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Digital Domain Installs 5D Cyborg Digital Film Playback System

(July 30, 2001)
5D announced that three-time Academy Award-winning post-production studio Digital Domain Inc. has installed 5D Cyborg Commander, 5D’s new real-time, 2K film and video playback/output solution, to help boost productivity within the facility. 5D Cyborg [Commander] has been fully integrated into the workflow pipeline at Digital Domain, and is now being employed in the post production of a number of high-profile movies scheduled for theatrical release later this year.

5D Cyborg [Commander] provides a convenient and flexible way to view full-frame SD, HD, CG and film-resolution data, such as daily test composites for movie special effects and 3D content. As soon as the material is output from the originating workstation it can be view on Commander. By enabling the viewing of full-frame material on a CRT, or via a digital projector, Commander offers a revolutionary and cost-effective alternative to the traditional process of checking digital dailies by outputting to film.


Commander has been fully integrated into the workflow pipeline at Digital Domain. The company’s compositing systems can either offload shots directly to it, or to a main disk storage area which Commander can also access. Commander can browse the libraries of the company’s Discreet and proprietary finishing systems, enabling elegant and efficient transfer of materials as required. Digital Domain’s system has been delivered with 110 hours of 2K storage, and will eventually replace an existing solution, which supports only 15 seconds of 2K playback.

“Commander is an important new technology for Digital Domain,” said Michael Taylor, the company’s vice president, digital studio. “It helps to improve workflow significantly within our company by doing away with a number of in-house bottlenecks. The savings it offers in time and money, as well as improvements in operational flexibility and quality control, are significant factors in modern digital film post production, and will ensure Digital Domain retains its competitive edge”

5D Cyborg [Commander] provides a convenient and flexible way to view full-frame SD, HD, CG and film-resolution data, such as daily test composites for movie special effects and 3D content. As soon as the material is output from the originating workstation it can be view on Commander. By enabling the viewing of full-frame material on a CRT, or via a digital projector, Commander offers a revolutionary and cost-effective alternative to the traditional process of checking digital dailies by outputting to film.

Commander has been fully integrated into the workflow pipeline at Digital Domain. The company’s compositing systems can either offload shots directly to it, or to a main disk storage area which Commander can also access. Commander can browse the libraries of the company’s Discreet and proprietary finishing systems, enabling elegant and efficient transfer of materials as required. Digital Domain’s system has been delivered with 110 hours of 2K storage, and will eventually replace an existing solution, which supports only 15 seconds of 2K playback.

“For the sake of continuity and quality, much of our work requires final shots to be viewed in a continuous sequence,” said Taylor. “In the past each final shot had to be worked on and viewed in isolation, which made successful results all the more difficult to achieve. Now, however, once final shots have been rendered they are transferred into Commander where you can watch them together in one seamless run. Working this way means we can get digital approval on a whole batch of sequences before we order a final ‘film-out’.”

Taylor continued: “Being able to view the final film-out digitally on a monitor is helping us to reduce the traditional number of film-outs down to as little as two on a final shot. In places that don’t have this kind of digital intermediate facility you might end up doing as many as 25 film-outs in achieving the final shot.”

Digital Domain is currently evaluating the installation of a second Commander system and eventually linking these to a digital projection facility in line with developments in digital-cinema.

“Commander is an exciting and highly impressive system,” concluded Taylor. “For clients, it has been an awakening and I can see that they will come to insist on using it in other aspects of the work here, and demand this facility from their other post suppliers too.”

The modular approach taken by 5D in the design of its workflow environment means that 5D Cyborg [Commander] includes a number of features common to 5D Cyborg, the integrated effects editing solution. These include the multi-resolution desktop capable of handling multiple frame rates and multiple resolution clips in native format, a user-friendly GUI and toolset, plus a wide range of interconnectivity with other platforms and file formats, including TIFF, TGA, SGI, DPX and Cineon.

The Advanced Media Player within Commander supports playback of images up to 2048 x 1556, and offers zoom, pan and aspect ratio controls, as well as audio scratch track and scrub.

As with the complete range of 5D Cyborg products, 5D Cyborg [Commander] is delivered as a turnkey solution, that includes certified hardware, monitor, pen and tablet, plus scalable storage configurations initially available with either 45 or 90 minutes of 2048 x 1556 (8-bit) storage.

5D is a pioneering developer of visual effects software for IRIX and Windows 2000. 5D products have become an essential commodity for digital artists worldwide, and are used daily to enhance a wide range of film and video projects. 5D Cyborg, a revolutionary integrated effects environment, is designed to improve productivity in post-production by combining a range of advanced, resolution-independent, image-processing tools into a central working environment. 5D Monsters, an acclaimed range of more than 350 visual effects plug-ins, are available for advanced animation and compositing systems including Avid Media Illusion, Fusion, Discreet systems, Jaleo and Softimage DS. 5D Masher is an offline rendering system for Quantel systems, giving access to 5D Monsters and other third party effects.

Digital Domain has established a world-class reputation for innovation and artistry. The studio has received two Academy Awards, for “What Dreams May Come” and “Titanic,” the highest-grossing film in motion picture history, as well as the 1998 Technical Achievement Academy Award. Over the last six years the company has produced visual effects for films that have generated over $3.5 billion dollars in worldwide boxoffices. The company’s commercial advertising division is widely considered the premiere effects studio in the advertising industry and has been awarded twelve CLIO Awards, including a “Hall Of Fame” Award in 2001 for its Jeep “Snow Covered” spot. The company has also been honored with BAFTA Awards, Cannes Gold Lions, MTV Awards and a Grammy for Best Music Video.

For more information, visit www.five-d.com

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