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Profiles of the latest postproduction tools

Avid DNx36

Offline editing in high-definition is the Holy Grail, but the huge storage demands of uncompressed HD -- 1.5GB per second -- has made that economically impossible. Enter Avid's DNx36, which has compressed HD to make if affordable but still look much better than standard-def. How compressed? One hour of material uses 18GB of storage (as opposed to 90GB for one minute of uncompressed HD).

DNx36 solves other problems: At 24 fps, it offers a one-to-one relationship with the original film (or HD) material. That gets rid of the pesky "3:2 pulldown," time-consuming management as images move back and forth between video's 30 fps and film's 24.

The Avid's DNx36 offline cut also holds up nicely when projected on a 40-foot screen. "DNx36 has solved a lot of problems and not just for high-budget films," says Avid solutions manager Michael Phillips. Films that have used DNx36 include Paramount's 2008-slated "Iron Man," Fox Searchlight's current release "The Darjeeling Limited" and MGM/Weinstein Co.'s December release "The Great Debaters."

3-D stereoscopic post

An innocent conversation about posting for 3-D stereoscopic images sparked the interest of Quantel's Milton Adamou, senior product specialist for film, post and DI. Quantel's Pablo has always had the ability to play back two 2K streams, perfect for posting the right and left eyes. What might happen with some 3-D-specific software? Quantel's Simon Rogers was the principal developer of a tool set that now empowers Pablo, iQ and Max with a 3-D stereoscopic toolbox. Chief among the tools is keyframable stereo convergence that can be adjusted on the fly, as well as the ability to work on both eyes simultaneously, in addition to a full set of editorial and effects.

Quantel is also launching "Sid," which combines features found in the bigger systems with the new 3-D tools. Sid is available in two configurations: Sid online for stereoscopic postproduction editing, effects and mastering and Sid VCM, an entry-level system for viewing, conform and mastering.

Assimilate, the company that puts out the Scratch DI system, also plays back two 2K streams and offers its array of post and DI tools for 3-D stereoscopic post. Assimilate first announced a partnership with Cobalt Entertainment aimed at 3-D filmmaking and, in August 2007, worked with 3ality on "U2 3D." Assimilate's 3-D post solution was also used on Disney's "Meet the Robinsons." It has also been widely reported that Assimilate is currently being used on set for New Line's upcoming 2008 feature "Journey 3-D."
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