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October 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Henry Breitrose <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 4 Oct 1994 19:04:37 +0000
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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 Jason Clabaugh <[log in to unmask]> asks about video capture software.
I've used such software to enable students to quote directly from
videocassettes of films, and while the technology is (barely) suitable for
instructional purposes, it's a very long way from what one would want for
archival storage.
The problem is that visual information requires lots of digits of storage
and lots of computer power to transform from analog to digital form and
back to something viewable in real time. The method for economizing is
called compression, in which some data are sacrified and other data encoded
in economical ways, to be unpacked when required. There are several
generally accepted compression alogrithms, and virtually all of them look
terrible from an aesthetic perspective. The best of the more--or-less
accepted alogrithms, which meet High Definition TV standards (still much
lower than 35mm film) is known as MPEG-2. The problem is that MPEG-2
requires sophisticated computers with lots of power, and significant
amounts of storage...many gigabytes for a feature film.
This is probably more about penguins that anyone wants to know, but the
moral is that for ordinary mortals, academic, and the rest of us
PC-Compatible and Macintosh users, digitized moving images will be very
useful for instruction, but not ready for archival prime-time for quite a
-Henry Breitrose
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