Monday, 8 September 2014

Canon firmware upgrades for 4K

Canon has announced several firmware upgrades for its EOS C500 and EOS C300 Digital Cinema Cameras, DP-V3010 4K reference display and Cinema Raw Development software, most of which will better integrate acquisition and management of 4K footage into every workflow situation (except the C300 of course, which doesn’t do 4K).

Principal amongst them is support for the recently defined ITU BT.2020 colour space for Ultra HD production. This will be most noticeable on the 30-inch DP-V3010 4K professional reference display. The BT.2020 input signals will be mapped to the native colour space of the DP-V3010 for output, to ensure that images are displayed with the widest possible colour gamut and the greatest possible accuracy. Of course, BT.2020 support starts with the camera, so the C500 will be able to create it too.

The ACES (Academy Color Encoding System) proxy transfer standard for digital cinema production advocated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will also become an option following the update, enabling streamlined colour grading on set and in post-production - the C500 will also support ACESproxy.
The new firmware will also output footage shot using the Cinema Gamut and DCI-P3+ colour spaces available in EOS C500, simplifying monitoring and post-production work. Footage can be displayed using either DCI-P3 or BT.709, with optimised conversion occurring in the display. Further added support includes YCbCr 4:4:4 luminance and chroma sampling used in digital cinema production, while a new peaking function displays a colour outline around subjects in focus making it easier to judge a point of focus for a shot.


The update will also make the DP-V3010 the first 4K professional display to support the 48 frames-per-second digital cinema frame rate.

Other improvements include: Canon Log to DCI 1.0 gamma conversion modes; new colour space transforms; support for new signal formats; Gain RGB and Bias RGB colour temperature settings; automatic 3G-SDI and HD-SDI selection; selection of OSD display position; new interface options; delete LUT function; and PsF conversion for signals with no payload.

Besides support for ITU-R BT.2020, the C500 will also get enhanced Cinema Raw development functionality - offering the addition of 3D-LUT (look-up tables) for converting from Cinema Gamut/DCI-P3+ to such colour space standards as ITU-R BT.709 (Rec. 709 - the HD broadcast standard) and DCI-P3, enabling efficient video editing while maintaining low-chroma colour reproduction and high-chroma colour gradation. Support for EDLs (edit decision lists) will ensure that only necessary timecode-designated segments will be converted to the DPX and ProRes formats suitable for editing, effectively doing away with the need to process unneeded files.

Both the C300 and C500 will gain improved operability when setting colour temperature of white balance from the firmware, as it will allow users to easily set colour temperature values using the camera's FUNC button.

Cinema Raw Development

A separate firmware upgrade for Canon’s Cinema Raw Development software – CRD v1.3 – will continue to improve on-set Raw workflow, adding BT.709 and DCI-P3 playout options, and EDL support, and is claimed to make 4K Raw production more cost effective.

CRD v1.3 will also include support for Edit Decision List (EDL) files for the first time, helping to streamline Raw workflow, so it will be possible to complete an offline edit using HD proxy files (recorded to CF card) and use the resulting EDL file to determine which files should be developed by the CRD software. This means that only the required content will be developed – saving time and money.

All of the new firmware, scheduled for release as free downloads later this year, is on show at IBC in Amsterdam (September 12-16) - on stand 11.E50.

Intel acceleration

Improved 4K performance is also on offer thanks to a collaboration between Canon and Intel, whose Integrated Native Developer Experience Raw Media Accelerator enables fast de-bayering and drop-free playback of the resulting 4K footage (up to 24 frames per second only) when using a laptop equipped with Intel Iris Pro Graphics. This shows that it is possible to edit, develop, playback and output 4K Raw footage using a single, suitably specified, low-power laptop.

Filmmakers’ presentations

Canon is also presenting talks at IBC by several noted filmmakers, including: Phil Coates, on his experiences shooting with the Canon XF205 camcorder and how its key features aid his work; S├ębastien Devaud, on shooting 4K with the EOS C500 and EOS-1D C; cameraman and editor Ming Yeung, of Getty Images, on why the EOS-1D C DSLR is a perfect, versatile camera for content creation; and Simon Pitts on his experience of the Berlinale Talents programme and shooting with Canon Cinema EOS cameras.