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Improving the time and cost efficiency of recording films

Development of a film recorder that uses state-of-the-art digital imaging, optical and film transport technologies, and that improves the efficiency of the film recording process up to 100 times.

The aim of this project is to improve the time- and cost-efficiency of the process of recording films in the motion picture industry by a factor of minimum 24 times and typically 100 times! Traditionally a film was captured by a traditional film camera, then the film was manually edited by the cut and paste method and e.g. colour grading was done by a photochemical process. When the editing was done and the final master copy was finished, this was then used to make the distribution copies that were sent out to cinemas. Today, film is still mostly captured by a traditional film camera, but since more and more editing and colour grading is done in the digital domain, the film is scanned and converted to a digital format. After the editing, inserts of animation, colour grading, etc. are done by operators working on state-of-the-art computers and software. The film (or parts of the film) ends up as a digital master file. To convert this film in a digital format to the traditional analogue film format, a film recorder is used. To record a film is a costly and time-consuming process: * To record a 90 minute film with the fastest film recorder available on the market today takes more than 1,5 days, with the recorder running 24 hours a day. * Using the more common film recorder on the market, it takes more than 8 days, even with the recorder running 24 hours a day. Today the film recording process is causing a bottleneck in film laboratories. Currently only 10%-15% of all films are converted to a digital format, but this is expected to grow considerably in the years to come. Estimations from leading film laboratories are that films in the digital format will increase to a 40%-50% share within the next three to four years. The film industry has quite recently started to make light and colour corrections by digital processing. Animated sequences, etc. that are created in the digital domain are being included in more and more films. More and more films are being released in digital format on DVDs, therefore having the film in a digital format makes this release easier. Working in the digital domain gives greater flexibility and more artistic freedom for film directors to create their desired film experience. All in all, there are strong driving forces that enable digitalisation of the film production process. Since the film recording process is currently a bottleneck in film laboratories, and the need for increased recording capacity will increase, there is a big market potential for a recorder with increased efficiency in the form of higher recording speed, i.e. a reduced recording time! Our project aims to develop a film recorder that is digital and operates in real time, i.e. a Real Time Digital Film Recorder. Real time means that it will record the film using the same recording time as the duration of the film, i.e. a film with duration of 90 minutes will be recorded in 90 minutes. This recording speed is more than 100 times faster than most existing film recorders on the market, creating a tremendous potential for cost and time reduction as well as increased capacity for the users of film recorders! In addition, the Real Time Digital Film Recorder will enable one more step in the film production process towards becoming truly digital. The project of developing the Real Time Digital Film Recorder will be a joint European development project where participants with state-of-the-art competence within the different technological fields have been selected. This project will open up a new window of opportunity for these participants, using their core competence to further develop their own technology as well as co-developing with other international partners. Hopefully this will stimulate the cross-pollination and generation of new ideas and opportunities by the participants. When development has been finalised and the final prototype presented to the market, it is intended that all partners shall provide their technology and components to build the Real Time Film Recorder in the mass production stage, thus generating long-term revenue paying back investments and generating profit for each participant. Keywords: digital, film, recorder.
Acronym: 
FILM RECORDER
Project ID: 
3 149
Start date: 
01-11-2003
Project Duration: 
25months
Project costs: 
1 700 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Imaging, Image Processing, Pattern Recognition
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.