Wednesday, March 14, 2001

NATPE embraces HDTV

by Ken McGorry

NATPE, the traditional show for TV program syndication, has been expanding its reach over the years, adding lots of "pavilions" to its exhibit floor; including New Media and Animation Pavilions. This past January the show and its 20,000 attendees moved to Las Vegas's convention center and Post Magazine co-sponsored NATPE's first "post" pavilion. Called the "Post/DTV Pavilion," and co-sponsored with the ATV Forum (, Post Magazine had its first NATPE booth, as did about 14 other companies, Sony, Chyron, Cheetah International (for captioning) were among the manufacturers who joined post/production facility exhibitors,,

Except we spell DTV with an "H."

Post people have been creating in "digital" television long before the congressional mandate. It's HDTV that poses the real technical and artistic challenge to Post's readers, and there were numerous HD practitioners exhibiting. The Consumer Electronics Association has a presence and IBC touted its Nombre d'Or awards program. Bennet-Watt HD Productions showed a beautiful tour of Ireland (shot in DVCPro HD) and New York's ColossalVision boasted a staggering number of leads. SF Video exhibited, as did NYC-based high-end post providers SMA Realtime. Also from New York, The Image Group (whose story on the HD sitcom Welcome to New York appears on page 38) was doing brisk business, too.

The HD Theatre set up in the pavilion also drew crowds, as did the slate of panels and workshops that appeared on its stage. One, on post production issues relating to HD production, featured Conrad Denke of APS (in Seattle and LA) and Randall Dark of HD Vision in Irving, TX, as well as Tom Fletcher of Fletcher Chicago (which does rentals and sales of HD and film production gear). Rounding out the panel (which was moderated by moi), was Jerry Butler, senior director, DTV strategic services group, for PBS in DC. (He's all about enabling quality HD programming for public TV.)

"Probably the most important point is that HD online is a mature technology," Denke told the SRO crowd. "We are way beyond experimentation and it only requires a small amount of re-orientation on the part of producers or post supervisors to make it run smoothly."

"I believe there is too much at stake for production companies to stay as passive as they have been," says Dark, who has been an active HDTV producer for many years. "At this point in the evolution of HO equipment -- specifically, the 24p HD cameras -- the tools are now so prime-time, so user-friendly and, most importantly, so cost-effective that producers have no excuse not to consider HDTV a viable capture medium."

Dark echoed Denke and many more at the show, saying of the DTV/Post Pavilion,' "I thought it was a great idea and would be willing to participate again."

from Post