The early stages of Hi-Vision production
The development of Hi-Vision TV equipment
made location work possible, but the size of the equipment posed a considerable
problem. The camera alone weighed 40 kg, while the additional weight
of lenses and tripod brought the total up to 100 kg. Nevertheless Okazaki
Sakae, a drama director, and Hara Kenichi, a technical director, loaded
this cumbersome equipment onto an old TV relay van and traveled throughout
Japan, shooting images of local scenery, festivals, traditional performing
arts, and the All-Japan High School Baseball Championship Tournament.
In 1982, this material was edited under the title Images
for Hi-Vision and won recognition as a fitting commemoration
of the early days of HDTV.
Spotting the individual
The 1984 Los Angeles Olympics were taped
in Hi-Vision, and a subsequent screening drew gasps of amazement from
the assembled broadcasting experts. The pictures were so clear that
it was possible to make out the individual facial features of every
single spectator on the large screen. As the equipment was improved
in quality and reduced in size, commercial broadcasters also sought
to produce Hi-Vision TV programs of their own. In 1988, NHK produced
an electronic movie, Departure, consisting
only of electronic imagesthis at a time when most movies were
still shot on film.
Impetus from sports
The 1988 Seoul Olympics provided NHK with
an opportunity to conduct test broadcasting in Hi-Vision over 17 consecutive
days. The equipment later underwent extensive refinement, allowing large-scale
coverage of the Olympics, FIFA World Cup and other major sports events.
On November 25, 1994, NHK and seven commercial
TV companies began test broadcasting to prepare for the full-scale use
of Hi-Vision. NHK was responsible for 60% of the output and production,
and launched Weekly Hi-Vision News.
NHK also used Hi-Vision to cover and broadcast
the devastation wrought by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995.
Lift-off to space
In October 1998, after 10 years of negotiations,
NHK put Hi-Vision cameras on the U.S. space shuttle. Japanese astronaut
Mukai Chiaki and her colleagues successfully shot Hi-Vision images of
the earth and the inside of the spacecraft.
In 1999, Hi-Vision cameras were introduced
in news coverage. In August 2000, Hi-Vision was used to cover the Democratic
and Republican national conventions for the American presidential election.
Since that year, NHK's Annual Historical Drama serials have all been
shot and broadcast in Hi-Vision, The first such all-Hi-Vision presentation
was Aoi: The Three Tokugawa Generations.
NHK, the Hi-Vision
NHK has installed Hi-Vision cameras throughout
Japan and is gradually shifting all TV broadcast equipment to the Hi-Vision
format, not only in Japan but at NHK facilities around the world.