Product News from NAB2006
This month, the editors cast a spotlight on product announcements made during NAB2006, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The NAB Digital Cinema Summit for professionals in entertainment technology, creative and technical production, and postproduction included a keynote address by filmmaker James Cameron. At the same time, the NAB Post/Production World Conference portion of NAB2006 boasted keynote speakers Dylan Tichenor, editor of Brokeback Mountain, and Hughes Winborne, who won the 2006 Oscar for his work editing Crash. NAB is the annual electronic media show coordinated by the National Association of Broadcasters. For additional information about the association or its events, visit www.nabshow.com.
Win • Mac • Linux • Irix — D2 Software, a subsidiary of Digital Domain, demonstrated its Nuke Version 4.5 at NAB2006. Now shipping, Version 4.5 of the Nuke compositing and effects system boasts a new image-based keyer (IBK), new user interface mode, and expanded support for Open FX. The IBK enables users to adjust color channels individually, as well as provides tools for overcoming matte edges and the halo effect. The latest edition also offers artists the ability to change 3D elements-through the application of multiple independent transforms, shaders, and materials, for instance-directly within Nuke. Nuke 4.5 costs $4995 for the software license, and annual maintenance costs $999 per year. Additional render nodes are offered at a price of $745 per seat. Version 4.5 is a no-cost upgrade for customers with current support contracts. Quarterly lease options, volume discounts, and education pricing also are available.
Zygote Media Group has introduced Zygote Human Heart 3, said to be the only animated 3D heart model available for licensing. Targeted at graphic designers, animators, and scientists, the model offers realistic detail gleaned from MRI and CT data, a reduced polygon count, and support for such popular 3D applications as Autodesk’s 3ds Max and Maya, NewTek’s LightWave, Softimage’s XSI, and Curious Software’s Shade. Included are two high-resolution exterior texture maps from digital photos of the human heart and an animation of the full cardiac cycle with cutaway interior views. Available for licensing from www.3DScience.com, Human Heart 3 pricing starts at $1200.
Zygote Media Group
Win • Mac — Curious Software, acquired last year by Vizrt, has released Traffic Flow for the design, production, and on-air presentation of traffic maps. Traffic Flow encompasses the company’s Traffic Producer and Map Presenter programs. Traffic Producer provides users with a template-driven user interface, drag-and-drop symbols, and the ability to highlight roadways. It enables users to search the street database with street names, house numbers, intersections, or GPS coordinates, as well as to produce animation using wizards. The Map Presenter playback system aids users in building, or importing from Traffic Producer, a rundown of stills or animations. Broadcasters can change the rundown order, add video clips or live or recorded telestration, or play through the full rundown automatically or according to cues from the presenter. Available now, Curious Traffic Flow is priced at roughly $5000, depending on the exact software configuration.
Win — Maker of automation and content-design solutions for the postproduction, broadcast, cable television, and Internet markets, VDS has unveiled Version 7 of its Twister HD software program. Twister HD Version 7, the next generation of the company’s Liberty Paint, provides broadcasters with paint, work flow, and graphic content-creation tools. Twister HD can function as a stand-alone application or as a plug-in to content creation, editing, management, and display systems. The software provides users with a variety of brushes and paint utilities, unlimited layers, image-processing and masking tools, and support for third-party Photoshop-compatible plug-ins. New to the latest version are support for 3D past image and mask layers, video grab to canvas functionality, real-time paint show to video in SD or HD, and compatibility with Chyron, Aprisa, Pinnacle, Avid, ORAD, and Quantel hardware. Now available, Version 7 is priced at $1500 for the plug-in and $2500 for full stand-alone software; complete turnkey HD systems begin at $24,000.
Win — NAB2006 set the stage for the debut of MTI Film’s Control Dailies 2k and Correct DRS (Digital Restoration System) Version 5. The Control Dailies 2k image and audio-control environment aids users in the delivery of motion-picture dailies and image transfer, metadata collection, post synchronization, and output tasks. The new solution sports the Control Color integrated primary color corrector and built-in Still Store, a utility that MTI Film co-developed with Silicon Color. Version 5 of the company’s Correct DRS film and video restoration and finishing software now provides the ability to record to image files (DPX), save and reuse custom look-up tables (LUTs), and rename and drag and drop clips. Other features in Version 5 include a new recording console, three-layer dirt detection, pan constraints, clip-to-clip rendering, and improved cut detection.
Win — Sony Media Software has updated its Universal Media Disc (UMD) authoring software suite. UMD Composer 2 is designed to aid film studios and production houses in the production of UMD Video and UMD Music titles. Enabling users to format video-based UMD discs, Version 2 includes such enhancements as refined distributed encoding for improved efficiency and a streamlined setup process. Also new to the software suite is a stand-alone multiplexer, which enables multiplexing and encoding procedures to operate on separate workstations; in this way, UMD Composer 2 enables concurrent multiplexing for increased productivity and efficiency. UMD Composer 2 features documentation, samples, and tools designed to provide stream encoding and multiplexing, playlist composition, previewing, compiling, image generation, and image checking. Included in the software suite are the Stream Composer Package, aiding in the preview of the encoded stream file and generating a PlayList file; the Video Interactive System, with utilities for testing and validating menus in a PC environment; and the Image Creator Package, for converting files into UMD disc images and verifying their compliance. Users with a current support agreement can upgrade to Version 2, now available, free of charge.
Sony Media Software
During NAB2006, FilmLight demonstrated its Northlight 2 scanner. Equipped with new sensor technology, optics, and electronics enable, the upgraded device is able to achieve scanning speeds up to four times faster than with the previous version. These enhancements allow the system to input two frames per second at 2k quality and one frame per second at 4k. Also new to Northlight 2 are infrared scanning, archive and restoration features, and support for third-party dust-removal applications.
Computer Graphics World April, 2006