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Internet photo op: Kodak, Sun

Anyone tired of overly hyped Internet applications — many of which are launched without a viable business plan — take heart. At the Internet World confab under way at the L.A. Convention Center, photographic giant Eastman Kodak announced that it has teamed up with Sun Microsystems to send high-resolution, photographic-quality images over computer networks.

Kodak’s PixFactory software will be combined with Sun’s Java technologies, which include both programming language and server software.

The business applications are many. Entertainment companies can send images over the Internet that can be printed and reproduced as posters or greeting cards.

They also can manage images throughout the system to keep track of licensing or merchandising deals that have been inked, track multiple uses of content, do pre-visualization work during pre-production and study photos for continuity purposes during film or TV production.

The PixFactory software will go on the market in late April or early May, Kodak execs said. It will be expanded to offer audio and full-motion video, but a date for those launches hasn’t been set, said Scott Rafer, director of digital motion networks for Kodak’s Professional Motion Imaging business unit.

Digital images available using the software will be comparable in quality to what’s found on the company’s Photo CDs, the execs said. Those images are of a high enough quality that they can be used on broadcast TV.

William Correll, Sun’s manager of worldwide market development for media, entertainment and publishing. said content management is a key benefit to users.

Digital link

“For any still photo associated with a feature film, there’s a whole set of documents attached. Those pertain to usage parameters and royalty rights, and they can all be linked digitally. That way, a studio can keep track of re-uses of any particular photo, and can quickly find out about its status using the Internet.”

Correll said those asset management features can be extended to audio and moving images.

The PixFactory software will be marketed through resellers, Kodak execs said. It will also be available on the World Wide Web at http://www.kodak.com/go/pixfactory.

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