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Re: Is 35mm/HDTV good enough?

At 05:41 PM 8/19/97 +0100, Adrian Thomas wrote:
>I, too, have witnessed ShowScan and can confirm that it really is 
>fantastic. I believe that it was developed by Douglas Trumbull of 2001 
>and Bladerunner fame, and in fact runs at 74fps rather than 60. As I 
>understand it, this rate was determined by monitoring the alpha waves of 
>subjects whilst they watched film projected at various frame rates. 
>Apparently, the waves indicate a much higher degree of subject 
>involvement at rates above 74fps.

Yes, it's Trumbull's technology.  I believe there are some installations of
it in Las Vegas also (at the Luxor?).  I believe ShowScan came about at
about the same time as he was making the film "Brainstorm" based on a
similar theme--as regards to bringing a total experience to the viewer's
mind...this film has always stuck me as such irony (if you don't know what
I'm talking about, rent it and realize that Natalie Wood died during its

With the industry always so focused on spatial (XY pixel) resolution, we are
forgetting about the time domain.  Spatial resolution has crossed a
threshold beyond which, in my opinion, the neural impact of frame rate is
now the driving force affecting the subjective film experience.  

If one assumes 8kx8k resolution, at 12-bit or better color depth in R,G,& B,
at 74 frames/sec, ShowScan works out to (give or take), 21 gigabytes per
second.  There's a hellava modem between your eyes and the back of your
head.  Furthermore, research indicates that the spatial resolving power of
the eye/brain system is "subpixel" (i.e., perception of image features
smaller than one rod or cone in angular extent).  This apparent paradoxical
contradiction of the Nyquest sampling theory is due to one's neural
network's ability to retain and interpolate very short term histories of
image motion.  In effect, as such small features are panning across the
photoreceptors, they are being resolved over time, "on-the-fly".
Conventional film may be flickering at 48 Hz, but the imformation content is
updating at 24 Hz.  I don't think the brain really "likes" this, even though
there's no apparent flicker.  There's more to it than simply avoiding
flicker, and Trumbell understands that better than most.


Real-time and high-performance hardware and software design since 1981
Jim Lindelien                           (Email to: jiml at timelogic.com)     
Time Logic, Inc., 880 Northwood, Suite 1, Incline Village, NV 89451
Phone 702-833-0200 x11 Fax 702-833-1222  Web http://www.timelogic.com

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