Transition Rounding Errors

Times of transition bring out the iconoclasts and entrenched white papers and no end of forum discussions. In his latest Digital Content Producer article, D.W. Leitner cuts through the arguments with a paraphrase from James Carville: It’s the audience, stupid. He’s going to Park City with the partner he brought to production, long GOP MPEG2, and he’s sticking to his decision.

He makes an end-around to discussions that started years ago and are still going on in the forums; compression, long gop, is/is not ‘good enough’. And why not? As he points out, A) He did the tests at the time, with the technology available, and B) the technology has gotten him the product he needed at the budget he had in a manner he considered painless compared to a previous headache project. In the process he mentions that the technology performed without dropouts during the recording phase, a comment that is mirrored in technical papers (albeit a Sony Broadcast document), as well as many forum comments – the post production phase also is easier and has fewer dropouts while handling more data than H.264 variations.

So, who is to knock it? Use what works.

Except – that we are in a transition that has moved startling fast – 1080i was defensible until 1080p showed up in every home for less than a 1,000 moneyunits, as well as multi-processor computers and the NLE software to support them. The testing has to keep repeating as each technology ripens. For example, Phillip Bloom makes an astounding presentation which doesn’t once attempt defense, instead showing all the same ideals of cost and quality for camera technology that wouldn’t have been discussed by movie pros 3 years ago (and then, only to disqualify.)

The good news is that the horrors of the unresolvable video delivery and presentation format wars didn’t allow a merely ‘good enough’ standard to inhibit innovation the way that 16-bit audio became.

Leave a Reply