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Re: Electronic Cinema

>See Walter Murch's article in Sunday NY Times:

They must've been having a really quiet day at The Times to publish that
article!  I just hope they paid for it by the word, in which case they got
what they deserved.

It does not appear that much has changed with the two current contenders for
digital theatrical projection:  in my opinion, the Hughes/JVC light
amplifier didn't have quite enough brightness or contrast for the job, and
the TI prototype cinema DLP evidenced motion artifacts and insufficient
tonal range when I saw it last fall.  These are likely to be major
technological hurdles to overcome, and I don't think it is realistic to take
it for granted that they will be overcome--at least not in time for this
summer's "Star Wars" blockbuster.

I also don't think that the perfection of a digital projector that performs
as well as, or better than 35mm print film is the end of the story.
Distribution, studio cooperation (=copyright protection), maintenance, and
investment all have to be melded together into a workable system before
anything changes drastically.  Thomas Edison did not get a patent on the
incandescent light bulb itself, but he invented, controlled, and put into
practice almost every other component essential to electric lighting
systems, which is why he took such an early lead in the field.  It is as
much the system it is part of as the digital projector that will make or
break digital cinema.

As for Mr. Murch's contention that the demise of 35mm release printing will
put an end to the use of film for image capture, baloney!  Release printing
will, of course, be affected by any large-scale move towards electronic
projection,  but what does that have to do with the negative lab business?
While it is true that HDTV cameras can be used to replace film cameras in
some cases, the laws of physics have not been magically repealed.  Camera
CCDs are still electronic devices made of silicon, and therefore still
subject to noise, artifacts, crosstalk, and limited color and contrast range
compared to film.

Best regards,
Christopher Bacon
Best regards,
Christopher Bacon

Thanks to DAV and Dave Walker for support in 1999
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