March 5, 2004


LOS ANGELES - Forward Never Straight Productions (FNS) recently completed work on a video game trailer for Activision that's being delivered in high definition using the Windows Media 9 format. The trailer promotes Activision's "True Crime: Streets of L.A." title and is going to be posted on at this month for viewing by PCs or Macs capable of displaying WMV HD media.

FNS (310-450-3900) recorded 720p media right out of the Microsoft Xbox through via their gameplay capture system, which can input or output any video format. The Xbox signal was converted from analog HD to HD-SDI, then recorded to D-5 720p/59.94. From there the same technology used to provide A/D HD format conversion was used to downconvert a set of Digital Betacam SD masters. These downconverted tapes were loaded into the Avid|DS HD system for an SD offline. After created the offline, FNS recaptures the media in HD for the online. Since the timecode was identical, they simply redigitized and re-rendered effects. The studio also used DS for the final audio mix and graphics.

"We just captured the media, offlined in SD, re-digitized the project in HD and output to D-5 and Windows Media 9," explains FNS owner Chris Hepburn. "By cutting in SD, we conserve space and cut down on render times. When we redigitze at HD, it's a one-to-one match, which saves us a huge amount of time, since we don't have to recreate any of the edits."

Hepburn credited DS artist Brett Smith with creating the innovative trailer. Smith comes from the world of music videos, having finished videos for Blink 182, Korn, and Cypress Hill. Hepburn noted, "Brett brings a level of production value to his work that's not generally seen in video game trailers."