I spent my time enjoying a rare adult "snow day", however there was a side event that took my attention then took over the rest of my day.
The day that this combination started , my cable provider, Comcast released their updated "xfinity" iPad app.
Ok you going to say big deal, but when I started playing with it I was astounded, Comcast now allows streaming content to your ipad while you are in home location, HD Streaming to my ipad, from cable mainstays like HBO and Showtime to a goodly chuck of cable networks various properties.
So now without leaving the warmth of my desk, I can now stream my favorite shows direct while I am doing something else. I actually watched the latest episode of HBO's BigLove with one earbud in while I was on a Conf call on the other ear (who has wished to do that)
So Comcast seems to get it, I just wonder how long it will take them to allow me to see Live Events or stream the local news to me while out on my deck or huddled against the wind shoveling my car out of the snow.
So once again Apple has dominated CES without even being there.
I don't know about most of you, but I have seen literally hundreds of posts about "What is the Next iPad?" or Verizon's iPhone announcement that takes place later today, a good deal of the news out of Vegas for the last few days has mentioned Apple or some Apple Product. According to Microsoft their "Zune" media player is every bit as good as an iPod. Or that every one of the 300 New Tablet computers shown at CES is being labeled as The Next iPad, yet the best question I heard all week was a post on GizModo that wondered how many of them would survive the week in Vegas.
Thats not to say there was nothing else at CES- 3D is still all the rage, and will be for the next few years ( Sony, IMAX and Discovery are partnering on a 3D network, HBO is showing 3D via OnDemand and Comcast had a 3D fireplace screensaver over the holidays. Look for advancements in Autostereoscopic (no glasses) and in single camera acquisition of Stereoscopic imagery.
But also look at one of the biggest trends at CES- mobile connectivity- being able to view live content streaming to your device anywhere- Comcast announced that later this year you will be able to stream live TV to their Xfinity iPad app - the only caveat being that in the beginning this will only be possible in your own home, which is pretty stupid if you ask me, why do I need to view it on my ipad when I have a 50" LCD right there to watch.
First off Happy New Year- its already happened in Australia and parts of Asia as I type, but I still I wish everyone the most Joyous and Prosperous of New Years to all.
So I promised everyone I was going to be diligent about maintaining my Cow Blog. The last 5 months have been a whirlwind for me, I have been working and traveling almost non-stop since August. So here goes.
It's going to be a 3D world, and soon.
Since February of 2010, I have delved headfirst into 3D, and now have touched more than 50 projects so far, so I guess that I will be doing this for awhile longer. I have spoke on 3D at IBC, done a full day of 3D orientation for Local 600, in Chicago, spoke at the Sports Video Group's 3D Summit and done a full day of teaching 3D courtesy of Steve, Alan, and Kevin at the Studio - B&H.
I am lucky enough to working with the companies that are building the future of 3D, so look forward to info and updates on Element Technica, Cineform, 3D- Toolbox, Aja, 3ality, Angenieux, FujiOptics, Iridas and a bunch on the display side also.
I hope to share some of my upcoming testing with the new F3 camera from Sony and hands on with an EPIC in early January.
So Stay tuned, this is going to be a huge year for all of us.
Yesterday Sony announced the PDW F3K camera, a new PL mount member of the EX camera line.
Initially the camera looks interesting, $16K without lenses, Super 35MM sensor, w/ HDSDI, genlock, even dual link outputs( future upgrade) that shoots to the Ex formated SxS cards. frame rates for 1-30 in 1080 and up to 60fps in 720 mode.
I will be recieving one of these for testing prior to release, so hold on for a real challenge in the mid level camera competition, not the top of the line and not the bottom- these are promising for S3D acquisition.
So it's been almost a month since I last posted in the blog, sorry about that but really have been busier than normal.
So a couple of updates
Right after IBC I went directly to NYC and while checking into my hotel room found out that my corporate credit card number been absconded with and some one used it to buy 3800€ of petrol in Moscow, I voided the cards, but that saga will go on for a month or more.
Then I spent 3 days in Pasadena teaching cinematography and 3D, I had a great time, met some cool people and landed in LA on the day that a new record high temperature of 113* at LAX was recorded.
This past week I have been the student, taking the Element Technica Advanced 3D Rig Tech class. This was 5 days of hands-on with the complete functionality, maintenance and repair of Element Technica's Quasar broadcast and cinema 3D chassis. 3D is the next shiny new toy on my radar and I have a number of opportunities coming up to not only shoot more 3D (I am already working as a Stereographer) but also to offer up some customized stereoscopic training for my clients.
With the boom in broadcasting of 3D content I fully believe that 3D is here to stay and guys like me have a 2-3 year window until consumer grade tools reach the quality of the Panasonic 3DAG1 at 1/3 of he cost. For now I need professional tools that do not limit my creative license but allow me full access to the complete 3D environment,
I promised to bring back some info from IBC, however I did not expect the show that I had. The people that know me, I am a pretty busy guy come NAB time, until this year, IBC was much more laid back.
Not this year, IBC was almost as busy an NAB for me, with 3 back to back sessions on Stereographic, (my sincere thanks to Rich Harrington for stepping in for a few minutes when my lunch disagreed with me) in addition to my regular plethora of meetings, and seeing many of my European and American friends that I never get to talk to at NAB. There was also a fair amount of travel between the Aja booth in the back of Hall 7 to the Arri and Element Technica Booths in Hall 11, almost as far as 2 booths can be separated in the RAI convention center.
So back to the goodies at IBC.
Matrox showed off direct to H.264 capture via MXO2 on the PC and featured my friend Tim Dashwood of 3D Toolbox fame was also showing this tools including the 3DA1 Stereo calculator app for the iPhone, designed specifically for Panasonic's 3DA1 camera distance and convergence scales.
Autodesk was showing Smoke on the Mac Stereo production workflow using native R3D workflows
Avid Showed A software only version of DS Nitris
I will do an Arri Alexa update later this week, I still need to process to thru the mass of info and make it a usable instead of a ramble like this one.
My friend, UK DP Geoff Boyle has a page of raw videos shot on a Canon Powershot camera offering;
Marshall showing off a 24' S3D production monitor, dual stream or HDMI
its not yet on their website.
Ted Schilowitz teases everyone with an Epic,
GlueTools and Creative Cow's own Bob Monaghan talking about playing back arriraw direct from the new Codex OnBoard recorder's base station.
Yours truly stumbles thru the Aja hi53D description.
Element Technica's Joey Romero talks about the Neutron and Proton rig designs.
The IBC show starts today in Amsterdam, its cool and sunny here, but awfully humid. I have been busy setting up and have not had the time to see too many of my friends here but I will let you know what I have seen so far.
TIm Dashwood, designer of the 3D toolbox plugin for FCP, Adobe and Avid is demoing a pre-release of his new Onset 3D tool that is due to ship after the first of the year, Mac based and very flexible for those of us working in 3D, I am planning on doing a full review of 3D toolbox later this year as soon as I can get back to Chicago and get some work done.
Iridas is also showing the updated Stereo Frame Cycler that has a one button convergence adjustment that looks very promising for the future of 3D post.
Arri's booth is already awash with people interested with the Alexa, I spent some time with Marc Dando from the Highend DDR company Codex to see their new Codex Mini recorder and Base Station with the first ArriRaw implementations in Alexa being shown as early beta here at the show. I will be all over this announcement, along with all of the Alexa News in my followups next week.
Since I am working in the Aja booth, I need to also mention 3 new items Aja is showing,
The Hi5-3D, mini-converter sized Stereo display converter- used for muxing the 2 camera signals into one HDMI stream for onset viewing, an update to the Kona 3- now available with 3G connectivity and HDMI in and out, and lastly the KiPro Mini- a smaller,lightweight (20oz) version of the popular ProRes recorder. No Up/Down conversion and only HDSDI and HDMI I/O, but all the flavors of ProRes are recorded to CF cards to allow for ultra portable capture and playback.
here is a photo from my phone showing the KiPro and along side the Mini unit.
Its time for the Tv and Technology show for the rest of the world to start. IBC, THE TV show for the rest of the world starts later this week, and I am once again in attendance.
If NAB is about the announcements, IBC is about the delivery of those products we have been waiting for since April's big show.
I am here, keeping up with all of the releases and whats new, so stay tuned and I will try to keep everyone updated ever day or so with all of the new toys and announcements from one of the best trade shows I have ever done.
So with all the talk about Log vs Lin and what can and can’t be done digitally, lets get back to the basics. Lets talk about the bit depth in color channels.
That’s right, Bit Depth. I am constantly astounded how many people here or on the Cow fail to grasp the need for more bit’s - and the misunderstanding about where and when it matters.
Let me start with a couple of basic ideas.
Color spaces are identified in the video world as either RGB or as Y’CbCr.
Bit depths are determined by how many “bits” or one’s and zero’s that are needed to identify as specific color.
So the Per Channel information looks like this.
1 bit = 2 colors ( black or white)
2 bits = 4 color (first gray-scale)
3 bits = 8 colors
4 bits = 16 colors
8 bits = 256 colors
10bits = 1024 colors
12bits = 4096 color
16bits = 65,536 colors
Do not forget that these are the numbers of colors (or levels of grey) that can be reproduced in EACH of the 3 color channels of image and they also refer to the uniquely identifiable luminance levels that can be reproduced.
So that defines the channels but what about the overall colors available are available?
Bit depth levels Total Colors Resolved
8b 256 16,777,216
10b 1024 1,073,741,824
12b 4096 68,719,476,736
16b 65536 281,474,976,710,656
The bigger issue in my mind is not everybody uses the same terminology when talking about bit depth, video uses one methodology and print uses another so this can end up being very confusing if one does not use the proper terminology for each type of workflow.
Print uses terms like “Millions of colors” to describe its bit depth while often also listing the alpha channel as part of the available depth volume (32bpc is considered to be 8x8x8x8 bits per channel), whereas Video traditionally uses the bit level of one single channel to define their meaning.
So that very same file in the video world is considered 8bit.
While higher bit depth is preferred anytime there is image processing going on, say when shooting for VFX or when using greenscreen, the reality is that there is very little video content that is ever captured at higher than 10bit.
The vast majority of cameras on the market cannot capture more than 8bits of info when recording internally and that would include virtually all tape based cameras (excluding the SRW 9000 camera that shoots HDCamSR tape) All DV and HDV style cameras, P2 (while some P2 cameras can record 10bit as AVC-I, most do not), even digital betacam, consider the first 10bit system, did not record more than 8 bits in-camera, the 10bit path was only capable in post.
The digital confusion really sets in the DSLR world,where all of the new people shooting video cannot seem to comprehend that video recorded in these cameras is NOT at anywhere near the level of color fidelity or resolution that the Camera Raw format records when capturing still images in a DSLR.
So I offer some guidelines that I use when speaking out about bit depth, and while not all of them are completely and fully accurate, they are for the most part guides to keep people on the same page when discussing bit depth.
1) Video delivery is either 8 bits (256 levels) or 10bits (1024 levels) without alpha channels or masking info, there are only a very few cameras that can actually record 16 bits of data, and even fewer ways to record it.
- You can create and handle 16bit material via raw / native codec compression (as recorded in the Phantom camera), as DPX or Tiff still frames that are captured at the camera using high-end 3rd party recorders. Working at this level in FCP will force color depth conformity by turning off the RT extreme engine.
2) There is NO color subsampling in RGB - its kinda hard to use less color when all 3 channels are needed to record full color data. Color subsampling is only done when working in the Y’Cb’Cr’ video color space, that allows for color (chroma) data to be separate from luminance.
3) Alpha channels are NOT included as part of the bit depth calculations - mainly because in the video space the alpha channel can be a differing bit depth than the video file, as in Apple’s ProRes 4444 codec-where video processing can support upto 12bits per channel for video, but up to 16bit for the alpha channel.
4) Realtime compression schemes for playback are 8bit- Speed is what RT is all about, so bit depth is a secondary concern. Apple, Avid and Adobe all force 8bit to achieve more responsive playback in the timeline, using those RT files will limit depth to 8bit.
5) Remember that 90% of the viewing world is done at 8bit.
that would be almost anything that uses compression for delivery- BluRay discs, OTA transmission, Flash, even most h.264 encoding (especially those iPod, iPhone and apple Tv settings in compressor) are limited to 8bit, as are the vast majority of displays. Televisions will stay that way for a while longer, while computer displays are just starting to peak out at 10bit.
To get a better handle on Bit Depth and how it pertains to video check out these sources of information:
Join industry geek Gary Adcock as he explores the world and technology as it relates to Film and Video production. I am also a Glass artist, so I spend my free time creating art from silica and fire when I am not cooking.