Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pushing Back The Boundaries

An exhausting week with over 800 miles covered across the UK, but plenty to get excited about. First of all, I recently upgraded to CineForm's Prospect HD editing solution; loaded up Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, and imported a few 1080p60 captures into the timeline. Lo and behold, not only is Digital Foundry TrueHD the only high definition capture system on the market capable of the most extreme resolutions and frame rates, it's also capable of doubling up as a realtime HD workstation.
Yup, 1080p60 streams on the timeline, playing back in realtime.... while conforming the audio at the same time. Bearing in mind that Prospect HD gives you change from $1,000, this is a pretty staggering state of affairs - especially as I believe that an overclocked Q6600 based system running in the region of 3GHz, combined with RAM running at 1066MHz will also do the job. It's a theory I'll put to the test sometime next week, but with Intel's new Nehalem hardware coming along, I'm all but certain that mid-range consumer level kit will soon be outperforming the current top-end server-based technology. And that's fantastic for HD, while posing interesting questions to those of us  in the HD hardware market.
Secondly, a brilliant meeting yesterday with the engineers behind the TrueHD hardware. I went in with a wishlist of stuff that can make the best HD capture solution bar none better yet, and I was amazed at the response. Plans are afoot to include the analogue component support currently absent from the hardware, improve precision 24-bit RGB performance, introduce hardware scaling, and finally, I'm very confident that an iteration of TrueHD will soon be available for notebook users. Bandwidth and CPU limitations prevent full-on 1080p60, but 720p60... 1080p30... some level of support for precision, lossless RGB capture, all the CineForm bells and whistles. It'll all be there in a package you can fit in a travel bag.
And lastly, in a sleep-deprieved, non-stop week of action, I spent a fantastic day at Criterion Games this week installing their new TrueHD station, demoing its capabilities and helping out with their video encoding on the Crash TV podcast they regularly produce.
If you don't know, these are the guys behind the Burnout and Black videogame series, pushing back technical boundaries themselves with each new game they release. Any way, check out that podcast on iTunes if you're in any way interested in games development (search for Crash TV). In an industry increasingly obsessed with PR spin, it's refreshing to see a bunch of talented developers letting the customer into their world, withholding very little and having some fun at the same time. Having spent a fair amount of time with these guys, a lot of the content is almost back like being in the room with them.