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Spectra Runs Native on Apple M1 Chips!

By | Streambox Platform Solutions | No Comments

Spectra Virtual Encoder for macOS, with native support for Apple M1, M1 MAX and M1 PRO chips.

 

The latest version of Spectra has been optimized to take advantage of Apple Silicon’s screaming fast M1 chips to deliver real-time 4K 4:4:4 encoding for new M1 MAX models when using professional Color Grading and edit applications.

The 1.2.8 upgrade also brings a bunch of other goodies:

  • support for the Apple Silicon/M1 version of Adobe Premier 22
  • upgraded OpenFX support for Blackmagic Design’s Davinci Resolve for 4:4:4 workflows and performance
  • color space specific conversions to 4:2:2 space, including HDR.
  • support for HD capture and streaming workflow while working with 4K timelines in Adobe Premiere, Avid Media Composer or Davinci Resolve
  • encoding latency advances

The release also adds support for NDI version 5!

Free Trial Version

Streambox Spectra + DaVinci Resolve on AWS

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Streambox Advances the state of Digital Transformation in Post Production to provide real time remote color grading and editing

Cloud-Based workflows are proving to be viable alternatives to traditional media workflows across a broad range of activities, including production, content contribution and post production. The benefits are clearly compelling and, in many cases, deliver a level of efficiency and agility that would not otherwise be possible.

Cloud Computing platforms, such as Amazon AWS, provide the means to reimagine media tools and applications. It is now possible to build an entire virtual workplace, including media storage and transport as well as enough compute power to enable processing-intensive applications such as color grading.

Cloud Based Workflow for Color Grading

Cloud-based color grading is now not only feasible, but also a reality. DaVinci Resolve can be installed as a SaaS application in AWS (see diagram below) and will support all the features of the desktop version. One benefit is that you no longer need to worry about having a hardware platform that has the necessary compute power. That also means you are no longer need to be on prem, so you can literally work from wherever you are – and – work with full resolution footage!

Point-to-point Workflow

The left side of this diagram shows AWS assets and DaVinci Resolve, using a remote desktop app (Nice DCV or Teradici). The video that the colorists sees is limited to 4:2:0 8-bit.

The right side shows Streambox Spectra, which serves as a real time, color-accurate streaming encoder that delivers a full quality feed, up to 4:4:4 12-bit!

One significant drawback to this workflow is that the colorist is limited to a proxy view of the work in progress, which is mostly impractical for the nuances of color grading.

Streambox Spectra provides an ideal solution without impacting on the core benefits of AWS workflows. Spectra is a SaaS application that is fully compliant with the Resolve API and serves as a real time streaming encoder with full resolution and color fidelity. In effect, the colorist can now work with all of the same features as would be expected on prem, but with the flexibility to work from a remote location.

Another benefit worth mentioning is the Streambox Media Player (SMP), which is free to download and runs on iPad, iPhone, macOS, Apple TV 4K and Windows (iPad shown in diagram above). SMP is a software decoder that will accept streams from any Streambox encoder – Spectra in this case – and playout color accurate content.

Conducting Remote Review Sessions

During the course of your grading or editing project you will typically conduct reviews. Since we are looking at a virtual solution here, you need the equivalent of a virtual over-the-shoulder” session.

And that is where Spectra really shines…

Streambox Cloud Services provides a highly effective means for conducting remote reviews, with as many collaborators as you like, anywhere in the world.

Spectra (or any other Streambox encoder) connects to an instance of Streambox Cloud Services and sends an encrypted stream at full quality, up to 4K DCI 4:4:4 12-bit. Streambox Cloud provides dependable, global transport and includes collaboration tools for routing and management.

Remote collaborators can download the free Streambox Media Player to everyday devices, such as iOS, macOS, Windows and even Apple TV, so no more need to ship dedicated hardware to your clients.

When you are ready to start a session, simply email everyone a participation code. That will allow them to connect to your live session, much like Zoom, except they will have a no-compromise viewing experience.

High reliability transport is provided by Streambox’s Emmy Award winning codecs, which use some really secret sauce to maneuver around dodgy (i.e. real world) networks, while maintaining the highest possible bit rate and signal quality.

Beta Version Available!

Please complete this form and we will get you started with a beta version of Spectra for Resolve on AWS. You should be a current user of Resolve and have or be willing to set up an AWS account.


Sessions Update – Easy Sharing

By | Cloud, Apps & Software, Streambox Platform Solutions | No Comments

Latest Sessions Release Adds Instant Share Feature

If you are a current Sessions user, you know what a great tool it is for setting up remote collaborative workflows. The latest release makes it even better – one-click sharing via email or calendar invite!

If you are not familiar with Sessions, or if you would like to see a demo of the new features, watch the video below.

Streambox Sessions is a simple and cost effective way to connect post-production, visual effects, broadcast and media organizations who require remote sharing of secure, high quality color rich content sessions is ideal for offsite producers, directors, colorists, editors, advisers and other creatives who need to participate in productions no matter where they are located. By offering secure connectivity that is low and cost and complexity, Streambox makes shared streaming capabilities easy for organizations to adopt and utilize when they need it, where they need it.

These days everyone is used to using videoconferencing applications. Streambox has introduced an updated sharing process for Session similar to the way meetings are set up in those applications.

There is an updated Sessions share dialog located on the live page found at Live.Streambox.com. After selecting the Sessions tab a new session can be created or one that was created previously can be selected which opens a share dialog. Users are presented with the choice to copy a session ID to the clipboard, to send an email invitation which opens a generic invitation in a default email application, or to send a session link to the clipboard where the session link can be used in a calendar invitation to send out to the review team.

On the given date and time the link can be opened and the Sessions link will open a Streambox media player installed on either a Mac OS or iOS device and automatically initiates the session playout in about 30 seconds. All collaborators are able to view a stream in real time. The whole process is just that easy.

Sessions is one example of the Streambox commitment to real time, high quality media production collaboration.

Streambox Sessions works with Streambox encoders on the origination side, and Streambox decoders and players for viewing media. Sessions functionality includes stream encryption to ensure content security. Sessions is also cost-effective as the host party only pays for what they use when they need for a particular project. Organizations can purchase a set amount of data to be used with Sessions through the Streambox on-line store or by contacting Streambox sales.

Media Player Now Supports Surround Sound Down Mix

By | Streambox Platform Solutions | No Comments

Streambox is pleased to announce the new Media Player 2.0.5 with realtime surround sound down-mix feature for iOS and macOS media players.

This new feature is designed for live remote reviews, where both surround audio (7.1/51.) and stereo clients can receive the same session without re-encoding or experiencing additional delay.

Clients without surround support will automatically playback a stereo downmix stream from the master surround sound. Streambox supports multi-channel audio in both uncompressed and AAC formats, with software players rendering up to 8 channels.

The new players are available now in the Apple App store:
Download v 2.0.5
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/streambox-media-player/id1329435619

For more details on setup and usage, including procedure for 7.1 audio output setup for macOS,  download this free Quick Start Guide.

Sharpe Sound Conducts Remote Audio Reviews Using Streambox

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Sharpe Sound is a full service audio post-production house based in North Vancouver that was established in 1991. The owners, Paul and Jacqueline, had both worked in Los Angeles for a number of years. Paul is originally from Canada and wanted to bring audio post back to Canada. He left his position at Todd AO and came up to Vancouver with Jacqueline who was a sound editor in Los Angeles. They opened Sharpe Sound with the intent of bringing audio post to Vancouver as the audio post industry was just getting started there.

There were already a few places in the city, but it was still on a small scale. Deciding to move things up an octave, they built a true theater style dubbing room. From there the business has progressed over the years to be the largest audio post-production house in Vancouver, specializing in feature films and television.

Sharpe Sound first looked at Streambox a couple years ago as an option for remote sound reviews for clients, particularly those in Los Angeles. Things changed when Netflix launched multiple productions in Vancouver.

Netflix producers had already embraced the idea of using a Streambox solution for remote reviews. They had a Chroma system in their audio lab that they had started using for a few productions in Europe, and asked Sharpe Sound if they would be willing to put in a system to interface with their audio lab.

The production crew in Vancouver could avoid travel to Los Angeles if there were a way for to playback live home Dolby Atmos mixes to the producers in Los Angeles. Sharpe Sound subsequently acquired a Streambox Chroma encoder decoder system and got started with it to work directly with Netflix. With Chroma they were able to employ a point-to-point connection from Vancouver directly to the Netflix audio lab in Los Angeles and right out of the gate did live Atmos playbacks from the Sharpe Sound stage to the audio lab.

Once Sharpe Sound gained experience with the remote connection process, they expanded coverage to additional Netflix projects and a few other clients, including Disney.

Kelly Cole, senior re-recording mixer and head sound supervisor at Shape Sound remarks, “We find it’s a very stable platform for us to work with. And, you know, especially in this day and age that we’re living in right now with no travel back and forth to Los Angeles, the ability for our clients such as Netflix and or Disney to be able to go on stage and essentially be in the mix is invaluable.”

Having a Streambox solution has helped Sharpe Sound expand its business. As the word has got out all around Los Angeles and Vancouver that Sharpe Sound had remote audio streaming capability with support for 16 channels to even work with Dolby Atmos, they have been approached by many other clients to use the Streambox solution for live playback sessions.

Because Streambox Chroma can be used as both an encoder and a decoder, a director from Los Angeles working in Vancouver on a project came into the Sharpe Sound studio and was able to listen to a mix coming from a location in Los Angeles.

Sharpe Sound has been using Streambox solutions for about a year. They have found the system to be really robust and reliable. They quickly got up to speed dialing in the settings to learn how to optimize full Dolby Atmos live streaming. They found the support from Streambox to be invaluable working with their technicians to get things just right.

Before long the Sharpe Sound staff got to a point where the process became an integral part of their workflow. They are able to do a test run where the IT director can log on from the Web and monitor the stream to assess the status and adjust the streaming throughput if needed to compensate for end to-end bandwidth performance before playback is started.

Aside from the reliability and quality, the ability to fine tune the system to match different network and client conditions is what separates Streambox from other systems. Sharpe Sound has other systems in-house that they use depending on the client’s needs, but they can be difficult to adjust or deal with. It is often a case of just rebooting and hoping that the system fixes itself, whereas with Streambox, the staff knows how the unit operates in the facility and is able to go in and make quick streaming adjustments to get the transport performance precisely where they need it to be. For example, because Sharpe Sound is more concerned with audio, they can throttle back the video when the receiving end does not have sufficient download speed in order to maintain perfect quality on the audio. If there are any latency issues across the network, they can make adjustments with the bandwidth.

As Sharpe Sound has very robust connectivity coming out of their facility, sometimes they must bring down the bandwidth so as not to overwhelm the system at the receiving endpoint. With a quick call to the technician at whatever facility they are interfacing with, they can determine what can be accepted and adjust accordingly, which alleviates a lot of problems.

When referring to their experience with Streambox, Kelly states “Any time we have needed help, it’s been really fast to reach them to work with us. It’s been really, really positive working with them.”