Broadcast Beat Magazine 2017 IBC Show - Page 58

A Step Closer to Lens Metadata Standardization By Les Zellan, Chairman and Owner, Cooke Optics At NAB this year, a milestone in lens tech- nology was reached when, together with our friends at Panavision, RED Digital Cinema, Canon, Blackmagic Design, CW Sonderoptic and Sony, Cooke Optics announced the industry-defining project to standardize the collection of lens metadata from PL and selected Panavision mount lenses on the /i Technology protocol. The value of metadata is now completely accept- ed for archiving and in many areas of production, particularly news, where it is crucial for enabling people to search, find and manage content quick- ly and easily. However, it is still largely overlooked at the acquisition stage. Although some metadata from the lens is being used on set for monitor- ing levels, there is so much more it could do that could save significant time and money during production and post production. At Cooke Optics – which has over 130 years of experience in lens development and a Scientific and Technical Academy Award® among many other industry accolades – we recognized this deficit in lens metadata capture around 18 years ago, and set out to create a metadata pro- tocol that would provide the industry with a digital open standard to gather and share lens data, ensuring compatibility from acquisition to post-production. The result was /i (Intelligent) Technology. The /i project was started with just the idea of delivering basic information (as a continuous 58 • Broadcast Beat Magazine • remote readout), such as iris; focus; depth of field; hyperfocal distance; and circles of confu- sion (which is related to the film or camera sensor format - and can be user selectable or potentially could be set by the camera). The information can be digitally recorded for every frame and stored as metadata, accessible via cable connector near the lens mount and/or contacts in the PL mount that sync with /i compatible cameras and other equipment. As lens manufacturers, all of this had to be car- ried out in the lens. We couldn’t farm it out to the camera, because we didn’t make them. The lens contains various encoders and sensors, as well as the computational power to calculate what is happening, and deliver meaningful results. With persistence and determination (and a very reasonable £1 licence fee) we’ve been promot- ing /i across the production technology industry, and today there are over 30 /i Technology part- ners - including many of the industry’s leading camera, lens, monitoring, data recording and post-production manufacturers, which support /i Technology in their products. The open nature of the protocol means that manufacturers can inte- grate it to work with their technology, and not the other way around – so we have a standard way to collect this data, while manufacturers can still maintain the unique nature and design of their lenses or cameras. Digital cameras that are /i compatible can talk