DARK ENERGY XENON
Dark Energy Xenon (Xenon) is a technical partnership between Cinnafilm and Technicolor to combine respective expertise in image processing and colour conversion to create an unrivalled solution for content owners, creators, and providers.
This partnership provides an incomparable file-based solution for conversions from Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) source material to High Dynamic Range (HDR) and HDR sources to more flexible delivery formats supported in ASTC 3.0.
SDR libraries will have new-found value in the world of OTT delivery, editorial, and production workflows. Non-HDR content can be edited seamlessly into native-captured HDR material, and cross conversion between HDR specifications is a simple transcode away.
Xenon represents the supercharging of the conversion capabilities of our renowned Dark Energy denoise, degrain, and texture management toolset by integrating Advanced HDR by Technicolor. Advanced HDR by Technicolor includes Technicolor’s state-of-the-art Intelligent Tone Management (ITM) and SL-HDR cross conversion technologies.
Dark Energy is known globally for its ability to precisely remove digital noise/film grain without harming image detail, inserting subtle image texture for broadcast/OTT delivery, or replicating any film emulsion for even the most demanding theatrical release. With Technicolor’s ITM and SL-HDR options, Dark Energy stands alone as the first solution on-market to deliver a complete and automated SDR/HDR solution.
Take a moment to let that sink in. The technologies used in many of the most prestigious post facilities worldwide for over a decade can now up convert SDR material up to 2,000 nits HDR-10 automatically (1,000 nits for HLG), without any time-consuming trim passes or limitations of LUT applications. Combining Dark Energy with the Technicolor advanced ITM process provides an ideal solution to efficiently convert libraries of SDR into high-quality HDR content. The millions of living rooms equipped with HDR televisions deserve to have legacy content come alive like the latest shows natively captured in HDR.
Regardless of the video content, the machine learning-based Advanced HDR by Technicolor automatically adjusts frame-by-frame to create the ideal up/down conversion, just like a skilled colourist would do. Sunny, dark, or indoor/outdoor scenes, Technicolor’s advanced algorithms generate HDR or SDR without having to make constant adjustments due to changing content.
SDR to HDR Upconversions
As mentioned, Xenon brings two industry-leading processes into a single render pipeline. Cinnafilm provides image texture know-how that has become an industry benchmark for quality denoising and image texture management. The Technicolor component, based on machine learning systems and years of experience from Technicolor research and innovation teams, expertly tone maps every pixel in every frame using a series of criteria to ensure whites don’t get out of control or blacks don’t start to crawl. Although cliché, the saying “seeing is believing” has significant merit here.
In a single render, Dark Energy removes digital noise, film grain, and anomalies from moving pictures, while Technicolor tone maps SDR video into a native HDR format. Once the HDR upconversion process is complete, Dark Energy applies raster-appropriate image texture into the images by virtually developing accurate film emulsions, creating an image experience that is as beautiful as it is believable.
The partnering of these two technologies represents the ultimate solution to bridge the gap between existing SDR content/workflows and the ever-increasing demands for HDR delivery.
Xenon vs. the Competition
Convert SDR to HDR10 or HLG
Convert HDR (any format) to SDR
The content is dynamically adjusted in real time, pixel-by-pixel / frame-by-frame / scene-by-scene
Preset profiles to match different artistic intent
Bright spot analysis and management to ensure excessive bright spots are not created when converting from SDR to HDR that might detract from the creative intent of the video
Dark Energy noise reduction to optimize input images before upconverting them to HDR
Dark Energy image texture insertion post HDR processing
One type of SDR-HDR upconvert
Typically there is no analysis of the video. The operator assesses the source content and must make adjustments for every scene, even within a scene
A static LUT that does not adjust the video as environmental conditions change. For example, a pan from a dark shaded environment to a light environment
No bright spot analysis and management. A key concern with static LUTs is creating unintended bright spots that will distract from the scene when increasing luminance
A static 3D LUT typically does not have active noise reduction. This is very problematic in low light conditions, upgrading content from older cameras or cameras with small sensors or in cases with camera movement
If noise reduction is used, it is a separate render using a different technology