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C-Reality from C-Bacon

--the following is from ka2iqb at worldnet.att.net---

> I guess by now many people have had a chance to see the C-Reality demo
> Valencia during the October SMPTE LA conference.  How about some eye
> witness accounts and impressions? Inquiring minds want to know.
> Dave Corbitt
 Hi Dave,
I "saw Reality" on Saturday (Halloween) night.  It was a treat, but there
were still some tricks to it as well.
The good news is that anybody who thought the machine (and/or its
maker) fell off the face of the earth at NAB last Spring need not have
worried.  The machine I looked at (at 1080i and 525i, there was no 2K
data output) handled film beautifully and made great pictures.  Great
in color, resolution, blacks, whites, detail, you name it.

There were a couple of neat surprises to it as well.  The picture did
not look "video sharp" without enhancement.  It looked more fluid,
like projected film, yet a quick look at a resolution chart indicated
that the machine was nowhere near out of steam at 800 lines on 35mm.
It may be the difference between the sharply defined pixels in CCDs
and the gaussian distribution of light from the flying spot on the
CRTs, but even this skeptical engineer could see why some colorists
have already said the C-Reality makes more filmic images than the CCD
machines.  (Sorry if that stirs up the old endless debate again).  The
other stunt was to zoom in on some part of an image and show you all
the fine detail you never even knew was there.  Like the pores on an
orange, or the texture of a molded black plastic flower pot.
C-Reality is able to do such things right down to the grain of the
film (on a piece of Kodak 5245 negative) without introducing visible
noise of its own.  And as far as the operator is concerned, it works
like a Rank, with pretty much the same feel and control response.

Where were the tricks?  I'd say they've still got some work to do on
steadiness, and the 16mm gate needs some help.  2K data output, 720P
output, optical sound, and some other minor details couldn't be tested
in our visit because either they weren't implemented yet, or there was
way to monitor them.  The C-Reality has rather extensive audio
facilities, by the way, including internal Dolby A and SR decoders,
and a digital delay that can be adjusted as needed to match the suite
video delay.  It would have been nice if somebody hooked the speakers
up!  There was another C-Reality present that had SDTV and 2K, but we
were told that it was having problems so we didn't try to do anything
with it.

I guess the biggest weakness I saw is the lack of scratch concealment
(the optical device that had been on the machines shown at IBC was
removed "for more work," we were told).  Electronic scratch removers
for real-time operation in a telecine suite can be a real handful to
operate and are not always successful; nobody is saying when HDTV
versions of these products will be available, or if they will work any
better than the SDTV units.  One could concievably build a liquid gate
for the C-Reality, but this would be rather difficult due to the fact
that the film passes through the gate vertically (similar to a typical
projector) instead of horizontally as on previous Cintel
machines. Perhaps an updated version of the old "Pic Clear" system
that used to be attached to just about every TP-66 film chain
projector in the world would work if anybody could figure out a way to
get the EPA to approve it!
My guess is that by NAB '99, "C-Reality" will "B-Reality."

Best regards,
Christopher Bacon
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are strictly my own.  I
receive no compensation from anybody concerned with the manufacture or
sale of any of the above-mentioned products, except that I have been
known to occasionally rescue TP-66 projectors from the dump!)

Thanks to Bill Topazio and MTE for support in 1998.
No product marketing allowed on the main TIG.  Contact rob at alegria.com
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