Doremi Silver Anniversary


Bob Pank#
It was 25 years ago that Doremi founder and CEO Camille Rizko, invented a better way to perform digital audio for postproduction. He was joined by his brother Emil, and fellow engineer Safar Ghazal. And so from humble beginnings in the San Fernando Valley, California, the Doremi partners have never looked back.
In 1985, the entertainment industry was beginning its transition from analogue standards to digital. It was at the crossroads of these changing times that Doremi’s first product was created. DAWN, the Digital Audio Workstation Nucleus, was one of the industry’s first fully digital audio systems and on the forefront of the digital technology revolution in Hollywood.
“We came up with a solution for post houses that performed digital multi-track audio recording and editing on a computer hard drive,” recalls Camille Rizko. “The timing was perfect, and our system quickly gained popularity as an affordable, high quality alternative to tape-based recorders and editors.”
Flush with this initial success, the Doremi engineers moved into the digital video arena, engineering new products with video recording capabilities. The V1 Video Disk Recorder, which premiered at NAB in 1996, was once again a triumph for Doremi, and again embraced by the industry.
“The success we had with the V1 Video Disk Recorder enabled us to expand worldwide,” explained partner and managing director Emil Rizko. “We opened facilities in France and Japan to gain a foothold in the lucrative European and Asian markets.”
The company’s engineering and manufacturing prowess lead to a number of innovative new products including the V1-HD JPEG2000 Recorder/Player and the Nugget HD Video Player. These further burnished the company’s reputation as an industry thought leader and important entertainment technology player.
At around 1999 the stirrings of “Digital Cinema” began within the industry, and Doremi was listening. In 2003, the company was asked to provide the replay facilities at the Cannes Film Festival of the stereo 3D version of James Cameron’s “Ghosts of the Abyss”. Of course, all went well but this was then leading-edge technology. Patrick Zucchetta, EMEA Digital Cinema Business Development, remembers, “Then we used two V1-HD players, one for each eye, and they had to run in complete sync all the way though the movie – which they did. Also we had to run a full backup – so that was four players in sync. All went well, the backup was never needed, and the audience, full of big names from the movie world, were very impressed.” This was one of many high profile digital cinema performances that Doremi took part in around that time.
At IBC in September 2004, when the DCI’s specification for Digital Cinema was nearing completion, Doremi gave a digital cinema demonstration at the show’s Auditorium, which has a 17-metre screen – the perfect place to evaluate digital film footage. For this Doremi integrated a JPEG2000 codec into a V1-HD server – itself a world first. This was operating at 2K resolution running at 300 Mb/s – remarkably close to the DCI standard that had yet to be finalised. The presentation showed the Standardized Evaluation Material (“StEM”) Mini-Movie, a collaborative effort between DCI and the American Society of Cinematographers, which was widely used in digital cinema testing programmes. It looked perfect.
Next, Doremi was the first server manufacturer to demonstrate its DCI JPEG2000 cinema server (DCP-2000) playing the encrypted DCI ‘Mini-StEM’ material at CineExpo, 2005. It was this year that Doremi introduced Doremi Cinema LLC to market its line of Digital Cinema servers and mastering systems to the theatrical exhibition market. “Time to market is how we got here today” comments Safar Ghazal, principal partner. “With Camille's vision and direction, we were able to identify and adapt the right technologies into products that serve specific markets.”
Doremi was at the cutting-edge of innovation in the analogue-to-digital age in 1985. Now it is a key player in 3D, the entertainment technology trend that is the state of the art today. Not your father’s 1950’s 3D, the digital 3D technology that Doremi solutions enable represents a revenue-rich advancement for studios and exhibitors, as clearly indicated by the success of Avitar and Alice in Wonderland.
The company has always been able to identify needs, and supply what’s always needed – a practical solution at a practical price. Today, aside from Digital Cinema, there is a range of video recorders, players and servers for SD, HD television, and all the way up to leading-edge 4K resolution – always worth watching at the trade shows! Also there are video converters which, include at the top of the range, the GHX-10 that converts any input to any output format (up to 2K) or scan rate. Also Dimension-3D is a universal stereo 3D cross converter.
With its long history of engineering innovation, Doremi is well positioned to support the needs of its customers as the industry continues to transition to all digital platforms and work flows. “Content is still king, ” says Michael Archer, VP or Digital Cinema. “Our broadcast and digital cinema product lines were developed with technological forethought, and an understanding of where the industry is going today, and the future.”

Tags: doremi | iss040 | v1 disk recorder | disk recorder | v1-hd jpeg2000 | nugget | digital cinema | Patrick Zucchetta | video player | Bob Pank#
Contributing Author Bob Pank#

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