[This month's meeting writeup was written by the folks who traveled the longest distance to get to the meeting, Randy Visser's class at the Southern Maine Technical College, South Portland, ME. These are their uncensored comments, relayed to us courtesy of Randy...]
Mainer's like to use a phrase for the kind of driving experience we had trying to find WBZ-TV on April 29th for a pre-SMPTE tour scheduled to begin at 5:30PM, "You can't get theh from heh". Despite a wild ride through rush-hour traffic we did eventually make it to WBZ-TV for our tour. Special thanks to Bob Hess for sticking around to show us their incredible facilities. It was a great way to prime a group of video and multimedia technology students for their first SMPTE Post NAB Wrap-up meeting.
The meeting was a great technical "head blower", as one student put it. We study this stuff in detail at the college and try to push students to explore the outer boundaries of the technology. The piece that is often difficult to get a handle on (much less a course syllabi) is the economics of the industry and the impact it's going to have on our careers. The conversation in the van on the way home later that evening illustrates what a great experience these kinds of gatherings are for both students and working professionals. Here's a few highlights from that late night ride back up the Maine Turnpike:
- Is this Bob Doyle guy for real ? He took one of the new Sony digital cameras out to the Boston burbs, video taped the "non-linear guru" (Bob Turner), moved the digital files onto a Mac G-3 using Fire-wire, cut the clips using an Edit DV from Radius, drove to this meeting (enough said), plugged the G-3 into a new portable 800 x 600 projector, plugged in a couple of micro JBL speakers and played the interview right-off the G-3's fast 8 GIG hard-drive. And it worked !
- I don't know about you guys but if this Bob Doyle dude recommends buying stock in a company called Faroujda (they make a product that will convert HDTV to standard NTSC and should be available to consumers at low cost) then I'm taking next year's tuition and heading for my discount brokerage's WEB site. Yea, and how about a subscription to New Media magazine while you're at it.
- Who was the guy sitting in front of us with the long beard, wild hair and suspenders chowing down on finger sandwiches ? Oh, I think he was the chief engineer from WBZ-TV. He seemed real interested in all the talk about the new 4:2:2 compression ratios. Wanna bet he has a camp on a one of those great trout ponds back home ?
- I thought HDTV was a done deal. What's all this talk about multiple standards, new facilities with digital cameras, audio boards, playback systems, digital routing, new transmitters, new towers, new screens, lots of money. Did I hear this right, you have to be within 40 inches of an HDTV screen to get the full effect, the cable companies are not going to carry these signals, and there's a new product that will convert any HDTV signals into standard NTSC, and it's cheap ? Yep, you heard right. And the Japanese and Europeans have been doing this for years now. Something about being in the back water of technology.
- How come you make us learn all this SMPTE, NTSC 30 frames a second, interlaced analog television broadcast stuff. It looks to me like I'll be streaming digital files over something called IPTV in the future. What class are we going to learn about that? Silence.
Thanks to Bob Lamm and the other SMPTE board members for inviting us to this meeting. My membership fee is in the mail. Please feel free to check out the student's digital imaging work in the gallery section of our WEB page: SMTC.NET/VIDEO TECH
Posted: 18 May, 1998
Robert Lamm, SMPTE/New England Newsletter/Web Page Editor