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Re: [ProgSoc] Film and PCs (was: physical to electronic)
Christian Kent wrote:
> On Tue, 1 Dec 1998, Roland Turner wrote:
> > > Hardware today is basically up to the stage where it can cope with all
> > > non-high definition television at full frame/field rates. ("Film" is
> > > always on video whenever you hold it, and will be using the full scope of
> > > the TV standard).
> > Talking about film and PCs in the same sentence is a bit of a joke. From
> Except I suppose that you can ignore any interlaced scanning issues :)
This is true :-)
> > memory, to do (cinematic) film requires 4000*2000*48bit (i.e.
> > ~32MB/frame) @nospam.24 frames/sec (i.e. ~768MB/sec).
> Hey, I said that film uses all of TV's capacity, not the other way around!
I guess I was responding to your assertion about film always being held
on video (and I assumed that you meant analogue video). This is
definitely not the case.
Material that is shot strictly for TV/VHS may well be handled purely on
the higher-grade analogue video standards, but it would ordinarily be
shot directly onto such media. If you are shooting film nowadays, it is
frequently for cinematic (or shortly, HDTV) use.
> You're welcome to try to throw every film cell through a heavy-duty
> scanner, and convert that to some sort of digital video sequence or even
This is exactly what cinematic editing and effects people do.
> output to PAL (which would look really nice).
That represents a pretty substantial drop in quality from film.
> But every film today is
> simply copied to PAL tape, and most people don't seem to care,
I'm not certain what you are saying. If you are talking about the mass
replication of VHS for consumer distribution, sure, but that is
typically only played on consumer gear. Professionals won't touch it.
It's not even up to broadcast standards, much less cinematic.
If you're talking about the practice of film-makers copying to lower
standards for initial (or offline) editing, well yes, but they rescan at
full-resolution for creating the delivered product.
Rest assured, if you saw VHS grade material (or even full PAL) in a
cinema for which you'd purchased a ticket, you'd care rather a lot.
> what with
> movies on video and pay TV getting more common. If you've got the film on
> video already, then you're likely to end up using the TV-quality copy
> aren't you?
Only if PAL/NTSC TV or VHS is the entire extent of your market. If you
are aiming to ever be able to present in a cinema or HDTV, you'll have
to shoot on film and go out of your way to keep the quality up from day
> Anyway, the resolution and bit-depth figures you quoted can be a bit
> rubbery, especially depending on the era of the film. Go back beyond 1990
> and there's a subtle reduction in the "quality" of most films. 1960, and
Clearly I am talking about current film quality. Yes, the information
drops as you look at earlier film stock, both through aging and through
lower grade film having been the state of the art at the time.
> 1930s, it happens again. And of course there's B&W, which today is better
> than it was the first time around. Besides which, there's a lot of noise
> on many films even today, that you're just inclined to ignore because
> "it's a movie".
About the only recent cinematic footage that I can think of (amongst
what I've seen) that had noticeable noise in it was the IMAX Everest
footage, and even that was pretty clear. Any lack of quality in that
case could be excused for the extraordinary difficulty (not too mention
sheer stupidity) of carrying an IMAX camera to the top of Everest.
> > HDTV is comparable. IMAX is much bigger, and cannot currently be done
> > digitally at real-time, full-resolution.
> I went and saw a 3D HDTV demonstration at the Powerhouse Museum a few
> weeks ago, and sitting in the mini-cinema it was difficult to make out any
> scan-lines at all, just like a film. (Except it was at 60 fields/sec).
This is what I was saying. HDTV and film are pretty close.
> Imax is going to be a real challenge, for the next few years anyway.
You're right. I suspect that it will be where it is for quite a while
though. It's still extremely expensive to film and to present, and it's
almost an order of magnitude beyond the capacity of current (digital)
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