Movie, Motion Picture, Flickers…which is it?

Coming-SoonI really have a problem with the word MOVIE. It sounds so juvenile. Pictures that move! Sounds like something from 1900s, back when the frame rate was really low, like 16 frames a second. No wonder they called them “flickers”.

I still occasionally hear someone say, “I’m going to the flicks.” Don’t you? I guess some things just stay with us. So, instead, we call it “motion pictures” which doesn’t sound a whole lot better. Last February at the HPA (Hollywood Post Alliance) the final speaker was an industry guru, John Watkinson (with his long hair and long beard, he LOOKS like a guru.) He got up and the first thing he said was a real epiphany. “I have never seen a movie or a motion picture.” The audience couldn’t figure out just what he was saying. “All I’ve ever seen is a series of still images, run rapidly in front of my eyes.” And because of ‘persistence of vision’ which we humans share with only a few other creatures on earth, it looks like a moving picture.

So where is the REAL moving picture? A single picture that changes its image constantly, not a series of still pictures that run rapidly. If you figure out how to do this, would you please let me know so I can call my stock broker? We have a tendency to think we are technologically “cool” when we’re really not that far from a zoetrope (google it) or a flip book. And we’re about to have 12 GHz bandwidth, 4K resolution, and deep color flip books! And we’ll flip the pages at 120 per second. And we’ll have one book for each eye, which kind of looks like depth.

“Just Call it Cinema”

Instead of “movies” or “motion pictures”, a friend of mine said “Just call it CINEMA,” which is what they call it in Europe and most of the rest of the world. I always thought that a ‘cinema’ was where they showed movies, not the movie itself. I mean, someone doesn’t produce cinema, or edit cinema. And the truly elite just say “Cine” as in SEE-NAY. That’s very French, very continental. Now that CINEMA is turning into VIDEO, I can make cable to carry it. Of course, it sounds weird for me to say Belden makes CINEMA cables, or CINE cables. I guess VIDEO cables is OK…and we’re working on the next version of video cable, and that would be 4K single link. And even though there are slightly different resolutions for TV and motion picture production, they’re almost the same clock. Hollywood and TV-land have never been so close in formats. So our cables will truly be CINE cables. And if you want to cut that TV show into a motion picture, or cut that cinema release into a TV mini-series, knock yourself out!

And speaking of CINE cable, way back when Sony brought out the CineAlta camera (there’s CINE again), one of the first people to use it for a major project was George Lucas for Star Wars – Episodes 1, 2, 3. One of the engineers on that shoot called me because they were having a problem, occasional intermittent of video. They thought it might be the cable, but no, it turned out to be the connectors. You have probably have seen most 75 ohm HD BNC’s have a pin surrounded by nothing. That means, when it is plugged in to a female chassis mount BNC, that pin is unsupported for a ways inside the connector. In this case, when they were shooting on location, which is often the toughest time on equipment, that would allow those occasional intermittents. The solution was clever: go back to a 50 ohm BNC like the old analog days. Then there’s plastic around the pin, and it is supported.

4k in Cinema

Now if you look at Belden’s BNC, like our one-piece, you will see there’s plastic inside. And yet I can send you test graphs that show you how this cable is a solid 75 ohms out to 4.5 GHz. How do they do that? Well, I’m not a connector guy and I haven’t had a chance to ask our connector folks. Maybe that will be another blog someday?

While you’re waiting for 4K single link coax and connectors, there are other ways to handle 12 GHz 4K video. We already make quad link 4K (four video cables that carry the 4K image divided by four, 3G x4 = 12). We make quad in three sizes. I already see 4K quad on a few things like projectors or professional monitors. And we also make dual link 4K (two cables). What we don’t yet make, or at least not that you can go out and buy, is single link 4K video coax. How prepared are we? I can already tell you what the part numbers are going to be. We will most likely make all the sizes we currently make for HD/3G cables, which is available in six sizes with variations on those six (riser-rated, plenum rated, shipboard, water-blocked, flexible and so on) although we may not be able to do all these variations in 4K. And, because the distances are less, I am seriously toying with the idea of a cable BIGGER than RG-11. This would truly be the “garden hose of 4K”. But it would surely go a long way. After that, you’re into fiber, which is fine. Be glad to sell you that too.


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