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Enchanting Luminous Theatre
- Capturing the images of fireflies with an ultra-high sensitivity HDTV camera

One night at the end of May, HDTV images of flying fireflies were shot at the Yamada River valley in Ohara-cho, Chiba Prefecture. An ultra-high sensitivity HDTV handheld camera was utilized to capture the soft glow of the fireflies against the surrounding scenery. This camera, which was developed by the NHK Science & Technical Research Laboratories, is equipped with a HARP image pickup tube, which uses an avalanche multiplication phenomenon on a photoconductive target and provides a sensitivity approximately 50 times greater than that of an ordinary HDTV CCD camera. Its small battery-operated system also gives this camera superior mobility in comparison with a conventional ultra-high sensitivity HDTV camera. These advantages were ably demonstrated by the firefly images, which suitably reflected the producer's intentions.
The vivid, fantastic video images capturing the natural luminous theatre of a quiet mountain village were broadcast on the June 17th edition of the NHK GTV program, "Small Trip."

NHK Science & Technical
Research Laboratories
Address: 1-10-11, Kinuta, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, 157-8510, Japan
Phone: +81(0)3-5494-1125
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I have been thinking back ten years ago when we started research on the digital satellite broadcasting system. The prototype digital broadcasting system that we made experimentally at that time needed many racks, and the reception equipment a huge volume. Of course, MPEG had not yet emerged. We believed the full digitalization of the television service would need a lot of time.
Since then, technology has progressed much quicker than had thought. The set top box for BS digital broadcasting is only 7 cm in height and 2 kg in weight, including the HDTV decoder. Continuous efforts by engineers and researchers, and cooperation on standardization among related organizations, have brought this progress in the technology.
What will happen after another ten years? It may be as difficult to imagine the situation in ten years from now as it was ten years ago. However, as technology progresses, the most important research themes become the reality ten or twenty years later. And the technologies keep on advancing.
Osamu YAMADA, publisher, Director-General
Keiichi KUBOTA, editor-in-chief
Takayuki ITO, editor
Hisakazu KATOH, editor
Yasushige ASHINA, editor
Takashi KAWAI, editor
Hiroyuki KOYAMA, editor

Layout & Design :
Yohko OHTA, Masami OHNISHI,
DTP : Media-jin, Inc.