Pro Tools 12.8.2 launched at AES

Pro Tools 12.8.2 launched at AES

At AES today, Avid announced Pro Tools 12.8.2, the latest version of their ubiquitous audio software. 12.8.2 includes major improvements and new features for Pro Tools | First, Pro Tools, and Pro Tools | HD.

User requests

Some of these changes are based on user requests, including a slew of new MIDI enhancements to help speed and ease your workflow. Avid tell us you’ll be able to:

– Quickly change Grid and Nudge sizes, and Pencil tool commands, using keystrokes.

– Record-enable, solo, and mute MIDI tracks right in the MIDI Editor.

– View chord names and notes as you play them to ensure input accuracy.

– Store and recall MIDI Editor lanes in window configurations.

– Constrain MIDI clips to edit selections while using the Smart Tool.

Editing and mix for VR

Avid have been working to make immersive full-sphere surround sound content easier to create. 12.8.2 includes support for  first-, second-, and third-order Ambisonics formats across your Pro Tools tracks and busses. You can then output and deliver content to the required format for playback.

Speed up your Atmos workflow

With the new front/rear position knob link, you can easily control both parameters as one when writing panning automation from the Pro Tools interface or a control surface, with all subsequent automation being written following suit. You can also set up Pro Tools sessions in seconds based on the connected Dolby Atmos Renderer configuration, and repurpose existing pan automation data to instantly generate height automation.

Workflow efficiency

The introduction of Batch Rename means you can now give your countless tracks and tips more meaningful names, more easily. Your options for renaming tracks include find and replace, adding prefixes and/or suffixes, and applying various numbering conventions. You can also navigate through large sessions and menus faster with type-ahead search capabilities available in the Scroll to Track dialogue and menus for Plug-in, Input, Output, Send, and more.

Converting projects to Pro Tools | First

If you’re collaborating on projects, you can convert projects from Pro Tools or Pro Tools | HD to a project format in Pro Tools | First, so that you can carry on working with them. Simply open a session and use the Convert to Project dialogue that pops up to save the file as a project in your cloud space.

If you want to know more about the latest edition of Pro Tools, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

When does production become post?

When does production become post?

The increasingly common combination of high shoot ratios and tight deadlines puts pressure on facilities to increase efficiencies across production and post. In an effort to reduce turnaround times and cut down the amount of time spent on non-billable activities, production and post teams are now working together from far earlier into the production schedule, with post houses sending staff to set to ensure footage is logged as soon after the shoot as possible, and DITs performing post-critical functions.

Manufacturers are keen to facilitate this collaboration – AJA seem to have kicked off the scramble to unite the two when they released the first Ki Pro back in 2009, and noone seems to have paused for breath since. But there are dozens of factors to consider when planning your workflow, from whether you’ll be handling HDR footage, to IP integration, to the impact of the incoming 5G connectivity standard. With that in mind, we’re taking a look at a few different points of contact, and how you can make sure your workflow there is mutually beneficial for production and post.

Shooting and monitoring

Accurate metadata can speed up post-production immensely, by making it far easier for artists to match the original scene conditions when compositing, compensate for issues with specific cameras or lenses when correcting footage, and more.

Zeiss are currently setting the standard for incredibly detailed metadata with the new eXtended Data lens, the CP.3 XD. As well as giving your DoP precision, quality and all the other benefits of working with Zeiss glass, XD lenses create a huge amount of metadata about each shot, containing details not just of features like focal length and exposure, but details about the lens itself. In post, tweaking this metadata becomes a quicker, easier way to compensate for lens shading, or to correct for the different distortions of individual lenses used in production. When compositing, the metadata drastically cuts down the amount of trial and error (and therefore time) needed for artists to match on-set lighting conditions. This ultimately drives down the time and money needed for post, and so could even help buy you more time on set.

Monitor and recorder manufacturers Atomos have attempted to bring a similar spirit of cooperation to monitoring with their newly announced SUMO 19 HDR production/grading monitor, which can record dailies, proxies or 4Kp60 masters as needed.  This means camera crews can see what they’ve captured in HDR, as it will appear to post teams, and be sure they’re happy with the shot as it appears, rather than having to guess based off a Rec.709 image. The recording feature also means that dailies (or a low res proxy, if you have limited bandwidth/storage) can be send to a post facility immediately, and assembly can begin far earlier than usual.

Solutions like this are making it easier for production and post crews to maintain a common vision of the project throughout, and reduce the time taken to create the final product without limiting either party’s options in that way that, say, Sony baking HLG into footage from some of its lower-end cameras does.

Logging and metadata

Loggers and ingest technicians are increasingly venturing out to log footage as close to set as possible. While data and asset management has been an intrinsic part of post for a long time, it’s now widely acknowledged that by focusing more on this on set, crews can increase the overall efficiency of the project, and drastically reduce the time needed to put everything together in post.

Asset management systems like axle Video are excellent – axle is particularly good if you’re new to this, as you can just point it at your file system and it will automatically index all media files, then update its database automatically in realtime as you add new footage. You can then share low res proxies through a web browser so that people can reject, trim and comment on clips; it’ll even integrate with NLEs so that editors can search new footage without leaving their editing application. It ships with a standard metadata schema, but you can customise this to the requirements of your shoot.

Avid’s MediaCentral | Asset Management option (formerly Avid Interplay MAM) performs a similar function, indexing media in a range of formats and allowing you to add custom metadata in order to make it easier to find. It even allows you to remotely access assets from multiple locations, so if crews at different locations both log footage, all of it will be available for review at the same time. Avid’s MediaCentral system also allows for a high degree of automation when it comes to things like ingest, logging, archiving and sharing footage, meaning you can achieve more in less time, and with a smaller team.

Cloud delivery

Once footage has been logged, it can be sent back to the post facility, or to a staging post if you’re in a remote location. As the available networks have become faster, cloud delivery has gained popularity, whether that’s ENG crews using in-camera FTP capabilities to send footage back to the newsroom, or crews on location leveraging file sharing services to deliver footage to post as quickly as possible. And with 5G set to make 100Mbps over the air file sharing a reality over the next few years, this option is only set to get more popular.

If you’re collecting or monitoring footage from drones, car-mounted cams and other inaccessible recorders, Soliton’s on-camera encoders and receivers are a great investment – they use a mixture of H.265 compression and proprietary RASCOW technology to ensure you see an HD live stream of your footage even in areas where 3G and 4G coverage is patchy, with delays as low as 240 ms.

For reliable file transfer, we’d recommend IBM’s Aspera service. While it’s pricier than WeTransfer, it uses end to end encryption to to keep your footage secure and, unlike consumer services, doesn’t get slower the larger your files are. Another feature we’re particularly keen on is that it calculates the precise time a transfer will take on your current connection before it begins, so if it says a transfer will take seven hours, you can ring ahead and let your colleagues know when to expect the file with a fairly high degree of certainty.

How does this all fit together?

We can help you develop workflows to maximise efficiency in production and post, and advise on ways to prepare your existing infrastructure for the future, or fold new releases into your existing workflow. As well as providing consultancy, workflow design and specialist hardware, we can provide ongoing support and maintenance for your core kit. To find out more, get in touch with the team on the details below.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Testing digital leaders’ film making skills at Langley Grammar School

Testing digital leaders’ film making skills at Langley Grammar School

Langley Grammar School’s Digital Leaders play a vital role in making sure that the school’s IT and iPad provision supports and engages students, and that there’s always a clear line of communication from the staff making IT policies to the students working under them.

When we heard that the school had just added some new Digital Leaders to the team, we thought it only right that they be put through their paces – it’s a very important role, after all. With that in mind, we set them a challenge: make a video explaining how iPad is benefiting your education, using only that same iPad.

Using their trusty iPads, students had to script, shoot and edit a three minute video showing how the school was encouraging creative, independent learning, and trying to make lessons more fun.

We’re not completely cruel, so we made sure one of our Apple Education Trainers (and former teacher) Mike Watkinson was on hand to answer any questions about apps the students hadn’t used before, but otherwise they were on their own. Over to Mike…

“Myself and Langley’s Specialist Leader for Education, Dan Mace, briefed the digital leaders on the project – this was the first time they had been asked to carry out a task like this with the knowledge that what they were producing would represent the school, so quite intimidating for them I think!

“They had also not worked on a larger scale video project, so we discussed ideas around planning and storyboarding. The students were asked how would they like to represent ways that iPad is used in the school, and what the practicalities of capturing that information would be.

“They then assigned roles to members of the team, including scriptwriters, camera operators, presenters, editors, musicians and so on, and set to work.”

The students were only using a small amount of pre-recorded footage, such as that taken from existing projects, so needed no capture and edit their contributions very quickly, as they only had a day to script, shoot and cut the video.

Mike explained: “The idea was to review each contribution as a group then compile the contributions to make the final film, adding titles and music as appropriate. iMovie was the main tool used for this process, but music was composed by members of the team using GarageBand.

“The students planned the content and structure of the final piece and captured and/or created all the materials, with guidance from Dan and myself only being around how such projects can be organised and delivered, and a little help with timekeeping! Considering they were new to the role and the process I think the results do them and the school great credit!”

If you want to know more about iPad in education, give us a call on 03332 409 290 or email education@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Decking out your iPad for video

Decking out your iPad for video

As you may have seen, pupils at Langley Grammar School have produced a great Student Voice video about how they use iPad in the classroom (if you missed it, you can check out their impressive results below). The school’s Digital Leaders only had a day to plan, shoot and edit the video, all on their iPads.

While most schools are already au fait with iMovie and GarageBand – and indeed, those are the tools that Langley’s Digital Leaders relied on – there are loads of apps and accessories out there to help you take advantage of iPad’s excellent camera, whether you need a hand planning a shoot, capturing footage or editing it. We asked our team to recommend a few in case anyone was inspired to follow in Langley’s footsteps…

Before the shoot

For planning a shoot, Paper is a popular app for general note-taking, and the ease with which students can draw and share means it’s a quick fix if you want to create storyboards digitally. If you’re looking for more simplistic tools, students could use Keynote to storyboard their project, or even create an album in Photos and order their pictures and existing footage prior to placing them in iMovie.

During the shoot

Apple have also released Clips, a free app for making and sharing videos with text, graphics and effects – essentially, a simplified version of iMovie. It’s ideal for children just starting to learn video production with iPad. You can capture footage within the app and use intuitive tools to edit and post to various platforms, including Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo.

If you need to keep an iPad still for long shots, say to record an interview, or so it can be used as an autocue, then mounting it on a tripod is your best bet. B-Hague’s mounts work with iPad 2, 3 and 4, and can be mounted to a tripod, ball head, clamp, bracket or anything with a standard 1/4″ camera screw or 5/8″ stud. If your students are expanding their editing skills, the Lastolite Chromakey collapsible reversible background can be used in video setups for when a background will be added digitally in the editing stage.

Ideal for younger pupils who haven’t quite grasped that you shouldn’t shoot in portrait mode, or for any pupils who struggle to hold their camera steady, Horizon Camera restricts what your camera shoots to a stable, well-proportioned landscape image. Regardless of how much you move the camera, the resulting footage always looks right when it’s displayed. The free version watermarks your footage, but you can upgrade to the premium version for £1.99 and unlock a whole range of additional features, and footage can be opened in iMovie so that it can be edited along with your other clips.

Also available to further utilise your iPad for production is Teleprompter Lite, a free app that allows you to create and edit unlimited scripts, set the scrolling speed, preview your performance using the iPad camera and set a custom background to what students are most comfortable reading from. Perfect for projects that involve students reading in front of the camera, such as news reading or creating intros.

How can we help?

Our education team are on hand to get you up and running if you’re ready to get your students planning, shooting and editing video. Get in touch to find out how we can help with everything from choosing the right kit to financing in a way that best suits you.

We also offer a great range of training options for your teachers, to ensure they’ll be confident using the various video production tools in the classroom. We can even come in and help you set up a production space, a multi-purpose environment where students can explore their video skills and get the most use out of the tools.

Want to find out more about using iPad for video production in schools? Drop us an email at education@Jigsaw24.com or call 03332 409 290. For everything else, including the latest news, events and offers, follow us on Twitter @WeAreJigsaw24 or ‘like’ us on Facebook.

Save up to $5000 with NewTek’s TC1 trade up deal

Save up to $5000 with NewTek’s TC1 trade up deal

NewTek are giving TriCaster owners one last chance to trade up to the latest TriCaster TC1 for less, with a trade-in deal that will run until 30th November 2017. 

NewTek are insistent that this is the last trade-in offer they’ll be running for the TC1, so if you want to increase the reach of your productions and make sure your kit is ready for an IP workflow, now’s the time to upgrade. If you’re worried that your TriCaster is too old to trade in, don’t be – virtually every model ever produced is eligible (scroll down for the full list).

Why choose the TC1?

tricaster_tc1_bundle

The TC1 is NewTek’s most advanced TriCaster, offering UHD 4K streaming as standard. It’s also equipped for IP workflows as well as SDI ones, meaning your TC1 setup will be more future-proof than whichever model you’re currently using.

Channel-wise, the TC1 supports up to 16 inputs, at any resolution up to 4K UHD 60p resolution (2160p60, 3G, HD, and SD resolutions are also supported), and offers multiple studio-grade Skype TX channels for adding remote video guests to live shows.

 

Other key features include:

– Four Mix/Effects buses supporting separate mixes, keying layers, virtual sets, compositing, and more.

– Multi-channel ISO recording to full-resolution QuickTime and H.264 files for VOD, post-production, and archive.

– Dual-channel live streaming to Facebook Live, Microsoft Azure, Twitch, Twitter, YouTube Live, and more.

– Realtime export for social media sharing to Facebook, Imgur, LinkedIn, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube, and more.

– Integrated video servers allowing playback, replay, and live editing without additional hardware.

– Powerful production automation with custom macro commands, sophisticated full-motion compositing, and flexible control options.

– Advanced audio mixing with multi-source configuration and control, professional DSPs, and 4x4x4 channel routing.

– Premier creative capabilities, including multi-bus mix effects, animated titles and transitions, advanced chroma keying, spectacular live virtual sets, and more.

– Over 100 operator-centric features to maximise efficiency in video production including PTZ camera control, 4x4x4 audio matrix router and mixer, DANTE and AES 67, animated buffers, and more.

–  Fully NDI IP enabled. Open up your workflow with all NDI applications and hardware.

How to claim

To claim, you need to get in touch with us and say you want to purchase the TC1 via trade up, and provide us with the serial number of the TriCaster you want to trade in (you must have registered your TriCaster with NewTek beforehand). We’ll then verify your details with NewTek and send them your old TriCaster; once they receive it, you’ll get the appropriate amount knocked off your TC1 order.

You can trade in TriCasters 455, 450, 450 EXTREME, 410, Mini, 40, 300, 100, BROADCAST, STUDIO, PRO and DUO for $2500 credit toward a TriCaster TC1 or $5000 credit towards a TC1 bundle. For customers outside America, the amount of credit you get will vary depending on exchange rates.

This deal cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers, although education customers can still receive their Education Add-On.

For more details or to start your trade up, get in touch with the team on the details below.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Who are Amulet Hotkey?

Who are Amulet Hotkey?

KVM or ‘PC over IP’ workflows have long been the norm in business, but now they’re finding their way into creative facilities because they give you the ability to position a keyboard, monitor, mouse and Wacom anywhere in Northern Europe and use your workstation with no lag or dropped frames.

Editors and artists can access workstations from anywhere – on set, an OB facility, an international office – using a standard IP connection and any keyboard, display and mouse that’s to hand, without losing any of the power of their usual workstation.

So who are Amulet Hotkey?

Amulet Hotkey are the leading provider of KVM over IP solutions. Their hardware runs on the popular, trusted Teradici chip set (the closest thing to an industry standard for KVM over IP), and can be added to systems using an internal card or an external, rack mounted solution.

Why are they so popular?

Low cost Amulet Hotkey’s solutions are typically between 50% and 60% of the cost of rival solutions.

End to end security We recommend Amulet Hotkey to film customers because all data is AES encrypted on the network and uses 4096-bit public key cryptography.

Work over any network Amulet Hotkey’s solutions are particularly popular in post because, unlike other solutions, they’ll work over any network and don’t require a dedicated 1Gb connection, and will scale down to work with a standard internet connection.

No single point of failure This reduces the risk of costly downtime or data loss.

Teradici support Teradici’s chip set is used in many KVM over IP solutions, so if you’ve built up your KVM setup piecemeal using kit from multiple manufacturers, it’ll all play nicely with an Amulet Hotkey solution.

What does a typical setup look like?

There are two Amulet Hotkey options: external rackmount solutions, or internal cards.

The rack mounted chassis, the DXiP, can house up to 12 Amulet Hotkey cards, each of which can connect one or more artists to their workstation via a zero client – a lightweight endpoint that connects the end user’s keyboard, mouse and display to the network. No software or drivers are required on the host workstation, and the card will support all major workstations and operating systems.

Alternatively, a number of half and full width internal PCIe cards are available. You’ll need to install one of these cards in your host workstation, and then connect directly to your target zero client. There are a number of zero client options available, some with support for dual screen monitoring, others with support for four or, if you’re really keen on screens, six.

Why should you choose us?

Jigsaw24 and root6 have installed more KVM over IP setups into the film industry than any other reseller, and have in-house expertise in configuration and support for these solutions, so can provide setup and ongoing support for your Amulet Hotkey solution, rather than just selling you hardware.

We also offer free trials to anyone who thinks KVM over IP is right for their organisation. To arrange yours, get in touch with our team on the details below.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

ZEISS’s new CP.3 XD lenses explained

ZEISS’s new CP.3 XD lenses explained

ZEISS’s new CP.3 XD lenses boast eXtended Data – new metadata that provides frame-accurate information about the shading and distortion properties of each individual lens, along with metadata about focal length, calibrated T-stop value and focusing distance. We sat down with ZEISS’s Luke Tait to find out what this means for you.

So, how does eXtended Data work?

It’s based on Cooke /i technology, so the lenses communicate with the camera through the mount, with information on where they’re focused (accurate to 1mm) and what the iris is set to (accurate to within one tenth of a stop).

What XD does is take that communication a lot further. Each individual lens has its shading and distortion characteristics measured at factory level, so the lens knows all that stuff about itself. When you plug in to the XD port on the camera, it can communicate that information to software in post, or those characteristics can be seen and changed live on set.

How is this going to affect production?

It allows you to change the look of a shot quite dramatically on set. Not only can you remove the distortion and shading, but you can exaggerate it, and really change the way the lens looks.

And because that circuitry’s inside the lens now, we can release firmware updates and plug-ins to make them do other things. People have suggested built-in ND effects, so they can slide in ND changes in production or post without having to use other glass or a matte box – we want to keep everything light and easy for drone shooting. The potential for us to add more information and characteristics into the XDs is what makes them exciting. It makes them very future proof.

Presumably the idea is a big hit with post houses?

It’s particularly useful for VFX and augmented reality stuff – Ember Films recently used the XD lenses to recreate the HALO drop scene from the Godzilla movie, which is very VFX heavy. Using XD lenses saved them a lot of time in post, because they could dial out all the distortion and shading characteristics of the lens, do their VFX and then put that information back in to maintain the look of the lenses.

Sensors are getting bigger and higher res, therefore the time needed in post is getting longer because the information is more cumbersome. Anything that can save time in post is useful, and these lenses can do that.

Blackmagic Design have announced that they’re building XD integration into Resolve. Are you dealing with any other manufacturers?

We want XD to be universal, so we’re talking to every camera and software manufacturer – NUKE support is next.

The CP.2 was extremely popular. Why did you decide it was time to move on?

The CP.2 is ten years old, and we’re always asking ourselves ‘how can we improve our products? What’s going on in the world that we need to respond to?’ And the main things were the amount of drone footage people shoot, and the amount of handheld gimbal work that’s going on, both of which mean we need to make our lenses smaller and lighter – that’s something we’ve done on the standard CP.3s and the XD versions.

The CP.3 is available in XD and non-XD models. What are the new features can we look forward to besides the XD port?

One of the niggles people had with the CP.2 was the focusing, which could be quite stiff, particularly if you were somewhere cold. So we’ve taken some technologies from our Ultra Prime and Master Prime lenses and put them into the CP.3, so the focus is silky smooth. We’ve also updated the coatings on every single bit of glass inside the lens, which means that it’s a lot sharper. They deal with flares and aberrations better. So overall: lighter, smaller, cheaper, smoother, sharper.

But people can still expect that the CP.3 will shoot like the CP.2?

There are a lot of good things about the CP.2 that we’ve maintained. So the out of focus qualities are beautiful – it’s really en vogue at the moment to have nice looking bokeh, and the out of focus bits on the CP.2 are beautiful, they have a really cinematic look to them, and we’ve kept that.

We kept the interchangeable mount system. A lot of our customers use different cameras for different jobs, which usually means you have to invest in a lot of lenses. But with the CP.3 and the CP.3 XD you can just change the mount – if you’re using an FS7, you can put an E mount on it, and then if you’re using a RED EPIC DRAGON, you can swap that out for a PL mount.

The CP.3 and CP.3 XD are available for pre-order now, and are due to ship in December. If you’d like to know more, get in touch with the team on the details below.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

IBC 2017: Focusrite release new Red16 Line and RedNet X2P

IBC 2017: Focusrite release new Red16 Line and RedNet X2P

The team have made it back from Amsterdam more or less intact, and they’ve bought all the audio news back with them. In terms of exciting new audio releases, Focusrite ruled the roost, launching the new RedNet X2P and Red16 Line. 

While we don’t have pricing or a fixed release date for either piece of hardware yet, we’ve seen demo units at work on Focusrite’s IBC stand, and we’re pretty impressed by the specs they’ve released so far. Here’s what we know.

RedNet X2P

rednet_x2p_blog_sized

This compact interface adds I/O to your Red, RedNet or Dante systems, packing its 2U form with a 2×2 Dante interface, a pair of Red Evolution mic pres, a stereo line out and its own headphone amplifier. Power, audio and remote control capabilities are all shared over Ethernet (though you’ll need a power over Ethernet injector or switch). It boasts 11 dB of dynamic range, and Focusrite say it has been perfectly balanced to deliver sound quality, dynamic range conversion latency.

Those Red Evolution mic pres boast Focusrite’s famous ultra-clean gain, plus stereo linking, phantom power, a high pass filter and phase reverse. They also support Air mode, which allows you to emulate classic Focusrite transformer mics.

The RedNet X2P body features a crossfader, so you can control the level of local inputs vs network ones, and it can be mounted directly to a mic stand and controlled remotely. You have the option to lock off the mic pre settings and/or the output settings, meaning you can safely allow people to adjust their own headphone mixes without risking them adjusting the mic pre gain.

rednet_2xp_back_connections

Red16 Line

For those of you who crave even more mic pres, there’s the Red16 Line, a 64-in, 64-out Pro Tools HD and Thunderbolt 3 interface that supports 16×16 analogue I/O, 32×32 Dante connectivity, 16 line inputs on D-sub, 16 line outputs and two main monitor outputs.

red16_pre_blog_sized

Because the Red16 Line has native DigiLink and Thunderbolt 3 support, there’s no need to swap out option cards to work with different DAWs, and you can expand your setup quickly and easily over Ethernet.

Once you’ve found your ideal configuration, you can enjoy Red16 Line’s high performance audio convertors, which have over 118 dB dynamic range A/D and 121 dB dynamic range D/A (A weighted). Focusrite claim that, with the Red16, you’ll no longer have to create separate mixes for overdub and playback – just build your mix on your DAW and use it whether you’re overdubbing or playing back. All your plug-ins will remain in place, all the time.

You’ll also get access to the Focusrite Control software mixer, and their Red 2 and 3 compression and EQ plug-ins.

We’ll let you know as soon as we have information on availability and pricing, but if you’d like to discuss your options in the meantime, get in touch with the team on the details below.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email audio@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

HDR formats: which is right for you?

HDR formats: which is right for you?

UHD or ‘Ultra High Definition’ television promises many things, among them high dynamic range (HDR), a wider colour gamut (ie getting closer to the huge range of colours that most people can see), higher frame rates (for super-smooth action, particularly in sport) and higher resolution (4K). Between them, they’re shaking up the TV technology landscape.

In HDR, there are three main standards you’ll have probably heard of. For delivery, the BBC and NHK have developed their Hybrid Log-Gamma system, HLG, while Dolby favour their own Dolby Vision (also known as Dolby PQ). Then, for more domestic delivery, there is also HDR 10.

The principle of using an alternate gamma so that you concentrate the bit-depth where you want the extra range is well established; our eyes do not perceive light the way cameras do. To recap, with a camera, when twice the number of photons hit the sensor, it receives twice the signal (a linear relationship). We, on the other hand, perceive twice the light as being only a fraction brighter — and this is increasingly true at higher light intensities (a nonlinear relationship).

Since gamma encoding redistributes tonal levels closer to how our eyes perceive them, fewer bits are needed to describe a given tonal range. Otherwise, an excess of bits would be devoted to describing the brighter tones (where the camera is relatively more sensitive), and a shortage of bits would be left to describe the darker tones (where the camera is relatively less sensitive). This means gamma encoded images store greyscale more efficiently.

ITU-R BT.2100

It does seem like all of the manufacturers will coalesce around BT.2100, which defines (amongst other things) how you handle the specular highlights: those very bright parts of the picture which really add to the look of pictures.

Specular highlights are typically defined to be >500 Cdm-2, which is much brighter than broadcast white! The idea is that in 10-bit HDR, the tenth bit of dynamic range (all values above 512) represents the highlights, and the other nine bits are akin to the usual video dynamic range.

Delivery formats

There are three delivery formats you need to consider.

HLG

HLG was developed by the BBC and their Japanese counterpart NHK. It is a scene-referred system, just like conventional television, and has been designed with the specific goal of making the transition to HDR easy on broadcasters and production crews – hence its compatibility with SDR, which means that broadcasters can continue to use their existing 10-bit SDI production installations (as with all video, levels are considered dimensionless).

HLG uses relative brightness values to dictate how an image is displayed – the display uses its knowledge of its own capabilities to interpret the relative, scene-referred information. This means that the image can be displayed on monitors with very different brightness capabilities without any impact on the artistic effect of the scene. Because it uses relative values, HLG does not need to carry metadata, and can be used with displays of differing brightness in a wide range of viewing environments.

HLG is supported in Rec. 2100 with a nominal peak luminance of 1000 Cdm-2 (though the BBC have said this is an artificial cap imposed by the monitors they use, and the real figure is more like 4000). It is also supported in HEVC.

Dolby Vision or DolbyPQ (Perceptual Quantiser)

Dolby Vision is the wider set of products that cover both digital cinema and video – Dolby PQ is the element that we’re concerned with. Unlike HLG, DolbyPQ is a display-referred system that uses absolute dimensioned values for the light captured.

The metadata that travels in the SDi payload defines how video levels equate to light levels, and how they should be reproduced at the DolbyPQ display end. The display then reports back to the playback device via EDID to convey its maximum light output.

DolbyPQ supports a maximum brightness of 10,000 Cdm-2.

HDR 10
HDR 10 is another format you’ll have heard of. It’s an open source version of PQ, developed by device manufacturers, but it has a lower video quality, mastered in 10-bit, and only up to 1000 nits cd/m(compared to Dolby’s potential 10,000). It does use metadata, but a far simpler form than Dolby, specifying one luminance level for the entire programme rather than frame by frame.
It’s not backwards compatible either (so can’t be viewed on SDR displays) but because its far more affordable, it’s a popular standard for domestic delivery, particularly on systems where it’s easy to host an SDR version to accompany the HDR (so UHD Blu-rays, set-top boxes and streaming services like Amazon). Sony and Microsoft have also gone down this route for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One S. So while it is big in home cinema, it ultimately has little relevance for the professional production environment.
Dynamic range

All of these formats have greater dynamic range than the human eye (about 14 stops) and SDR video (about six stops) and 10-bit pro SDR (about 10). When HLG footage is displayed on a 1,000 Cdm-2 display with a bit depth of 10 bits per sample, it has a dynamic range of 200,000:1 or 17.6 stops.

HLG also increases the dynamic range by not including the linear part of the conventional gamma curve used by Rec. 601 and Rec. 709. The linear part of the conventional gamma curve was used to limit camera noise in low light video, but is no longer needed with HDR cameras.

DolbyPQ has an even broader dynamic range of around 18 stops, but this is necessary when using display referral as you need to be able to accommodate different types of display and viewing conditions.

Which is right for you?

In a controlled environment like a movie theatre, Dolby Vision makes a lot of sense – it gives you very precise control, can take advantage of more advanced displays, and has a high degree of futureproofing thanks to that whopping 10,000 Cdm-2 upper limit. If you’re in a feature-focused facility with an existing Dolby workflow, it makes a lot of sense to roll out this system to other parts of your pipeline.

However, if your bread and butter jobs come from the BBC and you’re aware that a lot of your viewers will, ultimately, be watching your content in their living room, in the office at lunch or on their iPhone, aligning your setup to their standard seems sensible, as you’ll be in line with a major customer, and the adaptive nature of HLG means it’s well suited to the variety of viewing environments you need to cater for if you’re producing online or television content.

How can we help?

Well, we can make recommendations for acquisition, post-production and delivery of HDR content. We carry cameras, monitors and video interfaces appropriate to HDR workflows, and can often offer demo kit to test in customers’ workflows. To find out more, get in touch with the team on the details below.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

IBC 2017: Atomos’s Connect convertor storms the show

IBC 2017: Atomos’s Connect convertor storms the show

The new Atomos Connect converter range has landed and is ready to colour-code your world. They form a comprehensive and versatile lineup of 15 different conversion, signal processing and system integration boxes that connect, convert, scale, sync, split and repeat your video signals.

These brightly colored devices make finding the right product for the right job easy, with all common analogue, SDI, Fiber and HDMI connections for conversion and distribution tasks taken care of for SD, HD and 4K. They feature a robust construction with locking DC and HDMI connectors, USB power and detachable mounting ears. Status is clearly displayed on bright LEDs and they can be quickly and easily configured using the free ConnectOS software.

Reliability, durability and easy integration were key criteria when designing the range: no corners were cut when it comes to construction.

“We know the way to gain the trust of integrators and broadcasters is to back our products with a three year warranty. With this bold statement, there’s no question that the Connect range will become the de facto converters for the industry,” says Atomos CEO Jeromy Young. “These converters are designed to be extremely durable and reliable yet cost-effective – making them immediately stand out from existing converters. We have a Connect unit for practically everything and I’m certain they will quickly find homes in productions big and small.”

Each converter is colour-coded according to use, making life easier for broadcast and AV system integrators: blue for connect, red for convert, yellow for scale, green for sync, black for split and white for repeat. Bright LEDs clearly display the status of each unit at a glance. Finding the right box and confirming its status has never been easier.

The new range come in slim line metal housings with removable mounting ears, allowing for flexible mounting options for Broadcast and ProAV applications. Power is via the locking DC power connectors for the included AC adapters, or via USB, providing the ability to run for hours from simple cell phone power banks, or from the USB sockets of many modern monitors or TV sets. HDMI connections also have an included locking mechanism that screws into the unit and allows different sized connectors to be secured with a cable tie. This increases the reliability when using the consumer cables.

Setup is straightforward with physical dip switches that allow rapid access to main settings. Atomos will also provide ConnectOS software free of charge that allows full control of scaling and converting parameters from a PC via USB.

The Connect Convert TC and Connect Convert 4K models also have a standout feature that adds scope and audio overlay to any connected display. Timecode, waveform and audio VU meters can be overlaid on the video signal with the toggle of a dip switch.

Reliable performance

Atomos has already gained many fans in live production, who need to know they can count on their equipment. Gene Greenwood, owner of Rock and Roll Sherpas, routinely provides tour video for some of the world’s biggest bands like The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart and Guns N’ Roses, and depends on a small army of Connect converters for his productions.

“The reliability is great,” he enthuses. “I just know that whenever I grab one it is going to work.”

No job is too big or too small for Connect convertors. The connect, convert, scale, sync, split and repeat capabilities also fit perfectly with other Atomos products. “With powerful scaling and standards conversions we provide the digital glue that binds legacy infrastructure with our class-leading monitor recorders, either on set, out in the field or in the studio,” explains Young.

Applications

Integrate HDMI devices into a SDI world If you need to simply convert the HDMI output from your mirrorless camera to SDI to go into a wireless transmitter or switcher, then the Connect Convert HDMI to SDI will do the task for you. If you want to integrate HDMI devices into a more professional broadcast system, then use the HDMI to SDI Convert unit with a built-in synchroniser. It is signal-referenced to provide a proper input to switchers or vision mixers and provides an extremely cost-effective solution for systems integrators.

Extend your SDI over great distances Long SDI cable runs are catered for with the Connect SDI repeater, which can be used on its own or combined with the Connect SDI Splitter for a one-to-many signal distribution using standard coax cable. Want to run a SDI cable longer than 400m from your camera channel to your OB truck? We have you covered with the Connect Convert Fiber SDI-to-Fiber and Fiber-to-SDI boxes. These standalone or integrated solutions will save a lot of money and time – a must in every video engineer’s tool kit.

Connect your front of house computers For live event and pro AV users you can use Connect converters to get signal sources from the front of house to your video village. Your presentation PC or Mac can be easily output to a vision mixer.

Integrate legacy HD kit Legacy HD products, such as tape decks and older cameras can be easily integrated into modern systems with the Connect Analogue to HDMI/SDI converters. Couple these with an Atomos recorder and you can easily archive content to ProRes or Avid DNxHD.

Price and availability

Prices start at just $95, going up to just $595 US for the 4K Line (+ local taxes).

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter‘Like’ us on Facebook or take a look at our IBC roundup.