Webinar: Mark Schubin’s “Six Centuries of Opera and Media Technology in New York”


Date: 1st November, 2018. 1PM EDT / 10AM PDT / 17:00 GMT

Electronic home entertainment was invented in New York City for opera and so were headphones. The first compatible-color television program seen at home was opera in New York and so was the first bootleg recording. New York’s media technologies for opera date back to the 16th century and in the 21st century include dynamic video warping with depth-plane selection and multi-language live cinema transmissions to all seven continents (first described in a New York newspaper in 1877).

The genesis of much modern tech that we use today in broadcasting – and many business models – had their birth in Opera over a hundred years ago. Find out more!

A 200-ton music synthesizer broadcasting opera music in New York in 1907? An opera lighting dimmer in 1638? Opera for military communications tests?

It may be difficult to believe, but it’s true!

This is a special SMPTE New York-Section National Opera Week webcast event featuring Mark Schubin, esteemed engineer and explainer.

Register now!

Video: The Fandom of the Opera

A lecture by Mark Schubin on how a 400-year-old art form helped create modern media technology.
Believe it or not, electronic home entertainment was invented for opera audiences. So were consumer headphones, movies, newscasts, and pay-cable. The first sportscasts were in opera houses.

The first wireless broadcast? The first commercial digital recording? The first live subtitles? All opera.

The idea of transmitting opera motion pictures and sounds live to theaters worldwide appeared in print in 1877, to homes in 1882. Without opera, there might not be communications satellites. And, according to pioneering radiologist Percy Brown, “No opera, no X-rays!” The first opera recordings were made 17 years before Edison’s first phonograph, and 76 years before that an automaton played opera music for Marie Antoinette. In the 21st century, labs around the world are working on ultra-high-speed communications systems for opera and have discussed neutrino communications and quantum entanglement. Galileo, Kepler, Lavoisier, Matisse – all had opera-technology connections. Stereo sound? The laryngoscope? Broadcast rights? All for opera. Really. Watch and be amazed.

Video: Why Television Research Began in 1877 (and Why No One Knows it)

Another incredibly researched talk from Mark Schubin, documenting the early history of Television and ending on why the earliest work is so poorly documented. With restored videos from 1930s ‘Baird Disks’, newspaper & journal extracts, this is a fascinating history.

Prior to 1877, there was no hint of a television camera — not even in science fiction or fantasy. In 1877, eight people, in five countries on both sides of the Atlantic, began working on television systems, and there has not been a year since without television research (though the word “television,” itself, wasn’t coined until 1900). Why the “vision barrier” between 1876 and 1877? How did it get broken? Why don’t television history books discuss it? After extensive research, Mark Schubin has found the answers.

Watch now to find out!

Video: Why 4K Lenses Are Important Even If You’re Not Doing 4K

Mark Schubin presents a talk on why 4K lenses are relevant to HD productions. Starting by discussing whether there is a fixed ‘Television Viewing Distance’ and whether people can see 4K, he continues to discuss the importance of contrast in the ability of humans to see fine detail. Mark looks at Mean Transfer Curves which show that higher resolution lenses allow much more contrast at HD resolutions.

This talk was given at NAB 2018 at the Fujinon stand.

Watch now!

Video: Tomorrow is Always a Day Away


A fantastic look at the history of all the modern technologies looking at how they were conceived and where we are today. Mark Schubin deftly covers:

  • HD, VR, 3D, AI, HDR, HFR
  • ‘Direct View’ Cinema Screens
  • How HDR, HFR interact
  • The move to IP
  • IMF and a look at the future

Watch now

Video: NAB – Not Just Technology

A recording a Mark Schubin speaking at a SMPTE Washington D.C. Meeting after NAB this year. A highly insightful talk, Mark looks at the technology topics of NAB and joins them up with context surrounding them; politics, policy, progress and more.

Topics include
• This year’s decline in visitor turnout
• ATSC 3.0
• ZTE & Chinese companies
• Cloud pricing
• Applicability of Media over IP (ST 2110)
• Future codecs (VPP, PERSEUS, JPEG XS etc.)
• Displays and much more.

Watch now!

Video: Cinema Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow by Mark Schubin


An important reminder of the psychology and biology of watching films – it’s not just about technology.
As we approach the 125th anniversary of people paying to watch movies, Mark Schubin, who has been working in the field for 50 years, takes us on a journey from seemingly undirected early “actualities,” through a century of innovations, to some possible futures for the field. Can two people see completely different things in the same image? Why does a cinema viewer’s attire matter? Is there a correlation between ticket price and enjoyment?

Watch now!

Video: Understanding Frame Rate by Mark Schubin


We all need this occasionally – a reminder of the fundementals of watching video. Mark Schubin talks us through framerates from the earliest days of the motion picture industry when scientists, engineers and filmmakers collaborated on advancing the technologies that make motion pictures the most dynamic of art forms. Frame rates and colour space require common standards for industry-wide adoption.

Recorded at SMPTE Toronto, we see how in viewing tests, increased frame rate delivers a greater sensation of improvement than increased resolution (at a fraction of the increase in data rate), but some viewers of the higher-frame-rate Hobbit found the sensation unpleasant.

How does frames-per-second translate into pixels-per-screen-width? One common frame rate is based on profit; another is based on an interpretation of Asian spirituality.
Will future frame rates have to take image contrast into consideration? We are all involved with some part of the colour science pipeline as it spans filming to final display, and all the complex steps in between. In the last several years the subject of color management has become a colossal issue in the visual effects community. Modern media projects get content from a wide variety of sources. So how do we get all of this content to play nice together in a production environment?

@SMPTETor
@schubincafe

Watch!