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RE: MV48



I also read this article and found part of me in agreement, but I also
had to react to some of the many inaccuracies and statements made out of
ignorance.

Here are my highlights....

First I will say what I liked about what Ebert says in his article.
I am particularly happy to see anything that will prompt the industry to
a provide a better presentation for the average person sitting in the
neighborhood theater.

I do agree that the TI resolution of 1280 x 1024 is insufficient for the
screen sizes they are targeting. For those that have seen the D-Cinema
presentations, particularly in the first 15 rows,  you can measure
objects by pixel height and width!

My main agreement with Ebert is the common statement that the current
offerings of electronic projection are 'Good Enough' for replacing film
to the general public. I have heard this often and it really does bug
me. E-Cinema needs to be great! It can be great, but it is NOT great
yet.

I further agree there is no doubt that 48 fps capture and projection
would do wonders for the imagery presented on film. There are those who
have lobbied in the past for 48 frame photography and it has gotten
nowhere.
Special venues like IMAX and others have yet to catch on in a way that
might even hint that mainline production companies do anything except 24
frame capture.
However, switching over the existing production structure to 48 frame
would be a big, but not impossible challenge. As a starter, we would
double film cost, half the load in the magazines, double the processing
time, double the rendering time in the graphics generation, double the
platter size on the projector, etc. etc..  The big question is (as
always) who is gonna pay???

After that, the issues brought up in the article are a mix of
misinformation and over-reaction. Most of these would be resolved in the
final delivery 'system' of electronic distribution. But the ones that
really got to me are these...

1. Ebert states that the projectionist could easily adjust 'color tint
and contrast according to his whims' In the final version of
E-Cinema these controls would be set and supervised in such a way to
minimize tampering. On the other hand, maybe Ebert hasn't sat in my
local venue and seen what they do to film!! When I saw 'Toy Story II'
(on film) they were sections so full of roller marks, torn perfs,
scratches and splices that the image was truly awful. When I complained
to the manager, I was told that not enough people had complained about
it to replace it. When I asked how many it took she said 'I don't know'!

2. Ebert says piracy would be harder for 48 frame than digital because
piracy labs couldn't accommodate 48 fps film! Gees, either can anybody
else! This is a silly argument. Those that pirate films can buy upgrades
like anybody else. As to encryption, what would be used in
E-distribution cannot be compared to DVD!!!! The fact is that piracy
will always be a problem and our best efforts can only minimize it, not
eliminate it.

3. Ebert says that nobody has displayed 40:1 compression and that simply
is not true. He is completely unaware of the issues and technology
dealing with compression systems.


The real issue is we all must remember that electronic distribution is
in it's infancy. It has barely taken the first steps on the road to
maturity.
Personally, I think that some of the 'push' for E-Cinema is going to
fast. But on the other hand, this is how things happen. It should not be
an issue of who has the most P.R. bucks, but of what is best for the
audience, fair to the creative talents and satisfies the bean counters.

Ebert makes one statement that stopped me cold, he said about  the
industry 'At the end of its first century, it shouldn't be so cheerful
about throwing out everything that "film" means. And it should get over
its infatuation with the "digital" buzzword.'

At first I liked it ( there is wisdom here) then I realized that he
probably typed it on his computer and emailed it to his editor where it
was electronic edited, formatted and typeset just before it was
published on the WEB.

Balance is everything!

Ron Martin
HD Telecine Center
Universal Studios


Bill Schultz wrote:

  There's an interesting article from Roger Ebert on
  http://www.suntimes.com/output/eb-feature/maxi12.html
  He's got a few words to say about the impending retirement
  of film at the hands of digital projection (dijection!).
  Long live celluloid....
  Bill Schultz




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