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TOPIC: Digital Cinema

Re: Digital Cinema 08 Nov 2005 09:52 #11274

  • leeler
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I guess my question is, what, if anything, can we do NOW to prepare for this? Wave our hands in the air and run in circles or form our own initiative to let OUR voices be heard on the subject (if that is even possible at this point). If what NATO propses goes through then I see it as a boon to the industry (a well-needed shot in the arm) but if it gets bastardized to support the studios only then it will spell doom to my little venue that's for sure.
"What a crazy business"
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Re: Digital Cinema 08 Nov 2005 10:58 #11275

  • rodeojack
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The American resistance to this idea is also something that's been debated ad-nauseum on various discussion boards. For everyone but the typical independent, who doesn't have the big bucks sitting around for a technology conversion like this, the concept floating around India has generally been trashed on sight.

Throughout the development of digital cinema there has been a real concern that the image, delivered electronically, will not measure up to what a 35mm print will provide... the moviegoing public will notice and more of them will invest in home entertainment systems. Even Disney has pushed the idea that their new 3D process will bring people flocking back to the big screen. With this thought in mind, why would anyone promote the idea that a lower-quality picture might be acceptable in the quest for industrial digitizing? At this point it appears to be based on nothing more than the initial cost of the projector.

A few months ago, Regal experimented with the idea of downloading an independent feature film into their digital advertising systems, just to see how it might work. I spoke with two of their managers, who said the result was mediocre.

Landmark Theatres is in the middle of this as well, with the Soderberg films being delivered to their low-rez digital systems. Note however, that since the initial announcement, pretty much all the hype over this has come from Soderberg over the combined-release concept, not the quality of the delivered product.

A "digital" projector might be available for around $10k. However, if independent operators promote something like this in order to get into the business cheaply, how long will it be before forums like this are filled with complaints that technology shortchanged the little guy?

Right now, I'm more concerned that the industry is shoving this technology down our throats before it's truely ready to be compared next to 35mm... both as to longterm reliability and quality. However, I regularly discuss this with people who are equally convinced this thing is ready to go, and we ought to be fighting for a place at the head of the line. It sure makes for an interesting debate!
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Re: Digital Cinema 08 Nov 2005 11:27 #11276

  • D. Bird
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I have a couple XL's that I like to play with and have wanted to put into action outdoors for a number of years, never got the zoning, yet.

However, a local heritage town (1890's) has a beautiful replica theatre with balcony, curtain, the whole bit. Seats 600 or so and the screen is 35-40 feet. Recently I have viewed a Buster Keaton festival and some RKO animated features there. Now granted, these are not modern colour films and maybe these project better than a new feature would. BUT, the image WAS as bright as it should be, and crystal clear (except for the odd scratch and cue mark from source material). I know it's some sort of "digital" as somebody hit the mouse at one point and I saw the cursor.

I get the sinking feeling that my XL's will make nice decor in the snack bar. I know this place didn't spend $100K on these. Still, the picture looked good.

I like film. But honestly, if Hollywood really wants this, all they really need to do now is pay the R&D costs for the manufacturers because these things can't possibly cost $100K in components. The exhibitors need to stand strong so that Hollywood doesn't sidestep them, killing film and then still charging 70-90% rental while they save billions.
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Re: Digital Cinema 08 Nov 2005 14:53 #11277

  • RonOne50
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Rodeojack The real thing that it should bring to us is that there should never be the excuse “Oh it is a limited release.” Nevertheless, I’m sure the film company will find a reason to have limited releases. Possible the down load cost of 12 bucks per theater will just be too much to pay.

I don’t understand the limited release issue in the first place if a film is good enough to make and distribute even in a limited release it is good enough to see what happens in wide. How many films would have been as successful as “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” if only given the chance? We will never know they didn’t give them the chance. There was a limited release film about 6 or 7 years ago “The Big Kahuna” that shows almost daily on the movie channels somewhere but never had more than 300 prints. What would it have done with a wide release? It would have made money!

Oh well with this year who knows I may be out of business before the end of the year!


Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
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Re: Digital Cinema 08 Nov 2005 16:11 #11278

  • outaframe
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HOW GOOD IS "GOOD ENOUGH."... There has been a lot of discussion about the picture quality (or resolution, if you choose to call it that) of a digital image -vs- a 35mm film image... Back in 1965, I had started that Spring as a projectionist as a "second job," and later had gone off for a week to GM "new model" tech school as part of my "first job."... I buddied up with another guy in the class, and we had time on our hands at night, so we went to a couple of "go-go" bars during that week, but also went to several movies in the Chicagoland western suburbs, close to where the classes were held... It was just a few days before Christmas, and those huge old theaters were nearly deserted, so we just about had the run of the place... One of the pictures we saw was "Laurel & Hardy's Laughing 20s."... It was a compilation of scenes from a number of Laurel & Hardy silents, plus others like Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, and Ben Turpin, with background music and good narration... It was a GREAT little picture and TRULY funny and well done, but what blew me away was the PICTURE QUALITY!... These were black & white images printed diretly from the original 40-odd year old negatives, without any enhancement (this was 1965) and the focus was so razor sharp you could tell if the dime in their hip pocket was heads or tails... A couple of weeks later I was showing the same picture at my "second job," and the picture looked even BETTER on our slightly smaller screen... Viewed from a projectionist's perspective, I have never seen as good an image ANYWHERE since, and these pictures were taken 80-odd years ago (now) with likely just "average" technology of the time, as these were not considered "A" pictures, but just popular entertainment when originally made... YET no one, other than myself, seemed to notice the exceptional picture quality of this film... Has 35mm REALLY come all that FAR since its early days?... Does the ticket buying public REALLY demand the picture quality some of the industry is pushing for, or is the industry driven by fear of what HDTV would offer as competition?... Is the TRUE appeal of movies due to the picture quality, or more linked to the story being told?... I think it's time to take a realistic COMMON SENSE look at how much we are willing to spend and invest to make a marginal difference in the look of the picture on our screens... Whatever standard was decided upon in the past has always been a compromise between the possible and the "ideal," and it has worked for more than a hundred years... Have human beings changed physically recently, or is it just our priorities?...


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Re: Digital Cinema 08 Nov 2005 16:49 #11279

  • RonOne50
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I don't think there is a public out cry for digital cinema. It will come when it comes and for don't know what is good enough.

Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
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Re: Digital Cinema 08 Nov 2005 17:18 #11280

  • outaframe
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How VERY CORRECT... Many of the public think that movies are some sort of "big TV" and could care less... The big push is from the studios who could potentially save millions by eliminating the cost of film processing and prints... Exhibitors only savings will boil down to shipping costs and makeup/teardown time...

I am still of the opinion that the hidden agenda of all this is REALLY another step closer to DIRECT SALES to the consumer, and elimination of the "middle man" (US!)...

[This message has been edited by outaframe (edited November 08, 2005).]
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Re: Digital Cinema 08 Nov 2005 17:49 #11281

  • RonOne50
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I am impressed with the HIDEF picture on my projection TV and I can see a marked imporvement from regular TV. However, a 9 foot wide picture is not 30 feet and I don't think that would look nearly as good.

Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
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