloud compute embraced Nvidia GPUs, the stars aligned for us to evolve once again.
PixelStrings is the evolutionary sweet spot. It combines our image processing with infinite cloud computing and storage, all in a simple browser. The platform is designed to ensure the right creative intent with minimal input. The term “Every Frame Matters” is our underlying philosophy.
What does PixelStrings do?
PixelStrings is a platform as a service, and the superset of our ideas. After a decade of solving problems for all levels of pro media organizations, we have learned a thing or two about pain points and workflow. PixelStrings is focused on the end game — making your content play back as smoothly and as beautifully as possible in all formats and frame rates. The tool is built top-down with that in mind. All of our best algorithms in motion comp frame rate conversion, artifact removal, telecine pattern and noise removal, grain modeling, retiming and rescaling are here.
For example, if someone had a 23.98 asset in SD that was 23 minutes long, and they wanted to retime it at 22:30 and convert to 25p, while removing the chroma and digital signal noise, then upres it to HD, and lastly adding a nice 35mm film grain which is so good it has fooled experts, you could do that in PixelStrings in one pass for less than $46. And if you had 100 files, the system scales up the machines in the cloud to get it done in the same amount of time as the one clip.
Who do you see using the platform and in what environments?
PixelStrings is a BYOS (bring your own storage) system, so it operates in the cloud, connecting to your storage. Users are content owners who need image processing done on the front and/or back end of the pipe, from dailies to deliverables. Since it operates in the cloud, it is aimed at facilities transitioning away from on prem buildouts and into cloud environments — i.e., for those shifting away from capital expenses to operating ones. However, there is no limit to who has access to this tool — it is open for all to use. I see a lot of folks who could not afford these tools in the past finally having easy, affordable access. It is meant to support both facilities and individuals. We have customers who have already committed entire libraries with thousands of titles to the cloud who are testing now, and some who are just starting to put their toe in the cloudy water.
What are the benefits of working this way?
I assume you mean cloud workflow versus pretty pictures. For facilities, it represents a predictably priced burst capacity. For many of our forward-thinking customers it represents a complete shift to an operating expense mode, which is a new way of doing business that scales with heavy demand more easily than pricey on-prem stacks and metal. The savings are considerable — no need to buy expensive machines, involve IT or consume unnecessary electricity and space.
The benefits of automation are what we are talking about here. To be frank, making things easier to scale and use, while delivering content that looks right, is critical for the facilities that plan to be around for the next 100 years.
Can you describe the workflow/ease of use and how people pay for the service?
It’s pay as you go only. No subscription fees. Per-minute pricing covers all the processing, compute and third-party technology costs. The only expenditures the customer has are our costs and their own storage. The pricing scales with image resolution and we publish our pricing on our site. All billing is tracked in the user’s ledger, which is exportable for the folks who need to track the finances.
For workflow design, those familiar with our tools (Tachyon, Dark Energy and Wormhole) will notice that the same features are here. We have designed a very simple workflow template builder for users, which we store and keep in their profile. For newcomers to the game of making pretty pictures, we are working hard to make the interface simple and educational. We even have a test mode where people can pay 50% of the normal rate so their testing costs are minimal.
Watch our video from the HPA Tech Retreat with Cinnafilm’s Lance Maurer.
Have others been doing this as well? If so, how are you guys different, and if no, why not?
Transcoding in the cloud is not new. So while we are pioneering some things, we do not claim to be Lewis and Clark. We are leveraging some incredible technology developed by very smart people wherever we can, i.e. cloud compute, fast storage and data transfer, billing, etc. But I think focus on image quality at our level is new.
Two things make PixelStrings different: 1. We are focused on making great-looking, playable content a priority and 2. We are making it easy to understand and pay for our service. Users pay by the finished minute only, similar to how film processing in Hollywood used to be. No subscription or minimal buy required. This way, anyone can budget for this process without the added strain of calculating how many machines they have to install, etc. PixelStrings manages all the back-end compute necessary to get it done fast. If you have 1,000 minutes of HD content to convert, it will cost you $2,000. End of story. And it will take you about as long as the longest clip.
How do you see PixelStrings evolving in the near future? What is the philosophy behind it?
Interesting question. When I set out in 2004, I wanted to simply make a video-to-film digital conversion filter that empowered the artist. Now, with PixelStrings we have come full circle to that original vision, because there are no boundaries in the cloud… well, limited boundaries. Literally anyone can log into their laptop and make pretty content with this tool. I will say that there are a lot of incredible companies doing incredible things as well as us, and this is why we are building out a platform as a service — so we can bring those technologies to bear in our ecosystem. For example, we are adding CineCert’s IMF wrapping technology now, and will be providing an API in the fall.
There are a lot of killer tools we are keeping an eye on. This product will continue to grow for years, I think.
What do you say to people in the industry who haven’t embraced the cloud and its workflows because of piracy concerns?
“That, Mr. Anderson, is the sound of inevitability.” One of my all-time favorite movie quotes. This is where we are going with AI and cloud compute, and it is undeniable. Yes, security concerns are valid, but users may be at more risk not going into the cloud. Realistically, risk is everywhere because anyone with an evil heart can create damage in and out of the walled garden. But I believe Amazon, Microsoft and Google have vested interests in making the cloud as secure as possible for our industry. When people ask me this question I point to the Oklahoma land grab. Yes, it will be dangerous, and likely a wild ride to boot, but the payoffs for those willing to go for it are immeasurable.
Cinnafilm To Acquire Wohler’s RadiantGrid Technology Platform
Cinnafilm to Seamlessly Broaden Offerings to its RadiantGrid Customer-base
SAN FRANCISCO, APRIL 24, 2017 – Wohler Technologies, leading manufacturer of video, audio and data monitoring solutions, announces that its RadiantGrid Intelligent Media Transformation Platform is being acquired by Cinnafilm, a global leader in innovative video optimization solutions for television, film and multimedia delivery. As a result of the agreement, intellectual property, products, and support contracts related to the RadiantGrid product platform will be integrated with Cinnafilm’s own technology development to provide ongoing feature enhancements.
Currently using Wohler’s RadiantGrid software platform as the processing framework for its Tachyon Wormhole system, Cinnafilm can now seamlessly deploy its technology to the RadiantGrid customer base.
“Cinnafilm has been partnering closely with Wohler for many years as a worldwide distributor of the Tachyon Wormhole appliance,” said Lance Maurer, president and CEO, Cinnafilm. “Our collaboration with Wohler and the integral use of our Tachyon technology within its RadiantGrid platform made it an obvious and smart decision to acquire RadiantGrid and market it as our own.”
Backed by its dedicated, skilled support and development team, Cinnafilm is committed to enhancing customer experiences with the RadiantGrid system. Wohler will be assisting Cinnafilm during a transitional period to ensure a smooth transferal of support and services for its valued customers with a goal of ensuring minimal to no impact to ongoing services. Further questions or inquiries can be sent to email@example.com.
“With constantly developing standards and the rapid growth in new media distribution platforms, the transfer of the RadiantGrid technology to Cinnafilm will allow Wohler to concentrate on building next generation hardware and software tools within the signal monitoring space, while Cinnafilm focuses on providing world-class customer support and product development of RadiantGrid,” says Mike Kelly, president and CEO, Wohler.
Cinnafilm, Inc. is a global leader in innovative video optimization solutions for television, film, and multimedia delivery. Harnessing the unmatched compute power of modern graphics cards, Cinnafilm’s patented, 100% file-based software solutions are true game changers in the field of high-quality image processing. Cinnafilm software is in use today at many of the world’s premier, forward-thinking studios and networks, solving a wide variety of very complex imaging problems including, but not limited to: restoration and bitrate optimization; noise removal and texture-matching for digital cinema and film; and automatic retiming and standards conversions within real-time transcode workflows.
About Wohler Technologies Inc.
Creating the first in-rack audio monitoring product over 30 years ago, Wohler Technologies continues to develop critical pieces of signal monitoring technology. Adapting to the evolving standards and needs of modern professionals, the company is a leader in providing high-quality, award-winning solutions for advanced audio, video and data monitoring including powerful Audio and Video over IP capabilities. Wohler’s cost-effective solutions ensure reliable signal monitoring for a developing range of signal types, such as Dante, Ravenn/AES67, MPEG2/4 TSoIP, MPEG2/4 TSoASI, UHD/4K and SMPTE 2022-6. Based in Hayward, California, Wohler counts many of the world’s finest broadcast, motion picture and production facilities among its customers. More information about Wohler is available at www.wohler.com.
All trademarks appearing herein are the property of their respective owners.
The world has finally caught up to Cinnafilm’s original goals; that is, to offer on-demand, professional-grade image processing via an OpEx model. Their solution is called PixelStrings®. Of course, the Cloud makes it possible, but Nvidia® GPUs in the Cloud makes it fly.
“The three founders of Cinnafilm came out of aerospace, superconductors and mainframe IT,” says company co-founder and CEO, Lance Maurer. “At the beginning, we leveraged the only affordable, fast and high-scale computing technology available – GPUs. Our code evolved to saturate the complete potential of the latest Nvidia cards. We have been programming on GPUs since 2004, so we have vast experience in extreme high-performance image processing.”
Over the years, Cinnafilm has leveraged their knowledge of image science, and the physics of noise reduction and signal optimization, to become a recognized leader. The Company’s patented software tools have supplanted legacy hardware solutions, as the sophistication of their code and the power of Nvidia’s GPUs has grown.
“About four years ago we began winning side-by-side shootouts against the industry’s hardware incumbents,” reflects Maurer. “Now, I don’t think we’ve lost an A/B test in about three years.”
Cinnafilm’s product line includes three distinct technologies; Dark Energy®, Tachyon® and Wormhole. Dark Energy has been a noise reduction, texture optimization and up-res game changer. Originally designed for theatrical and restoration use, Dark Energy was QC’d during its development with the best DCI projectors on the biggest screens. The practice of making transparently-improved images for theaters meant that Dark Energy was more than ready to make better looking streams – with fewer bits – today.
Like its namesake, a theoretical faster-than-light particle, Tachyon seems to defy the laws of physics, delivering broadcast-quality de-interlacing, inverse telecine, challenging frame rate conversions, and varispeeds, faster than real time.
Meanwhile, Wormhole makes crystal-clear runtime conversions of commercials, programs and movies.
“Our success to date has been really encouraging,” Maurer says. “But now, we’re starting down a path we’ve been heading towards all along. Initially, we were thinking about Grid Computing to centralize and democratize our products. All those years ago, we certainly didn’t foresee GPUs in the Cloud, but now they are. So, what we’re packaging today is all our expertise into a global 24/7/365 image processor in the sky called PixelStrings.”
PixelStrings is an on-demand, pay-as-you-go OpEx PaaS. It will produce optimizations and conversions for video at a fraction of the cost of typical high-end outsourced services. Initially, PixelStrings will be offered on AWS, accessing content stored in S3. Later this year, PixelStrings plans to add data-optimized IMFs through its partnership with CineCert. In early 2018, DCPs will be added.
“Our team has been solving difficult problems with revolutionary software for years,” says Maurer. “Sort of like one moonshot after another. PixelStrings has sort of been our Mars expedition. And the countdown is underway.”
Renowned image processing software company, Cinnafilm® Inc., has developed a game-changing OpEx Cloud PaaS called PixelStrings®. The company expects it to democratize the technical art of image optimization and video conversions, while making these necessary and complex processes more affordable.
Although PixelStrings is new, the technology behind it is not. Beginning in 2004, Cinnafilm began leveraging the only affordable, fast and high-scale computing technology available at the time, namely, GPUs from Nvidia®.
“Our code has always evolved to saturate the complete potential of the current generation Nvidia cards at any given time,” says Lance Maurer, Cinnafilm co-founder and CEO. “We’ve been programming on GPUs for almost fourteen years, so we have vast experience in extreme high-performance image processing.”
Cinnafilm’s product line has included three distinct technologies; Dark Energy® (noise reduction, texture optimization and up-converts); Tachyon® (faster than real time, broadcast-quality de-interlacing, inverse telecine, challenging frame rate conversions, and varispeeds); and Wormhole (high quality runtime conversions for commercials, programs and movies). These powerful tools are primarily marketed and sold through Cinnafilm’s OEM partners Telestream, Imagine, Dalet, Root6, SDVI, HS Art, and Ortana Media Group.
Now comes Cinnafilm’s next product, PixelStrings.
PixelStrings is a cloud-based image processing Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). Currently in Beta, PixelStrings delivers the highest-quality, automated video conversion and frame optimization results for mezzanine-grade content. It allows the user to control the format, frame rate, and grain levels for image sequences. Among all the obvious use cases, Cinnafilm also expects PixelStrings capabilities to be useful for camera content normalization; pre-edit, and for remastered conversions, to ensure the best-possible device and OTT playback experience. PixelStrings’ features include: motion-compensated frame rate conversion, high-quality de-interlacing, texture-aware scaling, degrain/regrain to any film look, denoise/retexture to limit banding, reverse telecine/pulldown pattern correction, interlace artifact and dust removal, and runtime retiming, all in a single pass using a robust, mezzanine-grade transcoder. CineCert’s IMF wrapping solution will be added to the backend as a secondary service. Cinnafilm’s goal is to offer creative personnel the power to tune their captured content and to deliver the best-looking IMF packages possible. Other PixelStrings partners include Vidispine and MPMI.
“PixelStrings is the culmination of many years of hard work in the niche field of high-grade image processing,” says Maurer. “Cinnafilm’s goal is to bring all of the tools and knowledge we have gained by working in both theatrical and broadcast settings to provide a total, simple, cloud-based solution anyone can use to fix, convert or optimize their content. High end conversions ensure the best possible playback experience for viewers on any platform. We believe that quality is and always will remain a differentiator for our customers.”
General B2B availability of PixelStrings is planned for Q3, 2017.
Cinnafilm tools are available for a variety of platforms, through our resellers, OEM partners or directly from Cinnafilm, depending on the product. We are happy to provide CAPEX and OPEX purchasing options.
Feel free to contact a Solution Specialist to learn more about acquiring the Cinnafilm product of your choice with no obligation.