PixelStrings® – OpEx Cloud Conversions
Published: April 21st 2017
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.”