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SMPTE-HK 10th Anniversary Seminar in HK Jockey Club (25 November 2004)

HD workflow after Image capture: from post production to Exhibition
2004 marked the tenth anniversary of the Hong Kong Section. The Hong Kong Jockey Club's spacious 290-seat theater in its club house was chosen as the venue of the anniversary event. More than 250 participants from motion picture, broadcasting , post production, equipment manufacturers, vendors and users were in attendance. As Gavin Schutz, SMPTE President, rightly pointed out in his congratulatory message that Hong Kong is an important technology hub for media and entertainment and one of the primary gateways between East and West. Hong Kong Section has leveraged its position to carry out the mission of SMPTE. A seminar was organized on the same date of the tenth anniversary dinner celebration.
Entitled "HD Workflow After Image Capture: from Post Production to Exhibition," speakers took the opportunity to examine the new digital technologies affecting film, television and video. In his keynote speech, John Chu of Centro Digital Pictures said that for decades the motion picture and television people had been working with one another, often against each other, in search for the a single format for production, post-production and exhibition which could be accepted by both industries. They finally found this in HD. He cited examples of Hollywood's recent productions shot with HD and reminded audience that HD was not video but digital that inherited all the benefits and conveniences brought about by digital technology.
Chu pointed out that the missing link in the HD equation had been the final exhibition stage but anticipated that with the advent of affordable HD television sets and digital projectors, conventional film projectors would become obsolete. HD would bring unity to a world that had been plagued by so many different standards and formats. Both the film and television industries would speak a single language and be at peace with one another and spend their energy more in creativity rather than in fighting against each other. In closing his presentation, Chu screened the trailer of an upcoming international film which was mainly shot with 35mm motion picture film and transferred to HD for digital special effects and then completed with digital intermediate.
In his presentation entitled "Universal Content Production," Claude Guillaume of Thomson Broadcast and Media Solutions, the sponsor of this year's event, compared the production workflows of film and television which were utterly separate industries. Both film and television, however, had embraced digital technology and the difference was narrowing, allowing universal content production and cross fertilization. As a result, digital intermediate would played important role to bridge the two media. Guillaume highlighted digital intermediate workflow and anticipated the shift to digital capture and digital cinema projection and highlighted its economic benefits. He concluded that with digitization in film and broadcasting occurring in parallel, the distinctions between the two separate industries would be blurred and this would open up new business opportunities. Their respective creative differences would remain sacred but they would be less differentiated by technology and this would be conducive to their mutual economic advantage.
In his presentation on "Digital Intermediate," Percy Fung of Digital Magic reinforced the points made by the two speakers. He put emphasis on DI system that had to meet the requirements of filmmakers and demonstrated the quality of DI film out at different resolutions. With the evolution of digital technology and cost effectiveness of film out, Fung envisaged that DI would be widely adopted.
Another reputable speaker was Peter Chu, Principal Engineer of Television Broadcasts Limited. Entitled "Transition to Digital Broadcasting and DTV Terrestrial Transmission," Chu highlighted the merit of Digital Television (DTV) versus Analogue Television in respect of workflow and reception. Chu cited various test trials, covering fix point measurement, indoor and mobile reception, etc. He also showed timetable and the DTV standards that Hong Kong government and broadcasters were considering to adopt around 2006/2007.
Dr. Michisuke Shimodaira, General Manager of Engineering, Frontiers Co., Ltd., Japan, presented the latest technology of advanced video transport where High Definition video signals in HDCAM format were transmitted live from NHK in Japan to Frontiers' facility in Hong Kong and then relayed by Hutchison Global Crossing via DS3 signal line to the venue. Joji Ezaki, Technical Advisor of Frontiers Co., Ltd., shared his views on the future of D-Cinema and program distribution in Japan.
Finally, Hajime Kamata, Business Manager, Sony Corporation B & P Company, Business Strategy Department, demonstrated the latest state-of-the-art D-Cinema projector with 4k resolution and screened excerpts of "Spiderman II" on a 20ft screen. Audience was impressed with the quality of images. After the seminar, more than a hundred local SMPTE members and invited guests shared some relaxed moment at the annual dinner at the club house.

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