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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Film Handlers' Forum   » TOO LATE - 35mm only release (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: TOO LATE - 35mm only release
Matt Miller
Film Handler

Posts: 10
From: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Registered: Dec 2015


 - posted 01-13-2016 04:30 PM      Profile for Matt Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Matt Miller   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hello, my name is Matt Miller and I’m the producer of a film called TOO LATE starring John Hawkes. We will be releasing TOO LATE exclusively on 35mm this March and April in theaters across the country. You can read more about it here.

While not a member here, the director of TOO LATE is a long time follower of the Film Handler's forum and he recently tipped me to this site and the thread on The Hateful Eight release in particular, which I am now catching up on.

Although our release will be smaller in scale, and we realize 70mm is a very different beast than 35mm, we want to do everything we can to ensure all goes as smoothly as possible. We know there’s a lot of collective knowledge and experience in this forum, so we wanted to introduce ourselves and the project and let you know that if any of you have any advice, ideas, comments or questions, we’re listening, and we would greatly appreciate any insight you have to offer.

Thanks so much for your time.

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Victor Liorentas
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 783
From: london ontario canada
Registered: May 2009


 - posted 01-13-2016 04:51 PM      Profile for Victor Liorentas   Email Victor Liorentas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Matt!
This is exciting! You just came to the right place for the best advice. Any plans for Canada? I would love to play this at our single screen theater in London Ontario.
One thing I can add right now is to seek out those single screen cinemas that maintained 35mm capability because they cared about it.
There are a few of us out here.
Best of luck! [Smile]

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Scott Norwood
Film God

Posts: 7908
From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-13-2016 05:28 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sounds like a fun project.

Here is a list of film-capable venues, most of which can run 35mm. Many of these are not commercial cinemas, but you can start by calling the ones that are to see if they want to play your film.

Lots of people in this business still love film and actively maintain the equipment and personnel needed to show it properly.

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Buck Wilson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 839
From: St. Joseph MO, USA
Registered: Sep 2010


 - posted 01-13-2016 11:07 PM      Profile for Buck Wilson   Email Buck Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Fantastic! Welcome! You'll never stop learning about exhibition/film as long as you're here!

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6769
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 01-13-2016 11:50 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Two things I noticed about the print of this movie we showed at Beyondfest last year.

1 - It had no changeover cues. We have the equipment (a scriber and footage counter) needed to scribe changeover cues in the proper place and on the right frames, but not every changeover house will. Many of the remaining 35mm-capable theaters are changeover houses. If you don't want grease pencil slashes, hole punches etc. to end up on the prints, which will make the end of each reel very noticeable to the audience, it might be an idea to have FotoKem scribe all of the release prints before they ship.

2 - Again, on the print we had, the SVA track was cyan dye. There may be some theaters still around that do not have Dolby digital, and use white light readers for analog sound. Your prints will sound very bad if they end up in such a booth, so it might be worth the distributor checking with every theater booking it, to make sure that either they have "red light" analog readers, or Dolby digital capability, and ideally both.

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Matt Miller
Film Handler

Posts: 10
From: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Registered: Dec 2015


 - posted 01-14-2016 02:47 AM      Profile for Matt Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Matt Miller   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thank you all for the advice! We are definitely targeting theaters that still run 35mm on at least a semi-regular basis, some of which are single screen cinemas.

Victor, we have already booked one theater in Canada with hopefully more to be confirmed soon. Which theater in London, ON are you referring to? If you or any other theaters are interested in booking TOO LATE, please reach out to our booking agent Michael Tuckman: michael [at] mtuckmanmedia [dot] com

Leo, great point about the soundtrack. We will definitely look into that.

As far as the changeover cues, there were indeed cue marks on the print that played at the Egyptian. We've had Fotokem scribe every print we've ordered. Here's the tricky part with our film. Because of the way it was shot (five really long scenes separated by several seconds of black), there are a few seconds of black footage at the heads and tails of each reel which is part of the movie. While the first set of cue marks always appears over image, the second set usually appears after we have cut to black (though the cues are still very much visible). I know the director wrote this information out for Beyond Fest to forward to the projectionist, but I don't know if it ever reached you.

This has not typically been a problem for changeover shows, but it has become a problem at platter houses. So far two of our prints have been plattered, and both times the were leaders were cut in the wrong places, resulting in either missing audio or hearing the 2-pop. The director and I were just discussing earlier today that perhaps we should mark each print designated for plattering with "Cut Here" markings. Is there perhaps a better way that we can indicate the exact frame for a projectionist to splice when the reel changes all take place within several feet of black frames?

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6769
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 01-14-2016 11:02 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The obvious way would be to print the first few frames of the runout totally transparent, but that would guarantee a visible glitch in the event of a slightly late changeover if the print is played R2R.

The only solution I can think of is a note in the shipping cases explaining that every reel ends in a fade out, combined with a "Cut here if plattering" instruction, with an arrow pointing to a given frame line, at the start of the runout. But again, it'll be visible on the screen if the print is run R2R and the changeover is done slightly late. At any rate, a note (taped to the interior of the Goldberg boxes would probably be the safest way to ensure that it didn't get lost) explaining that all the reels end on fades to black and that they mustn't be cut on visible picture footage, might help. If the frame lines aren't clearly visible on the fades, there is the risk that the prints will be cut and spliced out of rack by platter operators.

I'm 99.9% sure that our Beyondfest print was uncued, and that there was no documentation in the cases that arrived. I didn't show it, but I did do the first check. Our usual operating procedure is that projectionist #1 examines each reel, writes down basic information about it and leaves it tail out on a house reel for projectionist #2, who then checks and verifies that technical information and makes any necessary repairs while rewinding it, and then operates the actual show. Only if a print arrives very close to showtime will the same projectionist do both stages. Our thinking is that two pairs of eyes (and fingertips) stand a better chance of catching a subtle problem that one might miss, especially during festivals and other high pressure times when lots of prints and DCPs are going through the booth quickly.

Whenever I receive a new FotoKem print now I look very carefully for cue marks or the absence of them, because I know that they don't put cues on unless asked to by the customer buying the print. For that Beyondfest show I was projectionist #1 (i.e. I checked the print but did not actually play it on the night), and remember leaving a note for my co-worker saying "Watch out - this one is uncued". If it actually was and I missed them because of the fades at the reel ends, I guess that's a vindication of our "two pairs of eyes" approach.

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Victor Liorentas
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 783
From: london ontario canada
Registered: May 2009


 - posted 01-14-2016 12:32 PM      Profile for Victor Liorentas   Email Victor Liorentas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm at the Hyland Cinema which is the last theater that can run film in London. The Mayfair in Ottawa is also a gem off the top of my head.
A note about the fade-outs will work with any good projectionist but is a problem with those who should never touch film.
[Frown]

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6769
From: Loma Linda, CA
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 - posted 01-14-2016 01:08 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Victor Liorentas
A note about the fade-outs will work with any good projectionist but is a problem with those who should never touch film.
You can make a crude value judgement like that (by the same token, you could say that manual transmissions will work with any good driver but are a problem for someone who should never get behind the wheel), or recognize that they place additional demands on the projectionist, and if necessary educate him or her to meet them.

If the print is being plattered, you've got to cut the starts and ends in the right place, which may not be immediately and visibly obvious. If the frame lines are difficult to see, this means that you need a footage and frame counter, and to know what to do with it.

If you're playing it R2R, it means that you have to pay attention not to thread the incoming reel too far down the leader, or you will clip off some of the fade in after the changeover. This in turn means having an accurate idea of the ramp-up time of the motor, and how many image frames are present on the outgoing reel after the last over cue frame. If some are missing due to platter ID frames having been lost during repeated building up and packing off, which is a common issue with older, heavily used prints, you'll have to allow for this either in the threading of the incoming reel, or the timing of when you punch the buttons. You'll also have to be familiar with the frame sequence of both Academy and SMPTE leaders.

If the reel end comes in the middle of a static shot without music or dialog at the actual moment, then the audience is never going to notice the loss of a few frames, either in the cutting and building of a print, or in the execution of a changeover. Such a reel end has more inherent resistance against lack of attention to detail, however the print is being played. But if there is music or dialog, or if the reel end happens on a fade, then a lot more care and precision is needed.

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Victor Liorentas
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 783
From: london ontario canada
Registered: May 2009


 - posted 01-14-2016 02:06 PM      Profile for Victor Liorentas   Email Victor Liorentas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I should have said a really good projectionist with common sense should be able to drive a manual transmission with or without a note but truthfully I don't know how some truck drivers ever got a license.
In 25 years I've always gotten prints where the previous operator cut the fade in/out on the image Wrongly.
Crash and burn!

I'm hoping the remaining projectionists in 2016 can drive without incident.

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Matt Miller
Film Handler

Posts: 10
From: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Registered: Dec 2015


 - posted 01-14-2016 02:23 PM      Profile for Matt Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Matt Miller   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, Leo, I think that's what happened. I can only say with certainty that there were cue marks because I had seen that print projected before. It was the same print we played at our world premiere at LACMA as well as several private screenings at the Cinefamily. So I think you did miss the cue marks, but it's our fault for not including our projection notes inside the shipping case.

Our prints do indeed have unique attributes that place additional demands on the projectionist. We're aware that having changeovers during a fade to black (or in our case, a hard cut to black) is typically ill advised, but because each reel of our film is comprised of one long un-cut shot, there was literally no other place to put the reel breaks.

We definitely plan to get better at including these notes inside the shipping case. We often send them in email form (as Dennis did with Beyond Fest), but there's no guarantee they will reach the projectionist. What I heard happened (secondhand) at Beyond Fest was that the projectionist (presumably #2) marked his own cues on a couple reels before noticing that the print was already cued.

Those are good ideas for plattering and I will definitely bring them up with the team. I'm wondering though if the best thing would be to pre-cut (and reattach) the leaders before we ship them to any platter theaters, so there's no question of where to cut?

Victor, we're actually already booked at The Mayfair. I don't know how close London and Ottawa are to each other and if there's sufficient demand to play at both theaters, but I will bring up the Hyland Cinema with our booker.

Thanks all. This has already been incredibly helpful.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

Posts: 15991
From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 01-14-2016 02:49 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thats great and all, but you are sure limiting the depth of your release by doing so.

Mark

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6769
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 01-14-2016 04:00 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Victor Liorentas
In 25 years I've always gotten prints where the previous operator cut the fade in/out on the image Wrongly.
Me too, which is one of the reasons why many archives won't allow their prints to be plattered. Most of the 35mm prints still in circulation are of rep/re-release titles, and have many cycles of being built up and packed off behind them, with an ID frame sacrificed each time. I've just finished preparing one in which the third frame with a lab-printed "over" cue is the last frame of the reel, before the run-out footage begins. Even if I were to punch the button reflexively on seeing the first over frame, I don't think it would be fast enough to prevent a flash of black on the screen, so there was nothing for it but to re-cue that one.

quote: Victor Liorentas
I'm hoping the remaining projectionists in 2016 can drive without incident.
All the evidence suggests that this is being over-optimistic. 12 out of the 15 5/70 prints of Interstellar scratched ... a significant number of the Hateful Eight prints damaged in accidents. Many of the "nearly new" prints that pass through my booths bear the hallmarks of careless handling, including one of Son of Saul that I actually rejected and asked for a replacement of, because so much Whiteout had been painted on the first and last 10 feet or so of each reel (yes, that much) that the SR-D dropped out. That was done by someone in the last couple of months.

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Victor Liorentas
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 783
From: london ontario canada
Registered: May 2009


 - posted 01-14-2016 04:24 PM      Profile for Victor Liorentas   Email Victor Liorentas   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I truly hate those who use white out on film. It's true that many out there disregard the little details which ruin a show.
It makes me crazy! [Mad]

On the other hand,it seems that some or most projectionists put some good effort forth with The Hateful Eight.
The impression I get so far is the Interstellar nonsense didn't happen this time around. Not like I worried it would.

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Dave Bird
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 700
From: Perth, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jun 2000


 - posted 01-14-2016 09:56 PM      Profile for Dave Bird   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Bird   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Our outdoor is about 45 min from the Mayfair. In theory we could run 35mm, though I would need to find one of those "Sword" units I think they were called, no room for the platter anymore. Maybe I'll just visit the Mayfair...

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