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Re: Spirit vs URSA Gold

I had the luxury of being one of the four colorists selected to demo the
Spirit at NAB this past year and I must say the Spirt is everything it is
claimed to be.  Yes, at NAB the Kodak film that was demoed on all the
telecines at the show was beautiful 35mm negative.  However I brought a roll
of my own 35mm select negative with a variety of different film stocks
(collected since 1985) with scenes that were overexposed, underexposed and
some that were actually exposed correctly.  I have color corrected this film
on every telecine I have worked on ranging from 6 different "modified" 3-C's
and an URSA.  (You remember the URSA, the machine that was claimed to be
digital and because it was digital the color didn't drift.)  I actulally had
less drift on my 3-C's, but that's another story for another day.  The film
that was exposed correctly ie. where Kodak says the film should be exposed
via the TAF, and also where the  Rank scanners look there best, the film
looked beautiful on a 3-C and the URSA.  A slight amount of noise was
detected but easily removed by a noise reducer.  However, when timing the
under and over exposed film the image became noisy to the point where too
much noise reduction had to be used to eliminate all or most of the noise.   
When I time the same film on the Spirt the difference was amazing.  First of
all, only the primary color correction of the Spirit was used and there still
was more than enough range to balance the film without any noise.  Color
balancing on the Spirit was much easier and faster than any other machine
I've ever worked on.  The pictures were crystal clear and sharp without any
enhancement artifacts.  No strange shading problems.  No run/stop color
errors, ect..  The way it clips the over driven whites resemble a print
projected, the hot whites just go white.  To make a long story short, the
Spirit just seemed to make film look like film without a hassel.  
It has been my experience that most of the film I have timed,  85% of it is
never exposed where it should be for a good clean film transfer on a Rank
telecine.  It's usually exposed 1 to 3 stops hot or even a stop or so
underexposed.  This is where the Spirt excells. 
As for the cost, can someone out there tell me how much a full up URSA Gold
goes for with all the after market "add ons" that are needed to compare with
a Spirt?  
Unfortunately I can't justify a Spirit in the Baltimore market but I am
replacing my 3-C with a Quadra in November.  Unfortunately I need another
tube before then to stay in business.  Can't wait to tell my boss when the
time comes when I burn out my first bulb on the Quadra that the replacement
bulb costs $10,000 less than the tubes we replace on our Ranks.
I've worked on a Rank since 1981.  I was the first colorist in Chicago to
drive a 3-C variable speed x-y-zoom machine when that town was a Bosch
telecine town.  I never thought the day would come when a CCD machine would
kick a Rank machine's butt.  It always has been said what goes around comes
around.  Congratulations to Phillips, their time has come.

Bob Sliga
Sr. Colorist Henninger Baltimore

p.s.  I didn't mean to spit on Rank.  How 'bout them Orioles?