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Prime Time Production

By Carolyn Giardina By DMN Staff Writer
As the 2001-2002 television season begins, an increased number of HD series is good news for U.S. post houses that serve series television clients and have made investments in HD technology. Meanwhile, 24P cinematography is gaining momentum on the episodic front. All in all, this television season is beginning to shape up as an important year for high definition, with notable growth in the number of HD produced and posted series, from a variety of clients and networks.

At press time, early indications suggested that ABC would have a noticeably larger amount of primetime episodic series and theatrical features presented in high definition. (Last season, it aired NYPD Blue and about 40 theatrical features in HD.) And CBS is again scheduled to air its primetime programming in HD?sitcoms, dramas and some movies and miniseries, with a few exceptions, including news and reality-based programming. ABC broadcasts 720P; CBS supports 1080I. This has resulted in a significant change in HD workflow at the post houses that serve television clients ? not to mention a growing sense of optimism.

Everybody Loves Raymond
Everybody Loves Raymond is posted in 24p at Laser Pacific.
Additionally, roughly 13 episodic series will be shot in 24P this fall, according to Ed Grebow, president of Sony Broadcast and Professional Company and deputy president of Sony Electronics. ?Thats about 12 percent of prime-time, he said. ?Two years about it was zero percent, last season there were four shows, this season there were 13.

?The transition is going great, Grebow continued. ?I feel very comfortable predicting that next season, 50 percent will be done digitally. He noted that additional manufacturers, which are developing 24P camera technology, should also increase the momentum. He added that 17 rental houses carry 24P camera equipment and 34 post houses have 24P post technology. The slate of series shot in 24P include Foxs Titus and Reba (20th Century Fox), Pasadena (Columbia Tri-Star), Odyssey 5 (Columbia Tri-Star) for Showtime, Sydney Lumets 100 Centre Street for A&E, Gene Roddenberrys Earth: Final Conflict (Paramount), WBs Dawsons Creek and TNTs Witchblade.

?Were finding producers and cinematographers talk as much about creative advantages as economic advantages, Grebow said. ?People like it for creative reasons. They are able to see what they shot, manipulate it, shoot more footage. [Cost advantages] are only a piece of it.

On CBS slate, The Education of Max Bickford (20th Century Fox) is scheduled to be shot in 24P using Sonys Cine Alta camcorder. The remainder of its HD series will be shot in 35mm or Super 35; reality shows are produced in Digi Beta.

?People are realizing that producing in HD saves money, said CBS VP of engineering Robert Seidel. ?George Lucas found that. We found that on the set of Diagnosis Murder. It translates to savings, in telecine, in the lab. He anticipates the amount of HD cinematography for episodic work will continue to grow next season. ?With the level of commitment we now see in Hollywood, we think its definitely taken hold. People realize the economic and production value of shooting in HD.

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Related Keywords:HD, post houses, 24P, cinematography, television

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