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Theatrical Hi-Def

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  • jess_l_amortell
    It was kind of horrifying passing Manhattan s Symphony Space/Leonard Nimoy Thalia complex and seeing the poster: Essential Art House ... 12 masterpieces from
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 19, 2009
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      It was kind of horrifying passing Manhattan's Symphony Space/Leonard Nimoy Thalia complex and seeing the poster: "Essential Art House ... 12 masterpieces from The Janus Collection on the big screen for the first time in High Definition!" (http://www.symphonyspace.org/series/142)
      Is this supposed to be some kind of draw? It's as if all memory of 35mm film had vanished from the Upper West Side, a neighborhood where so many cinemas, not just the Thalia, once flourished.

      But what do I know? Gavin Smith has announced in Film Comment(May/June) that "The King Canute opposition to digital projectors and cameras came and went once hi-def more or less [sic] matched the image resolution of 35mm film." I gather that HD projection is fine when it comes to movies shot in HD (or intended for HD), but Janus's masterpieces are another story, or are they?

      There's probably no imminent danger of my showing up for a double feature of "Black Orpheus" and "La Strada" in any form (although I see that the packager, Emerging Pictures, is also distributing "Hi-Def Hitch," a Hitchcock series that has already played LA and elsewhere), so I searched for enlightenment and found it in the New York Post, where Lou Limenick has written:


      ''SYMPHONY Space is presenting a classic film series with a new twist -- instead of being projected on 35mm film, the movies are being presented in a high-definition digital video format.

      The series, which kicks off Sunday with Federico Fellini's "La Strada" and Victor Erice's "Spirit of the Beehive," is being billed as the first major digital retrospective series in New York.
      . . .
      Rather than the traditional 35mm prints being shipped to the Upper West Side venue, the films will be delivered via the same dedicated high-speed Internet line used for high-definition theater and opera presentations.

      "Getting a decent 35mm print has been a difficult thing for a long time," says Ira Deutchman of Emerging Pictures, which is distributing the series for Janus Films. "When people see these pictures on a big screen I think they're going to be surprised how good it looks."''
      http://www.nypost.com/seven/07172009/entertainment/movies/film_print_gives_way_to_digital_glint_179653.htm


      There's more of interest, relating to such factors as the cost of shipping 35mm prints, with comments by Bruce Goldstein and David Schwartz, at
      http://blogs.nypost.com/movies/archives/2009/07/is_digital_the.html


      Actually, last week I saw Lean's "Summertime," one of the films in the Essential Art House lineup, at IFC Film Center, and found myself wondering if that copy, with its brilliant detail and lush, dense grain, could be anything other than the 35mm print my senses seemed to recognize -- and which the theater fortunately confirmed...
    • peterhenne
      Here s the thing... You cannot store chemical prints in pristine condition forever. I agree with you, there can be a special density to 35mm that digital
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 19, 2009
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        Here's the thing... You cannot store chemical prints in pristine condition forever. I agree with you, there can be a special density to 35mm that digital somehow flattens, but that print option was only temporary regardless of the market factors. I'm hoping "Summertime" will be available looking as lush and dense as it can be 500 years from now, and I'm guessing that digital promises better storage over the centuries than preserving camera negatives and archival prints. Film is an allographic medium anyway, meaning the works are distributed in equivalent copies and not an autographic medium in which works are unique pieces like (practically all) paintings. Thus the best candidate for saving film history appears to be digital storage. Now whether digital has already slayed filmmaking practice (distinct from its heritage) is a whole other question...

        Peter Henne


        >
        > Actually, last week I saw Lean's "Summertime," one of the films in the Essential Art House lineup, at IFC Film Center, and found myself wondering if that copy, with its brilliant detail and lush, dense grain, could be anything other than the 35mm print my senses seemed to recognize -- and which the theater fortunately confirmed...
        >
      • Joseph Kaufman
        ... Peter, digital storage of motion picture material is a huge can of worms. It can be tremendously expensive and require copying over every couple of years
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 20, 2009
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          >I'm hoping "Summertime" will be available looking as lush and dense
          >as it can be 500 years from now, and I'm guessing that digital
          >promises better storage over the centuries than preserving camera
          >negatives and archival prints .... Thus the best candidate for
          >saving film history appears to be digital storage.

          Peter, digital storage of motion picture material is a huge can of
          worms. It can be tremendously expensive and require copying over
          every couple of years to help ensure data integrity. If you want to
          go into this subject further, I can e-mail you off-list a pdf file
          called THE DIGITAL DILEMMA: STRATEGIC ISSUES IN ARCHIVING AND
          ACCESSING DIGITAL MOTION PICTURE MATERIALS, put out by the Science
          and Technology Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
          Sciences. It runs 84 pages and goes into quite some detail on the
          problems of digital storage and current practice both inside and
          outside the movie industry.
        • peterhenne
          Thank you very much, Joe. I will contact you shortly about that pdf file. At the moment, I d like to leave open a question about archiving: if chemical prints
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 20, 2009
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            Thank you very much, Joe. I will contact you shortly about that pdf file. At the moment, I'd like to leave open a question about archiving: if chemical prints are subject to what amounts to a photocopy reductio, what is going to preserve films in the very long term?

            Peter

            --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Joseph Kaufman <joka@...> wrote:
            >
            > >I'm hoping "Summertime" will be available looking as lush and dense
            > >as it can be 500 years from now, and I'm guessing that digital
            > >promises better storage over the centuries than preserving camera
            > >negatives and archival prints .... Thus the best candidate for
            > >saving film history appears to be digital storage.
            >
            > Peter, digital storage of motion picture material is a huge can of
            > worms. It can be tremendously expensive and require copying over
            > every couple of years to help ensure data integrity. If you want to
            > go into this subject further, I can e-mail you off-list a pdf file
            > called THE DIGITAL DILEMMA: STRATEGIC ISSUES IN ARCHIVING AND
            > ACCESSING DIGITAL MOTION PICTURE MATERIALS, put out by the Science
            > and Technology Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
            > Sciences. It runs 84 pages and goes into quite some detail on the
            > problems of digital storage and current practice both inside and
            > outside the movie industry.
            >
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