By Andy Toms
Cutting edge cameras, filtering through file formats, keeping track of technology; when you’re running a Post House, staying on top of emerging trends can be a full time job. Fortunately technology itself is making the task a little easier.
I had the opportunity recently to visit an online trade show. It was just like visiting the real thing, you could visit exhibitors booths, attend seminars, and chat to other visitors. All the pleasures of a real trade show, without the travel, food, and drink!
There was much discussion on the subject of emerging trends for 2011. Some of the common points were:
New camera formats continue to be introduced, and these are gradually being supported directly by edit system manufacturers. New cameras from Arri and Aaton offer the ability to record in formats that can be used directly in edit systems, without having to go through a lengthy transcode process, but at the same time we are seeing an increasing number of projects shot on still cameras, such as the Canon 7D, that have the ability to record HD video.
This means that increasingly, acquisition of footage is rapidly becoming tapeless, but poses challenges for storing the material. There is no longer an archive of the original footage that can be put on the shelf, and careful data management is required to keep the media safe. Hard drives are easily susceptible to damage, and Studio Post recommends that at least 3 copies are kept on separate drives to safeguard against loss. Videotape is still the preferred method for long term storage of completed programs, although we are increasingly delivering commercials to broadcasters electronically, as well as repurposing video for the Web, Youtube, and iPhone viewing.
Stereoscopic 3D has been the source of much interest for the last year or two. Now that almost everyone has a flat panel HD display, the electronics manufacturers need a reason to replace them. Computer monitors LCD and Plasma TVs are all now available in 3D versions, but all require expensive active battery powered glasses to view content in 3D. On the acquisition side special cameras are required that shoot 2 streams of video simultaneously, and for post production, these need to be synchronized, and edited or color corrected simultaneously. There are workflows for both Avid and Final Cut to allow 3D editing.
Andy Toms, P.Eng is Director of Engineering at Studio Post, Edmonton.