The company also led the industry in developing the Blu-ray Disc standards, based on the know-how and reliability that it accumulated in the Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory, which is located right in Hollywood, the movie capital of the world. This development included the creation of an entirely new application format.
Here, we will briefly present the activities behind these achievements.
Storage Device Business
and Alliance Development Office
Blu-ray Discs provide movies in the form of ultrahigh-resolution HD images. Panasonic handles almost all aspects of this media production right in the heart of the movie industry, at the Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory (PHL) in Hollywood, Universal City, California.
Ever since Panasonic first entered the Hollywood scene in 1992 by establishing Hollywood's first Telecine Center for converting movies into HD images, Panasonic's leading video and IT engineers have engaged in various areas of technical development. Their efforts have focused on image compression, authoring, and other processes as they constantly pursued higher-quality images and more creative interactive functions, while working to meet the demands of Hollywood movie professionals. Backed by a track record of more than 3,000 DVD-Video titles, Panasonic has won high acclaim from a number of Hollywood's film companies, several of which insist on having Panasonic handle their DVD production.
As an active member of this creative community bringing entertainment media to the market, Panasonic cannot help but be concerned about the problem of software pirating. To help put a stop to this practice, Panasonic devoted considerable effort to the development of copyright protection in the standardization of Blu-ray Discs. As a result, the following advanced 3-tier system was achieved.Blu-ray Disc Copyright Protection Technologies:
- AACS (AES encryption):
A copyright protection technology developed for next-generation DVD use.
A software system designed to combat viruses in the unlikely event that BD media is compromised by hacking.
- BD-ROM Mark:
A method of prohibiting the total copying of the disc by embedding secret information inside the disc.
This trio of copyright protection technologies make it possible to produce Blu-ray Discs with an ultrahigh level of image quality that actually rivals the HD master itself, and allows film companies to feel secure about distributing their highly valuable movies around the world. In turn, this feeling of security has enabled a growing number of Blu-ray Disc movies with high-quality HD images to reach the market.
Next, let's take a look at the actual media production process used in Hollywood. While inheriting the DVD production process, a speedy and efficient style of production has been achieved for Blu-ray Discs that also allows for distinctive BD-only features like its advanced interactive functions.
The BD-ROM Production Flow
1. Encoding (compressing the image data of the original movie)
Special equipment is used to project the movie, and the image data is compressed cut-by-cut according to disc standards. High-quality image compression technologies developed entirely by Panasonic are used in this stage.
2. Authoring (adding and editing content such as menu screens and special feature cuts to the original movie)
A programming language called Blu-ray Java™, which is unique to the Blu-ray Disc standards, is used to produce highly versatile menu screens and to add special feature cuts.
3. Test disc screening
The finished disc is sent to the Blu-ray Q&A Room, where its quality is thoroughly examined together with film company staff.
After making final adjustments, the master disc is completed and sent on to the mass production stage.
Hollywood professionals all share a strong concern about their movies in the marketplace, a concern that stems from the creative efforts that they pour into the movies during production. In short, they want to be sure that people at home are able to enjoy the same colors, expressivity, and emotional feelings that they would experience in a movie theater. Panasonic is devoted to continue researching and developing the world of media in order to satisfy the lofty expectations of these film professionals.
Next, we will use a Q&A format to present the distinctive technologies that are used by Panasonic's application development team in the production of Blu-ray Disc media.