Reel-Stream Sold at DVinfo.net

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Old November 30th, 2007, 09:32 AM   #1
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Reel-Stream Sold

I don't know if it's been brought up yet, but Reel-Stream has been sold to an unnamed company.
The following was posted on the Ree-Stream forum by Juan Pertierra (creator of the technology) himself.
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As some of you already know, the Hydra/Andromeda technology is indeed being sold/licensed and thus Reel-Stream will no longer be installing units to individual users. At this time I can't post more details about the future of the technology, but it seems likely that it will not be marketed to the public. I have a feeling that if there is enough interest there is a possibility this could change, but it is not their plan at this time.
I'm sad to see it go, and sadder still that the company that bought it seems content to kill it off. I do however think that if a Panasonic or Sony bought them out that they may attempt to roll the technology into some of their products. That's assuming that a Panasonic or Sony bought them out, and it's all purely speculation at this point.

As for Juan's future:
Quote:
As for myself, I will be working on high-end Digital Cinema products for another company.
Again, this is pretty open for interpretation, but Red comes to mind.
I remember seeing the beginnings of Juan's idea right here and then seeing his idea become an actual product, that worked and worked well.
I met Juan at NAB this past year and he seemed like a really nice guy and I wish him luck in the future.

Of note, this past year at NAB, my former boss who wasn't the kinda guy who kept up with the latest technology saw the Andromeda stuff for the first time and was impressed but immediately made the prediction that they would be bought up by Panasonic and rolled into their products. Time will tell if he was right.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 02:06 AM   #2
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Panasonic already does a lot of what Reel-Stream did.

It's called the HVX200.

It uses the same basic concept of using smaller chips and using the pixel shift to get HD resolutions. That is half of what Reel-Stream did with the DVX100. The other half of course was the RGB output which the HVX200 does not have but it does have uncompressed component output. About the only thing that could make the HVX200 more like the DVX100 with Reel-Stream added is to add a better form of uncompressed output.
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Old December 1st, 2007, 12:05 PM   #3
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I disagree. If Panasonic was already doing much of what Reel-Stream was doing by making the HVX200, then why would Juan have been designing a Reel-Stream mod for the HVX? The answer is that Panasonic, Sony, Canon, JVC were not doing anything close to what Reel-Stream was doing. The whole idea behind Reel-Stream was pulling raw data off the chips to get a cleaner, higher dynamic range image than what the original camera manufacturer was allowing you to have after the image went through their processing and compression.
The closest thing I've seen to Juan's idea is the latest round of Digital Cinema camera on the market; think Red One, SI-2K.
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 11:46 AM   #4
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I didn't say they were doing everything the same but one of the big features of Reel Stream was getting HD from the DVX100 by using the pixel shift. That is exactly what Panasonic did with the HVX200. In terms of a raw tap sure they were different but uncompressed 4:2:2 was pretty darn close to a raw 4:4:4 uncompressed tap. Maybe the HVX200 didn't go all the way but it was pretty close. Reel Stream for the HVX200 only added a slightly higher quality tap by bypassing the compression. It was cool what Reel Stream was trying to do with the HVX200 but it wasn't nearly as much of a breakthrough as what they did with the DVX100.
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 05:46 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Thomas Smet View Post
Panasonic already does a lot of what Reel-Stream did.

It's called the HVX200.
I tend to agree, Thomas. The weak link in the DVX100 chain was DV tape, and especially if you wanted 24p (the PAL version and 25p was better) - that in turn meant 480i/30 recording (with 3:2 pulldown), 4:1:1 colour space, and max recorded resolution of 720x480. Andromeda would have been a huge improvement if it had only bettered the recording medium - taking the raw signal from the chips was the real icing on the cake.

Come the HVX, the real step up was moving up to DVCProHD and high definition recording, and now the camera may have been considered to have lost it's "weak link". Trouble for Hydra was that the areas that Andromeda technology had really shone in, had already been substantially upgraded by Panasonic in the HVX200 compared to the DVX100.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 10:52 AM   #6
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And lets face it. It is much easier to work with component or SDI even if it is only YUV 4:2:2. DV cameras had no way at all to take an uncompressed signal. The best you could do was YC but that still had the DV compression. Hydra would have been better then component from the HVX200 but not all that much better. Other products such as the Flash XDR almost make more sense because they are easier to work with and are portableand you don't have to send your camera in to get hacked.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 11:02 AM   #7
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I think the most alluring feature of the Andromeda/Hydra was the full uncompressed output. Not only in color, but picture compression as well. Have you all seen some of the samples of absolutely noiseless DVX footage? Amazing. You are not going to get anywhere near the clean image Hydra could have potentially put out from the HVX's component outputs.

Pixels are of a lesser concern, for me at least.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 04:01 PM   #8
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I think the most alluring feature of the Andromeda/Hydra was the full uncompressed output........You are not going to get anywhere near the clean image Hydra could have potentially put out from the HVX's component outputs.
I'm not saying that Hydra wouldn't have been any improvement at all, rather that the benefit it would have bestowed on the HVX wouldn't have been as dramatic as what Andromeda did for the DVX.

As for clean outputs, well, maybe, but it's all derived from 1/3" chips, and I tend to think they would have become the next weakest link in the chain, and one which it would be impossible to get round. Hydra also faced competition that Andromeda didn't - both Red and the EX, for two, and both with bigger than 1/3" chips. A contest between a Hydraized HVX and an EX with XDR would have been an interesting one - and as Thomas says, regardless of which looked the best, the EX-XDR will be a much easier to work with package than Hydra would have been.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 08:21 PM   #9
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Sure component may not have been the best but it was still uncompressed. so now the only real difference is digital 4:4:4 uncompressed compared to analog uncompressed captured as 4:2:2. While of course one is better then the other we are really starting to talk about nit picking the quality.

Like David pointed out however there are other cameras out there that do have HD-SDI which other then being limited to 4:2:2 are pure uncompressed digital. Hydra could have been avoided if Panasonic would have just put SDI on the HVX200 to begin with. To me for the cost of Hydra and shipping the camera somewhere to get hacked just isn't worth it. I would much rather buy a different camera such as the EX1 which in almost every single aspect you can think of is a much superior camera to the HVX200 even with Hydra. There are more important aspects to image quality then just the level of compression used.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 10:12 PM   #10
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I'm an Andro owner and I can say that I would shoot with it over the HVX200. Lit right and understanding how to setup and use the LUTs correctly with it, I've been very happy with the footage. Noiseless and with the amount of color information, you can do some amazing things. Including very clean blowups with very little artifacting. Some of us have been able to increase dynamic range well beyond the hvx200 and when post is important - such as greenscreen, etc - its been a pleasure to work with in post.

The hydra was interesting but I wouldnt have gone for it. Better off imo to just figure out how to step it up another level and get a SI or Red. But at the pricepoint, Andro is perfect for a SD camera someone already owns. Too bad Juan didnt realize this and keep pushing the software to its full potential. That fell behind pretty bad with the Hydra work...
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Old December 4th, 2007, 09:17 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Thomas Smet View Post
I would much rather buy a different camera such as the EX1 which in almost every single aspect you can think of is a much superior camera to the HVX200 even with Hydra.
That is an untestable statement, since we'll never have a Hydra. But on paper, 4:4:4 color, >2K definition, and up 14 stops of latitude beat 4:2:2 (through HD-SDI; otherwise 4:2:0), 1,920 x 1,080, and maybe 7-8 stops of latitude. The half-inch vs. third-inch imager comparison can't be made here, because we don't have resolution-chart results for Hydra. You could, however, argue that even a real Fisher-Price Pixelvision camera is better than any imaginary HD camera. True. My point was that Hydra's potential advantages are being minimized in an effort to place its loss into perspective and move on. It seemed to be very promising technology. Sadly, economic forces have buried it, so we'll never really know if it would have lived up to that promise (call it hype if you wish).
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Old December 4th, 2007, 10:13 AM   #12
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Think we'll ever know who bought them? Anyone know Juan well enough to take him out over the holidays, get a few drinks in him and see if he'll talk? Just an idea...
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Old December 4th, 2007, 06:15 PM   #13
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That is an untestable statement, since we'll never have a Hydra. But on paper, 4:4:4 color, >2K definition, and up 14 stops of latitude beat 4:2:2 (through HD-SDI; otherwise 4:2:0), 1,920 x 1,080, and maybe 7-8 stops of latitude.
When Hydra was first announced, I did query how it could manage 4:4:4 color with >2K definition from 3x960x540 chips, and didn't feel I ever got a satisfactory answer at the time. Whilst it may indeed have had dynamic range and lower compression advantages over an unmodded HVX (and may have been worth it for that alone), I'm increasingly convinced that it wouldn't have squeezed much more real resolution out of the HVX chipset than DVCProHD is capable of recording itself. (At least the 1080p version of it.)

Recording a 4:4:4 2K signal is one thing, whether the inherent information in that signal is true 4:4:4 2K is quite another.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 09:45 AM   #14
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When Hydra was first announced, I did query how it could manage 4:4:4 color with >2K definition from 3x960x540 chips, and didn't feel I ever got a satisfactory answer at the time. Whilst it may indeed have had dynamic range and lower compression advantages over an unmodded HVX (and may have been worth it for that alone), I'm increasingly convinced that it wouldn't have squeezed much more real resolution out of the HVX chipset than DVCProHD is capable of recording itself. (At least the 1080p version of it.)

Recording a 4:4:4 2K signal is one thing, whether the inherent information in that signal is true 4:4:4 2K is quite another.
I agree with you that we really don't know anything about Hydra and probably never will. Claims about color encoding and spatial desinition will remain unsubstantiated. My point was that the only verifiable advantage that the EX has over Hydra is that the former exists and the latter doesn't. Specs don't mean much, especially if they remain only on paper.
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Old December 5th, 2007, 01:55 PM   #15
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Juan once said during the making of the Andromeda that it wasn't 4:4:4 color if you did HD output. He said it wasn't 4:2:0 either but some some odd hybrid that he couldn't come up with a name for. The color is in fact somewhat like how color is with a bayer chip. I of course don't know the reason for his statement but that was coming from Juan himself who never wanted to say the DVX100 with Andro and HD was true 4:4:4. So before anybody barks at me I didn't say it he did.

At the time I even asked him about it and he said that you only get true 4:4:4 with native resolution.

And the whole thing about 2K. 2k that is cropped to 16x9 isn't really any bigger then full size HD. That is why a lot of movies are edited as HD. So 2K from Hydra wouldn't look really all that much better then if the output was 1920x1080. with the soft raw tap from the chips those few extra pixels were not going to make much of a difference at all. The big deal would have been if Hydra could have done 4k. But for that you would need 3 chips at 1920x1080 that are pixel shifted. so really the 2k thing wasn't a big deal. Really all Hydra gave was a very clean digital tap. No extra detail and maybe only slightly better color.
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