Image Processing Reference
important. Factors that affect this will make a significant difference to the bottom line.
Everything must be designed to reduce latency and increase the throughput.
On the other hand, if you are building a system to process your collection of home
movies or videos, then performance may be less critical and it is likely that the cost factor
will be the most important.
Semi-professional or independent filmmakers might deem quality of output to be
more important than cost. Improvements in productivity bring in more dollars because
you can get more chargeable work done in less time. Therefore, it is worth a little more
investment up front.
Obviously, the most desirable outcome is a system that is dirt cheap but will process
everything you throw at it instantly with no effort involved in setting up new compres-
sion jobs. In reality, however, you are going to have to compromise somewhere.
So start with this list of basic requirements, add your own ideas to it, and put them
into priority order. Only then should you start to scope out your system and work up your
Target consumer platform
Quality of output
Ease of use in workflow
Scale of production (throughput)
Needs for automation and batching
Cost of building the system
Ongoing running costs
Operating system choice
Understand the Life Cycle
The life cycle of your digital video starts at the point where the incoming video is con-
nected to your computer. You may have a variety of source formats and playback devices
In a broadcasting environment, the video will almost certainly have already been
digitized and will arrive in one of the industry-standard digital formats, most likely a
serial digital interface (SDI). Note that European and American SDI formats may differ
from one another and you need to ensure that the equipment you buy is compatible.
News organizations are very interested in the possibilities offered by the material
exchange format (MXF) container format, and so news feeds might arrive as MXF-
packaged files in the not too distant future.
If your incoming video is analog, then the video input card is responsible for sam-
pling and converting that video to a stream of digital values. The least processor-intensive
method is to just store the stream in a file.
The most likely scenario is that some kind of encoding takes place. In edit suites, it is
common practice to ingest a proxy or low-quality version of the video, being careful
to note the time-code location of that material on the source tape. This is called logging.