Schubin's Greatest Hits

The Small-Format HD Quality Puzzle

By almost every measure, small-format HD cameras should be worse than their larger counterparts.  So why do their pictures seem so good? They are HDTV and do use technologies available 25 years after the first broadcast solid-state camera.  But, can a 1/6-inch-format $200 HD camcorder, or even a 1/3-inch-format $5,000 HD camcorder, perform as well […]  More

Moving Slowly to the Next Miracle

Originally published in Videography October 2007 Who makes small professional HDTV camcorders?  That’s easy: Canon, JVC, Panasonic, and Sony.  Who else makes larger HDTV cameras?  Grass Valley, Hitachi, and Ikegami.  How about tiny HDTV cameras?  Easylook, Iconix, Lux Media Plan, and Toshiba.  Cameras with resolutions beyond HDTV?  ARRI, Dalsa, Olympus, Red, and Panavision.  Then who […]  More

Format Factor Fundamentals

Originally published in Videography magazine, May 2007 At last month’s National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention, a number of cameras drew interest. There were, for example, Grass Valley’s new version of Infinity, Hitachi’s HV-HD30, the i-movix SprintCam BC, Panasonic’s AG-HSC1U, the Red One, and Sony’s XDCAM EX. The AG-HSC1U uses 1/4-inch-format imagers, the HV-HD30 1/3-inch, […]  More

New Year's Resolution

originally published in Videography January 2006 Numbers are peculiar. Most people would consider the question “Which is faster, a house or a statue?” unanswerable. “Which is heavier, an apple or an orange?” isn’t much better. Which is cooler, water or air? Which is smarter, green or purple? Which is tastier, Arizona or Iowa? None of […]  More

There's No Such Thing As HDTV

Originally published in Videography July 2005 Which is perceptually bigger: a tabletop-sized home video screen or the screen of a movie theater? Which offers a greater range of shades of red: the 1953 U.S. color TV standard or the modern standard used for HDTV? The answers could be a matter of life or death. At […]  More

The Digital Shot Calculator

Originally published in Videography April 2005 A man stretches out both arms, hands with fingers together, thumbs stretched out and touching, as though framing a shot. He wears a cap backwards and squints. It seems a cliché of Hollywood pretentiousness. Is it? Microsoft Word offers truism as a synonym for cliché. Merriam-Webster offers “an undoubted […]  More

Preparing for Act III

Originally published in Videography November 2004 If videography is a grand drama, shooting may be considered Act I (with pre-production the Prologue). Post-production editing would then be Act II. If so, what about Act III? And does being digital help or hurt? In discussing acts, it may be useful to consider actors. Nicole Kidman is […]  More

The Cerulean Crux

Originally published in Videography October 2004 There are a number of problems associated with the display of video imagery. For one thing, physical objects have shapes. For another, shadows may be more important than the objects that cast them. And then there are Salem cigarettes. Fifty years ago, color-television sets first went on sale. Two […]  More

Focusing on Size

Originally published in Videography September 2004 Here are two questions currently facing videographers:  What is the size of a Super 35 mm film frame?  And, more important, who cares? Throughout the history of video, there has been a trend towards the smaller.  The first video camera occupied substantial portions of two rooms.  The first all-electronic […]  More

People Who Need People

this is a Originally published in Videography April 2004 The technology of videography advances inexorably, but those advances don’t eliminate the need for people. Question: How many videographers does it take to screw in a widescreen, interactive, digital, component, high-definition, MPEG-4, streaming light bulb? Answer: At least as many as it took to screw in […]  More

By Whom? SMPTE Us

Originally published in Videography November 2003 Believe it or not, SMPTE really works only as a first-person pronoun. An announcement from Amsterdam in September stunned the computer world. Microsoft, notorious for trying to keep its software proprietary, said it had submitted its Windows Media 9 compression system to SMPTE for standardization. What’s SMPTE? The acronym […]  More