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Here's the 4K Sci-Fi Clip You'll Be Seeing in Trade Show Demos

2/26/2013 4:03 AM

You’ve seen Big Buck Bunny, right?

That’s the HD clip released in 2008 as an open-source project by Amsterdam’s Blender Foundation to showcase 3D animation and crowd-sourced content creation. Because it’s freely available, many vendors have used the Big Buck Bunny clip to demo video compression, multiscreen video and other technologies.

So here’s what’s next: Blender’s sci-fi short Tears of Steel. A 4K (a.k.a. Ultra HD) version of the 12-minute clip, sponsored by the Amsterdam Cinegrid Consortium and Rovi, is scheduled for release in April. You’ll definitely be seeing Tears of Steel as part of demos for Ultra HD equipment and HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), also known as H.265, the newly ITU-ratified compression standard.

HEVC is twice as efficient as MPEG-4, a key enabler for 4K content, which provides four times the resolution of 1080p HD.

"Rovi is thrilled to be sponsoring the Blender Foundation's Tears of Steel, which is an innovative project utilizing the latest video technologies," Rovi SVP of marketing Ray DeRenzo said in a press release. "4K represents a major step up from HD video. With compression standards like HEVC, UltraHD and 4K video is now within reach.”

Filmed in Amsterdam over seven months, Tears of Steel -- clearly inspired by the Terminator franchise, among other Hollywood staples -- is about “a group of warriors and scientists, who gathered at the Oude Kerk [Old Church] in Amsterdam to stage a crucial event from the past, in a desperate attempt to rescue the world from destructive robots,” according to Blender’s site on the project.

There’s also a scene with a dude staring at a brain.

“We have to follow our passions. You have your robotics, and I just want to be awesome in space!” the hero says to his girlfriend at the beginning of the film. “Why don’t you just admit that you’re freaked out by my robot hand!” she retorts. Classic. It's kind of endearing and cool, in a film-school-project kind of way, and some of the visual effects of the robots look top-notch.

The movie, released in September 2012, was created using only free and open source software as well as Blender’s 3D creation software. The 4K film will be released as free and open content under the Creative Commons license.

Rovi announced its support for Tears of Steel at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona, where it’s demonstrating HEVC 720p integrated with DivX Plus Streaming.

Watch the Tears of Steel film:

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