Apple declared 2005 the year of HD earlier this year with the release of iMovie HD for consumers and followed that up with several announcements at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas, Nev, this week. To round out their presentations, Apple sent their Senior Director of Pro Apps Technical Marketing Richard Kerris, to host a special session on HD.
Kerris started the session by comparing what was needed to run HD a few years ago and what it takes today. He also looked at some real-world examples of how HD was being implemented by some broadcasters to enhance the quality of the viewing experience.
“It costs less to buy the computer, camera and other gear today, than it did to rent it just a few short years ago,” said Kerris.
Kerris also spoke about H.264, a new standard backed by Apple and supported by both Blue-ray and HD-DVD organizations. Saying that H.264 builds “on the best ideas of past standards,” Kerris showed the audience the differences between an MPEG-2 movie capture and what the same capture would look like under H.264. The latter was many times larger and crisper, a fact not lost on the audience.
To demonstrate how portable HD was becoming, Kerris asked two quests to join him on stage and talk about their experiences with capturing and editing HD content.
The first was Dr. Bob Arnot, a self-proclaimed “backpack broadcaster” who showed clips from war-torn villages in Iraq with shells going off around him. Arnot also showed clips that he took from the Congo and other places throughout the world.
As a backpack broadcaster, Arnot said he only needed a camera, his PowerBook and Final Cut Pro to give broadcasters HD content that was ready to air.
Kerris’ second guest was Scott Billups, a special effects expert in Hollywood. Billups has done effects for many television shows including the “Alexander the Great” features on both the History Channel and Discovery Channel.
Billups is well-known in Hollywood for always using “the Apple cart” for his shoots. The Apple cart is Billups cart full of Apple hardware and software that he takes on every shoot to process the data.
“If you wait for technology to become ingrained, you’re already five years behind,” said Billups.