ASC – American Society of Cinematographers

Since we are studying within the realm of technology, we will begin by researching the first moviemaking group who perform their magic using technology. This group was the first group who constantly and consistently asserted the concept that quality must be a primary issue in the transition to Digital Cinema. This group is known as The ASC—The American Society of Cinematographers

There was a lot of early excitement for dcinema, which culminated in the showing Episode II of StarWars, the first release with a big push to get many screens showing the movie. As exciting as it all was, the ASC was making certain that everyone had their eye on the future. Their belief was that the current level of technology hadn’t even reached the “good enough” stage. They kept pushing their contacts at the studios to insist that the standards would be set higher.


And they were right. The projectors at the time could barely light up a medium sized screen. And people in row 10 could see a jaggedly formed circle instead of a smooth path.


Go to the ASC website here:


Notice the tone of the site, who they are talking to, how education has a primary position in many the things they do. Read the first 3 paragraphs of The History of the ASC. Notice, in particular, the purpose in the 3rd paragraph. Now read the last paragraph.


Go to the website of the article named The Color Space Conundrum–Part One: Seeking Standards. You don’t have to read this article now, but we want to download it. So, the first thing to do is create a folder of your own on your computer, then create a folder inside that named DCinema Articles. Inside that folder, create a folder named ASC. Save this page of the article in that folder. 


There is a quote in this article that should be pointed out: “Video engineers, who are not cinematographers, “assist” the images in getting from point A to point B. However, a video engineer is a middleman who is human and therefore subjective. This fact led Arthur Miller, ASC (see image) to pen the following diatribe for the May 1952 issue of AC: “Much of the poor quality of video films as observed on home receivers is due to faulty electronic systems of the telecaster, to poor judgment of the engineer handling the monitor controls in the station, or both…. In short, much of the trouble still exists because of the lack of standardization in the television industry. Perhaps the strongest point here is the fact that a new factor enters into the telecasting of motion pictures: the privilege vested in the network’s engineering staff to control contrast and shading as TV films are being broadcast.””


You now hold the same responsible position as the engineers who Arthur Miller was deriding in 1952. The point of the training course is: Don’t get into the position that this will ever be said about you or your compatriots in the projection booth. Remember that you are entrusted with the material begun by the people with the ASC designation as the credits of a movie go by name.

This is the first section of the first course of the DCinemaCompliance Projectionists Course  

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