Last week I made my annual pilgrimage to the American College of Surgeons meeting, this year in Chicago. 4 days of promoting our products and services to surgeons from around the world - lots of talking, walking, and checking out some of the latest medical technology.
Cine-Med's usual duties include supporting the video program, which plays nearly 250 surgical videos over 4 days. My role was quality control - checking each video file before the meeting, and flagging any files which need attention (mostly pixel aspect ratio corrections, some low or hot audio levels and some unusual formats).
The goal is to make everything an MPEG2 file at 720x480.
What!? 720x480? What is this the 90's??
Well, given the limitations of networks used to transfer video files around the massive McCormick Place convention center, the playback computers themselves, and the sub-HD resolution projectors and stock motherboard GPU's, non-HD video remains the lowest common denominator for this particular meeting.
That being said, we received a couple of dozen HD videos, and we'll maintain the original resolution in the online video library that we maintain.
Walking around the show floor I stopped by a booth displaying a new 4K monitor. Not that there are any medical video devices capable of generating a 4k video image, but cool to see anyway.
Upon closer inspection and getting a look inside the display, it turns out they shot the sample video on an F65 and played it back via a video deck I had never seen up close, the Sony SRR1000
The last day of the meeting was the 3D video session, featuring 3 10-minute 3D videos - a Pancreaticoduodenectomy, a Colon Resection, and a Gastric Bypass. I'll spare you the images, but take my word for it, the colon resection was the best. As in feature films, you want to use 3D where it is appropriate. A lot of surgery happens in one plane, so the only sense of depth comes from objects in the foreground such as instruments and sutures - kind of neat. But as you know, when doing a laparoscopic sigmoid colon resection you are working deep down in the pelvis, and in that case the sense of depth is profound and really useful for working around nerves and blood vessels. (you mean you didn't know that?)
As for the rest of the time, we setup a booth displaying our book and video products as well as promotional material for upcoming events that we manage. It is cool talking to people from places as diverse as Australia, Japan, China, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Jamaica, Belgium, Russia, Kuwait, Israel, Qatar, Dubai, Canada and even the 50 states of the US.
In the downtime we usually try to find good places for meals. On this trip we had Vietnamese, Italian, American and a fair share of ready-made sandwiches and pastries during the meeting itself. One of our co-workers took us to the Green Mill, a historic Prohibition Era lounge, to see a jazz quartet play. Although I had never heard of her, Patricia Barber is supposed to be well known and she does not perform very often in the US, so it was a treat. I will say her drummer and guitar player were awesome.
Finally the trip home in the rain got me back home at about 1:30am.
As with most of my travel, I try to find at least an hour to do something related to the city. In Chicago it is photography of the amazing architecture.
Until the next journey, thanks for reading.
PS - In case you are wondering, our new kitten Alfie no longer resembles a kitten. He's over 6 pounds and he is even learning to drive.