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Author Topic: Digital Cinema
Ian Price

 - posted 05-30-1999 02:26 AM            Edit/Delete Post 
I saw NATO's Digital Cinema demonstration in Denver a few months back. I was
impressed. I thought it answered the question, "Can video in a cinema be made to
look acceptable as a replacement for film?" The two demonstrations that were
notable were Cinecoms demonstration with a Sony D5 unit and a Hughs-JVC big
honkin video projector. The other remarkable video projector was the TI
prototype DLP projector. For a small screen (under 30 feet wide) these digital
presentation devices could replace film in movie theatres. There are some
limitations. The first one is the TI DLP chip has a fixed resulution. (1280 x 1024)
The Hughs-JVC doesn't have a restriction on resulution but it has other limitations.
It's very expensive, on the order of $250,000. It takes a lot of time to set up
properly and needs readjustment on a regular basis.

This still leaves a number of questions about Digital Cinema. How expesive will it
be? Who will pay for it? Why do we need it? Who will service it? Will we still
maintain the ability to run film in our digital cinema houses? Will the entire industry
change over in an orderly fashion? For an example of an industry changing over,
just look to our television stations. They have been talking about HDTV for 25
years and they are still resistant to changing over even when HDTV exists and the
government has jumped in to mandate it. Will theatres change over to Digital
Cinema whithout a government mandate?

I am interested to see The Phantom Menace in Digital Cinema. I hear that it will
be in four theatres one month after it's theatrical release. Does anyone hear any
details? I do wish that Lucas had struck some prints in 70mm. I saw the first three
installments in 70mm at Denvers long gone Cinerama house The Cooper. Denver
has a couple of good 70mm houses. The Continental (an old D-150 house) and
UA Colorado Center. UA Colorado Center is a new plex with an 8-perf 70mm
house; They most recently presented Titanic in 70mm. Unfortunatly their Christie
projector had more movement in it than it should.

I'm not sure that Digital Cinema will come in to being any time soon. It would take
too much effort from the Cinema companys. I think that film will be around for a
long long time. People did not stop painting when cameras were invented.

Ken Layton

 - posted 05-30-1999 02:26 AM            Edit/Delete Post 

Digital Cinema is too expensive to install and maintain.How long will the standards
last before another format comes out? 6 weeks? 6 months? 6 years? Look at
laserdisks now. When DVD came out now everyones dumping laserdisks so that
now everyone who invested in players and video libraries are down the crapper!
I'm sick and tired of so-called industry "experts" (or studios for that matter) telling
theater owners how to run their business. If you want to spend $250,000 for a
video projector and then it's obsolete six months later,then go for it.
One thing is for sure, I can still take a 35mm print anywhere in the world and
show it on equipment that might be 60 years old or brand spanking new and the
show will go on.
Some people can't afford the latest and greatest and are struggling to get by. In
some communities it means the difference between staying open or closing the
doors for good.

Brad Miller

 - posted 05-30-1999 02:27 AM            Edit/Delete Post 
: One thing is for sure, I can still take a 35mm print anywh
: ere in the world and show it on equipment that might be 60
: years old or brand spanking new and the show will go on.

Damn right. Upward compatibility only. Guess that's why the 2 1/2 perf and CDS
digital sound died!

Ian Price

 - posted 05-30-1999 02:27 AM            Edit/Delete Post 
You are absolutly right. Backwards compatability is very important. I don't know
how many times I have seen a restored print of something and the got the restored
footage from some guys basement. With Digital Cinema There will never be any
storys like that.

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