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News

New systems for digital cinema and broadcasting

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Zur Forderung Der Angewandten Forschung E.V. : 22 May, 2006  (New Product)
Tomorrow's movie world is all-digital. Fraunhofer researchers will be presenting key components for digital cinema at one of the world's largest trade shows for electronic media, NAB2006 in Las Vegas.
Megacine: Portable storage unit for digital movie production
'Great cut!' shouts the director of photography, leaning back in his chair with a satisfied smile. The romantic scene is in the can. But the director won't know whether the recorded footage is as good as he imagines until he reviews the days shootings (dailies) several hours later. When working with traditional 35-mm film, the crew have to wait for the film to be developed before they can assess the quality of the dailies. So far, digital film cameras have been no different, with no means of providing instant feedback. The Megacine portable storage unit compensates for this disadvantage, for the digital recorder also serves as a playback machine. Its built-in display allows the film director to obtain a quick first impression of the results of his work without leaving the set. If the quality of the images is not satisfactory, the scene can be repeated immediately. For a more detailed assessment of important details, individual frames can be transferred to a laptop in full resolution.

'The recorder has a built-in display with a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels,' explains Siegfried Foessel, the manager in charge of digital cinema projects at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen. This allows a preview of the recorded material directly on the set. Other useful information such as the length of the take, the number of frames or the remaining storage capacity can also be shown on the display. The Megacine recorder is capable of storing images in the new Digital Cinema Format at a resolution of 2048 x 1080 pixels, or alternatively in High Definition or Standard Definition. It has a total capacity of 1 terabyte, which corresponds to up to one hour of film in uncompressed DC quality or up to eight hours of standard-definition film. The data are transferred to a computer via a FireWire or fibre channel interface.

WORLDSCREEN: Scalable data formats for use in digitalcinema
Visitors to NAB2006 can also learn more about the EU-sponsored WORLDSCREEN project, in which researchers from the IIS and the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz-Institut, HHI, are working together with companies including Kodak, T-Sys-tems and Warner Bros. to develop concepts and systems for scalable data formats for use in digital cinema.

Cameras for digital cinema and broadcast applications
The ARRI-D20 a development of the Fraunhofer IIS for ARRI Cine Technik is a digital filmstyle-camera for film and TV productions, shown at the Fraunhofer booth. Furthermore, SmartCam HDTV and MicroHDTV are two new cameras of very compact size. Embedded-imaging technologies make it possible to realize these stand-alone camera systems for different HD-formats.The cameras represent a complete imaging systems including operating software, web interface and user interfaces and allow the camera to operate without any further external software, no matter what kind of computer is used. The SmartCam HDTV can be administrated and configurated via web interface.
Digital archiving?

But will we still be able to watch these digital movies in 10 or 20 years' time, or will technology have advanced so fast that these 'old' films cannot be projected any more? One way to archive movies securely is to record them on microfilm. For this purpose, the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM and MicroArchive Systems have developed the ArchiveLaser system. It is equipped with the latest laser technology and can write both digital data and analog images on long-lasting microfilm. To re-digitize the stored material, you simply need a fast optical scanner.
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