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    The theatrical film medium Essay

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    This means more unnecessary costs, wasted time and a further degradation of the image. As soon as digital footage is shot, filmmakers can begin to edit it. A crew can also review the footage after every shot in order to perfect it on the spot. DISTRIBUTION Although there are numerous production benefits to digital cinema, it is the distribution of films that will be most positively impacted, particularly from a business perspective. The cost of sending films out to theatres is fixed based on the cost of creating the film prints themselves.

    ‘Depending on the size of the order and the length of the feature, this cost can range from $1200 – $2200 per print per theatre, in addition to the cost of shipping the film across the country. ‘4 Once a film finishes its run, further expense must be spent shipping heavy film reels back to their producers. Unlike computer-generated images any changes to a film print are permanent and a new print must be struck to accommodate further refinements. ‘By the time a final InterNegative (IN) from which release prints will be struck is created, it is typical for upwards of six intermediate prints to have been made.

    ‘5 Security is also an impending issue of celluloid film as it is virtually non-existent in the distribution process. Once a film has left the hands of its producers they can only hope that it reaches its appropriate destination uncorrupted and undamaged. Of course digitally, these risks are eliminated. Digital cinema will herald a renewed quality of image. Where film becomes progressively scratched and dirty with every screening, digital tape has a prolonged life and will screen the same, high-quality image consistently over time.

    Advantages in the flexibility of programming and scope of cinema advertising can also be counted. Because distribution costs are so high, production companies have to be extremely cautious about where they play their movies. If you take the physical film out of the equation however, things get a lot cheaper and as a result this risk is minimised. ‘It doesn’t cost the production company much more to show the movie in 100 theatres than in one theatre which means companies could easily open movies in theatres all over the world on the same day’6, its just a matter of downloading the file.

    What needs to considered however is the impending reception of theatregoers to this new, mostly foreign concept. “Technologies for digital cinema are here; the benefits are real; industry champions are championing; field demonstrations are in progress; business models are being developed; equipment manufacturers are gearing up. ” But is digital cinema ready for commercialization? 7 The advantages to producers and distributors are obvious, and audiences will be viewing opening night quality prints on every occasion.

    But it will mean they pay more to cover costs for a digital projector, where distributors pay less for duplication and delivery. And how about those who prefer that unique richness and visual texture of a 35mm print. Surely film traditionalist will be more than hesitant to welcome this new technology? The worldwide introduction of digital cinema as a replacement to celluloid film cinema is arguably ‘the most astonishing innovation in the film industry since the introduction of sound in films in 1926.

    ‘8 Its numerous production benefits and lowering of distribution costs will make it a highly attractive venture to many production companies. Optimum viewing quality at every screening will appeal to most theatregoers however it is traditionalists, film buffs who may object. The rise in film admission costs could also be an issue, however audiences may be happy to pay for a consistent high quality viewing experience.

    1 Microsoft Corporation “Windows Media 9 Series for Digital Cinema Applications” Windows Media 9 Series. 2002 http://www.. microsoft. com/windows/windowsmedia/mediaent/whitepapers/dcinemaapp.aspx#Top#Top September 4 2003 2 Quallcomm Incorporated “What Is Digital Cinema” Quallcomm 2001http://www. qualcomm. com/digitalcinema/contact. html September 4 2003 3 Harris, Tom “How Digital Cinema Works”.

    How Stuff Works. http://www. howstuffworks. com/digital-cinema. htm SEPTEMBER 4 2003 4loc. cit Microsoft Corporation 5 loc. cit Microsoft Corporation 6 loc. cit Harris, Tom 7 The International Society for Optical Engineering, “Move over film digital has arrived” OE Magazine http://oemagazine. com/newscast/012401_showdaily01. html September 5 2003 8 loc. cit Microsoft Corporation.

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