Silicon Imaging Announces Integrated 3D Technology Preview

News

Suite of New Features and Accessories for the SI-2K Digital Cinema Platform at NAB 2008

Last Updated: April 8, 2008 12:20 am GMT
(Las Vegas, Nevada--April 8, 2008) Silicon Imaging, together with it's partners P+S Technik, CineForm, and IRIDAS, announce a host of platform enhancements to the SI-2K, improving the user experience behind the camera, and enabling a more streamlined post workflow that blurs the line between pre-production, on-set and post-production, creating a powerful non-linear workflow solution that covers the gamut from the initial concept to final delivery.

Industry-First 3D Technology

A definitive showcase of the flexible software development platform behind the SI-2K will be a technology demonstration of the industry's first integrated 3D stereoscopic camera control and recording environment, enabling film-makers to preview, adjust and shoot in-context of a live 3D stereoscopic effect, providing an integrated suite of 3D visualization features in an intuitive cinema-oriented camera control and recording toolset. This extension of SiliconDVR will allow users to attach two SI-2K MINI's over gigabit Ethernet, view the stereo pair live on both the main GUI screen and a separate external monitor, and visualize exactly how the 3D shot will look as it's being captured, all in a single integrated environment.

Furthermore, P+S Technik is introducing a professional modular 3D rigging system, providing through either manual or motorized servo controls the ability to make continuous and smooth micro-critical adjustments for precise 3D shooting. The modular 3D system will be available in both a mirror and side-by-side configuration, and its broad accessibility and ease-of-use features will provide a much-needed release from the current burden of "do-it-yourself" stereoscopic rig development, clearing a path for artists and film-makers to explore, utilize and differentiate themselves and their products by effectively shooting and delivering professional 3D stereoscopic imagery in a cost-effective manner.

Silicon Imaging and CineForm have also agreed to extend the metadata-driven dynamic decoding capabilities of the CineForm RAW™ codec to supporting dual-channel stereo 3D capture, storage, and playback. Just as CineForm RAW™ allows applications to natively ingest and treat camera RAW footage as full 4:4:4 RGB source footage from industry-standard file wrappers such as QuickTime and AVI, the 3D stereoscopic extensions will allow applications to natively ingest, edit, and manipulate dual-stream files in a single file wrapper. Currently 3D post-production workflows require an enormous amount of duplicate work by the editor and other post-production artists as they copy every edit point, effect, and color-correction from one channel to the next in order to evenly match the left and right eye images. The 3D extension to the CineForm codec means that these operations need to only be done once to a single source file just as editors and artists have done for years with single-camera projects. Stereoscopic effects such as real-time anaglyph preview, left and right-eye overlays, isolation of a single-channel, parallax, screen disparity, and convergence can be saved and manipulated per-file or over groups of files as active metadata that is applied in real-time during file decoding in the same manner that in-camera white-balance and 3D LUT's are saved as metadata with current CineForm RAW™ files. When separate files for each left and right eye are necessary, they can be instantly created through reference movie files that point to the original source file, providing a quick and efficient manner to accommodate all possible situations that arise in 3D post-production, or seamlessly incorporate production pipelines that depend on separate left and right eye images.

"The flexibility that we've built the SI-2K platform on is now enabling us to drive into the next generation of 3D cinema technology, and cleanly answer some fundamental problems that occur when you're forced to fit the single-camera paradigm you're accustomed to into a completely different dual-camera environment," says Ari Presler, CEO of Silicon Imaging. "One of the biggest challenges in the 3D production process is visualization and control, and enabling it on a level that matches what customers were accustomed to in single-camera configurations. When you're dealing with equipment and workflows that require 'two of everything', the transparency between the artist and the tool that's so vital to the artist's intuition gets lost, but we're looking to re-enable that relationship with our next-generation 3D technology that will give the end-user an unprecedented amount of visualization and control while hiding the complexity of the process."

Integrated Cross-Platform Post-Production Workflows

In-camera QuickTime recording to CineForm RAW™ with direct ingest into Apple's Final Cut Pro NLE is now supported, enabling a complete cross-platform solution for RAW footage shot with the SI-2K. Full 10-bit LOG 2K RAW files can be recorded directly to the SI-2K's removable hard-drive in either QuickTime or AVI format, and then directly imported into the NLE platform of choice without the need for separate proxies, transcoding, rendering, or other up-front conversion techniques that create further complications later in post and replace the creative process with unnecessary file-management workloads. Additionally, improvements to the visually lossless CineForm RAW™ wavelet codec now enable customers to record at compression ratios of only 3.5:1, exceeding the compression quality of high-end tape formats such as HDCAM-SR's 440Mb/s RGB mode.

"CineForm was the first to introduce the concept of visually lossless compressed RAW recording and editing, and we are now very happy to bring our all-encompassing workflow solution for RAW cameras to the Apple platform while also extending our RAW technology into the emerging 3D market," says David Taylor, CEO of CineForm. "Our solutions are all about empowering the film-maker with forward-looking solutions that leverage the power inherent in today's desktop architectures, giving them the means to unleash their creative potential without being constricted by either the exorbitant cost of hardware for fully-uncompressed workflows, or the sub-standard results that come from many other camera-native codecs that were not designed for the rigors of post-production."

Native CineForm RAW™ support has also been extended into the full suite of IRIDAS applications, including the SpeedGrade family of products, FrameCycler, and Sequence Publisher. Direct import of the original RAW source QuickTime and/or AVI files through conform EDL's from Apple Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro provide an efficient digital intermediate solution with the added benefit of maintaining and losslessly modifying the active metadata contained in each CineForm RAW™ file including in-camera settings such as white-balance and any applied .Look files. This end-to-end color-managed workflow based on the IRIDAS .Look format allows DP's and Directors to create "looks" in pre-production or on-set with SpeedGrade OnSet, load and preview those "looks" live in the SI-2K as shooting occurs, edit with the "look" non-destructively applied to each clip, and then natively modify the "look" in the digital intermediate suite using SpeedGrade DI with complete WYSIWYG control and no generational loss of information or need to "recreate" settings necessitated by workflows that require users to "bake" color information into a non-RAW intermediary source-file.

IRIDAS and Silicon Imaging will also be showcasing improved integration between the SI-2K and SpeedGrade OnSet, with the ability for a separate laptop or grading station running SpeedGrade OnSet to remotely control color-correction and loading of "looks" into the SI-2K over a normal TCP/IP connection, either wired across Ethernet or wireless on a shared WiFi network. Formerly "look" creation required the camera operator to either export reference images for use in a separate SpeedGrade OnSet station, or for the DP or DIT to actually manipulate the in-camera embedded SpeedGrade OnSet interface, creating lost time on fast-moving sets and unwanted disruptions in the overall smooth production workflow of setting up a scene, shooting, and moving to the next setup. With the SpeedGrade remote interface, the DP or DIT, with complete independence from the camera operator or any camera resources, can use the intuitive controls in SpeedGrade OnSet to preview frames from the live camera image, create "looks" in-context of the current shot, and when they are completed, upload those new "looks" to the camera for live preview or save variations and adjustments on their current "look" for further post-production manipulation. Furthermore, any IRIDAS .Look that is uploaded back to the camera is saved as active metadata in the recorded CineForm RAW™ files so that subsequent viewing of the footage in the edit suite, or any other station in the post-production chain, will be in complete sync with the DP's vision.

"The IRIDAS toolset is not just about color-correction," says Lin Kayser, CEO of IRIDAS. "At IRIDAS we're looking at providing a complete start-to-finish workflow solution that takes the blank sketch-pad in the artist's mind, allows them to form their creative concept, and then implement it. Our solution allows the filmmaker to connect the steps from visualization of the look through refinement, including collaborative development through the entire production process. The .Look metadata is never lost through the myriad stages from inception to delivery."

Viewfinders, In-Camera Security Enhancements, and Other Accessories

At NAB, P+S Technik is shipping a number of new tools and accessories for the SI-2K and SI-2K MINI cameras, including a full-color OLED digital viewfinder and B4-mount optical viewfinder that will mount on existing SI-2K and SI-2K MINI cameras through P+S Technik's modular Universal Lens Mount System, enabling even all shipped cameras to-date available for upgrade to the optical viewfinder. P+S Technik will also be introducing the new Digital-16 lens set comprising a series of 12mm, 16mm, 25mm, and 50mm prime lenses with form-factors and markings optimized for use with common cinema accessories such as follow-focus units, matte-boxes, and motorized lens controllers. A new rugged daylight readable touchscreen will also be offered as an optional control input device for the SI-2K, allowing productions to utilize the intuitive touchscreen-driven user interface of SiliconDVR in even the harshest direct-sunlight conditions.

"We are very proud to be able to bring to market a host of new accessories from our Academy-Award winning design team for the SI-2K Digital Cinema camera platform," says Alfred Piffl, CEO of P+S Technik. "Our accessories are all designed with the end-user in-mind, taking their feedback, and refining it to their needs. The SI-2K is a ground-breaking camera and technology platform, and we are excited not only to be a part of the design process of the camera itself, but also the host of other accessories that will enable film-makers to customize this platform to their own needs, whether in the current 2D technology, or the emerging 3D opportunities that film-makers and visual artists are being presented with."

Understanding the vital importance that the security of shot footage is to a production, both while it's being shot in the camera, and as it's being handled both on-set and in the post-production environment, Silicon Imaging is introducing an solid-state drive option in additional to normal 2.5" hard-drive units, as well as a hardware RAID 1 option for the removable hard-drive magazine inside the SI-2K. Through hardware RAID 1 support, footage is automatically mirrored to a second drive in the magazine, creating a full bit-for-bit copy of the footage at the time of capture transparent to the end-user. The hardware RAID management allows the magazine to still behave as a single volume, making the movement of the RAID between computer systems as seamless as any non-RAID unit. Should a single-drive fail though, the second drive will still carry the data and allow it to be fully accessed, preventing what would have amounted to catastrophic data-loss. Also, in addition to hardware RAID 1 protection, Silicon Imaging, in conjunction with CineForm, is providing a software-level utility to recover files where recording was terminated abruptly, allowing the full recovery of data from files that would have normally been corrupted by the abrupt termination event (such as power-loss to the camera while a shot was being recorded). Together, these two features will allow productions to apply the required level of redundancy and security to ensure that every moment is captured, safely stored and transported to it's destination.

"We've spent the past year since the SI-2K introduction looking over the production needs of our customers and listening to their requests and those of other filmmakers as well. We're targeting the new features and enhancements we're introducing this year to answer those needs in an innovative and straight-forward manner, eliminating the inefficient loop-holes and work-arounds that often plague so many production environments," says Steve Nordhauser, VP of Marketing and Sales at Silicon Imaging. "The innovation required by film-makers to achieve their visions makes experimentation an intrinsic part of the film-making process, but our goal is to provide the enabling technology to allow artists to set their visions free, un-encumbered by the mundane repetitive tasks that starve the creative soul."

Pricing and Availability

The SI-2K MINI‘ with SiliconDVR‘ recording software, integrated CineForm RAW™ and IRIDAS SpeedGrade technology, and the P+S Technik Universal Lens Mount System is $17,500 and available now and currently shipping.

The SI-2K‘, which includes an embedded version of SiliconDVR‘ recording software and integrated CineForm RAW™ and IRIDAS SpeedGrade technology, is $34,000 and available now and currently shipping.

Silicon Imaging products and technology demonstrations will be on display at NAB 2008 in booth SL10608.

About P+S Technik
Founded in 1990 by former engineers from ARRI headquarters in Munich, P+S Technik has since received a reputation as a competent and professional partner for solutions and products of the highest level in the cine world. P+S Technik is proud to be recognized with a clientèle of more than 600 customers worldwide. For more information please visit us at http://www.pstechnik.de.

About CineForm
CineForm, Inc., develops compression-based software products used by filmmakers, television productions, and videographers for online content creation workflows up to 4K spatial resolution. Offering the industry’s highest fidelity compression technology, CineForm software is used within industry standard production tools on both Windows and Mac platforms for direct-to-disk camera recording, high-resolution post-production, and long-term content archives. Please visit http:/www.CineForm.com.

About IRIDAS
IRIDAS pioneered desktop film-resolution playback in 2001. Its FrameCycler products are now the industry standard for frame-based image review. In 2003 IRIDAS introduced the first non-destructive color correction application. Today SpeedGrade and FrameCycler provide the critical links in an end-to-end pipeline for uncompressed content and color metadata. For more information, visit http://www.iridas.com.

About Silicon Imaging
Silicon Imaging, Inc. is a leader in IT-centric high-definition digital camera and RAW workflow solutions. Silicon Imaging's products incorporate disruptive technologies to deliver a new generation of products outperforming traditional HD cameras while increasing flexibility and lowering cost. Please visit us at http://www.siliconimaging.com.

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