I’m not sure how I missed this product announcement that came from Quantel at IBC last year but today Quantel has released Pablo PA. This is yet another software-only version of what has been a high-end, high-dollar post-production system.

Let’s recap: The last year or so has brought relatively affordable, software-only versions of Autodesk Smoke, DaVinci Resolve, Avid D|S, and in audio, Pro Tools. The dirty secret? Most all of these systems require hardware to actually be usable. Now there’s Pablo PA, which may be a bit of a different beast as it seems more like a dedicated conform/assist station that’s really meant to complement an existing Pablo, iQ or eQ install. Details on the product are scarce thus far, including price, but here are the main facts from the Quantel website:

  • Complete Pablo software toolset for color, MLTFX, import, export, archive and conform
  • Full V5 stereo 3D toolset
  • Full support RED and DPX softmount
  • Applications include conform verification, RED shot selection and debayering, file i/o
  • Recipe-only (archive) interchange with main suite for efficient workflow without moving media
  • Works well supporting eQ, iQ and Pablo with or without Genetic Engineering

This “recipe” idea they discuss is interesting. If you read the RED conform workflow they detail as an example it looks like Pablo PA could do a full conform of a RED job, complete with the online adjustments that always have to be done to get a conform just right before sending that data to the full-blown Quantel system for final final finishing. That really does make it seem like an assist station . The press release, however, says: “As a standalone system, Pablo PA also offers facilities houses that don’t currently own Quantel systems a low-cost way to benefit from Quantel’s high-quality post tools.” Exactly what that low cost might be remains to be seen; there’s no price to be found in any of the material. My bet is this product is still shaking out and even Quantel isn’t sure how it’s going to fit into the industry. Plus, it probably won’t be available as a shrink-wrap package or download and customers will have to go through Quantel sales channels in order to get it.

I think the biggest news here is that yet another post-production systems company is issuing a software-only version, be it assist-only or full usable. This business continues to change every day.