A big blow to film production at Kodak and Fuji

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by Photo Engineer, Sep 3, 2010.

  1. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I have just heard of a "silent" revolution affecting all companies making motion picture print films.

    As 3D becomes more popular, theaters (except I Max) must convert to digital if they are to show 3D movies. This causes a huge decrease in the demand for color print film and reduces throughput at both Kodak and Fuji.

    Another sad day for us.

    PE
     
  2. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I hope you wrong, but if your right, what the hell!

    Jeff
     
  3. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I believe you. Here, even the cheap theaters are showing 3D movies now.

    I hate 3D movies anyway.
     
  4. Jeff L

    Jeff L Subscriber

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    I have no use for 3D. It may pass like it did in the 50's (3D with smell-o-rama) but after it injures film manufacturing. I read somewhere that the push for 3D was partly to combat bootlegging. Who knows what will happen- we'll see.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Okay so a cinema puts in 3D digital capable equipment, but most Cinemas are Multiplex, so how big a change will that really be.

    3D photography is older than both Kodak & Fuji but has still not broken through as a mainstream product after well over 120 years.

    I've seen superb 3D MF photography, but it's a distraction, how important is it for Cinema, most people will say not really. It's far more important for interactive gaming etc.

    Ian
     
  6. Barry S

    Barry S Subscriber

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    Theaters are steadily converting to digital regardless of 3D--it's just a matter of how fast it happens. 3-D is the same crappy gimmick it's always been, but it allows theaters to charge a premium for tickets. Film distributors would love nothing more than to switch over to digital distribution to save the enormous costs of making and shipping film prints. I think there will plenty of cinematographers that continue to insist on shooting film, but the distribution channels will be mostly digital. A lot depends on the cost/benefit of converting screens to digital. It's still very expensive for the complete setup that includes projectors/servers/etc. and theatre owners know it will all be obsolete quickly.
     
  7. damienm

    damienm Member

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    I'm no expert, but recall reading somewhere before, that the current movie industry practice is to archive all digital footage on film. Besides I imagine most of the movie footage that's currently shot is already more than likely digital. Many directors still like to shoot on film stiil, but I wonder if the final result is not digitised for production, having been captured/ shot on film.

    I don't think the state of the film production market is in such a perilous state anymore, and has rebounded quite a bit since the initial digital tsunami. Perhaps Fuji/ Kodak may end up selling their film production business, but film is going to be around for quite a while I suspect.

    Some companies are being pretty shrewd and marketing film to the older end of the amateur market as a way to simplify again, and just shoot a roll and have someone else worry about the developing and printing. Much of my parents generation do not want to have to go near a computer unnecessarily, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a potentially big swing back to film among the more mature, lower volume enthusiast shooters out there.

    Myself, I do not have too much fear of film disappearing. Hell, if there is a sustainable market for 35mm, 120, 4x5 and 8x10 film to remain in production after the backside fell out of the film industry with the mass migration of casual shooters to digital, then I think we'll be ok.

    I think the shine has gone off digital these past few years, and sense is returning, with most people now deciding on what to shoot on the basis of what they need. Only way for film is up, the way I see it, regardless of what happens with the movie industry or other current large industry consumers of film.

    The film market already reached bottom.
     
  8. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Food for thought is that Digital films are being archived on FILM

    Ian
     
  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The 3D craze has been an incentive for theaters to convert to digital. And, due to the premium cost for the tickets, it helps defray the cost of the conversion!

    Even if it is a short lived craze, it is doing damage at the present time to print film production and is causing a decrease in film production. This decreases profit at EK and Fuji and decreases the number of trained people able to make the films we want.

    Even if 3D vanished this year, print film consumption would have been rather badly damaged. This is my understanding of the situation as it now stands!

    PE
     
  10. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    Except for the fact that Techniclor Entertainment is pushing a "new" 3-D system that uses film:
    http://www.technicolor.com/en/lo/3d-innovation/3d-in-the-theater

    Basically, a re-introduction of existing technology but it's cheaper and easier to use than ripping out a $50,000 film projector and replacing it with a $250,000 digital projector JUST so you can show 3-D movies.

    Besides, a lot of people are beginning to think that the current 3-D fad is almost over.

    Bottom line: I don't think it will have as great an effect as some people think.
     
  11. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Randy;

    The Technicolor product is being outsold by the digital products unfortunately.

    PE
     
  12. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    We are at the end of an era, enjoy it while you can. It's Post Post Modern, Post Industrial Age.

    By the way, why is a 100 sheet box of Kodak 8x10 XRay film with two emulsions $26.00 while 100 sheets of Kodak 8x10 general photography film with one emulsion $550.00, 10 boxes of 10 sheets?

    Is Kodak trying to wean us off film by raising prices and reducing packaging content, how soon before others start doing it to us on a broad basis?

    Once Kodak determines that digital can support the downsized company I expect to wake up one morning to a film product list that has one film sold one sheet at a time. They appear to be itching to get rid of film production.
     
  13. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    I can't stand 3D movies. Just gives me a massive headache and not worth it one bit for me.
     
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  15. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    Ron,

    Should I slap a Phase One P45 back on my Contax 645 now and call it a day? What's the prognosis in your professional opinion?

    Best,

    Max
     
  16. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    I recall Roger Ebert talking about the 3D BS and saying if they want to bring people into the theaters they should be shooting a regular non-3D process (which he referred to by name) that runs film through at 48 fps. Now that would be nice for film production.
     
  17. Photo Engineer

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    Curt;

    The Xray film is probably surplus and is a much less critical emulsion. It is also coated with less silver today due to the recently improved fluorescent screens used. So, a pro film is harder to make and higher in quality.

    Max;

    I have no idea! I am in the same boat you are, but getting the info a little sooner I guess. Lets wait and see, but I think that film still has a good lifetime. My post is intended to spur you guys to buy film, not to discourage you. Remember the guy here a few years ago predicting that film would be dead by 2008?

    Lx;

    I got to see some work by Douglas Trumbull and had a chance to talk to him for nearly 1 hour while he was waiting for his limousine (remember 2001?). Anyhow, the gist of his talk and what we talked about was his work on high speed projection. Yes, picture quality goes way up! And, you can project a single film print in 3D even if shot in 2D. This is in a recent patent by EK.

    All is NOT lost. Just keep buying film!

    PE
     
  18. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    All is NOT lost. Just keep buying film!

    I'm doing that part.
     
  19. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

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    I thought so.
    My local cinema began to go 3D with the release of "Avatar", they put a huge neon that screams "3D Digital".
    A few weeks ago I watched a film in that format and it was rather underwhelming. Yes, see some particles out of the screen but it wasn't impressive. When there was movement, everything was blurred; at the end, I had a slight headache.

    I find it's another craze. Another reason for the big companies to get cash. Heck, the ticket is worth about 80-90% more than analog 2D.
     
  20. jpberger

    jpberger Member

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    Ultimately won't 4k+ cameras/projectors which are due in the next couple years do a lot more damage than 3D? With that much resolution I would imagine the technical/aesthetic advantages of film would not be very compelling to most producers
     
  21. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    It would be marvelous to get that into quality feature films. Let the action and fantasy films have their 3D and let people discover and demand the higher quality in films where 3D adds nothing but distraction. Maybe it will diffuse back the other direction.
    I think the Wow factor will wear off in time, and the question will be if people are willing to pay more for it. I just hope that film projection can persist until then.

    One of my biggest complaints regarding moviemaking is about blurring during pans. Maybe the higher frame rate would alleviate that?
     
  22. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Lx;

    They are using the high speed projection at some of the new "rides" at theme parks such as the "Back to the Future" ride.

    JP;

    Yes, perhaps, but this is here! Now!

    PE
     
  23. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    This is a bit Chicken Little-ish. How many 3-D movies are in wide release? How many are showing in your area as a % of local screens? Same goes for "digital" projection. Know how major films are shot? Hmmm, what's in those big double hump magazines attached to cine cameras I see on locations? Just asking...
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2010
  24. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    What's happening is that digital projector manufacturers are coupling with studios to try to drive theaters toward digital and they will propagate any bullshit story they can dream of to do it.

    They tried to say that digital projection will prevent piracy until full quality digital copies of new release movies showed up on the internet one day BEFORE they were supposed to be released in theaters.

    They tried to use the "digital quality" argument until the light engines in projectors started breaking down.

    Then they tried to push "new and improved" picture quality by upgrading from 2K resolution to 4K resolution. (2,000 lines versus 4,000 lines.) At one time they were saying that 2,000 lines was good enough until they started pushing 4,000. Then, all the theaters that bought into the 2K projectors had to buy new ones to get the 4K.

    Now they are pushing gimmicky kid's movies in 3-D just to promote digital movie technology. Mind you it costs another $10,000 or $20,000 to upgrade a 2-D projector to a 3-D projector.

    Studios and manufacturers are soaking theaters for hundreds of thousands of dollars PER PROJECTOR to upgrade to digital. They are subsidizing the purchases to drive theaters to buying digital then they are leaving them high and dry when these upgrades come along.

    They demand even more restrictive and expensive rental terms from theaters for the "privilege" of having digital projection. They are demanding that theaters "upcharge" customers for the privilege of watching in digital and in digital 3-D.

    Yes, more and more theaters are switching to digital. That's not necessarily a bad thing but I don't think that there will be any significant effect on film projection for another 5 to 10 years. Even after that, it will surely be a slow, downhill ride for film but that will take years to occur.

    Studios still have too much money invested in producing movies on film. They will not be able to scrap film cameras and production equipment overnight. The logistics and infrastructure of producing movies on film is already in place and has been bought and paid for. Do you think they are going to scrap tens of millions of dollars worth of equipment just to buy hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment overnight?

    Do you think that theaters are going to scrap $50,000 movie projectors to install digital projectors that cost $250,000?

    Yes, you will see more and more digital movie theaters in the future but, at least for the time being, you will see one or two theaters in your average 10-plex converted to digital while the rest of the auditoriums are film.

    IIRC, as of right now, I believe 80% of the movie theaters in the USA and 85%-90% of the theaters worldwide are still using film. That is not going to change overnight, regardless of whether they are pushing 3-D movies or not.

    Like I said, most people in the theater business still think digital 3-D is a fad that is going to taper off fairly soon. Many think that is already happening.
    Most 3-D movies are cheaply made movies for young kids. Parents are not going to want to pay an extra $2-$5 per head for the upcharge to 3-D just to keep their kids from whining in this economy.

    Things will surely go digital but not as quickly as people think.
     
  25. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    But I bet the film consumption for making prints for distribution to theatres is a whole lot higher than the film consumption for shooting the original footage.

    I've done a little bit of work with digital cinema, though I'm not very plugged into it now. IMHO, it's clear that *distribution* will eventually go all- or nearly-all-digital eventually, for purely economic reasons, and the current 3D craze is giving that migration a significant bump just now. However, it seems like many people in what L.A. calls "The Industry" prefer to *shoot* on film and convert to digital, and the studios still use film as their archival format. As long as those two things are true, the demand for cine film won't go to *zero*---but losing the demand for film prints could put a serious dent in it, with attendant problems for Kodak and Fuji.

    -NT
     
  26. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    It occurs to me that maybe digital projection will eventually go away in favor of what would essentially be a very large TV screen.