Advanced Imaging - March 1998

ProntoVision Merges HD Telecine With Computer Graphics
by Sheldon Liebman

As we move toward the time when HDTV becomes less of a promise and more of a reality, one of the most important requirements is to transfer source material between film, HDTV and computer formats. One of the first products to address this need is ProntoVision from Digital Video Systems, Inc. (DVSI) of Burbank, CA. DVSI is a wholly owned subsidiary of the DVS-MMS Group of Hannover, Germany, who manufacture the product.

ProntoVision interfaces with both the video and computer worlds. For video I/O, it operates at 1.5 Gigabits per second (Gbps), which is the data rate required for real-time uncompressed 1080I or 720P video. This allows ProntoVision to accept the HDTV output of a telecine like the Philips Spirit, which is provided in the 1920 x 1080 interlaced HD format. Once captured, ProntoVision can transfer the video frame-by-frame to a computer system through its high-speed Ultra-Wide SCSI interface.

With high-end computer graphics systems, special effects and/or compositing can be done using the high-resolution digital files. Since most graphics workstations don’t currently support real-time HDTV playback, the final results can be transferred back to the ProntoVision as individual frames via U/W-SCSI.

Finished video can be played directly from the ProntoVision or transferred to HD format tape in real-time. The product is capable of storing more than one hour of uncompressed HDTV video and up to 8 channels of AES/EBU audio. ProntoVision also supports standard video formats and can be partitioned to store both HDTV and SDTV material.

Using the Spirit, ProntoVision and a Discreet Logic Flame system, a four-minute HDTV piece was created recently for Philips Consumer Electronics. After being transferred to videotape, this video was used by Philips at this year’s Winter Consumer Electronics Show to demonstrate a new 64-inch rear-projection HDTV set.

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