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Re: Electronic Cinema



I can remember a conversation a year or two ago with a very senior person
from one of the biggest of the Hollywood Studios, who explained to me that,
in the American movie theatre business at least, the flickering shadows on
the screen are the loss leader to pull people in to buy Coke, popcorn and
souvenirs.

On that basis, it is obvious to me that the movie distribution business
will want to make its operation as cost-effective as possible. A release
print costs close to $2k, so for a big movie launching on 2,000+ screens
the producers have to find another $4 million to fund the celluloid. The
idea of sticking a bunch of (well-encrypted) digits up on a satellite to be
available in cinemas across the nation - across the world - will be
irresistable.

My personal opinion is that the reason that it is not already happening is
distribution security, not the projector. Our expert eyeballs may have some
concerns, but the latest DMD projectors are perfectly adequate for the job.
Did anyone look at the new Barco DMD projector at NAB?

Chris Bacon is right, though. The demise of the release print business has
practically nothing to do with origination on film. With all due respect to
Lucas, top directors will shoot on film because it has the qualities we
debate regularly: it is an involving, story-telling medium, capable of
conveying atmosphere with a great deal of subtlety, something which
electronic image capture - for now at least - simply cannot do. Actresses
will insist on film origination because they know HDTV is much too
accurate: no-one wants to see skin blemishes on a forty-foot screen.

And producers will insist on film origination because it guarantees archive
compatibility. We can still view the very first movies shot over a hundred
years ago. Anyone fancy keeping a Quad VTR going for another seventy years?

Dick Hobbs

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