Wednesday, May 1, 2002

20/20 HD Vision: HD visionary Randall Dark takes his business to Los Angeles

STUDIO CITY, CA - While HD can be a risky and expensive proposition, it's becoming increasingly commonplace for post houses to invest in HD equipment, and expand their services to include digital cinema and HDTV mastering.

But in 1993, when HD pioneer Randall Dark opened HDVision in Dallas the risk was considered extraordinary. The government's ATSC mandate - and revolutionary developments like Sony's HDCAM and CineAlta products which made HD acquisition portable with near film quality - were still years away.

Nevertheless, Dark made a name for himself by producing hundreds of hours of breath-taking HD programs, offering the first HDTV mobile unit and contributing HD equipment and expertise to landmark HDTV events such as a 1997 Baltimore Orioles game, one of the first live HDTV telecasts.

Today, Dark is again pushing the envelope of the HD arena. After closing HDVision in Dallas and New York, he's just opened a new Southern California facility - HD Vision Studios - that will serve as a one-stop-shop for anyone producing feature films, independent films, television shows, or any project where HD video is the medium of choice.

"There's definitely a groundswell for HD production," says Dark. "Movie studios are eyeing digital cinema as a way to cut film distribution costs, new HDTV cable and satellite services have entered the market; and film festivals are increasingly showcasing HD films. As the transition intensifies, any post facility that doesn't have HD capability under its belts will lose market share to those that do.

"Because HD is a cost effective alternative to film that can deliver images with the same look and emotional impact of film, producers feel compelled to evaluate the technology and cost structure of HD," he continues. "When they shoot 24p HD instead of 35mm film, the cost difference can be dramatic, with savings as much as 50 percent - on film stock, lab processing, telecine transfer, film prints, among other expenses."

Read the entire article in Post Magazine.

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