Softimage Announces First Shipments of SOFTIMAGE|DS

NEW YORK, Nov. 6, 1997 — Softimage Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp., today announced that it has licensed 12 of its new nonlinear production systems in the 45 days since the European launch of SOFTIMAGE Ò |DS at the IBC show in Amsterdam. The comprehensive feature set of SOFTIMAGE|DS has enabled beta sites on five continents to produce projects from commercials, videos and TV miniseries to client demos and test videos. With over 30 beta sites and early licensing to leading post-production companies worldwide, SOFTIMAGE|DS is poised to created a dramatic shift in the post-production industry.

The U.S. launch of SOFTIMAGE|DS takes place today in New York City. SOFTIMAGE|DS is scheduled to ship to customers in December as a turnkey system initially running on Intergraph’s StudioZ for SOFTIMAGE|DS workstation.

“The launch generated such excitement at IBC that we immediately licensed four systems right on the show floor,” said Hugues Leveille, director of sales at Softimage. “Since IBC, we’ve seen interest levels increase throughout Europe, resulting in more sales than we estimated this early in the product’s life.”

Early Customers Praise Breadth and Depth of SOFTIMAGE|DS

The first customer to license SOFTIMAGE|DS was NovaVision, a major producer of commercials, TV trailers and multimedia content in Europe. NovaVision plans to upgrade one of its linear online rooms to SOFTIMAGE|DS, using it across the process of creating short-format videos. NovaVision selected SOFTIMAGE|DS in preference to all other editing and compositing products it looked at during IBC.

“The integration of video production tools in a single platform-independent solution offers tremendous benefits to us in the creation and finishing of video productions,” said Henrik Madsen, head of the technical department at NovaVision. “Especially important to us was the ability to have compositing and audio editing integrated with the nonlinear video editing. SOFTIMAGE|DS delivers this solution in a single product that will become the basis of our video production business.”

Beta Site Productions Validate Improved Workflow

With support for real-time noncompressed D1 resolution video (ITU-R-601), the first release of SOFTIMAGE | DS is ideal for the creation, editing and finishing of commercials, music videos, promos, trailers and other short-format videos, and is also useful for general TV program production.

White Iron Digital, a high-end post-production and special effects company in Calgary, Canada, recently completed a series of 10 60-second commercials. White Iron Digital’s creative director Jeff August, a two-time Emmy winner, said, “Our clients expect us to produce many different renditions of a production quickly. While completing a series of commercials on SOFTIMAGE|DS, we were able not only to produce the commercials very fast, but also to turn around several versions for the client quickly, which really impressed them. We pushed SOFTIMAGE|DS to the limit and were pleased to see that it has truly raised the bar of productivity, allowing us to reach an entirely new level in creativity.”

“The all in-one paradigm of SOFTIMAGE|DS is one of its strongest features,” said Bobby Smalheiser, president of First Edition in New York. “With most systems, if you want to lay an effect on a particular scene, you must take that scene into a specific program to create the effect and then take it back out. With DS, the entire sequence can be worked on, adding effects without having to move in and out of other programs. It gives the editor a lot more freedom and flexibility. DS offers us the opportunity to work on very exciting projects, as well as maintaining cost savings for our clients.”

“Having operated SOFTIMAGE|DS on a continuous basis for six weeks, I am confident that it has the potential to revolutionize the business we call Video Post Production,” said Andrew Vere, chief executive, SVC Television.

Additional beta sites including MVS, Rumble Fish, Scene 3, Stable Films and many others have completed or are currently engaged in projects using SOFTIMAGE|DS.

Based on an advanced new software architecture, SOFTIMAGE | DS enables users to redefine the way they create content and improve its quality by seamlessly integrating picture and audio editing, special effects, compositing and project management through a single interface. It is the first and only system to enable multiple integrated tool sets to be applied to work in progress from a single system, enhancing the creativity and the productivity of the digital artist.

SOFTIMAGE|DS Pricing and System Requirements

Initial pricing for a complete hardware and software turnkey system will be about $100,000 (U.S), which includes software, an Intergraph StudioZ dual-Pentium II 300 MHz system for SOFTIMAGE | DS with 30 minutes of noncompressed storage, dual monitors, and, for a limited time, training, maintenance and support.

About Softimage

Founded in 1986, Softimage develops software for media-rich applications including video, film, interactive games and CD-ROM applications. Products include SOFTIMAGE | DS

(video production), SOFTIMAGE | 3D (high-end animation), SOFTIMAGE | EDDIE (compositing) and Toonz (2-D cell animation). The company was acquired in 1994 by Microsoft. 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.

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