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Digital Cinema Revolution--Ireland goes first

Discussion in 'Movies' started by ChrisMatson, Mar 22, 2005.

  1. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    I saw this news and thought it was worth sharing:
    For the the full article, click here.

    It looks like the future is coming--to Europe.
    How long will the US have to wait?
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Locally I have one theater that has a digital projector. Most of the others are also now using digital projectors for the ads before the trailers. Previously you had static ads, now many are animated are far more attractive.
     
  3. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Hopefully, until such time as the picture looks good from the front of a theater with a large screen.
     
  4. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    Maybe it's just the theater I go to (Springdale 18: Cinema de Lux in Ohio), but every single movie I've seen there projected digitally (Episode II, Finding Nemo [twice], and Constantine) looked great. I did see pixelation in the trailer text (This Preview Has Been Approved For All Audiences) and in the end credits when I saw Finding Nemo, but other than that, I didn't see anything to complain about.
     
  5. David Rogers

    David Rogers Supporting Actor

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    Same story it always is, business is a big complicated game of chicken. The 'dare' is "you spend your money first".

    So someone arranged for Ireland to be a test bed for digitally networked theaters. Cool. Now maybe, in about five or ten years if we're lucky, some theater chain owners in America will begin to understand this technology will SAVE THEM MONEY and remove quite a few silly and wasteful steps from the process of getting a movie from the finishing lab to a theater screen.

    Luck of the Irish indeed.
     
  6. Peter Apruzzese

    Peter Apruzzese Producer

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    From someone in the exhibition industry, there is no savings for us in running digital projectors right now. Therefore, no incentive for us to install them.
     
  7. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Not in the short-term, it won't - even if receiving a digital file is cheaper than a couple cans of film, how many movies would it take before the savings overtakes the upgrade cost - if ever; everything I've read has traditional film projectors much more reliable than digital, while upgrading the picture quality of a film projector is a matter of feeding higher-quality film through it, but involves replacing the most expensive element of a digital system.

    So far, the only theater chain owner in the US who really seem enthused about digital exhibition is Mark Cuban. Otherwise, as Peter says, the numbers don't add up in the short term, and I'm not sure how long it would take for the digital projection to pay for itself.
     
  8. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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  9. Joel...Lane

    Joel...Lane Second Unit

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    I'm moving to Ireland in a few months so I guess my first digital projection experience will be there.[​IMG]
     
  10. Ushabye

    Ushabye Projectionist
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    I'm a projectionist Ster Century Multiplex in Dublin, with 14 projectors. We're not the biggest but have the highest turnover of any cinema in Europe. We've had those dudes from Avica in measuring us up for the digital instalation. Personally I'm looking forward to getting stuck into this new technology and getting hands on experience. I think this will be the first time that digital projectors will also be networked. No doubt we will be a testing ground, but DLP is most definitely the future and as a life long film fanatic it will be fun to be on the frontline of the greatest change to come to cinema technology since sound.

    I often equate a projectionist's relationship with film to be similar to that of a sailor and the sea. One of fear and respect! I figure I'm in the last generation of projectionists who'll be able to show the scars on their hands to their grandkids and say, "You see that sunny? That was Magnolia. Eleven reels she was. Each one with an SDDS track that could slice a man's fingers clean off!"
     
  11. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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  12. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Hmmm... I don't see anything in there about contracts with the exhibitors. Sure, they've reached contracts with the studios, which is important, but what about Loews, AMC, Regal, etc. - you know, the guys who actually buy projectors (or don't, because the ones that have moved through five locations since they were first manufactured in 1933 still work fine). Unless this deal involves the studios paying the exhibitors to put these things in, I still don't see what the cinemas get from this.
     
  13. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Well, since the decline of movie theatres in this country seems to be attributable in large part to the excessive prices charged by the distributors to the exhibitors, a major cost reduction to the distributors could -- if the distributors are smart enough to pass on a part of the savings, instead of being pigs as usual -- improve the profit margin at the theatre, allowing upgraded presentation [most theatres I've been in recently have been, how can I put this, less than ideal in this regard] and/or a ticket-price drop which would result in more seats being filled. If the distributors are willing to pay to put the projectors in, we may see some changes in a pretty static industry.
     
  14. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Except that there's been no sign the distributors have any interest in doing so, and though this article talks about Thomson installing 15k digital projectors, all it talks about is "digital usage", which I gather means that the studios will create files in a format compatible with Thomson's hardware and/or use their distribution network. It's not getting actual projectors in theaters at all.

    The exhibitors still have almost no reason to "upgrade" to a more-expensive, less-robust system that will require regular updates in a way that their film hardware doesn't, unless the studios start charging significantly less for digital media than film (which they may or may not be doing; does anyone know?) or digital offers something that will get significantly more butts in seats, like Chicken Little in 3-D. That 15,000 screens is a nice goal, but I don't see it as terribly likely.
     
  15. Ray Chuang

    Ray Chuang Screenwriter

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    I think somebody should seriously look at helping a major movie theater chain install as many digital projection systems as possible.

    Now, if we can convince the Century Theatres chain to start the conversion en masse (starting with their all-THX certified complexes), that could "break the ice" and we could see a surge of digital projection installations all over the USA. [​IMG]
     
  16. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    Well, that's assuming digital projection is a good thing. If you like sitting toward the front or a really big screen, it still looks pretty sub-par (an article about the tech used for Chicken Little mentioned that a forty-foot screen was really the upper limit for it being watchable.
     
  17. Steve Phillips

    Steve Phillips Screenwriter

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    I saw REVENGE OF THE SITH and SKY HIGH and CHICKEN LITTLE 3-D in a pretty large theatre recently, and they were all stunning in clarity and brightness; far superior to recent 35mm presentations in the exact same auditorium.

    This was all with 2K projectors, and 4K is on the way.
     

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