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DS v10.0: Good News and New Features

Only published comments... Sep 05 2008, 03:19 AM by Avid Community Team
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Avid Training Services' Jim Maxwell has been a DS user for more than 10 years — since v. 1.0.  Here, he talks about the exciting new release of DS v. 10.

In case you missed it, last month, Avid hosted an event in Burbank, CA that reintroduced Avid DS to the Post-production community.  Although DS never went away, those in the DS community know that not much changed in the product over the past 3 or 4 years. In fact there had been speculation last year that DS would be EOL’d.  

Nothing could be further from the truth. With version 10.0, Avid has reinforced its commitment to DS, and all those using it.

This is evidenced by better conform capability, better connectivity and many performance improvements by taking advantage of the GPU as well as the CPU, the inclusion of Secondary Color Correction like Symphony, SAS storage support, and 3D Luts.  While DSv10 will continue to run on 64bit Nitris systems, the new hardware under the hood is using AJA for IO.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the new features, hardware and software.

Hardware with additional Dual-link Feature Support:

Avid has substantially changed the hardware for DSv10.0 while retaining its ability to run on existing Nitris systems. So if you have DS on Nitris, it is not necessary to completely retool your system.

There are certain benefits to either configuration. For instance, Secondary Color Correction needs to be rendered on Nitris in 10bit, not on the new platform.

In the new GPU-enabled platform real-time processing supports the following effects:

  • Primary and Secondary color correction
  • DVE (no rotation supported, so any X,Y or Z will switch back to software)
  • Dissolve
  • Dip to color
  • Fade in and Fade Out
  • Over
  • 1D & 3D LUTs

Not everything is real-time, but the speed, performance and responsiveness of the new version on the HP XW 8600 is very impressive.

Color Management:

Version 10 has a new interface to define and manage Look-up Tables (LUTs). The most commonly-used LUTs are provided as follows:

  • Printing Density [Cineon] for film
  • ITU-709 for HD
  • SRGB for Digital photos/stills
  • A Linear LUT for animations
  • The Legacy Graphics setting which remaps the black and white points from 0 to 16 and 255 to 235

This flexible UI defines new logarithmic, linear or gamma LUTs (including complex gamma as defined in ITU-709 and SRGB standards).

Support for 3D LUTs with the Thomson Luther, Kodak KDM, Iridias .itx LUT formats gives the user the ability to see what a 4:4:4 sequence or clip will look like not only once its projected but how it will look going to tape format like HD or the other way around.  This eliminates the guesswork on how your sequence will look — whatever its color space origin, as well as the color space it is going through, or the color space in which it will be delivered.  So let’s say you shot on film, but you want deliver back to film as well as HD, you can see how your project will look for both Masters. The 3D LUT support is currently available as an effect.

1D LUT support extends to tape-based capture, so now when capturing RGB media from tape; you can specify the 1D LUT that was applied by the camera, or in the transfer from the telecine.

When linking or capturing DPX files, you can select the appropriate LUT.

Not only can it be set in Capture settings, but each file can have a LUT setting that can be modified on linkage or import.

Additionally a new concept of a sequence LUT where each RGB sequence can have its own specific LUT depending on the final delivery format. (i.e. if the delivery will be in film, the sequence LUT can be set to Printing Density, whereas for HD delivery, the sequence LUT will be ITU-709).

And you can apply the LUT effect on a clip or sequence basis.

Finally, there is also the ability to apply a LUT in the viewer for monitoring purpose only.

Check what your output will be before you commit to tape or film file.

DSv10.0 color management allows monitoring by the artists and their clients at all phases of posting in DS from input to color correction and FX to output, regardless of their acquisition format and color space, maintaining color integrity throughout the process. All the careful color decisions made during the creative work with DS are preserved in the final master.

Up-conversion and Cross-conversion Capabilities

There is the option of hardware up-convert of an SD sequence to HD (Pillar box 4:3, Zoom 14:9, Zoom Letterbox, Zoom Wide from a SD 4:3 sequence; anamorphic to 16:9 square pixels in a 16:9 sequence).  This Hardware up-convert allows for the mixing of different formats in one project, saving time and money for users and their customers by not having to render software conversions.

With Hardware conversion you can cross- or down-convert a 4:2:2 HD sequence to another 4:2:2 HD or SD format 1080 to 720, for example, allowing users to output multiple format masters without the need to render.  HW support 720p23.98 sequence type with an option to output to SDI in native 720p23.98 or cross-convert to 1080p23.98 providing real-time capability to handle the two most common HD formats.

Conform to DPX Media from an AFE

DSv10.0 bundles a new product Avid MetaFuze, which allows you to transcode DPX files into MXF. With this feature, the same level of conform that is available from a tape-based Avid Media Composer offline to Avid DS will be available for a file-based DPX conform. The user can specify a root folder and DS will recursively scan, looking for DPX files in that hierarchy.

Additionally during DPX conform, the folder name can be used as the source name, eliminating the requirement to have the source name in the DPX header as part of the timecode based conform.

Improvements in Keycode handling including support for 35 3 perf conforms and handling of the additional info in ArriScan DPX generated files to support perf offset.

Other features that are a marked improvement:

New Timeline Functionality

With Source-side color correction, Avid implemented a new set of commands that can be used in the timeline to select effect filters that have the same parameters (and are coming from the same source) to help with the conform from Avid Media Composer. Once there is a selection, a new command will let user load the same preset to all these filters.

Symphony-style Secondary Color Correction:

Now we can conform from an Avid Symphony Nitris — If your CPU’s are fast enough, and/or if the GPU processing is supported real-time support is available. On Nitris, where no 10-bit software processing is allowed, the processing will need to be manually done.

Here we have a beautiful orange rose, but the client wants a blue rose.

Voila — violets and roses are blue!

Node Builder

This allows you to build your own "custom" property page and exposes only some of the parameters of an effect tree comprising multiple effects.  This is yet another way to build and save effects. The initial implementation is limited to sliders only, and only to parameters that can be used in expressions.

I used this in a current project and must say it will make changing complex effects trees much easier.

With the Effects tree property page opened to the Property Builder tab, you can name the property you want to add — like Stroke Length.

With the Effects tree property page opened to the Generic tab, you can drag the keyframes button (to the left of the Accented Edges effect) to the green Expressions box to apply the parameter.  See how Edge Brightness reflects the value of the original effect.

Now you can adjust multiple effects within the tree through one Property Page.

Additional formats supported

The following YUV 4:2:2 video formats have been added:

  • 1080p 50
  • 1080p 59.94
  • 1080p 60

All AJA supported hardware platforms offer 8- & 10-bit uncompressed capability.  Additionally, the XW 8600 DNX 90, 290 and 440Mb (at 60p) are supported. DNX 90 enables a very good offline workflow for the high bit rate formats; this includes shared storage.

Stereoscopic container

A stereoscopic container has been added to DS allowing the user to create a 48i sequence and setup the left and right eyes which will be output via the 2Ke AJA card. Container also supports over/under, side by side and anaglyph modes.

Added support for RIFF64 support in Wave Parsers

This allows reading 64-bit wave files and also enables very long multi-channel audio caches in Avid DS.

Interplay Support

This opens DS up for use in facilities utilizing the metadata and media asset tracking and management provided by Interplay.
DS can now connect to an Interplay media indexer allowing DS to access the media via the same indexer as MC. This streamlines the workflow between MC and DS on Interplay.
Drag & Drop from Interplay Access. The user can drag and drop from an Access window masterclips and MC sequences to a DS project folder.
Timeline to MC has been enhanced to allow the resulting masterclip to be checked into Interplay asset manager.

Unity 64-bit Client Support

We now have full support for Unity MediaNet 5.1 when running the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Avid DS on XP-64.

Finally, Underline support in the graphics tool

Underlining in the DS paint/ title tool has been added. I know, I know — but how long did we wait on Media Composer for a soft edge shadow in the Title Tool? Smile

How much does it cost? This pricing is straight from the Sales brochure…

  • DS Turnkey with 8TB SAS Storage $ 59 995 US
  • DS Turnkey with 16TB SAS Storage $ 67 995 US
  • DS Assist No longer available as standalone product one copy of DS software only included with system purchase existing Assist seats to be upgraded on per customer basis
  • DS RP one copy included with system purchase
  • DS Trial download & CD Save-disabled
  • Educational :8TB config for $39,997  
  • Educational 16TB config for $45,330

All and all, DSv10.0 is a remarkable finishing system with more to come.


Post by Jim Maxwell, Avid Training Services

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