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Layered Compression Technologies for Digital Cinematography and Cross Media Conversion

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 511333

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 September 2004

  • End date

    30 April 2007

Funded under:

FP6-IST

  • Overall budget:

    € 5 986 579

  • EU contribution

    € 3 050 000

Coordinated by:

FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG E.V.

Germany

Project description

Cross-media content for leisure and entertainment Keeping European cinema at the cutting edge

A novel video-production system developed by European researchers enables the production of high-quality digital cinema, called 4k movie production.

The system will usher in better quality cinematography with lower processing overheads, allowing Europe’s industry to remain competitive in the global market place.

After 100 years of celluloid, cinema is moving to digital film production. In the very near future, movies will be shot in 4K format, a very high-quality cinematography standard. The transition will mean the end of the cinema reel and the introduction of other digital distribution channels like DVD, hard disks or even satellite transmission.

But digital cinema means more than a shift from analogue technology on film to digital 1s and 0s. It also calls for completely new workflows within most parts of the digital cinema chain.

Each link in the chain requires special handling, a difficult task given the size of the files involved. Shooting a single scene in 4K resolution can generate between 200 and 500 gigabytes of data, so a 90-minute film can take up terabytes of space.

It takes a lot of time, effort and money to process, edit, distribute and archive all of that data, which must then be converted for TV, DVD and other media.

Simpler, cheaper, more efficient

Now, thanks to the work of the Worldscreen project, a European initiative to develop a new way to make and distribute digital movies, those difficult tasks will become easier, cheaper and more efficient.

First, Worldscreen evaluated various data-coding standards, finally selecting JPEG2000, a new standard for digital cinema, because it offers adjustable compression rates, from lossless to lossy, with maximum quality. JPEG2000 also encodes images frame-by-frame, which means more precise editing.

Even better, JPEG2000 has a multi-layer-quality structure. It is possible within post-production to work with different resolutions or qualities in the same file.

For example, you can choose the most suitable post-production settings without downscaling or resizing the file. And at the end, you can apply all adjustments and processing steps to the master file.

This structure allows the extraction of different resolution sizes to produce content quickly for distribution to other media.

Setting standards

Within Worldscreen, metadata models were developed for the post-production. Metadata is information about the content of a file. These metadata are stored separately in the system and provide information such as colour grading and editing adjustments.

The team became involved in the creation of the JPEG2000 standard, too, and contributed significantly to its development.

The researchers also developed a portable media-storage device for capturing the source material from digital cameras on the movie set. It can encode the footage in JPEG2000. Meanwhile, the Worldscreen partners developed post-production and transcoding methods for distribution and decoding systems.

Commercial opportunities

Next they created a quality-assessment methodology for digital cinema and supported research and standardisation of a layered scheme data-compression system. The workflow and metadata models for using JPEG2000 across the entire production chain.

Worldscreen presented its results at the Berlinale 2007, an international film festival, and at the National Association of Broadcasters 2007 conference in Las Vegas, USA. Movie producers, studios and even commercial broadcasters showed enormous interest in the technology, so there is a strong potential for commercialisation.

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Coordinator

FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG E.V.

Address

Hansastrasse 27c
80686 Munchen

Germany

Activity type

Research Organisations

EU Contribution

€ 1 393 049

Participants (8)

FLYING EYE MANAGEMENTBERATUNG FUR MEDIENINVESTITIONEN GMBH

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 224 375

T-SYSTEMS INTERNATIONAL GMBH

Germany

T-SYSTEMS GEI GMBH

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 397 858

SALZGEBER & CO MEDIEN GMBH

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 69 525

KODAK INDUSTRIE

France

EU Contribution

€ 399 550

DIGILAB 2000 S.R.L.

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 247 909

MEDIA, OBJECTS AND GADGETS - SOLUCOES DE SOFTWARE E HARDWARE, S.A.

Portugal

EU Contribution

€ 87 180

SNELL AND WILCOX LIMITED

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 230 554

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 511333

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 September 2004

  • End date

    30 April 2007

Funded under:

FP6-IST

  • Overall budget:

    € 5 986 579

  • EU contribution

    € 3 050 000

Coordinated by:

FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG E.V.

Germany