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Bellevue, Washington, January 22, 2003 - Sound Consulting is currently seeking potential collaborators who are interested in taking digital video coding to new, high-end quality levels.

MPEG-4 has been announced, but it does not grow beyond the existing DVD (MPEG-2) quantization of 8 bits per component. Considering that video DAC chips typically allocate a dozen or more codes to "below black" and "above white" levels, this leaves only slightly more than 200 brightness levels for any single hue. The result, on DVD and even in HDTV, is serious banding where continuous tones are desired. Despite the trend for studios to archive their films in 1920x1080 for HDTV and other digital video formats, the current coding formats are insufficient for computer compositing with live actors, because the subsequent print to optical film would show the limitations in even when the highest HDTV standards are use. For this reason, studios use formats like Cineon to capture the full range of film into a digital code that can combine the best of computer compositing and optical film for delivery of the final movie. The only problem with the Cineon format is that it is uncompressed. Modern HD cameras also offer uncompressed digital outputs, usually at 10 bits per component, but there are few devices which can store this uncompressed data.

Sound Consulting hopes to find the right partners to research coding, compression, and display technologies which will enable digital video to finally match optical film depth and latitude without overwhelming data storage systems with uncompressed data. Lossless compression would be preferred, but research into lossy compression for content delivery systems that might replace DVD in the future is also highly desired. The goal is to assemble display systems of a high enough quality to show any advancements beyond DVD and even HDTV, thus the results of this research should be provable. These are aggressive goals, but well within the reach of current CRT and computing system hardware.

Hopefully, with new standards such as OpenEXR emerging, these goals can be achieved using the appropriate compression techniques.

See the contact page if you are interested or even if you have further ideas.