Archive for ‘DCinema’ Category

Disruptive Tech: Canon 5D MKII to shake up the DCinema Scene….

datePosted on 15:27, September 21st, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

When Canon announced their new 5D MKII DSLR Camera everyone was wowed by the 21MP sensor and all the other new goodies. What everyone has missed/neglected is the fact that this little beauty has the potential to become the new RED Camera. You see, with it’s 2K video output (1080P) in quicktime RAW format at 30 fps and superb low-light performance, Canon has created a dynamite hybrid camera for the photo jounalists (or anyone who doesn’t want to spend 20-30K on a RED camera). Vincent Laforet has done a very in depth review of this camera’s video capabilities on his blog (video is upcoming). To quote Vincent:

It produces the best video in low light that I’ve ever seen – at 1080p. A top commercial film editor who who regularly edits RED camera footage – and has seen the raw footage from the 5D MKII – says the 5D MKII is “far superior to the RED camera” in terms of low light performance…

We’re talking about a $2700 camera that can take the entire range of 35mm lenses offered by Canon (and now Zeiss as well), will shoot 2K RAW video in CF card (which is quicktime and hence drop-ready for Final Cut Pro). I think it’s time to get excited….start saving now :-)

I’m gonna date myself here and ask….Does anyone remember the Agnus Chip? How about the Fatter Agnus or the Alice? For those of you who don’t know these were the original and upgraded OCS/ECS chips that did most of the amazing (for the time) graphics for the Amiga computer back in the late-80’s/early-90’s. Fast forward to today and the announcement of the “Fatter Quadra Plex” at Siggraph 2008. The new desktop graphics monsters come in two flavours. From the announcement:

The NVIDIA Quadro Plex 2200 D2 VCS, with two Quadro GPUs, 4 dual-link DVI channels, and 8 GB of frame buffer memory, is designed for advanced visualization of extremely large models and datasets, as well as high-performance computing processes. Its partner, the Quadro Plex 2100 D4 VCS with four GPUs, 8 dual-link DVI channels and a 4 GB frame buffer, is optimized for multi-display applications.

The new Quadro Plex 2200 D2 VCS houses two Quadro FX 5800 GPUs, providing 480 NVIDIA CUDA Parallel Computing Processor cores and 8GB of graphics memory. The thermal and power management capabilities of the chassis offer up to 20% performance improvement over standard add-in graphics, making it the most powerful visual computing system available. The Quadro Plex 2200 D2 VCS houses up to four Quadro FX 4700 GPUs, powering up to four displays via its dual-link DVI outputs, and up to eight displays with its high-resolution projection capabilities.

The Quadro Plex D2 will be featured in technology demonstrations of real-time NVIDIA GPU-based raytracing, large scale CAD modeling and 4K HD power walls at SIGGRAPH 2008 in Los Angeles, August 12-14, 2008 (NVIDIA Booth 554). The Quadro Plex D Series VCS will be available in September 2008 with prices beginning at $10,750.

8K VFX Shots, When 4K is just too small…..

datePosted on 21:24, July 29th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

Great article by Barbara Robertson over at, outlining the process of creating the VFX shots for the new Batman movie (The Dark Night). I have to admit I did not love the movie like many others, but the VFX were first rate and after reading this article I have a better appreciation of what went into it. WOWWEE 8-).

JVC does Super Hi-Vision

datePosted on 21:08, May 2nd, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

Yep, in the classic “mine is bigger than yours” fashion, JVC has once again upped the ante by introducing the worlds first single display device capable of 8K Super Hi-Vision. That’s 8192x432o pixels of joy AKA 35 bloody megapixels. We recently covered the introduction of JVC’s 4K D-ILA projector and well now the new game is called 8K.

Victor Company of Japan, Ltd. (JVC) announces a new addition to its lineup of proprietary D-ILA (Direct-Drive Image Light Amplifier) high-definition reflective liquid crystal devices for projectors. The newly developed 1.75-inch 8K4K D-ILA device has the world’s largest number of pixels and is able to display images of approximately 35 megapixels (8192 x 4320 pixels), the equivalent of more than 17 times the level of Full High-Definition. This means that a single display device can now produce Super Hi-Vision images and can display images with the highest number of pixels currently defined under international standards.

After JVC developed the initial 7.86-megapixel (3840 x 2048 pixels) 4K2K D-ILA device in the summer of 2003, it subsequently further evolved the technology for highly realistic, high-definition images through a range of test viewings and verification testing, resulting in the development of JVC’s first commercial 4K2K D-ILA device (1.7-inch device size, 5,000:1 device contrast ratio) and the 4K2K D-ILA projector incorporating that device in September 2004.

In June 2007 JVC developed a 1.27-inch 4K2K D-ILA device that was the world’s smallest device of its kind, having a 6.8µm pixel pitch and 4096 x 2400 pixels, and in February 2008 it began marketing a newly commercialized professional D-ILA projector, DLA-SH4K, incorporating that device.

Through the development of a new production process and new pixel structure for even finer pixels, JVC has now succeeded in developing the 1.75-inch 8K4K D-ILA device, the world’s first device to achieve real Super Hi-Vision definition level. The new device has approximately 50% higher density in its ratio of area per pixel as compared to the 1.27-inch 4K2K D-ILA device, which was originally the world’s smallest 4K device. Furthermore, the new device has achieved a video display of approximately 35 megapixels, the world’s highest pixel counts, while continuing to provide the D-ILA series’ characteristics such as “high-quality images without a distracting pixel structure”, “high light availability”, and “high contrast ratio”.

RED One does Super 8

datePosted on 21:38, March 28th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

Yeah baby, If you’re gonna telecine your Super 8 summer trip reels, why not do it using the RED Digital Cinema Camera at glorious (or is it gruesome) 4K. All those scratches and nicks blown up to 4K….Yummm. Well I guess film restorers will be back in business. The rig is a prototype made by Movie Stuff Workprinter XP specifically for the RED camera. The Workprinter’s “trigger out” interfaces directly to the Red’s GPI input to trigger capture in stop motion mode up to 30 frames per second in the Red’s 4K mode). I wonder if they’re gonna do a 16mm version of this rig as well. Now that would be a cheap 16mm telecine :-).

iCinema does 360 Degree cinema……

datePosted on 15:46, February 27th, 2008 by Many Ayromlou

iCinema has teamed up with Projectiondesign to create the first AVIE (Advanced Visualization and Interaction Environment). AVIE is the first horizontal panoramic streoscopic projection environment. The system uses a cylindrical screen measuring 35 feet in diameter and 13 feet in height. Seven PC’s and twleve F1+ projectors complete the system. Infrared camera’s allow the audience to interact with the projection environment. More info here.

Sony gets dethroned….JVC joins the 4K Projection club

datePosted on 14:46, November 25th, 2007 by Many Ayromlou

If you’ve been tuned into Digital Cinema Projection for the past couple of years, you’d know that when it comes to 4K projection (4Kx2K image), sony’s SXRD series was pretty much the only game in town. DLP is limited to 2K and most of the projectors out there (Christie, Barco, NEC) are all 2K projectors. A downside of Sony’s projector is that although it is as hefty as a small car it only has a 2000:1 contrast ratio (measured less than that calibrated). Its rated aggresively for 40ft screens which is not nearly big enough for true cinema applications.

That was true until JVC announced their 1.27-inch 4Kx2K D-ILA (Direct-drive Image Light Amplifier) chip at InfoComm 2007. The chip can produce a 4096×2400 pixel image with a 20,000:1 contrast ratio. That’s nearly 10x the contrast ratio of the Sony behemoth.

Major Specifications:

Device size

1.27-inch diagonal>

No. of pixels H x V

4096 x 2400 pixels

Pixel pitch

6.8 μm

Gap between pixels

0.25 μm

Aperture ratio


Device contrast ratio


Response time (tr+tf)

4.5 ms

LC mode

Vertical Aligned LC

LC alignment film

Light stabilized inorganic alignment film

The DLA-SH4K, which packs the 4k D-ILA chip, touts a 4,096 x 2,400 resolution, 10,000:1 contrast ratio, 3,500 lumens, a dual-link DVI input, multiscreen mode, an Ethernet port for remote operation and RS-232 / USB connectors. It measures 660 x 827 x 340 mm and is slated for launch in the first half of 2008.

CineGrid GLIF Demo….

datePosted on 14:44, September 23rd, 2007 by Many Ayromlou
From CineGrid GLIF…

Well many of you have probably been wondering why N.E.R.D. has been a bit slow for the past couple of months. Well, August was a bit of a nightmare month (although an enjoyable nightmare for the most part). I got a chance to go to Siggraph’07 in San Diego, followed by a European trip to end the other project I’ve been working on (Comedia II) at Ryerson. That trip passed through Amsterdam (WOOHOO) and ended in Stuttgart with a succesful demonstation of our high-resolution low bandwidth screen sharing app which was a part of Comedia II deliverables.

The screen sharing basically uses a Blackmagic Design Intensity card to share/deliver/encode the DVI output of a CAD/CAM workstation to a remote site and with the addition of our home-brew pointer control system, to allow multiple remote audiences to have collaborative engineering design review sessions.

September was pretty much spent planning and implementing our demo for the GLIF conference in Prague. This was a demonstration put together by some of the CineGrid consortium members. The demo involved connecting three sites (Ryerson University‘s Dcinema Lab, Calit2 at UCSD and Barrandov studios in prague) via 10GigE optical connections in a layer-2 network. Below you’ll find the overall net diagram prepared by Alan Verlo.

From CineGrid GLIF…

The idea behind the demo was as follows (point form to make it a bit easier to visualize):

1) DCinema footage was shot in Prague last weekend (Sept. 15-16) using a DALSA Origin 4K DCinema Camera.
2) The 4K raw imagery from the camera was “shipped” to Calit2 overnight via the network where it was “developed” into a series of RGB files on their Compute Cluster and shipped back to Prague via network.
3) The finished frames where loaded into a Baselight 4 system. This system was literally chopped in half with the backend/storage in Prague and the front-end control panel at Ryerson University in Toronto.
4) The front-end and the back-end were linked via 1x1GigE links at both sites (Toronto and Prague) over a vlan440 (see diagram above).
5) The output of the back-end system in prague was split. One link for Prague team (ie: Director of Photography) connected to their Sony SRX-R110 and One link for Toronto (ie: Colourist).
5) Since the Toronto team needed to see the output of the material they were manipulating, we used the iHDTV system developed at University of Washington/Research Channel at both ends to transport the HD-SDI 2K 4:2:2 imagery back to Toronto over 2x1GigE links. This signal was fed into the Sony SRX-R110 projector residing in the DCinema Lab at Ryerson.
6) The iHDTV systems at both ends (sender in Prague and receiver in Toronto) were isolated on vlan442 (see diagram above) since interpacket timing was found to be crucial for proper operation of our QVidium conferencing system and an isolated vlan for iHDTV turned out to be the solution.
7) In Addition to the above the Colourist and DP needed to have low latency video conference link in order to achieve an acceptable level of realtime collaboration. To that end, we also deployed two QvidiumHD 1394 IP Gateways with two Panasonic HVX-200 HD Camcorders to encode video/audio at both ends. Additionally two PC’s with QVidium decoding software w/ DVCProHD codecs were installed at each end to setup a complete two-way low latency HD conference. The HD conference system ran at ~2x120Mbps on vlan440.
8) The main connections between all three sites was running at 10GigE over a layer-2 network and was split into individual 1GigE connections for the various parts of the project.

From CineGrid GLIF…

On Tuesday morning we started the two way HD conference, connected the front-end of the Baselight system to the back and after some adjustments had the system up and running with 2K proxy output in Toronto and Prague. The Demo was a “First in the World” and will be (atleast I think so) the first of many more to come out of our lab and it’s collaboration with CineGrid partners around the world….So stay tuned. I’ve included a bunch of pictures I took during the build and the actuall demo, official CineGrid press release is coming soon and I will try to post the video that we shot at our end of the first session soon (it’s in DVCProHD and I need to book one of our suites to edit it together).

Samsung: First LCD display to use DisplayPort Interface

datePosted on 12:45, July 25th, 2007 by Many Ayromlou

So we’ve been waiting for this for a while now. In Digital Cinema applications display technology throughput has always been a problem. Pumping ~10Gb/s of data to a screen is an issue, be it a projector and/or monitor. There have been a number of “hacks” to get these types of setups working (Dual or Quad DVI/HDMI ports). The problem usually is the seam. It is very hard to sync four DVI output chips properly and even harder to display the pixel information back on the screen (inside the projector/monitor).

DisplayPort technology is one attempt to solve this problem:

The DisplayPort connector supports 1 to 4 data pairs in a Main Link that also carries audio and clock signals, each with a transfer rate of 1.62 or 2.7 gigabits per second (Gbit/s). The Video signal path supports 6 to 16 bit per color channel. A bi-directional auxiliary channel runs at a constant 1 megabit per second, and serves as Main Link management and device control using VESA EDID and VESA MCCS standards.”

As you can see from the Wikipedia Quote above, DisplayPort (in it’s quad configuration) can support upto 10.8 Gb/s of information….perfect for DCinema Applications. Samsung has just released a Press Release outlining their 30′ LCD monitor that uses DisplayPort technology:

“Seoul, Korea – July 25, 2007: Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world’s largest provider of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels, announced today that it has developed the world’s first LCD panel using the next-generation video interface – “DisplayPort.” Sanctioned by VESA (the Video Electronics Standards Association), DisplayPort will serve as a replacement for DVI, LVDS and eventually VGA.

For Samsung’s new 30-inch LCD, the DisplayPort interface transmits graphics data at a total data rate of 10.8Gbps. This speed enables 2560×1600 resolution without any color smear. By using a transmission speed more than double that of today’s interfaces, Samsung’s new LCD only requires a single DisplayPort interface, instead of the two DVI (Digital Visual Interface) ports now used.

In a joint undertaking with Genesis Microchip Inc. (Santa Clara, California), Samsung developed its 30” panel using a new four-lane, 2.7Gbps/lane interface chip. The interface technology processes 2560×1600 pixels of graphics data at up to 10 bits of color depth or 1.07 billion colors, a feat that would normally require at least three DVI or four LVDS interface chips.

“We are pleased to be the first LCD manufacturer in the world to create a panel with a DisplayPort interface,” said Brian Berkeley, vice president, Samsung LCD Business, who is leading the company’s DisplayPort development efforts. “We have received many inquiries from computer integrators interested in DisplayPort-based LCD panels, which prompted an acceleration of our R&D for this first DisplayPort LCD panel.” Samsung was the only LCD panel maker participating in the original DisplayPort working (standards) group formed in 2004.

Samsung’s new 30” LCD also offers the company’s proprietary Super Patterned Vertical Alignment (S-PVA) liquid crystal technology for 180° viewing angle, and 300nits brightness.

Mass production of the 30-inch panel is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2008.

Display size 30”
Resolution WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600 pixels)
Response time 6ms
Viewing angle 180°/180°
Contrast ratio 1000:1
Mode S-PVA
Brightness 300 nits
Colors 16,777,000
Color saturation 100%
Interface DisplayPort

It’s just too bad that we can’t buy this NOW :-)