Brief Company History
Back in 1982, a company named Abekas Video Systems was formed by three former employees of Ampex, which itself was the company responsible for inventing the world’s first practical video recording machine. At Abekas, Junaid Sheikh took on the roles of software engineering, sales and marketing; Phil Bennett led the engineering & development effort; and Yeshwant Kamath tackled the tasks of analog design, manufacturing and accounting. As a matter of fact, the name “Abekas” was derived by arranging the first two letters from each of the founder’s last names, and adding an “A” at the beginning (although they thankfully dropped the "h" from Junaid’s last name).
Abekas was formed right around the time in which the professional video marketplace was beginning to transition from the old world of analog video, to the new world of digital video.
The first product introduced by Abekas back in 1982 was the revolutionary “A42” Digital Video Still Store. This product recorded and played still video images with an associated “key” signal for use in live broadcast operations. Standing as testimony toward the engineered reliability of Abekas products, today there are several A42 Still Stores in use in live television broadcast operations, more than 25 years later!
Within two years following 1982, additional products were introduced from this small company named Abekas, which were quickly accepted by the broadcast marketplace. These products included the A52 Digital Effects system (predecessor of today’s Dveous/MX Digital Effects system), the A62 Digital Disk Recorder (the world’s first digital video recording machine with a built-in real-time digital video keyer), and later on, the A72 Digital Character Generator.
By 1985, Abekas was a quickly growing privately held company, which garnered the attention of potential buyers. In early 1985, Carlton Communications Plc Group from the United Kingdom acquired Abekas.
After this acquisition, additional digital video products were developed by Abekas, including digital video switchers (or “vision mixers” as they are known elsewhere in the world), digital video signal processing equipment, digital video production systems, and sophisticated “3D” digital effects machines — with the world’s first “warp” effects engine.
Come 1987, Junaid Sheikh was growing restless with the ever-expanding Abekas, and longed again for the “company start-up” experience. Junaid departed Abekas and in 1988 helped launch a new company — named Accom.
Accom’s first product to be introduced was the “DIE-422” — a Digital Image Enhancer. This machine was used in the film-to-tape transfer process, electronically removing film dirt and scratches, as well as providing overall image enhancement capabilities. Shortly afterward, the “DIS-422” Digital Image Store was introduced, which was targeted at the film-to-tape color correction market. Then in 1989, the RTD-4224 was unveiled by Accom; the world’s first 10-bit uncompressed digital video disk recorder.
From that point forward, a succession of new products were brought to the marketplace by Accom, including the new WorkStation Disk (WSD) concept; a table-top uncompressed digital disk recorder for the computer graphics and video production marketplaces. The WSD product line experienced several generations throughout the 1990’s as new advances in disk recording technology were developed by Accom.
In 1992, Axial Incorporated was acquired by Accom, which broadened the product line to include two visual online editing systems — the Axial 2010 and 2020. Axial was earlier co-founded by Ian Craven, Lance Kelson and Junaid Sheikh.
Then in December of 1998, Accom acquired all of the assets of Scitex Digital Video (SDV); which was formed by Scitex Corporation Ltd. in late 1995, through the acquisition and subsequent merger of ImMIX, Inc. and Abekas Video Systems, Inc. This acquisition by Accom in 1998 further expanded the product offerings from Accom, and the company continued to expand world-wide market share.
However, over time, the world economy as a whole took a downturn in the early part of the new century, with the double-negative impacts of the “dot-com bust" and the episode of September 11, 2001. These events cascaded into a rather large negative shock on the overall business of Accom. Eventually, Accom ceased operations in June 2005 and closed down completely in September of 2005.
Fortunately for the loyal customers of Abekas and Accom products, Junaid Sheikh and Phil Bennett were able to acquire critical assets from the liquidation of Accom; including inventory, technology rights and intellectual property. Immediately afterward, a new corporation was formed — and once again, it was named Abekas, Incorporated.
Abekas has since introduced three new products and is actively developing more. The staff at the new Abekas has also taken on the impressive role of providing technical support for all legacy products from the former companies of Abekas, Accom and ImMIX; going all the way back to the product that started it all — the A42 Digital Still Store.
So for Junaid Sheikh and Phil Bennett, history has come full circle. And once again, Junaid and Phil are enjoying the role of piloting a “start-up” company once again.
News about and from Abekas
07 Jan 2008
Apple® QuickTime MOV File Import Feature added to Abekas ClipStoreMXc™
New feature added to ClipStoreMXc HD/SD Disk Recorder systems, providing superior alternative to videotape for transporting video materials to remote broadcast trucks
MENLO PARK, California — January 7, 2008
— Abekas, Incorporated announced the addition of a new QuickTime MOV file-based media import feature for its ClipStoreMXc HD/SD digital disk recorder product. This feature provides an innovative video clip “ingest” method for the ClipStoreMXc, which vastly improves image quality and reduces production workloads.
“The QuickTime MOV file import improved our workflow and reduced our workload. We used this new feature during preparation for this season's Boston Bruins telecasts. Our Creative Services department created the MOV files and transferred them onto a USB 2.0 hard drive, and upon arrival at our venue, we loaded the elements into the ClipstoreMXc.” said Rose Mirakian-Wheeler, director for Boston Bruins Hockey for the New England Sports Network (NESN).
When asked how the new MOV import feature in the ClipStoreMXc has benefitted her workflow, Mirakian-Wheeler replied: “This ingest process eliminated several steps in our initial preparation, including the rendering of elements to tape and to the EVS, and the clipping, syncing and naming of the fill and matte for each element. Since the MOV files retain their original naming upon transfer, the QuickTime MOV file import feature streamlined our workflow and was much more efficient. This method of ingest also improved NESN's on-air look, since the MOV files are relatively unprocessed and therefore have no visible loss of HD video quality.”
The ClipStoreMXc is deployed in dozens of professional HD mobile television trucks around the world, with the primary purpose of replaying animated graphics transitions, show openings and sponsor promotions during live television broadcasts. Since the time when digital disk recorders (DDR) were first introduced into mobile television trucks, pre-produced content for these DDRs was transported on professional videotape from the studio to the mobile trucks, where the tapes are ingested into the DDR with the use of an external videotape recorder (VTR).
In this original workflow process, the studio-produced materials (which include video, key and audio elements) are all rendered to real-time video playback hardware, and then laboriously edited and packaged onto videotape. These videotapes always contain two major segments: one for the video/audio portions of the clips, with the other for the key portion (also known as “alpha”). While this workflow process has served the industry well over the years, it’s now creating major bottlenecks in the studio-to-air production chain in the era of file-based video workflows.
Furthermore, the majority of live broadcasts within the past couple of years have shifted to full 720p or 1080i HD video quality—especially in the broadcasting of sports. However, the media intended to replay from DDRs such as the ClipStoreMXc, which is fully HD capable, are still being supplied studio-created HD content via an SD videotape pathway—with one or more “down-conversion / up-conversions” along the way. The primary reason for this fact is cost: the majority of mobile television truck companies are quite reluctant to invest the $80K to $100K required for a professional HD VTR, along with the very steep annual maintenance costs associated with these HD VTRs. This is why SD videotape remains the defacto method of transporting such media into DDRs such as the HD-capable ClipStoreMXc. Until now, that is.
With this new QuickTime MOV import feature, broadcasters may now render their animated show openings, graphics transitions, promotions, and the like with full HD quality into QuickTime MOV files while in the studio. This is an operation that in most cases is already performed for purposes of project archiving. It should also be noted these QuickTime MOV files may contain HD digital video, up to eight tracks of digital audio for surround sound, and a key track (alpha)—and they can be created with any available QuickTime “codec” to encode the QuickTime MOV files.
Then, to transport the rendered media to the remote broadcast truck, the QuickTime MOV files are simply copied to any commercially-available Hi-Speed USB 2.0 portable disk drive. Eliminated is the painstaking process of editing and compiling the media elements onto linear videotape in the studio; with a compliment (and arduous) operation in the mobile truck to ingest and decompile the elements from that videotape and into the DDR.
In contrast, the portable USB disk drive filled with QuickTime MOV files is simply transported to the remote broadcast truck in the field, where the ClipStoreMXc then quickly and efficiently ingests the media into separate clip identities for later replay during the live broadcast.
“Our experience with the Abekas ClipstoreMXc and its new QuickTime MOV file import feature, although limited, is a very positive one. This HD digital disk recording system saves us work and retains the video quality of our HD elements; and the best part is that it's very cost effective too.” NESN’s Mirakian-Wheeler concluded.
This exciting new QuickTime MOV Import feature is a standard feature and is now shipping in the product; this new feature is also available to existing ClipStoreMXc users free of charge, through a simple software update to the machine.
About the Product
Combining state-of-the-art video/audio processing hardware with the latest disk drive technology, ClipStoreMXc has an extremely competitive price point and comes standard with over two hours recording capacity for HD and/or SD digital video, key, audio and timecode — all housed within a compact 3RU chassis; a four-hour capacity model is also available. Ultra-high quality JPEG-2000 wavelet compression technology at ~200Mb/s is used to record the 10-bit HD video; while 10-bit SD video is recorded without any compression at all. The media disk set is easily removed from the machine, allowing simple and fast media exchange between multiple ClipStoreMXc recorders. The rich feature set includes: dual RS422 serial control ports with Sony and PBUS protocols (providing precise control from third-party controllers, including those from Lance Design® and DNF Controls®); eight tracks of uncompressed digital audio with 24-bit resolution/48kHz sampling; LTC & VANC timecode record and playback; versatile interfacing within a network of graphics rendering computers via dual gigabit Ethernet ports; the unique NetPanel™ browser-based user interface; and a graphics file Import/Export utility featuring Windows® Media 9 encoding as one of the export choices, and QuickTime MOV files as one of the file import choices.
As a standard feature, ClipStoreMXc can record or playback video, key, audio and timecode (VKAT) within a single operation under a unified identity. VKAT storage capability dramatically streamlines many production and post applications and greatly simplifies media management. This feature, along with the aforementioned feature set, provides a powerful HD and SD recording platform for use in live, on-air broadcasting environments.
ACMM is a 15-12G filer and a shell. Rumor has surfaced, that this squeaky clean shell may not be homeless for to much longer.
Talks have surfaced about company becoming eligible, and updating recent filings to re-enter under current symbol.
10,198,277 as of JAN 4, 2008
Float estimated @ 2,700,000
Market Cap Est. $40,500
U.S. Stock Transfer Corp.,
1745 Gardena Ave.
Glendale, CA 91204-2991