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How is the replacement of film projectors progressing?

Is film dead yet.

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#1 Keith Walters

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 10:56 PM

By the end of this year movie distributors are supposedly no longer supplying film prints, at least to US cinemas.

Is that actually happening?

I haven't heard anything about it if it has?


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#2 Tim Tyler

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 01:41 PM

Even the run-down art house theaters in the pacific northwest have recently switched to digital projectors.

 

The Cinerama in Seattle is getting the worlds first 4k laser projector.

 

http://www.christied...Projection.aspx


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#3 Mark Kenfield

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Posted 17 November 2013 - 07:46 PM

Here in Australia it's virtually complete, I think the only film proection I've across in the past 18 months has been in rep theatres.
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#4 Pat Murray

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 09:44 AM

The only active 35mm projection in my city is a rep theater, but it also has digital projection.  One of the multiplex IMAX experiences still has their 70mm projector.  Well, maybe not now.  They had it to show the last Batman in 70mm.  Plus we have a couple of museums with 35mm, 70mm and IMAX (105mm?) capability.


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#5 Tim Tyler

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Posted 20 November 2013 - 12:12 PM

Looks like Honda is helping to keep drive-in theaters alive by equipping five with digital projectors.



http://projectdrivein.com/
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#6 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 09:21 PM

Can't think of a worthier cause though the "no film prints ever again" is a bull5hit deal!


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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 11:08 PM

Yes, film prints are pretty much a thing of the past now.  Low budget filmmakers were celebrating the idea of not having to make a print to get their movie seen on the big screen.  After all a DCP costs a small fraction of a print master and you can deliver it on a $200.00 drive vs a $1200.00 print.

 

Oooops one problem, each theatre chain now charges a $1000.00-$1500.00 VPF per theatre.  VPF = Virtual Print Fee.

 

So that was the end of that idea.  It's still cheaper for low budget filmmakers overall.  But try doing a 20 screen release, the VPF alone will be $20, 000.00 minimum, and that's before you have sold a single ticket.

 

Basically filmmakers & studios are being asked to pay for the cost of buying and installing the projectors.  That's where the money came from.

 

R,


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#8 Freya Black

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Posted 26 November 2013 - 05:30 AM

Yeah, if it wasn't so sad it would be almost funny the way things are obviously not going to play out the way the indie market likes to fantasise about things.

 

It's probably not actually cheaper for low budget filmmakers overall unless they are doing a wide release however, as back in the day of film prints, a lot of the smaller theatres would have video projectors you could use without any VPF.

The theatres with a connection to film festivals have long been able to play out from formats like mini dv, DVD and Beta SP etc. Handy if you are just doing a little screening somewhere.

 

Also the little art houses days are numbered now they can't get any film prints because they won't be able to show all those old classic movies that DCP's havn't been made for yet, or if they are lucky there might be a blue ray disc available for them to screen.

 

On the upside maybe the VPF will help all those theatres to upgrade to 4K at some point in the future.

 

Freya


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#9 Pat Murray

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 11:08 AM

Freya, I don't know how it is in the UK, but the art house/rep cinemas in North America (including the one in my town) are typically also collectors of 35mm prints.  There are still rights issues.  Some, I understand are easy to show publicly where the company with distribution rights is given a fee.  Others, where it's unclear who owns the rights to the film are shown on special member nights for free.  Then there's movies like Star Wars that cannot be seen outside of employee screenings lest they risk confiscation of their print.  These theaters aren't against using Blu-Ray either, in my experience.  Although some have argued to their audience that DCP has allowed them to show pristine copies of classics such as Rosemary's Baby that were previously unavailable on a decent print.  There was one case where they mixed a 35mm print with a Blu Ray copy.  It was Creepshow and it was missing the last reel for the final short story in the anthology.

 

As for virtual print fees etc.  it reminds me of my opinion that "cheap" digital cameras have democratized the film industry for indie filmmakers is strictly snake oil salesmanship from digital camera companies and people who have an interest in the sale of digital cameras.  Cheap formats for filmmaking have always been available to the indie filmmaker.  It's distribution where the democratization needs to happen.  Based on comments in this thread, it might be argued the film industry has taken a step back rather than forward in this regard.


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#10 Richard Boddington

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 12:57 PM

And now for the kicker.....each week a "new and improved" projector will come out from XYZ Japanese manufacturer.  That promises a much sharper, clearer, and more colourful picture than the last projector the theatre bought 3 days ago.

 

Now everyone must have this new and improved projector.  Ooops all that money invested into the old projector wasn't such a good idea after all because there's a new and better one that just came out.  Ok let's get that one!

 

Two days goes by......hey guess what ABC Japanese manufacturer has a new and improved projector that is way better than the one you bought two days ago, which replaced the one you bought 3 days before that!

 

Now with 35mm film projectors...you replaced the bulb, but they could easily last 50+ years.  24fps was 24fps, same in the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's......

 

The 40 year old projector could easily project the new film stock from Kodak with no upgrades required.

 

Ok now the genie is out of the bottle and the studios and theatre chains have no idea what they've unleashed.

 

R,


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#11 dan kessler

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 01:59 PM

Yes, film prints are pretty much a thing of the past now.  Low budget filmmakers were celebrating the idea of not having to make a print to get their movie seen on the big screen.  After all a DCP costs a small fraction of a print master and you can deliver it on a $200.00 drive vs a $1200.00 print.

 

Oooops one problem, each theatre chain now charges a $1000.00-$1500.00 VPF per theatre.  VPF = Virtual Print Fee.

 

So that was the end of that idea.  It's still cheaper for low budget filmmakers overall.  But try doing a 20 screen release, the VPF alone will be $20, 000.00 minimum, and that's before you have sold a single ticket.

 

Basically filmmakers & studios are being asked to pay for the cost of buying and installing the projectors.  That's where the money came from.

 

R,

Explain how the VPF works, because I keep reading that VPF's are due to expire soon.

They were supposedly an incentive to exhibitors to make the switch, but not an ongoing thing.

Plus, I always thought that distributors were the big beneficiary of going digital, since they were
the ones who paid for prints.  How do VPF's line up with that?


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#12 Richard Boddington

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 02:42 PM

Explain how the VPF works, because I keep reading that VPF's are due to expire soon.

They were supposedly an incentive to exhibitors to make the switch, but not an ongoing thing.

Plus, I always thought that distributors were the big beneficiary of going digital, since they were
the ones who paid for prints.  How do VPF's line up with that?

 

The idea was that VPFs would expire once new equipment was paid for.  Guess what....the big theatre chains are not about to give up solid gravy train revenue anytime soon.  There are 50 movies competing for each screen slot available, the exhibitors have the upper hand.

 

If you have to spend $1500.00 on a virtual print fee vs $1200.00 on a 35mm print, it's costing you more, not less.  There are savings on the output as a DCP costs a whole lot less to make than a print master.

 

R,


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#13 Keith Walters

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 06:59 PM

And now for the kicker.....each week a "new and improved" projector will come out from XYZ Japanese manufacturer.  That promises a much sharper, clearer, and more colourful picture than the last projector the theatre bought 3 days ago.
 
Now everyone must have this new and improved projector.  Ooops all that money invested into the old projector wasn't such a good idea after all because there's a new and better one that just came out.  Ok let's get that one!
 
Two days goes by......hey guess what ABC Japanese manufacturer has a new and improved projector that is way better than the one you bought two days ago, which replaced the one you bought 3 days before that!
 
Now with 35mm film projectors...you replaced the bulb, but they could easily last 50+ years.  24fps was 24fps, same in the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's......
 
The 40 year old projector could easily project the new film stock from Kodak with no upgrades required.
 
Ok now the genie is out of the bottle and the studios and theatre chains have no idea what they've unleashed.
 
R,

Do the Japanese make high-end digital cinema projectors?  Last time I looked, they were all US and European products.
It's a shame RED seem to be unable to get their laser-based projector systems off the ground.
They aren't the originators of  any of the technolgies of course, but they would be more likely than anyone else to get the price down to something like that of a film projector. There was their chance to make a significant  contribution to film making, and the let it slide...

Interesting though that Christie had to get FDA approval of all things to allow then to install a laser projector. Sounds like certain  consumer laws are due for an overhaul.
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#14 Keith Walters

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Posted 28 November 2013 - 07:01 PM

 

The idea was that VPFs would expire once new equipment was paid for.  Guess what....the big theatre chains are not about to give up solid gravy train revenue anytime soon.  There are 50 movies competing for each screen slot available, the exhibitors have the upper hand.


R,

Bit like the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The toll was supposed to end when it was finally paid for in 1988. Yeah, right; and it's still increasing...


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#15 Freya Black

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 05:38 AM

Freya, I don't know how it is in the UK, but the art house/rep cinemas in North America (including the one in my town) are typically also collectors of 35mm prints.  

 

In the UK I doubt they would have enough space for a collection of 35mm film prints. They order the movies in but these days it's getting harder to get certain movies as the studios have withdrawn prints for their archives and havn't always replaced them with DCP's. Sometimes a blu-ray is all that is available for screening.

 

Freya


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