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IMAX-Quality Video Recording

Digital video in broadcast is currently far below film quality. Even that featured in the nifty MIT specs falls far short of 35mm. But all these guys are laboring against a barrier we don't have to face: real time transmission to a standard format that can be handled by in-place trasmission systems (and even over-the-air broadcasting). Digitial video can display a better picture that that shown in any HDTV spec. Heck, you can have 32K by 32K by 32bit images today, so long as you don't count on them coming across your screen 30 times a second.

Using nothing but off-the-shelf equipment it would be possible to put together a system to digitize moving images at a high rate of speed and with the full fidelity of 35mm film. However, it could not be directly broadcast, since it would be non-standard. Storing this much information would also be an intersting challenge. But given the budget, the images could be digitized and transferred to standard film with great fidelity.

Note that while it might be expensive, one would not run out of room to store the infomation. Given a budget, writable videodiscs storing tens of gigabytes (which would represent no more than a few minutes of this data) are availble now. Tape drives capable of handling this heavy data stream are also available. Using pretty conservative estimates, a feature-length IMAX feature would require less than 10kg of digital storage media.

By the time Artemis launches (and hopefully several years before) we will see advances in both image compression and image storage. It may be that by the time we hit the tower, our broad-band broadcast can transmit an IMAX quality image in real time. If not, a relatively small digital storage system would allow us to trasmit this data as possible.

It is very likely that one could digitize, store, and transmit IMAX quality images under those conditions even if there is not a single advance in technology between then and now. And image compression technology has been advancing at least as fast as any facet of computer technology.

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