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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » Swank Motion Pictures encourages non-theatricals to switch to Swank Cinema Player (Page 1)

 
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Author Topic: Swank Motion Pictures encourages non-theatricals to switch to Swank Cinema Player
Jeffry L. Johnson
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 809
From: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 10-13-2008 09:40 AM      Profile for Jeffry L. Johnson   Author's Homepage   Email Jeffry L. Johnson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Swank Motion Pictures is encouraging its accounts to switch from film to their Swank Cinema Player. The exhibitor provides the projector. Resolution is 720 x 480.

Swank Cinema Player Technical Requirements web page

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Chris Slycord
Film God

Posts: 2986
From: 퍼항시, 경상푹도, South Korea
Registered: Mar 2007


 - posted 10-13-2008 10:39 AM      Profile for Chris Slycord   Email Chris Slycord   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Minimum one-year lease for equipment
So if someone has to pay for the equipment to lease does that mean they don't have to pay a fee for playing individual titles? If the answer is "yes" then why would anyone switch?

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Todd McCracken
Master Film Handler

Posts: 263
From: Northridge, CA, USA
Registered: Mar 2008


 - posted 10-13-2008 12:58 PM      Profile for Todd McCracken     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hmm, seems a blu-ray player might be a better investment.

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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 10-13-2008 01:11 PM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This may not actually be a bad idea for their DVD and VHS (!) customers. In theory, it could provide DVD resolution, but with less compression and (again, in theory) better reliability than DVD or VHS.

Are they really trying to sell it to their film customers, though? It's clearly not in the same league as 16mm or 35mm film, based on the information on their web site.

And is their entire library available for it, or only new releases?

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Mitchell Dvoskin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1869
From: West Milford, NJ, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 10-13-2008 01:13 PM      Profile for Mitchell Dvoskin   Email Mitchell Dvoskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Resolution is 720 x 480

480p, that is NTSC resolution. Yes, I know NTSC is interlaced, but still, that sucks. You can buy a 720p (720 x 1280 resolution) for peanuts these days, and even 1080p projectors can be had for under $3000.

No good will come of charging admission for something that looks worse than what is available at home.

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

Posts: 2481
From: Montgomery, AL
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 10-13-2008 02:39 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think this is the pertinent quote:

quote:
The Swank Cinema Player is the next evolution in delivering top quality entertainment to your students.
Swanks major market is schools, film clubs/student unions/film class. This is probably a few steps above the crappy 16mm I would see in college back in the 70's.

They don't appear to be even pretending to compete, commercially, with at home.

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Mark Hajducki
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 500
From: Edinburgh, UK
Registered: May 2003


 - posted 10-16-2008 10:40 AM      Profile for Mark Hajducki   Email Mark Hajducki   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It seams strange to be restricting the system to DVD quality when higher quality is now available. It would seem more future proof to have some HD support (even if there is limited HD content to begin with).

quote:
When it is time for the show, the player will seek “permission to play” from Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. via an online connection and will play through your HDCP compliant projector.
This statement (from Swank website) does concern me. It would make more sense to use a key based system (like DCI spec systems) rather than rely on a network connection.

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Louis Bornwasser
Film God

Posts: 4441
From: prospect ky usa
Registered: Mar 2005


 - posted 10-16-2008 11:37 AM      Profile for Louis Bornwasser   Author's Homepage   Email Louis Bornwasser   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Exactly what I have come to expect from Swank. Louis

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5305
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 10-20-2008 06:28 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Are they making any arrangements for a Virtual Print Fee to help pay for this equipment? [Big Grin]

quote:
4 x 3 presentation, 16 x 9 subject to availability
What's that all about? This really would be the deal buster -- I read it to mean you could conceivably get Pan & Scan versions of the latest titles because that's the format the studios release to the hotel and cable markets as PPV before they go to DVD rental. For the hotel and cable PPV release, they are almost always done non-letterbox/P&S. I'll bet Swank is piggybacking on that PPV window. This means that for the most current releases (for which they charge the higest rental fee) they are not getting versions made specifically for them but the same P&S versions that the cable companies and hotels get.

Same with their DVDs; even though they charge schools hefty rental rates for current titles, they don't have DVDs made specifically for their non-theatrical market, but they send out standard video store DVDs with all the gack up front and with the FBI warning that says the DVD is only for HOME USE. You would think they could press a version specifically for the non-theatrical market without all that crap, given the fact that the school is paying anywhere up to $1000 per show for that Home DVD.

And why only 16:9? Why not anamorphic versions? 720 x 480 resolution? [puke] Come on -- that's a joke. What is it with Swank -- three steps backwards?

Besides, is shipping out the physical DVD (this is the way they do it now) all that complicated? Netflix doesn't seem to have any problems doing it and I dare say Netflixs is allot bigger than Swank.

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Scott Norwood
Film God

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From: Boston, MA. USA (1774.21 miles northeast of Dallas)
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 - posted 10-20-2008 09:03 AM      Profile for Scott Norwood   Author's Homepage   Email Scott Norwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Interesting. I read that as saying that films shot in Academy will be available in 4x3 (as they should be) and that films shot in wider formats would be available cropped or pillarboxed or anamorphically squeezed to 16x9. Sure, it sucks for scope films, but I didn't see it as saying that they would be dumping a 4x3 pan-and-scan version on their customers. If that is what they mean, then Frank is right and this is a piece of junk.

I still don't see why everyone thinks that this is such a horrible idea, if we accept it as being intended only for existing DVD and VHS customers and not for their film customers. The picture quality can't possibly be any worse than VHS (can it?), and it is probably more reliable than DVD. Further, it could actually offer higher image quality than DVD, depending upon the type and extent of compression used.

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Frank Angel
Film God

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From: Brooklyn NY USA
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 - posted 10-20-2008 11:46 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
....and the speed of the client's internet connection.

I suppose "subject to availability" could mean that all wide screen titles will be 16:9 but, then why even need to say that given that all titles since the 60s would be 16:9? It sounds too iffy to me. I would want that clarified right up front. I am just going by Swanks other "subject to availability" fine print, like their 35mm film title list which is also "subject to availabilty." That pretty much means 9 times out of 10 you are not going to get a 35mm print.

This system might be security-driven. With this DVD-less system, studios might me more willing to release titles earlier than Swank usually gets them....maybe even right after the break which the studios wouldn't do with the vulnerability of shipping DVDs. This system has no pristine copy-able copy floating around thru the mail or laying around some student dorm in the hands of kids. It also adds that "key" idea as another layer of control.

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Chris Slycord
Film God

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From: 퍼항시, 경상푹도, South Korea
Registered: Mar 2007


 - posted 10-20-2008 05:33 PM      Profile for Chris Slycord   Email Chris Slycord   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Frank Angel
....and the speed of the client's internet connection.
Of course. Then again, anyone who goes with this kind of system and uses a slow connection is shooting themselves in the foot. Sure, I'm fine with netflix's "view on the computer" thingy with low-ish quality (due to my slow connection) but I sure wouldn't do the same if I were using that for exhibiting.

quote: Scott Norwood
I still don't see why everyone thinks that this is such a horrible idea, if we accept it as being intended only for existing DVD and VHS customers and not for their film customers.
The only reason I seemed suspicious of it is that it seems strange if you have to both rent the player and the individual movie. Now it would be different if the player rental included access to the movies or if at least the individual movie fee was lower than the one for when you rent a DVD/VHS.

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John Hawkinson
Film God

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From: Cambridge, MA, USA
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 - posted 10-20-2008 09:08 PM      Profile for John Hawkinson   Email John Hawkinson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Speed of the internet connection doesn't matter. The only realtime internet aspect is the cryptographic key exchange / authorization handshake, which doesn't take any bandwidth. The web page disucces shipping hard drives, as well.

For me, this is bad because it is yet another case of taking the control out of the hands of exhibitors (even incompetent ones, if they're showing VHS...). I also wonder how bulletproof Swank's system and software could possibly be, and would tend to fear for the worst, like it breaking down at the worst possible moment.

It also seems unreasonable to expend any money on a system that only supports standard definition, especially with no quality guarantees. Will it look like VHS, or will it look like DigiBeta?
[somewhere in-between, of course.]

--jhawk

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Frank Angel
Film God

Posts: 5305
From: Brooklyn NY USA
Registered: Dec 1999


 - posted 10-21-2008 11:10 AM      Profile for Frank Angel   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Angel   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
They will have to offer clients more than just a DVD-less/shipping-less system as the incentive and advantage to buy into this system; perhaps it can allow them to offer booking dates for the latest films earlier than the booking dates for the DVD clients and cheaper rental rates since this digital system will eliminate their having to stock DVD and run a shipping department with the attendant salaries, etc.

Besides, with product now becoming readily available on Blu-Ray, why go with a lesser image quality of this internet system?

And again, I would want writen-in-stone proof that I would never EVER get any hotel P&S crap; bad enough it's video -- if there is even the remotest possibility of getting Pan&Scan versions, then Swank needs to find a dumpster for this system. On occasions we would open the shipping case and find a P&S AND edited-for-TV 16mm print -- right back in the case it would go and out the door. There are certain compromises where you have to draw line in the sand. P&S is one of them, if indeed that is what that rather ambiguous language means.

I will talk to Brian Fox at Swank; he is a teriffic booker over there & will give straight answers (he's always honest about print quality; no BS). I'll report back.

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Mitchell Dvoskin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1869
From: West Milford, NJ, USA
Registered: Jan 2001


 - posted 10-21-2008 11:41 AM      Profile for Mitchell Dvoskin   Email Mitchell Dvoskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My suspicion is that many venues will eventually buy their own consumer grade 1080p video projectors and rent blue-ray's from their local video store, rights be damned. In fact, for many rights will not be an issue due to fair use exceptions for class room use. I think Swank is shooting themselves in the foot on this one.

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