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Big News re Kodak/CBS/HDTV!!!

A friend of mine posted this to the Cinematography list, and he gave me 
permission to repost it to the TIG.  I think you'll all be interested...

--John Snopes
Muncie, Indiana


                                       CBS/Westinghouse acquires Eastman 
Kodak, announces Synergy

New York, December 20, 1997 (AP) In a move that surprised many Wall 
Street analysts, the CBS division of Westinghouse announced today that it 
is acquiring the ailing Eastman Kodak Company of Rochester, NY.

Kodak, rumored to be a takeover target of the Fuji Photo Film Company, 
recently announced that it will be laying off 16,000 workers.

CBS Entertainment Division president Les Moonves said that he felt it was 
"more of a strategic alliance than a takeover. We have decided that film 
will be the origination format for all of our High Definition 
programming. And when you think of film, you naturally think of Kodak."

CBS plans to film all non-reality-based programming in the IMAX format. 
"We plan to use one camera for most programs, with a 10,000-foot film 
load. This is roughly one-half hour of film, and we can shoot an entire 
sitcom in a single take. The camera will remain in a fixed position, 
requiring no operators, and any decisions about framing will be made in 
post-production. This will cut our production costs substantially." said 
Moonves. "When you think of it, television is really like a filmed stage 
play. As Shakespeare said, 'the play's the thing.' We just want to 
capture that play and present it to the viewers in the best possible way."

After extensive tests, CBS decided that smaller film formats, such as 
Super-16, were not suitable for HDTV use. "I am told it has something to 
do with the number of holes in the film," said Moonves. "IMAX has lots of 
holes... 720 holes per second of film." Research conducted by CBS and 
Sony shows that 720 holes per second is probably enough holes for a 
steady HDTV image. "Super-16 has fewer holes. You could say that IMAX is, 
well, 'holier than thou'," he added with a grin.

In a related move, Westinghouse, the inventor of AC current, as well as a 
major manufacturer of nuclear power plants, has announced that 59.97 Hz 
will become the new US line-frequency standard on January 1, 1999. "This 
will solve all sorts of problems. Shows will always be the right length, 
with no more messy arithmetic. It was time for a change, and this was the 
best way to make sure it was implemented nationally, and unilaterally," 
Moonves added.

To standardize a video-friendly film running speed of 23.976 fps, Kodak 
has announced the new Drop-Perf standard. "It's rather ingenious, 
actually," said departing Kodak CEO George Fisher. "You simply remove 
every 1000th perforation... well actually that's for 16mm, for 35mm it's 
every 4000th perf... wait, that's every 2000th perf on each side, or is 
it 8000th? And in IMAX, it's every 15,000th perf, or is it every 7500th? 
Or 30,000th? Well, you get the idea. We're doing it in hardware, so to 
speak. Simple but elegant."

The other key player in CBS's HD strategy is Sony. Sony has announced 
their new IMAX-format BeRealMan telecine, which is designed to make 
creative decisions in post-production a simple matter. The BeRealMan 
consists of an IMAX projector and a Sony HD video camera equipped with a 
zoom lens. A CBS staff cameraman, on a 25-foot tall platform, will simply 
"shoot" the show off of the 50-foot-tall IMAX screen in real time. He can 
pan, zoom, and tilt. Provision can be made for dolly shots, if called 
for, by using a very wide platform. The director will call out the shots 
to the cameraman over an intercom system. No expensive decisions need to 
be made in the IMAX "capture" mode, with expensive actors on the set - 
such decisions can be postponed until telecine. While somewhat larger 
than conventional telecines, the BeRealMan has the advantage of being 
easily upgradable. A Sony rep added, "Whenever a new Sony HD camera comes 
out, just replace the older camera, and you have, instantly, a new 
telecine. I bet Cintel or those other guys, BTP or whatever their new 
name is, can't do that!  NTSC and PAL formats can be accomodated by 
simply placing additional cameras on the platform.  It's a 
platform-friendly solution."

Vinten, a leading manufacturer of robotic video camera systems, announced 
it would be marketing the NoMan NoMad system for the BeRealMan, which 
will replace the live cameraman with a simple robotic device.

Sony has also licensed from CBS a unique analog color-correction system, 
based on the CBS spinning-filter-wheel color system of the 1950's. Three 
spinning color filters (yellow, cyan, and magenta) will spin in front of 
the IMAX projector lens. Each wheel will be part filter, part clear 
glass. As the speed of each filter wheel is varied, different degrees of 
color correction will result. At press time, Corporate Communications has 
not decided whether it will consider this system to be an infringement of 
their patents.  


For more information, see the CBS Web Site at 
www.really.low.nielsons.com, Kodak's web site at 
www.cluelessinRochester.com, or www.itsjustajoke.getoverit.com

BeRealMan, IMAX, Sony, CBS, Kodak, Eastman, Cintel, Vinten, NoMan, NoMad, 
Corporate Communications, and Wheel are registered trademarks of their 
respective owners.

thanks to Andrew Lichstein for support of the TIG in 1998
TIG subscriber count is 909 on Sun Dec 21 00:06:05 PST 1997
complete information on the TIG website http://www.alegria.com/tig3/