Saturday, September 1, 2001

Developing a market

by David English

If you've thought about moving to high definition video but aren't sure there's enough work out there to justify the move, look no further than Randall Dark, president and CEO or Dallas-based HD Vision.

One of HD Vision's most recent projects is an HD recruitment video for Texas A&M University. Dark used Sony HDC-700A cameras with Canon 9-to-1 and 18-t0-1 lenses. One version of the video is shown to prospective students, and another is shown to parents and faculty. "The university ripped out a video wall and created a high-definition theater with a JVC rear-screen projector," he explains. "The video debuted to 60 other university representatives from around the United States, and the response was stunning."

HD Vision created a similar recruitment video, this time for Baylor University. "We created the world's first touring e-cinema showcase," says Dark. "We had DLP projectors playing back the video in high definition on something like a 40-foot screen." For the showings, the university rented high-profile venues, such as opera centers, across the nation. Dark sees these projects as the beginning of a trend. "Universities and corporations are looking at this new technology as a really exciting way to get their messages across."

Dark is especially excited about the prospects for 24P HD video, which is designed to be a source for both 24-frames-per-second film and 30-fields-per-second video. Although the overall quality is comparable to that of 35 mm film, 24P costs significantly less. "The advent of high definition," Dark says, "has made it much more cost-effective to do an inexpensive feature, You can get actors to work inexpensively. The director can use his aunt's money. But film is really expensive. Not only as raw stock, but you also have to develop it, process it and transfer it before you can edit it."

Though Dark praises the versatility of 24P, his company tends to use 10801 cam eras. "The only reason I would use 24P is if the end result was a film for theatrical distribution." He says that a lot of producers prefer the look of 24-frame video, even when it's destined for television. "It duplicates the look of film because you lose the artifacts of motion strobing."

Should other video producers consider moving to HD? "You're doing a disservice to your client if you don't," Dark explains. "If you're creating content with any sort of shelf life, or any sort of evergreen capabilities, you have to shoo wide-screen, you have to shoot digital and you have to shoot high-resolution. That's where the world is going. We've gone from cave drawings to high definition."

from AV Video Multimedia Producer