Tuesday, December 23, 2014

HD and Beyond: A Conversation with Randall Dark

Recently Broadcast Engineering Extra's Bob Kovacs sat down with HDTV pioneer Randall Dark to discuss the state of television production, as well as what to expect from the upcoming SMPTE production of "Moving Images," which looks at the history of cinema and television.

BE Extra: What is it about motion pictures and television that has made them lasting forms of communication and art?

Dark: The traditional motion picture in a cinema is an immersive experience allowing an intense relationship between the story teller and the audience. Television also has this influence to a somewhat lesser degree, while having the advantage of allowing this communication to be immediate. Both art forms are powerful tools in the hands of creative people, and the evolving technology has allowed us to advance the art forms in many different ways that include sound and image quality, ultimately enhancing the viewing experience.

BE Extra: Tell us a little about the film that's tentatively titled Moving Images. What do you plan for it to contain? What is the intended audience?

Dark: Moving Images is the story of the people behind moving-picture technology. It focuses on the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, which was founded in 1916, and will also look into the future. Filmmakers like Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are household names because of the way they managed to bring our imagination to life on screen. There are epic stories of triumph and tragedy amidst the engineers who painstakingly developed the technology and standards that ended up in the hands of creative filmmakers. This documentary will shine the spotlight on the unsung heroes who are the inventors and perfecters of what is arguably the most important communication tool in the history of the industrial age. There are many fascinating stories out there about how some amazing moments came to be, and we're going to pull back the curtain and show viewers how it all happens.

Other highlights include:

   - If HDTV has lived up to its potential
   - The "democratization" of video production
   - Dark's thoughts on Ultra HD/4K
   - Breaking into the business today in the midst of disruption

Read the entire interview on TV Technology.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

SMPTE Taps Dark to Produce "Moving Images" Documentary

The Oscar and Emmy Award-winning Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) has named motion imaging technology and creative visionary Randall Dark as producer of the feature length documentary, "Moving Images." Howard Lukk, former vice president of production technology at The Walt Disney Studios will direct from an initial treatment written by Chris Kenneally.

"Moving Images" will explore excitement surrounding the development of motion imaging technology from the turn of the twentieth century through the present while inquiring what the future has in store. Featuring interviews with top filmmakers, historians, entrepreneurs and engineers, the documentary will investigate the influence art and science have on each other.

"SMPTE has played a vital role in the advancement of movies and television for nearly 100 years. I'm so honored that I get to help tell the story of the people who literally invented the technology that I've built my entire career on," said Dark.

The SMPTE Board of Governors authorized the initial funding for the project for a 90-minute theatrical feature, as well as an abbreviated television version. In order to continue with the production work required, SMPTE is now seeking supporters to underwrite the project through an Indiegogo campaign. Supporters will become part of the SMPTE legacy of setting the standard for motion imaging.

For more information on the "Moving Images" documentary, visit the project's Indiegogo page.