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The Materiality Of Video
Bernhard Frankel
The Materiality of Video
Any image can be described by its amount of colours.

Let's, for simplicity's sake, just work with the shades of black and white. In the computer we normally have 256 shades between black and white (8 to the power of 2, or 8 bits of information). 0 would reproduce black and 255 white.

In digital video we use the same numbering but the mapping is differently. 16 is mapped to black and 239 is mapped to white. As long as the image stays inside its chosen medium (video or image) we don’t need to remap. But when we change medium, from video program to image program, we need to be aware of the pitfalls. Final Cut on the Mac, does this re-mapping of the colours automatically, both ways (if it is set to superwhite), but check your favourite video edit program to make sure.

Armed with this knowledge of the PAL video image you can import a single still image into Photoshop or your preferred image manipulation program. The following steps are for Photoshop but it should be easy to do on any program.

A white level from 0 to 255.
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