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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: July ::
Re: Film and Videotape
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 437.  Tuesday, 20 July 1993.
 
From:           James Schaeffer <
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Date:           Monday, 19 Jul 1993 10:58:34 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 4.0433  Film and Videotape
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0433  Film and Videotape
 
Actually, I thought the BBC Shakespeare series had some videotaped
outdoor sequences; *As You Like It* comes to mind.  I was trying to be
a professional photographer at one point in my life; based on that, I
might suggest these reasons for the differences:  Film has a great
tonal range, but the visual experience is limited technically by the
number of frames per second and the depth of field resulting from the
film speed (slower film -> must have lens apeture open wider -> less
depth of field).  Video seems to have less of a tonal range, and is
also and limited by the number of lines per screen and scans of those
lines per second.  Because of these, it has a less rich image, at least
with the non-High Definition TV standard we have in the United States
-- this is what all the hype about HDTV is about: getting video that
is equal to film in visual quality.  But video is more sensitive to
light, which means the lenses can be "stopped down" farther (i.e.,
smaller apetures) which gives greater depth of field than film, and
gives us what seems to be a more natural (put quotes around that)
visual image.
 
(There are ways film can get around this by fooling our eyes:  I've
been told that for *Citizen Kane*, a special lens was developed that
alternated every other frame with a near and a far focal point.  Our
eye "sees" the sharp image better than the blur, so in that scene
in which Kane is way back against that huge fireplace in San Simeon
and his wife is close up front, they both seem to be in focus, in
apparent defiance of the laws of optics.)
 
More technically-minded people can tell you much more about all this,
but I think those are some of the operating factors.
 
Jim Schaefer             
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Graduate School          (202)  687-4478
Georgetown Univ.
 

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