Studio monthlyStudio Monthly by Jim Feeley Here’s Why And Here’s How Format Supporters And Their Main Competitor Are Responding I’m in a dealer’s showroom, stuffed with equipment used by Hollywood DPs—ARRI cameras, DigiPrime lenses, etc. The owner shows me a prototype HD camera so new it’s still in an unopened box. He hands me a cassette that looks like a shrunken 3/4-inch cartridge or maybe an 8-track tape. The camera looks like a small ENG camera without a VTR and doesn’t seem special in any way. But Michael, the proprietor, excitedly explains that the camera records a 4:2 image. I figure he means 4:3 or 4:2:2 and I didn’t hear him correctly. I ask. He repeats. 4:2. I mull this statement, then a gloomy light bulb appears above my head (metaphorically...but then, everything here is a metaphor). There is no third number because all the color is crammed into a single channel, as with S-VHS. This new camera is HD Y/C. I wake up in a sweat. I made up that last line, but regrettably the rest is what I actually dreamed. Let me make two points here: one, most of my dreams aren’t nearly this pathetic and two, the low-cost HD formats and cameras we already have are much better than they could be, and much better than many currently consider them. General wisdom of every new technology progresses through four phases: Disbelief (there’s no way it could be any good), Hype (it’s the most amazing thing ever), Backlash (it’s over-hyped junk) and finally Acceptance or Rejection (it’s another tool with advantages and disadvantages that will/won’t work for me). HDV has entered the backlash stage. The first-blush of new love has faded from our cheeks and loins, now we have to decide if we want to commit or move on. read more...

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