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Views on Spirit / Rank

On 23 April Dave Corbitt posted;

> 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

As I was very busy demonstrating on the Pandora booth I cannot make any
personal observations regarding Spirit, although VTR's long involvement
with the project says plenty, or on the abovementioned modified Ursa. I can
however pass on the general feeling of all those who came to see the 
Platinum / ESR regarding both systems.

Despite the difficult viewing conditions and the general mayhem that
surrounds a show, the Spirit induced comments that were very positive
and signify an appreciation for the system by Colorists and Management
alike.The appreciation of the range and purity of the output when tested 
on a variety of stocks and exposures, coupled with the smoothness of 
the scanning with its inherent resolution, seemed to settle once and for all 
the old chestnut of the CCD "look". Many people admitted that their
conception of the Spirit had been changed by  seeing a working and
deliverable system, complete with advanced signal processing and control

The situation with the Ursa was not quite so clear. There have been
postings before on this Forum regarding the inadequacy of the Golds
A to D's, and a new solution, the TWiGi, has just been launched. I am 
not sure if this is in conjunction with Rank but people assumed that it
had been incorporated into the show machine. Likewise the lack of 
PEC control provoked ideas that ranged from utilizing TKG monitoring
of PEC levels in a more automated way to the obvious one of replacing
them with other more controllable devices. 

I also do not wish to start " rumor mongering" but the level of the Rank
presentation, especially to customers who may already have invested
many 100K's of $ & L in Ursa's, left a lot of bad feeling with the people
I talked to and it seems to be an almost deliberate attempt to generate
such rumors. At the least it was felt that they could have provided more
indication as to how much of this technology will be an upgrade to the
existing platform or if a totally new machine is to come. Rank cannot 
ignore the superb 2K scanning of the Spirit and it was always assumed
that a larger CRT would be used in a new machine to overcome present
phosphor / grain limitations. This would seem to indicate substantial
reinvestment so maybe the announced price of the Spirit is not going to
be such a critical factor over the next year or so.

Anyway, it was good to meet so many of you and get the chance to talk
about these, and other, telecine "things" and if my voice was giving out 
at the end of the day then apologies but its a good way to get it as deep
as Lou Levinson's!!!!!!!! 

Seamus O'Kane
VTR Ltd. London