by: Larry Bloomfield & Jim Mendrala
= HDTVGuy@aol.com or J.Mendrala@ieee.org
December 29, 1999
A very Prosperous New Year
Tech Note - 048
does what it can, but genius does what it must!
Our Mission: Sharing experiences,
knowledge, observations, concerns, opinions or anything else
relating to Electronic Cinema, DTV, etc., with fellow engineers
and readers. We do hope that everyone will participate with
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HDTV on A Big Screen at A Theater near You
Lucas announced at ShoWest last March in Las Vegas, NV that
his movie “Star Wars – The Phantom Menace” would be released
in June in an HDTV digital format at four theaters, two on the
East Coast and two on the West Coast. Since then, Hollywood
has been gearing up to bring you more movies in HDTV digital
format on the big screen.
Miramax released, on the
coat tails of “Star Wars”, “The Ideal Husband” and “Shakespeare
in Love”. Disney Studios then released “Tarzan” just a
few months ago.
All of these movies have
been presented so far in HDTV digital format on the big screen.
I explained a while back in a previous Tech Notes that the “Star
Wars” Inter Positive (IP) was transferred on a Spirit telecine
to a Panasonic HD D-5 videotape machine. Industrial Light and
Magic then transferred those images to a Pluto Array for playback
in the theater. That array used 20 18 GB drives. Compression
was a low 4:1, using the Panasonic HD D-5 format.
two of the theaters a Texas Instruments (TI) Digital Light Processing
(DLP) cinema projector, the images were squeezed to fit inside
the 1920 x 1080 raster to occupy only 1280 x 1024 of that raster.
The TI DLP cinema projector with its three 1280 x 1024 Digital
Micromirror Device (DMD) arrays projected those images onto
the big screen with the use of an anamorphic lens to regain
the 2.4:1 image.
the other two theaters, the images for the Hughes/JVC projector
were recorded to fill the 1920 x 1080 raster. The images were
also played back from a Pluto Array and scanned onto the infrared
CRT’s that illuminate the Image Light Amplifiers (ILA). These
images were collapsed so that the image had the correct aspect
ratio of 2.4:1.
has now has released “Toy Story 2” at six theaters across the
nation in HDTV digital format. Those Theaters are:
CA: Disney El Capitan
CA: Edwards Spectrum
CA: AMC Media Center 8
Francisco, CA: AMC 1000 Van Ness
FL: AMC Pleasure Island 24
TX: Cinemark at Legacy
“Toy Story 2”, like the “Tarzan” movie, the RGB computer files
were converted to HDTV by using a software program that rendered
each frame out in a 24psF HDTV format. The images were then
color corrected for the TI DLP cinema projector and recorded
at Pixar in a HDTV format using the QuVis proprietary compression
system. Compression of these images is reported to be around
20:1 using a proprietary Wavelet compression technology. These
compressed HDTV 1920 x 1080 images were then uncompressed and
played back from the QuVis to the TI DLP cinema projector in
the theaters using SMPTE 292M serial digital protocol. The TI
DLP projector then downsized and squeezed the images to fit
the 1280 x 1024 DMDs.
Man” which opened Dec.17, 1999 is being shown in HDTV digital
format at the following theaters:
AZ: Cinemark at Valley View
Canada: Famous Players
IL: AMC Studio 24
City, KS: Famous Players Riverport
OH: AMC South Barrington 30
March and May 2000, “Mission to Mars” and “Dinosaur” respectively,
are scheduled to be released in HDTV digital format.
wrong with pursuing these HDTV digital format presentations?
The resolution of these theater presentations does not come
close to 35mm film or even the full resolution of HDTV quality.
What’s being shown at a digital cinema theater near you is less
than full HDTV quality, except it is on a big screen.
Kodak, in an advertisement
in the November 1999 issue of the SMPTE Journal, on page 753,
states that film has 4,096 pixels x 3,112 lines of resolution
per 35mm frame. That’s over 12 Megapixels. When you consider
the movie is in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, that works out to 4,096
x 2,214 or more than 9 Megapixels. HDTV at 1920 x 1080
computes out to just over 2 Megapixels. Both are far from the
12 Megapixels Kodak claims for its film product and the 9 Megapixels
needed for a theatrical release on the big screen.
production comes to mind - - the record setting “Blair Witch
Project” which was shot with standard home video equipment then
transferred to 35mm film for theatrical release. Everybody knows
that 640 x 480 only computes out to a little over 307,000 pixels.
Does this mean that because of its success films should be presented
with less resolution than what has been traditionally the norm?
What will 70mm films like “Laurence of Arabia” and “The Sound
of Music” look like to audiences of the future when played back
in HDTV digital format on a screen with only 1.3 Megapixel resolution?
These films will need at least 12 Megapixels to be considered
true digital cinema.
speaking, film by its very nature is composed of nearly equal
resolution yellow, cyan and magenta imaging layers. Film is
a subtractive color process. Subtractive color mixing in film
involves the absorption and selective transmission or reflection
of light. It occurs when colorants (such as pigments or dyes)
are mixed or when several colored filters are inserted into
a single beam of white light. In HDTV, the images are constructed
of red, green and blue (RGB) in an additive color process.
concepts in the field of color have traditionally been more
confusing than those just discussed. This confusion can be traced
to two prevalent misconceptions: the subtractive primary, cyan,
which is properly a blue-green, is commonly called blue; and
the subtractive primary, magenta, is commonly called red. In
these terms, the subtractive primaries become red, yellow, and
blue; and those whose experience is confined for the most part
to subtractive mixtures have good cause to wonder why the physicist
insists on red, green, and blue as the primary colors. The confusion
is resolved when it is realized RGB are additive primaries and
provide the greatest color gamut. For the same reason, the subtractive
primaries are, respectively, blue absorbing yellow, red-absorbing
cyan and green-absorbing magenta or more commonly called in
the film industry YCM.
thing to consider is that in HDTV color is under sampled. The
argument is that the eye cannot see small details in color.
While this is true, it depends on how far you are from the image.
It is a known fact that the eye can resolve about one minute
of arc of resolution. What this means in simple terms is that
if you view an image with a 43 by 24 degree viewing angle at
about 3 screen heights, then the eye cannot see any finer color
resolution in the image. This is fine in the home where most
people will sit at least 7 to 8 feet or 3 screen heights from
their screens. In many theaters, however, this means you would
have to be sitting in the back row of the auditorium. Most people,
when they come into a theater, tend to sit about half way to
two thirds back from the screen. Therefore, the images must
have better color resolution than HDTV's YUV format. HDTV’s
and MPEG-2’s under sampled 4:2:2 and 4:2:0 just won’t cut it
for the big screen. Equal resolution RGB is a necessity.
all these factors, if you want to see the potential image capability
of HDTV, then try to see one of the new films projected in the
HDTV digital format. Sit about three screen heights from the
screen. Remember the resolution is slightly less than what the
broadcasters are capable of putting into your home right now.
HDTV for the home is not only wide screen but also big screen
TV. At three screen heights, the picture is superb. All of the
networks and DirecTV are now transmitting HDTV programs, but
so far to date, HDTV-ready TV sets have been, for the most part,
unimpressive with their 34 to 60 inch rear screen projection
the current trend of presenting movies in the HDTV digital format
in some instances is better than some projected film prints
in theaters, poor resolution and inadequate color pixel depth,
in general, limit the HDTV digital format. Although projection
of digital images is in its infancy, it will prepare the movie–going
public for what is to come.
the future, a true high-resolution RGB digital cinema system
will not be restricted by the HDTV digital format and will provide
pictures of truly outstanding 35mm quality and beyond.
in the San Francisco Bay area
Ray Herring, Transmitter Supervisor -- KGO-TV, Channel 7 &
KGO-DT, Channel 24
Was out doing some testing
last week with an unnamed chip manufacturer to test their chips
for some next generation set top boxes and TV sets with the
DTV tuner built in.
What we found is that
the second-generation receivers work well in many places with
a $10 real funky indoor loop UHF antenna that looked like a
radar dish. I worked real well even at some places 42 miles
from Sutro. Worked real well going across highway 37 (27
miles from Sutro) at speeds of from 35 to 70 mph. Proves that
you don't have to have a 15-foot long yagi antenna to get DTV,
even with 8VSB. I think sometimes the big antennas are a little
overkill and add to the multipath problems we are still seeing
with the receivers. A lot of times, bigger is not better.
have more for you on the testing we did when I get permission
to talk more about it.
to the Holiday Tech Note) By the way, wave that flag my friend,
it's not dead yet!!!!!!
20+ years Air Force and retired in '81. A lot of the time, overseas,
the only link with home was AFRTS. (A-farts as we called it,
but you're just too nice a guy to say that.) :-)
It was very interesting how much support and compliments
we got from our support and mention of AFRTS. These guys
are truly unsung heroes in many ways. Try doing a TV show
while dealing with incoming! Shades of Viet Nam.)
Subj: Events Dedicated
to Flat Panel Display Industry
From: The Business Wire
Monday-Friday (Jan. 31 - Feb. 4, 2000)
WHAT: The first annual
Display Applications Conference (DAPPCON) San Jose exposition
dedicated to FPD manufacturers and integrators to be co-located
with DisplayWorks 2000
WHO: -- U.S. Display Consortium (USDC) http://www.usdc.org
-- California Display Network (CDN) http://www.caldisplaynet.org
-- Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI)
WHERE: San Jose Convention Center 150 West San Carlos Street,
San Jose, Calif. http://www.sanjose.org/nsapi/sj_home
WHAT: Conference Workshops & Short Courses
ATTENDEE REGISTRATION: SHO, Inc http://www.dappcon.org
From: Margie Baldwin - email@example.com
I feel like I've just gotten to know you and your contribution
to the broadcast industry. I do appreciate reading your tech
notes and other articles. I will still be in this industry and
want to keep up with the
news. Please continue to include me in your distribution. I
wanted to share with you a decision I made recently. I sent
the following announcement to many of my co-workers and professional
After 25 years of devoted service to KGTV, I have decided to
accept another position with ANN Systems (Advanced News Network
Systems formerly Nexus Infomatic of Germany) as Vice President
of Operations (and Engineering/Tech Services). ANN Systems is
an international company with several holdings in Norway, Germany
and US. Recently, they decided to bring their Internet Development
and Sales & Marketing headquarters here to San Diego. They
are currently operating out of temporary facilities and would
like for me to build their class A accommodations in Rancho
Bernardo. After which I will take charge of all technical support
services for all of the Americas (North, South & Central)
and Australia in support of the sales efforts. Their primary
product is Open Media and Star Drive, the next generation competitor
to Avstar. Since Tektronix merged Newstar with Avid and decided
not to grow the Newstar code, Open Media became a major viable
NT option. Open Media is a leading automated newsroom
system in Europe, Asia and Africa. They want to expand their
product and services to the Western continents and felt that
this was the right time. I am very excited about my new job
and its future possibilities. I will be trained in Munich, Germany
and will be building my tech support team right here in San
I am looking forward to going to NAB, RTNDA, Video Expo in Brazil
and to many TV and Radio stations to check on customer support
satisfaction and system integration process. (You know that
I will enjoy checking out how all these other Radio and TV stations
do things compared to KGTV.) The
company is expected to grow in size & number by the end
of next year. This growth expectation is refreshing after so
many cutbacks over the last few years. It is a bit hard leaving
KGTV, but I have to give this level of a position a try in the
private business sector as my next professional challenge. As
one of my engineers stated in our informal shop meeting when
I announced my plans, I guess "I am reaching for that brass
ring". For those of you who want to stay in touch, please
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org until my new account at ANN Systems
is set up in January. This email address of email@example.com
will be good through the end of January.
Margie Baldwin - Engineering Director KGTV-10
Production Begins to Roll or How to build an HDTV truck
By: Charles Pantuso and Susan Dahlin
HDV-5 - the High Definition Television Production Mobile for
the new millennium - hit the road this month (December), offering
HDTV production to local broadcast stations.
The HDTV production mobile is a joint venture between WRAL-TV,
owned by Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc. (CBC), DTV Resources
and HD VISION, Inc. HDV-5's initial project was the High
Definition sports coverage of the first live college basketball
tournament in HDTV, the "Food Lion MVP Classic", which
was held in Charlotte, North Carolina on December 3 and 4. The
tournament was produced and broadcast live in 1080i High Definition
television and offered at no cost to all television stations
currently broadcasting in HDTV.
In an effort to speed the transition from analog to digital,
members of the NATPE/HDTV consortium are given particularly
attractive and affordable rates.
"Our hope is that other HDTV stations across the country
will take advantage of the mobile and provide viewers with more
HDTV options to watch," said Jim Goodmon, CEO and President
The new mobile is equipped with four Sony HDC-700 Studio Cameras
with Canon 65x1 lenses and four Sony HDC-750 portable cameras
with Canon 18x1lenses. The mobile is pre-wired for 12 cameras,
with additional cameras rented when required. Vinten Vector-70s
and Vector-700s support the HDC-700s
and Vinten Vision-22s and Sachtler Video-80s are provided for
HDV-5 normally rolls with four Sony HDW-500 HDCAM-format recorders.
HD VISION can supply two additional HDCAM recorders and four
Panasonic HDD5 recorders if requested. Three Ash-Vale SM-2A
dual-VTR slow-motion controllers are included in the standard
The standard NAPTE/HDTV Consortium configuration includes five
cameras and three VTRS, with additional equipment available.
The mobile includes a Snell & Wilcox HD1024 1-1/2 ME production
switcher with integrated still-store, two DVEs, three keyers,
three chroma keyers, three expanded border generators, seven
color correctors, and four positionable frame buffers.
A pair of Mackie Digital 8-Bus (d8b) mixers are cascaded to
provide 48 analog inputs, 48 digital inputs, and digital and
analog outputs for stereo and 8-channel surround.
Onboard Dolby encoding and decoding equipment supports both
AC-3 transmission compression and "E"-type production
compression. 360 Systems' Digicart and TCR-8 recorders
2-channel playback, as well as discrete 8-channel stem handling
for 5.1 surround mixing. Separate Multimax monitor processors
for the Production Control Room and the Audio Control Room provide
complete control of the monitoring environment from mono through
stereo and 5.1 surround. M&K
Professional monitor speakers, subwoofers and bass management
are used in the mobile. The M&K speakers are driven by Bryston
4B and 8B power amplifiers. A Tascam DA98 provides for 8-channel
recording, playback, and layback using an industry-standard
format. The audio system is pre-wired for
up to five additional DA-98 series machines, supporting up to
48 channels of on-board tracking for music productions. RS-422
controllable CD players and a cassette deck round out the audio
capabilities of the mobile.
A Clearcom Matrix-3 Plus intercom system provides the communications
hub for the mobile, which is fitted with ten 29-key LED display
stations and ten 9-key LED display stations. Twenty drops of
external RTS PL are supplied by four PS-31 power supplies and
an SAP1626 assignment panel. BP-325 belt-packs
and Beyer DT-108 and DT-109 headsets round out the PL capabilities.
The mobile has 8-channels of powered IFB with RTS IFB beltpacks
and Telex in-ear headsets.
Video waveform monitoring is by Leader Instruments, selected
for its real analog display, which is generally preferable for
adjusting camera setup. Master SD-SDI and HD-SDI test
generators are also supplied by Leader.
All picture monitoring is full HD quality, not downconverted
for NTSC display or scan converted for flat panel computer display.
This provides the best environment for producers to evaluate
actual HD images for framing and composition, and CRT monitors
provide correct colorimetry, an area where current LCD flat
panels fall short. All evaluation-grade monitors are the new
Sony BVM-D multisync series, so the mobile might be capable
of multi-standard operation with a future camera upgrade.
On-board graphics is supplied by the Collage (formerly Pixel-Power)
Clarity-HD graphics system. The Clarity includes a built-in
paint system, as well as a complete still-store. Its massive
on-board processing power supports dramatic real-time HD graphics
The Snell & Wilcox HD1024 switcher includes an integrated
32x20 HD-SDI routing switcher that provides all of the HD routing
in the mobile under control of the Philips Jupiter control system.
Additional Philips Venus frames provide 96x96 AES routing, 32x32
SD-SDI routing, 32x32 NTSC-Video routing, 32x32 stereo analog
audio routing, 32x32 timecode routing, and a 64-port data router
for machine control and downconverter-upconverter control delegation.
A complete Sony BVE-9100 editing system provides state-of-the-art
linear editor control of the mobile's VTRs and audio recorders.
Downconverted Serial Digital and NTSC outputs are provided for
all cameras and VTRs, as well as all of the program feeds, which
should facilitate easy integration with side-by-side standard-definition
shoots. For integration with other HD mobiles, copies of all
HD Signals are available at the I/O panel, as well as tally
inputs to all of the cameras so that tally can be from an external
source when appropriate. The programmable VASGO Limited Source
ID and Tally system can be tailored to accommodated any mix
internal and external tally, either on-air or iso, as required
by the production.
HDV-5 is usually booked for five-day periods, affording local
stations an opportunity to tie in several events. "When
we did our first live HDTV production at WRAL-TV, we scheduled
it around a football game and huge concert in the park giving
us more mileage on the cost of the rental," said John L.
Greene, V.P. of CBC. "Consortium member stations should
revisit the live events that are going on in their region (i.e.,
parades, sporting events and concerts) and look for tie-ins
to promote HDTV," Greene said.
We’d be willing to bet that HD Vision would be willing to
rent this unit to anyone interested.)
Down on Digital Cinema
From: Larry Bloomfield
Check out this web page:
All we can say is that Mr. Ebert must have
been smoking the wrong kind of Popcorn or his elevator wasn’t
reaching the “balcony” when he wrote this. We’ve included
it here for anyone wanting a real laugh. We’ve read some
really good, miss-informed “BS” on this subject, but this takes
the cake. Enjoy, but keep the barf bag handy. This
is not a New Year’s joke.
It seems that movie critic Roger Ebert of both TV and the Chicago-Sun-Time
fame wrote a not too favorable story about Digital Cinema in
a Copyrighted story that appeared in the Chicago-Sun-Times Inc.
Ebert says: “I have seen the future of the cinema, and
it is not digital. No matter what you've read, the movie theater
of the future will not use digital video projectors, and it
will not beam the signal down from
satellites. It will use film, and the film will be right there
in the theater with you.”
(Ed Note: Larry is looking for some
really good cutting edge technology stories for BE. If
you know of anything happening in our industry that would be
of interest to the many engineers who read this fine journal,
please contact him by Friday (Dec. 31st.) Thanks.)
The Editors and Publishers of the Tech Notes wish to thank
Des Chaskelson, Research Director of SCRI International for
his generosity in posting the Tech Notes on the SCRI web site.
FREE HDTV Report for US TV Station
Chaskelson , Research Director, SCRI International
report is available FREE to US TV Stations only who respond
to SCRI's new HDTV online survey at:
On completion of the survey, you will receive
via email "The Millennium Report - The Migration To Digital
Television," an 80-page report compiled by Larry Bloomfield,
publisher of DTV Tech Notes and writer for Broadcast Engineering
Magazine. Results of the survey will again be published
in Broadcast Engineering Magazine.
The Tech Notes are published for broadcast
professionals, and others, who are interested in DTV, HDTV,
Electronic Cinema, etc., by Larry Bloomfield and Jim Mendrala.
We can be reached by either e-mail or land lines (408) 778-3412,
(661) 294-1049 or fax at (419) 710-1913 or (419) 793-8340. (Please
note Larry's new e-mail address). The Tech Notes are sent (BCC)
directly only to those who have asked to be on the mailing list,
however feel free to forward them, intact, to anyone who you
think might be interested. There is no charge for this
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and we do not indorse any product or service(s). The ideas and
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etc. are encouraged and always welcome. We publish when there
is something to share. Material may be edited for brevity, but
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please contact us first.
See ya all next year.