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I recently had the opportunity to do lots of testing on the Quadra, and was
generally impressed, although I still have some reservations.
First, I found the picture to be very clean, and the mechanics of the
transport to be something Rank should examine carefully. It handles like a
tape machine, not like an film ladden IVC9000 on steroids. The Quadra
transport is really nicely thought out.
I repeated a test that I learned from Rick Heslip. He had taken a color
sweep slide and scanned it on the FDL 90, and found that there was far less
than ideal seperation of the RGB channels. Unlike a Rank, the RGB channel
responses overlapped. This was also true of the Quadra when I repeated the
test with the same slide. This makes it difficult for the primary color
channels to do as much usable correction as you can do on a Rank color
channel, and pretty much requires you to depend on a daVinci 8:8:8, Pogle
DCP, or Corpernicus for color correction.
Still the pictures were crisp and clean, but perhaps a bit too crisp. In
some instances, the colorists involved in testing suggested that the image
almost appeared as though the people in the scene had been matted in. They
said it looked more like Betacam than film. To me it looked more like a Rank
with lots of image enhancement. We found ourselves talking about how it
might look a little better if softened through a noise reducer having a
The colorist involved in the tests also complained about the pan motion not
being smooth. They said they would hate to have to do a "pan and scan"
feature on it.
I found, like Rick had with the FDL90, that the resolution changed greatly
with gamma settings.
I was getting ready to live with it. I found the pictures overall to be
pleasing, but lacking something. At the 11th hour, the decision was to go
with Turbo II. I was not unhappy to hear this. The Quadra has come a long
way since the FDL90. It would work okay for sitcoms, or episodic TV, but I
don't think it's likey to be fondly embraced by the high end commercial
market. I curiously await the FLH1000 official debut next year. I heard
rumors that someone is working on "pin registration" for it. Maybe the
FLH1000 will have some competition. We saw some unusually large CRTs when
we visited Rank recently. hmmmm!?