Thread: Apple seeks to invalidate Red's Raw patent claims

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  1. #31  
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    The story continues: RED respond to Apple in compressed RAW patent battle

    https://www.eoshd.com/2019/08/red-re...tent-raw-wars/

    And why CFexpress might be important for future camera's
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  3. #33  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    A lot of people are hitting me up on my opinion on all of this. First thought to push out, yes, patent disputes are pretty common daily occurrences which run rampant in the technology industries. Usually because of monetary related issues surrounding existing technologies applied to current or future products. I check Engadget and Gizmodo fairly often and the ping pong battle between large companies is utterly fascinating. I hate to say it, but it's part of the game when you get to a certain level of size, innovation, and potential.


    Short Take: We'll have to wait and see how this all plays out.


    Long Take:

    Re-read everything yesterday just to digest it all, look at the timelines, developed, and implemented technology. I'm a speedy reader with fairly good comprehensions skills, but it took me a minute to sift through and cross reference everything, looking at all the patents and history, and I don't have access to the provisional stuff early on as that's not public domain. This is what the Patent Trial and Appeal Board does all day long, which sounds like really hard work considering how detailed this stuff gets.

    More or less this is a fairly well compensated industry expert who is stating "in my opinion this technology should be unpatentable", which is why it's going to be reviewed via the appeal process. Interestingly enough he also markets himself as an expert witness in such matters, but I'll save my comments for off the air on that. But his expertise in the areas of specifically block transform and the history of MPEG was a fascinating deep dive. He has been hired to produce documentation to support his opinion and certainly leave anything out that might not support that opinion in this case. RED's job is to defend the appeal with whatever evidence they deem fit, in this case it appears not only written testimony, but also physical time stamped evidence.

    A lot of blog, article, and forum posts now have been pushed out. A lot negative sentiments being pushed out for whatever reason as well. A shockingly good amount of level headed conversations going on too, which is nice to see. Sort of like everyday depending on which "camera arena corner" you find yourself choosing a side in I guess, just seemingly much more emotionally fueled as of late due to predictable reasons.

    Apple is appealing RED's patent on internal compressed RAW recording of high resolution motion pictures (there's more to it than simply that, but I'll summarize it as such). This is moderately predictable considering the development of ProRes Raw and they certainly would like to implement that inside cameras or devices that feature cameras without possibly incurring licensing fees required from other parties, but rather more likely creating their own licensing ecosystem for ProRes Raw in cameras as well as software manufacturers as they have done with good old regular ProRes. This appeal approach makes sense on a financial level as the cost of "probing the patent" is low compared to long term licensing fees and/or potential short and long term profits.

    RED's obviously had to defend this patent a few times, and so we wait for an outcome.


    My interests then moves to those possible outcomes:

    - RED defends the patent, nothing actually changes. Perhaps licensing fees are looked at for Apple to deploy their intended future technology goals as well as other companies.
    - Apple wins the appeal, which would more or less allow them to do whatever they want with ProRes Raw and develop their own ecosystem to deploy it however they see fit.
    - The side effect of the successful appeal, which we don't know the exact outcome from that, might lead to manufacturers being able to develop their own internally recorded high resolution compressed RAW codecs.
    - There's another option where a mutually beneficial arrangement might be made, but that's speculation.


    Whether the appeal is successful or not, RED's going to still make cameras because it doesn't effect them in that way as they've already developed their own globally and broadly used internally recorded high resolution compressed RAW codec. As far as I can tell they are trying to invalidate the patenting of this sort of technology, with the "market open to do whatever they want" it's not like REDCODE RAW would go anywhere because the gates would be open to everybody at that point.

    To me I see pros and cons to either outcome, certainly perceived initial pros for other camera manufacturers. I think specifically Canon would benefit the most from this activity. Sony's developed their solutions already, but it opens up new worlds for them. BMD has already developed BRAW w/ the partial debayer, which to their credit outside of any patent stuff surrounding CinemaDNG is actually a better way to proceed due to support and future development. Adobe dropped support for CDNG and removed it from their Lab in 2017 for CDNG due to mainly performance issues and likely no profitable active hardcore development worth exploring. Pros and cons of open source codecs really, BRAW at least allows them to advance it at their pace and not wait for large boulders to move. ZCam is very much doing the same as BMD with their new codec. Arri, well yeah, I think they would develop a compressed codec out of all this, but they've marketed against "compressed" a bunch. But they certainly would do it if they could. Panasonic, yep, similar to my thoughts on Canon and it would benefit them. So on and so forth.

    Back to Apple, with ProRes Raw fully developed, other manufacturers will have to look hard at incurring the cost of R&D, coding, and support to developing their own codec. At some point, the cost will likely be more beneficial to just license it from Apple considering their broad reach of potential support and they can license and deploy at whatever cost they want. In a broader sense, I see this as a way to move licensing cash that might be going to REDs coffers that can redirect potential future licensing profits to Apple's coffers while likely increasing the volume of those licensing agreements from more parties.


    Just to voice a few theories and potential concerns towards the filmmaking community and companies who make technology for the industry, both positive and negative ones:

    ProRes Raw as of now might be limited to the workflow of Mac and even FCPX only, which strategy-wise would certainly help build their workstation market, but also get back into that weird space where we had codecs that weren't cross platform compatible. Apple does indeed "license and certify" ProRes Raw and ProRes already and have very much gone after "unauthorized codec implementations", exact wording from their site even.

    Whatever is going on, Apple is at least licensing regular ProRes Export to various cross platform software packages to allow for a much more standardized workflow between post houses and individuals, I still really want BMD to jump on that Windows licensing btw. BMD has publicly stated they "don't love ProRes Raw" for whatever reason, but it's also likely because of the licensing fees that would be incurred similar to the regular official ProRes usage, especially outside of the MacOS world. Sort of wish they'd make a $$$$ version of Resolve that could go with a license for that or whatever. Personally it's frustrating for me to use Resolve on a Mac one day, then on a PC another day and not have the same export options. *sadface* As for Cineform, well that's another way to explore this world if it opens up, and though open source, is indeed now owned by GoPro.

    No matter what if that does go that way, I don't necessarily think the future of RAW codecs is actually going to be open source. I think you'll end up with a few new codecs, some existing ones that just would end up internally recorded rather than using add-on modules, that people can develop and make unique to their ecosystems and there are a host of things you can internally develop within your own world that makes that much more ideal than opening up to all the features to competitors. More or less highlighting some of the reasons Cineform and CinemaDNG sort of ran a specific course as there were no profits to keep them in active development from those who originally authored them and certainly nobody making compelling SDK or software enhancements for a very, very long time. No fuel in the tank to do it and it does cost time and money to make all that work, innovate, and continue to work down the line.

    Just to expand some future thoughts, with the way hardware is going both in processing power and memory it's easy to imagine a future where ProRes Raw HQ and ProRes raw are deployed in even mobile phones, DCI 4K ProRes Raw is a svelte ~90MB/s data rate depending on what's recorded. I think the long play would be to get as many Apple and Apple authorized products out there that use ProRes Raw to more or less make people/companies support it and license it officially, similar to regular old ProRes (which I happily use and support, but understand it's hard for software vendors to deal with that financially).
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  4. #34  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    In terms of a lot of the conversation online, it's clear it's spanning multiple generations of filmmakers across a vast expanse of experience levels. I find myself in an interesting spot of being involved with the early era of Digital Cinematography starting back to the late 90s with experience on cameras like the Genesis, Viper, etc being explored on fairly large budget feature films. These were all different from the RED One.

    It's utterly fascinating to me that around the time of the RED One was developed a high resolution digital cinema camera with internally compressed RAW recording was very much unwanted or frowned down upon by the bulk of the industry. A decade and a half later, everybody on earth wants it and seems to be far, far less critical about it. And it's not lost on me regarding some of the reasons why considering advancements in GPU Accelerated Rendering and Decoding and tapping into ways to make processing this data is much, much faster than it was initially. Now the landscape is fully formed and working this way has been very much standardized and adopted. Not really shocking more people want in on the action. It is where the action is that's for sure at the moment.

    Though I didn't own a RED One (I eventually saved up to buy a Scarlet-X in 2011 once I left R&H and grew from there), our studio used them a few times and I'm attracted to innovation like a moth to a bug zapper. Back in that era of the mid-2000s with $$$,$$$ cameras and $$$,$$$+ hardware to support the ecosystem, the RED One was released into a market on the low-ish side of $$,$$$ that could work with $,$$$ hardware. This wasn't lost on me when working at a $100mil studio at the time with a 4K and 4K+ film workflow in place with about $$,$$$,$$$ in hardware to support it. Also keep in mind that the RED One came out in 2007, and Sony didn't have a 4K digital cinema camera until 2012. In fact, according to Sony back then they wanted to release their first 4K digital cinema camera in 2015. Though the world surrounding the 4K ecosystem was expanding with displays, projectors, and hardware to support the workflow; the cameras that had internal compress RAW 4K didn't exist outside of the RED One for a long while. This will likely be taken into consideration as the invention was developed, patented, and released.

    Some people are now bringing up Kinor and all that from way back when, but we're not talking about the same sort of beast as referred to in the patent because it wasn't a compressed ecosystem and some of the other future products that were never made were merely intentions, otherwise we'd have "Unlimited Dynamic Range", 16K, 50,000 fps cameras by now, note that was merely an announcement with no developed product in place a year after the RED One was released.

    The innovation here is the technology and method developed which was resulted in the patent and release of the product. It was a unique concept at the time, though the technology was sort of funneling in this direction. It appears RED did it and did it "right" and first within the guidelines of the patented technology. It's clearly been fairly successful as there's been several generations of the cameras since used globally on all sorts of major productions. This is all going to be stuff that's likely taken in account for the Patent Appeal even.

    I think it's clear now that other companies want this tech for themselves without being locked out or incurring ongoing licensing fees. That's my hunch. As to whether it's better for the industry as a whole, effects RED in positive or negative ways financially, and those other "down the line" thoughts; we just have to wait and see.
    Last edited by Phil Holland; 08-18-2019 at 11:46 AM.
    Phil Holland - Cinematographer - Los Angeles
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  5. #35  
    Senior Member Blair S. Paulsen's Avatar
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    Rather than piling up billable hours, I'd love to see Apple write RED a check and buy out the patent.

    Cheers - #19
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  6. #36  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blair S. Paulsen View Post
    Rather than piling up billable hours, I'd love to see Apple write RED a check and buy out the patent.
    Might be one way to go about it, all really depends on if it's up for sale really, who knows it might be, but then Apple just owns the patent from here on out and the other manufacturers remain where they are and likely will need to license specifically ProRes RAW. Likely some weird thing will happen we can't even think of.

    I think the strange side effect from all of this "activity" is the incredible validation that comes from the largest company on Earth coming after your technology. Specifically this technology that a lot of companies have very strongly marketed against for over a decade. A technology that now everybody else wants apparently.

    But that's the my "glass is half full" mentality while waiting to see what happens. Either way it's certainly a backhanded compliment in some way.
    Phil Holland - Cinematographer - Los Angeles
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  7. #37  
    Senior Member Blair S. Paulsen's Avatar
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    Part of the equation is the delta between legal costs and the actual licensing fees one can project collecting over the next decade. I certainly don't have the requisite data to know what that might be, but if it's anywhere close to a wash... Why do I care? Whichever party wins a protracted legal struggle will likely price their licensing scheme, in part, based on covering their litigation expenses. Guess who ends up paying for that in the end - all of us. Just sayin'

    Cheers - #19
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  8. #38  
    I stand with Jarred on this.



    RED has been through this before and their patents have held fast. Why do people think its going to be different this time?
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  9. #39  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Benjamin P. View Post
    RED has been through this before and their patents have held fast. Why do people think its going to be different this time?
    Better researchers (British imaging scientist Cliff Reader, Ph.D.), more determined researchers(Andrew Reid, Ed David, Bruce Royce, etc..), better patent lawyers and a big phone company needs another key selling point (compressedRAW, because consumers don't want to buy the same phone with only a 10% improvement anymore).

    No matter how fantastic your relationship is with Apple, the only thing they care about is money.
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  10. #40  
    Senior Member jake blackstone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Holland View Post
    ProRes Raw as of now might be limited to the workflow of Mac and even FCPX only, which strategy-wise would certainly help build their workstation market, but also get back into that weird space where we had codecs that weren't cross platform compatible. Apple does indeed "license and certify" ProRes Raw and ProRes already and have very much gone after "unauthorized codec implementations", exact wording from their site even.
    I agree to a lot of things you said, so my points are only limited to clarifications.
    ProresRAW is already implemented by FilmLight across all of their offerings on both Linux and MacOS.
    Also, Assimilate too already offering ProresRAW support across both of they OS platforms- Windows and MacOS
    ProresRAW SDK is alive and well, it's the legal limbo, that slowed down the adaption.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Holland View Post
    BMD has publicly stated they "don't love ProRes Raw" for whatever reason, but it's also likely because of the licensing fees that would be incurred similar to the regular official ProRes usage, especially outside of the MacOS world.
    As far as I know, there is no cost for Prores license to any manufacturering licensee. I can't imagine why ProtresRAW would be any different. BM and Apple are competitors in the software market. Heck, BM just pretty much copied FCPX with the CUT tab. So, BM can try to show a brave face, but the fact of the matter is, if RedCode patent is invalidated, it will open floodgates for ProresRAW and BM will not be able to join the fun...
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