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Author Topic: How popular is 16mm
Frank Jerkic
Film Handler

Posts: 77
From: Ayr Queensland Australia
Registered: May 2004


 - posted 08-01-2004 11:09 PM      Profile for Frank Jerkic   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Jerkic   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
just curious to know how many 16mm theatres are around or have they all gone too Video or DVD?
It's getting more difficult to get 16mm prints in Australia so we (I) end up with great projectors with only Columbia or nothing to screen
Catch Ya
Regards
Frank

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 08-01-2004 11:18 PM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The use of 16mm prints is certainly declining, due to the "convenience" of video.

But 16mm color negative film volume is growing, as Super-16 has become a popular origination format for HDTV and lower budget features:

http://www.kodak.com/go/16mm

quote:
With 16 mm film, you've got it made.
Creatively, technologically, and economically, our state-of-the-art stocks deliver greater flexibility, and control than ever before. Discover why 16 mm film is the perfect choice for your next project.

http://www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/16mm/why/?id=0.1.4.3&lc=en

quote:
Kodak introduced 16 mm motion picture film and equipment in 1923 as an inexpensive amateur alternative to the 35 mm film format. Compared with 35 mm film, the 16 mm format offers advantages such as smaller, less-expensive cameras and lower film stock and developing costs. Because of these factors, the 16 mm format was quickly adopted for professional news reporting, corporate, and educational applications.

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Carl Martin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1377
From: Berkeley, CA, USA
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 08-02-2004 03:01 AM      Profile for Carl Martin   Author's Homepage   Email Carl Martin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
they're dwindling, but some filmmakers are still shooting and releasing 16mm films, well out of the mainstream of course. i've seen 16mm prints that look a whole lot better than today's run-of-the-mill 35mm prints. seen a lot worse too.

carl

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Ed Inman
Film Handler

Posts: 94
From: Jackson, Mississippi USA
Registered: Jul 2004


 - posted 08-02-2004 05:32 PM      Profile for Ed Inman   Author's Homepage   Email Ed Inman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
16mm exhibition is still hanging on by a thread in the U.S.

Swank still releases a few new titles on 16mm:
http://www.swank.com/college/16mmrelease.html

Also New Yorker still makes a few of them:
http://www.newyorkerfilms.com

Both companies have radically cut back on their 16mm releases within the past couple of years, though. Relatively few colleges still maintain 16mm projectors, plus the window of opportunity to screen 16mm prints before a video/DVD release has typically shrunk down to only weeks (sometimes even days) instead of months.

Plus it's even getting harder to get classic films on 16mm because as old prints wear out they are generally not being replaced.

16mm does remain popular among private film collectors, however, with all sorts of films being traded daily in Big Reel magazine, on ebay, etc.

I used to operate a 16mm film series of contemporary foreign and indy films but that is not very practical now because so few new titles are being made. Bottom line, I think, is if you want to project film (not digital) and want have a good selection of titles to choose from 35mm is really the only way left to go.

Ed

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Bob Healey
Film Handler

Posts: 93
From: Milford, CT
Registered: Sep 2001


 - posted 08-02-2004 10:43 PM      Profile for Bob Healey   Email Bob Healey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Speaking as one of the college cinema types, we only screen a single 16mm print a year if we can help it. For all but one title, if we can't get it in 35mm, we don't screen it. The only exception to this is Rocky Horror Picture Show. We aren't allowed to play that in the normal auditorium, only in a heavily tarped gynamsium. We won't show DVD/VHS on principle (plus renting an electronic projector here costs almost as much as the film), so its 16mm.

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Frank Jerkic
Film Handler

Posts: 77
From: Ayr Queensland Australia
Registered: May 2004


 - posted 08-03-2004 04:34 AM      Profile for Frank Jerkic   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Jerkic   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The only exception to this is Rocky Horror Picture Show. We aren't allowed to play that in the normal auditorium, only in a heavily tarped gynamsium.
My mind boggles why do you have to screen the 16mm print in a heavily tarped gym? what goes on in there?
The reason I screen 16mm is that I go to a small town once a month to screen a movie, the guarantee on 16mm is less than half of the $250 guarantee required for 35mm prints which then would make the trip unviable [Frown]

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William Hooper
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1879
From: Mobile, AL USA
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 08-03-2004 06:30 AM      Profile for William Hooper   Author's Homepage   Email William Hooper   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: John Pytlak
The use of 16mm prints is certainly declining, due to the "convenience" of video.
"Convenience" is a nice euphemism.

A few years ago, a decade-old twin was shut down & the booth equipment packed up & donated to a university in the area. I was called by the office of the dean of A&S to look at the stuff & see about installing it at the venue (former church) where the media/film department heads had been running foreign film & 'classics' series advertised & open to the public. I was sent over to the doctor who headed the program, who seemed completely disinterested. He rarely even looked at me. "So how much would it cost?" "Is the equipment any good?" "But where will you get movies to run?" Where are you getting them now? Turns out they were running VHS on an OLD consumer video projector. There was an old Swank catalog on his bookshelves; I picked it up. "That's from a long time ago when we ran those old 16mm movies." I showed him there was a section with 35mm as well as video format titles listed. "Isn't this where you get the ones you're running now?"

For one of the few times, he looked directly at me & said "Why should I order from them, when I can just go to Blockbuster & rent them for the weekend cheaper?"

"But what about licensing?"

He looked away, & didn't say anything more. At all. Then he started working on some stuff at his desk. End of the meeting. Program still runs same way.

The "convenience" of video in exhibition is overwhelmingly the facilitation of theft. That's what disemboweled the 16mm market.

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Edward Jurich
Master Film Handler

Posts: 302
From: Chicago, Illinois USA
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted 08-03-2004 08:49 AM      Profile for Edward Jurich   Email Edward Jurich   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You'd probably see more 16mm use if 16mm was used more (you can read this forward or backward [Roll Eyes] ) 16mm actually can give an outstanding picture quality and would be perfect for smaller screens. I've been working on 3 new small screens and 16mm would have been perfect for this application. Even though the film runs at a slower feet-per-minute speed, the optical track can sound quite good on a high quality pickup and stereo is possible. And shipping a complete feature on a single reel is no problem.

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Darryl Spicer
Film God

Posts: 3250
From: Lexington, KY, USA
Registered: Dec 2000


 - posted 08-03-2004 09:02 AM      Profile for Darryl Spicer     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Frank Jerkic
My mind boggles why do you have to screen the 16mm print in a heavily tarped gym? what goes on in there?


Here in the states, Rocky Horror Picture Show is a very popular cult classic shown around the country at midnight. The film generates heavy audience participation. If they showed the film in there regular auditorium it runs the risk of heavy damage. By showing it in their gym with the heavily tarped floor there is no risk of damage to the floor from all the craziness that goes on.

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Aaron Sisemore
Flaming Ribs beat Reeses Peanut Butter Cups any day!

Posts: 3061
From: Rockwall TX USA
Registered: Sep 1999


 - posted 08-03-2004 11:44 AM      Profile for Aaron Sisemore   Email Aaron Sisemore   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Frank: Some of the items that get thrown around the auditorium during a properly done full audience participation RHPS include:

Rice
Water (from sprayers or squirt guns)
Newspaper
Confetti
Hot dogs
Toast
Toilet Paper (purists use only Scott® brand) [Cool]
Playing Cards

...among other 'unauthorized' items that get smuggled in there and can cause major damage [Mad]

You can just imagine what the auditorium is going to look like after the show ends... which is why many venues don't play RHPS anymore. [Frown]

-Aaron

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5111
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 08-03-2004 12:24 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Edward Jurich
Even though the film runs at a slower feet-per-minute speed, the optical track can sound quite good on a high quality pickup and stereo is possible
Coulda, woulda, shoulda. IF ONLY: 16mm is a terrifically viable projection format for smaller screens (certainly fine for probably more than 50% of the smaller mulitplex screens). If ONLY the sound were better. Recently DTS has been available for 16mm, giving it the potential of the same sound quality as the best digitally equipped 35mm cinemas....if only DTS had been available on 16mm 10 years ago and caught on, it might be a really different scenario today.

As I have mentioned on some previous posts, a 16mm image on a screen that is within its optimum optical range (size vs. throw), an EK "showprint" -- which for all practical purposes is what most of the independent 16mm productions wind up being -- can look nearly indistinguishable to the lay audience from high a speed 35mm print. I saw a print of MICROCOSMOS on 16mm and it convinced me of how stunning 16mm can look. Unless I looked up at the booth to see what projector was being used, I found it difficult to tell if it was the 16mm Eastman 25b or one of the Simplexes. Add full blown digital 5.1 to 16mm and you've got a format that would have really kick video ass and made lots of economic sense to the college/non-theatrical market that is still interested in quality. It would have made a lot of economic sense to the commercial film industry as well since it is always braying about how video will save billions on print costs. Unfortunately, everything is in the timing. DTS came along too late to save 16mm for either the non-theatrical or the theatrical markets. Video had already reared its ugly head.

A for PhDs....my performing arts center is associated with a college that has what is, for all outward appearances, a thriving film department with a large enrollment and which offers a Masters program. Up until just the last three years (I've been here for over 25) film professors (yes, most with PhDs) were totally, inexplicably, indifferent to showing students the filmwork on REAL film. Except for John Belton who would show 35mm prints for his classes many years ago, the film department has not been interested in showing film in a fully equipped 35mm large screen facility which is always at their disposal. Many times we would try to initiate a cooperation with the department, offering to book films that its professors would be teaching and incorporate them in our cinema programming. Professors were simply not interested. They were perfectly happy showing titles in their classrooms on VHS with a TV set sitting in the front of the class room and with sound coming from its 4in speaker. Finally, now two film department professors have become energized by having such a valuable resource as our theatre within walking distance of their classrooms and they are showing films to their students.

But it is an uphill battle to convince students that films weren't intended to be shown on a 27in tv set, at least not initially and certainly not the classics. And that they are not "seeing" the work if they are experiencing it on video. It would be like art students deciding not to go to the Museum of Art to see Monet paints because, hell, they can see them with a lot less hassle by simply looking at the reproductions in a book. No rational person would think those art students are actually experiencing Monet without seeing the original paintings. Same with film students. Video is a wonderful tool to REVISIT the filmmaker's work, but it is NOT THE WORK!

Why PhDs need to have this explained to them is one of the great mysteries of the universe.

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Frank Jerkic
Film Handler

Posts: 77
From: Ayr Queensland Australia
Registered: May 2004


 - posted 08-03-2004 09:36 PM      Profile for Frank Jerkic   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Jerkic   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
#########################################################
As I have mentioned on some previous posts, a 16mm image on a screen that is within its optimum optical range (size vs. throw), an EK "showprint" -- which for all practical purposes is what most of the independent 16mm productions
#################################################

Whats the correct optimum optical range?
as at the moment I am looking for a 38mm lens to suit the Eiki EX1500 and or my Fumeo 1000 watt
Regards Frank

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Bob Healey
Film Handler

Posts: 93
From: Milford, CT
Registered: Sep 2001


 - posted 08-03-2004 10:28 PM      Profile for Bob Healey   Email Bob Healey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My apologies for not replying sooner and for forgetting there was a non-US audienc here.
quote: Frank Jerkic
The only exception to this is Rocky Horror Picture Show. We aren't allowed to play that in the normal auditorium, only in a heavily tarped gynamsium.
My mind boggles why do you have to screen the 16mm print in a heavily tarped gym? what goes on in there?
The reason I screen 16mm is that I go to a small town once a month to screen a movie, the guarantee on 16mm is less than half of the $250 guarantee required for 35mm prints which then would make the trip unviable

As other people have pointed out, Rocky Horror is a cult film from the '70s with the potential for plenty of destruction and mayhem. Besides not being allowed by the administration to show it in the 35mm equiped venue, I've been told by the person who does our booking that our distributors (Swank, Criterion pictures) can not get the film for us in 35mm.

Unfortunately, all we have for 16mm projection are a pair of new classroom grade Eikis, so on average, the sound quality is horrid. I have to hand it to the campus audio crew though. They threw enough processing and effects at it to make it sound pretty good on their PA system, probably as good as a 35mm mono print would sound.

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John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 08-03-2004 10:42 PM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Frank Angel
IF ONLY: 16mm is a terrifically viable projection format for smaller screens (certainly fine for probably more than 50% of the smaller mulitplex screens). If ONLY the sound were better. Recently DTS has been available for 16mm, giving it the potential of the same sound quality as the best digitally equipped 35mm cinemas....if only DTS had been available on 16mm 10 years ago and caught on, it might be a really different scenario today.

I agree. The image quality could be very good on 16mm feature prints. After all, they were made from 35mm negatives printed to make a 16mm duplicate negative on pin-registered optical printers. [Cool]

Sound was always a limitation, but today, timecode on the print allows full DTS digital capabilities:

http://www.dtsonline.com/cinema/specialvenues/

quote:
DTS is capable of playing back up to 10 channels of digital sound for 16mm, 35mm, and 70mm prints in 5 perf, 8 perf, and 15 perf
http://www.dtsonline.com/cinema/press-article.php?ID=935942483&yID=2002&cID=

quote:
Perhaps most significantly for independent filmmakers was the first time screening of two 16mm films – Victor Viyuoh’s Mboutoukou and Marzena Grzegorczyk’s Faithful – with DTS digital soundtracks; a technical feat that was key in Marzena Grzegorczyk’s decision to film on the format. “Like many other independent filmmakers, I was reluctant to shoot my project on 16mm because of the medium’s most notorious limitation; its dramatically poor sound quality. However after learning that it is now possible to make a 16mm film with DTS sound, I changed my mind.

“My experience with DTS has been fantastic. My film, wonderfully mixed by Todd Grace at Warner Bros., has absolutely pristine sound. It has been screened around the world and the DTS teams in Los Angeles, New York, London, Rome and Tokyo handled everything professionally; DTS is a reliable and practical solution to a long standing problem.”


IMHO, 16mm anamorphic never really caught on as a release format, with too many widescreen features transferred as pan-and-scan 16mm 4:3 aspect ratio. [Frown]

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 11701
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 08-04-2004 02:02 AM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There was a period when we were not equipping our 16mm installations with scope lenses...and...without exception...a 16mm scope print would show up. We now always have 16mm scope included.

A nice feature of the new Kionton FP-38E projectors is that one is now afforded all of the lenses for 35mm projection since a 70.6mm lens barrel may be used. This includes scope formats as well.

An odd format that seems more popular than 16mm scope is 16mm 1.85 where the 1.85:1 ratio is hard matted on the 16mm frame. Still the standard 1.33 16mm print remains about 95% of all the films I've come across.

In out circles...16mm installations remain steady, if not increasing. I attribute that quite a bit to the Kinoton FP-38E. With this machine...16mm can be thought of as an option rather than having to have an additional projector with its associated footprint on the floor and ports. The FP38E also makes 16mm look and sound much better than anything else I've ever seen.

Steve

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