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RE: My travels

At 09:42 PM 8/17/99 -0700, Dennis Morton wrote :
>                      525 Engineering Email
>                          9:14 PM                           8/17/99
>                      RE: [TIG] My travels
>Craig Leffel wrote:
>>I recently returned from a trip to the Davinci factory where I was invited
>to check out a 2K for a decent amount of time. Without getting too long
winded, I 
>Thanks Craig for an up to date report.  It is good to hear from someone who
has been to the factory, away from the convention floor.     Good report. 
>Question, we just got a Spirit a month ago and will need to upgrade our
8:8:8 for HD and Data.  The Pandora system seems to be better in that it is
connected between racks two and three ahead of the Spacial Processor.  It
tracks windows, has a pure 14 bit RGB input, etc.  
>I am of the understanding that the Davinci 2k will only work downstream.  I
think I am correct in that the 2K takes 4x2 and 4x4 or 8x8 from the Spirit
output and corrects from there on.  
>Did they happen to say when the HIPPI Data input and output will be fully
working and if they are going to write software to transfer the data to
arrays, as the Phantom Engine software does from Philips?  

Hello Dennis and all at large.

Well, per my usual disclaimers I am no engineer..... The real answer here is
call Dave Catt at Davinci. He is their brightest ( and most direct ) star.
Kevin Shaw is great too.  My impressions were that  Data in = Data out.  You
can choose resolution at the Spirit (Davinci control) and output files. I
saw this work on a Megadef going to a phantom transfer engine, and the
Davinci layout looked similar, tho I have not seen it dump to a xfer engine.
We have been dumping to our Fire the way a lot of people are. Xfer engine
will come soon, I need a color corrector first. Working at 2K and dumping to
HD makes strange sense to me -- if you're working at HD you are 1080 by
whatever. 2K implies somewhere around 1920..... so your colorists will most
likely want to work at 1080 or so. In some cases we are planning to record
to sierra designs HD (gang quickframes) disk recorder, and making files from
there. That will save us the stand alone sgi box for the xfer engine, but
ultimately we will probably set up so we can dump anywhere at any
resolution... (Fire, Inferno < direct > xfer engine on hippi network sgi
box, HD disk recorder with file dump capability, straiight HD in ( Inferno,
Fire, Flame, HD recorder as uncompressed as possible). That's the way I see
it, that's what we ( at Optimus) are headed toward, 
and it's the story I'm stickin to -- so there. Seriously, there are going to
be a billion and one ways to do this, and apart from what the manufacturers
are going to tell you about " the best way" , "the most reliable way" , and
"the way we see it", the only thing that matters is what your regional
clients will pay for and the level of quality they demand. We could tech yap
this to death, but you tell me if your photo shop savy Art director can see
the difference between 2K, 1080, and 720 Data. Sure you Inferno artist can
and will love you for higher resolution, but what is going to be practical?
Of course, as usual, I have blinders on and am only speaking about
commercial environs. The feature folks are free to think I'm an idiot. ( and
probably do).

 Personally, I believe in covering your bases and trying to offer as many
options as possible. Sinking all your money into the coolest or best or
state of the art is great, but you still gotta pay for it. Sure, cache will
sell and the personalities of the operators will carry the torch, but for a
facility not doing any full length feature work ( we do spots for feature
release ) - there are some cause and effect issues to deal with in respect
to what resolution you work with. An obvious point, but an oft forgotten one.

The "software" Dennis asked about I'm not sure of -- when I saw the Megadef
dump to the transfer engine, I thought the engine was put in"capture"
manually, and then files from Megadef streamed to it.... Once again a
question for Dave Catt.

As for Greg Dildine's pointedly true comments about current 888 support; I
can't speak for Davinci. I know that current efforts seem to be all about
getting 2K delivered and working. As for vers 4.X -- I know the color
correction timing doesn't work, so Tape to Tape or cut prints are out of the
question. A suggestion has been made to us to have 2 hard drives; 1 with 4.X
for spots with Sel. neg or OCN, and the other with 3.92 for frame accurate
timing. I'm not sure what I want to do with that info......

As for Greg's question; "Poggle-people question:  Can anyone describe Poggle
windowing by comparing it directly to DV Power Windows"?  

Well Greg, since we're both mainly Davinci users, I'll tell you my
impressions -- There are no "border" outlines on their windows. They're
"windows" are actually channels that you can decide how to use. Secondary
"kilovector" correction also gets done in these channels so you have to
decide if you want to burn a channel for vector bending or area isolation.
Of course these channels cost money, and toy can get up to 6 in megadef. I
think this gives you 12 in SD. They are talking about establishing a 6
vector correction area where each vector begins as a defined color space but
would be completely defineable by the user. If this idea happened it would
basicly give you 6 instead of 9 fully defineable vector benders. As of now
tho, those 2 things being grouped together bummed me out because there's
many a session where I have 7 vectors and inside and outside corrections
going on........

Thanks again to all for patience, and interest.... one of these days there
might be more than 2 real choices on the market, and we might even catch up
to the VCR/home electronics market where, when you pull it out of the box,
you can count on it working. $120 bucks - I know it will work. megabucks to
millions? well, you see it's a niche market, and it's very hard to have
enough resources, and well things are very competitive, and well we support
many diffrerent machines, etc.......... sound like some Telecine, TC box,
Transcoder, or Color Correction manufacturers to you?   ---me too. Whether
you can handle it or not -it's the truth.

Yours in knob diddling,

Craig Leffel 

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