Groundbreaking new features of the company’s core software products provide efficient solutions for common issues in post-production and restoration.
HOLLYWOOD— MTI Film has been steadily improving and adding new features to its core products, Cortex and DRS™Nova, to simplify the management of content from the set to the screen, and make restoring film and television content faster and less costly. Its research and design team is constantly developing new tools, often inspired by customer feedback or its own experience in post-production.
The company’s latest innovation for Cortex Enterprise is a tool for frame-rate conversion. Scheduled for release this month, the tool leverages cutting edge, AI-assisted machine vision technology to automate the process of converting content to a different frame rate while avoiding artifacts caused by camera motion. “It’s a common task to convert media frame rates, for example from 30fps to 24,” explains MTI Film CEO Larry Chernoff, “but you run into problems with shots that include lateral motion. If you simply remove one frame out of each five, you get a jumping effect.”
MTI Film began searching for a solution to this problem while remastering a television series from the 1990s. Source material from the show included a mix of 30- and 24-fps original camera negative that needed to be brought into alignment. The post team first tried eliminating every fifth frame from the 30fps media, but the camera motion resulted in too many jumps and other artifacts. They then tried an existing automation tool that used AI to identify frames that could be safely eliminated, but it produced too many errors and was too slow. “It took 40 hours to process a 46-minute episode,” Chernoff recalls, “and that didn’t include the time it took in an edit bay to correct the artifacts, especially the ones occurring at each cut”.
So, MTI Film set about creating its own solution. It used an open-source AI machine vision software, originally developed at Beijing University, that essentially reconstructed frames through interpolation. This solution was successful in creating high quality frame interpolation, but it still produced artifacts at each cut and required a lot of processing time. MTI Film addressed that limitation through distributed processing. “Using an EDL, we parsed and distributed over 700 shots across ten machines and got them back in what resulted in real-time,” Chernoff says. “As part of the tool, we also created an algorithm that accounted for each shot’s time, thereby maintaining sync and producing clean cuts. After that, all that was left was QC and replacement of the few frames that needed additional attention.”
MTI Film developed this solution into a general tool for performing frame rate conversions (from and to any speed) with minimal error. It is making this tool generally available by packaging it with Cortex Enterprise. “There is a lot of content that started its life as 30fps but now needs to be 24fps,” Chernoff says. “Previously, it was simply too time-consuming and prone to error, but this tool makes it practical”.
In version 5 of DRS™Nova, MTI Film introduced Camera Motion Analysis, which divides clips into three types of motion: static, low and high. Users can then discretely assign unique values to each motion segment, either globally or segment-by-segment within a shot. The new version also includes the ability to virtually alter the timecode start point of a clip and change a clip’s frame rate. Last year, the company introduced Shine, a utility for DRS™Nova, that automates the filtering of dirt and fleeting scratches, reducing the time required for such repairs by more than half. More recently, it added an alpha filter to Shine for replacing dirt and scratches found in the IR map.
“We’ve added many new features to DRS™Nova to automate common restoration tasks,” says Chernoff. “They not only eliminate a lot of tedious and repetitive work, they also significantly reduce overall restoration costs. As a result, it is now feasible to restore a lot of content that was previously cost-prohibitive.”
About MTI Film LLC
MTI Film is a leading provider of software and services to the entertainment industry. Its software division delivers ground-breaking tools for critical post production processes. They include the CORTEX family of products, which offer comprehensive solutions for dailies processing, media management, deliverables and more, and DRS™ NOVA, the industry standard for digital film restoration.
For more information visit www.mtifilm.com.
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