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CESNET Demonstrates Remote Film Cleaning at CineGrid 2012 Workshop

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Digitally Cleaned Films Can Be Inspected Remotely

San Diego, Prague 16 January 2013. At the CineGrid International Workshop, a prestigious professional meeting held in San Diego (California) in December, researchers from CESNET and the UPP post-production company, supported by a leading developer of innovative image processing systems—The Pixel Farm—demonstrated opportunities for using high-speed computer networks in digitizing and cleaning archived film material.

This material is usually stored in the form of film coils—analogue media aging over time and deteriorating with every playback. Digitizing eliminates further playback, allowing for cleaning of scanned data. The digital cleaning itself, i.e. removal of dirt, material defects or film tape damage, is a semi-automated process managed by an operator. This activity can be carried out locally.

However, digitized results need to be submitted for review and approval by the original work authors, usually the director and cameraman. If the above is no longer possible (the process can involve films shot decades ago), results need to be approved by an expert panel and copyright holders. These are usually very busy people, which makes it difficult to gather them all in one place at the same time.

This is the problem solved by technology presented by Czech specialists at the CineGrid International Workshop, allowing for remote participation of multiple people in the review and approval process. The technology further enables real-time changes through an operator.

The California presentation involved the following: Uncompressed video featuring 4K resolution has been transferred from Prague, where the material subject to cleaning and a part of the team were located, to San Diego. The video has been produced by a workstation equipped with the PFClean cleaning software and an uncompressed HD video conference. The conference was transferred in the opposite direction too: from San Diego to Prague. The uncompressed signal was chosen mainly because of the need for high quality and review interactivity.

A key role in the entire system was played by the MVTP-4K device, developed by CESNET researchers, which is now available on the market under the name 4K Gateway. The device transferred most of the data traffic, reaching up to 9 Gbps. In San Diego the device received both video channels (4K desktop captured by the UltraGRID software and HD video conference) and transferred the video conference back. In Prague the device received and transmitted the HD video conference.

"If we had a similar system available when digitizing and cleaning Miloš Forman's film Ho?í, má panenko, the approval process would have been much more flexible, considerably reducing the overall project duration," says Ivo Marák, technical director of UPP, responsible for technical project management.

4K Gateway development has been carried out with financial support of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic within the POVROS project (TA01010324). For more information, please visit: www.4kgateway.com.

The CESNET Association was founded by Czech universities and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in 1996. It is engaged in research and development in information and communication technologies and builds and develops the CESNET national e-infrastructure for research and education. With its research activities and accomplishments, CESNET represents the Czech Republic in international projects, most notably the pan-European GÉANT network building project and grid projects (EGI.eu), and participates actively in their implementation. Among other things, the association deals with the use of high-speed networks for sharing multimedia data both through synchronous video conferencing and shared applications and asynchronous streaming.

UPP has become the largest and most versatile company active in the area of visual effects and post-production on the European continent since its foundation in 1994. From the start it has been oriented at meeting high quality post-production needs in the film and TV area. UPP is utilizing cutting-edge equipment and technologies, offering a highly-qualified creative team. Leveraging the benefits of being located in the centre of Europe, UPP provides all that is needed for quality content processing in film and TV distribution, advertising and video in modern, spacious and conveniently situated premises. For more information, please visit: www.upp.cz.