Video | School of Art & Art History | College of The Arts | University of South Florida
In short, more flexible digital cameras—such as the Panasonic HVX and the RED One and Scarlet cameras—and editing software such as Final Cut Pro Studio, have made the cinematographer's and editor's jobs easier and made it possible for filmmakers to produce quality films at much less expensive cost. What this means for film students is that breaking into the industry isn't just less expensive, but getting your work out there is easier too.
Even big blockbuster films are using digital. They have compression ratios ranging from a gentle to an aggressive , making it feasible to deal with huge amounts of video data.
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The higher the compression ratio, the worse the resulting image. Colour fidelity fades, artefacts and noise appear in the picture, the edges of objects become over-apparent, until eventually the result is unwatchable. By the end of the s, the dominant techniques were based on a three-stage algorithm known as DCT Discrete Cosine Transform.
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DCT uses the fact that adjacent pixels in a picture — either physically close in the image spatial or in successive images temporal — may be the same value. A quantisation process weights these accordingly and ejects those contributing least visual information, depending on the compression level required. For instance, losing 50 per cent of the transformed data may only result in a loss of five per cent of the visual information. Then entropy encoding — a lossless technique — jettisons any truly unnecessary bits. Initially, compression was performed by software.
Limited CPU power constrained how clever an algorithm could be to perform its task in a 25th of a second — the time needed to draw a frame of full-motion video. Nevertheless, Avid Technology and other pioneers of NLE non-linear editing introduced PC-based editing systems at the end of the s using software compression. Although the video was a quarter of the resolution of broadcast TV, with washed-out colour and thick with blocky artefacts, NLE signalled a revolution in production techniques.
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At first it was used for off-line editing, when material is trimmed down for a programme. Like a word processor for video, they offered a faster and more creative way of working.
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