Adobe offers CinemaDNG format for raw video

The company releases a beta version of a file format for higher-end video. Also out is a beta of Adobe Story for writing scripts.

Adobe Systems on Thursday released a beta version of a file format called CinemaDNG the company hopes will simplify higher-end digital video processes and improve its quality.

The company behind Photoshop has developed a technology for still cameras called DNG, short for Digital Negative , and is trying to standardize it to encourage broader adoption. CinemaDNG takes the technology and applies it to video

For higher-end cameras such as SLRs, DNG records the raw data from the image sensor with no in-camera processing. That means there are no compression artifacts, no sharpening or contrast filters applied, no camera assumptions made about lighting conditions such as shady or sunny, and no discarding of richer 12-, 14-, or even 16-bit data in the conversion to 8-bit JPEG. The drawback to this flexibility and quality is that images require processing before they can be viewed.

CinemaDNG is comparable, according to the Adobe Labs description, including Adobe's hope to provide an alternative to proprietary raw formats.

"In many digital cinematography workflows, captured content is processed by software and hardware in the camera before it is saved to a storage device--and assumptions made during this processing could irrevocably damage the original imagery. Cinema DNG avoids these problems by capturing raw digital data directly from the camera's sensor, giving artists the power to make qualitative judgments after imagery has been saved to disk," Adobe said.

Other companies supporting CinemaDNG are Fraunhofer, Gamma & Density, Ikonoskop, Indiecam, Iridas, MXF4mac, RadiantGrid, Synthetic Aperture, The Foundry, Vision Research, and Weissc.

Adobe also released software to let its video-editing software import CinemaDNG files.

"Adobe and other industry participants have finalized the CinemaDNG specification and Adobe has made CinemaDNG plug-ins for Adobe After Effects CS4 and Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 software available online on Adobe Labs," the company said in a series of announcements at the 2009 IBC trade show in Amsterdam.

Adobe also announced beta testing of a new project, Adobe Story for writing scripts.

"Scriptwriting typically goes through several phases: initial outline, several drafts, final draft, shooting script and creation of a production shot list that accompanies the final script. Adobe Story is designed to help simplify and accelerate this process for virtually any creative endeavor," Adobe said. Scripts in a variety of other formats can be imported into the software.

And the San Jose, Calif.-based software company announced Flash Access 2.0, digital rights management technology that can control which individuals or devices are permitted to view online video. "Flash Access 2.0 now supports output protection, enabling content providers to specify requirements for protection of analog and digital outputs, providing additional safeguards against unauthorized recording," the company said.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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