Meet TMMI, the brand-new company with a 25-year history.
More than twenty-five years ago, two Georgia Tech University mathematics professors, Dr. Alan Sloan and Dr. Michael Barnsley, teamed up through their company, Iterated Systems, Inc., to create a new practical algorithm to compress digital images based on fractal theory. Outside of academic and scientific circles, their efforts were not well-understood.
At the time, digital video was still in its infancy and generally considered more of a problem than a solution. Since they developed the algorithm originally to compress still images, not video, Barnsley and Sloan decided to work with TMMI on creating a video codec. Eventually TMMI acquired all the rights to TRUDEF™ because Iterated didn't want to invest any more money and time on video.
At the time computers were slow and streaming video was but a dream. Tape was the dominant media and no one was sure if the new CD-ROMs were ever going to catch on. DVD's were not yet in production. But it was already clear that there was a looming demand to maintain quality at higher resolution and keep the digital files small enough to transmit or store efficiently.
Digital video was always about the pixels. And there were limits to how many pixels could be packed onto a drive through a distribution channel or displayed on a screen, no matter how big.
Who is TMMI and why will everybody want their new fractal compression technology, TRUDEF™?
TMMI was started by Phillip "Taylor" Kramer, one-time bassist for the rock group Iron Butterfly.
Kramer later became an aerospace engineer, choosing technology as an alternate path from the mundane world of rock and roll.
Now, TMMI’s TRUDEF™ technology is already showing just how well Kramer’s remarkable vision works in the marketplace.
Loyal TMMI shareholders understood that fractal compression was a disruptive solution and not just another way to pack pixels. They could see its potential value, once the original DOS-based codec could be updated to work on modern operating systems and compression/speed ratios could be reduced to the level needed for commercial acceptance. It appears their loyalty is about to be rewarded.
In 2012, TMMI announced the completion of its first version of Microsoft Media Foundation 2012 library, supporting TRUDEF™ Video playback in Windows Vista, 7 and 8. In 2013, the technology was successfully ported to play on the Android platform. Work is currently underway to make TRUDEF™ perform on all operating systems. This means TRUDEF™ video can be now played in Microsoft's stand-alone Windows Media Player, WMP Plugins for IE9, Firefox and Google Chrome browsers and Android devices.
TMMI has reconstructed the TRUDEF™ .FVF ('Fractal Video File') and the .FIF ('Fractal Intra Frame') file extensions to be modernized versions of the original 1990's fractal file extensions used in the initial development and the shipped commercial video products. ".FVF" now supports videos compressed with the TRUDEF™ Fractal compression system and a wide variety of commonly used audio formats. It can be made up of either Fractal Intra Frames ('Key Frames') or a combination of Key Frames and Pframes ('Predicted picture'). It also displays single addressable .FIF fractal Intra Frames.
These major milestones prove that TRUDEF™ fits in today's high definition market, making it an excellent top-down solution for the video industry from cameras; Production/Post Production; Archiving; Digital Cinema; to Gaming; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance; Education; HealthCare; Broadcasting and Internet Streaming.
What does TMMI have that everybody wants?
Everybody is streaming something these days and it gets more crowded everyday. Bandwidth demand has been escalating at an exponential rate primarily due to streaming media outlets like Google’s YouTube, Apple, Netflix, and Amazon Prime being joined by content distribution giants like Comcast and Verizon in the US and Shaw in Canada. Sports programmers, media networks and production stalwarts like NewsCorp, Disney and CBS intersecting with streaming media specialists such as Vimeo, Dyle and Hulu.
Convergence 2.0 Worlds collide at the point of a pixel.Regardless of where they got their start - as gadget companies, software monopolists, broadcasters, film-makers, telephone utilities, merchandisers or cartoonists - these giants are all pouring more content through overloaded pipes. They are struggling to accommodate the content provider, program producers, advertisers and most important, impatient consumers, who believe that they can see the difference in quality.
"Better pictures that take up less bandwidth capacity". That is the holy grail of streaming media and HDTV.
In that case, TMMI rebirth couldn't have been timed better. As screen size, bandwidth and consumer expectations of quality scale up at a rate far in excess of any forecasts, new developments occur daily to show that potential opportunity continues to explode. Competition among camera manufacturers such as Panasonic, ARRI, RED, Sony and Canon has intensified as film has been abandoned by even the most ardent supporters.
With increasing frequency, there's talk of 2K moving up to 4K and even 8K. Big UHD screens are cropping up everywhere.
With more computer processing power, bigger HDTV screens, and transmission technology improving every day, only software wasn't keeping up with all the new hardware.
Where was the high resolution content?
Viewers have high expectations and will remain loyal only as long as they can get the quality picture they want at a price they are willing to pay.
TMMI's development team has made significant strides updating its proprietary TRUDEF™ codec to make fractal video compression a near-term, viable commercial reality. TMMI has shown "uprezzed" motion picture clips to potential strategic partners in private demonstrations going from 720 to 2K to 4K and beyond.
One of TRUDEF™'s remarkable advantages is that its fractal algorithm makes digital video scale up the resolution of motion pictures to a higher resolution without making the file size bigger. TRUDEF™ keeps the larger HD picture quality intact as it gets bigger - without adding additional unwanted artifacts - keeping the digital file size.
Since TRUDEF™ depends on advanced mathematics rather than code efficiencies, bigger is now demonstrably better. As computers become more powerful, TRUDEF™ users will be the beneficiaries.
Out of the Lab.
TMMI's development team has done the hard work in its lab proving that the technology works. They've made great progress developing the fractal-based codec from its original DOS, enabling the company to modernize the technology and conduct private demonstrations to move the product from the lab phase through an agile development process to address real-time encoding issues and on to beta tests and commercialization.
In the near-term, TMMI's development team will focus on User Defined Requirements; providing unique solutions based on custom engineering; expanding intellectual property rights through possible new patent filings on top of the dozens of Iterated Systems' patents on which the TRUDEF™ licenses are based; to enhancing the company's profile within the many business sectors in which the company will operate.
Seeing is Believing.
TRUDEF™ does what other great disruptive technologies have done before - it applies those laws in ways that few, if any, have attempted to explore, using math instructions to control the ubiquitous pixel. In private demonstrations that have been held for a few select companies, TMMI engineers have compressed challenging footage from a variety of acquisition sources using TRUDEF™ fractal technology to compress it with negligible loss to color, detail and intentional artifacts like film grain.
TMMI's development team continues to make excellent progress on the codec, preparing it for commercialization. With the TRUDEF™ decoder working in real time the team had passed an exciting milestone an that proves that TRUDEF™ is at long last commercially operational.
The numbers in detail underscore how disruptive TRUDEF™ will be to the market. In one 4K motion picture, the result was quite remarkable in both image quality and detail. The economic benefits in just one sample became self-evident in reviewing comparative file sizes in content shown in private demonstrations.
Each RAW 8 bit 3840x2176 frame is 24.48MB.
Each TRUDEF™ 8 bit 1920x1088 frame is approximately 1.5MB, but can be viewed at 2x the resolution at 3840x2176.
A 48 minute 4K resolution movie already compressed with a competing high end professional codec to a file size of 338GB was converted back to RAW frames totaling 1.7TB in size to simulate original RAW footage. It was then compressed using TRUDEF™ to 118GB. The results were indistinguishable to the trained eye from the original.
Once out of the lab, TRUDEF™ is expected to support 16-bit color per channel. Although the codec's viability has been limited to a working model, lab resources will continue to be focused on achieving real-time compression.
TRUDEF™ fractal compression technology works differently from any current compression product. Instead of rounding up all the pixels and cramming them into a massive data stack or throwing away color data to save space, TRUDEF™ analyzes, sorts, compresses, distributes and then reiterates the image through a proprietary algorithm that makes TRUDEF™ video resolution independent. This makes it possible to "up-res" video while maintaining image quality and reducing bandwidth throughout the workflow and distribution process.
These advantages mean TRUDEF™ has the clear potential to become the standard for image acquisition (cameras), production, and post-production in digital cinema. For the professional market that means a more streamlined workflow with no transcoding or further compression to achieve the highest quality. While TRUDEF™ could certainly create a great advantage for the multi-billion dollar professional cinema market, that's just for starters.
Image Quality, Bandwidth, Storage, Speed and Energy are the 5 circles in TRUDEF™ digital video Venn diagram. The circles may vary in size according to the industry. One constant is that TRUDEF will always be in the sweet spot.
The further one travels along the content distribution path, the greater the need for compression. Once established as the preferred method for digital workflow, it's a short hop to become the best choice for image quality, bandwidth efficiency and reduced storage space. Internet streaming video, cable carriers, mobile devices and HDTV broadcasting are all sectors where TRUDEF™ presents a compelling story.
One potential side effect is in the distribution energy savings realized, a key expense issue no longer overlooked by internet, cable and television engineers.
Considering cinema, sports, broadcasting, defense, security, space and education, this may develop into a trillion dollar global market.
These are exciting times for TMMI.
Bandwidth demand is accelerating at a dizzying rate, stressing capacity at every level of verticals as diverse as cinema, sports, news, cable, TV, streaming media, defense, security, space exploration and medicine - that could make the company's technology not only relevant, but necessary.
TRUDEF™'s unique technology can be applied regardless of investment in existing hardware from the camera all the way to the set-top box, so TMMI may be at the center of content development, production, workflow, transmission, exhibition and storage. Any and all of those sectors can benefit from what TMMI has to offer.