Meeting Report - Oct 22, 2003

MEETING DATE: October 22, 2003                                                                                                                                                     ATTENDANCE: 180 approximately
LOCATION: ETC Digital Cinema Laboratory, Pacific Hollywood Theater

SPEAKERS:                                                                                                              

David Wiswell HSMPTE Chair
Curtis Clark, ASC Technology Committee, Chairman
Steven Poster, ASC Technology Committee, Vice Chair
Dave Stump, ASC Technology Committee, Camera Chair
Richard Edlund, ASC Technology Committee, Camera Vice Chair
Lou Levinson, ASC Technology Committee, Digital Intermediate, Chair
Gary Demos, ASC Technology Committee, Advanced Imaging, Chair
Jerry Pierce, ASC Technology Committee, Projection, Chair
Peter James, ASC Technology Committee, Post-Chain for ASC-DCI StEM, Chair

This historic first joint meeting of HSMPTE and the ASC Technology Committee was co-chaired by David Wiswell, HSMPTE Chair and Curtis Clark, ASC Technology Committee Chairman.   Many of the ASC Technology Committee sub-committee chairs reported on their groups areas of interest.

Curtis Clark confirmed that the ASC members feel they are the guardians of the image.  The mystery, confusion and complexity of the available new technology needs to be better understood to harness the tools of the emerging technology to capture even more powerful images.  The cinematographers’ participation throughout the whole process is critical to maintain the role of guiding the image – the color palette and secondary color correction that is necessary to maintain consistency and reliability through the variety of distribution platforms.  Parallel film and digital imagery is required as well as DVD and TV.  All images are acquired from the same source and need to be consistent in their display.  The image capture benchmark must continue to be raised and based on theatrical release not DVD.

Curtis stated that the ASC and HSMPTE have formed a shared alliance of common interests.  Each group has its own rich history and focusing our shared objectives has the potential of influencing vendors, manufacturers and service providers profoundly.  This joint group represents the interests of the audience in maintaining the best possible images and hopes to find further constructive ways to move forward together.

Steven Poster related how the ASC felt a need to take a more active role in issues relating to new technology and to involve more associate members.   DCI and ASC have produced test materials that will be available worldwide for all to use to assess digital projection, compression and delivery systems.  Narrated samples of these test materials were shown later in the evening.  Steven stated that only a healthy industry, with interoperability, would find end-to-end solutions for quality from the inception of the images to its final use – device and material independent.

Richard Crudo, ASC President told the background of how one unified set of test materials was needed as a continuation of the 1928 Mazda tests which resulted in many of the equipment and lab standards that are still in use today.

Lou Levinson stated that the digital intermediate process needs to be transparent to the end viewer.  He does not feel the industry is there yet.

Gary Demos discussed the need to retime when moving to other release mediums given the limitations of some equipment.  He mentioned that device-independent compression studies are needed.

Dave Stump discussed the new image capture technologies and the two revolutions that have resulted – the technology revolutions and the simultaneous revolution of our mastery of these technologies that has led to new creative tools.  There has been considerable evaluation and interaction with many equipment manufacturers in the process.

Jerry Pierce represents what goes in the booth – evaluating images and imaging devices – to provide feedback and input to manufacturers to create better looking images and improve the state of the art.  The fact that standard material for this evaluation didn’t exist contributed to the test material’s development and use of the ETC Digital Cinema Lab, a world-class facility, for comparative screenings.

The Standard Evaluation Material is a joint ASC collaborative effort that will be used to evaluate whether Digital Projection is ready for primetime – i.e. as good as Answer Print projection.   One goal is six minutes of edited dailies to be scanned, recorded and cut in a very theatrical way with modern editing techniques.  Kodak 5218 was used for the 35mm anamorphic, super 35mm and 65mm image capture.  Prints are expected to be made on standard Vision stock; the Answer Print may be Vision Premier.

Howard Lukk noted that 17 key points were delivered to the ASC to be worked into the script with the primary goal of getting the best possible film product.   2.40:1 aspect ratio was chosen.  Some considerations were scenes that were held for sometime and those that had lots of movement; anamorphic and 35mm side-by-side images for future comparison; strong colors; a variety of lighting conditions; 5 set-ups, some with fine details; all exterior shooting, chrome/brass highlight reflection; flames (including movement); lots of movement, smoke and confetti; foreground & background diagonals; hi-con black & white; skin tones and potentially some 48 frame material.

One criterion for digital projection is that it must fill a minimum 47-foot screen such as the ETC Digital Cinema Lab.  It is presumed that blended images are appropriate for special venue applications only.  The Standard Evaluation Material is expected to be made available to any manufacturer in standard formats and particular manufacturers would pay fees to have the materials transferred to the medium of their choice for testing their equipment.  It is understood that accompanying still reference frames and pdf files of documentation will be important benchmark tools.  In the future selected standardized material may be made available on DVD with documentation for home use.

Steven Poster suggested that the psychological and physical impact on the audience of the new technology displays needs to be studied.  We need to confidently say that the new technology is not impacting the audience negatively and, in fact, may improve the experience but independent testing is required.

Questions and comments were invited from the audience and some lively discussion ensued with further explanation on many points covered summarily in speakers’ opening remarks.

The meeting was described as a fascinating, interesting gathering with implications of how to routinely work together during further stages of new technology development.  

Dave Wiswell concluded the meeting with the remark that we should all work together towards the “intent of the creator” and suggested that the HSMPTE and the ASC Technology Committee continue to meet on a regular basis.

SUBMITTED BY:
Patricia Keighley
Section Manager
Company Affiliation & Contact Tel. No.:  DKP 70MM Inc., An IMAX Company   310-255-5571