Film production, regardless of format, is a resource intensive and demanding iterative
process. A 2k film of only 110 minutes requires a minimum of 1.8 terabytes of data, all of
which must be color-corrected, edited and conformed, and many films today also require effects
such as 3D elements or other post production processes. Working with film material also means
dealing with dust and scratch removal, as well as the basic step of converting celluloid or
tape-based material into digital material. And with the resurgence of 3D stereoscopic films,
the storage requirements of all of these processes, as well as the processing of material
itself, is doubled.
The objective of this document is to outline how Interactive FX's Piranha products integrate
into the post production process and address the challenges facing filmmakers today.
Interactive FX's Piranha products emphasize speed, and allow facilities to minimize network
traffic by providing workflow tools from onset to output of both traditional film material and
the latest digital film technologies.
For all films, and especially for effects intensive films, the ability to review material as
its shot is a valuable tool in keeping production costs down. From basic look development to
more intensive VFX supervisor review, Interactive FX Piranha products can be used on set to
minimize post production time while making the most of onset time. Color adjustments can be
made on set by directors or DPs and applied later, providing a baseline from which the final
color of the film can be derived.
Piranha allows SD and HD material to be captured onset, either single link or dual link, while
requiring no local disk array. Utilizing a combination of the latest GPU technology and
Piranha's optimized code base, and with stability only available with Linux, Piranha easily
deals with 4:4:4:4 HD material allowing shot development to be more than an estimation.
Piranha's robust effects tools also allow for adding quick effects such as particles to ensure
unwanted objects can be easily obscured or aligning shots with previs 3D elements, greatly
reducing the need for reshoots. Whether the film demands these types of effects or simply
creating color effects, all of Pirahas effects can be saved out and later applied to the final
scanned or captured material, as well as material created in 3D and compositing processes.
Piranha products can ingest a variety of formats so there are no limitations determining how
you need to work. OpenEXR, Cineon/DPX, 16-bit TIFF and SGI format support are all supported
and with Interactive FX's unique and optimized ARC format as an option as well, you choose the
format that works best for your workflow.
Perhaps more importantly,
Piranha products utlilize an open and easily accessible filesystem,
meaning no proprietary framestores or import/export processes to deal with. Not simply open,
Piranha's ARC format on Linux filesystems requires less maintenance than NTFS based solutions
in particular, eliminating the need for disk array defragmentation which on mulitple terabyte
systems can take many hours, if not days. Piranha provides easy access through standard
protocols, allowing facilities to easily move data to multiple artist workstations.
This ability is particularly important for the creation of dailies. Piranha's ability to move
data within the application, with an internal pipeline capable of > 600 MB/s, and the ability
to generate multiple file formats including Quicktime with audio, makes Piranha an ideal tool
for creating dailies. Piranha's scripting abilities even allow much of these processes to be
automated; as elements are either scanned from popular scanners such as Philips Spirit and
Cintel C-reality scanners or rendered out by 3D or compositing applications, Piranha can
monitor render and scan queues and generate dailies on the fly.
Interactive FX Piranha's broad spectrum of ingest options adds speed, efficiency and
reliability to film I/O processes. Using Single or Dual link and with the ability to move data
quickly and capture mulitple formats and color depths up to 4:4:4:4, Piranha for ingest
provides a breadth of options not found on systems costing hundreds of thousands of dollars more.
Preview and Dailies
Piranha Player is the ideal solution for playback and review of generated content, such as 3D
elements and finished composites, offering full 16 bit floating point playback of common
element formats. Including Final Cut Pro XML project support, the ability to generate
playlists and even audio support, 2D and 3D artists can utilize Piranha Player's fast disk and
GPU based playback for review of material, including stereoscopic material.
With support for stereoscopic formats such as anaglyph and polarized, facilities may employ any
type of review workflow from shutter glasses to anaglyph on the desktop, as well as output to
DLP projectors, in order to review material as quickly and effeciently as possible. Review
personnel may also add annotations to material, quickly highlighting areas requiring additional
work. As well, Piranha Player supports midi-device control such as the JL Cooper 3000 series
and Eclipse, further expediting the review process.
Piranha player also supports custom 3D lookup tables as well as LUTs from Kodak and Cinespace,
with the ability to mix and match 10-bit Cineon or DPX material with 16-bit rendered elements
in the same playlist. Fully customizable workflows via scripting make Piranha Player unmatched
as an artists review tool, and easily integrated into any facility.
At their core, all Piranha products are solutions for finishing film material, and include a
host of features designed to anchor your production pipeline. With no limitations based on
formats, bit depth, resolution or even color space, Piranha products are the ideal solution to
conform, color grade and output film material.
Traditional film scans typically take the form of DPX or Cineon files with embedded film key
codes. High speed scanning devices can be used in Data Mode or HD mode using Piranha's High
Definition capabilities, with scriptable content management and project creation allowing
facilities to custom tailor data acquisition to customized work flows.
Using standard CMX 3600 EDL files, data is migrated into Piranha either via timecode-matched
DPX files or direct from Piranha's HD/SD capture mode. Frame rate changes, wipes and dissolves
are automatically inserted in the the edit timeline as well as all as EDL reel and edit number
metadata. Unique EDL scatter gather conforming allows Piranha to search any filesystem for DPX
and Cineon files which are needed to conform the EDL. Multiple scans and redundant frames are
logged as well, allowing the operator to choose between selected shot revisions during conform.
Working without EDL's is a simple process as well; using Piranha's recusive image importing
ability, an operator can import an entire directory tree of scans and captures quickly into a
single timeline; an elegantly simple solution that can save invaluable amounts of time.
Once material has been loaded into Piranha, using Piranha Edit adjustments can be made to
transitions and clips to insure EDL conformance or make on the spot changes. A video
resolution capture from offline systems such as Avid can be used as a synced reference layer
for on the fly comparison of cuts and transitions.
The Piranha Edit solution provides users with a standard video layer based cut and transition
timeline that provides a majority of the functionality found on most professional non-linear
editing systems. Simply drag clips from Piranhas on screen clipbin to the timeline, with
simple modes to allow drag and drop rippling, trimming, fit to fill and easy head to tail time
matching. And Piranha's Edit supports user configurable key bindings for one key dissolves,
wipes, frame rate changes, and razor and clone operations. Multi-layer, audio layers, ripple,
fit to fill, trim, append, razor, animateable wipes, dissolves are all fully integrated into
Piranha's composite pipeline allowing effects and color correctons to be a full part of the
timeline. Full variable frame rate control for reverse, or percentage playback rates allow operators to
visualize the timeline as necessary to ensure material meets the demands of the final output.
Piranha also provides a complete color correction solution with full monitor calibration and
printer light calibration, with monitor calibration computed globally at the display level and
has no overhead for compute time. 10 high speed secondaries ensure a minimal amount of
calculation time, with full support for RGB monitor curves allowing the artist to work in both
Linear and Log space. Piranha can also handle content color space conversion allowing for
mixing of Linear, LOG, RGB, 4:4:4:1, 4:4:4:2, and 4:4:4:4 YUV, Panalog and Full-Headroom YUV in
the same sequence.
Full primary correction tools include HSV/RGB curves and hue rotation, plus Gamma, Gain,
Pedestal adjustments, as well as color wheel based Lo/Mid/Hi adjustment. Piranha's Auto Color
match system allows for curves adjustment based on samples from another shot, and auto white
balance features provides artist with quick normalization of shots. All effects can be applied
using a trackball interface to provide tactile feedback for colorist workflow.
Piranha is also equipped with secondary units including soft shapes, soft windowing, color
keying, gradation wipes and DVE warped and animated image keys. Scene to scene color correction
support provides for split screen comparison as well as interactive color sample based
correction matching for doing full scene-to-scene color grading, and custom correction effects
define new color correction effects using Piranha's comprehensive effects level scripting
interface. Finally, full global control of output color ranges are controlled by an editable
output rendering curve for matching and calibrating to the final film recorder or video device
And since a large part of any digital film finishing process involves removing dust and
repairing other artifacts of the scanning process, and Piranha offers many essential tools,
including a full paint system, for fixing content quickly. Warping and corner-pinning allows
operators to fix gate flutter and frame bending at splice points, with real-time tracking and
stabilization of film frames for removing gate weave or camera shake. Piranha's fully
integrated paint system includes animatable clone, airbrush, stamping, color tinting, and wire
removal brushes, with tablet support for pressure based painting. And time independent shapes
and garbage mattes seamlessly blend regions of previous or later frames for fast rig removal.
In addition to these effects capabilities, Piranha has over 100 effects including full TrueType
text support, particles, 3D geometry, keying, and optically-correct motion blur. With Primatte
and RGB/HSV keyers, Piranha can also create blue and green screen keys, and TrueType titling
with on-screen editing and animation support makes laying out titles easy. Full text scripting
allows for subtitling to be handled automatically through an imported text keyframe caption
effect, and Piranha as includes support for XML import of pre-prepared rolls and crawls.
Seventy percent of Piranha's effects are done using OpenGL hardware with frame rates at or near
real-time making interactive design and editing a truly creative process, allowing the operator
to work closely with clients during production.
3D Stereoscopic Film Finishing
And a unique feature of Piranha, the shared effect, allows all of these tools, color, editing,
titling and effects, to be applied to both clips ('eyes') of Stereoscopic material, greatly
reducing the amount of time required to implement and review changes on stereoscopic material.
Luminance adjustments, paint and rotoscopy, color grading and even 3D camera moves and
particles can be applied to both clips as a 'Shared effect', enabling the effect to be created
once yet applied correctly to both tracks. Shared effects can then be manipulated together or
individually to achieve visually correct results.
Piranha Cinema supports the most currently utilized 3D stereoscopic methods, mainly:
- Active - Stereo with Quadbuffer
- Passive - Stereo with Polarisation: linear and circular, eg. Infitec
- Anaglyph stereo- ideal for browser based review
- Side by Side or Above and Below methods of shooting
- Vertical Interlaced - SeeReal Digital Stereo Flatpanels
- Color Interleaved - Sharp3D Digital Stereo Flatpanels
- and with Piranha's open architecture, support for other methods is easily achievable.
Full SD/HD IO and film format output capabilities complete the work flow allowing both High
Definition video mastering as well as production of feature films from HD source material.
Piranha features 30p/25p/24p/24psf/PAL/NTSC/1080i and 720p/60 capture and record support.
Additionally Piranha supports capture and record in Panasonic's extended headroom YUV format
for richer blacks and hotter highlights than normal video will allow. Piranha suports
deck control of Sony and Panasonic RS422 capable video decks and DDRs (DIGIbeta, D1,
D5, DVcam) etc.
Piranha solutions also have capabilities for High Definition master monitor output, allowing
operators to see HD output as frames are corrected and manipulated, and all video I/O in
Piranha is full uncompressed 4:4:4 and 4:2:2, delivering quality equal to or better than
currently available commercial video decks.