Archimedia Technology has introduced HD-SDI and 4K-SDI cards for its Archimedia Reference Player. The cards are made by Bluefish444 and include a Reference Player installer that will flash the cards' firmware so that they behave properly under control of the Reference Player. They will allow video engineers and archivists to use a standard Windows 7 or 8 computer as an HD or cinematic-quality video player or disk-based SDI video server.
Under the control of the Archimedia Reference Player, the user's HDTV monitor can display a video file at the same frame rate as the original when in full screen mode, which the company claims is the first time that an HDMI monitor and SDI monitor can be faithfully compared to 4K resolution on a PC. For quality control, the file's technical metadata can be viewed while the file is playing.
“These SDI cards represent another big step toward a master-quality reference environment for everyone's desktop,” said Archimedia CEO and president, Mark Gray (pictured). “A traditional HD videotape player costs $40,000 or more, while our HD-SDI card with our Reference Player costs less than $5,000. That's nearly a 90% saving that can make a big difference, particularly for archivists working with very tight budgets. Among their many benefits, the cards allow archivists to view and copy the master files in their care without having to buy a video editor. Likewise, a video engineer can play master files from multiple major vendors in a true comparison without buying proprietary equipment or expanding the development lab.”
With the new cards and the Reference Player, users can play HD or 4K video clips and test patterns on practically any professional video device that accepts SDI inputs, including monitors, encoders, projectors, transmission, switchers, routers, editors, videotape and disk recorders, ingest stations, colour correctors, standards converters, waveform monitors, and vectorscopes. Both production and development engineers can use the cards to play their video clips and test patterns to configure, set up, calibrate, and troubleshoot an entire HD or 4K SDI signal chain. Archivists can use the cards to view, check, and copy video — whether they need to ship an archival videotape to a producer on location, encode an archived video file for a news department in a format its station can use, or play their highest quality master videos on an auditorium projector.
Without the Archimedia cards, PC users would have to rely on HDMI-to-SDI converters — most of which are limited to only 8-bit colour depths — or high-end SDI cards that lack a matching HDMI frame-rate-controlling player or an integrated technical metadata viewer. The company claims that users will save time when using the Reference Player to copy only the clips they need, frame accurately, from Archimedia’s SDI card to a recorder without having to load the entire master file into a video editor first in order to extract them. Engineers and manufacturers will also benefit from a reliable, full-spectrum SDI stream of master files and test patterns without having to buy dedicated proprietary appliances.
The Archimedia Bluefish444 HD-SDI card plays up to 1080p at 59.94 fps using a Single Link 4:2:2 or Dual Link 4:4:4, 4:4:4:4, or 4:2:2:4 HD-SDI connection. The 4K-SDI card uses four SDI connections in 12-bit 4:4:4 RGB, making it suitable for the highest-quality applications including cinematic production. Both cards use 12-bit video processing.
Front Porch Digital deal
The main founders of Archimedia, which was only formed recently, were previously with Front Porch Digital (and before that with Samma, a company bought by Front Porch), so it’s not surprising that one of the first deals it has announced is a reseller agreement with Front Porch, whose customers will be able to purchase the Reference Player, HD and 4K SDI cards, and proprietary Archimedia test patterns from Front Porch in conjunction with its own products.
Front Porch will also install free trial versions of the Reference Player on its products.
“The Archimedia founders are three former vice presidents of Front Porch Digital who believe wholeheartedly in Front Porch Digital products. We founded Archimedia because we wanted to complement those products and extend the ease of use and peace of mind they bring to the industry,” said Gray.
“Many Archimedia customers own Front Porch Digital products, many of which require special players or SD cards to play sophisticated archival files, so this partnership is a natural fit for both companies. It will enable those customers to work with Front Porch Digital to purchase both companies' products within a unified sales and support process for maximum convenience and efficiency.”
The partnership will be especially helpful for users of Front Porch's SAMMAsolo ingest appliance, the latest version of which, SAMMAsolo G4 HD, requires a reference player to play Samma JPEG 2000 MXF high-definition files. Earlier versions of SAMMAsolo included a player card (SDI output) for Samma JPEG 2000 MXF standard-definition files only, but that card is no longer available. The Archimedia Reference Player and SDI cards will serve all SD and HD needs for Front Porch Digital customers going forward, regardless of the product they're using.
“This relationship with Archimedia gives our customers, especially archivists who specialise in analogue-to-digital migration the first affordable means through which to play their archival files on a single universal player which gives them continuity across the entire life of the asset,” said Rino Petricola (pictured), senior vice president and general manager at Front Porch Digital.
“We're also excited about the AXF format and its usefulness for archiving DPX sequences for the movie and post production industries. Because Archimedia Reference Player plays DPX sequences, it's a natural pairing with our DIVArchive 7.1 content storage management system.”
Archimedia will demonstrate the Reference Player, HD- and 4K-SDI cards, and proprietary test patterns on Front Porch Digital's stand at IBC2013.
By David Fox