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I’ve Looked at “Lynn” from Two Sides Now

November 28th, 2016

I was shocked and dismayed to read in The New York Times that in its opening weekend Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk “took in a breathtakingly low $930,000 at 1,176 theaters.” Maybe it was the competition (which included Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). Maybe it was the timing, between a bruising election and the Thanksgiving holiday in […]

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Call for Proposals for Presentations at the 2017 HPA Tech Retreat

September 5th, 2016

  Welcome back from Labor Day! It’s time to get back into the grind and to consider the Hollywood Professional Association’s upcoming technology event. The 2017 HPA Tech Retreat will take place February 20-24 at the Hyatt Regency Resort in Indian Wells, CA (Palm Springs area). Those of you not familiar with the event will […]

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Help Fund a Book About Henry Sutton, Television Pioneer

August 15th, 2016

  In 1890, Henry Sutton, of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia, published the diagram above (minus the annotations) in The Telegraphic Journal and Electrical Review. It was, conceivably, the first viable proposal for a complete television system (this diagram shows only an elevation of the receiver). Was Sutton able to televise the Melbourne Cup race in 1885? Did […]

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It’s the End of an Era, But Which?

July 26th, 2016

  The day after the 100th anniversary of the first meeting of the society that became SMPTE, The New York Times reported on July 25, 2016, on the front page of its business section, on the end of an era. The headline was “Once $50,000. Now, VCRs collect dust.” If only we knew which era […]

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Crowded Room, Empty Booth

April 20th, 2016

Yesterday, at the 2016 NAB Show in Las Vegas, the National Association of Broadcasters’ big annual event, I visited “The ATSC 3.0 Consumer Experience” at the southernmost end of the corridor outside the upper level of the South Hall. It’s shown above in an artist’s rendering. It was actually bigger and more crowded, so crowded, […]

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Ralph Baruch 1923-2016 (and me)

March 5th, 2016

  Ralph Baruch died on Thursday, March 3, 2016, at age 92. A giant of our industry, after escaping the Nazis in Europe, he was a movie-theater usher, an engineer at Empire Broadcasting, and an ad seller for Channel 5 in New York before joining CBS in 1954, heading the newly spun-off Viacom in 1971, […]

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IEEE Proceedings: Fandom of the Opera

March 2nd, 2016

  This one has it all, from toxic candles to quantum entanglement, the story of how opera created the modern media world, with full references. Here’s a free link to the paper, published in the March 2016 issue of the Proceedings of the IEEE: The Fandom of the Opera Opera-house-based baseball-playing robots? A 200-ton music synthesizer? “No […]

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The First Bootleg Recording

February 24th, 2016

  Opera has a long history of bootleg recording. The “Golden Age of Opera” label, begun in the 1950s, used unauthorized off-air recordings from Metropolitan Opera (Met) radio broadcasts. Before that, Wagner-Nichols promoted recorders and recordings of those broadcasts. And Classic Editions issued an opera recording supposedly made in Italy that was, in fact, an […]

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Let’s Go Mets!

October 9th, 2015

  As this is being written, the New York Mets are still contenders for the 2015 baseball championship. They won in 1969 and 1986 after having the worst record in 162-game major-league-season history when they first took the field. When the team was founded, it was the Metropolitan Baseball Club of New York, a name […]

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HPA Tech Retreat 2016 – Call for Proposals

September 8th, 2015

  Call for Proposals for Presentations at the 2016 HPA Tech Retreat Welcome back from Labor Day! It’s time to get back into the grind and to consider the Hollywood Professional Alliance’s upcoming technology event. The 2016 HPA Tech Retreat will take place February 15-19 at the Hyatt Regency Resort in Indian Wells, CA (Palm […]

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The Parabolic Mic Was First Used for Opera

August 28th, 2015

When Thomas Edison filed his first patent caveat for motion pictures in 1888, the only purpose he mentioned for them was opera. When SMPTE-founder Charles Francis Jenkins explained in 1925 why TV sets needed both picture displays and loudspeakers, it was “so that an entire opera in both action and music may be received” (Vision by Radio, p. […]

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2015 HPA Tech Retreat – Call for Submissions

September 2nd, 2014

Labor Day is over, so it’s that time of year again: time to think about proposing presentations for the 2015 HPA Tech Retreat, February 9-13 at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells (Palm Springs, California area). Many say it’s the most-important event of the year. For those of you not familiar with the retreat, HPA is […]

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25 Years of HDTV Broadcasting

June 4th, 2014

Today, according to calendars in the United States, is the 25th anniversary of China’s crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Yesterday, according to those same calendars, was the 25th anniversary of modern, regularly scheduled, HDTV broadcasting (in Japan). In the local time zones, where the HDTV broadcasting was received, it was actually the […]

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Artistic and Educational “Street” View

May 23rd, 2014

Are you in or around Washington, D.C.?  Will you be there anytime soon? If it’s before June 2, get yourself to the West Building of the National Galley of Art for a peek at James Nares’s Street. It’s on the ground floor, on the west side, right next to the Kaufman furniture galleries. Nares used a […]

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The Newton and Leibniz of Imaging

January 6th, 2014

Some say Isaac Newton first invented the calculus. Others say it was Gottfried Leibniz. Imagine what it would be like if you could take a seminar on the calculus from both of them! Well, you can’t. They’re both dead. But Charles Poynton and John Watkinson are still alive. They’re very different people with very different […]

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Request for Proposals for 2014 HPA Tech Retreat

September 3rd, 2013

Labor Day is over, so it’s that time of year again: time to think about proposing presentations for the 2014 HPA Tech Retreat, February 17-21 at the Hyatt Regency Indian Wells (Palm Springs, California area). Many say it’s the most-important event of the year. For those of you not familiar with the retreat, HPA is […]

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Goberman Leaving Lincoln Center

June 8th, 2012

  When you think of the very latest in motion-image technology, you might think of laser projection, glasses-free stereoscopic-3D, digital surround sound, high-dynamic-range imaging, and the like. Would you believe that one man dealt with all of that in the 1970s? And that he was trained as an orchestra cello player? Lincoln Center for the […]

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World Opera Project Needs Help

October 10th, 2011

Those of you who follow my activities know that one of them is discussing how, over the course of the last four centuries, opera helped create the modern media world: electronic home entertainment, stereo-sound transmission, pay-cable, headphones, movies, and more. Here’s a press release about a recent lecture I did on that subject at the […]

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Sony OLED Reference Monitors

February 8th, 2011

At next week’s HPA Tech Retreat in Rancho Mirage, California, Sony will introduce their TriMaster EL series of OLED reference monitors, the 16.5-inch BVM E170 and the 24.5-inch BVM E250. Here are some of their characteristics: 30,000-hour panel life better energy efficiency than even LCD faster pixels than even CRT more contrast than even CRT […]

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Everything Is First!

February 4th, 2011

The laugh-getting tag line for Garrison Keillor’s weekly Lake Wobegon stories is that “all of the children are above average.” It’s funny because it’s impossible. So, too, with 3D; not everything can be a first. I happen to have studied in depth the intersecting histories of media technology and the art form known as opera. […]

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3D vs. HD?

May 12th, 2010

A session titled “Depth Perceptions: Technical Approaches for 3D Video Integration” at yesterday’s 2010 Cable Connection Spring Technical Forum drove home the current conflict between 3D and HDTV in the home.  Moderated by Comcast CTO Tony Werner, the standing-room-only opening event at the conference, jointly sponsored by CableLabs, NCTA, and SCTE, unveiled some of the […]

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How Old Is Your Stereographer?

April 12th, 2010

Speaking at the Sports Video Group Chairman’s Forum in Las Vegas Saturday night, Professor Martin Banks of the Visual Space Perception Laboratory at the University of California – Berkeley raised an interesting issue regarding 3D comfort.  Stereographers (directors of 3D cinematography and videography) are responsible for, among other things, the visual comfort of the audience. […]

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3D Brings Science to Showbiz

April 5th, 2010

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is respected worldwide as the largest non-profit ocean research, engineering, and education organization.  Now, through its Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory, it’s also involved in for-hire 3D production and post, offering complete 3D rigs that weigh as little as four pounds as well as systems that will operate from 14,000 […]

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Broadcast & Broadband Together

April 2nd, 2010

If broadcast spectrum is ceded to broadband, do all the Super Bowl viewers need individual links to watch?  In many cases, broadcast is a much more efficient use of spectrum than broadband. That concept — and a way to marry the two — is spelled out in “Broadcast Spectrum or Broadband Spectrum? We Want Both,” […]

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3D Is Wonderful, Except….

April 1st, 2010

Richard Sandomir of The New York Times was among the press who attended yesterday’s demonstration of what 3D Masters coverage might look like, and he wrote a glowing review of it that appeared in today’s paper: It begins, “If the test footage shot recently at the Augusta National Golf Club is an authentic gauge, […]

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Cheerleader Says Whoa!

March 25th, 2010

A recent editorial said of 3DTV, “Let’s back away from irrational exuberance….”  Was it written by a broadcaster or program producer worried about losing audience to those offering 3DTV?  Not exactly. Here’s the first sentence of the editorial writer’s official biography: “Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the U.S. […]

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Consumer Reports already finds differences between 3DTV sets

March 24th, 2010

There’s a video here: One note: It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be unable to see 3D when the axis of your eyes is vertical.

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2010 HPA Tech Retreat: More 3D Follow-Ups

March 10th, 2010

I wrote previously about the strange case of potential customers wanting to buy Panasonic’s 3D professional camcorder even before the company had finalized its optical system.  Panasonic brought the AG-3DA1 to last month’s HPA Tech Retreat (along with a professional 3D monitor and a 3D demo truck).  Mike Bergeron also provided a presentation about the […]

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iPad enters Broadcast Pix

March 4th, 2010

The first iPad has yet to be sold, but Broadcast Pix has already announced iPixPanel, an application that allows an iPad to control Slate production switchers.  There’s more here:

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2010 HPA Tech Retreat: What Gave Some “Avatar” Viewers Discomfort?

March 3rd, 2010

It’s hard to report on the HPA Tech Retreat.  There were almost 100 presentations in the main program, not counting more than 60 breakfast roundtables, four demo rooms (and a truck), and networking lunches, dinners, and strange-rules softball games for the more than 450 registered participants.  Still, it’s worth the effort, if only to recall […]

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Never Mind 3D; What About HDTV?

March 3rd, 2010

TV Technology reported today that “Blu-ray’s share of the video-disc market shrunk to its lowest level in recent months, pulling in only about 8 percent compared to standard DVD movie and TV titles, for the third week of February.” There’s more here: So my question is:  If consumers aren’t even buying ordinary today’s Blu-ray […]

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Now That We Know What 3DTV Is…

February 26th, 2010

In my post “This Thing Called 3D” I asked why all TV sets shouldn’t be considered 3D TVs: There was no specific definition of a 3DTV, and all TVs can display some forms of 3D.  Well, now there’s a definition, and, as a result, the Consumer Electronics Association has revised its projection of the […]

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Panasonic 3D Camcorder: Show Us the Money

February 12th, 2010

In the 3D-in-the-Home “supersession” at next week’s HPA Tech Retreat, one presentation is titled “Are You Nuts?”  I thought of that at today’s Panasonic pre-NAB press conference. Let me emphasize from the outset that I was not thinking about Panasonic in the “nuts” category.  As best I could tell, no one from the company lied, which […]

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3D Test & Alignment Chart

February 12th, 2010

Cinematographer Sean Fairburn, “after 6 years talking about it,” has “spent 3 Days with designing a Complete 3D Alignment chart for use with Side by Side and Beamsplitter Rigs. This Chart has built in many features I always need during Prep and testing and in the Field shot for shot. It is also intended […]

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“The” HDMI 3D Spec

February 9th, 2010

Aldo Cugnini reported yesterday in Display Daily that HDMI Licensing released the 3D portion of HDMI Specification 1.4: It’s available for download here: So is this “the” consumer 3D standard?  Perhaps not — at least not with a definite article. According to Cugnini, “It is format-agnostic, providing support for seven video-format configurations called […]

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3D: It’s All the Little Things

February 6th, 2010

Looking at a 3D monitor, you’ll probably need to be wearing 3D glasses.  But looking down at your switcher controls, intercom, or notes, you’d probably rather not. That’s why All-Mobile Video engineer-in-charge Richie Wirth, Jr. came up with 3D “bifocals” (actually, half glasses).  They work perfectly.

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InPhase In Trouble?

February 5th, 2010

The Longmont (Colorado) Times reported yesterday that holographic-storage technology company InPhase has apparently shut down:

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HPA Tech Retreat Goodies

February 3rd, 2010

There have been many additions to the program of the HPA Tech Retreat, which starts on February 16, from Alien Planet director Pierre de Lespinois to Rubber Duck Media Lab president Paul Childers to NBC Universal vp of technology policy Greg DePriest.  There are too many to list here, so check the online program at […]

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What’s Old Is New Again

January 27th, 2010

A 14-inch 4:3 TV with a picture tube, rabbit ears, volume & channel knobs, and black-&-white pictures — a throwback to 1952?  Actually, it’s LG’s very latest offering, the Serie 1 Retro Classic. The pictures can be made to be color — or sepia, by the way. Read more here:

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Here’s Hoping!

January 21st, 2010

I don’t know of anyone who has seen a field-emission-type display who hasn’t loved it and wanted to use it as a professional reference monitor.  They have exactly the same rise- and fall-times, color, and gray scale of CRT monitors because they use CRT phosphors, excited by electron emissions.  They have the edge-to-edge sharpness of […]

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SMPTE PDA on Media Technology & Opera

January 15th, 2010

SMPTE’s Professional Development Academy will be conducting a webinar on media technology & opera on February 11.  Why? “Stereo sound and electronic home entertainment are two technologies invented for opera. Arguably, broadcasting, location recording, movies, and possibly even the telephone owe their existence to opera. “Today, opera productions can involve banks of computer-graphics processors, infra-red […]

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One, Two, Three-D

January 14th, 2010

The Radiocommunication Sector of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU-R), perhaps best known for its global digital video standard, Rec. 601, today released a report offering a three-phase “roadmap for future 3D TV implementation….” The first generation, what many already call 3D TV, is called “plano-stereoscopic television” by the report.  It’s not full 3D because “viewers […]

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100th Anniversary Today

January 13th, 2010

  It isn’t often that we get hundredth anniversaries in media technology, so I figured this one — a double-header, actually — is worth mentioning.  Today is the anniversary of the first live broadcast of a complete opera; yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the first live opera broadcast. If that’s enough for you, stop […]

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3D Glasses and Color

January 12th, 2010

One of the reviews of 3D at the Consumer Electronics Show, by Scott Greczkowski in Multichannel News <>, contained these sentences: “To me 3D is missing the eye popping color, everything is a color of gray or blue. Bright vibrant colors such as red, yellow and green are too dampened all because your wearing what […]

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Anyone for 2D Glasses?

January 11th, 2010

Today’s UK Telegraph has a story headlined: “Do 3D films make you sick? It’s not a piece suggesting that 3D makes everyone sick, but it points out that some individuals, perhaps with visual problems, can’t stand 3D even in movie theaters. That’s a problem worth noting.  Shutting one eye won’t help; the other will still […]

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Sony’s 3-D TVs: Caffeine-Free Coke or No-Fat Coke?

December 6th, 2009

There have been many news stories lately about Sony expecting that 30 to 50 percent of the TVs it sells in the fiscal year starting April 2012 will be 3-D capable.  Some people seem amazed that the proportion is so high; they could as easily be amazed it’s so low. It’s common to see supermarket […]

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Don’t Miss This!

November 5th, 2009

Registration just opened for the 16th-annual Tech Retreat, an epic event of the Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA).  It will take place February 16-19 at Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa, Rancho Mirage, California. Despite HPA’s name, the retreat is neither in nor (exclusively) about Hollywood (though top-ranking executives of the major studios will be there) […]

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Seduced. And Abandoned?

October 30th, 2009

It’s possible that you’ve never heard of AUO; it’s unlikely you’ve never seen their products.  They’re one of the world’s largest makers of LCD displays, ranging from 1.2-inch to more than 65-inch.  And now they’ve announced a “full-HD” resolution 14-inch OLED display. It would be nice to be able to replace picture-tube-based reference monitors with […]

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Not All Consumers Are Idiots

October 22nd, 2009

Doug Lung’s RF Report today discusses an FCC report on the testing of 136 digital-television converter boxes, presented at the IEEE Broadcast Symposium. Twelve boxes failed to work, 30% couldn’t get Daylight Savings Time right, both single-conversion and dual-conversion tuners had interference issues, “some of the boxes had problems with output video quality, and at […]

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Not Quite Like Being There, But…

October 21st, 2009

Many people have requested the PowerPoint slides from my presentations on Lip-Sync to the Audio Engineering Society, the International Broadcasting Convention to the first Schubin Cafe, and Acquisition Issues to HD World.  They may be found in the “Get the Download” section of this site.

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