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April 1991


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82 Malcolm Dean 213-5-5676 <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 15 Apr 91 10:18:00 PDT
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> Grain is now, and I hope always will be, a very precise term
> when used to describe media characteristics. It is not "loosely
> used in a variety of media." It is film specific. Except,
> apparently, when academics get their hands on the language.
This is simply not true. Granularity, once again, is widely used
in a variety of fields. In programming, granularity refers to a
program which has been carefully designed with a number of
roughly equally sized modules and subroutines. Robert Carr,
designer of Framework and the new Go interface, spoke of
granularity as an important design goal in "great" (there's that
word again!) software.
There are other interesting etymological connections. A grain was
probably the first ancient measure, both of weight and value. It is
possible the Eqyptian system of weights and measures was based on a
"grain" value which permeated their economic and scientific systems.
In this context, "grain" indicates the finest degree of practical
Returning to the question of grain in the media, we say that a
broadcast or film has "grain" when the information displayed is of
less resolution than the capabilities of the broadcast medium. The
"grains" have become visible.