Sunday, September 3, 2006

HD Video: The Future of All Games Media

I was lucky enough to kick off my career in the games business working on some of the most influential games magazines of their time - Computer and Video Games and Mean Machines to name but two. Right from the beginning part of the key to our success was to make games look as good as possible. That meant the best possible screen shots, no matter what the cost.
Back in the day, that required an expensive 120mm Minolta camera, a decent CRT, a dark room and the hope that the pause mode in the game was decent. Then we moved into the DTP era and frame capture devices.
Now we live in an age where time is indeed money and yet many (if not all) games media outlets are still duplicating work by first taking screen shots via conventional frame grabbers and then capturing video footage for internet media, cover disks and magazine work.
What if the same capture session could be used to cover web footage, screenshots and disk video too?
Digital Foundry HD footage is pristine enough to be allow one capture session to be used for both eventualities. The quality of our HD footage speaks for itself, but those same video files can now be scanned frame by frame, the user able to individually extract any single frame they want.
The results are screenshots just as good to the human eye as a direct memory dump (eg Xbox Neighborhood screen capture tool) but with the added advantage that every single frame output by the source machine is there to be chosen, making for far more dynamic shots.
So, no visible quality loss, far more dynamic shots, no more duplication of work in the media environment - Digital Foundry HD just makes sense on multiple levels.
Here are a couple of Xbox 360 shots taken from CineFormHD compressed game footage...

Click for uncompressed 720p images.