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Did I get ripped off?

film cells reels

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#1 Tami Foote

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 01:17 PM

Hi everyone - 

 

I have some film cells I bought that supposedly came from movie theaters - release prints. How do I tell if these are actually those?

 

I had a guy (Mike Clark) who used to be a film editor & post production supervisor back in the 70s and 80s look at them and he told me that what he thinks I have are positive duplicate prints (not from the original negative). I am not in the film industry, so all this is greek to me. Does this mean that the film cells I bought are not actually from film reels that were shown in theaters? 

 

Thanks in advance for any expertise you are willing to share,

 

Tami

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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 01:29 PM

It's a projection print with an optical soundtrack on it, probably made for release to theaters.  Unlikely they were printed right off of the original negative, probably from a dupe negative.

 

I used to collect snippets of release print like that at a sound editing facility I worked at during film school -- they were called "sound fill"... they chopped up old release prints in order to fill the gaps between 35mm mag sound sections when building the multiple 1000' sound reels to run in sync with the 1000' work print reel (or dirty dupe of it) in the mixing sessions.  Once sound editing and mixing went digital, the need for these sound fill rolls went away, but so did the need for release prints once most theaters converted to digital projection.

 

But before digital projection took over by the late 2000's, major studio releases made 2000 to 6000 prints for worldwide distribution, often with the same release date (to help mitigate the effects of piracy), so there were a lot of 35mm projection reels that had to be destroyed after the initial release because the distributor was only going to vault a small number of prints afterwards.


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#3 Tami Foote

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 01:59 PM

It sounds like these really are from movie theaters then. It just seemed odd that the guy I bought them from says he buys the reels from small movie theaters up and down the west coast when I had read that the studios have the theaters send back the reels - but, perhaps that's not true since you mentioned they only vault a small number of prints. I have also read that many film cells don't hold up well over time and with usage, and all the cells I bought are in pretty good condition. So, a number of things had me thinking I should seek advice. The guy is coming back to town for a holiday show to sell more. It's sounding like it's safe to buy more from him?


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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 November 2017 - 02:59 PM

I'm not a collector of things so I am wrong person to ask... it's not an original b&w print of "Psycho", that clip is on a more modern color print stock if that matters to you. But it's definitely from a release print, there would be no reason to fake such a thing.
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#5 Mark Dunn

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Posted 23 November 2017 - 06:10 AM

It's LPP stock, so post about 1982?
Interesting to see a 1.37 print of a widescreen picture. No hard mattes for Hitch, then.

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