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Film to Digital
Old 1st September 2011
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Film to Digital

The movie theatre where I am employed has decided to replace ALL of their eighteen 35mm film projectors with digital ones.

By Thanksgiving.

Managers:

"The picture looks so smooth, no more black between frames."

"Yes! We don't have to mess around with loading prints anymore!"

"No more scratches!"

"Digital is so much better than this outdated technology.."


Of course we have two digital projectors already, to deal with our need to feature the horde of 3D movies that started to come out. I noticed the picture looked like **** in those two theatres even before I knew we had any digital projectors. The colors looked like something from a cheap digital camera. Just doesn't look "dramatic" like most of the movie-going public is used to. You can say it's just conditioning, but these days the theatre industry is reliant upon staying alive NOW. Mess up and you're out of business.

Meh, at least us analog-audio geeks will now have a group to share stories with. Remember how cool movies used to look on the big screen?

Anyway.
Old 1st September 2011
  #2
Gear Nut
 

Hmmm I have yet to see a 3D flick, but I must say that even for a movie like The Matrix I've always dug the graininess of the film in the theater. It's a character and authenticity thing about it that I dig, incl. the cigarette burns, which I've always noticed after seeing Fight Club, but do not mind at all - it's all part of the theater experience (though with digital it theoretically would be much easier to "splice" porn into a Disney flick).

How do the digital projectors differ and/or look like sh*t compared to their counterparts? Are there noticeable artifacts, or have you been conditioned? (emoticon=meaningless)
Old 1st September 2011
  #3
Maybe your digital projectors are not set up correctly.

I saw Avatar three times. Once in 2D once in 3D and once on film. The digital copies blew away the film copy.

I have been involved in making three short films and normally I prefer the film "look" but not in Avatar.

If is going to soon be a non debate as most theaters are going to go digital within the next few years. It is cheaper for them, MUCH cheaper for the studios and you don't have to worry about splicing the reels together or separating them to send back.

The only place you make be able to see films is at the local "art theater" as a novelty. Too bad. It is the end of an era but the economics are in favor of the digital projection.
Old 1st September 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
 
vincentvangogo's Avatar
 

Digital sucks.
Old 1st September 2011
  #5
Gear Addict
 

Two things are "helping" this transition:

1. Increasingly poorly made 35mm release prints, done on high-speed dubbers. Sharpness and stability suffer.

2. Increasingly untrained "projectionists" who handle several machines at a time and who do not sweat details like tweaking the focus if needed.

Combined with Aveage Joe and his obsession with all things digital, a very efficient way to speed up the demise of a 100-yr-old beautiful imaging format...
Old 2nd September 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Jeff Hayat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rikharthu View Post
Managers:

"The picture looks so smooth, no more black between frames."
Huh?!??! There is never any black between frames - unless the lab screws up the negative, and therefore the prints. What the hell is he talking about?
Old 2nd September 2011
  #7
Gear Guru
 
charles maynes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rikharthu View Post
The movie theatre where I am employed has decided to replace ALL of their eighteen 35mm film projectors with digital ones.

By Thanksgiving.

Managers:

"The picture looks so smooth, no more black between frames."

"Yes! We don't have to mess around with loading prints anymore!"

"No more scratches!"

"Digital is so much better than this outdated technology.."


Of course we have two digital projectors already, to deal with our need to feature the horde of 3D movies that started to come out. I noticed the picture looked like **** in those two theatres even before I knew we had any digital projectors. The colors looked like something from a cheap digital camera. Just doesn't look "dramatic" like most of the movie-going public is used to. You can say it's just conditioning, but these days the theatre industry is reliant upon staying alive NOW. Mess up and you're out of business.

Meh, at least us analog-audio geeks will now have a group to share stories with. Remember how cool movies used to look on the big screen?

Anyway.
I do sound for film- I have to say that on the whole, digital is FAR, FAR, FAR, FAR, FAR superior to 35mm in just about everyplace I have every watched a film in a theatre. I hate basically having to go so a feature in the first 4 days of release in order to actually SEE it without defects, and maybe even get to HEAR it in more than an LtRt- perhaps I might even have the great luck of having a working center channel speaker....

Film exhibition has simply become a joke.
Old 14th September 2011
  #8
Gear Addict
 
adogg4629's Avatar
 

Being that films are finished digitally nowadays, it doesn't really matter what format you watch the release print on. Oh, I'm sure that a brand new pristine print of Dr.Zhivagho projected in a nice theater would be spectacular (much like listening to a Beatles record hot of the lathe), but nobody well really ever get to see that. If films are being transfered to 2K, 4K Raw files, cut at 1080p, colored digitally, going back to film for a release print gives you nothing but scratches, splices, and costly distribution. Technically, you aren't seeing an image that is superior then the digital equivalent, because the digital equivalent is basically the master (I'm referring to the 10 bit colored master that the internegative is made from).

Best.

A
Old 15th September 2011
  #9
Gear Guru
 
kafka's Avatar
Pffft. Who gives a f**k about the media. With stadium seating and those tiny little screens, nothing is impressive anymore. It used to be *wonderful* to go to the movies. Now it's just a movie.
Old 15th September 2011
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by adogg4629 View Post
Being that films are finished digitally nowadays, it doesn't really matter what format you watch the release print on. Oh, I'm sure that a brand new pristine print of Dr.Zhivagho projected in a nice theater would be spectacular (much like listening to a Beatles record hot of the lathe), but nobody well really ever get to see that. If films are being transfered to 2K, 4K Raw files, cut at 1080p, colored digitally, going back to film for a release print gives you nothing but scratches, splices, and costly distribution. Technically, you aren't seeing an image that is superior then the digital equivalent, because the digital equivalent is basically the master (I'm referring to the 10 bit colored master that the internegative is made from).

Best.

A
Not sure of the actual mechanics of digital projection, but I still noticed the image looking less 'dramatic' (disregarding scratches, etc.).

On the topic of recent 35mm print quality, I'm wondering if they purposefully stepped it down to make digital seem like an upgrade?

Meh, I guess I'm the stereotypical analog zealot.
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