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NAB '96 impressions

                      Subject:                              Time:  9:07 AM
  OFFICE MEMO         NAB '96 impressions                   Date:  4/23/96

       My biggest impressions of the Spirit are that it looked great in Hi Def
AND Standard Def.  I didn't see any of the "Flat CCD" look spoken of in the
forwarded comments from Dick Hobbs.  My impression was you could make the
image look any way you wanted due to the enormous dynamic range of the whole
system. Flat? Contrasty? What look do you want? I think it's up to the
colorist.  Colors looked good, tone scale was better than on any other
telecines on the floor (evident on the richly contrasty Kodak footage of the
Black male preacher with the embroidered green vestments standing at a pulpit
in front of a brightly back lit stained glass window).  Film grain was minimal
as BTS/Kodak/Philips have been claiming and noise was non-existent.  The price
tag though is still formidable and probably the biggest obstacle to this
machine becoming as commonplace as our familiar Ranks of various vintages.  I
was impressed with the zoom range out of the "Spatial Interpolator".  "ADO"
type artifacts were not at all evident. The Zooms looked optical due to the 2k
by 2k sampling of the front end.
       On another note:  Does anyone have any clue as to what Rank was trying
to show with their "Alternative Technology" URSA Gold at the show?  No one on
the Rank booth would give me anything but evasive responses as to what they
were trying to show ( Something about Patent applications not resolved yet?) 
I can make some educated guesses about what was installed in the modified URSA
but don't wish to be blamed for rumor mongering.  My personal impressions were
that both of the URSA Golds on the booth were a bit noisy and I couldn't see
any difference between them although I heard from one of the colorists working
the booth that the modified URSA was noticeably quieter if set up properly.
But then any URSA is quieter if set up properly and noisy if the PEC gains are
not very carefully scaled to fit the A-D converters.  
   Many thanks to Options, Rank, and everyone else who helped sponsor the TFN
party.  It was good to see real faces to connect with all those disembodied
e-mail names.
Dave Corbitt/Manhattan Transfer