Tech stuff – as a client, how much do you need to know?

The creative worlds of film, video and TV are now driven by digital technology and have converged with the IT industry. So, although many people consider themselves to be ‘non-technical’, it’s becoming clear that at least some degree of understanding of basic IT concepts and how they relate to digital imagery is essentia to be able to instruct others to produce the best results. Perhaps unfortunately for some, getting to grips with the basics behind things like aspect ratio, bit rates, codecs, video compression and digital formats, etc, can be a bit tedious but is increasingly necessary.

One of the aims of this site, and my blog in particular, is to collect resources and information that will help others to become more technically literate, allowing them to more clearly communicate their technical requirements.

With that in mind, I was pleased to find this on Ben Cain’s Negative Spaces blog.

The Digital Fact Book, published by Quantel, is a pdf document that lists everything you could possibly want to know about the technical aspects of the industry with clear and straightforward explanations.

Quantel are a really interesting British company, responsible for pretty much inventing modern TV graphics. In the early 1980s the production company I worked for bought a Quantel PaintBox, one of the first in the UK outside the BBC, so I was fortunate to be able to play with this revolutionary device that, at the time, cost three times as much as an average house. Our in-house graphic designer went from Letraset and airbrushes to a tablet and monitor practically overnight, brave man! Now, of course, the humblest desktop PC is more powerful and Photoshop significantly more capable, but at the time it was like magic.

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