Da Vinci Systems

Da Vinci Systems

da Vinci Systems is a main manufacturer of high-end post-production color grading and film restoration systems for feature films, video production and broadcast post-production facilities. It was headquartered in Coral Springs, Florida still with offices in Los Angeles, New York, London and Singapore, the company systems control telecines, virtual telecine, digital mastering systems and film restoration processes.

da Vinci Systems equipment was initially developed by VTA in 1982 for use by a Hollywood, FL, based production/post-production facility to alter and enhance colors from scanned film and video tape. The Wiz system was marketed to other post-production facilities, laying the foundation for the creation of the colorist and the post-production color suite.

The control panel is based on track balls and other discrete controls that enable colorists to control the software that manipulates motion picture images. On September 8, 2009, Grant Petty, owner of Blackmagic Design, announced his intentions to buy out Da Vinci Systems Ltd. The purchase was completed by the following day.

Contents

Current products

  • Digital Mastering System: Resolve, Color correction, conforming and system. Mostly for digital intermediate use.
  • Control Panel: Impresario, sophisticated and intuitive control surface for the Resolve and 2K systems.
  • Color Correctors: 2k and 2k Plus, High-end color grading and gamma correction system used to control telecine.
  • Virtual telecine: Splice, interface for the 2k and the 2k Plus.
  • Film Restoration: Revival, Film restoration to improve film quality of digital files.

History and technology

1982 - Video Tape Associates (VTA) develops the Wiz.
1983 - Introduction of "The Wiz". Developed specifically by and for Video Tape Associates, Florida. The system controlled early telecines (RCA FR-35, Bosch FDL60) and offered basic primary and secondary color correction. The Editel group of post production facilities in the US evaluated the technology and asked that VTA build multiple systems for them. About 15 units were made and subsequently purchased by other post facilities across the US. "The Wiz" was essentially the prototype for what would become the da Vinci color corrector.
1984 - da Vinci Classic analog system was the most popular color corrector on the Fernseh's FDL 60 and Rank Cintel telecines (Mark 3 and URSA). It had customized external control panel with internal primary, secondary processing and an internal NTSC encoder. It ran on a Motorola 68000 Multi Bus 1 system computer. The program and color correction list were stored on a 20MB MMF hard disk, with backup to a 5.25" floppy disk.
1985 - VTA Technologies - a R&D division of VTA the video post facility - was formed. The da Vinci color corrector was born and other products were developed as well including an editor, machine control system, and routing system. The "da Vinci" was the only film-to-tape or tape-to-tape color correction system on the market that offered the capability to create a basic rectangular window shape isolating a secondary color correction. As the da Vinci product line evolved, the original da Vinci became known as the "da Vinci Classic".
1986 - Dynatech Video Group (Utah Scientific, ColorGraphics Systems, Quanta, among others) acquires da Vinci. Utah Scientific takes over da Vinci. Utah Scientific determines that all of da Vinci engineering should move to Salt Lake City.
1988 - VTA Technologies was purchased by Utah Scientific, a manufacturer of routing systems. da Vinci Systems later spun off of Utah Scientific, became its own entity, and was one of roughly eight video manufacturing companies in the porfolio of the Dynatech Video Group. Dynatech's name was later changed to Acterna.
1989 - da Vinci Renaissance was the analog system that followed the Classic analog system. It was similar to the above system, but ran on Motorola 68020 Multi Bus 1 system with a 3.5" Floppy. Options like kilo vectors were later available for the analog Renaissance. Kilovectors secondary color processing – more advanced than what was offered on the Classic - would become an industry standard function of secondary color isolation.
1990 - Parent company pressure to market a low cost da Vinci for "broadcasters and small post facilities" forces da Vinci to spend precious development resources to produce a stripped down telecine-only programmer called "Leonardo." To reduce cost, Leonardo uses a flat plate (vision mixer style) control panel, provides only scene-by-scene control of a telecine (similar to Cintel's Amigo) and offers no da Vinci color processing. As expected, the product is a failure and only one unit is ever sold.
1991 - da Vinci Renaissance 888 (with original interface, no Gui) – was introduced to the color grading marketing. The 888 was the first product in the world to offer 8:8:8 signal processing throughout. New groundbreaking features like Power Windows, Custom Curves and YSFX were part of its feature set.
1992 - Power Windows.
1992 - Custom Curves.
1994 - da Vinci wholly acquired the TLC product line from Time Logic. The TLC is viewed as the defacto standard edit control interface between telecines, color correctors, VTRs and DDRs. TLC (really stands for "Time Logic Controller") is a edit controller for telecines, vision mixers (switchers), and VTRs. It provides accurate 2:3 editing when transferring 24fps film in a 30fps video environment. TLC 1 was originally made in Moorpark, CA (started in Redondo Beach, then Simi Valley). In 1994, the TLC product line was acquired by da Vinci and the TLC 2 was released.
1995 - 8:8:8 DUI was introduced to the market. The DUI offered the same color processing as the Renaissance 8:8:8 but featured a new "windows style" user interface, an SGI hosted operating system, a migration of the external TLC controller into the DUI, and EDWIN, an extension of the industry renowned Power Windows. The telecine interface card controlled the telecine's internal color corrector. The 888 DUI came in two configurations; the first was the DUI with an SGI Indy workstation. The second DUI system used an SGI O2 workstation (affectionately called the "Toaster"). These systems supported da Vinci's new Control Panels. da Vinci also made the da Vinci Light. This was not marketed, so not many were sold. It is a da Vinci DUI 888 without the digital 888 cards. The da Vinci DUI 888 had the electrical equivalent of the TLC2 designed on the IMC (along with Telecine Interface) boards. The ability to edit, control VTRs, switchers, and use an EDL were all software options to the DUI.
1996 - Dynatech sells the Dynatech Video Group, except da Vinci Systems.
1998 - The da Vinci 2K, the company's first high definition and data color grading system for film and video was released. It offered a huge boost in color processing quality and performance. New features like PowerTiers, Defocus and Colorist Toolbox were presented to the market. These features, unmatched by any competitive product, have become the standard which other companies now attempt to emulate. Feature filmmakers began to use the da Vinci 2K in the color grading finishing process, a process that would later become known as "digital intermediate" or DI. The 2K was designed to work for SD, HD and Data and to have room for future upgrades. Base system has In/Out Primaries, Secondaries, New Power Windows and a new interface. Originally controlled by an SGI 02, it must now be upgraded to Linux for the latest software updates. The 2K was to have a newly designed machine control system also called TLC. Since this functionality was a bit late to completion, the ability to use the external TLC2 connected to the 2K provided some necessary breathing room. It was this configuration that required the A/B RS-422 switch box in the Tape to Tape configuration, allowing the TLC2 to synchronize the decks, while the 2K provided the necessary frame accurate color corrections.
1998 - da Vinci Academy formed.
1999 - Power Tiers Option. Add up to 8 channels, each with Power Windows, full Primary and Master Secondary control. 1999 - da Vinci acquires Sierra Design Labs, Incline Village NV.
2000 - Defocus Option. In or Out Defocus or Sharpness effects (In and Out with Defocus Plus) plus Power Windows, In/Out color and matte defocus. Defocus is adjustable, but includes realtime Gaussian blur in HD.
2000 - da Vinci acquires Nirvana Digital of Singapore, creator of the Revival film restoration system, and incorporates the product into its line up.
2001 - PowerGrade.
2001 - Gallery Option. Integrated reference store, with optional Central Server and Palette paint program interface. Windows interface converts stills between resolutions and export them as jpg, tiff or bmp files. Standard on all 2K Plus systems.
2002 - 2K Plus created to support HDTV and SDTV, uses an IBM PC computer running Red Hat Linux interface software. The 2k Plus is used on high-end DataCines and telecines, Like Thomson-Grass Valley's Spirit DataCine and Cintel's C-Reality & ITK Millennium. The 2k can operate in with a 4:2:2, 4:4:4 or 8:4:4 input in NTSC or PAL. In HDTV it can operate with 4:2:2, 4:4:4 input. Redesigned Primaries, Secondaries and Keys make this more than just a 2K upgrade. Linux control interface is standard.
2002 - TLC Assistant. External Linux terminal with keyboard and mouse for those that need permanent access to the editor. Single and Dual user modes.
2002 - Colorist Toolbox Option. Hardware upgrade for those that have outgrown the Defocus option. Adds 4 Power Vectors, each with its own matte Defocus, Power Windows, In/Out Master Secondaries, Filter Effects and Textures. The Filters include the equivalent of a Defocus Plus board.
2003 - Acterna filed bankruptcy.
2003 - Resolve. Software Color Corrector.
2003 - Nucleas. Server to Server software enables 2K systems to work from data disks and storage networks. HiPPI and HSDL interfaces. System includes data waveforms, CMS and data playback.
2004 - Resolve, a software based, resolution independent color grading system is launched. Resolve, developed specifically for the DI market, operates on conventional PC hardware but with optimized performance via da Vinci's own custom designed PC based PowerPlant acceleration and Transformer image translation hardware. Resolve offers color enhancement at the core but also features a highly advanced toolset including conforming, network file browsing, image resizing and formatting.
da Vinci also creates Nucleas Conform, which builds a data timeline from an EDL, renders dissolves and allows switching between Source and Record order. System was shown at NAB configured as Server to Server and Server to Video.
2005 - JDSU acquires Acterna.
2005 - Toolbox 2 Option. Toolbox 2 has an improved interface and includes filter presets. It is even easier and faster to use, and comes free with a service agreement.
2005 - Emerald, Sapphire, Ruby. Elite logos are introduced for systems with Defocus, Toolbox and 4 Power Tiers (Emerald), 3 Power Tiers (Sapphire) or 2 Power Tiers (Ruby) 2006 - Color Trace Option. Software to track color grades when the EDL is revised.
2006 - Splice. Nucleas returns! Server to Server software enables 2K systems to work from data disks and storage networks.
2008 - Impresario, a new control panel, is launched at NAB 2008 and demonstrated at NAB 2009.
2009 - Da Vinci Systems is purchased by Blackmagic Design

THE TECHNOLOGY

  • The Wiz was the predecessor to the da Vinci Classic color corrector and was built in 1982 by VTA Technologies in Ft. Lauderdale. It was built on an apple computer, the program was stored in EPROM, the list could be backed up to mini cassettes. VTA Technologies later became da Vinci Systems, Inc in 1984. The Wiz was the first color correction system to have a customized external control panel and was also the first color corrector with internal primary and secondary processing. Prior to that, the primaries in the telecine were used. The Wiz had 10 vector patented secondary color correction. The first two systems were bought by Editel, Chicago, which at the time used the color corrector on Bosch Fernseh's FDL60 telecine.
  • da Vinci Classic analog system was manufactured from 1985 to 1990 and had customized external control panel with internal primary, secondary processing and an internal NTSC encoder. It ran on a Motorola 68000 Multi Bus 1 system computer. The program and color correction list were stored on a 20MB MFM hard disk, with backup to a 5.25" floppy disk. Its features include:

• Analog RGB(Y) path
• Primary and 16 vector secondaries.
• Onboard 68000 CPU
• Small MFM hard drive
• Two control panels (power supplied from mainframe by resistive cable)
• Heavy linear PSU.
• Flat pack chassis with PCB access from above
Options include:
• Hard edged simple XY window
• Onboard NTSC decoder
• NR control, prestore processing for MK3 Digi 4 (and some 3) telecines
• RGB(Y) and NTSC/PAL outputs. 525 or 625 or both
• B & W menu monitor
Used with FDL60/90 and MK3 telecines (Not URSA) and tape-to-tape. Early models had knob only color correction controls. Later had joyballs. Many in use but becoming difficult on support and parts.

  • da Vinci Renaissance was the analog system that followed the Classic analog system and was manufactured from 1990 to 1993. It was similar to the above system, but ran on Motorola 68020 Multi Bus 1 system with a 3.5" floppy. Its features included:

• Improved channel and secondaries (later versions).
• Onboard 68000 CPU (early) or 68020 CPU (later).
• MFM Hard Drive.
• The early/budget 68000 models had two control panels and 16 vector secondaries same as the Classic. The later 68020 versions usually feature “Kilovectors” advanced secondary correction and have three control panels.
Options included:
• Hard edged simple XY Window
• NR control
• Prestore processing for MK3 Digi 4 (and some 3) telecines
• RGB(Y) and NTSC/PAL outputs.
• Heavy linear PSU.
12V panels were on early versions, 5V panels with separate PSU on later versions (not interchangeable with 12v panels). 525 or 625 or both. B & W menu monitor. Used with FDL60, FDL90, MK3 types, URSA telecines and Tape to Tape. Some versions used an extra interface module (the EMC unit) to function with the URSA serial control busses. Normally used with a separate TLC editor (1 or 2) and an additional interface is required for this on URSA installations. Many in use but becoming difficult on support and parts.

  • 'da Vinci Renaissance 888' was similar to the above system, but had 888 digital video processing, in place of the analog video processing. This system was manufactured from 1993–1995. The all-digital system's features included:

• Can operate with 4:2:2, 4:4:4 or 8:4:4 input in NTSC or Pal.
• 16 bit 8:8:8 (internally) 27 MHz sampling SD signal path
• Onboard 68020 CPU
• B&W menu monitor - 525 or 625 or both. Character based display. No mouse.
• MFM HD but IDE upgrade option sometimes fitted

Additional options for the digital 888 included:
• “Power Windows” (One only) a very powerful feature which enables area isolation with soft edges and various shapes.
• YSFX which is independently adjustable luminance and chrominance ratios which can be wound from full pos thru zero to neg.
• Custom Curves and a Key Input channel.
• Used with FDL60, FDL90.
• Quadra (reqs 4:4:4 option)
• MK3 types
• URSA telecines. Early versions had a double backplane chassis (4:2:2 only) and used an extra interface module, the EMC, to function with URSA control busses. 888s are normally used with a separate TLC1 or 2 editor and an additional interface is required for this on URSA installations.

  • da Vinci also made the da Vinci Light. This was not marketed, so not many were sold. It is a da Vinci DUI 888 without the digital 888 cards. The telecine interface card controlled the telecine's internal color corrector. This came in two configurations; the first was the DUI with an SGI Indy workstation. The second DUI system used an SGI O2 workstation. These systems supported da Vinci's new control panels.
  • The da Vinci 2K Color Corrector, manufactured starting in 2000, is a completely revised color correction system that supports supports HDTV, SDTV, 2k and, with a Splice upgrade, 4k formats. The current system is the 2k Plus an improved 2k Color Corrector. The 2k Plus is used on high-end DataCines and telecines, Like Thomson-Grass Valley's Spirit Datacine and Cintel's C-Reality & ITK Millennium. The 2k can operate in with a 4:2:2, 4:4:4 or 8:4:4 input in NTSC or Pal. In HDTV it can operate with 4:2:2, 4:4:4 input. Its features include:

• Software (Red Hat Linux interface) that color grades all or combinations of SDTV 525/625, HDTV 1920x1080, 24P, 24SF, 720P in 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 and data on the same timeline. The optional Data will accommodate (through Hippi & HSDL I/Os) various formats and speeds from lower resolutions through 2048x1556 depending on the I/O. On Data an analog RGBHV monitoring output allows viewing of the otherwise invisible Data signal.
• Features similar to DUI 888s, plus additional options including multiple Power Windows (up to nine), one or two areas of selective Defocus or Enhancement, and extended VSR capability with outboard Gallery reference storage computer which will store and retrieve irrespective of standard in use.
• Built in HD to SD downconverter in some systems. Later 2Ks have “Plus” processing which includes significant improvements to the signal processing circuitry. Older “Non-Plus” models were upgradable. The Control Panels are physically the same as late model DUI’s with curved tops but have numerous different keycaps.
• The control computer is either an SGI O2 with a custom SGI flat screen menu monitor (which requires special SGI Video Driver & Card) or in later model 2K’s this was replaced with an IBM Linux Computer which uses an XVGA flat screen monitor.
• The O2 has a SD video input for VSRs but if a Linux is used a da Vinci Gallery is required to generate the VSR thumbnails.

2Ks are intended for use with the later generation of telecines including Spirit, URSA or similar, C-Reality, Rascal, Sony and ITK telecines. MK3 / FDL / Quadra types are not supported, Current USA 2Ks are supplied with an onboard TLC2 which will support 24/30 dual sync functionality for 24P operation. A TLC Assistant station comprising another IBM PC is available for dual operator installations. Alternatively a standalone TLC2 of the traditional type may be interfaced if required.

In addition to telecine 2K’s may also be used for tape to tape, virtual telecine and DDR applications.

For use with non-linear Storage/SAN sources a da Vinci “Splice” ise used ahead of the 2K to provide data management to/from DPX files (up to 2048x1556) to SD/HD/HSDL with an inbuilt DVE for XYZ sizing,rotation etc. with subsequent color correction in the conventional fashion through the 2K.
Built with Resolve’s Transformer II, Splice has Resolve’s basic conform and I/O features, but enhanced to extend the life and capabilities of a 2K.

Splices' features include:
• Supports direct MXF and QuickTime playback for grading
• Color grade RED Raw files in realtime
• Conform from AAF or CMX edit data
• Color grade 4k files
• Non-linear conforming
• Support for HSDL at 14.98 or 15 fps, with time code support for 24, 25 and 30 fps
• Easily match scene-to-scene shots
• Real time pan/tilt/zoom and rotate
• Instant access to all shots
• Grade in context in real-time
• Resolve R-series compatible
• Shots from multiple versions and alternate passes are laid off to tape within minutes
• Export colorist’s notes to the editor in EDL format with full documentation of all alternate passes
• Includes 2K ColorTrace grading management software to support the enhanced list management features of Splice 3.0

  • Resolve is the next-generation color grading system from da Vinci and the first system to use GPUs to control color grading. Powered by da Vinci’s proprietary C.O.R.E. (CUDA Optimized Resolve Engine), Resolve delivers real time HD and up to 4k non-linear color grading, The da Vinci R-series is the first scalable color grading system offering multiple levels of acceleration, features and capabilities, providing colorists with exacting and intuitive color control over static or moving objects. The Resolve scales lower-resolution SD and DV formats to HD, 2k and 4k without compromising quality by using proprietary Transformer technology.

da Vinci's first generation Resolves were CPU based, and include the RT and DI systems. In 2008, da Vinci built its first Resolve series (R-100, R-200, R-250, R-300, R-350, R-4K, R-3D) with NVIDIA GPUs, enabling super-computing image processing.

The Resolve features include:
• 4k, 2k, HD and SD interactive color grading in real time.
• Digital PowerHouse: Grade digital film, including RED, on any of the R-series systems in their native raw formats.
• Non-linear color grading allows you to quickly match and adjust similar scenes, regardless of where they occur in the program.
• PowerMastering: Multiple resolution deliverables from a single master session enables you to grade in up to 2k using the R-series up to the R-350, and in 4k on the R-4K and output to 4k, 2k HD, SD 16:9, SD 4:3 and other media formats in real time.
• SANs and leading storage systems connect the Resolve with the rest of a post-production facility.
• Conform and grade native Avid MXF files then render back to Avid in source mode for parsing in the Avid environment.
• Unlimited windows, layers and blurs create complex color grading enhancements and fixes in real time.
• Real-time rotation and sizing to preserve the best possible image quality at any resolution.
• Parallel and series node-based grading provides the maximum flexibility to apply complex grades to a scene.
• Combine 4k, 2k, HD, SD and DV footage in the same timeline and utilize our proprietary Transformer technology to resize for a consistent look and output to the desired size and resolution.
• Multi-point object tracking allows you to lock color decisions on moving objects within the scene.
• Laying off to tape in C-mode with graded handles and source time code enables you to effectively interface with another finishing suite.

TLC

The TLC is an edit controller for telecines and VTRs. It gives accurate 2/3 editing. TLC 1 was originally made in Moorpark, California, later TLC was acquired by da Vinci and the TLC 2 was released. The da Vinci DUI 888 had an option to have a TLC built into it. If the TLC is not built in an external A/B switch box is needed to switch control between the TLC and other Color Controllers. Some versions had a separate CPU and Telecine interface rack.

See also

External links


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