AVS Forum banner
Not open for further replies.
1 - 1 of 1 Posts

605 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Forum Members,

Some of you may know that I am currently working with Joe Kane Productions in the Los Angeles area on the new Digital Video Essentials. Joe has been kind enough to write up a new update as to our progress. Enjoy!!!

Status Report on the Production of

Digital Video Essentials

26 November 2002

We’ve sent the 720p and 1080i versions of Digital Video Essentials for D-Theater off to Japan for mastering and replication and hope to have the elements for the DVD version of the program finished in another month. Knowing the difficulties we’ve encountered in this production we still won’t be announcing a deliver date until the finished product is in hand. We hope to be able to show the finished D-Theater version at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Digital Video Essentials (DVE) is an ongoing program production of Joe Kane Productions (JKP). Its aim is to help consumers and the audio/video industry with the transition from standard definition video to high definition. It is being produced in the 1080p/24 frame format with 6.1 channel sound and will initially be made available in the D-Theater format in 1080i/60 and 720p/60 as well as several DVD formats. We are aiming at creating the DVD versions by down converting the 1080p/24 master to 480p/24 and 576p/25 for “True Progressive Masteringâ€.

As much as Video Essentials covered the transition from laserdisc to DVD, DVE on DVD will start at progressive standard definition video using “True Progressive Masteringâ€. It will be a step above what is currently available from DVD, having about 30% more vertical image resolution than is found in DVD’s mastered from 480i/60 or 576i/50 sources. The D-Theater tapes will provide examples of true HD capability.

There is a strong possibility we’ll have the HD video and audio edited in early November. If we can keep to that schedule we should have the D-Theater versions of DVE available at the CES in January of 2003. We are not yet announcing a January 2003 delivery date, just aiming at it.

The DVD is slightly more complicated. We still have to get by the “True Progressive Mastering†stage and authoring of the discs, in addition to the multiple language translations. We’ve demonstrated our capability of mastering at 25 Hertz but are still working on the 24 Hertz version.

As of the end of October we continue to edit the program using the latest version of Final Cut Pro® running on an Apple Power Mac G4 with dual 1.25 GHz processors. This is our third upgrade in computers since the edit started in June. The HD serial digital video input and output device is the new AJA Video KONA HD 10-bit card specifically designed for the Apple Power Mac running Jaguar software. The codec and drivers for the AJA unit are by Blackmagic Design. Their 10 bit drivers are also being used to render images in Adobe After Effects. Firmware from AJA has allowed us a video dynamic range that extends from below black to above white. We have just over a terabyte of high speed SCSI hard drive memory from N-Stor attached to the editing system. The SCSI driver technology and hardware interface board is from ATTO Technology.

Even though the edit was officially started in June, the editing system itself is still being updated on a regular basis. We anticipate additional hardware changes before then end of October. Parts of what we’ve assembled prior to this will have to be done again.

In the months of editing DVE we’ve spent much of our time contributing to the knowledge base and functionality of the system. We’ve worked with a number of hardware and software configurations, assisting in determining what’s needed to make the 1080p/24, 10 bit system work. Several new test patterns have been created for performance checks on the video. They will become part of the HD version of DVE.

The history of the program goes back to our experiences in creating Video Essentials as a DVD. In the nine months it took to author that disc we discovered a lot of variables in player capability as well as disc navigation options that could upset many DVD players. At the time of discovering these details it seemed like a good idea to put together a program telling consumers about DVD navigation and player options as they were spelled out in the system specifications, then look at the reality of products on the market. At the time players were evolving so fast we couldn’t keep up with it in the script. Portions of it will make it into the DVD of DVE.

Once VE came to market in October of 1997 we found that manufacturers, retailers, the press and consumers were having trouble understanding component video. Many of them were connecting the DVD player to the display via the composite video port. A second script was started to address that concern.

In the early part of 1998 we were presenting CEDIA Regional courses talking about the coming of DTV and HDTV. A third script was started, much of it being written as we assisted in the HD rollout in November 1998. We had a lot to say about our first experiences with DTV stations going on the air. At the January 1999 CEDIA Regional in Boston we asked a number of key industry people to join us in a discussion of the three scripts. We asked where they would like to see us go with our next production. The most requested topic was the transition from standard definition to high definition. The DVE script was started while still at the Boston Park Plaza hotel. The program would serve as a benchmark for the emerging digital technology.

It took two more years of experience with DTV before we had a script we were willing to pass around to key industry people for comment. Often times issues being addressed in the script were being fixed before as we showed individuals copies of our ideas. Test pattern trials became part of the five CEDIA Regional Education seminars in 2001 as well as being discussed at industry meetings at JKP. Enough script revisions were in place by May of 2001 that we decided to start the production.

Our choices of how the program would be produced changed as often as the script during its first two years of gestation. That continued into the production itself with the addition of references to the D-theater format.

Creating graphics at a 1080p resolution called for finding help from the motion picture graphics industry. In May of 2001 free-lance help was available because of a threatened actor’s strike. The person we eventually hired had worked on some prominent movies at one of the best known facilities in Hollywood. He had many new ideas he wanted to try and proceeded to take us off into uncharted territory. Many of the ideas interested us as innovation has always been part of our company charter. Unfortunately after much time and money invested, it became clear these ideas were not going to work in a time frame appropriate to our project. We’ll follow up on some of them in future efforts.

In January of 2002 we shifted gears to a more traditional form of computer animation for such high resolution images, essentially starting the graphics portion of the program all over again with a different crew. About the same time we were introduced to the potential of an editing system that wouldn’t require transformation of all of the source files into a video format. We could work in the format, size and aspect ratio in which they were created.

Once again we placed ourselves in uncharted territory. The program edit, which was scheduled to start in April, didn’t get going until the end of June. Even then it was fraught with crashes, software glitches, and hardware interface problems.

There were some really great high points early on in the production. Famed cinematographer Allen Daviau and his crew joined us for a film shoot. We were after a short segment that would make a statement about film’s capability as an image capture medium. As much as film shoots are common in Los Angeles, this time it was Joe Kane Productions being responsible for the many large trucks and crew lined up on the street. We discovered first hand how valuable all of these people are in obtaining a good product. We also gained a much better understanding of the time involved in making a movie. It took the better part of a twelve hour work day to capture two minutes worth of final product. That doesn’t count the number of days it took to storyboard that portion of the script, scout the locations, find the on-screen talent, assemble the crew and equipment, and process and transfer the film. Morning call for cast and crew was at 5 am. It was also the birthday of one of the cast members so a small party was part of the day’s activity. The high definition transfer of that film to video has become a reference source of high quality material.

The production of DVE has been as much a technology development project as it has been the assembly of a program. In our own way we have created a need for particular capabilities in editing, then helped bring them about. We feel our combined efforts have accelerated the availability of new technologies and that in another few months our requirements of an editing system will be routinely accessible.

Joe Kane
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
Not open for further replies.