For example, an Academy-aperture 35mm frame is scanned to capture 3656 lines of horizontal resolution with 2664 picture elements, or pixels, on every line. To record the range of density captured on the negative, while providing "headroom" for creative digital image manipulation, the system accommodates up to 10 bits of information in each of three color records every pixel.
This feature requires some 40 megabytes of magnetic computer storage for every frame of 35mm film. One frame would use the entire hard-disk capacity of many popular personal computers. It's enough data to write some 8-10 million words in the English language. Remember, both the scanner and recorder can handle one frame of film in approximately three seconds.
There are other flexible alternatives. For example, the system provides an option for scanning, storing and processing 8 bits of data in each color record of every pixel for applications not requiring headroom. The user can also opt to work at one-quarter or one-half resolution, which requires only !4 or !/i6 of the storage space, respectively.
The equipment has been designed in an open architecture mode which provides compatibility with standard peripheral interfaces used in the computer industry. Also, a digital picture file format which simplifies the exchange of images between workstations and between different facilities, has been developed.
Other applications for the high-resolution electronic intermediate system include restoration of vintage films that have been marred by scratches, blotches and other damage. It is even possible to restore torn images or missing parts of images based on the image information in adjacent frames. This should prove to be a valuable tool for protecting and preserving films that have cultural and/or historic significance or that have potential value for future redistribution.
Considerable interest has been expressed to establish image databases of stock footage from live-action and computer-generated image libraries. Stock footage stored in digital format would then be easily accessible. The image quality would be equivalent to first-generation negative film. This would assure that stock footage intercuts smoothly with live-action photography.
Over the long term, it could eventually become practical to integrate a high-resolution electronic intermediate system into the print distribution chain. A digital intermediate could be used to generate a high-quality intermediate film which would be used as a printing master. This would eliminate several generations of film from the re lease-printing process, resulting in a significant improvement in image quality.
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