Digital Film Grading: Part I , Quantel

Since the management buyout Quantel has changed a lot, at this years NAB they were showing PC software versions of their products, their stand was a lot smaller than in previous years, and like other management buyout Post companies – such as Cintel, Quantel are now very open in talking to other equipment suppliers about combined solutions. One such solution that caught our eye at FXGUIDE was the use of the iQ at ILM to help colour grade Star Wars Episode

Digital Film grading of feature films was THE hot topic of this years NAB. 5D, ColorFront, Pogle and daVinci all have their eye on this new growth market. Quantel is also active in this area. In Part 1 of our story on Digital Grading of Features we look at the iQ along with the Pogle Mega Def hardware ‘telecine’ colour grader were used to digitally grade Star Wars Episode 2 at Industrial Light & Magic.

Quantel must be under some serious NDAs on discussing the arrangements at ILM for the grading of Star Wars Episode II, but they were proudly showing the Ep2 trailer on their stand, which looks beautiful on a full size HD flat screen monitor – played off hard disc.
While Quantel were being very closed lips on the specific, the
Pogle crew explained how the combination of the iQ and MegaDef allowed
proxy based grading of the feature, with huge success. So strong appears the
potential that Quantel are developing a custom high speed data link between
the iQ and a colour grading desk. This new link will allow full bandwidth film
images to be read off the iQ, graded and returned to the iQ, which acts not
unlike a giant digital disk recorder. Quantel was also enjoying a lot of attention from it newly expanded product range that now includes software only PC versions of its famous Paintbox, but the iQ itself has not been breaking sales records – yet. What the iQ does have is very well managed mixed resolution abilities, and very fast high quality intercutting of any resolution. Previously, without a killer ap and without a complete Inferno style tool set, – it was considered a little expensive. The price has now apparently been adjusted and in the area of Digital Film grading Quantel has found a great use for its fast hardware enhanced data management.

The base system of iQ has a workspace area capable of holding up to hours of HD, or film. In addition any third party drives can also be included and networked. Quantel hopes that the new top secret data link will allow not only Pogle but also DaVinci to grade data in real time. And with companies like Sony producing data versions of their telecines with real time output – but without fast enough data recorders, Quantel aims to be a digital hub for a facility.