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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » What is the deal with Landmark Theaters' haphazard presentations?

   
Author Topic: What is the deal with Landmark Theaters' haphazard presentations?
William Kucharski
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 157
From: Louisville, Colorado, United States of America
Registered: Oct 2012


 - posted 05-03-2017 10:39 PM      Profile for William Kucharski   Email William Kucharski   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've long been a fan of Landmark Theaters' revival showings but of late I don't even bother.

This started for me about seven years ago when a local theater was showing Goodfellas from a DVD. Not a Blu-ray, a DVD.

Now, about two weeks ago, I bothered to go to see a midnight showing of Pink Floyd: The Wall; I figured "Ooh, they spent the money to grab a DCP as it's never been released on Blu-ray."

But no; three minutes in on the right hand side of the screen, a giant "HDNet Movies" bug; they were playing a BD-R burned from a DVR! (Not a good BD-R, either, it froze three times in the two minutes it took for me to get up and ask for a refund.)

Playing Blu-rays for revival showings is bad enough, but a DVR copy, really?

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Michael Gonzalez
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 782
From: Grand Island , NE USA
Registered: Sep 2000


 - posted 05-06-2017 12:11 AM      Profile for Michael Gonzalez   Email Michael Gonzalez   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The last company I was working for used to do a Family Summer Movie series. Obviously each movie in the series would be licensed through the Studios and although some of them we got shipped DCPs some of the others we had to go out and buy Blu-Rays (I am guessing it depended on the studio). Anyway I was having a heck of a time getting the player to work with the Barco Projector so that we could play the first two Despicable Me movies. I finally gave up and since I still had a couple of weeks lead time, I went the "easy" route and converted the Blu-Rays to DCP via DCP-O-Matic. Picture look great, the sound was great and that is how we presented them. In fact, I ended up shipping copies of the DCP to a couple of other locations in the company who were also having issues with their Barcos and Blu-Ray Players.

I thought I have a fairly fast computer but it still took about 16 hours per movie to convert.

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Dennis Benjamin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1391
From: Denton, MD
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 05-06-2017 06:17 AM      Profile for Dennis Benjamin   Author's Homepage   Email Dennis Benjamin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Michael,

We have done the same exact thing ourselves (covert Blu-Rays to DCPs).

I don't understand why the film companies don't get it. How hard would it be for them to do the same thing?

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Randy Stankey
Film God

Posts: 6353
From: Erie, Pennsylvania
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 05-06-2017 11:23 AM      Profile for Randy Stankey   Email Randy Stankey   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Too bad you can't send those DCPs back to the studio so that there would be something to send out to others who wanted to show that movie.

Heck! I might even do it for nothing if it meant that there would be more DCPs of movies for everybody to play in the future.

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6595
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 05-06-2017 01:17 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
There are a few arthouse classics for which no DCP is available from the rights owner or one of the major nonprofit archives, and for which we play DCP-ized BDs. I've kept the DCPs of some that we play repeatedly (the 1937 A Star is Born and Les Diaboliques, for which the only alternative is importing a 35mm print from France at huge expense, come to mind as two obvious examples), simply to avoid having to repeat 3-4 hours' rendering time.

The DCP-izing process also allows you to correct issues on the BD, too, e.g. if the BD has mono audio duplicated on L and R, you can move it to the center channel only.

The problem is that studios and distributors will sell you a "you provide the screening media" license, and they don't care what screening media you use. If these licenses specified that you had to use a retail BD with a specified catalog number, or 35mm print #478987 from the UCLA archive (for example), I think this would help to limit the really bad presentations that take place and don't need to.

Occasionally you have no choice but to use a low quality source, especially for really obscure titles. We're playing a forgotten (and deservedly so) and truly terrible South African remake of E.T. called Nukie later this month, from an NTSC laserdisc that I've DCP-ized. Our programmers looked high and low for anything else - even better standard def, such as Beta SP - but were simply unable to find anything. So if it's a choice of consumer grade standard def or no show I suppose it can be justified, but wish that distributors and rights owners would do more to limit the use of low quality source media for theatrical screenings in cases where that doesn't need to happen.

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William Kucharski
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 157
From: Louisville, Colorado, United States of America
Registered: Oct 2012


 - posted 05-06-2017 05:56 PM      Profile for William Kucharski   Email William Kucharski   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree with your latter statement; after driving across town and shelling out for popcorn and a drink, the last thing anyone wants to see is a giant pay cable station bug projected onto the screen and watching it freeze for several seconds every few minutes. [Eek!]

Other theaters aren't immune; granted the showing was free, but Denver Film Society recently showed Hello, Dolly! from a DVD rather than a Blu-ray; you could tell by the fuzzy picture quality and the jaggies in horizontal lines.

The sad thing is, I already own the Blu-ray…

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

Posts: 6595
From: Loma Linda, CA
Registered: Jul 2000


 - posted 05-06-2017 06:47 PM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
And the even sadder thing is that TCF has a 4K DCP in distribution, which I rated as good for pix and average for sound (though that was just because it's a 5.1 remix, not the original Todd-AO 5 stage channels plus mono surround audio: the audio quality of the actual channels was very nice) when I played it (on November 1, 2014).

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Joseph L. Kleiman
Master Film Handler

Posts: 378
From: Sacramento, CA
Registered: Apr 2005


 - posted 05-09-2017 01:22 PM      Profile for Joseph L. Kleiman   Email Joseph L. Kleiman   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Both Landmark Theatres and HDNet Movies (part of the AXS TV group) are owned by Mark Cuban's 2929 Entertainment. Sounds like a poorly executed case of corporate synergy.

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Travis Cape
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 118
From: St. Louis, MO, USA
Registered: May 2000


 - posted 05-09-2017 09:19 PM      Profile for Travis Cape   Email Travis Cape   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sadly, as I worked for Landmark, the priorities shifted to renting the facility and selling DVD's than our presentation.

I blame all of this on Mark Cuban and everyone in senior management, home office level.

They could not provide the theaters with a POS system that was reliable and efficient and were provided us with the best servers from Qube.

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