updated 01:15 pm EDT, Tue April 13, 2004
The Pixel Farm at NAB 2004
, the next major release of The Pixel Farm's advanced tracking environment, will includes advanced optical flow functionality that allows the analysis of per pixel inter-frame motion. PFTrack's optical flow tools (PFFlow) track individual pixels from one frame to the next, building a comprehensive data model of all pixel movement within a sequence. PFTrack also offers a simple toolset to modify and enhance any anomalies in the flow data and for creating an accurate flow model. The data can then be used as a single reference point by Pixel Farm plug-ins within applications such as Apple's Shake and Eyeon's Digital Fusion, to perform common repetitive tasks such as clean plate generation and retiming.
Version 1.6 also brings improved speed as well as an open API designed to allow third parties to access the data model. It will be available at the end of the month for $5000.
PFSilo offers asset, content management
PFSilo is designed to help production facilities where complex multiple shot projects are undertaken. Supporting any number of clients and shots, it is is designed to "significantly change the way traditional post-production is undertaken while, at the same time, maintaining a familiar workflow." PFSilo features both analysis and data management.
The analysis tools create a data model of each selected clip with information on camera metrics and movement as well as individual frame-to-frame pixel motion. The result is a centralized model (with support for distributed data vaults), which can then be used as a reference at all stages in the post-production process as well as can be used to synchronize data throughout the post-production pipeline. The data can be used by any third party host applications or proprietary production pipeline via an open API.
PFSilo can create a project structure with hierarchical permission-based access, meta data tags, and a check-in system, enabling the use of a single final render. PFSilo also manages retiming of clips by automatically producing a retimed camera animation and automatically passing it back to the 3D system and also maximizes processing power by transfering resources over to rendering as and when it is required.
PFSilo uses an internal file format to manage image data and deliver the appropriate formats to clients, manages image proxies for working with projects at any resolution, and manages the final output at any target resolution. It will ship at the end of the third quarter and will be shown on NAB running on an SGI server but will be available on Mac OS X Server by the time it ships later this year.
New optical analysis technology for plugins, PFTrack
The Pixel Farm today also released a suite of tools based on the new optical flow technology built into PFTrack 1.6. The new optical analysis features in PFTrack utilise the advanced tracking environment to generate comprehensive optical flow data. The suite allows users to perform common place and complex tasks within long form productions such as automatic clean plate generation, blur and un-blur, and retiming. The new plug-ins, compatible with Apple's Shake, will ship at the end of April 2004: PFClean ($800), PFRetime ($500), PFBlur ($330), and PFPlate ($500).
The Pixel Farm also introduced PFPlay, an advanced turnkey digital daily and production review system that provides a resolution independent play back solution, with options for 1,2 and 3 hours of capacity at 2K film resolution. It only runs on Linux, according to the company: "PFPlay runs under Linux but links to Final Cut Pro to pull down edits using XML. We tried to build it for OS X but as yet the available hardware isn't up to the job which is a real shame."