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NAB 2013: Quantel Focuses on UltraHD Workflow

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CreativeCOW presents NAB 2013: Quantel Focuses on UltraHD Workflow -- NAB Expo Editorial


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Quantel came to NAB 2013 with a portfolio of products to empower content creators in 3D, 4K, 8K, High Frame Rate, the Internet and more. "It's a comprehensive revolution, using open industry standards only," said Steve Owen, Quantel Marketing Director. "Digital allows us a landscape with more than one standard. We have a flexible ecosystem."


UltraHD/4K
Let's start with Quantel's UltraHD/4K offerings. Pablo Rio, Quantel's high-end color and finishing system (which Douglas Trumbull is using in his workflow), is now offering real-time 4K HFR in conjunction with AJA's Corvid Ultra video card. According to Owen, this marks the first time that Quantel has offered interoperability with any third party video card.



Pablo Rio


The AJA Corvid Ultra is being offered by Quantel as an option in Pablo Rio turnkey systems and is available from AJA resellers for software-only versions. The Corvid Ultra card enables Pablo Rio to deliver real-time 4K video output to 3840 x 2160 (quad HD), 4096 x 2160, 3D, 2K and more, and also supports 4K at 60 fps.



The Pablo Rio high-end color and finishing system supports the AJA® Corvid Ultra video card, facilitating workflows at 4K 60fps and beyond.


Quantel also now supports NVIDIA Kepler architecture-based Tesla K20 GPU accelerators, which provides twice the performance of the previous-generation Tesla GPUs and 10 times faster performance than the latest CPUs, giving Pablo Rio a processing gain of 60 to 100 percent in color, effects and finishing operations. This boost is the basis of how Quantel Pablo Rio can function in 4K in a real-time interactive manner. The Tesla K20 GPU accelerators are being offered by Quantel as standard on new Pablo Rio turnkey systems as well as being supported in software-only versions. Existing systems can upgrade to a Tesla K20 accelerator. Support for NVIDIA Tesla K20 GPU accelerators comes with V2.0 rev2 software, released in April 2013.

"Movies have been doing 4K for awhile," said Owen. "Now, the interest in 4K is coming from broadcast, because you get a better picture down-resing 4K. Shooting in 4K makes for better HD. Broadcasters transmit high quality content all the time, and we're helping with the ability to do a live extraction from 4K with the Pablo Rio."

Pablo Rio was also installed at the Canon and RED booths, where it was used to demonstrate a real-time 4K workflow. "We're showing real-time 4K with 10 layers color correction, no rendering," said Owen.



The Neo panel has three main control areas. The central primary grading panel groups the main grading controls. The secondary control panel gives full control over the many secondary grading tools and also provides a keyboard for everyday tasks such as naming grades and saving files. The third area realizes transport controls and provides comprehensive still store and reference frame control.


BROADCAST AND POST WORKFLOWS
At NAB 2013, Quantel introduced a new QTube development that enables content created on the Pablo Rio system to be delivered to its Enterprise sQ fast-turnaround broadcast production systems. This allows content to be created on Pablo Rio at any resolution up to 4K and delivered to Enterprise sQ quickly, eliminating the need for any intermediate storage. The QTube Transformer automatically handles format conversion and encoding to the right server compression scheme.

In another partnership, Quantel and Infostrada, a global provider of sports, media, interactive and creative technology services, demonstrated broadcast workflows linking Quantel's Enterprise sQ HD fast-turnaround news production system with Centralparq's Mediadoq ingest application. Mediadoq provides automated file ingest into the Quantel environment, streamlining the overall workflow.



Infostrada's Centralparq workflow platform now fully integrates with Avid, EVS and Quantel.


Users fill out metadata fields for their proposed footage in the Centralparq database and a QR code label -- which contains a link to the metadata -- is printed out and attached to the disk prior to shooting the footage. Users shoot the footage on either Panasonic P2 or Sony XDCAM, and then the disk is inserted in the Mediadoq device reader. By automatically scanning the QR code label on the disk, Metadoq transfers the material in the right format with all the metadata fields automatically filled in the Centralparq database to the Quantel sQ server. Users can then edit the clip on a Quantel seat and publish it to web, tablet and mobile. Footage can be ingested to the Quantel sQ server from any location using a Mediadoq, and far-flung users can collaborate online with direct access to media via Quantel's QTube Browser.

Relevant to Enterprise sQ, Quantel introduced Version 5.2 software, a free release to current customers. The upgraded software features SOA, which makes it easier to configure complex workflows, including new Preset capabilities. Enterprise sQ also now supports NUGEN Audio's VisLM loudness metering software to allow the user to monitor audio loudness compliance simply and quickly for ITU, ATSC and EBU standards. New acquisition formats, including Sony SStP, Sony F65 and GoPro Hero2, are also now supported. The new release also allows editors to name MLTFX effects modules to help with identification when using multiple processes and adds a range of new keyboard shortcuts.



Enterprise sQ also now supports NUGEN Audio's VisLM loudness metering software.


Also, news at the show regarding Quantel revolutionQ, a suite of software services that uses SOA to deliver media production on generic storage:  revolutionQ now supports FIMS and FIMS Capture, Transform and Transfer services - enabling plug and play operation with a FIMS compliant system. FIMS is the Framework for Interoperable Media Services, an initiative jointly managed by the EBU and AMWA to define standards for SOA systems. To demonstrate FIMS, a revolution user will use the FIMS capture service to control 600 simultaneous recordings.

Quantel is also leading the FIMS taskforce to create a RESTful FIMS interface. REST (Representational State Transfer) is a lightweight, easy-to-use technological approach that is the native language of the web. REST is also easy to program making it quicker and easier to develop FIMS compliant systems. Quantel revolutionQ and QTube already use RESTful interfaces; Quantel plans to contribute an open source reference implementation of the FIMS RESTful API to the FIMS taskforce to help speed adoption of this addition to FIMS.


STEREOSCOPIC 3D

Any Quantel Pablo or iQ 2K or 4K system can be upgraded with Quantel's Stereo3D software toolset to provide the full array of Stereo3D post tools.


Though stereoscopic 3D was lightly represented at NAB 2013, Quantel was one of several major manufacturers that showed developments in this arena. The company launched SynthIA, software package that enables S3D interaxial adjustment in post, as part of a range of 3D manipulation tools. SynthIA can be used as a standalone system or in conjunction with Quantel Pablo and Pablo Rio systems.




SynthIA is a new software package that provides S3D Interaxial adjustment in Post, as part of a comprehensive range of S3D manipulation tools.


"Being able to change the inter-axial in post is a big thing," said Owen, who notes that SynthIA is now shipping. "The software can also move Z space after the fact as well. And it's turnkey quality."


SynthIA provides a complete suite of high quality Stereo3D manipulation tools including Analytical tools such as Luma/Chroma maps, Vectorscope, Disparity maps (shown above) and Z-view

Other SynthIA tools include multiple display modes; analytical tools (Luma/Chroma maps, Vectorscope, Disparity maps and Z-view); color match (balances left and right eye color differences); Geofix (removes left and right eye geometry differences); and Z-warp (allows the disparity to be adjusted differently at different depths in the scene).


CONCLUSION
How many times has Quantel successfully reinvented itself? I'm old school, and I remember the days when Paintbox and Henry were wonders to behold. Nearly all the companies from that era have gone the way of the dodo, but Quantel's engineers (and management) seem to have a keen nose for the direction the industry is going. Once an entirely black box company (indeed, their stated advantage was secret sauce with the dedicated hardware), Quantel has whole-heartedly embraced open standards and smart partnerships.  I'm really eager to see how these products play out in the world of UltraHD and high-frame rate, as well as a rapidly changing broadcast environment.






Follow Debra Kaufman on Twitter @MobilizedDebra




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