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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » 70 vs. DC starring Larry Myres (Page 1)

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Author Topic: 70 vs. DC starring Larry Myres
Larry Shaw
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 238
From: Boston, MA, USA
Registered: Mar 2000

 - posted 01-26-2006 07:37 PM      Profile for Larry Shaw   Author's Homepage   Email Larry Shaw   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For a few months I've been kicking this around in my head.

What the industry is now doing is looking to spend an enormous sum of money to change to DC which is primarily a "save money" scheme...nobody's trumpeting great improvements in quality, except perhaps via less film damage (which could be solved by qualified projectionists). Meanwhile, the boxoffice is doing poorly, and distributors want to reduce the release window which would further reduce ticket sales. DVD's, "Home Theatre", HD and soon BluRay and cheap Plasmas will entice people to stay home and watch on video. I also think that it won't be long after wide use of DC that whiners in the press and elsewhere start talking about "why should we pay more to see shows at theatres, its just a big TV". And of course [despite wishful thinking from encoding suppliers] DC will make illegal duping easier than ever. And I think theatre owners are in for a truly nasty suprise when the real cost of maintaining/upgrading/replacing all this technology starts to be understood.

Now, showing my advanced age, I think back to the 50's when theatres were concerned by competition from <gasp> TV. Utterly different from today, theatres did not rush to buy big TV's; they worked hard (with the studios) to develop technologies to set them apart from TV. We know them, WideScreen 1.85:1, CinemaScope, PanaVision, VistaVision, Cinerama, magnetic stereo etc, etc. And guess what: It worked!

So here's where my head gets confused. Instead of dumping vast sums to convert to a system that, at best, approaches the quality we already can have (Yes, I know about 'real world' 35mm; I also know that the 'real world' will affect DC negatively too when it stops being nurse-maided as it is today)? Why aren't theatres looking to ENHANCE their presentation so they can offer their customers something clearly better than anything they can get at home? And here I'm not thinking about the grossly overpriced Imax, or even formats like 8/70 or Showscan. I'm thinking of good ol' 5 perf 70mm. 5/70 just requires changing to a 35/70 picture head, (a pittance compared to DC) and upgrading the platters. Sound, which used to be the cost and time problem in making mag prints, can now be done with DTS (and presumably Dolby, with some work) bringing 70 print costs way down. The added maintanance of mag heads is no longer an issue. And scratching is less evident due to less magnification.

And what's the result? Instantly we have a dramatically sharper, brighter, steadier image to sell, one that no DC or "HD Home Theatre" can touch. One that can be advertised, as it was in days of yore, as "dramatically sharper, brighter, steadier, with realism that no "Home Theatre" can touch". What a great feeling, to be fighting back against TV instead of bowing to it. And at just a tiny fraction of the cost of the DC colussus.

Does anyone else see this as viable? Or should we just roll over and wait to be told what TV to buy?

Larry Shaw

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12206
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 01-26-2006 08:30 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I believe I have stated this MANY times. 5/70 was Cinema's best overall format. In fact, the full Todd/AO system...6-channels combined with 70mm running at was truely the best system offered that could be done enmass. Every aspect of the show was improved as compared to its standard 35mm counterpart.

I still feel that 5-speakers behind the screen are more essential than 2-surrounds, let alone 3 or 4. With current DTS XD-10s one can have their 5 screen channels, 2-4 surround channels and subwoofer if they so care.

I agree it is high time for Super-High-Definition cinema to come can't be beat with today's digital technology and isn't about to get into the home anytime soon.

The AFI/Silver just ran Hello Dolly in 70mm and did quite well with it and received many thankful emails for the 70mm presentation. Even when they run Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm they can pack them in...I say even since it has been run so many times and is available for the home in many "restored" versions...yet the 70mm show brings em in.

Those that say 70mm is dead really just want to settle for inferior quality. Exhibition needs to be requesting 70mm from the studios though.

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10701
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 01-26-2006 08:42 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I really wish 70mm could make a comeback, but I think the "genie is getting out of the bottle." Large theater chains like Carmike are now making deals to install thousands of digital video projection systems and have movies beamed to them via satellite.

My opinion Hollywood is now embarked in a slow process of killing itself -or at least giving itself a really bad case of gangrene, which will result in amputations of sorts. They're indeed taking the film out of film and turning it into TV.

We can now look forward to a movie version of Magnum P.I., along with Miami Vice. Those will go on a growing pile of other TV shows made into movies. When the movie is something that used to be a TV show, why not stay at home and watch it on TV? That is if you even want to watch the movie at all.

Add to that all the remakes, especially in the horror genre. You have The Fog, The Hills Have Eyes, When A Stranger Calls, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror, and those are just a few that immediately come to mind. On top of that you have sequels of movies that weren't good enough to be made in the first place. Do we really need Final Destination 3 or Cheaper By the Dozen 2 when their originals sucked? It's as if Hollywood has run out of ideas.

Of course, it's also mildly interesting how just about every major movie studio is now owned by another entity -which also owns TV and cable networks. The movie businesses themselves can fail, but the parent company will still survive.

I believe all the bland, painfully predictable we've seen this same shit 1000 times already kinds of movies are going to wind up biting these movie distributors in the ass. It's going to drive lots of movie fans to other forms of entertainment. The disconnect could possibly invigorate European, Asian and Indian movie industries -but that's somewhat doubtful. I think people will fill the void with more work at home, TV watching and maybe some game playing on Playstation 7.

If that situation comes to pass (and it could), the parent companies of those movie studios will pick apart each movie studio in the same manner the original MGM was dismantled. The TV networks will keep the film libraries. The companies will be sold off to whoever for big bucks and then sold again and again until the value of the studio name brand dies.

I think a lot of movie theaters will have to gut the traditional layouts of their auditoria and convert them into restaurants, sports bars and other venues capable of showing other kinds of programming in addition to movies. They'll be forced to do.

Executives like Robert Iger at Disney will probably eventually get their way and have new movie releases hitting DVD (and iPods) day and date with theatrical releases. An industry wide move like that would kill off most traditional theaters quickly.

Sure, one can make the argument people go to the movies to get out of the house. But they're not going to do it when the general quality of American movies has been back-sliding into homogenized shit. They're not going to pay the premium for that. It will be easier and cheaper to get the HD-quality DVD, which will be available at the same time, and they'll be able to watch it on huge yet affordable TV screens made by near slave labor in China. But that's also assuming those customers will even want to watch the movie at all on that huge screen. They may just fire up the video game console instead, or just watch a TV show, or even (gasp) read a book.

Right now the status quo is somewhat stable. But the paradigm may start changing dramatically before this decade is finished. Those who intend to survive in the theater business for the long haul will have to be ready to adapt to fast, radical changes.

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Floyd Justin Newton
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 559
From: Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Registered: Jun 2002

 - posted 01-26-2006 09:10 PM      Profile for Floyd Justin Newton   Email Floyd Justin Newton   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 

I agree with the above, except there probably won't be such
a thing as "day/date". It's just going to be DVD. Think about
what Hollywood is doing to itself. It is scribing its own
headstone. It's known as 'self-burial'.

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Mark Gulbrandsen
Resident Trollmaster

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From: Bountiful, Utah
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 01-26-2006 09:42 PM      Profile for Mark Gulbrandsen   Email Mark Gulbrandsen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree with all you guys for the most part! However the main ingrediant missing today are the Showmen of yesteryear. Ya can't use the technology of today without some of the showmen of yesteryear(or at least some their traits that made movies special). They are all dead and gone replaced today by the suits and pencil pushers and the likes of Steven Squeelburg and George Pukas [puke] . Unfortunately the likes of Michael Todd, Lowell Thomas, Jack Warner, and Spiro Skouras will never be seen again in our time. Bring back any one of these guys and they'd whip the movie industry back into the glorious entertainment it once was.


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Mike Perju
Film Handler

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From: Toronto, Canada
Registered: Nov 2002

 - posted 01-26-2006 11:01 PM      Profile for Mike Perju   Email Mike Perju   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Already fewer than 1 in 30 people I know actually go to the movies, while two thirds of them regularly download this week's releases. The only thing that has people going to the movies is the fact that it's different, and that some of the downloads look like crap. Once films get released digitally, it will only be a matter of time before every download in crystal clear. Noone in Toronto puts on a real show in any multiplex, and I can't imagine why anyone would bother going out to a poorly maitained multiplex to watch TV. There are no exlusive engagements anywhere, and it only took people 5 years to get over the existence of digital sound. I don't think digital films would make news anywhere, exept for two of my friends letting me know they just downloaded next week's release and that I could borrow it in exchange for a beer.

70mm should make a comeback, exclusive engagements should make a comeback, and possibly together (adding showmanship to the mix would make for a great three-way).

(By the way, if a theater chain would sign a 10 year lease on digital projectors, they should ask themselves how long they realistically expect the machines to last, and if they truly expect whoever is to service them to actually do the work. I hear that asking your mall landlord to fix a leak in the roof - which is clearly their problem - can be a useless endeavour, and "corporate responsability" are two words you that my thesaurus lists as synonimous with "fuck you".)

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

Posts: 10701
From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 01-26-2006 11:17 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Mike Perju
70mm should make a comeback, exclusive engagements should make a comeback, and possibly together (adding showmanship to the mix would make for a great three-way).
The problem is the folks bank-rolling the production are far more interested in getting the movie onto DVD as fast as possible. Unfortunately 70mm release is the exact opposite of that. 70mm is designed to make a movie play in theaters and do so for a long time. Investors don't want any of that because they believe all the money to be made is in home video. The money people also want the movie onto home video as fast as possible so they can pay less in interest payments on the money they borrowed to bank-roll the production. And they only want to pay for marketing costs one time.

Some of that makes sense from a myopic dollars and cents only view. But if you cannibalize the movie theaters out of business you remove the ingredient that legitimizes a movie as a real movie. If it didn't play in a real movie theater than it is nothing more than a mere TV show.

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Monte L Fullmer
Film God

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From: Nampa, Idaho, USA
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 - posted 01-27-2006 01:55 AM      Profile for Monte L Fullmer   Email Monte L Fullmer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
As Mark has said in a way: We need the big directors to make the 70mm releases since they knew how to make a BIG movie.

True, in the olden days, when the marquee was posted the feature was presented in 70mm, that really stood out from the rest of the marquees in the large cities. For the public knew that when a 70mm presentation was on the screen, it was much more sharper and clearer than the 35mm counterparts.

.......Just like when I saw "2001: A Space Odyssey" at the Villa in SLC in 70mm in 1968: no comparison to the 35mm copies that I ran and saw afterwards...sound and picture make the impression.

..unfortunately, it's also the cost factor, marketing and the "new generation of movie-goers (which is the young group now -not the 'adults' of yore..) that the movie industry is gearing itself to nowdays...sad.


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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

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From: prospect ky usa
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 - posted 01-27-2006 11:31 AM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In terms of boxoffice & quality; Digital Cinema (TV) makes 70mm make sen$e.

Not only is it cheaper, it is remarkably better.

(Upcharge for 70mm if you were building a new cinema: $2000 for the head, $1100 for the lens, 1000 for platter & roller changes. All other parts are the same as a good quality 35mm booth.) Louis

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John T. Hendrickson, Jr
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Freehold, NJ, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 01-27-2006 02:34 PM      Profile for John T. Hendrickson, Jr   Email John T. Hendrickson, Jr   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For those of us here, 70mm makes sense. Unfortunately, when it comes to the people who really run the industry, they "follow the money", to quote that famous line.

True, conversion costs are not great for 70mm, as Louis points out. They ARE great for the distributors in terms of shipping and print costs, which the studios are trying mightily to eliminate through digital presentation. That, unfortunately, is the real key: the bottom line.

Anyone who has seen properly projected 70mm understands what a terrific presentation it is. Unfortunately, not enough people have had this experience, and the studios understand that. What the studios also understand is that 70mm isn't going to save them anything in the short run. And besides, who in this industry thinks in terms of the long run these days?

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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

 - posted 01-27-2006 03:00 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
DLP won't save anyone anything in the short run, either. Mastering costs are high, as are equipment costs, and it creates a dual-inventory issue as long as there are still theatres with "only" 35mm capability who will need prints.

Having said that, and as one who loves 70mm as much as anyone (and as one who ran the most recent public 70mm screenings in the Boston area, back in September of 2004), I don't think it will happen. Aside from the Lord of the Rings series, the Star Wars prequals, and maybe a few other titles released over the last few years, relatively few titles really justify shooting and exhibiting in 70mm. Also, there aren't many really big screens or grand theatres (at least in this market) and that, combined with the fact that there aren't many people around who know how to run 70mm without damaging it, will probably be enough to dissuade distributors from even considering 70mm releases, with the possible exception of the IMAX DMR releases.

Personally, I'd be happy with properly made 35mm prints. Too many 35mm prints in general circulation today aren't sharp and aren't steady. For little (if any) extra cost, a huge improvement in theatrical exhibition could be made if printing quality were improved (perhaps along with a return to IB Tech printing). Unfortunately, it's not a very marketable improvement.

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Greg Mueller
Phenomenal Film Handler

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From: Port Gamble, WA
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 - posted 01-27-2006 03:37 PM      Profile for Greg Mueller   Author's Homepage   Email Greg Mueller   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
"to get out of the house"

I agree with the notion, but to go into a dark room with a crowd of people who have either never been taught manners or have disregarded them, always makes me think twice about going to see a movie.

What happened to manners anyway? [Confused]

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Brian Guckian
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 594
From: Dublin, Ireland
Registered: Apr 2003

 - posted 01-27-2006 03:47 PM      Profile for Brian Guckian   Email Brian Guckian   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We could have both - 70mm for suitably spectacular material, and D-Cinema for other types of material, especially non-feature programming. (With 35mm continuing as well).

Film needs to be re-positioned as a high-end, high-quality medium in the eyes of the decision-makers, and have its value restored. If you restore value, then people will invest.

Let me expound the theme further. Today I had the insight into how inappropriate the push for digital has been in some quarters.

Imagine if we were told that "All orchestras worldwide are to be digitized to save money. Musical instruments are bulky, archaic and expensive. Digital technology will cut costs and allow wider types of music to be played".

Now think about that and how totally ludicrous it is!

Also, the other day I had to get one of the floor staff where I work to move a print with me. He was new and hadn't been into the projection room before. He took one look at the print and said, "that's so old school".

I call it the "Cinema Paradiso Syndrome". Basically, in the eyes of the average Joe, film is "old". It belongs to the 1950s in Italy.

We need to change that. We know the truth!

Ultimately it's all about perception [Wink]

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Larry Myers
Master Film Handler

Posts: 371
From: Herndon, VA, USA
Registered: Jan 2001

 - posted 01-27-2006 05:43 PM      Profile for Larry Myers         Edit/Delete Post 
Little known fact. The image quality jump from 1.85 flat to true anamorphic 2.35 is almost the same as the image quality jump from 35mm true anamorphic to 70mm. Very few people really notice the jump difference between 1.85 flat to 2.35 scope. Why would you think people will see the difference between 2.35 scope to 2.2 70mm.
Another point is the addition of new Kodak Vision stock. Many modern 35mm true anamorphic film have resolutions equal to many 70mm features shot in the late 50's, early 1960's with old Eastman tripack

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Bobby Henderson
"Ask me about Trajan."

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From: Lawton, OK, USA
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 01-27-2006 06:23 PM      Profile for Bobby Henderson   Email Bobby Henderson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Larry, I have to disagree with your 1.85/2.39 analogy on 35mm versus 70mm.

Granted, true anamorphic photographed 35mm 'scope prints using the whole 4 perf area of the film frame can look noticeably better than some 1.85:1 shows.

However, that difference is not anywhere near as huge as the difference between 'scope 35mm and true 65mm/70mm material.

A single frame of 5/65 negative or 5/70 print has 250% more image area than a full 4/35 film frame. The difference in image sharpness is like going from blurry vision in need of glasses and razor sharp 20/20 vision.

Whether its Lawrence of Arabia or an art film like Baraka, when you see either in 70mm the level of detail displayed is pretty staggering. It's an even more impressive jump in quality difference than what you see going from 480i NTSC to 1080i HDTV.

About the only thing that is somewhat minor regarding 70mm differences with 35mm has to do with blowups to 70mm from 35mm material. Some show only a marginal improvement on color saturation. Others, if processed to the greatest strengths of the 35mm origination format (true 'scope, super 1.85, super 35), can show a pretty noticeable difference.

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