Jeremy is correct, I think, or at least he is not alone, in
questioning whether or not digitized video is of "broadcast
quality." However, broadcast quality is a rather vague term.
Is Hi-8 broadcast quality? Certainly productions shot on
Hi-8 have been broadcast nationwide by PBS and other networks.
Some broadcast engineers don't really like Hi-8, of course.
Some corporate production houses are producing both in-house
pieces for internal use and for broadcast, which are actually
finished entirely digitally. Burroughs Wellcome, for example,
has done this in our area, the Research Triangle. Subjectively
digital video doesn't look exactly like analog video, but nor
does analog video look like film. I personally think that more
and more productions are going to be completed digitally simply
because it is faster and that broadcasters will adjust to the
look of digital video. It is relatively easy to incorporate
special effects into the production as part of the digital,
nonlinear editing process. As to preservation, the chief advantage
of digital media is that they are not degraded through use or
duplication or through nonuse and storage. I do not believe that
digital(production)cameras will replace film, however, for a long time.
It may also be a while before they replace analog video cameras. No
electronic medium comes close to IMAX, of course, and it is difficult
to imagine when one will. While I personally prefer the look of film
at least as a production medium, I am willing to admit that in some
perhaps many situations digital video offers a number of advantages
in postproduction, even when it will only serve as a basis for
conforming the original film. But this is off the track of the
main issue at hand, preservation. Some preservationist may find
that the advantages of digital storage and retrieval outweigh the
disadvantages, and some scholars may find that digital systems
increase their access to these materials without reducing the
quality of the images for future scholars. While as a scholar I
would prefer to view a work in its original form or medium, I also
realize that my use of analog materials degrades the quality of those
materials for others.
Hap Kindem UNC-CH