This is a report on how we realized the 4K DCP of Tears of Steel for theater distribution. Our tools of choice where:
- Blender (generation of the 16bit TIFF frames)
- OpenDCP (conversion of the frames to JPEG2000 and wrapping of picture and sound)
- EasyDCP Player (checking integrity and specs of the DCP)
In this simplified process of DCP mastering we will go through few linear steps, such as:
- Gathering raw images and sound in a DCI (Digital Cinema Initiative) compliant format
- Wrapping them separately into mxf containers
- Indexing and inserting them in the Digital Cinema Package
- Quality control
First off we need to generate an image sequence of the whole short film, using an appropriate image format, such as TIFF 16bit sRGB. In our case we are talking about 17616 frames, taking 850GB of space. The 4K DCI compliant resolution for our aspect ratio is 4096x1716px.
Once the export has succeeded, we can convert that image sequence into a JPEG2000 12bit XYZ sequence (with a .j2c extension). In order to do this operation we use OpenDCP, a great Free tool that offers both a GUI and a CLI. Once converted, the image sequence for the short film will become around 12GB.
In order to speed up the process and skip the 16bit TIFF generation, we tried to export the edit in JPEG2000 XYZ directly from Blender (with the benefit of using a render farm) but the image format was not accepted by OpenDCP for the mxf wrapping. Hopefully this will be fixed in the future as it saves quite some time and storage space. Continue
It’s Ian Hubert’s home town, and we’re in the official selection! Click on Image to visit the SIFF website.
We’re almost done! Below are samples from the 4k renders, regraded and sized down to HD. Original 4k png files are here.
BTW: we will have a test screening in Amsterdam, Eye Film Institute, May 8, 10 AM. If you’re in the neighborhood, you’re welcome!
Hello everyone! We are approaching the end of the Tears of Steel 4K project. It has been very exciting and some aspects of the movie have been visually improved, along with some great features added in Blender to enhance the 4K compositing experience. A specific post about this topics is on the way!
Right now we would like to ask for support in the testing of our DCP pipeline output. Here is a test
4K DCP 4K DCP 4K DCP that any owner of a Digital Cinema media server can download and check out. Feedback on the quality and on any issues encountered would be much appreciated.
Thanks to our friends at Xiph.org we now can offer everyone access to the original source footage of Tears of Steel.
You’ll find something like 80,000 frames, each in OpenEXR half float files, in 4096 x 2160 pixels. This is 5 times more footage than used in the film, including unused shots, but mainly it’s because of long lead-in and lead-outs, and of course we’ve been cutting shots sharp.
Pictures have been shot using the (4k native sensor) fantastic Sony F65 camera. The raw files were converted with Sony software to OpenEXR, using ACES color. We then converted these with OpenColorIO to Rec709 “scene linear” which we further used for the movie pipeline.
Before we started with this VFX project we already noted a huge lack in available free high quality footage for motion tracking, keying and cleaning testing. With this huge data set this problem now belongs to the past forever!
Note about Creative Commons Attribution: apart from the obvious crediting, you have to be aware that the actors keep their Personal Image (Portrait) and Privacy Rights. That means the footage is OK to use for technical demos, showcases, tutorials etc. But not to use the actor for making a commercial. Read more here.
(BTW: xiph.org is currently syncing files from another server, arrival of all footage finishes in a few days).
Our open film projects and the 4k re-rendering of Tears of Steel don’t go unnoticed by the industry. We’re very happy to confirm today that Rovi Corporation has offered to become Premium Sponsor for our project, to fund the work we’re doing here to get an amazing 4k (Ultra HD called now) version of Tears of Steel.
Rovi Corporation will premiere the first screening of several minutes of 4k ToS in April at the famous NAB show in Las Vegas.
Rovi Corporation press release
We expect to release the new version (downsized to HD, and a 2k DCP) shortly after. The 16 bits lossless frames (and OpenEXR originals) will be available some weeks after – it takes a while to upload another TeraByte of data.
So then we want to view 4k as well! Here’s a quick making-of.
- We selected 4 monitors that can be wall-mounted, with a foot you can remove. Our 26″ Iyama screens worked perfect.
- In the hardware store I bought “shelves rail” which is sturdy and has enough holes for the screens to mount.
- With everything mounted, it was even standing reasonably firm on the bottom two screens
That was the easy part! Now get X11 to show a full desktop with 2 graphics cards and 4 monitors… how we got it to work:
- You need two identical cards, different NVidia types mixed didn’t work
- The cards have to be connected with an SLI bridge (see image)
- Sudo mv your /etc/xorg.conf away to a backup name, restart system with all monitors connected
- Start the Nvidia X Server Settings panel, “detect displays”, enable “twinview” and “Xinerama” for the screens, and arrange them in the right layout. This might take a couple of steps of “Save settings” and logout/login to see the effects.
- The Gnome desktop insisted on drawing footer/headers on every monitor, and even doubling/tripling them. But with Xfce it was all perfect.
And voila, we even had Blender running! And more awesome, in the fresh 2.66 release the Blender “DPI” option (user prefs) scales a UI smoothly and crisp to double size as well. Works totally amazing :)
This is very promising for the future 4k computer monitors that soon will be available for more reasonable prices!
The Amsterdam Cinegrid Consortium has agreed on allocating a budget for us to re-render the film in epic 4k! With all original footage being in 4k (and cleaned at that size as well) it’s going to be mostly a challenge for our rendering, compositing and grading pipeline. Interesting job!
The format we’ll use is 4K CinemaScope cropped, 4096 × 1714, in 2.39:1 aspect ratio. That will become available as DCP as well.
An Ultra HD TV version of 3840 x 1714 will be made by cropping away from the sides, that’ll work fine I expect.
Best of all is that this version can get scaled down perfectly for a 2k cinema DCP (2048 wide) and a perfect crisp HD version as well (1920 wide). We might even make versions available for those having HiDPI tablets and screens!
Work on this will last until end of March. Estimated render time for our 30 systems is about 2 months, full time. Discussions with festivals for screening 4k, and/or Ultra HD vendors to use it for showcase will be going on as well.
Right after the conference, Anja’s been very busy packing and sorting all pre-order DVDs for Tears of Steel. Here’s a picture of a proud Anja just before it all got picked up!
Composer Joram Letwory sent me the original soundtrack files. You can now download these via our brand new download page (see above) or just click on this link. The files have been released as CC-by-nd, which is quite common for music. It means you can use it freely, also commercially, but you cannot disassemble or remix it.
Added note from Joram:
I partly used commercial sample libraries for the Tears Of Steel music and sound. Because of that we published the soundtrack as a CC-by-nd. This covers the limitation of some of the commercial libraries that their sounds may not be used in new samples (even if they are layered with original samples). However, I would of course very much like it if the soundtrack were to be remixed. So, if you do want to cut up the music (for any reason), please send me a personal message and I’ll give you permission in writing including the restrictions and conditions to cover the previously stated limitations.