[opendtv] Re: Nielsen stats on TV in US households

  • From: Mark Schubin <tvmark@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2007 11:18:01 -0400

Tom Barry wrote:
Mark -

How much of the problems these days are just caused by this, directors and quality control with CRT or low rez monitors that do not match the eventual target?
It's never low-rez (at worst, Sony BVM HD monitors), and I question what "the eventual target" is. An NTSC show gets millions of viewers per rating point. How many points would be required to get even one million HD viewers?

As for the low-rez issue, I offer the following from two shows I worked on. One was a very early HD show (circa 1990). Production facilities were limited, so we shot in a small NHK vehicle that was purely HD. To make even a VHS viewing copy, we needed to stick a downconverter into a different truck.

The director framed a spectacular HD shot, with the two principal singers in right frame, the conductor in left frame, and the orchestra between, with the HD providing sufficient detail to see the appreciation of the moment on the musicians' faces. Because it was such a great shot, the director saw no need to cut away from it. We all agreed. We thought it was brilliant.

Then it aired in letterboxed NTSC, offering a third of the scanning lines, not to mention other detail reductions. What had been a spectacular view to savor for a long period became a mere establishing shot, in which case, why stay on it for so long? We received many viewer complaints.

So the next show I did with that director, I offered a letterboxed NTSC picture right next to the HD for the director to use to see what "the eventual target" would be getting. The result was a good HD show -- maybe not as spectacular as the other -- and a good NTSC show (not one that caused viewer complaints).

I adopted the two-monitor approach for many HD-shot shows. Then I did one with a different director. He framed what he thought was a nice HD shot and then glanced at the NTSC monitor. "What's that crap?" he asked. I said it was a best-case approximation of what the bulk of his audience would get. "Turn it off," he ordered.


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