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TOPIC: a digital dream

a digital dream 24 Oct 2007 18:29 #16700

  • Mike
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In a season marked by a lack of prints (print cost vs. what you'll gross!) for the smaller venues I had a dream: would digital mean they'd go wide and everyone with the equip could be in on opening night? Why not? I asked a few distribs and found the fly in the ointment. As digital is eased in the distribs pay a "digital print fee" equal to the cost of a real print so they get punished for going wider even if all it takes is a download or stream or disc. Back to the drawing board. The upside of digital, and if it gets to the point that all that matters is if you have the equipment, the days of wide and limited release will be gone. What do you think?

Michael Hurley
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Re: a digital dream 26 Oct 2007 10:15 #16701

  • Transit Drive in
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Mike-

You are absolutely right about distribution patterns remaining the same with D-Cinema as they are currently with 35mm.

What I've observed for the most part is that smaller exhibitors in small markets would prefer to keep things the way they are with 35mm, and hope that D-Cinema never becomes a reality. I can't help feeling that they are burying their heads in the sand while the rest of the exhibition industry reinvents itself digitally.

The up front costs are daunting, the additional maintenance costs are scary, and the uncertainty involved with changing over to a new technology is unnerving.

By the end of 2007, well over 4,000 domestic screens will be digital. Several circuits have already gone to digital on 100% of their screens, the largest being Carmike with about 2,500 digital installations. That is over 10% of the domestic screen count, and the bulk of the rollout has not even begun yet with DCIP, controlling over 15,000 screens comprised mainly of AMC, Cinemark, and Regal.

CBG-NATO represents another 6,000+ independent screens. When DCIP and CBG commence their rollouts, another 21,000-25,000 screens will be converted to digital within 5 years, and both of those entities have indicated publicly that they intend to begin their rollouts in 2008.

You can expect to see 75% of the domestic screen count become digital by the end of 2012, including 100% of the major markets controlled by the larger circuits that the studios covet.

Where does that leave the other 25% of the screen count, located mostly in smaller markets, who have not converted to digital by then? Does anyone seriously think the studios are going to distribute a few hundred 35mm prints for small towns indefinitely, when they have invested hundreds of millions to switch everyone else over to D-Cinema?

There will be a tipping point, just as there was with VHS and DVD, when new technology will exist side-by-side with old technology only up to that point where the new technology has become entrenched enough to discontinue the old technology. Try to find a new studio release for the home market on VHS tape today, the older format was quickly made obsolete by DVD. The same thing is going to happen with 35mm prints, and it will happen faster than many people think.

Rick Cohen
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[This message has been edited by Transit Drive in (edited October 26, 2007).]
"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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Re: a digital dream 26 Oct 2007 12:11 #16702

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75% by 2012! How much you wanna bet? The brand new Regal by me has exactly one digital screen (out of 15) unless you want to count the 2K projectors it uses for advertising.

What are the incentives for the circuits in spending this kind of money? What are the incentives for the studios if they have to pay the equivalent of a print under the new digital model.

Technology for technology's sake does not work. The cost of implementing D-Cinema will serve the industry no good if the end result is higher ticket prices and electronics that have to be replaced every 5 years.

All I hear is how expensive movies are. We cannot as an industry continue to raise prices while providing the same product. I want to see a house justify its $1.50 price increase by telling their customer 'yes, but its digital now' unless it looks or sounds a LOT better, (which I doubt) they wont care.

I just dont see the incentive to D-Cinema for anyone but the studios.

Besides studios will continue to make 35mm prints to serve the rest of the world, especially second world markets.

Roger Detzler
IOKA Entertainment Inc
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Re: a digital dream 26 Oct 2007 14:13 #16703

  • Mike
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I feel like a second world market.


Well.... I agree that this is a train that has left the station. We can argue about how long is the train going to take to get from a to b but that it is a big bright shiny powerful train can be of little doubt.

The big guys have an unbelieveable ability to do things indies can not even imagine. Write downs, write offs, amortization, lease backs, discounts, rebates, etc. etc. When you have an enormous grossing power you also have an ability to finance and write off new equipment in a way the guys like (ahem) me simply do not. We will eventually be forced to digi down. 2012 or whatever: whooooooo!!! whoooooooooo!!!! I hear that train a rolling, it's rolling round the bend.............


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Re: a digital dream 26 Oct 2007 16:20 #16704

  • slapintheface
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I think Carmike made a BIG MISTAKE GOING ALL DIGITAL, AT THIS POINT AND BELIEVE THEY WILL HAVE TO FILE BANKRUPCY TO PAY FOR THEM ....JUST MY OPINION!
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Re: a digital dream 26 Oct 2007 18:18 #16705

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and that was my point: these guys seem to know how to go bankrupt and stay open after settling for .25 on the dollar.

Michael Hurley
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Re: a digital dream 26 Oct 2007 20:16 #16706

  • Transit Drive in
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by rdetzler:
<B>75% by 2012! How much you wanna bet? The brand new Regal by me has exactly one digital screen (out of 15) unless you want to count the 2K projectors it uses for advertising.

What are the incentives for the circuits in spending this kind of money? What are the incentives for the studios if they have to pay the equivalent of a print under the new digital model.

Technology for technology's sake does not work. The cost of implementing D-Cinema will serve the industry no good if the end result is higher ticket prices and electronics that have to be replaced every 5 years.

All I hear is how expensive movies are. We cannot as an industry continue to raise prices while providing the same product. I want to see a house justify its $1.50 price increase by telling their customer 'yes, but its digital now' unless it looks or sounds a LOT better, (which I doubt) they wont care.

I just dont see the incentive to D-Cinema for anyone but the studios.

Besides studios will continue to make 35mm prints to serve the rest of the world, especially second world markets.

Roger Detzler
IOKA Entertainment Inc</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I'm not going to explain to you why the industry is going to be all digital within the next 10 years. If you don't get it by now, you aren't going to get it after I've typed all the reasons into this post for the next two hours.

I will guarantee you that every AMC, Cinemark, and Regal will be converted to digital by 2012, probably even sooner. Their rollout is likely to begin in 2008. They will most likely close some of their less profitable locations that do not warrant the investment.

Those independent operators who think that 35mm will be readily available 10 years from now are in for a very rude awakening. If you don't understand the motivation or reasoning for this, you probably shouldn't be running a movie theatre.

It isn't my job to explain the realities of the exhibition industry to anyone on this discussion board, but if you really believe that 35mm will still be readily available 10 years from now, you are living in different state of reality.

Rick Cohen
Transit Drive-in
Lockport, New York
"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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Re: a digital dream 26 Oct 2007 21:48 #16707

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What has not been pointed out is the failure rate of digital shows. Beneath all the cheer leading for digital is a minor fault-digital projection is still not perfected. The sytems still fail way more than conventional film. Ask the guys From ACE and Bl&S and they will tell you that picture quality is not better and reliabilty is not even close. While I do beleive the train has left the station, it still has a whole lot of stops to get there. I do not believe 2012 is an accurate time frame especially given the lack of enough quality technicians to get all those installations done and keep the existing digital running.
What we did learn at Showeast was that the price of digital systems continues to fall. By the time most of the independents have to purchase digital the price should be close to the cost of a new projector system.
I will convert one screen in the next 5 years to digital but I'm sure I will not convert all of them nor will I have to.
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Re: a digital dream 26 Oct 2007 22:03 #16708

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Narrow Gauge:
<B> What has not been pointed out is the failure rate of digital shows. Beneath all the cheer leading for digital is a minor fault-digital projection is still not perfected. The sytems still fail way more than conventional film. Ask the guys From ACE and Bl&S and they will tell you that picture quality is not better and reliabilty is not even close. While I do beleive the train has left the station, it still has a whole lot of stops to get there. I do not believe 2012 is an accurate time frame especially given the lack of enough quality technicians to get all those installations done and keep the existing digital running.
What we did learn at Showeast was that the price of digital systems continues to fall. By the time most of the independents have to purchase digital the price should be close to the cost of a new projector system.
I will convert one screen in the next 5 years to digital but I'm sure I will not convert all of them nor will I have to.</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The documented success rate of D-Cinema is 99.3%, from Access/IT which provides digital equipment and content delivery services to roughly 4,000 digital screens.

You may want to verify the source of your information, most of the negative propaganda put out there about digital equipment is circulated by people who do not have a whiff of credibility or any experience operating digital screens.

The studios are not going to spend millions financing VPFs for theatres to install D-Cinema if that would damage their own interests. They don't want to see dark screens or low grosses any more than we do.

Even if the cost falls to that of current day 35mm, it will still be more expensive to buy your own digital equipment than if you had signed on with an integrator that financed your conversion with studio funded VPF's.

If you think the VPF deals will still be on the table for you in another 10 years, after everyone else has already converted their screens to digital, you will be in for another rude awakening when you find out that the VPF train left the station 10 years ago and you have to pay for 100% of the conversion cost out of your own pocket. In that case, you had better pray that the equipment cost will drop down to that of current day 35mm.

Rick

[This message has been edited by Transit Drive in (edited October 26, 2007).]

[This message has been edited by Transit Drive in (edited October 26, 2007).]
"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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Re: a digital dream 26 Oct 2007 22:25 #16709

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Double post, oops.

[This message has been edited by Transit Drive in (edited October 26, 2007).]
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Re: a digital dream 26 Oct 2007 23:01 #16710

  • slapintheface
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DRIVE IN MAN HAS IT RGHT ON!
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Re: a digital dream 26 Oct 2007 23:41 #16711

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My sources are the techs that work and fix the equipment. All the techs I have spoken to agree that digital is nowhere near as reliable as film is today. Will this improve-no question but as an independent theater I am not willing to jump in now when the bugs are not all worked out. For the record i also have been told that Acess/it is bleeding great big buckets of money and the business model is not working.

Now I'm sure none of this is in agreement with the official NATO propaaganda but hey everyone knows NATO is the weakest trade orginization going a mere pawn of the chain cinemas.

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Re: a digital dream 27 Oct 2007 12:15 #16712

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Narrow Gauge:
<B> My sources are the techs that work and fix the equipment. All the techs I have spoken to agree that digital is nowhere near as reliable as film is today. Will this improve-no question but as an independent theater I am not willing to jump in now when the bugs are not all worked out. For the record i also have been told that Acess/it is bleeding great big buckets of money and the business model is not working.

Now I'm sure none of this is in agreement with the official NATO propaaganda but hey everyone knows NATO is the weakest trade orginization going a mere pawn of the chain cinemas.

</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The techs you are referring to are the 35mm techs and 35mm equipment dealers who will be put out of business eventually by digital projection. Hardly a credible or unbiased source of factual information.

Your opinions about Access/IT and digital projection amount to little more than heresay and wishful thinking, without FACTS from CREDIBLE SOURCES to back your statements.

The purpose of my posts is to inform other theatre operators with credible information. NATO is hardly a puppet of the larger circuits, something Narrow Gauge might know more about if he bothered to attend their annual General Membership Meetings or join NATO's Independent Theatre Owner Committee.

Anyone can throw tomatos at the stage from the peanut gallery. Getting involved and being informed from the inside, rather than relying on opinions from people who have narrow minded agendas of their own is the best way to understand the reality of where digital projection is going, when it will get there, how it will get there, and how it will effect your business.

Rick
"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."
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Re: a digital dream 27 Oct 2007 15:04 #16713

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Its 2007 where's my flying car? No business model no technology. You have said a lot Drive In but not one sentence of it has anything to do with my original comment. There is no financial reason for anyone to go to digital. Not for theater, not for the customer, and barely for the studio. Where is your business model? Where is the quantum improvement in the experience or reliability? Its not there. I come from the IT world and I can tell you that if they best you can get is 99.3% (which I think is highly doubtful based on anecdotal evidence) no corporation in the USA would buy that stuff. Six Sigma is the standard not 99.3. 99.999999 uptime. 99.3 means 61 hours of downtime per year. Too many missed shows for me. I'll stick to Brenkert BX-80's.By the time I actually do need to move it will cost me pocket change for some cheap Chinese junk electronics.
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Re: a digital dream 27 Oct 2007 15:44 #16714

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It is a statistical fact (even using your numbers) that digital is not as reliable as film. Independents need to know that this system is not perfected yet. I'm sorry that this dampers your cheerleading but do not mislead this forum with your digital hype. Moreover when a digital system crashes it can take up to 30 minutes to reboot-it takes most of us less than 5 minutes to fix a film break or wrap.
Mike Labbe has installed numerous digital screens in Mass and a few here in Maine(Cinamagic). Yes he is a good technician of 35mm and I assume digital. Mike will have a job in this industry whether digital is 2012 or 2020. Mike is as solid as they come and I'm sorry his advice(from the actual trenches) means way more to me than the official NATO line. How many installs have you done Rick. How many emergency trips to theaters have you responded to. If anything technicians will be more valuable than ever as new technology always means more problems initially.
John Gallucci has worked for Kinoton of America for 30 years. He freely admits that while the kinoton digital projector looks nice on the screen it still does not surpass film.
I will not get involved with NATO for reasons too numerous to post here. Suffice it to say I agree to disagree about the value of that orginization.
As a first generation cinema owner for the past 20 years I have invested -like many other independents-significant time and money into my theaters. I am not anti technology(All digital sound etc) -I just feel it is very important that we don't get pulled into the hype of digital until the systems are perfected. Clearly there is a difference in opimion in this industry as to how close digital is to being widespread. You can always tell a pioneer by the number of arrows in them-I can't afford to be that pioneer.
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