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Clipster DI Workstations Help Middle Earth Reach 48fps

The Clipster DI workstation is employed by Park Road Productions, the post production company for Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit.”

Hanover/Wellington -- Once again, Clipster is positioning itself at the forefront of post production in New Zealand. Park Road, the renowned company which was involved in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, has been using the Clipster DI workstation for many years for DCI mastering among other things. For current 2K film projects such as The Hobbit trilogy, which Park Road was heavily involved in New Zealand, 48fps was called for as the new standard for 3D films. Besides the high frame rate package, DVS also developed additional parameters in Clipster which allow precise JPEG2000 adjustment for DCP generation.

With the higher frame rate of 48fps, movements appear noticeably crisper and smoother to the viewer especially with fast tracking shots or jerky actions. The high frame rate of 48fps eliminates critical image issues that are annoying to the eye such as shaking or judder caused by the lack of continuity between consecutive frames. As such, the results at 48fps are much more realistic than at the standard rate of 24fps, especially in 3D. Park Road's aim was to offer an even more immersive experience for the cinema-goer.

In parallel to the high frame rate, a higher bit rate was important to Park Road. The DCI standard limits the bit rate to 250 Mbit/s to prevent any projector failures in traditional 2D cinema. For this special New Zealand project, Clipster exceeds this bit rate, thereby delivering high image quality, even at 48fps, and an unprecedented cinema experience. In discussion with various Integrated Media Block manufacturers, the projectors were correspondingly upgraded to handle the new bit rate of up to 500 Mbit/s.

As a high number of language versions are planned for several large New Zealand film projects, Park Road needed an extremely powerful feature set: Clipster performed the calculation for this variety of versions within a short timeframe thanks to its DCI Mastering performance of 96fps, achieving a time saving of multiple hours per encoding process.

The specially developed Clipster version introduces 3D subtitles which are also animated along the depth axis, leading to continual depth-adjustment of the subtitles to the stereoscopic situation of the image for the first time ever. In this regard Clipster supports the relevant SMPTE draft standard, which is still being standardized, and already offers additional options: The animated 3D subtitles can be edited, included in the final image and output as XML with the DCP.

Ian Bidgood, Technical Director at Park Road: "DVS has consistently proven themselves to be an invaluable partner. They showed real willingness to work with Park Road and make significant advancements to the Clipster platform. They developed Clipster to be able to encode 48 fps 3D for DCI mastering, with the increase in bit rate and proprietary encoding hardware the quality and speed of the final output of JPEG2000 is unprecedented. Arguably without DVS' willingness to innovate and push the boundaries we would not have been able to deliver this film."

Stefan Albertz, DVS Product Manager: "With Clipster we've always enabled users to cross the boundaries of what has previously been possible and achieve the seemingly impossible. In collaboration with Park Road, we.ve done this once again and can now also offer the high image quality of traditional DCPs for 48 fps 3D as well as fluid, animated 3D subtitles. As such, cinemagoers will be able to experience Middle-earth with even more intensity."

Source: Rohde & Schwarz DVS GmbH