Magazine article American Cinematographer

REPORT FROM THE 122nd SMPTE TECHNICAL CONFERENCE

Magazine article American Cinematographer

REPORT FROM THE 122nd SMPTE TECHNICAL CONFERENCE

Article excerpt

It has always seemed to me a ridiculous waste of money to pay a registration fee to attend a Technical Conference and then not give the time to listen to its papers which cover one's own spheres of activity-both commercial and of personal interest.

Equally, it is a waste of personal opportunity to have the possibility to listen to someone of international standing and experience and not take advantage of the event to charge up one's own batteries of knowledge.

There cannot be a single person who earns his livelihood and feeds his children by the application of the camera medium-or TV or sound recording, for that matter-who could not have found a number of papers to interest and edify him at the recent SMPTE Technical Conference.

The papers at the Society's 122nd Technical Conference, held in New York, really had something for everyone, but looking mainly at advanced current state-of-the-art technology, as well as glances into the future and reviews of our technical ethos.

Fortunately there were few, if any, papers which were so erudite and scattered with equations that only a select few in the audience could comprehend, and fewer still which read like puffs out of a manufacturer's catalog or instruction manual which could have been picked up at the company's equipment exhibition.

The first day was taken up by two major papers looking, on the one hand, at current and future trends in TV broadcasting (see panel) and on the other hand, the past history and present TV broadcasting in Britain.

For persons deeply interested in the film medium, there was equally much to take heart from in both papers. Joe Roizen, talking about the future, described so many new outlets for image communication that all of us, whether we use film or TV cameras, are going to be kept very busy satisfying the demand, while the trio of speakers representing the Royal Television Society said that despite having built-up TV networks from the very beginning on the premise of using video equipment whenever possible for all manner of drama productions, modern practice has tended to increase the use of film, in that all forecasts for the future point the same way.

Looking at Joe Roizen's beautifully illustrated paper, he showed a slide of a lady tourist in Nepal taking moving pictures with the latest TV camera and recorder which she was lugging around and one wondered whether she could always take the results to show her friends next time she traveled anywhere unless they had the same system and if, she or her children even could replay the results back to themselves in 50 years time, as the RTS showed us examples of very early TV, recorded for posterity on film.

As one who had had the pleasure of screening, for an aged Aunt and Uncle at their Golden Wedding Party, a film of the wedding taken by my father in 1915,1 feel sorry for those who eschew film even for home movies.

For those of us inalienably committed to film, there were papers recalling the introduction of Eastman Color films from the mid-30s to present day.

Starting with 16mm Kodachrome in 1935 (which was so contrasty it couldn't be used professionally because it couldn't be duplicated), running through monopack in 1942 (which could be printed by the Technicolor dye transfer process), to 5247 film used to make ROYAL JOURNEY, a film of the Royal Tour of Canada in 1951 (16 ASA to daylight only) to the first artificial light/daylight-with-a-filter film in 1953 (25 ASA), which also marked the introduction of the first integrated system that included the means of making intermediates, which are so necessary for creative filmmaking, the introduction of 50 ASA film in 1962, 100 ASA in 1968, the French invented CRI also in 1968, and the latest fine resolution 5247 in 1972. …

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