A second Emmy for CODEX
JANUARY 27 2021
Back in October, we were delighted to announce that we won our second engineering Emmy in the space of 2 years. The award recognises the engineering excellence behind the CODEX RAW Workflow with High Density Encoding (HDE).
A project that started, as so many projects do, with notes and diagrams on a beer mat in the pub, grew legs and sprinted all the way to a most prestigious finishing line… the Engineering Emmy Awards.
These awards, presented by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, honor development and innovation in broadcast technology, and recognize companies, organisations and individuals for breakthroughs in technology that have a significant effect on television engineering.
Our first Engineering Emmy, in 2018, was awarded for the development of a robust and efficient solid-state digital equivalent of a film camera magazine. This time, the CODEX RAW Workflow with High Density Encoding (HDE) has been honored for its engineering excellence and ubiquitous use in TV production.
Brian Gaffney, Vice President of Business Development at CODEX, said, “We would like to thank the Television Academy for this engineering recognition. We would also like to thank the cinematographers who have demanded a RAW master and for the digital imaging technicians, data managers, and post partners who have quickly adopted HDE into their workflows. We are absolutely thrilled to receive a second Engineering Emmy Award in recognition of our continuing work to evolve the production pipeline from capture to the cloud.”
CODEX RAW Workflow with HDE explained
Vice President of Imaging Services, James Eggleton, tells us how it came about, “We delivered our first RAW workflow in 2006, combining 4K capture, fast data transfer, and flexible file delivery. Over time, our recorders evolved from rack-mount units to on-camera, and by 2013 were integrated inside the ARRI ALEXA XT. HDE continues this theme of miniaturization, halving data storage requirements, and making ARRIRAW accessible to a broader range of productions.”
...HDE CONTINUES THIS THEME OF MINIATURISATION, HALVING DATA STORAGE REQUIREMENTS, AND MAKING ARRIRAW ACCESSIBLE TO A BROADER RANGE OF PRODUCTIONS.
Let’s consider James’ explanation in a little more detail. We’ve all watched reruns of old TV favorites and marvelled at their dodgy quality, often due to low resolution video sources. For modern TV shows, crisp clear images are the order of the day and the demand for better quality is growing as we move into the world of ultra-high definition and a high dynamic range viewing experience. Even though most of us don’t yet have the hardware in our homes to take full advantage of these high resolutions, the people making TV shows are looking to the future. Camera manufacturers have stepped up to the mark in recent years and are producing cameras that capture much higher resolution images. For example, the ARRI ALEXA 65 records up to 6.5K uncompressed.
Higher resolution equals more pixels, and more pixels mean more data and longer transfer times. More space is needed to store the data, and more bandwidth is needed for uploads to the cloud, for example. You can now use HDE from CODEX to address this issue. HDE uses a lossless compressed image format to save space, so you can still capture the best images without sacrificing image quality. This probably isn’t the place to take a deep dive into the underlying science of HDE, but here’s what you need to know:
HDE is an encoding technique that is optimized for Bayer pattern images. ARRIRAW images encoded with HDE are typically around 50% of their original size. HDE is completely lossless because it doesn’t use a compression technique like JPEG2000, but a reordering schema of the file generated upon copy. Unlike a ProRes file, when an HDE file is decoded, it is a bit-for-bit perfect match to the original file.
Some of our favorite television shows have deployed a CODEX RAW Workflow with HDE; these include, Altered Carbon (Netflix), Big Little Lies (HBO), Daybreak (Netflix), Good Omens (Amazon Studios and BBC Studios), and The Mandalorian (Disney+).
The production of Daybreak was supported by FotoKem, who wanted to safeguard their digital negative and reduce the size of the data footprint without adding any onerous data transformation tasks to their already busy schedule. Fotokem’s head of software engineering, Freddy Goeske, said, “We were able to integrate HDE seamlessly into our nextLAB system, and build that into our dailies software platform so that the data could be ingested from the CODEX Capture Drive. We had one person doing color and all the dailies work, so it was important that this person be able to go about their day and not even think about it. HDE had to happen on the fly, without reducing the speed of the process. And the net effect was the reduction of the data footprint by about 45%.”
Imagine then, that you’re significantly older than you are now and you’re nostalgic for bygone days when you used to watch back-to-back episodes of Big Little Lies or The Mandalorian. As you sit back and enjoy your old favourites on your fancy High Dynamic Range (HDR) home entertainment system, you‘ll comment, not, this time, at the shoddy quality, but at the clarity of the colorful images captured all those years ago; this is the value of using technology to future-proof today’s TV shows.
In conclusion, it may not be as glitzy and high profile as the Primetime and Daytime Emmy Awards, and, of course, we couldn’t physically get together to celebrate, but when James Eggleton accepted the award on October 29th, everyone at CODEX raised a glass to his ingenuity, to the super talented and hard-working teams that made HDE a reality, and to winning a SECOND ENGINEERING EMMY!
Watch James Eggleton accept our 2nd Engineering Emmy.
Find out more about our Emmy Award-winning CODEX RAW workflow with High Density Encoding.