Originally Posted by Marc Wielage
Oh, that's a sore subject. Technicolor, Deluxe, and all the other post houses have laid off hundreds of people in the last 6-7 years -- many of them digital employees. And that's after the 600+ people who made up the film lab people. When an economic shake-out that big happens, it hurts everybody.
PBS is in there, too (just to get back to the original subject), and I again feel that the reason why we see some PBS shows aired in the wrong aspect ratios is that they have no money for an adequate staff. I suspect for at least half the broadcast day, you'd be lucky if there's more than 2 or 3 people in the entire building, basically maintaining the computers. Nobody's watching the pictures or listening to the sound.
When I was working on the 2004 2K mastering of Star Wars at ILM, they had me watch George's personal Tech IB print of the movie in the Stag Theater. This was in C Building in the Kerner Optical Building (which was the code-name for ILM in San Rafael on Kerner Blvd.), just down the hall from the Pogle color-correction room. So I have seen the film. In this case, I think the digital version solved quite a few photochemical problems they weren't able to fix with the 1997 version, but like everybody else, I continue to hope that they'll go back and remaster the original theatrical versions someday. And it is possible; they just have to want to spend the time and money to do it. The pieces still exist in some form.
As to "let's start the film": I've been on many all-digital sets where the director yells "roll film!" to start the process for each scene. And the old line "check the gate!" after a scene is finished still holds for some old-school stalwarts, even though there's no real "gate" to check.
That reminds me of a call out one time last year when a local multiplex had four screens that would not fire up. Of course the problem turned out to be expired KDM keys, as this theater was purchased by someone who hand never owned one before, and i was the one who remodeled and updated everything in it, with his wife picking the colors, when i was asked by the very young female manager what the problem had been, joking i said "The film got caught in the gate." And her response, "OK, we will open the gates more so it will not happen again." In such a commanding voice.....
I was hopeful for a original remastering of Star Wars myself, even more so since Disney picked up ILM, Skywalker sound and LucasFilm, but, i have been told, they are experiencing the hard truth, that no matter what, it takes 10 years to get 3 Star Wars films out there, and consumes every available resource to do it.
I remember PBS showing the behind the scenes of Star Wars in the late70's, maybe early 80's that started with a blue screen with white letters "Do not adjust your television, what you are seeing is how the movie was "Filmed" There is nothing wrong with your Television set." Funny they had to put stuff like that up back then.