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Movie production going all digital. Whad'ya think?


Kid Dabb
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Recently I've heard several mentions in the news of movie production

moving to an all-digital format. This will ensure great visual presentations

at all times but at what expense. Will admission just keep going up?

 

Whad'ya think?

 

_http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=53700&int_modo=1#.UL_lO-TWI7o_

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I think what they are talking about is not that films will be made totally digital with computer renderings replacing actors etc. What's happening is that movies will no longer be shot or exhibited on film. They'll be shot with digital cameras (many are now) and be sent to theaters on hard-drives which will then be run from servers.

 

The industry is already well into it's conversion to digital projection. The last I read, somewhere near 70% of theaters in this country have either made the change or have committed to it. It's expected that the studios will stop distributing 35mm film prints by the end of next year or early in 2014.To that end, both Kodak and Fuji, have plans to stop making film stock.

 

Sadly, the cost to convert one theater is $70,000+ and more if it has multiple screens. There are many small-town and second-run theaters that will be unable to afford the cost of conversion and will be forced to close. The motion picture industry estimates that as many as 1,500 could meet that fate. I would expect that those that are lucky enough to survive will pass those added costs on to customers via higher ticket prices.

 

 

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I might be alone in this, but I'm going to MISS all the popping sounds, strange "hair" like images and those little black pock mark thingies seen on film.

 

 

On the other hand, the cleaner images and sound will be a plus. It's sort of a double edged sword, isn't it?

 

 

Sepiatone

 

 

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> {quote:title=markfp2 wrote: ...}{quote}those that are lucky enough to survive will pass those added costs on to customers via higher ticket prices.

I can't imagine paying $10-$15 for a small tub of GM-popcorn with artificial butter. Current high ticket prices can be avoided in most areas by attending the early matinee. I guess, soon, those prices will escalate.

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Digital projection is a necessity for mainstream exhibition but the studios should be obligated to keep film itself alive, not just for the photographic quality but so that, in the future, we actually have people who can continue to work with our old films.

 

You all might have heard about The Hobbit, made with Red digital cameras, being shot at 48 frames per second. Apparently it's a disaster - the effect has been described as looking like a daytime soap opera, the morning news, Benny Hill chases, etc.. It's also being associated with the dreaded "Auto Motion Plus"/"Motion Flow"/"Tru Motion" interpolation feature on HDTVs. I haven't seen it, so I can't say if this is a byproduct of motion interpolation on a naturally 24 fps film (24 fps is how most theaters will get The Hobbit) or if it's simply what happens when video's frame rate is increased to 30 fps or higher (you see the effect on TV every day; it looks smooth, cheap, shoddy, fake, bad...utterly terrible and not what a movie should look like.)

 

This event may have revealed the enduring limitations of digital video next to film - film at 30 fps looks very different from video at the same, preserving the photographic quality and feel we associate with film. Digital may be a good ringer at 24 fps but it may not hold up to scrutiny if Peter Jackson's scheme is any indication.

 

In terms of preservation, the system we've developed over the last half century is very good. Put a modern film in a climate controlled vault and it should hold up quite well over the course of the next century (barring fires, natural disasters, "acts of god", etc.) Digital archives will complicate things greatly, will require much more constant maintenance to ensure the files are readable in the future, and may actually cost more in the long run (not to mention it's just as susceptible to the misfortunes I've described above.) It would be madness for studios to drop the insurance policy of preservation negatives and positives in favor of an all digital world. If we continue to allow film to be used for productions and if we continue to produce prints for preservation, we will help to ensure that we have people who can continue to work with film materials in the future, people who can help keep the last 120 years of film history around.

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> {quote:title=joyrider wrote:}{quote}We lost alot when tv stations dumped their 16mm. Now we got one old movie channel in the entire country. When we had a dozen in every major city! & the one channel we got left is not all that great.

 

 

 

 

You're wrong to conclude that the switch from 16mm film to video tape was the cause of fewer old movies being shown on TV. All movies that were currently being distributed on film, back then, were made available on tape and by the mid-1980's, when the phase-out of film really took off, all stations were already equipped to run tape so what form the movies came in didn't really matter.

 

The major cause was the shift in audience tastes and the stations' desire to attract younger audiences which the sponsors so desperately lusted for. The fact that both were happening about the same time was just a coincidence. Changes in programming were a result of decisions by station managers and programmers and not due to the discontinued use of film.

 

 

 

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