Tuesday, January 15, 2008

New Hardware Announcement: Full 1080p60 Capture with the 'Digital Foundry TrueHD' WorkStation

Earlier in the New Year I mentioned some exciting new equipment being worked on here at the Digital Foundry lair. Now I'm actually in a position to be able to make an announcement of sorts before a full press release goes out in the next week or so.
Digital Foundry TrueHD is the first piece of brand new technology we've been working on. The best kit available (soon!) for hardcore professionals and media outlets, but really targeted at games developers, it's an ultra high-end unit designed to be the last word in video games capture.
It's also the first HD system available capable of acquiring full raster 1080p high definition video at 60 frames per second, while simultaneously running an on-screen preview window scalable to any resolution at the same refresh rate. In this mode, files are encoded into the CineForm HD codec, which regular readers will know offers the best quality, spectacular compression rates and allows for cross-platform usage of the video files on PC or Apple Mac in all major editing systems.
Other stuff we're looking to include? How about enhanced support for full mathematically lossless 24-bit RGB? Digital Foundry TrueHD can capture 720p at 60fps with full 24-bit precision, up from 30fps on our previous hardware. Literally every single byte of video information from the HDMI port is captured with zero loss of quality. That 24-bit support extends upwards too, with 1080p support included at up to 30 frames per second.
So is the new TrueHD offering a direct replacement for the current portable DFHD? Not really. There are no plans for a portable version of TrueHD, but more than that there is no planned support for analogue component (VGA/DVI/HDMI only) nor interlaced sources - all handled easily with our existing product. So consider TrueHD a top-end device designed to complement Xbox 360, PC and PS3, while DFHD remains the best games media swiss army knife on the market - able to handle any input (SD or HD), any resolution, anywhere.
Screenshots, videos and everything will be released in the next week or two.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Cross-Platform HD Video Files

It's difficult to write any blog entry about Digital Foundry HD without evangelising the CineForm compression technology we have used since day one. I recognised the sheer quality of the codec right from the very beginning of our project way back in August 2005, but its incompatibility with Final Cut Pro on Apple Mac has always been a concern, being as it is - rightly or wrongly - the industry standard for video editing.
CineForm has been working on the Mac implementation of its technology for some time, but just before Christmas I finally took the plunge and invested in a Mac Mini. Partly to see what all the fuss was about (my last Mac was a monochrome powerbook that died sometime in 1994!), partly to investigate just how good the CineForm implementation was, and finally because I like to dismantle electronics and the Mini looked like a lovely design (that PCI Express Mini Card socket is very interesting...)
As it happens, CineForm have been good to their word. Our captures open in Quicktime and Final Cut Pro with no issues whatsoever, and no conversion required. The decoder required for running captures on the Mac is free too, meaning that distribution of those captures is no problem at all.
Going into 2008, we have some pretty exciting new stuff lined up that's been in gestation for quite some time. We're expanding the Digital Foundry HD hardware options, and introducing some revolutionary new capture options - stuff that's literally never been seen before - but practicality, flexibility and sheer quality are our bywords and as such, CineForm remains at the heart of everything we do.

Digital Foundry HD .avi files playing in Quicktime Pro on OSX 10.5, and imported into Final Cut Pro. Thanks to the CineForm HD codec, Digital Foundry HD captures are not only small and compact with industry-leading quality, they'll work on all major editing systems on both PC and Mac.