July 1, 2009
By Chew Tze Chuan
Filmmakers looking to make strides in the world of stereoscopic 3D filmmaking could do well to explore powerful and affordable solutions teaming up Canon acquisition cameras with Wafian’s stereoscopic recorder for 3D production – the HR-2-DS recorder. The Canon-Wafian HD direct-to-disk tapeless workflow was on display recently at the Broadcast Asia 2009 exhibition. Wafian offers Direct-to-Disk HD video recorders that enable high quality recording and playback, massive storage, and efficient digital workflows for film makers and broadcasters, supporting resolutions from standard def up to 2K, in 10-bit 4:2:2 or 4:4:4. The Wafian HR recorder/player series includes battery powered field recorders. Jeff Youel, president and founder of Wafian Corporation, USA, shared his expertise in 3D workflow in a series of 3D Workflow Workshops at the exhibition. Speaking to Asia Image, Youel shared his enthusiasm: “We are very excited about this product. Features such as live 3D preview and the ability to record and playback non-linear footage on-set, combined with its revolutionary price point will make 3D workflows more efficient and within reach to more content creators”. As with all of Wafian’s products, the HR-2-DS offers massive storage and is capable of recording, playing back, and providing monitoring sources to/from a multitude of devices through various standard I/Os. Canon’s industry-leading lens optics and image processing expertise is crystallized with the XL Series camcorders. The XL Series’ features and open architecture system has become synonymous with high image quality and ultimate creative control. The detachable lens option on the XL-series camcorders allows usage of prime and film lenses, so users can achieve film-quality on their productions. Apart from providing complete control over the image, the Canon XL H1S also provides creative freedom while delivering industry-standard options needed to flow seamlessly with existing workflows and expectations. Canon’s XL-H1S HD video camera is able to deliver full resolution, uncompressed HD/SD SDI at a 4:2:2 color space via its HD-SDI interface. The signal sent is incorporated with both audio and time-code signals. With these combinations from Wafian and Canon, users can expect high-quality video in any type of environment. In addition, one can expect to experience easy file management, convenient storage solutions and reliability of the technology. “The fundamental aspect of 3D filmmaking lies in the process of stereopsis – the word stereo meaning solidity; and opsis meaning vision or sight. Stereopsis is commonly referred to as depth perception. This process in visual perception leads to the sensation of depth from the two slightly different projections of the world onto the retinas of the two eyes,” explained Youel. The HR-2-DS records two streams of full resolution HD into a single file, which contains two independent video tracks for ease of use in post-production. This unique feature allows users to create side-by-side or over-under previews, and it supports legacy workflows by allowing users to edit one eye only with a small reference movie file. Features such as blended video preview allow users to easily set convergence and real-time 3D viewing creates meshes for viewing on supported DLP and Plasmas. The HR-2-DS can rotate incoming video, which compensates for beam splitter 3D rigs in real time. One of the differentiators is that the HR-2-DS records its footage into the CineForm format, which derives beautiful pictures without sacrificing visual fidelity. The HR-2-DS records 3D 1920×1080 24p at 140 GB/Hour, which would require 955 GB/Hour if uncompressed. CineForm files are typically compressed in the range of between 5:1 and 10:1, depending on both user preference and image complexity. This technology has been integrated into the capture environment, and more importantly, into the post-production environment. As a result, the mammoth flow of data that uncompressed 2K or 4K frame sizes would otherwise require can be reduced to a more manageable volume for capture, storage, and processing. As part of this compression technology, metadata describing the original digital video signal is recorded so that image processing throughout post production can be referenced to a core set of baseline values. This helps enhance the full range of post-production tasks: colour correction, white balance, film finishing, and effects processing. “In order to get a WYSIWYG result, the operator only needs to engage the BLEND mode on the HR-2-DS to find the convergence point for the left and right images instantaneously on the set,” said Youel.