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GoPro acquires CineForm

GoPro, maker of the best-selling PoV action camera, has bought CineForm, creator of compression technology (including NeoHD, Neo4K and Neo3D) that is used with mainstream non-linear editing systems.

GoPro, maker of the best-selling PoV action camera, has bought CineForm, creator of compression technology (including NeoHD, Neo4K and Neo3D) that is used with mainstream non-linear editing systems, writes David Fox.

“CineForm is an industry leader in video codec technology and is famous in professional circles for their HD and 3D content creation tools. As GoPro is focused on making it easy for consumers to capture professional quality content, we’re eager to incorporate CineForm’s technology and passion into future GoPro products,” explained Nicholas Woodman, GoPro’s founder and CEO.

The cross-platform 12-bit CineForm 444 Codec makes HD and 3D editing faster and more convenient while retaining image quality. CineForm has produced several award-winning editing applications that exploit the functionality of its codec, all of which are compatible with the likes of Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, and Sony Vegas, as well as Apple iMovie and Windows Movie Maker. Following the acquisition, the codec will be named GoPro CineForm “to emphasise GoPro’s commitment to developing professional content capture and editing solutions”.

“Numerous Hollywood feature films, including the runaway Oscar winner Slumdog Millionaire, were captured with CineForm’s codec and edited with their software tools,” added Woodman. “GoPro is in constant pursuit of image quality and CineForm represents a terrific step for us.”

The first new GoPro product to incorporate CineForm’s technology is the new 3D Hero (pictured), a $100 expansion accessory for GoPro’s 1080p HD Hero line of cameras (cameras not included, but only $260 each), which started shipping this week. The 3D Hero allows users to combine two of the cameras in a single housing to capture synchronised 3D photos and video. A synchronisation cable joins the cameras via an expansion port on the back of each, and the package comes with the CineForm Studio 3D editing software, which converts the 3D Hero files into 3D H.264 files or 10-bit CineForm 422 Codec files.

“GoPro has come out of nowhere to become a leading HD capture solution for professionals wanting to capture new, never before seen perspectives,” said David Newman, CineForm’s co-founder and CTO. “We were very impressed with the 3D Hero System’s ability to rival cameras costing ten times as much. We’re looking forward to putting CineForm’s content creation tools into more hands than ever before thanks to GoPro’s global brand and distribution.”

David Taylor, co-founder and CEO of CineForm, added: “It’s exciting to look out and see how many people, consumers and professionals alike, are using GoPro cameras to create compelling content. As we worked with GoPro over the last year, the more we learned about GoPro’s vision, the more we realised how complementary GoPro and CineForm are to each other. We’re thrilled to join GoPro and to help usher in a new era of accessible professional content capture and creation.”

CineForm will move to GoPro’s San Diego offices, and will continue to develop its own software as well as working on new GoPro products.

The HD Hero camera is claimed to be used by more professional production crews in the broadcast and film industry than any other camera in its class. GoPro recently released a new $80 LCD BacPac attachment for the cameras and apparently shipped 75,000 in the first month. They are widely used by the BBC, on such programmes as Top Gear and Countryfile, the Discovery Channel, and almost any show dealing with skydiving, winter or water sports (the housings are waterproof). Fans include Lucasfilm producer Rick McCallum, who said: “When I saw the footage from the GoPro on our big screens at Skywalker Ranch, I was amazed…”