Another nail in the coffin for film - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 172 Old 12-18-2010, 08:35 AM - Thread Starter
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This from another forum:

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LaVezzi Precision Inc, the manufacturer for 95% of projector sprockets in use worldwide, has decided to cease production on all motion picture parts. Sprockets, gears, shafts, and most importantly, the cams & stars for projector intermittent movement have all ceased being manufactured effective immediately.

That means the precision parts critical for running film on Ballantyne, Century, Christie, and Simplex projectors (including also RCA soundheads) are now limited to what is left on the shelf. Clearly, this has a major impact on the future of film projection and exhibition.

If you are involved in an institution with any of these makes of film projectors, I highly suggest contacting your service tech to determine what spare parts either you or your tech need to stock up on if you are to continue running film into the future, especially as it becomes more difficult to locate adequate replacement parts. As time goes on, some projector models will be easier to locate parts for than others, such as the Simplex XL, as it is incredibly common. Others, not so much (our theatre runs 35/70mm Century JJs, and my god it was already hard to source parts before this!).

If you'd like, pour some wine, put on some sad music and take a tour through LaVezzi's catalog: http://www.lavezzi.com/X-LaVezziStore.html


In retrospect, the film Idiocracy seems prophetic.
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post #2 of 172 Old 12-18-2010, 08:47 AM
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Interesting. Aren't most theaters digital now? I don't know.

larry

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post #3 of 172 Old 12-19-2010, 01:13 AM
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I never actually researched parts availability but I do have a pair of simplex xl as mention in the article is the very common. But I also have an old Century with an upgraded sound head not sure the model. I've always bought used parts anyway. But I guess it don't really apply all that much to me as I dont use them that often.

gonna use the projectors for Christmas for sure.
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post #4 of 172 Old 12-19-2010, 06:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PooperScooper View Post

Interesting. Aren't most theaters digital now? I don't know.

larry

35mm film is still the most common projection by far, but as theaters convert to digital, it is shrinking. New theaters are either all-digital, or installing both film and digital - but typically installing used film projectors which glut the market. But film projectors and cameras are designed such that every mechanical part that experiences wear can be replaced.

Clearly, this is the first loop in film's death spiral. But as a few years ago when everyone was hunting up then-rare digital theaters to watch the new Star Wars movies, there will come a time when we drive a few miles more to view a movie shot to film on a film projector, and using classic optical effects.

Cannibalizing used projectors for parts will actually last for decades. Then custom machining will extend the life of a few projectors indefinately. But there will come a time when film projection will reside in museums - perhaps during your grand-children's lives. The Edison 35mm film standard is already 115 years old.

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post #5 of 172 Old 12-19-2010, 12:01 PM
 
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Sounds more like somebody is building the coffin before the patient has even gotten sick...
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post #6 of 172 Old 12-20-2010, 12:33 AM
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Sad but inevitable... kind of like when Kodak stopped producing black & white film stock a few years ago.
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post #7 of 172 Old 12-20-2010, 04:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

Sounds more like somebody is building the coffin before the patient has even gotten sick...

You're kidding, right? Look at the numbers of movies that originate from digital media. Then look at the numbers of movies shot on film that use digital intermediate processing. Then look at the facts that manufacturers of film cameras, film projectors, film stock, etc. are falling right and left. Meanwhile the cost of film distribution prints has passed 4X and is often 10X as great as digital distribution.

YES there is an enormous film infrastructure, which when disassembled will leave Hollywood with equal movie production capability with less than a quarter of the employees that were required for film. I understand the anguish caused by this all too well. But I don't question that it is happening.

Meanwhile there is excess production capacity in Hollywood - the ability to produce far more movies than there is good source material. It is a time when I pass on far more movies then I watch, a time when the once delightfull SyFy channel shows Wrestling in primetime, and fake DVDs and Blu-Rays can be ordered online or bought from street vendors, and real Hollywood productions can be downloaded for free. It's Hollywood's Brave New World.

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post #8 of 172 Old 12-21-2010, 09:58 AM
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LOL all that drama, maybe Tinseltown should try to harness your "talent" Gary.

The Hun
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post #9 of 172 Old 12-21-2010, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geremia P. View Post

Sad but inevitable... kind of like when Kodak stopped producing black & white film stock a few years ago.

And super 8mm stock too.

Now in Tucson, AZ with a cheap rabbit ears antenna in the east window at a height of 40 ft off the ground (3rd floor apt with VERY high celings). Got everything except FOX. :-/
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post #10 of 172 Old 12-21-2010, 12:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PooperScooper View Post

Interesting. Aren't most theaters digital now? I don't know.

larry

Not even close. There are less than 9000 digital screens in the USA.

http://www.natoonline.org/statisticsscreens.htm

The issue is, no one is buying 35mm film projectors any more. So there are plenty of spare parts and older projectors no longer in use that can provide the parts
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post #11 of 172 Old 12-21-2010, 12:36 PM
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wait.. I dont keep up with this, but Super 8 film is getting discontinued? I just bought a bunch of Kodak Vision and tri-x recently.
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post #12 of 172 Old 12-21-2010, 04:03 PM
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I dont keep up with this, but Super 8 film is getting discontinued?

I would assume 8mm is/was still Kodachrome, and the last lab processing it in Kansas City is stopping soon, if it hasn't already.

C41 (is that right?) and E6 color stock is still around, but there are no longer any functioning labs in the California Bay Area. The labs will probably all drop off before the manufacturers stop producing the film stock.

But it's surely only a matter of time until only specialty places like Photographer's Formulary or Chicago Albumen Works or Bostick & Sullivan- assuming they still exist now, even- will continue to service dip and dunk photography.

CW Hinkle
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post #13 of 172 Old 12-21-2010, 05:40 PM
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I'm well aware of Kodachrome I sent in my last batch to Dwayne's in the beginning of the month, there is a few more days to get them the film. Kodak has stopped manufacturing the chemicals due to expense and environmental issues in the manufacture of chemicals.

Super 8 is a motion film format. Kodachrome formulation was available in Super 8, years ago discontinued for a long time now, I am aware that a bunch of Super 8 formulations have been discontinued, but Tri-x and Vision 3 is also still available for Super 8 afaik. Kodak did introduced new films formulation/formats this past year. Ektar and and a new Portra for still.
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post #14 of 172 Old 12-27-2010, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkmedia2 View Post

I'm well aware of Kodachrome I sent in my last batch to Dwayne's in the beginning of the month, there is a few more days to get them the film. Kodak has stopped manufacturing the chemicals due to expense and environmental issues in the manufacture of chemicals.

Super 8 is a motion film format. Kodachrome formulation was available in Super 8, years ago discontinued for a long time now, I am aware that a bunch of Super 8 formulations have been discontinued, but Tri-x and Vision 3 is also still available for Super 8 afaik. Kodak did introduced new films formulation/formats this past year. Ektar and and a new Portra for still.

Didnt know that. Damn, i need to stay updated on this stuff. I do know that you can order film stock online. As much as I love watching old super8 movies (and would love to make them someday), it's a little out of my price range to get into it. Figures, you can get an old super8mm camera at a thrift store for $10, but stock and processing will cost ya a LOT more!)

Now in Tucson, AZ with a cheap rabbit ears antenna in the east window at a height of 40 ft off the ground (3rd floor apt with VERY high celings). Got everything except FOX. :-/
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post #15 of 172 Old 12-27-2010, 12:31 PM
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My nearby theater is all digital and has been for a couple years. Now it appears they have increased their 3D equipped auditoriums from 2 to 4 which means more droll Hollywood 3D junk instead of a wider array of films. BTW, I think the studios are using 3D releases to drive more theaters to go from film to digital.
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post #16 of 172 Old 12-27-2010, 12:51 PM
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I think they're using 3D to get more butts into seats to increase their gate. Don't know if it's working or not..

"But I didn't do it...!"
"I knew you'd say that"...*BLAM!*
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post #17 of 172 Old 12-27-2010, 01:02 PM
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Mama, don't take my Kodachrome away.
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post #18 of 172 Old 12-27-2010, 03:35 PM
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I shot a friends wedding recently in super 8 as a supplement to a hd camcorder someone else was using. I suggested it might be cool to cut in that B&W authentic nostalgic film look, but I'm gonna develop it myself since it b&w and silent film. shot about 10 rolls. They are about $15 for 50feet 4min or so. bout 12-15$ at the cheapest per roll to develop. Most like gonna be doing a quickie transfer by pointing a hd camcorder onto a screen during film projection.
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post #19 of 172 Old 12-28-2010, 11:33 AM
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Here's an interesting podcast about digital cinema:

Home Theater Geeks 45: Inside Digital Cinema

Two of things that were mentioned that I found interesting and surprising was that digital cinema uses the old jpeg2000 codec instead of one of the newer codecs and (more on topic to this thread) was that according to his contacts in the ASC, about half the movies being shot today are being shot with HD cameras.
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post #20 of 172 Old 12-28-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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There will always be a place for FILM as long as there are people like us. It may not be mainstream, it may not be the norm, but people have been watching movies on film for over 100 years... that's not going to change any time soon.

Some things just need to be experienced in their original format.
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post #21 of 172 Old 12-28-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ_MacReady View Post

There will always be a place for FILM as long as there are people like us. It may not be mainstream, it may not be the norm, but people have been watching movies on film for over 100 years... that's not going to change any time soon.

Some things just need to be experienced in their original format.

Film's days at the theaters are numbered. It is just a question of time. How long will it take to convert the theaters to digital. With the icing on the cake being 3D ($$).

We have seen the demise of 3 Strip Cinerama, VistaVision, 70mm and soon IMAX 15/70.

Again, it isn't a question of if . . . it's a question of when.
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post #22 of 172 Old 12-29-2010, 12:39 AM
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Digital projection is still very expensive for equipment and maintenance. digital movie distribution could be less expensive for the studios, at last check a year or two ago there were many different distribution methods from different studios and not all theaters/projector setups used the same type. maybethings have gotten easier? i dunno. I have not been doing any projection work recently. while this is also true of film, you can at least get sound and picture on just about any 35mm setup.

Film projection equipment is generally less expensive as most things are already paid for, used parts are "inexpensive". plentiful for a lot of projectors for repairs, but film distribution for the studios is expensive.
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post #23 of 172 Old 12-29-2010, 01:40 AM
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The cost for a newly manufactured large venue DLP projector is less than half that of a new film projector - which in actuality can no longer be bought, and had to be installed in pairs for reel changes.

When it comes to film distribution, prints cost anywhere from a few hundreds of dollars (for 35mm) to tens of thousands (for IMAX 15/70). Compare that to either digital download (costing virtually nothing except a $25 FedEx fee for delivering the encryption key module). There are also servers where hard disks are the transportable media, a handfull of drives at approximately $100 apiece.

When it comes to movie making, various digital techniques allow you to produce a movie with a quarter of the staff it formerly cost. The only Hollywood growth industry for the last two decades has been educating the various Hollywood craftsmen in digital techniques. Meaning that effectively the same number of industry people can produce four times as many movies on digital media as on film. But there is still the same number of good original movie scripts as before the digital revolution. So there is about a fourfold increase in the number of movies that should never have been made. Nobody should be surprised, you COULD see that happening, could you not?

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post #24 of 172 Old 12-29-2010, 08:22 AM
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Your right on the dual film projector setups, but I've also seen some places with a extra large giant spool for the movie;where two screening rooms use the exact same film print with show times staggered so there is enough film to feed another projector.

You might know about this Gary, what is the up keep like in digital projectors? Have they improved? I ask because I recall at least five times helping pull a bunch of relatively new Christie digital projection equipment for replacement (I assume); and resetting film setups temporary. So is most everything in download now or disk for digital projection? I recall seeing a few with BD disc loading. is one more common popular than the other? Which digital method do theaters owners prefer? Which method do distributors and or studios prefer?
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post #25 of 172 Old 12-29-2010, 09:34 AM
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The upkeep on digital projectors is less than the upkeep on film projectors, except for the (sealed) precision optics in some projectors there are no mechanical assemblies with critical dimensions.

When it comes to the popularity of digital theater equipment, there is more to consider than the cost of projection and media. For example digital distribution includes captions, there is no need to order special prints for the hearing impaired, you can choose to display captions on short notice. If you have ever been to a multi-screen digital theater you may have noted that the digital sign above the door sometimes changes the theater number - the real-time ticket sales may mandate that a particular popular movie be shown in a larger theater, whereas the former movie located there is demoted to a smaller theater (even the teenaged theater employees are caught unawares by such changes on occasion).

Dolby Server is probably the best known comprehensive theater management software solution, it integrates ticket sales, digital distribution print management, the on-the-fly theater management described above, audio and video calibrations, automated trailers and those hated theater commercials. In addition to pure digital print management, it even has a function to manage the efforts of a film projectionist who has the ability to perform all the various tasks, but lacks the experience to do so seamlessly without the computer prompting him to perform the correct task on the specific projector at the correct time. Now each multi-screen theater complex needs but one experienced projectionist who can frame all the films and calibrate all the digital audio and video (he could be and frequently is the theater manager) and then he simply builds the schedule/script for his other employees to follow - or for the computer to execute without human assistance in the pure digital theaters.

The same sort of digital automation that eventually prevailed in most industries has rocked the Hollywood movie industry harder than most, affecting everything from script writing (where sophisticated word processing and teleprompter management are needed) through every facet of the movie making itself, to the local theater where the movies are shown to the public (now in competition with video streaming and disk media performances).

Many movie making "artists" and "craftsmen" are now mere digital technicians, and no longer earing guild salary rates. Talented digital artists can and have made movies (especially animation) on shoestring budgets in their homes that earn as well as Hollywood big budget movies. My prediction is that the digital revolution will continue to force Darwinism on Hollywood for about another decade. After that time, for a limited period it will remain possible to make and distribute an actual film before all of the hundreds of necessary skills disappear. But it is already uneconomical compared to the digital alternatives.

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post #26 of 172 Old 12-29-2010, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tkmedia2 View Post

Y.... So is most everything in download now or disk for digital projection? ...

According to that podcast I mentioned a couple of posts back, distribution is almost all by harddrive right now. Interestingly, he also claims that part of the reason for that is that is that it allows the studios to keep using all the old distributors they've used in the past instead of having to hire some new company that is capable of doing internet distribution.

Personally, I suspect it's mostly due to all the tax avoidance and kickback schemes they already have in place with the old distributors.
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post #27 of 172 Old 12-29-2010, 11:04 AM
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Film projection is pretty crappy in a majority of large screening rooms. It seems to be getting worse and worse every year. Half the time I think who the heck set this up! I rather watch digital a majority of the time. But that same crappy film print projected at a smaller screen size, clean projector/optic with good optimum focus and a good newish light source looks wonderful. But still usually has less detail than the digital print. Just preference I guess.
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post #28 of 172 Old 12-29-2010, 07:49 PM
 
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Exclusive: David Keighley (Head of Re-Mastering IMAX) Talks THE DARK KNIGHT, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, TRON: LEGACY, New Cameras, More

Quote:


•Talked about IMAX’s prototype digital-capture camera with 4K resolution. The first footage from that camera will debut on Born to be Wild http://www.bigmoviezone.com/filmsear....html?uniq=678

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•How the new Series 2 4K projectors are going to be very close to IMAX film quality (will still take a few more years for these projectors to make it out into the field)

http://collider.com/david-keighley-i...-legacy/66297/
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post #29 of 172 Old 12-31-2010, 12:33 AM
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The local news carried a story about the closing just this week of the last film lab in the world that processed Kodachrome film. It's no accident that the best-preserved color movies of the 1930's onwards were either Kodachrome or the even more expensive Technicolor 3-strip process (which used B&W film stock). The Kodachrome film had uniquely saturated color, fine detail, and after processing, extremely stable archival qualities. It is the only color film that used a "subtractive" color process producing actual film negatives having the inverted colors of the actual images. Black and White film is also subtractive, but all other color film stocks use an "additive" color process where the exposed film is actually a positive after development.

Kodak ended Kodachrome film stock production in 2009, and this week the Kansas City lab got so many rolls and reels of exposed Kodachrome that they will be busy processing into 2011, but they are accepting no more exposed film and the unique processing machinery will be scrapped. The unique developing chemicals used in the intricate and delicate Kodachrome processing are already out of production.

Buyer beware: raw Kodachrome film is still being sold on the Internet, and all of the available film is past the 12-month shelf life and now can no longer be processed anywhere. For those of you with archived Kodachrome negatives in your files (either stills or film reels), it is still possible to make positive prints by digitizing the images and inverting the colors with software, and printing digitally.

Fujicolor and Kodak's Ektachrome remain the last two color films available in this digital world - both use much simplified developer chemicals that can easily be processed by amatuers and professionals in simple darkrooms versus the precise laboratory required for the now extinct Kodachrome. (Or in the automated developer machines in so many drug stores and copier shops.) But these films are widely considered to be inferior to digital cameras.

Without a doubt, the best quality images will now be captured digitally. Kodachrome was much beloved by both filmmakers and quality still photographers such as those working for National Geographic. But such low volume business did not pay the expenses for the lab, and the very best color film is now gone.

It is still possible to capture high quality film images using the bulky old Technicolor 3-strip cameras, and they do get used occasionally (they were last produced in the 1940's). Now that is the only remaining high quality color film medium.

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post #30 of 172 Old 01-01-2011, 11:39 AM
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Movies shot in HD with Red cameras are stunning. It's basically the same as shooting digital stills at 24 fps each frame full rather than deltas like the older HD camera technology. The Scarlett camera was rumored to be a $3K point and shoot (because the founder is a digital photo and video hobbyist) but wound up being a sub $10k prosumer model. Still would love to see them do a consumer model.

When I watched "Monsters" VOD it looked like it was shot with a Red but turned out be done with a Sony EX camera so other companies are upping the ante too.

Regarding my comment on the local theater which 8 screens are digital the other ones in the locale only seem to have one auditorium equipped digitally and those are reserved for 3D so of course they are taking advantage of their situation to screen more 3D. It's just that so many of those movies are junk.
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