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A Week of Changes



     Last week was a whirlwind.  So much going on I had to wait a little
and try to get my thoughts together.
     On Monday at noon the truck pulled up with a palate full of
daVinci's newest color corrector, the 2K.  Jim MacKrell of daVinci had
arrived a few hours earlier, and we had everything ready to go.  I would
say that from the time the truck arrived till the initial bootup ran
about four hours, and the unit worked right out of the box.  Monday may
best be remembered as the Day Of Lifting, as the physical aspects of the
install were all handled in one afternoon.
     Tuesday was Calibration Day.  Basemems were set, timings checked,
and the multitude of little tweaks and preferences were set in to the
box.  As the tweaks were applied, it was a good way to begin to learn
what was under the hood and where it was.  Jim was able to explain the
new features as each of them were set up and tested.  Right off the bat
I realized that the 2K is a very different animal than the 8:8:8.  The
training in Ft. Lauderdale had explained the new approaches daVinci was
taking, but to see them up close was a different kind of experience.  I
had assumed that the new secondary corrections were going to be the
major difference, but the primaries now behave differently as well. 
Actually, practically everything is different in some way.  Gone are the
layers of menus we had to scroll through to get to various handles.  The
new approach makes more use of the soft panel and generally gives you  a
lot more handles at the ready.  And the controls behave differently, as
there is now more range in the unit.  Reaching for an analogy, it was
like moving from a roadster to a sports car.  There's a lot more power
under the hood, and it handles the road differently.  But it still has
the same steering wheel and pedals even though everything else is
somewhere else.
     Wednesday morning we had our first client in.  We were supposed to
train a little more, but the clients needed the time and didn't mind my
being somewhat green.  Fortunately, they didn't have anything to worry
about, as there were no major problems to be had. The rest of the day
was more of setting up and explaining various features of the unit.  
     The 2K is obviously a work in progress, but as it stands now I'm
impressed.  There's still a lot to do before it reaches the level of
functionality its designers had in mind.  Still, it performs quite well
and offers not only a lot more handles on the signal but improved
performance doing what it does.  On the plus side, secondary color
correction is cleaner. The HSL qualifiers help a lot in isolating the
colors one wishes to affect. (And that's just a part of what the new
secondaries do.  The RGB controls and vector replace modes bring even
more power to the unit.) The built in legaliser lets you get a bit more
robust easily.  And it's like all the controls go to 12!
     On the down side, the six vector color corrector doesn't yet
naturally tweak where it should in 601 video.  But the vector centering
can be adjusted and I know they are giving this problem top priority. 
In the meantime, it's not terribly difficult to live with and I don't
expect any problems to arise from it.  I also miss the built in TLC
controls on the DUI, but this too is coming and again it's easy enough
to operate from the TLC keyboard.  On the whole, the pluses far outweigh
the minuses for me, and I've really enjoyed working with the unit.  The
learning curve is much less steep than I expected.
     Thursday began with another Client session, then Jim took me
through the menus one more time and we made sure I knew what was what
and where it was.  Although it uses the same panels as the 8:8:8,
everything is laid out differently and works differently.  I find the
layout as well as the functionality to be an incredible improvement. 
Chris Bacon mentioned how the new mainframe had managed to fit in most
everything the 8:8:8 did and more on a lot fewer boards.  At the time
the 8:8:8 was designed, the Pentium 100 was considered a fast chip. 
Imagine how far computer technology has come, and there's the added
horsepower.
     Today I began regular sessions and calibrated our keykode reader
for the extra delay.  It appears that the 2K is a stable unit at this
time and ready to grow with our facility into the HDTV era.  For me
personally, this is an amazing experience.  When the original daVinci
came out, it was already the classic before I got to operate it.  The
Renaissance came along, and I remained unenlightened until two and a
half years ago.  Now, it's a great feeling to remain operating with
state of the art equipment.
     Thanks to everyone on the TIG for letting me share all this with
you.  I should now stress again that I am not employed by or affiliated
in any way with daVinci.  I recommended the 2K for Shooters based on my
experience with the company and its history of customer support.  At
this time I am happy with that recommendation and I hope that my clients
and the facility will continue to share my enthusiasm into the
foreseeable future.
     I remember when the 8:8:8 came out, this list had a lot of traffic
as more experienced users helped newer users along.  I really wished I
could have been part of those discussions, but now I can look forward to
being an active participant in the next round of discussions.

Robert Lovejoy
Senior Colorist
Shooters Post and Transfer
Cherry Hill, NJ (Philadelphia Market)

---
Thanks to Ken Robinson for support in 1999
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