Colorfront releases a new version of its Transkoder and makes it more capable of more things than ever. Freya Black is seriously impressed.
Transkoder uses off the shelf hardware to achieve faster than real time processing. It transcodes, decodes, converts, wraps and generally processes files into various high-end formats. It can even do high-end mastering including Dolby Atomos compatible DCP packages for the cinema and has support for the new HDR10+ standard that is compatible with the very latest Samsung televisions.
The transcoder platform is presently running on cost-effective Supermicro and HP Z840 workstations. It uses the very latest GeForce 1080Ti and NVidia Pascal Titan-X graphics cards for monitoring purposes and uses AJA’s high-density Corvid 88 I/O card to support multiple, independent HD-SDI outputs.
With HDR becoming a key next generation technology, Transkoder will surely find a home with companies looking for cost-effective ways to make their content work in the new world. Transkoder can achieve conversions from HDR-HDR, HDR-SDR and SDR-HDR and can also carry out content/tone mapping with metadata to reference displays; and the calculation/setting of required light levels on subtitled HDR content.
Colorfront has worked closely with both Samsung and Amazon to ensure the readiness of Dynamic Tone Mapping, with dynamic metadata, for the newly announced HDR10+ standard (a supercharged version of the current HDR10 standard). Customers are already using Transkoder to deliver shows to Amazon in HDR10+ which will be compatible with the full range of Samsung’s 2017 UHD and QLED TVs, and other viewing devices.
While most people are still working to make the 4K/HDR combination a reality, Transkoder brings full 8K capability to the party right now. It can read, de-Bayer, process and review 8K RAW media at up to 60fps in real-time for full 8K UltraHD/Super Hi-Vision playback, complete with 22.2 channels of audio. Working with 8K requires processing over 2 billion pixels per frame – or forty times as many pixels as Full HD at 24FPS and Transkoder can do this processing in real time!
Colorfront has worked with Japan’s NHK (the driving force behind 8K broadcast) for several years. NHK are the originators of the Super Hi-Vision format and they have taken delivery of a number of Transkoder units for use on 8K productions of the 2020 Olympic Games which the broadcaster has targeted for the global launch of 8K Ultra HD. The Japanese broadcaster is presently showing Super Hi-Vision 8K@60p content shot in Antarctica on the RED Weapon 8K camera and processed using Colorfront Transkoder at NAB.
Transkoder is powered by the Colorfront engine, ACES 1.0 based technology that works to a precision of 32 bits per channel. Colorfront are experts in colour management technology and Colorfront’s CTO Bill Feighter and Lead Engineer Tamas Perlaki, are both Academy Award winners for their technology so you can be sure you are getting sophisticated high-quality colour space conversions.
Transkoder doesn’t just do the conversions, however, and it has features that speak of an attempt to try and make output as complete and ready as possible. It can composite logos and titles cleanly over the footage, and can even do the same thing with QuickTime video files too. A new Auto Edit feature enables users to rapidly customize black, slate, bars and tones as needed for program delivery requirements while framing guide overlays can be utilized to make sure title/text/logos and graphics remain in the safe areas. Transkoder can even handle adding subtitles and closed captioning to the output and supports IMSC1.
Transkoder has its own mastering format: IMF (Interoperable Master Format) and it can now make use of Netflix’s Photon validation tool during the mastering process. In short, Transkoder provides a wider range of tools to try and make the output master ready for as many different contexts as possible. It can output cinema ready DCP/DCI-compliant master files too, so you can bring in your files and output cinema ready masters. The DCP authoring allows full packaging with verification and quality control along the way. Probably everything you need to make your content ready for the DCP server. Colorfront Transkoder is even certified by Dolby Laboratories for the creation of Dolby Atmos Digital Cinema Packages, so you can create very high-end DCPs right inside Transkoder if you need to.
Transkoder is out there now and being used by plenty of high-end customers. Key features of Transkoder 2017 include: 240FPS JPEG2000 encode-decode, support for HDR10, HDR10+, HLG 1.2 and the latest SMPTE 2094-xx standards, IMF/IMP authoring/naming, packaging, verification and QC, and multi-channel audio (MCA) labelling.