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Re: HiRes 1440

Spent some time looking at the HiRes 1440, and while I think the gang at
Preferred Video has done a marvelous job, the sum of all the parts was, in my
opinion, less than the whole.

The HR1440 is a package of upgrades done to a Rank Mk III C that essentially
bring it up to the level you would expect from a Turbo II with Clearvision.
 Aside from the special Techniche framestore which takes the place of the
Digiscan, most of the mods are available right out of the Options catalog, or
can be duplicated elsewhere--though it would be very difficult to do as neat
a job in the field as the HiRes folks do.

One of the scarier aspects of the thing is that they use the standard Rank
optical path, and only slightly modify the old head amps and "Colourgrade"
video channel for higher bandwidth.  Information theory tells us that this
can increase resolution, but it comes at a sacrafice in signal-to-noise
ratio, which was none too great on the Mk III to begin with. (Actually,
adding noise to a picture increases the apparent resolution up to a point but
I don't think this was what the HiRes folks are after).  I did see what
looked like a lot of electronic noise on the monitors in the bridge of the
HR1440 on the floor, but the image on the "main" monitor was very clean,
perhaps due to the DVNR included in the system.  In their defense, the HiRes
folks said they are planning a replacement for the venerable "Colourgrade,"
but it is a ways off yet.

It was impossible to fairly judge the actual picture quality of the HR1440
under the mercury vapor lights at the LVCC.  None of my colorist buddies were
tremendously impressed, but in the brief time allotted, with so many salesmen
floating around causing distractions, it wasn't practical to put a bunch of
different films up and get a real feel for what the machine could do. The
anti-aliasing which is supposed to result from the interpolation of a higher
resolution scan did in fact appear to work as advertised.

In summary, I'd tell anybody in the market for a Turbo II to take a look at
the HR1440 first, but whether or not it catches on or turns out to be just
another "also-ran" remains to be seen.

Christopher Bacon

P.S. I have no connection with PVP, its suppliers, or its competitors.