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Adobe's Bill Roberts explains how and why Adobe acquired IRIDAS and what its plans are for IRIDAS' color grading toolset.
Adobe Systems Director of Video Product Management Bill Roberts
took many industry watchers and IBC 2011 attendees by surprise when it announced the acquisition of IRIDAS
, which specializes in digital color grading. Although the talks leading up to the acquisition were shielded from public view, the fact that Adobe might want to acquire a level of expertise in manipulating video images made perfect sense for a company that's made its name in manipulating still images.
"We aspire to make it the Photoshop of video," says Adobe Systems Director of Video Product Management Bill Roberts, who says that the purchase price remains undisclosed. "That was our goal for Premiere. Color correction is adding to the story."
According to Roberts, Adobe recognized that acquiring an existing color grading company would be the best way of ramping up quickly to offer new toolsets for video. "We wrote up a shopping list of potential companies to acquire and even looked into licensing technology," says Roberts. "We started speaking with IRIDAS at NAB."
IRIDAS CEO Lin Sebastian Kayser at the October 19, 2010, Los Angeles, CA, International 3D Society Technology Awards; Photo Credit: Alex Berliner, International 3D Society.
Adobe will incorporate all the key employees at IRIDAS, including CEO Lin Sebastian Kayser, as well as contract employees. The company, a sole proprietorship, employed only six individuals. "They punched above their weight," says Roberts, who reports that IRIDAS had 1,400 clients around the globe.
The work now is to incorporate IRIDAS' core technology--which includes 2K playback--into the Adobe platform, for an expected Creative Suite version 6 release at NAB 2012. Roberts says that Adobe will make the UI easy for beginners while keeping the toolset powerful enough for veteran users. "[Having color correction] was the No. 1 request from customers," he adds. "It just had to be there. The tools we had weren't going far enough."
Roberts notes that Adobe's purchase of IRIDAS is part of a trend that includes the Blackmagic Design
purchase of DaVinci Systems. "It's a function of the market," he says. "As more and more people shoot for latitude, they create the color in post. As the demand for the technology grows, the price commoditizes."
IRIDAS customer, Triggerfish Animation Studios, a Cape Town based studio of professional artists, partnered with San Francisco-based Wonderful Works on the production of the newest, soon to be released animated 3D film, Zambezia 3D.
Adobe also showcased advances in broadcast workflows at IBC 2011. More specifically, the company debuted "significant new versions" of Flash Media Server and Flash Access video delivery and content protection solutions, which includes new support for mobile devices. New features of Flash Media Server 4.5 include delivery to iPad and iPhone, integrated content protection for streaming of advertising-funded online video and on-demand streaming packaging. Flash Access 3.0 also extends support to mobile devices, allowing content providers to utilize a single back-end workflow to the desktop, connected TVs, Blu-ray players, tablets and smartphones. Support on mobile devices includes Android tablets and smartphones among others. Adobe also instituted compatibility with UltraViolet
's industry-standard, cloud-based digital rights locker system.
Adobe also demonstrated Adobe Pass, which enables TV programmers and media companies to validate that customers are entitled to view online content based on their pay TV subscription package. Adobe Pass, launched in March of this year, has since been adopted as a TV Everywhere implementation option to a wide number of content providers including Comcast
, Dish Network
, Time Warner Cable
, and Verizon Communications
One announcement of particular interest to European market is that U.K. broadcaster ITV
purchased Adobe Story, an online and offline collaborative script development tool, to manage pre-production of over 500 yearly episodes of its series Coronation Street and Emmerdale.
|In short: IBC 2011 was a good year for Adobe Systems. The company's acquisition of IRIDAS was a canny move for a company that is synonymous with still image manipulation. Of course, the devil is in the details. We'll have to wait until NAB 2012 to see just how well the company has integrated what they bought into what they are.|