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TOPIC: Movie Film, at Death's Door, Gets a Reprieve

Movie Film, at Death's Door, Gets a Reprieve 30 Jul 2014 14:17 #41250

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Last week I heard some theaters were getting calls from Warner's asking about 35mm. Now I see this in yesterday's Wall Street Journal. Trying to keep Kodak in business.

online.wsj.com/articles/kodak-movie-film...e-1406674752?tesla=y
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Movie Film, at Death's Door, Gets a Reprieve 06 Aug 2014 15:38 #41268

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Movie Film, at Death's Door, Gets a Reprieve
Tarantino, Abrams Mount Campaign to Get Studios to Promise Orders From Kodak
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Ben Fritz
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July 29, 2014 6:59 p.m. ET

Faced with the possible extinction of the material that made Hollywood famous, a coalition of studios is close to a deal to keep Eastman Kodak Co. KODK -3.61% in the business of producing movie film.

The negotiations—secret until now—are expected to result in an arrangement where studios promise to buy a set quantity of film for the next several years, even though most movies and television shows these days are shot on digital video.

Kodak's new chief executive, Jeff Clarke, said the pact will allow his company to forestall the closure of its Rochester, N.Y., film manufacturing plant, a move that had been under serious consideration. Kodak's motion-picture film sales have plummeted 96% since 2006, from 12.4 billion linear feet to an estimated 449 million this year. With the exit of competitor Fujifilm Corp. last year, Kodak is the only major company left producing motion-picture film.

Mr. Clarke originally had hoped that a group of studios, producers and filmmakers would invest directly in Kodak's film-manufacturing plant, as a joint venture. But that proposal fell flat earlier this summer. A subsequent effort to solicit long-term orders from studios gained traction when several prominent filmmakers joined Kodak's cause, according to people involved in the discussions.

Among the big name directors who lobbied the heads of studios to help find a solution were Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Judd Apatow, and J.J. Abrams, who is currently shooting "Star Wars Episode VII" on film.

Quentin Tarantino was one of several directors that lobbied heads of studios to help ensure the continued production of Kodak movie film. Mr. Tarantino is shown on the set of 'Inglourious Basterds,' in 2009. Weinstein Company/Everett Collection

In the agreements being finalized with Kodak, studios are committing to purchase a certain amount of film without knowing how many, if any, of their movies will be shot on the medium over the next few years.

"It's a financial commitment, no doubt about it," said Bob Weinstein, co-chairman of Weinstein Co. "But I don't think we could look some of our filmmakers in the eyes if we didn't do it."

Mr. Weinstein said he was personally lobbied by Mr. Tarantino, a public critic of digital filmmaking.

Film and digital video both "are valid choices, but it would be a tragedy if suddenly directors didn't have the opportunity to shoot on film," said Mr. Apatow. director of comedies including "Knocked Up" and "The 40 Year-Old Virgin," speaking from the New York set of his coming movie "Trainwreck," which he is shooting on film. "There's a magic to the grain and the color quality that you get with film."
From Reels to Pixels

Timeline highlights of film and digital film-making.

1889: Kodak produces the first commercial transparent film roll.
1895: The Lumiere Brothers publicly screen a film for the first time ever.
1927: "The Jazz Singer" is the first "talkie," or motion picture with sound, to play publicly.
1935: "Becky Sharp" is the first live-action feature film made in Technicolor. The new technology would become broadly popular over the next few years with hits including "The Wizard of Oz" and "Gone With the Wind."
1952: "Bwana Devil" is the first 3-D color feature film, setting off a brief craze using the new technology.
1970: Imax big screen projection is shown publicly for the first time, in Osaka, Japan.
1999: "Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace" is the first movie played on digital projectors.
2002: "Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones" is the first feature film shot entirely on digital cameras.
2008: "Journey to the Center of the Earth" is the first live-action feature film made and shown in digital 3-D. The next year, the technology moves into the mainstream with "Avatar."
2013: "The Wolf of Wall Street" is the first movie distributed entirely digitally, with no film prints.

With preliminary order numbers in hand, Kodak is now negotiating formal commitments. Among the studios in talks with Kodak are Time Warner Inc. TWX -0.13% 's Warner Bros., Comcast Corp.'s CMCSA -0.53% Universal Pictures, Viacom Inc. VIAB -1.79% 's Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Co. DIS -0.18% 's Walt Disney Studios, as well as Weinstein.

"In an industry where we very rarely have unanimity, everyone has rallied around keeping film as an option for the foreseeable future," said Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara.

Industry experts say the roughly $1 million cost of renting cameras and recording equipment on a movie is roughly the same for film and digital, but that the latter allows for faster movement through the visual effects and post-production processes.

"I'm a huge fan of film, but it's so much more convenient digitally," said producer Ian Bryce, whose recent "Transformers: Age of Extinction" was shot primarily on digital cameras.

Kodak's Mr. Clarke was named chief executive in March, seven months after the company emerged from a 20-month bankruptcy reorganization. He found that demand for film from Hollywood was dropping even faster than Kodak had projected and that, as a result, that business unit would be unprofitable for the first time in recent history.

Film is expected to account for less than 10% of Kodak's approximately $2.2 billion of revenue this year, but a closure of the movie-film plant would be an outsized blow to the company's image as it attempts to regain lost luster.
Inside Kodak's Movie-Film Plant
View Slideshow

Before several Hollywood studios promised to buy a set quantity of film, Kodak was considering closing its movie-film manufacturing plant in Rochester N.Y. Nick Brandreth for The Wall Street Journal

Kodak hopes the agreements will stabilize a rocky business and help to bridge a revenue gap for the next few years as it attempts to market a version of its film for use in touchscreens for devices like smartphones and tablets.

Although the company also makes film for aerial and industrial customers, the movie and TV industries have long been its biggest clients. But the digital revolution has sent their demand into a tailspin. Most movie theaters have switched over to digital projection.

"The unprecedented decline in the use of film in the entertainment industry created an enormous amount of uncertainty," Mr. Clarke said in an interview. "We had to build a coalition among all the parties in order to reach a solution."
Related Coverage

Q&A: J.J. Abrams Says Film Sets Standard
Christopher Nolan on Future of Films

It remains to be seen whether film will find enough adherents to remain economically viable in the years to come, as few young directors still use it. Elizabeth Daley, dean of the school of cinematic arts at the University of Southern California, said only one class at her school, advanced cinematography, still trains students to use film.

But proponents have also pointed out that film is the only medium still used for preservation of all types of movies for long periods of time—even ones shot digitally. Digital files need to be regularly transferred, putting them at greater risk of being damaged.

Mr. Clarke said that he expects Kodak will lose money on film manufacturing in 2014 and roughly break even by next year, based on the deals currently being worked out. By 2016, he hopes that sales to touchscreen manufacturers combined with projected demand from Hollywood will move Kodak's film business back into the black.

"I am confident we will see a slowing of the [revenue] decline," said Mr. Clarke. "But a large part of this will be a deeper recognition that film is valuable."
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Movie Film, at Death's Door, Gets a Reprieve 06 Aug 2014 22:27 #41269

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If I never see another 35 mm print it will be to soon ..
Love digital projection !
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Movie Film, at Death's Door, Gets a Reprieve 07 Aug 2014 14:43 #41271

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yes...anyone who has digital will agree.... but stil interesting... I think the main reason is that the last 15 % still matters to the film companies. I would not have thought so but it must be true.
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Movie Film, at Death's Door, Gets a Reprieve 07 Aug 2014 16:41 #41273

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This has very little to do with 35mm as a distribution format, and almost everything to do with 35mm as a source format. Outside of Tarantino, most of these other guys appreciate the image quality gains in the distribution side of moving to digital. But they still prefer the look of film for capturing the images in camera as opposed to shooting on something like a RED Epic, Arri Alexa, or Sony F65.
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Movie Film, at Death's Door, Gets a Reprieve 12 Aug 2014 11:03 #41288

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In the Digital Age, Projectionists Still Need to Learn How to Show 35mm Film Prints
While digital may now be the primary exhibition format, there is still a need for projectionists who know how to handle film prints.

Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, J.J. Abrams and Judd Apatow recently lobbied Hollywood studios to support Kodak to keep film stock in use -- and their efforts seemed to have worked, with Kodak announcing it will continue to produce film stock. Martin Scorsese also rallied around the effort to keep film stock alive, but in addition to producing film stock, we need to continue to educate projectionists about how to handle and properly screen film stock.

Therefore, the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) is partnering with the Alamo Drafthouse to offer training to projectionists and others in how to properly present 35 mm film in theaters.

"A number of films are simply not available in digital and showing them in their original 35mm format allows new audiences to appreciate rare prints, archive films and titles from private collections," said AMIA board member Elena Rossi-Snook. "But it also requires special skills to work with rare and archival prints."

Taking place at the Alamo South Lamar location in Austin, Texas on October 28, the workshop, which is limited to 20 participants, will provide a hands-on tutorial for projectionists and theater staff working with 35 mm film prints. Participants will receive industry-wide recognition for completion of the workshop, indicated by a certificate from AMIA.

"I love digital projection for new release films, but only a tiny sliver of our vast film history will ever make it to the DCP format," said Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League. "As an industry, we must continue to preserve, protect and carefully screen 35mm films and maintain our 35mm projection equipment. The day we stop is the day cinema as we know it is dead."

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Movie Film, at Death's Door, Gets a Reprieve 05 Feb 2015 10:30 #41947

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An update on this Kodak story...

Kodak Inks Deals With Studios to Extend Film's Life
by Carolyn Giardina - The Hollywood Reporter

Kodak has finalized deals with the major Hollywood studios that will allow film to remain alive, at least for the near future. This marks the completion of the deal that
Disney, Fox, Paramount, Sony, NBC Universal and Warner Bros. have all reached agreements with Kodak to purchase undisclosed amounts of film over "a few" years that would be enough to extend Kodak's film manufacturing business. The value of the deals were not disclosed.

Andrew Evenski, Kodak's president of entertainment and commercial films, told The Hollywood Reporter that Kodak is now "actively working with the independents. We are currently looking at it film by film, but hoping for some agreements [along the lines of the majors]." He added that Kodak is also aggressively targeting pilot season work.

J.J. Abrams, who has shot Star Wars: Episode VII on celluloid, Christopher Nolan, who used film on Interstellar, Quentin Tarantino and Judd Apatow are among a group of leading filmmakers who are passionate film supporters and stepped up to urge Hollywood to keep film going.

"The point at which you're told you won't have a choice anymore, that becomes an important creative issue that needs to be brought to people's attention," Nolan told THR in a December interview, during which the filmmakers' effort was featured in the Rulebreakers issue.
Noting that Kodak — the last remaining manufacturer of film — launched a "Film Worthy" campaign at Sundance and Slamdance, Evenski said the company is aiming to spread a message that indie filmmakers could also afford to shoot on film and have access to its aesthetic look.

With the rise of digital imaging technologies, Kodak's film sales have plummeted by 96 percent over the last decade. The decline has accelerated in the last three years as most theaters have converted to digital.

According to Wednesday's announcement from Kodak, the deals mean that the company will continue to manufacturer camera negative, intermediate stock for postproduction, and archival and print film. It also said Kodak would pursue "new opportunities to leverage film production technologies in growth applications, such as touchscreens for smartphones and tablet computers."

Kodak told THR that it has fixed film-manufacturing costs of $50 million a year (for all industries), and it has long maintained that it would continue to manufacture film as long as it made business sense. That was a notable part of the company's plans when it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2013. Evenski said he expects Kodak's entertainment unit to break even on film in the first year of this studio arrangement.

The exec also reported that Kodak is reaching out to independent theaters, urging them to maintain film projection. The digital cinema transition in nearly complete in the U.S. and studios have already started all-digital domestic releases. Evenski says he sees opportunity in international markets that are not as far along in a digital transition, such as certain countries in South America.

Burbank, Calif.-based Fotokem is the last film lab in Hollywood. Kodak shut its L.A. office this past year, but Evenski said that while its local reps work from their homes, film can be shipped to customers or obtained at a local pickup station at Protek.

Oscar nominees that were photographed on film include Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Interstellar, Foxcatcher and Into the Woods. Among the upcoming titles using Kodak film are Star Wars: Episode VII –The Force Awakens, Mission: Impossible 5, Batman v. Superman – Dawn of Justice, Jurassic World, Ant-Man, Cinderella, Entourage and Trainwreck.
"We are not walking away," Evenski asserted. "Kodak is sponsoring the American Society of Cinematographers nominees dinner. I want people to get excited around film again."

Feb. 4, 4 p.m. Updated with additional information.

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Movie Film, at Death's Door, Gets a Reprieve 05 Feb 2015 13:48 #41949

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"But proponents have also pointed out that film is the only medium still used for preservation of all types of movies for long periods of time—even ones shot digitally. Digital files need to be regularly transferred, putting them at greater risk of being damaged."

we have not played a 35mm print since converting and really?: I never want to see one again. It's like expecting drivers to know how to drive stick shift once in 1000 years just in case. The # 1 reason for film is for back-up archival and that makes total sense. I do miss the mechanical soothing of 35 mm but ... FILM IS DEAD... long live the movies.
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Movie Film, at Death's Door, Gets a Reprieve 05 Feb 2015 22:54 #41950

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Never want to see a 35mm print again ... Good riddance ..
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