Monday, 21 September, 2009

IBC 2009 - my view

I just got back from chilly Amsterdam where IBC happened between 10th and 15th Sept 2009. I don't have a detailed report like earlier years. But I do have notes on many things I saw and anyone is welcome to write me and I'll share specific information.

From the post-production point of view there were significant happenings around IBC. Some a bit before IBC, and others during.

First, Blackmagic Design bought DaVinci. For me this was significant. That a manufacturers of capture cards costing between US$ 250 to $ 2000 could sell enough of these to be able to buy out a company that sold systems costing US$ 300,000 to $ 800,000 each. Clearly shows where the numbers are.

Blackmagic's buyout has been documented by many sites, along with Grant Petty's own thoughts, so I won't repeat any of it. Creative Cow has a detailed analysis and an interview with Grant.

These four links tell all.
Blackmagic Design Buys DaVinci: Part 1
Blackmagic Design Buys the Power of daVinci: Part 2
A Letter From Grant Petty 

Blackmagic & DaVinci, and What It Means

But broadly, after this buyout, the DaVinci 2k Plus - the telecine colour correction system - will be discontinued. Resolve, the DI grading system will stay and probably be overhauled. As will Revival. Resolve now sports 3D workflows as well as 4k real time even for 3D.

Two other acquisitions happened but the results of these aren't immediately obvious. Avid bought Maximum Throughput and EditShare bought Gee which makes Geevs broadcast video servers, and the Lightworks editing system.

Quantel, Digital Vision, DaVinci, Filmlight had their stands in places different from earlier years. And they all has smaller stands. And all four, aside of some evolutions in their systems had nothing Earth shattering to show.

Pandora showed their MacPro based grading system - the Revolution. For DI workflows. Along with their Evolution grading surface. My colourist colleagues sat through a demo and came away impressed. Pandora has reduced prices.

Scratch and Iridas Speedgrade were both there with colour grading systems that are getting better all the time.

Red was everywhere too but there was no official Red booth. All grading systems now offer Red support. Some even have acceleration using RedRocket - Like Digital Vision. Conforming to Red files is also almost standard and doesn't need complicated DPX conversion workflows.

There were many film scanners at IBC. DFT's Scanity though not shipping yet. Spirit 4k, P+S Technik's Steadyframe, MWA's Flash Transfer, Lasergraphics' scanner, Arri's scanner, Norhtlight, Cintel's Ditto and DataMill, GoldenEye, were all there with their scanners. Great time for someone to do a side by side comparison. I did and was extremely impressed with GoldenEye.

Amongst all these, GoldenEye with its small size, 4k/2k interchangeabilty, capability for Dailies use, Sound transfer features, and low price seemed to be the scanner to watch. It is also ideal for restoration because of its clawless film transport. I hope to be associated with these scanners in the months to come.

Foundry's Nuke is emerging as the leader in film and TV compositing and VFX. They have a great suite of products and a deal for Nuke leading to the soon to be released NukeX. For a modest budget, Furnace plug-ins for FCP pack a serious punch and deliver the same quality as those inside Nuke.

Maxon's Cinema4D showed great demos and I wish someone somewhere in India would adopt this in a big way. Its the only Mac and PC based complete 3D system out there. Starting at $1000 and going up to $ 3700 with unlimited render clients this is the 3D creation software to consider if you're an all Mac shop,

Avid showed off new versions of their flagship products. I saw the Media Composer 4 demo and the single biggest feature was frame rate mixing in the same timeline. That, along with 100 undos, 16 tracks in the audio mixer, and improvements in segment mode handling are the great new features in the new MC. Avid's presentation also misspelt the word editor - they spelt it as editiors.

3D stereoscopic vision is still going strong. And many companies have now implemented it in one form or another. 3D displays and movies were everywhere. Quantel still seems to be the leader but others are fast catching up. For editing 3D, Avid has it sorted out somewhat while FCP can be made to do 3D via Cineform.

Among monitors, JVC seem to be the best with even a 10-bit display on show. But TVlogic, and Frontniche are great too. Astro's 4k display is as gorgeous as ever and a must buy for someone doing 4k or Red. Sharp also makes a 4k display, but I didn't see it at IBC.

I saw many DCI encoders that make DCPs for theatrical digital cinema release. Dolby, Qube, Doremi, and others. The surprise at Dolby was, or course Pankaj Kedia - the former 'face of Discreet' in India now in a new Avatar. Still soft-spoken,  sweet and helpful, I think Pankaj will take Dolby to new places in India, just as he did with Discreet.

DCI encoders are still a bit complex. The interface and working is simple enough but the whole act of QC and previewing as well as accommodating changes seems a bit clunky. This has to get simpler and easier. And cheaper too. I quite miss the Wraptor plug-in from Quvis.


  1. Last year you said:
    "Genetic Engineering is also evolving into a good shared workflow solution. Now Quantel just need to open up their storage and make their systems able to operate off others'."

    So what's your view of their file vitualisation technology?

  2. Did you see Cache-A's new archive appliances?

  3. Quantel's virtualization.
    Yes I did see it. Very impressive as is probably everything Quantel does with their hardware. I still believe this is one robust system. And I work with Smoke and eQ systems everyday.

    Also very impressive in these days of tapeless/filmless data integrity is very crucial. Its a bit pricey though so small film-makers and docu setups may not be able to afford it.

    I'll be writing about this soon.

  4. Anonymous9:57 PM

    Hi, how do you compare Golden Eye Film Scanner against Scanity?


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