Monday, December 12, 2005

Excellent day for CineForm powered music videos

After watching Alex's DVD (see last post) , my email in-box had another surprize. Jacob Rosenberg of Formika Films (Premiere guru and on-line supervisor for Dust to Glory) has released his latest project, Cactusflower, a music video for John Gold. The production of this music video received an excellent write-up and cover story in Video Systems magazine (see the article here.)

I have known about Jacob's new project for some time as I think this was the first production to use Prospect HD as a 24p disk recorder, bypassing the Sony F900 tape based compression. This allowed 10-bit for resolution 1920x1080 images to be captured rather than HDCAM's 1440x1080 8-bit. If he shot now, a Wafian HR-1 may have been an easier set-up, but the underlying technology is the same. A cool production fact: the F900 camera was shoot on it side, producing a tall 9x16 image, and the featured room was shoot in five slices to reconstruct a very wide anamorphic image, making a huge composite around 6000x2000 (from memory) to assemble all the slices into a seamless (very cool looking) frame.

See the truly excellent results here : “Cactusflower” video
Bonus : scroll down the page for a 720p WMV download version.

The best customer feedback

Early today I received a DVD of a music video produced by long time Aspect HD user Alex Raskin ( It is always great to see what customers are doing with the software we create, and Alex's project is a lot of fun. Customer DVD's arrive every so often, but I do hope to encourage more of this. Please send them our way, we want to know what you are up to.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Aspect HD 3.4 now available for download

Yes another free upgrade for Aspect HD users. The biggest new feature is Canon XL H1 24F/30F support. It seems again that we will have an exclusive on this for some time based on the competitor's slow rate of support for JVC 24p (added to Aspect HD 3.3 released 4 months ago.) Here is the list of new features (cut from the CineForm web page.)

- quality enhancements that triggered the recently published quality analysis performed using Connect HD in Sony Vegas have all been rolled into Aspect HD v3.4.
- upon uninstallation of Aspect HD, our decoder components (optionally) remain installed and active, allowing easy (and free) multiple-machine decoder installs.

Capture related:
- Batch capture with timecode supported for XL H1 and HD100U
- Batch capture now supports non-zero start timecodes
- Timecode extraction from HD100U streams now supported

Export-to-tape related:
- HD100U: both 24p and 25p exports now supported
- XL H1: 1080i and 1080p24 (pulldown added) exports
- Sony's HDR-HC1 and HVR-A1: now supported

24p modes:
- XL H1: Capture with pulldown removal yields 1080p24 progressive CineForm Intermediate files for pure 24p editing workflows
- HD100U: 24p capture already supported in Aspect HD v3.3 release
- 24p presets and editing modes supported for both the XL H1 and HD100U

25p preset added for HD100U

Standard definition 4:3 export now supported from 16:9 timeline (center crop) for DVD

For more information please visit the Aspect HD pages

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Aspect HD 3.4 beta

Aspect HD 3.4 is almost ready for release will support for the 24F modes for Canon XL H1. Here is a happy new user of a new Canon editing with a beta of Aspect HD 3.4. I hope to post the new feature list shortly.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Canon XL H1 24F over HD-SDI

Lots of new support is coming for the new Canon XL H1. The full CineForm product line-up will be upgraded (free) to support direct capture and editing of the 24F mode of the new Canon HDV camera (along with the 30F and 60i modes.) Support for HDV capture of 24F was straight forward, as the CineForm Intermediate approach bypasses all the ugly messing around with native MPEG, we had that running a couple of days after our first prototype arrived. (Note to camera manufactures, it is very helpful to get prototypes for timely software releases -- are you listening Panasonic?) Canon's 24F HDV stream is converted to a 24p AVI and the results are excellent. Yet the Canon XL H1 adds interesting possibilities via HD-SDI; as the 24F is presented with 3:2 pulldown over 60i at 1920x1080. The challenge was to extract the pulldown on the fly and only capture the 24 progressive frames (all in software of course.) This is what we achieved today, such that a pure 24p stream could be recorded directly to the disk in 10-bit CineForm Intermediate, ready for 24p editing. For these first tests I used AMD dual Opteron 275 workstation, a very nice system. Yet the pulldown and compression only uses 50% on the CPU resources, so this 24F capture mode will work on any qualified Prospect HD Ingest workstation (i.e. Opteron 250s or better.)

Here is a WM9 1280x720p24 clip showing direct capture from the XL H1. Not very exciting -- just me waving for a few seconds. I will post a full 1920x1080 p24 image when I have something more interesting to show.

This capture mode allows for 24p ingest while bypassing the camera's MPEG compression and preserving the full 4:2:2 color space the Canon places over HD-SDI. As a result this feature will also appear in the Wafian HR-1. Capturing this way is great for any project where quality needs to be at a premium. The 24p extraction greatly simplifies the post workflow. While you can record to other formats like HDCAM/SR, D5 or DVCPRO-HD, the resulting data stream is still 60i; the pulldown will still need to be extracted (which I understand can be tricky or cumbersome using off the shelf tools.) So again we have a first.