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Author Topic: The Death of Film
Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

Posts: 12859
From: Denver, Colorado
Registered: May 99


 - posted 05-04-2002 04:24 AM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Below is a link to a Time Magazine article about digital cinema.

Clicky here.

It's pretty awesome. Upon reading the article I learned that digital projection can match even the best film presentation, and that film can only be run once without causing wear to the print. It's a good thing I don't have a high opinion of Stevie Soderburg, cause he's the one who says that film only looks good the first time you see it and consistently gets worse each showing thereafter (or something to that effect). Apparently he's never seen a good projectionist nor has he ever heard of Filmguard. It's kind of funny... my prints always look BETTER after months and months of running them, and I would be willing to bet my life and the lives of everyone I have ever known on that fact. Why do magazines like Time only interview idiots when writing articles like these?


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Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17664
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 05-04-2002 04:54 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
"Even after that first screening, it's got dirt on it and scratches."

That is pathetic. I have a hard time believing that this guy's studio projectionist is that bad. I can understand some of the penny pinching theaters that are around today only being able to run a film one time before it is scratched or dirty, but a studio projectionist? My longest print run was 1500 runs and that thing left flawless! One run...geez!

Then again this comment is coming from the guy who is shooting his next movie on a consumer NTSC miniDV camera known as the XL1. Now the XL1 is indeed a fine camera, but NOT for theatrical use! Oh no wait, technically that camera is a "digital" camera. Ah, I see my mistake now. That means it will be perfect! What a load of .


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Mitchell Cope
Master Film Handler

Posts: 256
From: Overland Park, KS, United States
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 05-04-2002 06:51 AM      Profile for Mitchell Cope   Email Mitchell Cope   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I hope I'm not too far off topic on my latest thoughts about digital... it will never happen unless the studios personally place those DLP units in the theaters. My reasoning? The government had a mandated program for all TV stations to start digital broadcasting by now! It is reported that only 20% of the stations complied. The point being, no one is going to put digital projection units in unless it is making them money. I don't see anyone bellying up to that bar. Film lovers might need to be more worried, however, that DVD marketing might cut theatrical presentation out altogether in the future.

I will put away my crystal ball.

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5196
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 05-04-2002 09:46 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Mitchell, not ot worry about cutting out theatres completely -- unless our culture changes dramatically and people change what excites them, it is the theatrical release that drives ALL other ancillary markets. The film HAS to be preceived as a hit at the box office or else no one will buy the DVD, or the pay-per-view or whatever else they devise to by-pass the cinema. It is the theatre experience with its social implications that make people leave their houses and plunk down $10 to see a film. Without a smash at the box office, all you've got is a "made for TV movie." And you can't make $60 million in the first weekend from pay-per-view or DVD sales from a film that had no life as a theatrical release.

I want to see who the first studio/producer will be who will have invested umteen million dollars to produce a film and then say, "gee, I think I'll by-pass those pesky theatres and just play this film in a wide DVD release." Yeah, that will happen.

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Bruce Hansen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 847
From: Stone Mountain, GA, USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 05-04-2002 09:58 AM      Profile for Bruce Hansen   Email Bruce Hansen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I wonder if Soderbergh has money invested in "digital", is getting concerned because nobody is buying those overgrown TV's, and sees his investment turning into a bunch of bad pixels.

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Pat Moore
Master Film Handler

Posts: 363

Registered: Mar 2000


 - posted 05-04-2002 11:14 AM      Profile for Pat Moore   Email Pat Moore   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well, let's face it. There are some definite agendas out there, and they are not all "pro film" or "pro image quality". Certainly among them are those promoting digital cinema, and this seems to be one of them. Unfortunately, they denegrate the quality of film presentations by using some of the worst examples for comparison.

Too bad -- digital needs to stand on its own compared to good quality film showings which, I think, the majority of you guys (and gals) do. It can't yet compare in price, in quantity of locations, in software availability, so it tries to compare where it can. Right now, that's long term quality.

Digital has great potential. Image quality CAN be excellent, it CAN maintain a high level of quality over many showings, etc., etc.

It's not there yet, and until its proponents are willing to compare to GOOD film presentations (that good old idea of "film done right"), it's not going to get there in the eyes of the majority.

One man's opinion...

Pat

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12396
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 05-04-2002 03:06 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So, how many of us have written to Time mag to refute the anti-film claims made in that article? Time to speak up, film fans! I'm going to start writing my letter as soon as I finish reading the article.

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Ian Price
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1714
From: Denver, CO
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 05-04-2002 03:43 PM      Profile for Ian Price   Email Ian Price   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
So, how many of us have written to Time mag to refute the anti-film claims made in that article? Time to speak up, film fans!
Ok, I did just that.

JYOTI THOTTAM

Reports of the Death of Film are a bit premature. With 30,000 screens in the US and 400,000 screens world wide running film the fact there are 30 digital projectors running now isn't a significant factor.

Truth is Film looks better on screen. It has a higher resolution that current digital systems. You get more light on the screen with a smaller xenon lamp that with digital. The current digital systems use a 7,000 watt xenon while most theatres use 2,000 to 4,000 watt lamps. The lamps in the digital systems will burn out at the same rate or faster than the ones in the film systems. The fact that digital resolution is so poor that the manufacturers don't recommend putting the digital system in a theatre where the screen is larger than 30 feet wide. That's about the size of a typical medium size screen.

Don't get me wrong, I am not a film Ludite, I am fascinated by the digital projectors. I find their technology fascinating and the images are the best video images I have ever seen. I will even go seek out Star Wars to see the digital image vs. the film image. Note Star Wars was originated digitally so the film version shouldn't look significantly better.

I am a theatre owner. We opened an art cinema with 5 screens for about $300,000 and that included all the equipment and a nice remodel. For the same $300,000 I could have equipped one screen with a digital projection system and been able to play just a handful of digital releases. The exhibition industry is notoriously budget conscious. We will not spend money until the system is proven and demonstratably better than film.

It is the films distributors that are pushing for the change as it will save them money. It will neither save us any money or increase our revenue.

Please note that a well operated theatre can play the same film print with no decline in quality for months on end without scratches or any of the other faults Steven Soderberg talks about. It's called Film done Right by Kodak and they should know, they sold 13 billion linier feet of Motion Picture Film Stock worldwide last year.

Digital systems are prone to their own set of problems. The lamp gets old. The file gets corrupted, there are digital artifacts (little squares) on the screen.

There is a reason that film has been around for 100 years, it works and it works well. We have backwards compatibility. We can play a film print from 1938 just fine. And if we could send a new print of Star Wars back to that projectionist in 1938, he could play it just as well.

Yes, I believe that Digital Cinema will come but not as fast as people may think. Give it 20 years. And no, Film will never die. It may become a museum piece but it will be around as long as I live, of that I am sure. It just looks better.

Ian Price
Rialto Cinemas Lakeside
Santa Rosa CA, 95405
http://www.rialtocinemas.com

For information on Film Done Right go to http://www.film-tech.com


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James R. Hammonds, Jr
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 931
From: Houston, TX, USA
Registered: Nov 2000


 - posted 05-04-2002 03:49 PM      Profile for James R. Hammonds, Jr   Email James R. Hammonds, Jr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Letter writing sounds like a good idea.
Just remember to include a link to FILM-TECH just like Ian did.
Also, tell them to make sure that Mr. Soderberg is reinformed on the quality of film.
I hope he just said these things out of being misinformed (shameful for someone who should know so much about film).
I enjoy his work and would hate to see it suffer just because he thinks digital is better.


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Bruce Hansen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 847
From: Stone Mountain, GA, USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 05-04-2002 04:38 PM      Profile for Bruce Hansen   Email Bruce Hansen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I just sent an email as well:

You have been mislead by Mr. Soderbergh. It sounds like he may have money invested in digital projection. A film can be run many,many times without any scratches or dirt, if handled correctly. Digital projection is NOT as good as 35MM film. Give it another 10 years, and it may come up to the quality of 35MM film, and down to a reasonable price.

You are doing your readers a very big disservice by printing one sided, inaccurate information. You need to do better research.

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Will Kutler
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1492
From: Tucson, AZ, USA
Registered: Feb 2001


 - posted 05-04-2002 04:43 PM      Profile for Will Kutler   Email Will Kutler   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes, mass letter writing to Time IS A MUST! But I do think that letters from John Pytlak, Pat Moore and Bob Maar would hold GREAT WEIGHT! But I will do my part also!

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Brad Miller
Administrator

Posts: 17664
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99


 - posted 05-04-2002 04:47 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Alright everyone, I think Ian has the best idea here. Let's all send an email (even if you are not a registered member of these forums) to:
daily@timeinc.net

Make sure to put ATTN: JYOTI THOTTAM in the subject header to make sure it gets to the misinformed author of this fluff.

When you do, please post your letter.

Here is what I sent:
Jyoti,

I am surprised a writer for TIME magazine is composing such misinformed articles as your "The Death of Film". I am assuming you *think* everything you posted in that article is 100% accurate. You could not be more wrong. In fact, with few exceptions, most everything in there is incorrect.

FILM can be run hundreds and hundreds of time without the slightest sign of wear, provided proper online film cleaning and handling is involved. Now granted a great many theaters these days DO use popcorn jockeys to operate their projectors and their presentation suffers greatly. In those instances, yes I would prefer to screen a movie on video (excuse me, I meant "digital"). However, there are many professional projectionists out there in the world who when armed with a film print can blow away anything that TI, Barco, JVC or Kodak Digital Cinema can throw on screen "digitally"...and they can do it a thousand times in a row with that same film print!

Rather than rant on and on in an email to you about why your article is doing the readers of TIME magazine such a disservice, I will point you to a website that I run. Please visit www.film-tech.com and look in the "Film Handler's Forum" for a current discussion of your article. While you are there, feel free to browse around the site. It shouldn't take you too long to realize that there are a lot of caring professionals in the film industry. It is sad that Steve Soderburg failed to hire a professional film operator. More sad than that is the fact that you bought into all of the lies regarding digital projection and proceeded to print them, which of course has now spread false information about film around the world faster than a computer virus. My opinion of TIME magazine has been substantially lowered.

Brad Miller


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Joe Redifer
You need a beating today

Posts: 12859
From: Denver, Colorado
Registered: May 99


 - posted 05-04-2002 05:13 PM      Profile for Joe Redifer   Author's Homepage   Email Joe Redifer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Alright, I sent in an e-mail. I had to restrain myself, but I think I got my point across. here's what I said:

"I just read your article about digital cinema. I am wondering if Time makes a habit of only interviewing misinformed people when it gets its stories. As you no doubt already know, your article was fairly one sided and the actual facts were misrepresented. Yes, digital cinema will eventually be mainstream. But did you talk to any real projectionists about this, or just Soderberg? A projectionist who cares about quality will tell you that he/she can run a film print over a thousand times without any wear. Yes, it is possible. Have you heard of Filmguard? Probably not. I would very much like to see an article that evenly represents BOTH sides here. As it stands now it seems like amateur reporting. It's almost as if Soderberg called Time, told his story and you just printed it. How far from the truth can my statement be? Probably not very.

Joe Redifer
Film-Tech
www.film-tech.com "


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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5196
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 05-04-2002 05:15 PM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I totally agree with Pat....follow the money trail. Who has a vested interest in putting out this balderdash? Either my cynical nature is correct and there is a dark side to why these people are blathering such unproven statements, or they are just mesmerized by the word "digital," which makes them a lot more brainless that one would have imagined. Makes you almost wish they are mercenaries rather than idiots.

I've been listening to this lopsided argument for years now and the bias in these reports is transparent. First time I heard this "film is dead" concept was in a "report" on CBS News Radio here in New York where the announcer confidently stated as fact, that in five to ten years at the most, all movies will be shown without film. No explanation was given for such a statement or why. For news organizations such as Time Mag and CBS radio to regurgitate marketing hype such as this and present it as fact is just slipshod, mediocre reporting and they should be called on it. And I intend to do just that.

Notice that in these reports, there is never any mention of the economic model of DLP, never any mention of the notorious obsolescence that plagues computer-based systems, never any mention of the fact that getting the film from the studio to the theatre costs money, whether it is a guy driving a truck or guy delivering hard drives or a satellite uplink -- none of it is free. A media cleaning unit and a bottle of FilmGuard will keep a 35mm motion picture print pristine indefinitely, even if booth personnel aren't quite up to the snuff of trained projectionists. But even before FilmGuard, for decades, prints played in first run booths manned by trained, knowledgeable projectionists and after a year or more, they looked as good as when the film first opened (there is that legend about THE SOUND OF MUSIC playing the Rivoli in NYC for more than a year with a backup print sitting in the booth in the event that wear and tear would eventually require swapping the main print with the backup -- the backup was never was opened). So even this idea that film must degrade after the first showing is nothing but gibberish, yet it presented as fact, by people who should know better. And as Pat pointed out, at this juncture, longevity is the ONLY thing that DLP has over film, and even that is questionable.

Now to forge a letter to Time and figure out how to do it without using a lot of four letter words. Unfortunately, not using the word "bullshit" ten or fifteen times may be a lost cause.

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Michael Barry
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 584
From: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Registered: Nov 1999


 - posted 05-04-2002 07:39 PM      Profile for Michael Barry   Email Michael Barry   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think we should also CC the editor of Time. Is his/her email address available too?

(Edit) My mistake - the email Brad provided IS for the editor of Time.


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