Wirecast. Everything you need to stream live from your desktop to the world.

Capture unlimited number of input devices from live camera feeds, iOS cameras, computer desktop, web feeds and more. Add polish and professionalism to your broadcast with live switching, transitions, titles, lower thirds and more. Use the built-in multiformat encoding capabilities and easily stream to integrated streaming services and CDNs.

For information and pricing for Wirecast, please contact a Piston Media Group representative (888) 829-7320 or email us at info@pistonmediagroup.com

Wirecast – Stream It Live

Use the built-in multiformat encoding capabilities and easily stream to integrated streaming services and CDNs.

For more information about Wirecast, Please contact a Piston Media Group representative (888) 829-7320 or email us at info@pistonmediagroup.com

Wirecast – Produce Your Show

Add polish and professionalism to your broadcast with live switching, transitions, titles, lower thirds and more.

For more information about Wirecast, please contact a Piston Media Group representative (888) 829-7320 or email us at info@pistonmediagroup.com

Wirecast – Capture Your Content

Capture unlimited number of input devices from live camera feeds, iOS cameras, computer desktop, web feeds and more.

For more information about Wirecast, please contact a Piston Media Group representative (888) 829-7320 or email us at info@pistonmediagroup.com

 

Understanding 4K And HDR In Today’s AV Environments

Ken Eagle, director of field training/technical sales at Atlona provides his take on where we are with HDR and what installers need to know.

Seeing is believing. So while we can talk to clients about HDR until we’re red-green-blue in the face, all it’s going to take to convince most people that HDR is worth all the fuss, is one good side-by-side demo. Yes, seeing is believing. After all, one way to think about HDR is that it is the key remaining qualitative difference between the rich, vivid images you see in a theatre release versus what you see in today’s high-end home theatre.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. It’s true that there’s already a lot of information out there about HDR, HDR displays and HDR content, but I’ll say it’s also true that there’s not enough out there (yet) that puts this information into a concise context for installers.

Before delving deeper, there is one question you’ll want to be prepared to answer: is HDR a fad? After all, look at 3D (ironically, many new TVs have eliminated 3D support in favour of HDR).

While no one can say with certainty what’s going to succeed, it’s a pretty safe bet that HDR is going to be with us for a while. HDR represents a major advancement in displaying more accurate, more realistic and more vivid colour with differences that are clearly visible. So much so that viewers consistently chose HDR over non-HDR as the better picture, even when HDR content is shown on lower resolution displays.

Also, in terms of the range of colours it can render, HDR is already a standard feature of cinema and TV video cameras; so while HDR content has so far been slow in coming to consumers, we can expect a gradual if not rapid increase.

sdr-vs-hdr

So what exactly is HDR?

To start, we’ll review some of the key specifications we need for background in understanding the improvements HDR brings, starting with 4K and Ultra HD.

Unfortunately, the terms 4K and UHD get used interchangeably. 4K is shorthand and technically refers to the digital cinema specification for displays measuring 4096 pixels wide by, typically (but not part of the spec), 2160 pixels tall, creating an image area with an aspect ratio of 17:9. This is a wider-format image than seen in the 16:9 ratio used as the basis for the 1920 x 1080 pixel area associated with HDTV.

While a wide, 4K 17:9 image ratio might be desirable for cinematic productions, displays designed for home entertainment, if designed to a 17:9 specification, would waste seven percent of their pixel area when showing content shot for TV and other 16:9 formats. Scalers could resize the image to use the entire screen area, but would introduce undesirable if modest disproportion to the picture.

Ultra HD, or UHD, stems from a set of broadcast, telecomm and consumer electronics industry specifications for 4K and 8K digital TV, including a CTA (Consumer Technology Association) specification that Ultra HD displays provide an input for a minimum native signal resolution of 3840 x 2160. This is twice the vertical and horizontal resolution as full HDTV, preserving the 16:9 aspect ratio while quadrupling the number of pixels used to render the picture compared to full HD (roughly 8.3 million vs. 2.075 million pixels).

The UHD specifications also call for other improvements in bit-depth, colour gamut (both key parameters for rendering HDR video) and refresh rates.

In recent years, technologies were developed for increasing the dynamic range of pixels used in LCD video displays (as well as the dynamic range of sensors in video capture and post-production equipment) and last year the CTA released HDR10, an open standard for high dynamic range UHD video supported by major manufacturers.

Having all these pixels, whether 4K or UHD, is great for rendering more detailed images, but moving the digital data comprising them from source to display requires more bandwidth than HD. Just how much more is determined not only by the number of pixels, but also by the image refresh rate and colour depth.

Refresh rates for cinema or consumer video typically don’t require more than 60 frames per second and 24, 30 and 60fps is the common refresh rate for cinema or home video. This parameter won’t change as video moves from HD to 4K/UHD screens.

The HDTV specification for colour depth is eight bits. Interestingly, a video signal of 4K or UHD resolution and 8-bits colour depth at 60 fps, fits within the 10.2 Gb/s bandwidth of HDMI 1.4 (as well as HDBaseT) technology. This allowed manufacturers to start selling 4K sets for that generation of source and switching devices, but their only advantage was higher resolution, not the enhancements to dynamic range, which produce the most visible improvements in quality. Even if the sets were capable of HDR performance, they could not accept the data needed. These sets also came to market prior to the availability of high-speed, 18Gb/s HDMI 2.0, resulting in a generation of 4K TVs that won’t work with new generations of Ultra HD Blu-ray players, AVRs, switchers and distribution amps.

While HDTV calls for 8-bit colour, the UHD specifications call for 10-bit. This difference is more significant than the small delta in digits suggests, because each pixel is comprised of three ‘sub-pixels’ of red, green and blue, with each element defined by its colour code. For HDTV, this means each sub-pixel can render 256 colours (28), allowing each whole pixel to display up to 16.7 million colours (2563). However, with a display based on 10-bit colour, each whole pixel becomes capable of rendering over 1 billion, or (210)3, colours.

hdr-comparison

One might think this just allows 4K and UHD screens to display more shades within the exiting colour range of HDTV, but here is where Ultra HD with HDR makes the difference. Continue Reading….

For more information about 4K workflows and HDR, please contact a Piston Media Group representative (888) 829-7320 or email us at info@pistonmediagroup.com

AVID’S INTELLIGENT SHARED STORAGE EVOLVES WITH AVID NEXIS

Avid's intelligent shared storage evolves with Avid NEXIS

ISSUE: OCTOBER 1, 2016
At the NAB show back in April, Avid (www.avid.com) introduced the next generation of its intelligent shared storage. Avid NEXIS represents an evolution in the company’s offerings, which date back to the mid-90s with its Unity MediaNetwork, and more recently with its Avid  ISIS line of ‘infinitely scalable intelligent storage’ solutions.
In just six months, Avid NEXIS has gained strong traction in the post production market, with sales to stop-motion animation studio Laika (The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings) in Hillsboro, OR, and to creative post house Gorilla Post in Dublin, Ireland, among numerous others. Avid NEXIS is designed to work with all of today’s leading nonlinear editing applications, including Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro X and Grass Valley Edius. And for those using Avid’s own Media Composer NLE, Avid NEXIS offers the strongest compatibility in the industry.
Post recently caught up with Avid Senior Principal Product Designer | Broadcast Storage & Editor Bob Russo, who lead the team that developed Avid NEXIS. Here, he explains the benefits of scalable, intelligent, shared storage and how Avid NEXIS’s ease of use allows it to easily integrate into post boutiques and much larger enterprise operations.
INTELLIGENT STORAGE
Post: While shared storage is not new, the ‘intelligent’ feature is something pros might not be familiar with?
Russo: “Yes, the classic education environment is a good example. You give every student a 1TB drive and you have one student that’s just sliding through, not really working very hard, and he uses 200GBs out of that drive. But then you have another student who is really motivated, and 1TB isn’t nearly enough. You purchased all of the storage but a lot of it is stuck on partially filled drives and you can’t get access to that storage.
“But with Avid NEXIS, you have a common pool of storage. It’s available to be allocated to those that need it. And when we create these volumes, they can be dynamically resized at will, as many times as you want. Other shared storage might allow for resizing, but often there’s a hit in performance when it is being resized, because under the hood they are doing a defrag. If you count the terabytes and get a number of high-quality, local, standalone drives, the pricing is probably pretty comparable, but now you have the flexibility.”
EASE OF USE
Post: Avid seems to really be touting the ease of use in setting up and maintaining Avid NEXIS?
Russo: “Absolutely…and this is something I feel very passionate about. I’m trying really hard to make Avid NEXIS as simple to set up as possible. Before we have a release, we do installation and usability testing with people not previously trained on Avid NEXIS. We see where they stumble and its very valuable. We’ve used this testing and input from the thousands of customers to simplify and enhance the user experience. Avid NEXIS | PRO brings Avid’s collaborative storage to the smallest teams, who don’t have IT support or system administrator experience. Using Avid NEXIS, they don’t need specific expertise or an IT department. We have a simple click through installation wizard that prompts the user for the few required inputs to integrate to their site. We also have simple to use browser based graphical admin screens to create users, assign permissions, create and re-size workspaces.” Continue reading….

UQAM University Selects Matrox Monarch HD H.264 Encoders as Best-in-class

Monarch HD streaming and recording appliance aids behaviour analysis research in psychology clinic’s observation rooms

Small, private, cozy rooms. Cameras on. Lights on. As senior psychology students delve into the secret minds and emotions of their patients, the interactions are streamed live to distant observation rooms where supervisors unobtrusively view the sessions in progress. At the same time, they are recorded to a secure, remote network location for later review.

UQAM is a French-language public university in Montreal, Canada with international outreach that provides unique programs and advanced research often linked with social concerns. The Centre de Services Psychologiques (CSP) clinic offers one such program where senior students acting as interns consult with real patients. Every session in the CSP’s 23 consultation rooms is recorded for medico-legal policy adherence and training purposes.

Since the consultations are considered medical acts, privacy is a main concern for the center. With their prior recording setups in every room of an analog SD camera connected to a DVD writer or a game capture device with a USB key, privacy protection was not assured. Other problems included faulty DVDs and USB devices, poor quality audio and video, and accidental loss of data, which made for an unreliable media system. These issues impelled UQAM to consider new ways of acquiring and managing their media.

“We checked out the specifications of many devices, ranging from in-computer encoder cards to self-contained devices and found the Matrox Monarch HD interesting for this project. We initially looked at it as an equivalent to the game capture devices, since it could record directly to a USB drive and had a fairly unbeatable price point. We soon realized, however, that its remote recording capability was the key to solving our privacy problem,” said Dominic Besner, Director of Operations, Audiovisual and Multimedia Technical Support at UQAM…[read more]

For more information about Matrox Monarch, please contact a Piston Media Group representative (888) 829-7320 or email us at info@pistonmediagroup.com

Shogun Flame User Story

This year Atomos released the Shogun Flame Ninja Flame and Shogun Inferno. They are all capable of 10-bit recordings and have AtomHDR, a handy and easy way to see what your Log footage looks like with a 3D LUT applied. It’s also a nice exposure tool when shooting in Log
These monitor-recorders will capture 4K or HD ProRes video via an HDMI input or, with the Shogun Inferno and Shogun Flame, through SDI inputs. Plus, they offer a 7.1-inch screen with a 1500 nit brightness.

shogun flame

Built tough, all three new monitors in the Atomos lineup have a much stronger housing than previous models. They are now also equipped with two battery slots for longer operation time. When fully loaded with batteries and media, they weigh between 2.34lbs to 2.5lbs. They all have a max viewable resolution of 1920 x 1200 with 325 PPI. The screens look great, especially when displaying downscaled 4K.

What’s in the box? How do they feel?

Arriving in a bright yellow hard case, both Shogun models tout yellow as their color. The Ninja Flame is just as bold in red. It almost screams “steal me, I have valuable stuff inside!” The color aside, the cases are tough and robust and can easily be brought onto a plane. A strange side note: the interior of the box has a wretched smell, so if you keep it close to you, make sure it’s closed. Also included is a hood and a few other miscellaneous accessories, but be prepared to buy a few SSDs so your production doesn’t need to stop for media offload.

AtomHDR is a great tool for assisting with exposure choice when shooting Log.

AtomHDR is a great tool for assisting with exposure choice when shooting Log. With AtomHDR you can see how much latitude you have. Many times, it’s hard to choose the right exposure because of how a Log footage looks when captured. Plus, if you have ever had a client looking over your shoulder who wouldn’t understand why everything looks flat and washed out when shooting in Log, you could benefit from having the ability to preview your footage with a 3D LUT applied. You can also use this feature to see what your footage looks like in Rec. 709 while still capturing in Log — useful for seeing how your footage might grade given the situation you’re shooting in.

Our Experience

We took out the Shogun Flame with our Canon XC10, Sony a7S II and the Panasonic GH4. All three cameras shoot an 8-bit internal recording, can shoot UHD 4K and the GH4 can output 10-bit. Shooting in our local park, we bounced around from camera to camera, either simultaneously recording internally and with the Shogun Flame in the case of the XC10 and GH4, or doing two separate takes, one into the Atomos and the other being recorded internally for the a7S II. With each camera we shot in their built-in Log profile: V-Log with the GH4, C-Log with the XC10 and lastly S-Log2 and S-Log3 with the a7S II.

There are two big things we noticed during our tests. The first was how much more detail we had in the footage of the GH4 versus what was captured internally. Of all the cameras we paired with the Flame, the GH4 had the best results from the coupling. This is due to the GH4 outputting 10-bit color versus internally capturing 8-bit. We especially noticed the difference in a shot with a tree with small leaves in the background. It had mixed light, some hard, some soft and some in full shade. In the 10-bit recording, there was much more detail and contrast between each lighting condition whereas with the internal recording, the leaves blended together and the nuance to the lighting was not noticeable at all. [Continue Reading…]

For more information about ATOMOS products, please contact a Piston Media Group representative (888) 829-7320 or email us at info@pistonmediagroup.com

Microsoft Surface Studio for the Creative Process

microsoft surface proFor the most part, computers are computers. Maybe one has a bit more of this or less of that, but the differences are usually under the hood and incremental in nature. So when a company like Microsoft makes a serious attempt to completely redefine the nature of how we see and interact with a desktop computer it commands attention. The Microsoft Surface Studio is exactly that kind of machine, and we couldn’t be more excited about it.

REDEFINING THE BOUNDARIES

For the past 20 years or so Apple computers have been the standard go-to machines for people involved in creative content and performance worlds. It’s not hyperbole to say that Apple has owned the creative space during that time period. Over the past four to five years, however, many Apple diehards have begun to notice a serious lack of innovation from their beloved manufacturer. This apathy, combined with missteps like the Final Cut Pro X debacle, have opened a door for other companies interested in making a play for this market

Enter the Microsoft Surface Studio, Microsoft’s very first foray into creating a desktop computer. Announced in late October, the Surface Studio is an all-in-one computer featuring a massive 28-inch touchscreen mounted to a base incorporating the actual computer components. The design immediately brings to mind the form factors of both the Wacom Cintiq and beloved iMac G4 from over a decade ago. At the same time the Surface Studio also feels completely revolutionary in the way it invites users to interact with a computer.

UNDER THE HOOD

The Surface Studio runs on a new variation of Windows 10 Pro, and features configurations with both Intel i5 and i7 processors. It can also be configured to include between 8GB andcreativ 32GB of RAM, with either a 2GB or 4GB NVidia GeForce GPU.
What’s immediately apparent is that the Surface Studio is really all about the display. It’s a 28-inch touchscreen featuring a 4K+ resolution (4500×3000), 10-bit color and a pixel density of 192 DPI. That translates to 13.5 million pixels, which should deliver fantastic image clarity when working from only a few inches away. [Continue Reading…]

On-Demand Webinar: How “Stranger Things” Happened — Go Behind the Scenes With the Post Production Team

By Matt Feury in Filmmaking October 31, 2016

This past summer, audiences around the world couldn’t get enough of Stranger Things, the unexpected hit series. The show pays homage to iconic 80s films by directors like John Carpenter and Steven Spielberg—with a storyline that’s nostalgic yet refreshingly original.

The show grew into a phenomenon largely by word of mouth. The show’s success is a testament to its excellent writing, editing, and razor-sharp attention to detail—plus amazing performances by its cast of charismatic and endearing actors.

 In our webinar on October 26, I was joined by the Stranger Things post production team, including editor Kevin D. Ross, editor Dean Zimmerman, first assistant editor Katheryn Naranjo, and first assistant editor Nat Fuller. They provided insight into their creative process and editing workflow, and explained how they used Avid solutions to create the unique look, feel, and vibe for the show.
  • Discover the formula for Stranger Things’ breakout success
  • Learn the techniques they used to create the show’s nostalgic feel
  • Get first-hand insight into their editing workflows on the show
  • Learn how collaboration fueled their creative process

Hear straight from the post production team behind one of the most exciting shows in recent memory.