Softimage Releases Digital Studio in Beta Version Worldwide

LAS VEGAS, April 7, 1997 — Softimage Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., announced at NAB ’97 today that its new comprehensive online environment for creating and finishing high-end video content, code-named “Digital Studio,” is in the beta cycle of its release worldwide. In Softimage’s booth at NAB ’97, Digital Studio will demonstrate editing and finishing of a high-production-value, 30-second commercial, as well as programming for live webcasts featured on Softimage’s Web site. Digital Studio is scheduled for release in late summer of 1997.

Digital Studio redefines the way video content is created and produced by making available a comprehensive set of tools for picture and audio editing, compositing, paint, image treatment, special effects, titling, and content management, all in a unified, integrated environment. By removing the barriers imposed by current single-purpose hardware and software, Digital Studio provides new creative opportunities to editorial boutiques, post facilities, TV stations, cable operators, effects boutiques and games companies.

Beta Testers Praise Digital Studio Innovations

Big Bang, Dennis Hayes & Associates, First Edition Editorial, Fischer Edit, Electronic Arts Inc., and SVC Television are among those testing Digital Studio, which has been in beta version since February 1997. Feedback from beta testers First Edition Editorial and Fischer Edit, editorial houses that focus on television spot work, praises new opportunities.

“I’m really jazzed by Digital Studio,” said Tony Fischer, owner and editor at Fischer Edit. “It offers an inclusive feature set that allows for more creativity. Instead of spending time transferring materials and switching between programs, I can focus on experimenting with new ideas and making great TV spots. There’s nothing else like it that brings all these tools into one program.”

“Digital Studio promises to revolutionize the process of editorial completion,” said Bobby Smalheiser, president of First Edition Editorial. “Currently, what we do in our offline environment is not easily recreated online. There is no easy way to get from point A to point B. Digital Studio solves that problem.”

Extending Creativity

Running on the Microsoft® Windows NT® operating system, Digital Studio combines all major production elements into an open-architecture, open-platform environment with a common interface, expanding and streamlining the creative process. Its digital nonlinear environment provides the speed and flexibility needed to experiment and incorporate new ideas because material can be accessed at any time and changed continually without concern for losing original data.

“Digital Studio’s open architecture provides the flexibility, extensibility and scalability people have been asking for,” said Michael Stojda, Digital Studio product manager at Softimage. “Through a choice of hardware and software from a variety of vendors, users can extend the capabilities of Digital Studio and customize it to their particular needs. This provides protection for our customers’ capital and human investments in the system.”

Key Benefits

  • Comprehensive tool set. All the tools needed to create and finish a wide range of video projects are provided.

  • Digital, nonlinear technology. Media can be accessed randomly; changes can be quickly and easily made at any point or time.

  • Seamless integration. Jobs can be finished in one room, at one time, by one person. Changes can be made right there and then, without clients needing to schedule another room or a tape needing to be shuttled between facilities to finish a job. Having all the tools available at one console opens up immeasurable creative possibilities.

  • Flexibility. Digital Studio can be used as a standalone system or as part of a collaborative, distributed environment.

  • Extensible environment. Additional features can be added from a library of plug-ins created by individuals and independent software companies using the Softimage® SDK. Over time, third parties will be able to create entirely new modules for seamless integration into the Digital Studio environment.

  • Platform independence. Through choice of hardware, Digital Studio can be configured as an offline system, an online system, a standalone implementation or networked with others.

  • Speed. Ability to complete a project offline or online with compressed- and uncompressed-quality ITU-R 601 images within the same environment means faster and higher-quality results for customers.

Hardware Developments

Today, Softimage and Intergraph Computer Systems announced that Intergraph’s StudioZ Media Production Workstation will also be a supported platform for Digital Studio and is scheduled to go out to beta sites within the month. Intergraph is the newest member in a growing list of hardware vendors that support Digital Studio, including Ciprico Inc., Matrox Electronics Systems Ltd., Merging Technologies S.A., Miranda Technologies Inc., NeTpower Inc. and Pinnacle Systems Inc.

Softimage Information

Founded in 1986, Softimage develops software for media-rich applications including video, film, interactive games and CD-ROM applications. Products include Softimage 3D (high-end animation), Softimage Eddie (compositing) and Softimage Toonz (2-D cel animation). Additional information about Softimage and Microsoft can be found via the Internet at ( ) and respectively.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Softimage is a registered trademark of Softimage Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors : If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

Digital Studio Features and Innovations

Media Capture and Management

  • Edit in National TV Standards Committee (NTSC) and Phase Alternating Line (PAL) standards

  • Component, composite and serial digital input and output

  • Uncompressed- and compressed-quality ITU-R 601 images

  • Eight channels of digital audio input and output

  • Input and output of numerous industry-standard video, graphics and audio formats

  • RS-422 machine control

  • Batch capture and auto-conform

  • Find, browse and sort media and meta-data with the full power of Windows NT

Picture Editing

  • Single- or dual-monitor, configurable editing interface with support for a dedicated, full-screen video monitor

  • Work in multiple resolutions per clip and mixed resolutions per sequence and project

  • Interactive timeline editing

  • Unlimited number of video tracks

  • Multiple versions of clips can be viewed and maintained on the time line

  • Container clips for layering and grouping video and audio elements

  • Multiple features to assist creative editing including undo and redo, splice, overwrite, split edits, trim, slip and slide

  • Unlimited levels of undo and redo

  • Editing tools are accessible from any Digital Studio function including compositing, paint and audio

  • Frame and text views of clips in the time line

Audio Editing

  • Ability to switch between frame and sample editing

  • Real-time audio mixing and effects on eight channels including 4-band, fully parametric EQ, 10-band graphic EQ, compressor, limiter and noise-gate

  • Support for external mixing control surface

  • Waveform display in time line

  • Unlimited audio tracks for editing

2-D and 3-D Effects

  • All standard Society for Motion Picture and TV Engineers (SMPTV) digital video effects (DVEs) in real time

  • Position, rotation and scaling along x, y and z axis in real time

  • Page curls, spheres and other 3-D shapes in real time

  • Motion effects including slow, fast, strobe, freeze frame, reverse and fit-to-fill

  • Color effects


  • Real-time multilayer compositing and keying

  • Compositing on unlimited layers

  • Complete animation control for all parameters

  • Chroma, luma and matte keys

  • Matte extraction; matte layering using Boolean operations

  • Multipoint motion tracking and stabilization

Color Correction

  • Selective shape- or pixel-based color correction

  • Individual control over highlights, midtones and shadows


  • Full-featured vector-based, nondestructive paint system

  • Fully animatable and editable brush strokes, shapes, parameters and effects

  • Multiple animatable plug-in effects including smear, tint, noise, gaussian blur, color gradient and motion blur

  • Scratch and dropout removal tools

  • Hundreds of preset brushes, styles, effects and textures

  • Custom preset and stackable effects

  • Independent viewing and editing of R, G, B and Alpha channels


  • Free-form text placement and editing

  • Text rotation, scaling and skewing

  • Kerning, leading and track control

  • Title animation

  • Title rolls and crawls

Content Management

  • Extensive registration and tracking of clip and media meta-data throughout the creative process

  • Selective purging and archiving of media

  • Share media and meta-data across multiple projects and systems

Softimage SDK

  • Comprehensive API allows feature plug-ins and entire toolsets to be created by customers and independent developers for seamless integration into the Digital Studio environment

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