GoPro's David Newman on CineForm's Latest Studio Products

StudioDaily by Bryant Frazer

GoPro today announced a new version of its CineForm Studio lineup that it hopes will help build a bridge between professionals of all stripes and the enthusiasts who embrace its rugged $300 HD cameras. With the latest revisions, the free version of CineForm Studio adds features like support for H.264 footage from non-GoPro cameras using an MOV or MP4 wrapper (this works in 2D only; 3D is only enabled for GoPro cameras in the free version) and automatic recognition of 3D formats for YouTube uploads. The $299 "Premium" version adds all of the functionality from CineForm's First Light color-correction application plus support for a much wider range of video cameras, including 3D modes, and the $999 "Professional" version expands support for pro stereo rigs by adding independent eye control to the mix.

Cinematographers will remember CineForm as a key player in early HD acquisition, as inexpensive HDV cameras that recorded to MiniDV tapes were widely used by shooters as a bridge from SD to HD cinematography, frustrating editors whose gear wasn't able to handle the new, highly compressed video format. A lot has happened since then. CineForm developed a robust lineup that included color-correction and 3D image-manipulation tools before being snatched up by GoPro, which got to know the company when it used Neo3D to cut together a stereoscopic demo shot with HD HERO cameras for NAB 2010. But CineForm's David Newman, now GoPro's senior director of software engineering, told StudioDaily that what CineForm does really hasn't changed that much.

"In the early days of HD, we at CineForm were trying to solve what was not being currently serviced by Avid, Adobe and Apple, providing a solution that would allow independent filmmakers to produce content with the cameras they had, even though they had to wait some time for their NLE to add native support," Newman said. "The funny thing is, we continue to deal with next-generation cameras. For the new single-body cameras that shoot MVC [Multiview Video Coding] 3D, we can transform that into CineForm 3D, which works in any NLE. You have an editor, you have a new camera, and you need a way to marry those together. That's where CineForm comes in."

The first thing to change under GoPro's leadership was the market being targeted. Instead of what was essentially a set of middleware tools, CineForm was asked to develop a solution that would work for GoPro users. That meant building a much more friendly user experience — without sacrificing the functionality that high-end CineForm users rely on. "It used to be that, when CineForm worked, you didn't know we were there," Newman recalled. "But now, we've produced tools that customers like to use. They look good, they perform well, and they work with the Adobe Premieres and Final Cuts and Avids of the world." read more...

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