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Kodak and Cineon

My mate from Down Under Alan McIlwaine asks "...or are we on the verge of a
major increase in world demand for telecines?" Which brings us back to
Sony's efforts in this area. At the IBC presentation I attended, the heavy
hint was that (1) the Sony telecine would be significantly lower in price
than those of Cintel and Philips, and (2) this would result in an expansion
of the market. But, as we have already discussed widely here, that theory
does not seem to hold water.

The optics and sensors for Spirit started out, remember, as Kodak
technology. Kodak decided that a purpose-built high definition telecine
would serve their interests (selling more cellulose acetate), and designed
a scanning system to get the best images from HDTV. Only then did they go
and talk to telecine manufacturers.

First they went to Cintel (which is why the prototype was on an ADS-1
transport), but their partnership split up after a while because Cintel's
designers felt that flying spot technology could give the required quality
without giving up any operational tools, while Kodak was firmly wedded to
its CCD head. I guess the C-Reality design process started around then, but
I certainly do not know that for a fact.

Kodak then went to Philips, and the result was the FLH-1000, a fine high
definition telecine. Unfortunately, it was launched at a time when HDTV was
at a very low ebb, and few (four?) were built. Having invested a huge sum
($20 million has been rumoured), Kodak wanted to see a return on its
investment, and so pushed for the re-purposing of the technology into
Spirit, in which form it enjoys today's success.

According to a note I have just had from Philips, there are 26 currently in
use worldwide. That is not enough, though, for Kodak to achieve its
ambition of recovering its initial investment, so I am sure that the good
people of Rochester will be keen to keep Spirit going for a long while yet.

This is a very cut down version of the story, and it is entirely likely
that the historians of Kodak, Cintel and Philips will want to amplify
and/or correct.


++ Thanks to Biggi Klier of Munich for support of the TIG in 1997 ++
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