Friday, 22 April 2016

Digital Dustribution

Why does Steve McQueen think digital is replacing film?
“All this technology, it’s changing every five minutes,” he says, “because someone’s making some money out of it.”

Which studio was first to announce that it would no longer make films using 'film'?
Paramount Pictures

What was the last 'film' to be shipped on 'film'?
Anchorman 2: the Legend Continues

What proportion of US cinemas have made the switch from 35mm to digital?
Nine out of ten US movie screens have now made the switch from 35mm film to digital.

What was the first 'major' film to be distributed in digital format only?
The Wolf of Wall Street 

What is the average cost of a digital projector?
Typically cost between $60,000 and $150,000 each.

Why has the switch to digital meant that small independent cinemas have struggled?
Independent film-makers still need rich patrons and the number of films made by Hollywood has fallen considerably

Which major Hollywood director has attempted to make a stand for digital film?
Christopher Horak

How much did the US box office make in 2014
A record $11bn

How much did the home entertainment market (DVD, BluRay, Download etc) in 2014?
Revenues of $18bn

What was the increase in home entertainment revenue due to?
50 per cent surge in downloads of digital HD formats, which surpassed $1bn for the first time.

What was the first film to be shot entirely on digital?
In 2002,Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones became the first major movie to be shot entirely on digital video

What would have been the cost of shooting that film on digital?
If they had used the same amount of film, it would have cost them $1.8m.

How much does it cost to produce and ship a film to a US cinema?
To produce and ship a 35mm print to an American cinema costs about $1,500. Multiply that by, say, 5,000 prints for a big movie and it comes to $7.5m.
What is the distribution benefit of digital?
Digital distribution makes it feasible to launch a movie simultaneously on tens of thousands of screens across the planet

What happened to 'film' prints of Titanic?
Titanic reportedly played for so long in theatres that some prints fell apart in the projectors.

What has happened to the number of films made by Hollywood between 2006-2013?
The number of films made by Hollywood has fallen considerably – by 40 per cent between 2006 and 2013, according to one count.

Why, according to Jan-Christoph Horak, is digital NOT immortal?
“The problem, in a nutshell, is that there is no such thing as a digital preservation medium,” he explains. “There is no physical carrier on which you can put digital information that will last anywhere near as long as the analogue alternative.”

Why is advancing technology also a problem for digital storage?
When it comes to digital, archivists are faced with two problems. The first is the perishability of the physical equipment. The second is that every 18 months or so, a new file format comes along to displace its predecessors and, as a result of this constant upgrade cycle, archivists face a kind of Sisyphean dilemma.

How much, according to Jan-Christoph Horak, could transfering one form of digital to another cost the film industry?
Each leap in format costs between $10,000 and $20,000 per film, he says. He has roughly 350,000 films and television shows in his archive – a potential outlay of $3.5bn just for one leap between file types.

How much did the camera used on The Avengers cost?
Canon EOS 7D – an SLR camera that will fit in the palm of your hand and costs £900 to buy.

Apart from cost, what other benefits does digital offer to film makers?
Some argue that digital cameras can breed indiscipline on a film set.

How much has technicolour invested in digital post production?
The company has invested more than $200m in digital post-production and visual effects facilities

What is a DCP?
All of that has been replaced, for the time being at least, by something called DCP, or Digital Cinema Package. It involves a hard drive, roughly the size of a paperback, which is couriered to the theatre, where it is unpacked from its protective foam-lined case and slotted into a server that feeds a digital projector. For multiplexes showing new movies, the road map to DCP has been straightforward: the studios have been prepared to subsidise the switch, because it cuts their cost base so much.

What is the Electric Dusk drive-in?
The Electric Dusk drive-in in downtown Los Angeles has hit upon a solution of sorts: it shows films on DVD. It’s a kind of guerrilla operation – a pop-up drive-in in an abandoned marketplace, flanked by scenes of urban decay and boasting a giant inflatable screen. It opens for business once a fortnight or so. It specialises in 1980s and 1990s nostalgia; the night we visit, Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands (1990) is showing. It’s a rare chance to experience an American rite that is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

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