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How Much Resolution…

Several years ago at the National Association of Broadcasters Convention, Kodak showed an interesting comparison of different film resolutions. Before we get to the results, remember any demo is created to prove a predetermined point. It is not a science project but a marketing exercise. Kodak wanted to show that film had more detail and resolution than HD video. They first showed the original clip and then the digital version projected at 1k resolution. It, of course, showed a decrease in sharpness and resolution compared to the original. It was clearly inferior. The next clip at 2k and was a big improvement. The resolution was clearly increased and looked almost like the original. It was also better than you would see in a “standard “ movie theatre. Next, the 4k version showed little improvement. You could make out a little more film grain but that was about it. For a doubling of the pixels (as well as processing power and storage demands) there was little to recommend the 4k version. I saw a similar result when Panasonic was touting using 18 MHz as the sampling rate for SD 16×9 video. They felt that if the screen was 30% wider, the sampling rate should be 30% higher to get the same resolution as 4×3. Some D-5 machines even had the higher rate as an option. But when you looked at the result, you didn’t see much actual improvement. Yes, a little more film grain was evident, but the actual picture didn’t show much improvement. But then that’s obvious since you don’t see any equipment with 18 MHz sampling today. When does less resolution look “better” than higher resolution? Continued tomorrow.

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