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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