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HDTV & 16mm



I think Chris Bacon has started an excellent discussion on 16mm and
super 16 transfers vs. 35mm transfers for HDTV.  D. Leitner's thorough
explanation of the comparison test at Niles' theater only supports what
many of us throughout the world know...16 and super 16 is not dead and
won't be dead for clients, producers, labs and post-houses as we move
more into HDTV in the future.  Most of us in the business know that
programming is more than just multi-million dollar movies shot on 35mm.
	Millions of feet of 16 and super 16 are on the shelf.  Stock footage
houses, producers and networks have to much invested in what CBS has
dubbed (for lack of better words) "non-quality format for HDTV on CBS". 
Many shows now and in the future will come from these 16mm libraries,
and will continue to be transferred the traditional way, edited and then
professionally up-converted for release to HDTV.  Enlightened
distributors (programming networks) who buy programming know this, and
will see to it that shows from 16 and super 16 thrive in the future.
	The challenge, as I see it, is for the colorist to continue to do the
day-to-day professional 16mm transfer that will be acceptable to the
client, and thereby acceptable to the distributor that accepts all the
professional formats for programming.
	It also falls on our clients to convince his or her distributor clients
that the medium for shooting is best left in the hands of the producer
or production company, not the programming network.
	We have been tranferring on Ranks since 1980.  Over that time period,
and up through today, we see thousands of feet a day of 16 and super 16,
especially in the nature and wildlife long-format world.  I cannot
imagine a wildlife cinematographer always having to lug the necessary
equipment into their many environments to meet the CBS dictum.  We still
see many using 16mm Bolex wind-ups for the ease, reliability and
convenience of shooting under the most extreme conditions.  In addition,
many producers are struggling to make a profit on their chosen
profession.   It is not feasible to "go in the hole" on projects just
because a distributor will accept only one format.  In addition, many
agencies and corporate sponsors will not pay for 35mm shoots, when they
know that 16mm can be used just as successfully for their projects.
	Finally, thanks to Eastman-Kodak, millions of dollars of research and
development over the past 15 years have led to film stocks for 16 and
super 16, that when properly exposed, processed and transferred under
the watchful eye of a TIG colorist, will compare admirably to 35mm.
	The above thoughts bring into play the real world of production.  I
only hope that most distributors take these thoughts and others that
will come across the TIG into account before they make HDTV decisions
and ultimatums.  Whatchuallthink!
Terry Wickre, The Works Video Media

++thanks to Digital Vision USA for support of the TIG in 1997
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