Classroom Challenge

Click Here For Digital update 06/25/2013

>>Probably one of the most foolhardy things I did while teaching at a university is challenge a student to prove me wrong.

But, as they say, there were "extenuating circumstances." 

I had stated that, technically speaking, video could deliver sharper images in television than film -- and I had explained why.

This particular student (who had family in the film business) politely told me I was crazy and suggested that any fool could see that film was superior. Things then came to a standstill in the class as he continued to argue his point.

To shut him up and move things along I said, "If you can prove to me that the best film image is technically superior to the best broadcast video image I will give you an automatic "A" in this course.

My course was not considered easy and he was not a strong student (possibly in part because of his bias against video, but for him it was a required course). 

He smiled and did what I hoped -- shut up and started planning how he was going to prove his point.

Since he had connections in the film industry, I assumed he would soon reappear armed with resources to try to prove me wrong.

He never mentioned the wager again.

>>That was a long time ago and since that time this argument has been clearly settled -- on technical, but not necessarily on artistic grounds. The email to this site that previously had challenged my film vs. video comments has also dropped to zero.

Even so, many people still hold to film as a preferred medium, especially for dramatic television. But as the information below shows, the battle is largely lost.

Digital Update 05/05/2013

>>According the National Assn. of Theatre Owners' trade group by 2012 more than 85% of the U.S.' 4,044 theaters, representing 34,161 screens, had gone digital.

Those that haven't will have to either spend $60,000 or more for digital equipment or be forced to close, because soon movies will all be distributed on computer disks rather than film.  

Theaters that can't afford the move to digital are planning to close -- some after decades of serving small towns around the country.

Not only do digital "films" represent a major cost savings in duplication and distribution, but the technical quality (sharpness and clarity) of the image can be superior to film.

Many film buffs, including many film and TV directors, still strongly argue this point, of course. However, when "Hollywood" is 100% digital, the whole matter may only be of historic interest.

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