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NAB Introductions

New products unveiled By Stephen Schleicher and Charlie White

More new products were unveiled Monday at NAB 2006.  Our intrepid team of Digital Media Net reporters were there and found lots of new products for the professional community. Here are a few highlights.

Boxx Apexx 8
Boxx Technologies blew our socks off with its just-announced Apexx 8 which it calls a super-workstation. Perhaps its aptly named, because the unit we saw was packing eight dual-core Opteron 880 processors on board, showing up in the performance monitor as 16 windows of multiprocessing goodness. This is a sight weve never seen.

For our demo, the company ran the familiar CineBench benchmark, and it turned in the fastest score on that benchmark ever. Our jaws dropped as it racked up a CineBench CPU render score of 2283, and that was with the second-fastest available Opteron 880 processors inside --  you can also get it configured with Opteron 885 processors, the newest and fastest. Fully-loaded, it can accommodate 15 data drives, two system drives, and two PCI-Express x16 graphics cards, and two PCI-X slots. Coming is a motherboard with four PCI-X slots, giving you plenty of dual SLI graphics choices.

Fully loaded, you can pack this baby with 128GB of RAM and 7 terabytes of storage soon even more when those 750-gig disks are shipped. Pricing depends on how heavily stoked you want it, but the full boat will probably cost you around $80K. It's truly a monster workstation.

Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design unveiled several new products at the show.  The first is the DeckLink HD Extreme, which allows editors to capture HD footage via SDI and analog connections.  In addition to a HD footage workflow, editors are able to capture standard definition as well, and the unit will switch instantly between the formats, without all the hassle of switching cables and dip switches.

4:2:2 HD/SD-SDI input
2 x HD/SD-SDI outputs that can switch to fill and key output for graphics.
12 bit Analog Component Y, R-Y, B-Y input, that switches to composite NTSC/PAL, or S-Video formats.
14 bit Analog Component Y, R-Y, B-Y output, that switches to composite NTSC/PAL, or S-Video formats.
SDI in and out support 12 channel audio in HD, and 8 channel audio in SD modes.
2 channels of balanced XLR analog Pro audio inputs
2 channels of balanced XLR analog Pro audio outputs
2 channel of AES/EBU digital audio inputs
2 channel of AES/EBU digital audio output
RS-422 remote control connection for controlling broadcast decks
Genlock/Tri-Sync reference input for locking card to large systems
PCI Express 4 lane connection for extreme performance on Mac OS X, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP x64 and Windows Server 2003 x64 systems.

The DeckLink HD Extreme is compatible with Apple Final Cut Pro HD, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, Shake, Motion, Discreet Combustion, iDVD, DVD Studio Pro, Color Finesse, Microcosm, Cleaner, Premiere Pro, Encore DVD and more.

The card is shipping now for $995.

For Multibridge Extreme users, Blackmagic Design unveiled and demonstrated an On-Air software switching solution that allows you to mix HD footage for live television production.

Using cameras like the new Canon XL H1, which feature SDI outs, users connect to the two SDI inputs on the Multibridge Extreme and are able to use the virtual (software) switcher to mix the footage in real time for broadcast, or recorded directly to the hard drive.  While only two inputs are currently supported at this time, the software solution does have the ability to switch to user created graphics as well.

?Blackmagic On-Air is an exciting and completely new idea. Blackmagic Design is the first company to do an affordable solution for live production thats integrated with monitoring and direct-to-disk recording. That's really going to make live HD content production much easier and faster, remarked Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. ?We now have a product that adds the same revolutionary change to live production that non linear editors have enjoyed since the DeckLink series cards were first introduced. Now, when a live performance is over, so is the edit.

Blackmagic On-Air will be available mid-May as a free upgrade for Mac OS X users, with a Windows XP update later this year.

Root6 Content Agent
Theres more talk on the show floor about even higher-than-high definition cameras and their resulting files, but then that presents a prickly problem: how to play back these files? How to deal with their unwieldy sizes? The problem of creating digital dailies from these gigantic files is just aching to be solved.

Enter Root6, a British company that set out to make it easier to deal with 2K and 4K images from ?digital film cameras such as the Dalsa, Viper and others, no small feat since these cameras spit out gigantic torrents of data. Route 6 has been offering a solution to the problem for the past three years, and has now refined its application into the turnkey Content Agent v2, a high-powered workstation and software system which runs a subset of Windows XP and takes any media in, and compresses the files into QuickTime, AVI, or almost any other media type that's readily usable even on a laptop. As an extreme example, Content Agent could take a series of 4K frames and turn them into an H.264 file that could be viewed on an iPod.

Content Agents elegant tree-based interface makes it all easy, where it can be configured by a power user, and then it could be easy enough for an intern to compress these huge files into something more usable. After those files are compressed, Content Agent can create a DVD, FTP the clips to the location of your choice, or set them up as an RSS feed that can be picked up by any RSS reader. All this heavy lifting will cost you $38K for the HD version, shipping now. 

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Related Keywords:blackmagic design, multibridge extreme pro, DeckLink HD Extreme, Blackmagic On-Air, bella corporation, catapult


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