Post Magazine

December 2010

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OUTLOOK A WORLD OF The proliferation of camera formats — including the wide popularity of HDSLRs and the emergence of stereo 3D — offers a wide array of technical, creative and economic solutions for producers today.They’re not without challenges to post production, however, but the tighter integration of cameras and post means efficiencies and cost savings every producer will welcome. DANIELO GARCIA Production Sales Engineer/ Showroom Manager The Studio B&H www.bhphotovideo.com/thestudio New York The Studio B&H provides solutions for broadcast, digital cinema, and post. In their midtown Manhattan showroom, clients can test equipment, watch live demos and compare high-end gear, all to aid them in the eval- uation process. STRENGTHS: “Based on all of the buzz, you would think that tapeless or file-based workflow has become almost a no- brainer; the keyword being ‘almost.’ In certain circles it has indeed become the norm. Low acquisition cost and quick turn-around time make it very attractive. However, the gotcha is in the archival. Also, for some people, especially the ‘money’ people, it is still a mind-trip to think that the memory cards (SxS, P2, CF, SDHC, etc.) coming out of the camera is not their master. It’s only a transport medium.The storage where you dump those files really becomes your master and you better treat it like gold. For that reason, Sony’s XDCAM format is very attractive in ENG & EFP productions. It bridges the best of both worlds: the XDCAM optical disc on cameras like the PDW-F800 is your instant master, just like tape. At the same time it is a file-based format that gets transferred faster than realtime. “In episodic TV and digital cinema, Sony’s HDCAM-SR tape-based cameras like the F-35 (and now the new SRW- 9000PL) are still quite prevalent and probably will continue to be so for some time.However, Sony is mindful that there is a shift taking place and has introduced their HDCAM-SR memory roadmap. On the other hand, Arri’s Alexa, which uses Sony’s SxS cards to record Apple’s ProRes files, has been long anticipated and will definitely make its presence felt in the next few years.” WEAKNESSES:“The archival of files is still a challenge. Currently, Possibilities try would love to see holographic storage succeed because of the inherent danger of drives: it’s not ‘if ’ they fail, but ‘when’ will they fail. Obviously, productions have needed to implement strict back-up and file management practices, thus, the DIT and data-wrangler are now critical roles in digital productions.” OPPORTUNITIES: “For manufacturers there is a big opportu- nity to delivery affordable cameras and post solutions. It will be in- teresting to see what motion cameras come from companies like JVC and Canon, neither of which have investment in higher-end dig- ital cinema cameras that they need to protect, unlike Sony (F-35) and Panasonic (Varicam). Canon is especially intriguing.They have a 35mm sensor, lenses and a 50Mbps 4:2:2 codec. On the post side, beyond the NLEs, you have DI/finishing solutions from companies like Assimilate (Scratch) that will continue to put powerful tools in the hands of artists at a lower than expected cost.With Scratch you have a system that can handle color correction and conforming of SD/HD, 2K/4K and stereoscopic 3D projects.” THREATS: “With so many formats available, the post stage The Sony SRW-9000 is just one of the cameras available for hands- on testing in the showroom at The Studio B&H. LTO tape and good-old hard drives are the most popular methods. A company called InPhase Technologies has been working on holo- graphic storage for about a decade now, but has been unable to de- liver a product to market, partly because of the exponential in- crease in capacity and throughput of hard drives. Many in the indus- 30 Post • December 2010 www.postmagazine.com could become challenging for productions that are forced to mix codecs. A solution could be to standardize on a codec or format by using DTE (Direct-to-Edit) recorders. Products from AJA (Ki- Pro), Convergent Design (nanoFlash) or CineDeck (Extreme) free-up productions to mix and match cameras, and still take the same file format to post.” OUTLOOK ON 2011: “This will be the year that motion cam- corders take the reins back from HDSLR cameras. Many indie film- makers have been waiting a long time for affordable motion cam- eras that let them use PL lenses without having to resort to CAMERAS By Christine Bunish

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