Monday, April 19, 2004

The New York Times > Movies > Scanning at 4000 lines per frame

The New York Times > Movies > 600 Macs, 4,000 Lines, One Giant Leap for DVD's
Engineers calculate that 4,000 lines of data would be needed to reproduce all the visual information in a frame of [35mm movie] film ...

By contrast, most DVD's these days — good as many look — begin with a compromise: they're scanned at just 1,080 lines, at most 2,000 (sometimes as few as 480), and the source is almost always not the original negative but a copy.

Neat story, makes me think again of the digital vs. 35 mm discussion.

If a 35 mm film were square, and a "line" was a pixel, this would be the equivalent of a scanning 8000x8000 pixels, or 64 megapixels. I think that a 35mm still image has resolution within a factor of 2-3 of this number, so it's not so far off.

In practice 12-16 megapixel CCDs seem to produce images of equal sharpness to 35 mm negatives. Given advances in technology (such as in-camera variable tonal range adjustment) and a straightforward extrapolation of today's sensors we should equal the effective resolution and color capture of consumer-grade 35mm still cameras within 2 years. With appropriate use of JPEG2000 compression the images should be manageable.

I'd love to read an article that explored these numbers in more depth.

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