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Re: Electronic Cinema

Paul writes:

>> My personal opinion is that the reason that it is not already happening
>> distribution security, not the projector.
>I disagree :) sorry!
>I believe it is a commercial situation regarding the re-equiping of
>theatres.....who pays for it? The distributors may save money but they are
>not responsible for the equipment in theatres.

While the question of who is going to pay for all the new equipment and
infrastructure certainly is part of the issue, it also has to be remembered
that at least some of the big Hollywood producers retain artistic control of
their films right up to the final release.  They have not been altogether
satisfied with electronic theater projection up till now, which has helped
keep film prints in use.  I daresay that may not last too much longer, given
recent strides in the projection field.  Protection against piracy is a
major issue for the studios, by the way.

> I think Electronic projection can look great, especially on smaller
>that are so much more common nowadays. The state of prints being projected
>in the UK is often appalling. I viewed some rushes in a full size cinema of
>a project I was involved in, "Tomorrow never dies" generated from 625
>betacam and using the digital projection projector and was staggered at how
>good the experience was. For the normal person in the street it was very

The average person on the street may be willing to put up with rubbish, but
most people at least subconciously recognize and appreciate quality.
Otherwise none of us telecine folk would have jobs; there wouldn't be much
point in what we do!  Personally, I appreciate the fact that at least some
people in the movie industry are concerned about having electronic
projection that rivals the best of film before going ahead.

>>The demise of the release print business has
>> practically nothing to do with origination on film.
>I disagree.

Release printing is a very different business than negative developing.
Most release labs are large-scale factories designed for volume production
using very high speed printers and developers.  They may never even see a
piece of original camera negative!  This type of installation is
specialized, very costly, and usually not amenable to short runs.  A
negative "lab," on the other hand, may be nothing more than a small,
automated processor in the back room of a telecine facility, or it may be a
more comprehensive operation.  There are still hundreds, if not thousands of
these worldwide.  For them, printing has been a declining part of the
business for some years now.  This is due to the fact that almost all of the
TV programming, and eductional/industrial material that used to be printed
on 16mm is now on videotape, as are many of the dalies and workprints.
Such labs would barely notice the loss of release printing because if they
do any at all, it's typically small orders of a handful of prints now and

>I am films biggest fan but I won't let that blinker me from new technology
>and opportunities offered by different tools. Technology is advancing at a
>tremendous rate and you can either hide from it or embrace it. I choose to
>keep an open mind and heart.

To me, one of the most interesting things about film is that it always seems
to survive and adapt.  Put an end to one use for it, like 16mm release
prints, and it just reappears somewhere else, as in Super 16 for blow-up.
While electronic cinema is likely to impact the release print business, we
could actually end up using more negative since in the long run movies will
be less costly to make, and perhaps more of them will therefore be produced!

Best regards,
Christopher Bacon

Thanks to DAV and Dave Walker for support in 1999
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