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October 14, 2014
  Content delivery in the clouds
Posted By Tom Coughlin
At the 2014 IBC Harmonic announced its new Media Orchestration Solutions for manual and automated content delivery, particularly to support virtualized content delivery.  The Polaris Advance playout automation system supports efficient play to air via tight integration with the company's Spectrum media server system.  Imagine Communications (formerly Harris) was showing its software and hardware services for cloud based playout.  In supporting broadcast workflows Avid announced it Avid AirSpeed 5500 to ingest and play out multiple media formats without having to invest in costly converters and offering support for Sony XAVC.  Prime Focus was also showing cloud based storage and content management.

HEVC (H.265) demonstrations for UHD video were on display throughout the IBC.  Among the demonstration BBright unveiled its 4RU real-time SLED-4K encoder product for broadcast, OTT and IPTV applications.  Envivio announced their Nuage virtualized cloud-based software-as-a-service video solution supporting HEVC and other content.  The product works in a private or public cloud.  Another interesting development supporting consumer video reception was the UPnP Forum's UpnP Cloud architecture providing features focusing on delivering new technical capabilities for enhancing consumer video experiences.

Signiant announced that its cloud platform Media Shuttle and SkyDrop products were being used by Smoke and Mirrors to accelerate the movement of large media files for streamlined workflows.  Media Shuttle is a hybrid SaaS file transfer service for moving large media files into and out of cloud storage.    Media Shuttle provides a simple dropbox-like way to send and share large files.  The company also announced that its services are available with Amazon Web Services.

Aspera debuted the latest Aspera On Demand Platform, built on their FASP 3.5 technology.  This product allows content to move seamlessly between distributed cloud and on-premise storage with exceptional speed and controlled delivery.  The product allows using cloud services to support collaborative workflows with large ultra-HD files as well as millions of small files.  The company reports that their product works seamlessly with every major cloud storage provider.  

The companies suite of services includes auto-scaling of on-line capacity, measurement of transfer performance, transport of live video and data streams over global Internet WANs in real-time and a file-based Aspera Drive that allows browsing, drag-and-drop transfers as well as sync and exchange of rich media content to desktop as well as mobile devices.  The Aspera Orchestrator allows verification of incoming media and metadata formats against ADI and DPP standards for broadcast and file-based VoD distribution and post-production.  Numerous companies at the IBC demonstrated streaming and file transfers using Aspera technology.

EVS, Aspera and Elemental demonstrated large scale high-resolution video streaming via the cloud for HD media and sporting event to connected devices using EVS's C-Cast technology for capturing video at live action sports production feeds from multiple camera angles. Elemental Cloud video processing ingests mezzanine formats, converting it into the various formats needed to support mobile viewing devices while high-quality high-resolution live content is delivered to regional broadcasters and streamed to global online viewers.  For more information go to:

Akamai's media delivery and network operator solutions and services demonstrated capabilities required for next generation content delivery networks (CDNs).   The company offered high speed content uploads to its NetStorage product using Aspera Upload Acceleration for large high-resolution content transfers.  The company demonstrated a virtual ISP in their booth with LCDN caching servers leveraging content origination and preparation services using its Akamai Intelligent Platform.  The Akamai Media Client allows the Intelligent Platform to provide content delivery into homes and connected devices even at 4K resolution.

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August 21, 2014
  Look Effects: Former president responds to 'anonymous' letter
Posted By Marc Loftus
NEW YORK - Last week, I received an "Anonymous" email with a letter attached to it that was said to have been prepared by a core group of former Look Effects employees. The visual effects studio, which had four locations - Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Vancouver and Germany - recently closed, and many of its employees were not given their un-paid wages, some amounting to as much as $50,000.

Understandably, the letter had a frustrated tone, with the group citing their loyalty to the company during tough times, and the lack of respect they feel wasn't given to them in return for their work and dedication. The letter also went on to criticize the owners/executives, and their new gigs in the VFX industry.

I reached out to Look Effects for comment, and within a day, got a call back from Mark Driscoll, who was a co-founder and president in the company. He was very forthcoming regarding the studio's struggles and missteps, and answered all of the questions I threw at him.

Here, in an exclusive interview, Driscoll responds to the anonymous letter.

Post: Mark, you are aware of the letter. What do you think?

Driscoll: "I will be 100 percent transparent, as painful as it is because I ran this company for 17 years, and it's come to a very sad, unfortunate, difficult end. But I am not going to be one of those business owners who runs away from the reality. I won't be able to make everything right for everybody, but I can at least be forthcoming."

Post: What's the status of the different locations at this point?

Driscoll: "We did close the company. We did not file bankruptcy. We poured everything we could into it - personally and professionally, but we just couldn't keep it afloat. We ran out of money. We ran out of resources, ran out of good will, and were faced with the unfortunate situation of not being able to see a pathway to continue what we were doing and extend favors from employees. There just wasn't a clear way to bring in enough work to allow the machine to continue. It was a difficult decision."

Post: Were any efforts made to sell the company?

Driscoll: "Here's a little bit of the back story. We spent months and months working on different ways forward - searching for investors, searching for other companies to acquire us, looking for merger opportunities, looking for straight investment opportunities... Unfortunately we made a mistake or otherwise of pouring our life savings into company, so there wasn't any room to pull from people's equity in their houses or anything."

Post: Look Effects was obviously a talented studio. How did it lead up to this?

Driscoll: "I've spent many sleepless nights thinking how we got here, because there are a lot of people out there that are definitely angry at me and in this anonymous letter, and that's mine to bear. I wasn't the only one who contributed to getting us there. I had a lot of people that worked with me that didn't live up to expectations and still we owe those people money. There are all sorts of reason as to how you get here."

Post: Looking back, can you point to anything specific?

Driscoll: "There are a couple of key things that got us here - one was the show Noah for Paramount. It was publicly in the trades about how much they lost on it. We lost unbelievable amounts of money. And with a small company, it's hard. That came out of 2013. We thought we could figure a way out and get the employees paid back."

Post: As a VFX service provider, should if matter if the film was successful or not?

Driscoll: "We had no stake in the film, we were just contracted to do work - good or bad. We were paid a bunch of money to do the movie and there were a whole host of issues why we ran into trouble on that movie. Some of which were our own fault, some which were the show's fault. We lost a lot of money on that show and as we were charting a path forward to 2014, we had a very large show in New York that went belly up on us after let's say $700,000 in payments. That was the next piece of the puzzle. That was a significant blow."

Post: The letter suggests that many employees stuck with you during the difficult times?

Driscoll: "We had lots of good will from employees, and I won't shake the fact that we ended up with a lot of people that were upset that I wasn't able to figure out a way to make good on the past wage obligation as quickly as I had hoped. And there are people who are arguably and fairly and accurately upset by that. And we lost a handful of people as a result of that.

"And all this happened right at beginning of the normal, cyclical summer slump. Summer is traditionally slower in our business, and we just didn't have the capacity of work to relieve obligations. We would have needed a significant amount more work, that we weren't able to get. It became pretty clear we couldn't continue."

Post: Tell us about the Mass Market/Psyop arrangement?

Driscoll: "What we did do though, in the course of all these conversations with investors and mergers, is, I got to know a company - Mass Market and Psyop - and I've been able to negotiate for some of staff to move over to Mass Market in New York and Los Angeles and Vancouver. There's no merger or investment - and I want to be very clear with that. Some of use were able to move over and become employees at Mass Market, and build for them a feature and TV brand."

Post: How many employees were affected?

Driscoll: "I was able to secure a lot of our New York employees, including our key creative director and producer. In LA, we were able to bring over a decent amount of our staff. In Vancouver, we're bringing over a decent amount of staff as well. Some people did not come with us. They elected not to. And that's where we're at."

Post: The letter mentions significant unpaid wages. Can you address that?

Driscoll: "I want to be very clear that the anonymous letter: yes, Look owes it's former staff and freelancers a large amount of money. I won't try to dispute that. I think the article says $300,000 to 400,000? That's correct. It's between $300,000 and 400,000.

Post: The letter says some employees are owed anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000?

Driscoll: "That is also true, but there are only a few people at the top of that food chain. Most people are owed thousands. There's a good portion of people that are owed in the $10,000 to $20,000 range. That's the truth, and I am not going to run away from it."

Post: Are all of the offices closed at this point, or are there things being finished up?

Driscoll: "Everything is closed. We've moved the people that decided to come along to Mass Market. Mass Market and Psyop have facilities both in Los Angeles and New York. We've basically taken that crew and moved them to those offices. That was a nice compensating move - to be able to move the staff over to that company. In Vancouver, they are staying put in the old office, and we are basically turning the office over to them (Mass Market). And in Germany, we are closing."

Post: What about you personally?

Driscoll: "This has caused more strife. I've been hired by Mass Market to head up the feature division. So I am working with many people who came with us, and hoping to offer employment to those who couldn't' come with us in the beginning or chose not to. Hopefully I can attract more of them back and help rebuild the business. Mass Market and Psyop are very clear about the fact that they want to build a world-class feature offering and want to attract great talent and crew. From a talent perspective, they are fabulous company to work for. They are well capitalized and have a deep, rich history in technology acquisition and software development. They understand it's important to get the tools to the artists to do what they need to do, and that was something at Look that we always had a hard time with. We were self-funded."

Post: Were executives getting paid?

Driscoll: "I think the article states that we weren't paying employees but partners were getting paid? It doesn't resolve our obligation to the employees, but I never ever, ever paid myself and didn't pay employees. On paper, the owners are owed more in magnitude than any of the employees are owed. And I realize that doesn't matter, but we always put employees in front of us. When we had to reduce payroll, it was always at the partners' expense. Always. I know people may dispute that point."

Post: What is your biggest regret?

Driscoll: "The biggest regret that I've got is, a lot of these people we owe money to stuck with us when Noah was difficult. They believed in what we were trying to do. I believed in what we were trying to do and tried as hard as I could to figure out a pathway over to make this great for everybody, and I wasn't able to do that. So that's the biggest regret. People gave a lot to the company to help us make it through and I wasn't able to be successful in returning the good will."
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August 14, 2014
  SIGGRAPH 2014: Fabric Engine's potential for VFX tool development
Posted By Scott Singer
Fabric Engine is a visual framework for rapid development of custom 3D VFX tools that are as fast as dedicated custom "written from scratch" applications, but without the usual costs in time and resources. It does this by providing a core, node-based GUI development environment that can take full advantage of the computer's GPU. Much of the overhead and time involved in developing a standard one-off application is taken up in user interface and basic data IO. Fabric Engine can generate standalone solutions or be fully-hosted in existing applications such as Maya, 3DS Max, Cinema 4D, and soon, Houdini.

CEO Paul Doyle says that the company's first operating assumption is that no significant shot is ever completed simply "out of the box," and that all studios, especially major ones, have a set of custom steps, plug-ins and approaches that are critical to creating a final image. 

To help studios discover how easy custom solutions can be, Fabric Engine is giving away 50 copies of its development platform for free to every studio that requests it. Their plan is to get market penetration based on their framework's ease of use, power and ease of integration. For the smaller shops, that means they might have a site license that never expires. It opens up a world of small, custom-tool development to smaller shops because it takes care of most of the lower-level details that make tool-creation unaffordable.

For larger shops, Fabric Engine also offers paid support, assistance and data obfuscation to protect sensitive IP from being visible in applications that need to be sent out to smaller facilities. For many larger shops, tools such as Maya have often become just host shells for in-house custom engineering. The overhead of a large monolithic application like Maya can actually become an encumbrance to a lightweight, single-purpose process. Processes built using Fabric Engine can have a much smaller resource footprint in both memory and speed because these tools use only necessary components. 

Fabric Engine is already integrated into the pipelines of MPC and Double Negative to handle tasks as critical as rigging. However, they are also working with smaller facilities, such as Hybride, to develop a crowd animation system that fits the niche between the number of characters that can be efficiently hand-animated and the number that would require purchasing a system such as Massive. This is exactly the kind of application that is under-represented in available commercial software, often resulting in either the time expense of hand-animating too many hero characters or the unnecessary investment in time and money of an overly-advanced crowd simulation solution that is meant mainly to provide high-level artificial intelligence-control of thousands of actors.

Fabric Engine allows tools to be built using only the components necessary and without the need to re-implement standard, ubiquitous functionalities, such as dependency graphs, data IO, hardware rendering and display. For larger facilities, this could mean creating tools that existing packages don't handle, while for smaller shops it opens the door to make custom tool-development affordable. By making it so accessible it might just become ubiquitous.

Scott Singer is a Digital Effects Supervisor at Tippett Studio. He can be reached by email at:
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August 13, 2014
  SIGGRAPH 2014: DreamWorks' Premo breaks new ground
Posted By Scott Singer
VANCOUVER - At SIGGRAPH this week, DreamWorks Animation unveiled a huge leap forward in character animation technology with their new animation program Premo. And five years of planning, designing, building and testing yielded impressive results. 

From the beginning, the lead engineers worked closely with the animators at the studio, asking them to come up with a list of whatever they've always wished for in an animation tool. With no preconceived notions of what the tool "should" do or how it "should" be written, the engineers and artists worked collaboratively to design what it could be.

The big leap forward here is reconceptualizing the user interaction into a subscription service model. What this means broadly is that the section of the program that handles user interaction - editing motion curves, setting poses, changing parameters, etc, is no longer tightly coupled to the character deformation calculations. This decoupling enables the user experience to drive the show and animators no longer have to wait for the pose to update in the display before having direct control over the posing tools. In this sense the GUI that the animator manipulates is the client that subscribes to the deformation calculations as a service. And the client is free to change its requests to which the service must respond.

And while this might sound easy to achieve in say, retail sales transactions, the work behind the scenes of driving the complex, interdependent computations of sophisticated character rigs and deformations is quite daunting. Working with Intel's engineers, DWA was able to come up with techniques and methods for spreading the calculations across all the cores of the machine in an architecture that can scale to as many cores as the machine has, as many more as the next generation of machines will have, or even to cores on the cloud.

The program uses the extra cores to compute not just the deformations of the current frame, but to precompute the surrounding frames changed by the latest edit so they will be ready for scrubbing and playback. So the animator gets realtime results on the fully-deformed hero rig.

In order to fully exploit this sophistication and return an analog feel of control to the artists, the engineers at DreamWorks needed to work hand-in-hand with the Character TDs (DWA's rigging department) to actually redesign the rigging workflow, tools, and design paradigms to fully engage with this degree of computational parallelism. 

Senior animator, Ludovic Bouancheau, gave a great live demonstration of the program showing this new re-imagining of artist workflow. Animators no longer have to select joints and edit curves or manipulators - as the mouse cursors moves across the character, different sections highlight. Clicking and dragging in these regions lifts a smile, raises an eyebrow or pivots at the waist.

Premo is definitely a prime example of how DWA is breaking new ground in both user tool development as well as core animation technology. Will this technology ever be available to those of us outside of Dreamworks? Well all they'll say they're not saying it won't be - sort of. Could be interesting.

Scott Singer is a Digital Effects Supervisor at Tippett Studio. He can be reached by email at:
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August 13, 2014
  SIGGRAPH 2014: Capturing the Infinite Universe in 'Lucy'
Posted By Scott Singer
VANCOUVER - During the "Capturing the Infinite Universe in 'Lucy' - Fractal Rendering in Film Production' session at SIGGRAPH, Alex Kim and Daniel P. Ferreira from Industrial Light & Magic talked about their fractal rendering techniques used to bring the surreal, hallucinatory cloud-like particle elements to the screen for the film Lucy.

The production design used elements of nebulous vapory forms based on the images of fractal math pattern which have literally infinite complexity. The basic problem the team faced was how to represent this potentially-limitless challenge in ways that could be effectively laid out, collided with and interactively lit. They did this through a hybrid approach that took advantage of different tools and approaches exploiting their respective strengths while avoiding the weaknesses.

They first looked at available fractal rendering tools, but these were all scientific tools aimed at the accurate mathematical representation of the data. Of course these did not provide the level of control and art directability that a feature film demands. They also wanted to avoid the expense of developing yet another expensive in-house rendering solution where existing readily-available tools could provide them with what they needed.

For the coarse representation of the data, they relied on low-resolution approximations of the mathematical data using the open source OpenVDB volume data format developed at DreamWorks. These could be turned into low-res stand-ins suitable for layout and scene choreography. They could also derive suitably-scaled models for collisions, secondary dynamics and lighting effects

But the real challenge was how to capture the seemingly-limitless complexity. To get the beauty renders they leveraged a screen space adaptive distance technique in Houdini. The first place to dice up this problem is to solve only what you see. They did this by projecting particles from the plane of the camera directly onto the mathematical equations thereby limiting the complexity to exactly the image pixels needed. Shadowing was handled by applying the same technique from the light sources - "looking through" the lights as if they were cameras and checking for where these "light particles" occluded the "camera particles."

For a greater degree of volumetric complexity, another particle pass was used and rendered in Krakatoa - a dedicated high-performance particle renderer - to render billions of extra particles streaming from the original screen space hero particles. By rendering the accumulation of so many points, the desired vaporous, ethereal, cloud like effects were achieved.

It was definitely an example of necessity being the mother of invention, or in this case, time and resource constraints being the mother of inspired innovation.

Scott Singer is a Digital Effects Supervisor at Tippett Studio. He can be reached by email at:

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April 29, 2014
  4K workflow in the cloud?
Posted By Tom Coughlin
At the 2014 NAB show there was a lot of buzz around media workflows using the cloud. This article will look at developments at Aframe, Avere, Cloud Sigma, DDN, HDS, IBM (including Aspera), Quantum, SAN Solutions, Scality, Violin Memory and Zadara. In an earlier article we discussed the Avid Everywhere initiative that also includes access to online content.

Quantum showcased three new StorNext Pro Solutions, which are based upon the re-architected StorNext 5 platform. According to the company, StorNext Pro Studio is a 100 percent Xsan-compatible solution to refresh or enhance existing Xsan storage. StorNext Pro 4K is optimized for 4K workflows and includes an SSD-based metadata controller for rapid access of content. StorNext Pro Production provides a complete storage platform spanning content production to library management.

Quantum also demonstrated a StorNext-based 4K collaborative workflow across a data center and a remote private cloud, leveraging its Lattus object storage system, Levels Beyond's Reach Engine, Telestream's Vantage and Adobe Anywhere. The demonstration included ingest, transcoding and proxy generation, with the amazing Tier IV Switch SUPERNAP facility in Las Vegas serving as the cloud.  

Quantum says that with this cloud-based workflow, creative teams can share content in realtime over multiple, geographically dispersed locations while maintaining a single, highly durable asset repository.  These teams can also replicate assets among multiple sites for resiliency and faster access. This workflow also provides the flexibility to optimize the security and integrity of content management, scale capacity up or down to meet short-term needs, and incorporate business continuity and long-term preservation of content over its lifecycle.

Avere, a company known for storage supporting high performance video applications such as rendering and transcoding, introduced its FXT filer accelerators providing multi-tiered caching to support access to video stored in public or private cloud services. The resulting Cloud NAS was shown supporting Cleversafe private cloud storage, Amazon S3 public cloud storage as well as Amazon's higher latency Glacier storage.  

180 IOPS for all three configurations, while significantly slower than some local storage solutions, including the FXT 3800 itself is nevertheless impressive and could facilitate the increased use of public and even private cloud storage in media workflows.

DDN was promoting its own WOS object storage system as way to store online content in a private object storage cloud. The product is targeted for Active Archive and Web-based content collaboration with high resolution and frame rate content. According to the company, DDN WOS offers 10K larger namespace and 50 percent less power cooling and rack space than EMC Isilon. Deluxe was available to give some background on how they had used DDN products to increase their productivity.

HDS was partnering with several companies at the NAB as well as having its own exhibit with a focus on managing big data in media workflows. The company's NAB focus was on storage solutions for digital content delivery and the management of media repositories locally or in the cloud. HDS was the Gold sponsor of FIMS (Framework for Interoperable Media Services) at NAB, focusing on media workflow management with the FIMS repository service.

Aspera, now part of IBM, was mentioned by many partner storage companies at the NAB show. Aspera supports cloud storage using Amazon Web Services, Windows Azure, IBM SoftLayer, Google Cloud Platform and OpenStack.  Aspera is widely used in the professional video industry for high-speed data transfer technology over the Internet. Akamai, Level 3 and Limelight use Aspera Upload Acceleration to Akamai NetStorage to allow using Aspera's FASP technology to upload digital assets at extreme speeds to Akamai's cloud-based online storage platform. IBM was also discussing its own Active Media Storage that allows combining object storage with on-line data analytics.  

Cloud Sigma provides an all SSD cloud with the same price as HDD storage ($/GB). The company is one of the partners to Zadara offering block access to remote cloud content. Block access provides better performance since it involves less overhead that object storage.  According to Cloud Sigma block based cloud storage has the same price point as object and the company says that many hyperscale facilities are moving back to block storage from object storage. The company sees greater value in block storage combined with Software Defined Networks (SDN), data sharing and file acceleration.  

Zadara was showing how its enterprise storage as a service using onsite storage with file and block access, combined with colocation and cloud storage services can provide a good combination of faster local storage with a larger content storage outside the user data center, can be used in media workflows. The onsite local storage as well as the remote storage are sold as part of a storage service package. Zadara was included in offerings from partners at the NAB show, such as Cloud Sigma.

In some other related developments: Aframe announced the launch of its 3.0 Version offering increased automation, offering additional efficiencies in video storage, production and distribution as well as wireless camera support for Sony and Panasonic. Scality was showing an object storage solution supporting PB scale online storage and utilizing Aspera and other online data transport technologies.  SAN Solutions announced it ultra-low latency cloud for media storage (SAN Metro Media), Violin Memory teamed up with iTalkBB, a telecommunications provider to show on-demand video streaming system optimization using Violin Maestro all-flash appliances and Violin 6000 Series all-flash arrays.  
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April 29, 2014
  A gaggle of pro cameras at NAB 2014
Posted By Tom Coughlin
Content capture is where the rush of content storage begins. At the 2014 NAB show, new cameras and storage devices support greater frame-rates, higher bit depth and more cameras. This piece will talk about the new production cameras for 4K and technology demonstrations for 8K content capture. 

Arri was showing its Amira documentary-style camera, initially introduced at the 2013 IBC. The Amira records HD (1080) or 2K images with high dynamic range (14 stops) and with speeds up to 200fps. In order to support the high data rates required for 200fps the Amira uses SanDisk Extreme Pro C-Fast 2 compact flash memory cards. These cards provide up to 120GBs of storage capacity and data transfer speeds up to 450MB/s. The Amira aims at the market currently filled by cameras such as the Canon c300 and the Sony F5.

Codex announced that it is working with Panasonic to deliver a compact high-speed 4K uncompressed Codex Vault RAW recorder for Panasonic's VariCam 35 camera, supporting V-RAW data rates up to 120fps. The device directly connects with a VariCam 35 camera providing a compact and lightweight camera recording solution. The product will be released in Autumn 2014.

Panasonic unveiled its 4K VariCam professional video camera, which shoots in 4K RAW with 4K frame rates up to 120fps. The company also introduced a 2/3-inch VariCam high-speed camera that does 1080p up to 240fps. The VariCam supports expressP2 cards for 4K/24p and microP2 cards for HD and 2K. The company's camera recorder module is interchangeable between both these cameras.

Sony introduced a DSLR camera, the a7S with a 12.2 megapixel sensor for HD recording up to 120fps and 4K recording through HDMI to an external recorder. Ikegami had a number of high-resolution cameras on display, as did JVC. Grass Valley revealed a camera for the live-sports market, the LDX 4K camera including 3X and 6X slow motion.

Vision Research is known for its specialty cameras, particularly high speed cameras known for their use in slow-motion video. At the 2014 NAB show, the Phantom Flex4K cinema camera sported a super-35mm 4K sensor with low noise and high dynamic range. It is capable of shooting from 15fps up to 1,000fps at 4K and up to 2,000fps at 2K/1080p.  The CineMag IV recording unit has capacities up to 2TBs.  

AJA introduced the CION 4K/UHD and 2K/HD production camera.   This product can capture up to 12 stops of dynamic range with high quality recording of 4K (4096x2160), UHD (3820x2160), 2K (2048x1080) and HD (1920x1080) video with frame rates up to 120fps in 4K or UHD. The CION uses SSD cards to provide up to 512GBs of storage capacity

Blackmagic Design's Ursa camera includes dual RAW and ProRes recorders with a 35mm 4K sensor and 12 stops of dynamic range and records 4K at 60fps. The dual recorders use the SanDisk CFast memory cards (like the Arri Amira camera). These features are supplied in a camera with a base price of less than $6,000.

8K was on display from NHK at the 2014 NAB Futures Exhibits and Ikegami had an 8K technology exhibit. Content capture at 4K is moving more into the mainstream and is starting to appear in workflows and finished content. The next generation of 8K content, probably to be introduced early in the next decade, is already in early stages of development. NAB provides a window on current products and future video developments.
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January 20, 2014
  Sundance Film Festival - Park City, UT
Posted By Ozan

Sundance - Park City, UT

Day 5

Laggies Press Event





SYNOPSIS: Having spent her twenties comfortably inert, 28 year old Megan (Keira Knightley) reaches a crisis when she finds herself squarely in adulthood with no career prospects, no particular motivation to pursue any and no one to relate to, including her high school boyfriend (Mark Webber).  When he proposes, Megan panics and given an opportunity to escape - at least temporarily - she hides out in the home of her new friend, 16-year-old Annika (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Annika's world-weary single dad (Sam Rockwell).

Lynn Shelton, whose unique directorial voice created such astutely observed comedies as YOUR SISTER'S SISTER and HUMPDAY, crafts a warm, funny romantic journey of three people who find their lives intertwined in sudden, unexpected ways, as they try to make their way in the imperfect reality of modern day life.

New Frontier hosted fascinating panels that embraced the whole spectrum of the film production process. The guests on this panel were three up-and-coming filmmakers who produced high quality independent films on very low budgets. 

The panelists included Jim Mickle, director of "We Are What We Are". Kyle Alvarez, who directed "C.O.G.," and Hasraf 'Haz' Dulull who made "Fubar Redux" and "Project Kronos" on very low budgets. 

On keeping production costs low for "C.O.G.," Kyle Alzarez had this to say:

"I couldn't exactly say our post budget as we had almost no money or time for it, so there was never really a concrete number. 

"For me post is about thinking outside the box. How can you save money on hardware? Well, your specs almost never have to be as high as they think they are. In fact your current computer probably works just fine. Don't spend a ton of money on fancy monitors either. There are really cheap ones that work just fine for your basic editing situation. How can you save money on software? Use Adobe Creative Cloud and only spend $50 a month, then you can put it on hold until the next time you need it. How can you save time? Edit in RAW, skip the middle-man of transcoding. Come up with your looks with your DP before you go into color correction, that way you are super prepared and can make the most of your time in the color suite."

Day 4 

Jemaine Clement

Day 3

A Most Wanted Man premier:

Willem Dafoe

Philip Seymour Hoffman

Day 2

Love is Strange press conference:

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina

Marisa Tomei

Cheyenne Jackson


After a lay over in Dallas where I met several people waiting standby to fly out to Park City. Just for my plane, there was 40 people waiting on a packed flight.

Made it to Salt Lake and managed to find a shuttle for $40 into Park City. I arrived at about 1:00am to this house complete with backyard jacuzzi. We rented this house with a group of people.  


Ozan is the business development manager at the post production boutique Piranha ( in NYC. He is responsible for facilitating the diverse mix of indie film, advertising, architectural and corporate clients that expect top quality animation, CG, editing and sound design services. With over 10 years of experience, Ozan has countless contacts in the independent film industry. When not expediting an investment, he enjoys reading and watching classic movies.  He can be reached via email at:

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