Q. What is Pixspan?
Pixspan is software for Bit Exact Round Trip™ Compression/Decompression for high-resolution images.
Q. What problem does Pixspan solve?
High-resolution images are growing in size, because of greater resolution, 3D, and faster frame rates, using increasing amounts of expensive storage and bandwidth. Pixspan saves 2-4X on storage and bandwidth.
Q. What formats does Pixspan cover?
Pixspan covers DPX, OpenEXR, Cineon, SGI, ARRIRaw, Canon c500 Raw, Panasonic Varicam Raw, DICOM, TIFF, and Geo TIFF. Pixspan can also be applied to other proprietary raster image formats.
Q. How does Pixspan work?
Pixspan operates on the raster of each image file, reducing the data that comprises each frame (intraframe). The compressed raster is kept as a file with its uncompressed metadata, so that the metadata can still be searched or can interact with the Digital Asset Management (DAM) system. Pixspan uses multi-processing and multi-threading to operate at very high speeds.
Q. How fast is Pixspan?
The speed of Pixspan depends on the number of cores or threads dedicated to its processing. Pixspan will scale to the speed needed. For example, 16 cores of Intel E5 (2X 8-core E5 processors) will encode video files at the rate of over 300 gigabytes per second, 4 cores at over 75 GB/sec. So long as the storage I/O is fast enough, Pixspan can scale to multiple 10 gigabit speeds.
Q. What hardware does Pixspan require?
Pixspan runs on any Intel or AMD processor.
Q. What operating system is needed?
Pixspan runs on any Linux OS, including Red Hat, CentOS, SUSE/OpenSUSE, Ubuntu, Debian, and Amazon EC2 Linux. Pixspan also runs on MacOS.
Q. What software runs Pixspan?
Pixspan uses Command Line Interface (CLI) commands for directing the compression, decompression, and file volume workflow steps. The CLI can be automated within the user’s workflow software. Additionally, Pixspan is being incorporated into other products.
Q. How does Pixspan save on storage?
Full resolution image files are transferred from an uncompressed volume to a compressed volume via a server that has Pixspan installed. The files are kept in smaller, compressed form until the are needed, at which point the process is reversed, reconstituting the files bit-exact. Solutions can also be built to support a compress in place function, whereby a project can stay at its location, but transition into a compressed state.
Q. How does Pixspan save on bandwidth?
Full resolution image files are compressed with a server running Pixspan. The smaller files are the transmitted in the usual way, either over a circuit or with the assistance of a network accelerator, such as TIXstream, Signiant, or Aspera. At the destination, the files are processed with Pixspan software and returned bit-exact. The amount of bandwidth savings is directly proportional to the compression ratio. For example, if the compression ratio is 3:1, the bandwidth savings are two-thirds, or 67%. Alternatively, using a fixed amount of bandwidth, the same material can be transmitted faster. For example, with a compression ratio of 3:1, the files can be transmitted 3 times faster.
Q. What is the difference between JPEG and Pixspan?
JPEG 2000 Lossless is a variant of JPEG compression that is mathematically lossless. It was created over 15 years ago, based on Discreet Cosine Transform (DCT). It generally compresses cinematic images 1.5:1 to 2:1. Pixspan is newer technology that yields compression ratios about 50% better than JPEG. Pixspan’s algorithms are not based on DCT and run 2 to 6 times faster than JPEG. As a result, Pixspan’s software runs at data center speeds (approximately 3 gigabit) on off-the shelf servers that cost about $8,500, capable of processing about 1 terabyte per hour or about 1 petabyte per month. Finally, Pixspan is commercially supported.
Q. What is the difference between Zip and Pixspan?
Zip is the most pervasive lossless compression software. Zip provides a container for a group of files and an index to the contents, which is convenient in allowing the user to be selective about the files that it decompresses. Zip uses a variety of lossless compression algorithms, such as Run Length Encoding, which are excellent for documents but none are optimized for imaging. Pixspan can create a Zip file with lossless compression for images, at a significant savings versus regular Zip. Another key difference is speed: Pixspan can process image files up to 10 times faster than standard the Zip that is available within Linux.
Q. What pricing is Pixspan available in?
Pixspan is priced based on the number of threads it uses. With chipsets made in the last 5 years, “hyperthreading” is available, which enables two threads per core. Thus, an eight-thread core will use the processing of a four-core computer, a sixteen-thread license will cover an eight-core processor, and so forth. The software allows the user to select the number of threads up to the license amount. Additionally, Pixspan is available on a per-month basis or on a perpetual license basis. The perpetual license requires annual maintenance for access to the latest bug-fixes and point improvements.
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