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Re: HDTV: CBS and 16mm




Christopher Bacon writes, very sensibly:
>----------------------
>

>One part of the CBS methadology was particularly unfortunate, and that
>was the choice of a Sony HD telecine for the tests.  The reason given
>for this was because it was felt that no other telecines of
>sufficiently high resolution were available at the time.  It is
>unfortunate because there were only two Sony telecines in existence
>then, both under lock and key at Sony Pictures in Culver City.

(. . . . )
>
>Maybe there is a good reason for that.  The test results indicate that
>35mm film, as scanned on the Sony HD telecine, does not have quite as
>much resolution as HDTV.  But the Sony HD telecine uses the same type
>of CCD sensor block as a Sony HD video camera!  Since the film image
>has to pass through at least two sets of lenses (one on the film
>camera and then whatever they use in the telecine), while the video
>image only has to pass through one lens on the video camera, the deck
>is stacked!  Measured this way, no film on earth will ever appear to
>have as much resolution as HD video.  Those of us who have some
>familiarity with film scanners know that it is common to scan 35mm
>film frames to resolutions several times that of HDTV; 16mm film
>scanning is not so common but it can actually yeild results comparable
>to HDTV resolutions.  What they have really proved is that the Sony HD
>telecine is not so HD after all.  Yes Virgina, there really is a
>reason why telecines like the Philips Spirit and the Cintel C-Reality
>scan at higher resolutions and then interpolate down to HDTV.

I know, it's incredible, with the Sony HDTV camera being used as the HDTV 
video reference, and as the imaging device in the telecine, it's going to 
be the limiting factor.  There is hardly any way -- in terms of 
resolution -- that film could EVER be better than video in these rigged 
tests.  You are right -- all this supposed methodology and charts just to 
prove that Sony's telecine isn't as good as a Spirit!  Like, duh! 

>
>But my biggest beef is with the conclusion of the article in which the
>author states, based on the previously mentioned testing, that CBS has
>determined that 16mm film is unacceptable for ATV.  In the fifth
>version of their "Final Order and Report," the FCC mandated that
>digital TV broadcasting will become the law of the land in the year
>2006, unless more than 5% of us are still glued to our old analog TV
>sets.  

Does that mean that if 5% of the audience is still watching NTSC, NTSC 
must still be broadcast?  Like the UK with 419 line monochrome, or 
whatever it was?  I still don't see (here in Indiana) many real people 
who want to spend big money to watch TV.  Real People are generally happy 
with the quality of VHS prerecorded tapes.  (If they weren't, laserdisks 
might have better market penetration.)   ATV, DTV, HDTV are all an 
equipment-manufacturer's wet dream, mandated by the FCC, a solution in 
search of an audience that won't exist UNLESS it's rammed down the 
throats of the consumer like CDs were.  (Me, I still like vinyl...)

>What does the FCC say about the definition of the ATV signal?
>Only that it has to be at least comparable in resolution to NTSC!  
>If 16mm film is good enough for today's programming, it will
>be good enough for a significant part of tomorrow's as well, at least
>until there is a sufficient number of truly high definition TV sets
>and broadcasters in operation to make the jump to 35mm worthwhile.

There is a lot of S16 being shot these days for TV series.  I hear that 
Panavision is short of Aaton XTRprods because the demand is so great.

Also, why did CBS silk in the Seinfeld set?  To keep the contrast down 
for the HDTV video camera!  I say do a fair test, with real currently 
available state of the art gear and REAL lighting.  Use, for example, 
Aaton and Spirit, Panaflex Millenium and Spirit, and the tiny new Ikegami 
one-chip HDTV video camera!  ;-)


> But we won't know that until somebody
>gets busy and invents a competitively priced digital TV receiver!

And that won't happen until there is some demand for it!!


I thank Mr. Bacon for making the obvious points about this test that 
needed to be made.  I hope that he sends his letter to the SMPTE Journal, 
and that they print it.  It belongs in the record...  

John Snopes

(No insult intended towards CBS.  I thought their spinning-wheel color TV 
system was very creative, and I do watch some of their programs on my 
NTSC TV set.)

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