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Grabbing the Holy Grail of Webcasting
By Stephen Schleicher

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If you have read the article "Animation in the Web-Age" on the Digital WebCast sight, you know there are several things that prevent high quality images or video from being sent over the Internet; size, speed and quality, the golden triangle of webcasting. If you want quality, you end up with large file sizes which in turn increases download time. Webcasting professionals have long known of this conundrum, and have instead reduced size and quality to compensate until a happy medium was reached, generally speaking 320x240 (or smaller) at 15 frames per second (or less). With this barrier in place, it seemed it would be a long time before anyone would claim the Holy Grail of Webcasting as their own.

Enter Eliot Bernstein, who until 1998 was working in the insurance industry, creating computer based, multimedia-marketing tools for use in the industry. Two years ago, he left that field and pursued a career that would let him combine his passion for photography and video and bring them to the Internet.

"The world up until 1998, when you built a picture, you could scan it in at the highest resolution possible to get the best graphic, but then you had to build the frame for the picture. If you wanted a frame that was 160x120, your picture ended up at 160x120 and that was it. The minute you zoomed in on (the image), you were drawing from just those pixels so blur became instant, because there was not external data to draw from," said Bernstein in a recent interview.

Teaming up with Brian Utley, former Vice President and General Manager of IBM Boca Raton, the two formed, with the goal of breaking the file size/quality limit. With a degree in Psychology, Bernstein realized that the human eye could be tricked into seeing what isn't really there.

"When I was approached with this puzzle from engineers, I thought, 'Instead of a 120x160 images size as the end result, why not put a picture the size of the Empire State Building in (the frame) and then see what happens?'

We went about looking for that right sweet spot that would beat the compressor from putting up a garbled image. We found the perfect size that works on multiples of 4, based on what has now been dubbed the "efficiency equation". When we put up a large image (inside of a 120x160 frame) and started to zoom in on it, it was drawing in all this data from outside of the frame and we got these zooms that everyone now calls "2 D".

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Eliot Bernstein

Eliot Bernstein






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