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Re: HDTV down convert / Cadence Editor

> A question we've asked ourselves is whether or not there will be a
> market for such a box or service in a year or two?  Please correct
> me if I'm wrong, but won't the high end, "A" Title transfers be migrating
> to non pulldown formats such as 1080P/24.

I think it's far too premature to be making any kind of statements where the
industry is going in terms of formats. It's all conjecture. For all the hype
about the inevitability and speed of arrival of hi def for prime time
television, there is only one, I repeat one, network that is requiring any
prime time hi def deliveries this season, and that's CBS. You remember, the
network that's going hi def thanks to Mitsubishi's money? The others are
wisely sitting it out for the moment and letting the technology mature a
bit, and probably letting the format wars sort themselves out as well. In
the feature mastering environment, there has been some high definition
activity going on for some time (in spite of the fact that there's no real
market for the masters). But any movement to 24 frame video formats for
television has to be tempered by an understanding of the pros and cons:

1. Same frame rate between film and video, direct frame correspondence.
2. No 3:2 pulldown pattern to remove for conversion to different frame
3. Simpler transfer from video to film due to direct frame correspondence.
4. Simple conversion to interlaced formats as well as different frame rates.

1. Oddball time code that is not widely used at the moment. And, as far as I
know, is not even defined as a SMPTE standard yet.
2. Because 24p will likely only exist in hi def resolutions, any editing
copies must be downconverted and transcoded to a 30 frame time code base (in
the US). This requires 2 extra steps for dailies alone.
3. Most sound facilities are not currently equipped for working with 24
frame time code since no existing video formats really support it. Sound
will likely also work with a 30 frame timebase, making laybacks to a 24
frame master more complicated and problematic.
4. There is currently no format for data insertion in hi def masters, let
alone 24 frame variations. This removes one more double check for accuracy
in negative cutting (if that's necessary).
5. There will likely be far more 60i hi def machines available than 24p. 24p
will likely be a niche format for those of us working in Hollywood using
film origination.

I do feel that for television, transferring to 60i (with 3:2 pulldown) and
saving the time code translation step to 30 frames makes sense. With
forthcoming nonlinear online systems like Fire-HD, the pulldown can easily
be removed during digitizing for the show assembly. At that point, the show
exists in its 24 frame form and can be output to either a 24p master, a 60i
master with continuous cadence, or a 25 frame master as needed. You don't
try to change the world at the dailies stage, but you still obtain the same
final product. And you maintain simpler interchange with the non-Hollywood
part of the world that will likely use 60i.

Now, having said all that, I also maintain that in a saner world than the
one we seem to be living in, all of this would be moot. Hi def would be
destined to serve as a digital cinema format, which has a lot of impetus at
the moment primarily because there is a financial incentive to making it
happen -- the elimination of the cost of release prints, as well as
potential security advantages. Hi def for television, on the other hand, has
absolutely no financial incentive at all. In fact, the costs of doing it
have almost guaranteed the demise of many support businesses (can you say
consolidation?), as well as financial hardship for many individual stations
that are being required to adopt it. And all of this with no visible way of
recouping any of these costs. Adoption of digital broadcasting in standard
def, 16:9 if possible, would seem to make far more sense. But we don't live
in a sane world anymore. Pity.

Mike Most

Thanks to Kodak for support in 1999
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