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Film registration

 Film registration

Hello all.

I am Interested in Bob Festa's post about mechanical registration. We've been
using RTS (real time steadi-gate from steadi-film corp.) and Meta-speed plus
on our URSA for a few months now. I just finished four Tony the Tiger spots
in record time. They each had 100+ elements including matte, foreground, and
tones. All  animation live-action spots. Steady-gating all of it would have
been brutal.
Meta-speed plus for URSA allows you to go any speed forward between 1.96 fps
and 96 fps. The truth of this is that are around 3 speed increments per 1
frame increase (that's still thousands of speeds). Since these speeds are
determined mathematically by playing tricks on the tube scan, speeds between
31 and 38 do not look very good. At these speeds, the patch is literally
almost 1 line and none of us want that. For this range of speeds I usually
1/2 speed to disk or tape for 2x later. You can also run reverse between 1.96
and 30 fps. This works well. You can also strobe the output (by 1 to 7 frames
I think, maybe more). It also gives you an incredibly tight servo. You can
adjust frame step rate to anything you want. Somewhere between 1 and 5 fps
works well. The plus part of this version of Meta-speed is that it accepts a
cable input from the RTS. This allows Meta-speed to "talk" to the gate and
sample where the frame is in real time. The RTS has a long ceramic edge guide
that allows rock solid east-west pictures, and by sampling the frame 16 times
per second (only on an URSA so far) Meta-speed can determine stable
north-south positioning. This may sound to you, like it did to me, that there
might be very fine north-south dithering or beating during blow-ups or even
in normal  use. I have not found this to be the case. I have done many
comparisons against our Adam steadi-gate and have found virtually no
difference. The only possible flaw I have seen is creating zoom-ins at 30
fps. There tends to be color drift as the patch changes. Most colorists
color-correct around this with dissolves, but not the best solution I admit.
We're keeping both gates for now, but Meta-speed is coming out with upgrades
that should eliminate any worries. For now we'll wait and see, but we are
more than impressed with the quality. I can't see letting a noise reducer try
and stabilize a picture electronically (ala flame). This is the first time in
my memory where two separate companies have banded together and actually
given us something we can use. I commend them. You can control Meta-speed in
session with a terminal emulation program, or they sell a panel at an
additional cost. 
(No I am not on either company's pay-roll, and no, I didn't get a discount
either < I wish>; I really like the product, and I'm surprised more colorists
aren't talking about it). 
A few people on this list have it, and we should generate some discussion;
I'm sure some will take exception to my comments, but hey, that's why we're
Happy knob twisting,