CineGrid Receives CENIC 2008 Innovations in Networking Award for World’s First 4K-over-IP Live Performance Transmission from Amsterdam to San Diego

March 11, 2008

The Corporation for Education Network Initiatives (CENIC), which operates CalREN, the California Research and Education Network, honored CineGrid, the one year old international research consortium for networked media arts, with a CENIC 2008 Innovations in Networking Award at its annual conference in Oakland, Calif.

The Teraflow Network is the first advanced network dedicated to linking together large e-science data sets so that they are easier to integrate with each other and easier to share with colleagues.The CENIC award recognized CineGrid’s contribution to “Experimental/Developmental Applications” through its ground-breaking efforts in June 2007 to successfully organize and produce the first successful demonstration of trans-Atlantic streaming over photonic IP networks of 4K digital motion pictures. The transmission carried four times the resolution of today’s consumer high-definition TV with 5.1 surround sound, live from the Holland Festival in Amsterdam to a 4K theater at the University of California, San Diego

Direct from the Holland Festival, the 75-minute live operatic performance of Era la Notte, featuring soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci, was transmitted nearly 10,000 kilometers from the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ concert hall in Amsterdam to the 200-seat auditorium of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) on the UC San Diego campus. Streaming video of the performance was projected in 4K on a large screen at Calit2 with surround sound for a live audience on June 21, 2007.

CineGrid @ Holland Festival 2007 was the first 4K all-digital motion picture production made in the Netherlands.

“CineGrid @ Holland Festival 2007 was truly an international collaborative effort, involving Cinegrid members and cooperating organizations in Europe, Asia and North America,” said Laurin Herr, CineGrid co-founder and president of Pacific Interface based in Oakland. “The CENIC award recognizes what can be achieved by a far-flung but tight-knit community who see the mutual benefits of working together to pioneer next-generation video and audio applications at very high quality using broadband networks on a global scale.”

The CENIC award to CineGrid cites seven institutions in the Netherlands: the Holland Festival, the University of Amsterdam System and Network Engineering Research Group, SARA Computing and Networking Services, SURFnet, the Waag Society, BeamSystems and Cultuurfabriek. Also five U.S.-based institutions: CineGrid, the UCSD division of Calit2, Pacific Interface, the University of Illinois at Chicago Electronic Visualization Lab, and CENIC itself. And one Japanese institution: the Keio University Research Institute for Digital Media and Content (DMC) based in Tokyo.

CineGrid@Holland Festival 2007 took advantage of the advanced technical infrastructure provided by CineGrid network and exchange members, including the CENIC network in California, SURFnet’s trans-Atlantic circuits as well as their NetherLight GLIF Open Lightpath Exchange (GOLE) in Amsterdam, the StarLight, GOLE in Chicago, the Pacific Northwest GigaPOP GOLE in Seattle, and C-Wave, a Cisco research wave deployed on the National LambdaRail.

Herr was joined on stage at the CENIC 2008 Awards Ceremony by Natalie Van Osdol, also of Pacific Interface; Thomas A. DeFanti of Calit2 at UC San Diego; and Naohisa Ohta of Keio DMC. All are CineGrid co-founders and collaborators in the CineGrid @ Holland Festival 2007 project. The four jointly accepted the CENIC 2008 Innovations in Networking Award on behalf of all the CineGrid members in Amsterdam, Tokyo, San Diego, Chicago and Seattle who contributed to the multi-disciplinary CineGrid effort at the Holland Festival.

The Japanese/American/Dutch CineGrid production team at the Holland Festival, working together with the Festival organizers and the staff of the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ concert hall, shot the Era La Notte live operatic performance on two consecutive nights using two Olympus 4K digital motion picture cameras. Each camera captured the performance as 10-bit uncompressed 4:2:2 at 6 gigabits per second (Gbps) using Keisoku Giken disk recorders. In parallel, a Panasonic professional HDTV camera was used to shoot the same performances from inside the concert hall. On both nights, 16 microphones captured 16 channels of 24-bits/48 KHz uncompressed digital audio recorded using DigiDesign ProTools running on Apple Mac OS X and mixed down to 5.1 on-the-fly using Yamaha digital mixers for the live transmissions.

The first performance of Era la Notte was transmitted from Amsterdam to San Diego using a real-time 10-bit JPEG 2000 codec. The codec was originally designed by NTT Network Innovation Labs to send a compressed stream of 4K at 30 frames per second with accompanying audio at bit rates of approximately 500 Mbps over IP networks using Gigabit Ethernet protocols. The second performance was transmitted between the same two sites over the same network path one day later as a DVCPRO HD compressed audio/video bit stream packetized for network transmission using a Qvidium HD 1394 IP Gateway at bit rates of approximately 145 Mbps.

Herr and DeFanti also jointly delivered the kick-off presentation at the CENIC 2008 annual conference, describing CineGrid’s goals for future collaborations among the growing community of CineGrid members, already totaling more than 35 institutions in eight countries. In particular, they noted that the 4K, HD and audio datasets of Era la Notte from the Holland Festival 2007 are the first “open assets” in the newly-established CineGrid Exchange, an experimental archive/working library for digital media. Said DeFanti: “Our goal is to use CineGrid Exchange to prototype network-aware preservation and distribution systems capable of handling very high quality digital media exchange among CineGrid members worldwide using gigabit or faster research networks on a global scale.”


About CineGrid
CineGrid is a non-profit international membership organization administratively based in California. CineGrid’s mission is to build an interdisciplinary community focused on the research, development and demonstration of networked collaborative tools, enabling the production, use and exchange of very high-quality digital media over high-speed photonic networks.

CENIC designs, implements, and operates CalREN, the California Research and Education Network, a high-bandwidth, high-capacity Internet network specially designed to meet the unique requirements of these communities, and to which the vast majority of the state's K-20 educational institutions are connected.

Natalie Van Osdol
Pacific Interface Inc.
vanosdol @