Thursday, 13 November 2008

RED EYES and 28k

I've been studying High Definition technology and aesthetics for a long while now. Today I heard that Red are releasing not just a 5k camera, the Epic, but a 28k camera.... The Japanese made an 8k prototype a few years back. Here's what I posted on the Cinematographers Mailing List:

I just caught the announcement about Red's variations - it's an Obama-like moment, a sort of 'you'd never thought it would happen so fast catch your breath kind of thing'.

I think we'd better for a moment remember Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier the father of modern signal analysis which all of this stuff uses, which enables the web, iphones, computers, or as Jim Jannard would have it: brains. (Fourier also seems to have discovered the greenhouse effect in 1824!)

In a way it's all really good now, we can all settle down and remember what we're about: there's digital resolution and the paraphernalia around it and then there's cinematography, electronic or otherwise...

Terry Flaxton, UK DP

I realise that in putting up this post I'm breathing a sigh of relief. The relief is in having taken on the task of understanding the technology, of understanding that Fourier's work is the basis for the software, even if it has changed into wavelet transforms as opposed to discrete fourier transforms..... The relief is of admitting to being an artist as opposed to technician, someone who is more interested in the aesthetics that derive from the form or the material base of the medium.

As the numbers grow into the astronomical they approach the kind of resolution that Ansel Adams might have used and for him, though he was occupied with the idea of exposure, if not the very act, his basic intent was to make an image, somehow. He was concerned with 'representation' and not abstraction. Re Presentation, the re-showing of the world to the world...

I do make re presentational acts, certainly when being a cinematographer for the ideas of others, but for myself I also enjoy the abstracting of the world into elements that somehow reflect my own nature, in a way that gets closer to the nature of the self than the obvious literal act of showing the world as the world to the world.

Anyway, in knowing that the lid has been blown off the ceiling of resolution, my own study remains in tact: I'll look at the form and what the form means and I'll look at the levels of increase in the form, the upward gradient of resolution - only now I get to climb out of the dark bunker of ignorance into the bright sunlight.