Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Minefields and Homeric Nods

I've just been watching the BBC 'Click' programmes essential guide to setting up your TV. Well, someone has to.
Admittedly, the webpage says that it's a minefield, and alas they set one off. So what does it say on the middle column of connectors in the screen grab? Y Pr Pb, I believe. Or 'Component' as we might say in the trade. I'm afraid 'Click' falls into the infamous AppleTV trick of confusing this with RGB. Yes, they may be red, green and blue connectors, but RGB it ain't (which isn't what the confusing commentary says at this point in the clip, muddying the waters with the horrible SCART connector for good measure).

See how not to do it here. So don't believe everything you see on the telly. Whereas, in band rehearsals (as I know from long experience) confident but wrong is a Good Thing, here it's a Bad Thing.

Yes, I did write to the Clickerati first, but I'm confident my email got filed in the green ink bin. Maybe this blogging will show up in their feedback.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Next wefcpug / RTS joint meeting Dec 8th

The next wefcpug meeting is a 'must-see' for anyone interested in camerawork and photography. It's a meeting held in association with the Bristol Centre of the Royal Television Society, who are very kindly providing a glass of wine and a mince-pie (but only if you arrive early - I think this will be a sellout!).

Here's the official announcement: it's an open RTS meeting, though we'll happily sign up anyone who wants to be a member during the break. I'll be blogging more about this in the coming weeks. Please pass this info on... Alan is a great bloke, with a brain the size of a planet and a rare knack for explaining and enthusing.

Things we forgot we knew.

As television moves into the high definition age, each year (though sometimes it seems like each month) brings new models from the camera manufacturers, promising better quality and higher levels of technical sophistication.

But the job a camera does is, at heart, the same as in the first days of stills and movie photography: to capture and convey images of the real world, tailored to human senses, and deliver at the best quality - within the limits of the technology available.

Some things have certainly not changed: a racing car photograph taken in 1912 shows the same problem as the latest High Definition video cameras. Many of the lessons learned, the compromises made, by the early movie industry are in danger of being forgotten. What can we learn by taking a fresh look at the basic challenges of image-making?

One of the world’s leading experts on TV imaging, Alan Roberts, is talking to the Bristol Centre of the Royal Television Society, in a meeting open to all. Alan is known throughout the worldwide industry as the man behind the ‘BBC settings’ for HD cameras, and has recently conducted a much appreciated set of technical briefings at the IBC in Amsterdam. As a consultant on the ‘DVDoctor’ website, he’s gained a reputation as the plain-speaking voice of the practical engineer, cutting through the jargon and manufacturers’ hype. He’s the author of a new book on the subject ‘Circles of Confusion’.

Join Alan Roberts at the RTS Bristol Centre's December meeting on Tuesday 8th December, 7.30pm at the BBC, Whiteladies Rd. (Night entrance at the rear of the site)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another Diary Date - 30th Nov

There's a networking do for post-production folk in Bristol (and the surrounding wefcpug area, I'm sure) being run under the 'BBC Anchor' flag - details as supplied by them:

BBC Networking Event for Post-Production Professionals.

Following the signing of the Bristol-BBC Memorandum of Understanding, the BBC is joining with one of the partners – Watershed – to host a networking event for industry professionals involved in post production.

We’re keen to connect with established and emerging post-production talent (both creative and technical) from across the region.

If you have experience in any of the following fields, we would like to invite you to an informal gathering at Watershed on Monday 30th November between 6 – 9pm.

Audio Editing/Mixing
Drama post-production
Ingest/Edit Support/Media Management
Whether you are a seasoned freelancer with years of experience behind you or seeking to develop your career in any of these fields we hope you’ll come along.
The event will be supported by the key personnel from the following BBC Bristol programme-making teams:

Factual Productions
‘Casualty’ Series (Drama)
Post Production
Production Innovation
Further information and R.S.V.P to Deborah Brewer on 0117 9747546.

Anything leap out at you?

Nick prompted me about the Channel 4 3D experiments running this week. The hardest part seems to be getting hold of the coloured specs, which are available (free) from Sainsbury's, but you have to ask at the Customer Service desk.

Mixed results here at the City of Bath TV advanced research institute. The 50's movies are fascinating footage, 3d or not - to me the compromise in colour rendition is too high a price for the (to my brain) less than overwhelming impression of depth. Maybe watching on a bigger screen in the dark would improve things.

I have fond memories of the old View-Master 3d stereoscopic viewers - what I didn't know is that they're still available - and it would appear you can even get your own slides made (at least in the US).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Links from November meet

I hope that the sound of applause is still ringing in Nick's ears after last night's presentation on Colour profiling, which should have been subtitled 'and why we need it'. (And, for me certainly, how come I knew so little about what is going to be one of the hot topics for us all in the HD age now dawning).

A more considered write-up from me in the future, but as promised here are the quick links from Nick and his recommended setups:

the calibrators he was demonstrating are from the eyeone (which now seems to be spelt i1) range by x-rite . For prices you need to google eyeone, I've found.

Nick's preferred settings for video/TV compatibility are

Colour temp 6500Kelvin / D65
Luminance 120 cd/m
Gamma 2.2

The pdf he talked about is called 'The Language of Colour' - it was written for Canon and published in 2004/5. He informs me that, though the cameras have been replaced, the basic information is still relevant and applicable to whatever make you have.

The download is here. I've just had a sneak preview and recommend it highly.

Extra! Nick's own website is here. Visit and be amazed.


Friday, November 06, 2009

Nov 09 meeting - Monday next (9th)

A reminder that our next meeting is at the BBC in Bristol on Monday next. A slight change of venue - we're up in the small conference room in the main block - and it's a 7.30pm kickoff. You may, of course, wish to meet up in the bar beforehand!

Nick Wilcox-Brown is talking about monitor calibration, starting from his experience as a professional stills photographer, but now moving into video colour science too. He'll be demonstrating his gizmo of choice, and we may even get two monitors to match without too much trickery. Then again.

There's also at least two raffles, one of which I'm struggling to understand. So no change there either.

Plus as ever, what you bring to the party...please email me (phil_at_brightfilament_dot_co_dot_uk) this time to get onto the list for security, if you haven't done so already. But don't leave it until Monday afternoon, 'cos I'll probably be offline then.