Case made for use of streaming media, digital intermediates

MUMBAI: At today's convention on technology for information, media and entertainment industry at Powai, technical experts held forth on the rapid development of technology and how television was benefiting from it.

Discreet's Aby Mathew said that the company was into content creation like 3D Animation, high end graphics for broadcasters. Clients include NDTV, Sony, ESPN, CNN, Fox.

"We have come a long way from the 1960's when computer graphics first started. Now there is talk of digital characters replacing humans. At Discreet our job is to help clients realise their vision. In the post production phase colour grading is the latest technology. This enables the filmmaker to colour correct the film. We will be launching a new software at next month's NAB. This will treat film like a non linear video session," Mathew said.

He further added that other components used include editing. This covers offline, online finishing, long format conform. Then there is visual effects which consists of composition, image manipulation, surrealism. The part that he dwelt on the most was digital intermediates which are selective digital posts within the celluloid process pipe. It is digital image data used for intermediate processing of film imagery, prior to final output and distribution.

"We are lucky as they have been around since the early 1990's. The processing offers greater creative control - non-linear editing, visual effects, synthetic imagery, color grading, multi- mastering."

He pointed out that the digital intermediate process would expand as post-production requirements drive the increasing use of digital imagery. First the section of the film wanted for treatment is taken out. After scanning you insert CGI images etc. Then the images are composited and finished. After this the final colour grading takes place and it goes back to the lab and from there back on to celluloid. The facility allows for both hi-def and low-def.

Today this process is easier as the digital to celluloid process has quickened over the years. It also allows for manipulation and management of large volumes of data. New art design is possible like in The Matrix,, Lord Of The Rings (LOTR). More importantly film restoration is possible. Frame by frame clean ups are possible.

Another advantage to the digital intermediate process is that high resolution scanning has gotten cheaper. It allows the user to make changes at any time and also create multiple versions. It also helps save costs. There is n9o need for crowd multiplication, blue/green screen, sets, locations and re-releases.

Millenium Films' Raj Tilak spoke about streaming media. It is real time access to video, audio content. This is played back by a client player. The content is processed by a specialized media server application. Research has found that 43 per cent of net users use streaming media for downloading clips. A possible problem is that due to download you have to wait. Also the downloaded content can be redistributed by the downloader, thus leading to piracy problems.

He also mentioned Video Lan which is an operating system frame. It can transcode a high bit rate file on demand for any medium. He said that revenues accrued from streaming media would go up to 20.6 billion in 2004.


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