Wednesday, December 1, 2004

HD heats up

This format is seeing acceptance an a compelling, cost-effective medium that can deliver the same emotional impact as film.

by Claudia Kienzle

HD has been steadily gaining acceptance for acquisition, post production, and distribution for television and feature films. But our experts say that HD is now at a point where it could really take off in 2005. HD usage is exploding due to impressive advancements in HD image capture, remarkable color grading in post production, and its compelling cost-efficiency compared to 35mm film. As HD's superior picture and sound promote its worldwide acceptance for HDTV, HD-DVDs and digital cinema, there is increasing demand for post production services, such as digital intermediates, HD mastering and digital film dailies.

HD Vision Studios
Los Angeles, CA

STRENGTHS: "We're beginning to see the impact that HD is having on broadcast, digital cinema, point of purchase, medical, the military, and more. And, many television pilots and independent films are rapidly shifting from 35mm film to HD production because it enables them to create a film look very cost-effectively by eliminating the up-front costs of film production--the raw stock, film processing, and dailies production. Rather than having to reload film every 10 minutes, HD tape lets you shoot for 50 minutes without stopping to reload, which keeps the production moving along without costly delays."

WEAKNESSES: "There is the lack of understanding of just how far HD technology has come in the last two years. This is a huge issue. Because HD has been around for so many years, people who looked into it early in its evolution may have dismissed it as unfriendly, costly, or lacking the bells and whistles of an end-to-end solution. But in the last two to three years, tremendous strides have been made to eliminate problems like compression artifacts, and ensure high-quality color correction, down conversion, and other services essential to HD production. HD is now a compelling, cost-effective medium for telling stories with the same emotional impact film delivers."

OPPORTUNITIES: "As HDTV evolves, the need for content produced in native HD will also grow. While a 4:3 SDTV documentary about African wildlife is interesting, people will want to revisit this subject in HDTV because the high-resolution, widescreen picture will have an incredible impact on the viewing experience. Another huge opportunity will be HD-DVDs. In terms of a new growth market, HD-DVDs will be staggering, with ample business opportunities for this industry."

THREATS: "In light of rapid improvements in HD's image quality and price/performance, as a businessperson, you have to plan your capital expenses for new equipment such that your rate of return makes sense. Also, as more productions choose HD over film for acquisition, it will pose a threat to companies offering film dailies, although we will see a growing demand for digital dailies."

OUTLOOK FOR 2005: "With many high-profile events being televised in HDTV, HDTV set manufacturers can't fill the orders fast enough. In 2005 we will finally reach the tipping point where so many consumers have HDTVs in their homes that demand for original HDTV content will explode."

excerpt from Post