Thursday, 23 July 2009

The Concept of Colour Space from the practitioners standpoint

Colour and the Moving Image

Colour is a phenomenon of mind and eye - what you now perceive as colour, is shape and form rendered as experience. Visible light is electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths between 400 and 700 nanometers. It is remarkable that so many distinct causes of colour should apply to a small band of electromagnetic radiation to which the eye is sensitive, a band less than one "octave" wide in an electromagnetic spectrum of more than 80 "octaves." When thinking about the issue of synesthesia, remember that it occurs in a very limited sensorium.

Above are two representations of colour space. In each, the coloured area represents the visual field that evolution has endowed us with. This is one octave of possible experience.

Trying to systematize the idea of colour and naming that understanding ‘colour space’ has historical precedents which I’ll discuss later, but the notion of systematizing the concept grows out of ‘Enlightenment’ desires to know the world in a material way by mapping and planning, then proceeding into Victorian methods derived from, indexing and cataloging – which comes from a desire to create the experience of understanding from methodology, an idea who’s dominance is still with us.

Colour has been formulated by intellectual cartographers but is not a map – colour is experiential as the cinematographer well knows. In photographic terms colour as a function of seeing and meaning came late to the form. Because of this, notions of areas of containment of colour grew – as if colour had been graphically applied to an area - thus denying its inherence in form. This is in fact true in terms of late analogue televisual forms – but not true of digital electronic cinematography.

Film is exposed and latently holds an image, then is developed to ‘reveal’ that image. Film was and is a medium that had and still has many intricate and alchemical processes before its exhibition and revelation of a captured reality in the cinema: a temple built for the purpose of ritual display, where all who enter are required to suspend their disbelief. Film asks us to deny the actual material reality of the environment we are in and also to deny something of our own self.

Colour in this environment too was to be a function of the act of belief in the unreal. The generation of the idea of Colour space is an umbrella concept under which sets of ideas coalesced around the organisation of that function and as such took on various methodologies for its assemblage.

Because we are the ape that we are, mathematics quickly becomes for us a key organising factor in the description of this functionality.

“A colour model is an abstract mathematical model describing the way colours can be represented as tuples of numbers, typically as three or four values or colour components - for instance RGB and CMYK”.

“Most colour models begin as three dimensional forms because when you distribute the values in 2D space, that space cannot hold all the necessary axes relevant to the distribution of those values”.

In one of the examples above, there is a simple distribution of values that charts how a display from a computer is related to a display from a printer - in other words what the computer can display and what a printer can display.

The other example of colour space seeks to demonstrate the relationship of the visible spectrum to film, print and the computer.

“The range of colours varies enormously across different media. Of the billions of colours in the visible spectrum, a computer screen can display millions, a high-quality printer in the order of thousands, and older computer systems may support only 216 colours across different platforms.”

I could elucidate further on variations of description of print colour space, film colour space and computer colour space, I could elucidate further on whether those spaces are best displayed in their respective display co-ordinates of RGB or CMYK.

I could try to tell a history of film space and how electronic space addressed that, of how Kodak generated the cineon file system which was created for electronic encoding of film colour space with later developments of Digital Picture Exchange (or DPX), both of which generate a set of separate files each of which is one frame of film taken over into one digital frame of display - of how each carried meta-data about the conditions under which the image was generated in - and so on and so forth - but I won’t because that is for further reading - if you are interested.

What I will do and I’m trying to do it right now, is to indicate that simple technical terms that are understood by ‘the industries’ are replete with not only cultural and social meaning - but also exist within paradigms of understanding that are now changing – primarily due to the advent of the digital.

The Practitioner

I wish to turn now to the practical act of the cinematographer entering into the concept of colour space and how that can be achieved.
The early issues of video and film are now behind us and in some senses a rapprochement between film and the latest representative of the electronic – digital electronic cinematography - has occurred.

Original electronic imaging was analogue in form – as was film – yet the formulation of the capturing of an image was different from film.

Film has a large latitude – one could make an intelligent ‘mistake’ and rework the material and formulate a sense of ‘atmosphere’ within the image. This is commonly known as ‘the Look’.

Analogue video was clean and clinical and you had to get the exposure right – in the early days, if you didn’t get exposure correct then you didn’t get focus. Colour itself was grafted on to an already set formulation of image capture – PAL - it was effectively an afterthought: Phase Alternate Line.

I shot one of the first features, generated on video and transferred to film for theatrical distribution; this was Birmingham Film and Video Workshops production ‘Out of Order’. I approached the task by imagining video as being like a reversal stock – with very little latitude for mistakes in exposure. The transfer to film was adequate, but when compared to today’s digital transfer techniques, was not good in terms of colour.

With the advent of electronic cinematography something very important has happened in the capturing of the image. In both photo-chemical and electronic cinematography until the image is developed, the image resides in a latent form in both the silver halides and the un-rendered data. Development, the bringing forth of the image in film is similar to the rendering of the image in the digital and electronic domain – and importantly, colour is within the bit-depth of electronic data and is therefore an integral part of its material form.

This developing practical understanding in the professional realm is counter to arguments that circulate within media theory – for instance: New Media A Critical introduction latest publication 2009, Lister, et al, claims an essential virtuality to new media where the precise immateriality of digital media is stressed over and over again.

However, industrial and professional expertise now challenges academic convention by seeking to re-inscribe digital image making as a material process.

One of the first films that took a material film base and dealt with colour in the electronic realm was ‘O Brother Where are thou’. When Roger Deakins was asked by the Coen Brothers to shoot this, being a creative and intuitive cinematographer, he knew that he was being offered a chance to cross the bridge between the ‘convergent’ and the ‘integrative’ paradigm. Deakins job as he saw it was to enact the kind of colour space seen in the faded, poignant, postcards of the twenties. Deakins knows his film colour space. He’s had enough practice.

I want to tell you the kind of method that a practitioner like Roger Deakins employs to understand the function of colour in the world when faced with a multi-million dollar set of technologies - also adopted by a friend of mine when shooting a quarter of a billion dollar production recently.

If you decide that you’re going for a certain look, because intellectually you’ve justified to yourself that this look in some way underlines the intention of the director - and after you and he or she has toured the galleries, looked through the books, seen the movies that seem to relate to the project – and after you’ve jettisoned all of that because you know that referencing is mostly an act of creative failure and after every residue of resistance has gone, then and only then you turn to your intuition about the way you must proceed.

It might be that that intuition is to evoke green as a colour - or maybe it’s a magenta cast - or it has a warm glow which at the dramatic end you feel has to be taken away from the audience and supplanted by its opposite....

Which ever of these tactics you decide to embrace to achieve your goal, you accept the fact that you have to enter a colour space and live in that space until you know it fully - so fully that you can reveal its nature to both yourself and then the audience.

So you buy yourself some sunglasses.

If the world you need to reveal is green, you find the right colour green and wear those sunglasses for a month or for however long you need to wear them to know the world that has that particular shade of green.
Conversely, but with a little more risk, you can take the opposite approach and buy a pair of sunglasses that are the complimentary opposite colour of the world you eventually wish to invoke.

In so doing you exposure yourself to the opposite world of colour so that when you take the glasses off, the complimentary opposite of the world is revealed with even greater intensity – more so than the continuous appraisal of the world by seeing the correct colour continuously. That moment is a moment of incomparable intensity.


I now want to give you a brief idea of how we began to systematise the idea of colour:

Aristotle developed the first known theory of colour. He postulated that God sent down colour from the heavens as celestial rays. He identified four colours corresponding to the four elements: earth, fire, wind, and water.

Leonardo da Vinci was the first to suggest an alternative hierarchy of colour. In his Treatise on Painting, he said that while philosophers viewed white as the "cause, or the receiver" of colours and black as the absence of colour, both were essential to the painter, with white representing light, and black, darkness. He listed his six colours and within this is the age old symbolic system of alchemy.

The Enlightenment project then later stimulated a material examination of our physical state so that eventually theories developed that began to mirror and explain how we next believed that we ‘really’ perceive colour.

Isaac Newton created a colour wheel of perception in response.

Moses Harriss wrote the Natural System of Colours in 1776.

J. W. Goethe developed a colour harmony theory on the basis of his hue circle. In this circle, colours are categorised into two sides, the positive and the negative.

Ewald Hering (1834-1918) devised the first accurate theory of colour vision. And so on and so forth until we truly enter the physiological description of ‘reality’:

“Colour is a response of the eye and brain to data received by the visual systems evolved from the immediate environment. Objects emit light in various mixtures of wavelengths. Our minds perceive those wavelength-mixtures as a phenomenon we call colour, and this perception creates questions that current colour theory tries to explain”.

Vertebrate animals were primitively tetrachromatic. Tetrachromacy is the condition of possessing four independent channels for conveying colour information, or possessing four different types of cone cells in the eye.

With the trichromacy normal in humans, the gamut of colours construed by our perception will not cover all possible colours. Human trichromatic colour vision is a recent evolutionary novelty that first evolved in the common ancestor of the Old World Primates. Placental mammals lost both the short and mid wavelength cones. Human red-green colour blindness occurs because the two copies of the red and green opsin genes remain in close proximity on the X chromosome.

So we humans have a weak link in our chain with regards to colour - we are not 4 cone tetrochromats, we have three and in some cases only two - in extremely rare cases we have one!

We are now within a profoundly material description of our experience, yet this is incomplete, especially in terms of emotion and intelligence as has been brought out in other papers - I want to bring in another idea that relates to this description which is called: the Modular Transfer Function.

We humans value detail and sharpness more than resolution in an image. High resolution is synonymous with preservation of detail and sharpness, but high pixel count - which is generally regarded as being a measure of how good an image is - does not always translate into high resolution.

“As you try to increase the amount of information on the screen, the contrast that you get from a small resolution element to the next smallest resolution element is diminished. The point where we can no longer see contrast difference is called the limit of visual acuity. It’s the law of diminishing returns, and a system’s ability to preserve contrast at various resolutions is described by the modulation transfer function (MTF).“

The point of this technical description is that, as Alice observed on traveling through the looking glass, the smaller you go, the rounder you get. As Ivan Illych noted in his analysis of the creation of systems, there are drawbacks within the actual material construct of the system that you design. And this is especially so with colour: for instance a camera might be at 4k resolution in red – but it might only be 2k resolution in blue.

What I’m trying to come to here, is that I regard the area that each colour space covers as being a footprint of understanding, demonstrative of a world view - and world views, as we know, have many ramifications.


In film alone, compare Technicolour of the '50's with Colour film in the Eastern Block in the 80's and Chinese colour film in the 40’s. Surely a statement about national psyches and all existing within different film colour spaces.... The dominant colouration of these spaces speak about the state of the nations zeitgeist at the time of production.

The recent electronic and data based colour space is a statement about this particular time and the new possible epistemologies of understanding that are developing beyond the simple systems of materialist thought and materialist theory.


Using the metaphor of ‘modular transfer function’, that a chain of information and in this case a chain of understanding, is only as wide and as deep and as strong, to mix my metaphors, as the weakest link in that chain. Then only in the narrow optical region, just that region to which the human eye is sensitive, is the energy of light well attuned to the electronic structure of matter from which colour derives.

But we must not confuse this attunement as a metaphor of complete meaning - there are many meanings to be obtained within the concept of colour space, many emotional spaces, many spiritual and many intellectual spaces – and above all, many experiential spaces.

We see within a matrix of words when considering the subject, but when simply experiencing it, we do so on a different level of comprehension.

1 With the advent of the digital and our necessary remediation of it via older analogue understandings, we are upon the brink of constructing new concepts, to utilise the metaphor of colour, that will enable us to see outside of our current visible spectrum and therefore gain understanding to illuminate our intellectual world with greater intensity and detail. In this ‘seeing’, new language will be generated, new ideas, new uses of light and new concepts of colour and understanding that will begin to match what is now intimated through the development of digital colour space.

To effect this change at a more rapid and experiential pace – to achieve revelation: let us all buy a new pair of sunglasses.

Making HD Work

In May 2009, though having shot quite a few times before on 4k, I spent a week on a 4k camera - here are some thoughts written immediately after shooting about the process in relation to the idea of art history:

This week brought into focus some issues around High resolution imaging and art.

The camera per se was invented to ‘capture’ ‘reality’ (as if it needed catching and like all wild things did not want to be caught).

Contemporary art seems to have long passed the idea of configuring reality through brush strokes or forming matter as simple representations of what seems to be before the artist and then exhibited to the public as an act of art. The last century discussed the idea that the artists conceptualising of an issue was at least as important as the materials he or she was using, until only the idea mattered and the form that was being used was some kind of barrier to that act.

But the camera relentlessly presses it’s two dimensional representation, whether photo-chemical or analogue video or latterly data, as the formal configuration of what lies before the person ‘capturing reality’ at a chosen moment - and yet this act is in contradiction to the dominant mode of art, including its exhibition at this point in time.

It seems to me, that in ‘the matter of art’, art historians are as important as artists for it is they who set the cultural value system that society’s dominant modes of reading of art lies within. The current mode of understanding of art within late capitalism is of course the commodification of art - giving it value so that it can be traded in the market place - whether that market place uses currency or tokens of value.

In the late 1930’s the Frankfurt Social Sciences research project moved to New York and in a moment of pure modernity, art historical appreciation of their own project changed. Two cultures, the continental and the American met and exchanged and entrained to produce the project we now make art within.

This collision produced a set of relationships between Theodore Adorno, Meyer Shapiro, Claude Levi-Straus, Herbert Marcuse, Arthur Porter et al.

Meyer Schapiro wrote a text on the appreciation of a sixth century church doorway that differed from other early sculptural works in that it was principally asymmetric - it depicted a sleeping figure, not a figure doing something - as well as many other features.

The contemporary project was examining an issue in a sophisticated way. If producing the idea of a biography of the artist to produce a reading of that artists art was bankrupt - i.e., the projection of a closeness felt through understanding of a life lived, then re-projecting that understanding on to a painting as if that projection in some way made sense of the painting was incorrect (after all, that life lived and understood by a contemporary mind was a fictionalisation) then ‘understanding the work through that fantasy was false.

So the project of the art historian became about finding the anonymous artist to study, then there could be no biographical projection. Also, the project had been up until Shapiros work, a looking at the general early romanesque work where certain fashions of representation were consistently used - Christ and the Saints in their place - as was that fashion. Shapiro looked at a trameu above a doorway that did not fit this because it was asymmetric and had representations of man and devil that were different. Shapiro worked out that prior interpretations were a reaction to the artist as biography, its opposite in fact, so what if the artwork were a description of the world that it was produced within.

All of this is tracked and beautifully described in Thomas Crow’s The Intelligence of Art, (University of North Carolina Press)

After many years and waves of fashion, through the sixties and the french intellectuals - Barthes, semiology, semantics signs and signifiers, through the post modern project until the present - what the art historian has been doing is paramount to the way the contemporary artists work is valued and therefore a conditioning factor in what they produce in the first place. It is what art history and what it considers to be worthwhile that determines the surface motions of curatorial practice that then determines what its extension, the art market, values and therefore the notion that the artist is an heroic adventurer in the new continent of meaning as a creative force that is wrong. This individual is no individual at all but a simple clone of a value system that is prevalent.

The YBA for instance simply is a tool of dominant values to challenge those least sophisticated of societal values. Even in the 30’s modern art was seen as froth. Right now, when the currents of the modernist project have become weak and are flowing back on themselves, as can be seen in a piece like Hirsts Diamond Skull, begun over 100 years ago, that is coming to its end.

So within all of this is someone like myself, raised above the general project of recording the world through digital media and presenting it back to itself through digital media (i.e. access to the more refined end of capture - that is hi resolution imaging). I now find myself having to enquire about the values of the project that uses the energy of current technology and the meaning that the ape that we are has successfully presented back to itself, so that I can realise my own internal needs to make a mark in the sand.

But given all of that, that we have a need to make work, (which needs questioning as it might not be an internal need but a demand of society for some individuals to be utilised like workers in a bee colony) - then if the project is about meaning and not representation, then the camera is the least best way of doing this - and yet intuitively I feel it is the only way for me at the moment !

So, during the last week I shot several new works not the least of which was one of my portraits projects where I use the moving image to capture someone being very still - like a statue, like a tableau vivant. All the time I’m asking people to be conscious of the power of their gaze. That it is energetic at the least and that at the most, they are actually emitting energy in that gaze that is met by a similar form of that energy by the viewer and that the screen is the liminal boundary where the two equivalent gazes meet, displaced only by time. Portraits of Bristol Universities Centenary captured the life of the university from the cleaning staff, via students, via professors, to the chancellor. As a work, this is more towards the corporate end of things, in that it is of an institution, but I see no barrier here to making the act as it sits within my general portraiture project.

However, photo realism and the problem of transposing the gaze of the viewer into a location he or she could not have been (except through luck) is not a problem in this piece as that is the ‘operator’ that works. Familiarity and unfamiliarity, stillness and movement, recognition on a universal scale, issues of size and display all come into play. The public recognises this stream of work and can place it in their value system, their interpretation and translation system and in terms of the overall social project the boat is not rocked but in fact, reaffirmed.

But of course there is no boat, no project, ‘no such thing as society’ as ‘that woman’ has said (at least in the uk) - there are only us sentient chickens. Yet that of course is another reading. Late capitalism requires us all to feel as individuals, in contradistinction to a 4th millennium BCE Egyptian slave who might have been more bonded to society and might have felt it their duty to sacrifice themselves for the whole. Nowadays that will not happen in action (throwing oneself under society's train so to speak), but in terms of the value system - it is the only game in town.

So for the artist interested in the nature of the functions that determine their activity, one of the first questions that the art historian has now to ask is: what is the viewer engaged in doing when meeting a new work of art (be it in image or sound or performance or whatever the artistic flavor of the month is)?

Picture this: You enter a gallery and there ‘it’ is (the artwork). What is it? What is it doing? What did the artist intend in segregating these elements and placing them before you? If it is recognisable then one simply marks it out of ten: It’s one of these and its a six. The curatorial elite requires that it is disguised to do its work so therefore it has to veil it’s functions. The more veiled, the more ‘unreadable’ the better. It’s very good if after a period of enquiry you recognise something - a material, a juxtaposition of materials and ideas - whatever the means - that finally something adds up and a little epiphany occurs and you ‘get it’ or recognise what the artists was up to in doing the work in the first place.

But all of this is a desert wine - easily appreciable. The connoisseur requires the wine to taste foul, then that is beyond public taste and because the function is then that only a few very sophisticated people can appreciate, it enables then to feel part of an elite. There are two readings here: that this small grouping lies directly in line after the art historian and controls the worlds museums and galleries and the second is that this elite just can’t see what the child can see, that the king is naked. Either way, you can’t win because philistinism is the highest charge that can be made against someone and you have to go directly to Coventry and not collect £200 (sorry, mixed metaphors).

The above is a Philistine description. But the Philistines were a cultured people who appreciated art and sculpture, who were militarily crushed by the incoming invaders and so necessarily as beaten people their history had to be propagandised and distorted.

But the questions have to be asked because the ship of art must not run aground and the dominant aesthetics and readings are driving us towards the rocks.....

The artist when faced with photo-mechanical, photochemical or photo-electric means of making art, which in itself denies the long project which is not simply recording the world, has to go further.

In pointing the camera towards the latter end of this week of production, beauty and pictorialism, the twin evil sisters of the figurative representation of reality, plagued me deeply.

As it came to me, everywhere I looked was full of beauty and yet when the camera presented it, it mostly deteriorated into pictorialism, a chocolate box version of the the world which on one level, in itself, was replete with the divine in the act of being. Every time the divine was captured as being without its divinity I did not shoot. Equally, when the divine was captured and was present, I turned off the camera - because that was not my project either (though it was good enough for most practicing artists prior to the 20th century). So I had to push on and try to interrogate the urge to make the mark in the sand.

What is this about ?

Everyone when looking at a work of art, through either ignorance or knowledge, is an art historian. Every artist who looks with the gaze of art is an art historian (albeit all of us better or worse informed about that history). But the artist has to reach beyond the project - surely?

Thursday morning and we take the 4k red camera into the somerset countryside. All day we point the camera at a set of pre-set scenes. All day I try to break the chains of intention.

Ideas kept hitting me: “It’s not the job of the artist to copy the world badly. Neither is it the job of the artist to try create a world ‘better’ than this - I surely can’t as it’s a fools errand in that they are created and can only make gestures towards their creator”

So what is the job of the artist ? To make nice scenes for people to put on their walls? To challenge the views of the populace about their views (doh) that’s really not hard as the public is way down the food chain. Is it to challenge the curatorial elite - more food chain issues. Or are both strategies about representing the world and then challenging ‘the local primate’ of any value at all? Is there a better way forward ?

Cinematic images can stun.

Art can stun.

Why isn’t being stunned enough?

Should we also be moved?

Is being ‘moved’ another diversion (Bertolt Brecht thought this not enough).

What is our sensorium and our psychology? Should we look more deeply at our make-up ? What’s is going on with us that art is important anyway?

As a researcher into the visual image, I am enquiring into its the formal and material nature: What it does and how it does it.

As an artist I have two enquiries: i) I am also enquiring into it’s formal nature and like all artists that are operating within the contemporary paradigm, issues around truth to materials is dominant - by this I mean that whatever the nature is of a material, taking wood as an example, it’s best to work with its ‘grain’.

Equally though, the pictorial aspect of image making is a large and thorny issue. What is an image best concerned with? The way it depicts the world for instance? Or equally what is the images symbolic use, or it’s conceptual, or ironic use?What are it’s cultural meanings, its societal meanings and the ideologies that lay behind these choices?

And also, what’s the history of use and where might that use be taking us?

So at root, I make work that points up something that I have gained insight about and so I take a position and a strategy in this act of unveiling and sometimes the effects are either beyond what I have gauged and sometimes the results are completely unforeseen.

In terms of High resolution imaging at the moment, as you can see - for me there are only questions.

To Be Continued...

I just couldn't resist

This is off topic of course, but occasionally you simply have to write what's on your mind. In my last post I noted that there's a movement to create an economy for HD that makes it cost as much as 35mm - what I've written below, I suppose, is in contradiction to that.

There is now a movement to promote a 'Free Economy'. An economy where all the normal functions of exploitation exist, but hidden beneath the surface. As artists we are the guardians against the hidden atrocities of social form. The owner class requires profit to function. The artist class, sadly, has joined in this production of wealth. Artist - stay awake. Google that fine line from the poem and u get a u tube video of a baby trying to stay awake.

Ha Ha.

'The situation is nicely summed up by' - if the situation can be nicely summed up, we'd better abandon ship, derail the train, blow up the building, set fire to the symposium - Freeconomics.

But free - what does that mean?

This idea, without context, is almost worthless. It's worthless because it like all ideas sits within the social and economic context of the production of meaning.

When each young artist constructs a work, are they mindful of the context of that production? Do they know, for instance, why those most beautiful of medieval artifacts, the Limewood Altar Pieces of Middle Germany and the Netherlands are disfigured by the context of their own production? That they served as ego enhancing commodities for the owners? Whoever owns the biggest, finest, altar piece has the biggest cock. That’s why the religious system effectively banned their production. They were a statement by Mammon about Mammon. Do the new young video artists understand where they stand in terms of the stream of commodification that is now prevalent in the selfs' need to be an 'individual'? Do they just want to say something - loud. Do they just want fame?

Is the 20th centuries grand modernist curatorial project finally bankrupt - running on empty - or to paraphrase Pete Townsend, ‘drawing energy from a pyre of burning artists?’

In terms of Wired and it’s push towards marketing its editors book on the idea of Freeconomics (what a Bush-like word!) big thinkers bore me as they offer off-the-peg-solutions to difficult problems that they themselves not only identify, but promote. That's when the bullshit detector rings loud. It's an industry.

We, 'artists', have to enquire much deeper than the theorists who simply respond. We 'artists' are mining at the coal-face of reality. We 'artists' trace our lineage back to the mind in the cave that drew the first cave painting, or carved the first flute maybe some 100,000 years ago. We the artists trace our gaze back to the ape looking across the tree canopy and wondering - just wondering - and possibly 'responding'.

To respond is not a freedom - its a biological act. To respond intelligently, is also an accident of evolution. To respond with a conscious gaze - which may determine that no response should be made at all - that is the issue within freedom. The rest is just commodification at a late stage of capitalism.

Fortunately, there is a new paradigm arriving shortly at another platform.

You heard it here

In my very first post in May 2007, High Definition, Web 2.0 and a Growing Aesthetic (click to read), some six months before taking up my fellowship, I laid out my understanding of the then current sate of High Resolution Imaging. I call it that rather than High Definition because for me its like calling a vacuum cleaner a Hoover. High Definition was a group agreement amongst a group of manufacturers to promote the next consumer development – High Definition. It soon deteriorated beneath 1920 x 1080 to 1280 x 720 then much worse most of the HD that people see is within the GoP structure of HDV formats and streaming (Group of Pictures, where the image is refreshed every 7 or 15 frames, short or long GoPs, and a lot of info is left out in between). High Definition as a title suggested something above and defining, a title which spoke about what you had come to accept as not being good enough.

Some artists work with a tenth of the pixels of standard PAL or NTSC and make more defining images that 10,000 HD productions.

So currently we’re at the intermediate stage –announced by the recent tests in LA and London that compared Film and Data stocks. These tests were weighted by a process of remediation: that of seeing the new media in the old medias terms and so the new media simply can’t match those terms. Yet the fact is – to my eye – the new media is now adequate to the task, with some reservations.

This is very convenient for me as I can predict that by the end of my Fellowship I’ll be able to announce the fact that Electronic Cinematography has come of age. That also fits my Verbatim History project where I am interviewing a group of practitioners about the Hi Res form. My original argument that as there are hardly any verbatim reports from practitioners on the early history of photo-chemical photography between 1890 and 1910 – I really can’t allow that to happen between 1990 and 2010 in Electronic Cinematography.

So – watch this space for confirmation.