Join 3,559 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


RIP Movies on celluloid 1895-2014
January 19, 2014 10:45 PM   Subscribe

Paramount has ceased releasing films on 35mm film and will go forward distributing movies exclusively in digital formats. The LA Times' sources said that Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues was the last Paramount movie with a celluloid release, and Wolf of Wall Street was the first major motion picture to be distributed entirely digitally.
posted by Omon Ra (95 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm gonna pour out a 40 Ouncer of Coke, and light up some old film stock in memorium.
posted by happyroach at 10:49 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:56 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


An interesting choice for the final one on film. I look forward to odd non sequitur clips from that movie in future film retrospectives.
posted by davejay at 10:57 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


Mistake. Mistake. Mistake.

Boooooo.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 11:08 PM on January 19


Wow. Not to harsh on Anchorman 2, but what a way to go out...
posted by mazola at 11:09 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


Note: that was to COMPLETELY harsh on Anchorman 2!
posted by mazola at 11:10 PM on January 19 [7 favorites]


Wolf of Wall St was also CGI-intensive
posted by Bwithh at 11:14 PM on January 19 [6 favorites]


Kind of a bummer, but movies *shot* on film look wonderful, even when they end up screened as a Digital Cinema Package. What really sucks is even big-budget films mostly shooting on digital.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:15 PM on January 19 [4 favorites]


I don't see why if not now, then soon, digital will be superior to film in every way.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 11:23 PM on January 19 [3 favorites]


I don't see why if not now, then soon, digital will be superior to film in every way.

Dude. Get off my lawn.
posted by Pudhoho at 11:27 PM on January 19 [6 favorites]


Kind of a bummer, but movies *shot* on film look wonderful, even when they end up screened as a Digital Cinema Package.

Even that wouldn't be too bad if the sensors used for digital cameras weren't so terrible so recently. It was not so long ago that everything was being shot on 5k sensors and put out at shockingly low resolutions by the projectors. It's unsurprising it looked like crap compared to film.
posted by jaduncan at 11:29 PM on January 19


Still over 100 years of movies on celluloid, hardly resting in peace at the moment.
posted by altersego at 11:35 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


What the procedure for making archival copies so people a thousand years from now will be able to watch Leonardo DiCaprio snort Matthew McConaughey off Jonah Hill's prosthetic teeth? (I haven't actually seen the movie.)
posted by pracowity at 11:37 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


Bittorrent. Duh.
posted by Talez at 12:17 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


Obviously this has been coming for some time, and the full conversion of the industry is inevitable, but it's still sad. The aesthetic debate aside, we can say goodbye to many of the (few remaining) independent first-run theaters out there, especially those in small towns, where even per-print distributor subsidies don't make it economically feasible to purchase a $100k+ digital projection system with questionable longevity.
posted by dersins at 12:18 AM on January 20 [5 favorites]


A lot of them have been running Kickstarter campaigns to purchase new digital equipment. I suppose in a lot of those cases it comes down to how much the community loves their theaters.
posted by Talez at 12:20 AM on January 20


Well, it comes down to how much the community can afford to love their theaters, which is not the same thing at all.
posted by dersins at 12:30 AM on January 20 [9 favorites]


.
posted by brundlefly at 1:15 AM on January 20


I'll still be going to the screenings that theaters here have of 35mm copies of classic movies.
posted by gucci mane at 1:30 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


Cut. That's a wrap.
posted by fairmettle at 2:34 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


Talez: “A lot of them have been running Kickstarter campaigns to purchase new digital equipment. I suppose in a lot of those cases it comes down to how much the community loves their theaters.”
dersins: “Well, it comes down to how much the community can afford to love their theaters, which is not the same thing at all.”
The Los Angeles Times article referenced in the link in the post says,
The march to digital puts further pressure on some small-town community theaters that have been struggling to finance the purchase of $70,000 digital projectors.

Those theaters are at risk of going out of business if they can no longer obtain film prints of movies. More than 1,000 theaters, about half of them independently owned, have not converted to digital. Some are turning to their communities to raise funds for digital equipment.
So, to put a digital projector in 1,000 theaters would run $70,000,000. That is less than the cost of an Adam Sandler turd. That's around twice what the studio wanted to spend on Anchorman 2 to pick a Paramount picture.

You don't have to give it away. Just provide it on very generous terms so in the end it isn't a $70M write-off. I realize the studios don't want to get into the equipment game directly. So spin off an entity to do the equipment then.

Imagine a press release reading, "We want everyone to be able to continue to enjoy the quality entertainment of Paramount Pictures like Transformers: Age of Extinction and Paranormal Activity 5, so we have decided to work with the National Association of Theater Owners to make sure every theater has at least one digital projector this summer." These new digital projectors would come along with a required in-theater marketing message, of course. The people at Fox, Sony, Universal, etc. would be green with envy.

I don't have to like the switch to digital, but there's no getting around the fact that it's all over but the shouting. This seems like an opportunity for some well-heeled studio to look like a hero.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:01 AM on January 20 [11 favorites]


Still over 100 years of movies on celluloid, hardly resting in peace at the moment.

Then there's the archiving problem. Celluloid has been basically unchanged as a format for 100 years, and 100 year old celluloid still works. Digital formats change every few years, and digital storage mediums don't last long - certainly not for 100 years.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:10 AM on January 20 [7 favorites]


ob1quixote, you link to an article about virtual print fees, so, as you know, the studios are already subsidizing the costs of converting over to digital. They are doing it through 3rd parties so that it is not one studio subsidizing a theatre, but all distributors, who all jointly pay to subsidize. The full cost of a projector is not borne by the exhibitor alone, but shared between distributors and exhibitors.

Where this is a problem is with art house theatres who want to show old movies. This has already been an issue for a couple of years. If a theatre wants to show back catalog stuff, if it's been digitally scanned, it may only exist as a Blu-Ray, rather than a DCP, or, if it's more obscure, it may never have been scanned, and that one copy of a film print that's in the vault is no longer going out, because the distributors have stopped releasing film.
posted by MythMaker at 3:14 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


First of all, as someone who's lugged 35mm prints around way too many times, good riddance.

Secondly, 35mm prints can, in ideal conditions, look quite a bit better than digital projection. For instance, if you live in the LA area and can afford to go to Arclight to see movies, the 35mm prints I've seen there have always been flawless. On the other hand, so have the digital projections I've seen there.

But if you live somewhere that's not ground zero of the world movie industry, prints can suck. Big Hollywood movies that open everywhere on the same date (a mounting trend lately) have their prints created in huge volumes, and in many countries, from a several-generations old internegative, in high-speed machines, with little regard for quality. I can safely say I've seen many huge Hollywood blockbusters here in Mexico on 35mm in deplorable quality.

Smaller films, on the other hand, we used to get after the prints have made the rounds, and are scratchy, dirty, and generally mistreated (and we had to wait a year or two). So that sucked too.

I can safely say that the average digital projection in Mexico City, even considering the silver screens they install for 3D and their hotspot problems, is better than the average 35mm projection used to be. And it's getting better all the time.

Lastly, good 4k projection looks quite a bit better than any 35mm print, for instance, I'm told the recently restored Lawrence of Arabia in 4k was spectacular, up to the quality of 65mm prints.

And, happily, projectors are coming down in price. The Christie Solaria One costs right under 30k dollars, and there are others that are as cheap as 25k dollars. The Solaria also comes with an integrated media block and a lens, so all you need to add is some storage (I understand it'll do eSATA), and your theater is digital. It's just 2k, but it works for fairly large screens, and looks like an excellent option for smaller theaters. I expect the price for baseline DCI projectors to continue to drop over the next few years.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:17 AM on January 20 [16 favorites]


His thoughts were red thoughts: "Celluloid has been basically unchanged as a format for 100 years, and 100 year old celluloid still works."

As someone who part owns a very productive archive scanning and restoration business, I can tell you that most 100 year old celluloid most certainly does not "still work" without large-scale restoration. And that's if you can keep it from basically exploding, which degraded nitrate film is wont to do. Things got a lot better with the introduction of safety film in the 30s and 40s, but I've had film from the mid-50s that's so badly degraded it's basically unusable.

LTO-6 tapes cost less than 100 dollars, and can hold a couple of films scanned in uncompressed 2k, 5-6 films in lightly compressed 2k or HD, or half a film in uncompressed 4k. They have a shelf life of at least 20 years, at which point you'll have storage technologies with probably a thousand times that capacity for equivalent cost, and you can just back up 1000 of those LTO-6 tapes onto an LTO-16 or whatever. They don't require a strictly climate controlled vault, they weigh 200 grams each, as opposed to 40 kilograms for 20k feet total of image and sound negative, and the space they take up is probably around 1% of that of the film reels. I know which one I'd pick.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:26 AM on January 20 [30 favorites]


Dude. Get off my lawn.

Technically, it's just your sound stage. They are adding the lawn in postproduction.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:06 AM on January 20 [21 favorites]


The DRM aspect of this is pretty disturbing. Even if digital formats resulted in a technically indistinguishable product to the consumer, they're not at all the same as a physical thing that can be owned, exchanged and read without the implicit approval of the content "owner".

I don't know specifically how digital content is distributed and locked down, but if it isn't already it's only a matter of time before we have strongly-encrypted and thus useless archives.
posted by odinsdream at 5:00 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


They are adding the lawn in postproduction.

I can't help it, but when I'm watching a movie these days, I spend way too much time time thinking about what's "real" and what's been composited in (turns out it's "almost nothing" and "just about everything").
posted by uncleozzy at 5:03 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


On the good side, that means that the bad films of today won't be around to stink up FutureTCM because they will have all gone bye-bye along with the machinery needed to replay whatever temporarily fashionable and supposedly "archival" digital storage medium they come up with.
posted by sonascope at 5:03 AM on January 20


The aesthetic debate aside, we can say goodbye to many of the (few remaining) independent first-run theaters out there, especially those in small towns, where even per-print distributor subsidies don't make it economically feasible to purchase a $100k+ digital projection system with questionable longevity.

This was true 5 years ago, but equipment has come down dramatically in price, and 2k equipment is starting to appear on the second-hand market.

A decent 35mm projector with soundhead, not including light source, sound system, pedestal, lenses or film delivery (platter or reel system), is $1600 for a 20 year old model.

By the time you add in everything you need to run a print, not the least of which is a room with dedicated electrical system, you're running into the cost of a decent 4K projector setup. This time next year, 8k setups will be in reach of small art-house cinemas... and to be honest, 16k is likely end of the line for projector development for everyone not showing IMAX. At that point, prices for projection equipment will drop like a stone.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:15 AM on January 20


Then there's the archiving problem. Celluloid has been basically unchanged as a format for 100 years, and 100 year old celluloid still works. Digital formats change every few years, and digital storage mediums don't last long - certainly not for 100 years.

Except when the film burns, or rots out, or is deliberately destroyed to recover silver, or hell, to recover space in the vaults.

See, with physical media, you have to save the original, because that's the only one there is. You also have to care about saving it. We didn't lose the original SSTV recording of the Apollo 11 moonwalk because of media loss or inability to read the file formats. We lost them because someone at NASA said "we have a copy of that, reuse the tape", not understanding that it was an analog copy of considerably worse quality. It was technology that lost that data, it was lack of archiving.

With digital media? You have to *care* about saving it, but saving it is trivial, and unlike celluloid, a copy is exactly the same as the original.

You want to archive digital media? Yes, you cannot throw it into a vault and ignore it. Then again, we've lost millions of feet of celluloid by throwing it into an archive and ignoring it. If you actively copy it every couple of years onto a newer medium, those bits can last 100+ years.

Just like every archive in the world -- step one is *caring about archiving it*. After that, it's just methods. But if you don't care, it won't get saved.

See Dr. Who, early years.
posted by eriko at 5:18 AM on January 20 [12 favorites]


Things got a lot better with the introduction of safety film in the 30s and 40s, but I've had film from the mid-50s that's so badly degraded it's basically unusable.

And you've got vinegar syndrome on acetate based safety films. While this beat the hell out of the random things that nitrate stocks did, it's in no way archival, unless you can keep it very cold and dry.

Modern polyester bases seem to far better, but we're still unsure about what surprises may wait us in the future. So far, the only real stable film stock/process I know of is cibachrome/ilfachrome on polyester -- those, in dark storage, may be good for 300 years. Of course, under light, they don't last nearly that long.
posted by eriko at 5:24 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


First they all started shooting in color and now this. When will the madness end??
posted by rocket88 at 5:31 AM on January 20


I saw 12 Years a Slave the other night, digital projection. It was amazing, better and clearer than any 35 print I've seen. And no cigarette burns!
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:37 AM on January 20


they will have all gone bye-bye along with the machinery needed to replay whatever temporarily fashionable and supposedly "archival" digital storage medium they come up with.

I completely take your point, but as others upthread have pointed out in extensive detail, the history of film is littered with abandoned formats. And as archival media go, well, film is bloody awful. The amount of film that's already been lost is terrible, but the amount that's mouldering away right now with horribly inadequate support to restore it completely dwarfs the quantity that's already unrecoverable.
posted by Wolof at 5:44 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


I do worry about archiving in digital. File formats change (and with that, equipment to read the older formats.) Also, there's the heavy encryption and DRM studios use, sometimes focused down to an exact showing time, type of machine being used, number of previous showings, etc. Unless studios start archiving unencrypted, non-DRM copies of their files, along with preserving the exact hardware necessary to read the drives they're stored on, we could find ourselves staring at mountains of movie drives and no way to view them.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:44 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


I can't help it, but when I'm watching a movie these days, I spend way too much time time thinking about what's "real" and what's been composited in...

Dude. Dude? The Matrix? The fucking MATRIX, man? Dude, like, don't even bother, dude. That computer you're typing on isn't even real. Matrix, dude.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:45 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


Is this thing on?
posted by Wolof at 5:55 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


the history of film is littered with abandoned formats.

True, but you know what's required to read a film? A magnifying glass.

What's needed to read a digital file? A hugely complicated, multilayered system depending on a massive infrastructure to build the hardware used, created in a proprietary corporate environment and requiring DRM keys and other things that go away the second something happens to that corporation that created the proprietary system. If we had a unified open standard, enforced by a nonproprietary, nonprofit organization, and the cultural interest in genuinely preserving media, we could do it, but instead, we've got the MPAA, forty years of vandalizing copyright, and vested interests who will wrap all this up into a giant knotted ball of silliness.

Genuinely archival media is important, and there's none yet in digital, beyond printing code on paper or polyester film, but the will to collectively archive these things is even more important, and we're nowhere near there yet, and won't be as long as the salesmen run the game.
posted by sonascope at 5:57 AM on January 20 [5 favorites]


FYI: The new splicing a single frame of porn into the film is now CGIing everybody's nose into a penis.
posted by Nanukthedog at 5:57 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


they will have all gone bye-bye along with the machinery needed to replay whatever temporarily fashionable and supposedly "archival" digital storage medium they come up with.

It's called an optical disk, and archival blue-ray media at a data density of 25gb is rated shelf-stable for 200 years, with some companies going so far to replacement-guarantee their products for that lifespan (now there's some optimism about corporate longevity for you).
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:09 AM on January 20


True, but you know what's required to read a film? A magnifying glass.

Again, your point is solid, but if the stock is degraded — and much of the stuff from previous decades is, and terribly so — you will only be reading a garbage copy of the original. It's not like the thing is completely recoverable. It ain't. It's rotting in archives all over the joint.
posted by Wolof at 6:11 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


"Lost" digital formats are a programming problem. Lost film formats are a physics problem. Which is more tractable?
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:11 AM on January 20 [12 favorites]


sonascope: "What's needed to read a digital file? A hugely complicated, multilayered system depending on a massive infrastructure to build the hardware used, created in a proprietary corporate environment and requiring DRM keys and other things that go away the second something happens to that corporation that created the proprietary system."

This is incorrect. While the DCP standard has (optional) encryption, it's entirely open and standards-based, JPEG2000, MXF, and AES encryption, specifically. There's free software available to create DCPs.

But, more importantly, while most people will save a copy of the DCP, pretty much all distributors today require a couple of copies (usually one on hard drive and one on LTO tapes (they still often require LTO-3, bless their souls, but give them some time to catch up)), in a format called DCDM. A DCDM (Digital Cinema Distribution Master) is similar to a DCP, but is unencrypted and uncompressed. It's basically the image as 12-bit TIFF files in XYZ space, and the sound as 24 bit 48 or 96 kHz discrete channel wav files, plus some playlists, subtitles, and such, which are all simple XML files.

Put this on a reasonably long-lasting medium, like LTO tapes, copy it onto new media every 10-20 years, and you can be pretty sure people will be able to figure it out in a 100 years. It's not particularly complicated.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:16 AM on January 20 [14 favorites]


True, but you know what's required to read a film? A magnifying glass.

Feel like I'm being "that guy" here, but in addition to wolof's point of being able to see the image to begin with, there is also the issue of sound (where relevant).

A magnifying glass won't help you much there.
posted by jeremias at 6:21 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


It's called an optical disk, and archival blue-ray media at a data density of 25gb is rated shelf-stable for 200 years, with some companies going so far to replacement-guarantee their products for that lifespan (now there's some optimism about corporate longevity for you).

This reminds me of the great satisfaction I took when a former client, a large government agency, tracked me down in my post-archivist career in desperation when their fancy Wang Laboratories magneto-optical cartridge disk systems started failing. I had to bite my tongue to refrain from pointing out, in meeting after meeting back in the eighties, that I told everyone in the conference room that this solution had some very, very big flaws and that they really should use a hybrid microfilm+digital approach to get the longevity of film and the access of digital, but the salesmen from Wang talked over me and made the claims that snake oil salesmen always make.

"Most of this hardware is industry standard," they snorted, "and you have the bulletproof corporate backing of Wang covering the rest."

So there's a large government agency with stacks and stacks of completely intact magneto-optical WORM cartridges in a hardware format that's been gone for twenty years and data written in a software system that's been gone for twenty years, and it's all very nicely archival and completely worthless. Naturally, all the original paper was shredded. Had they listened to me, microfilmed the paper, thrown the film on the Sunrise scanner, and then gone to the ridiculous cart jukebox system, they'd have something, but no one listens.

This is, of course, why I bailed out of the field in which I'd worked for twenty years.

LTO tape is 15-20 years archival, and then depends on organizations having staffs of well-trained archivists with the background and detail awareness to make these ridiculous transfers (imagine if books had to be transcribed every twenty years just to keep a library) without losing data, and I can tell you that every contract with every contractor ever written in the field has included language to account for the fact that data gets lost in each one. You can point out checksums and other such means, but data gets lost. It's just such a weird notion, to say that maintaining an archive should be just a bucket brigade of migrating data. Maybe it'll work, but I don't have much faith in that.

It's mainly an academic interest for me at this point, because I got fed up with what being a data archivist became once archival media just went out the window, but I can say what I said to the government agency that called me—good luck.
posted by sonascope at 6:26 AM on January 20 [9 favorites]


Feel like I'm being "that guy" here, but in addition to wolof's point of being able to see the image to begin with, there is also the issue of sound (where relevant).

A magnifying glass won't help you much there.


Well, actually, the sound is encoded as optical information as well, so it holds. You just have to build a relatively simple bit of hardware to read it. Even films with digital audio still include a pair of analogue tracks that can be read visually.
posted by sonascope at 6:33 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


sonascope: "LTO tape is 15-20 years archival, and then depends on organizations having staffs of well-trained archivists with the background and detail awareness to make these ridiculous transfers (imagine if books had to be transcribed every twenty years just to keep a library) without losing data, and I can tell you that every contract with every contractor ever written in the field has included language to account for the fact that data gets lost in each one. You can point out checksums and other such means, but data gets lost. It's just such a weird notion, to say that maintaining an archive should be just a bucket brigade of migrating data. Maybe it'll work, but I don't have much faith in that."

Of course data will be lost. But with all due respect, we don't have anything near as good an analog archiving solution for motion pictures as we do for, say, text. Put some text on archival quality paper and store it well, it'll last for a very long time. Film degrades, no matter what you do. You can slow it down, but it won't stop. Modern material is better, so the last 10-20 years of film will probably last a good while, but that's not much help for the older stuff.

You can make copies, but unlike text, where the text is readable after many generations, film suffers quite a bit just from one generation. You can watch it, but the fine detail goes fast.

This is really an area where digital is the only way to go. Generation loss in film is so great that digital's perfect copies probably should trump everything else. A lot of the stuff we scan is deteriorating quickly enough that even though it scans decently today, in 5-10 years it'll probably be damaged beyond repair.

I'm not saying data won't get lost with digital, it's just that in the case of film, it'll get lost even more quickly and irreversibly with analog.

And, at the risk of sounding like a digital utopian, what size were those WORM disks from the 80s? Wikipedia suggests they were up to 2.6 GB (we actually used 2.6 GB MO disks in the film industry until recently, since it's the default mastering format for Dolby Digital sound for 35mm). So you could get 40-50 of those onto an LTO-1 tape, and almost 1000 of them onto an LTO-5 tape.

Retrieval of that sort of stuff often requires tracking down still working obsolete hardware, but it can be done. Of course, the trick is to notice when your stuff is going obsolete a few years before that, and take appropriate action.

If you want to call that a bucket brigade of migrating data, sure, it is, but it's probably our only option. Not for text, but for motion pictures. And it gets exponentially easier and quicker as storage media gets better. If you can afford to keep 2 copies today, you can afford to keep 50 copies in 10 years. In 20 years, it's probably all in some cloud storage, in hundreds of copies spread across the globe, at which point maintaining it perfectly becomes very simple.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:41 AM on January 20 [6 favorites]


This reminds me of the great satisfaction I took when a former client, a large government agency, tracked me down in my post-archivist career in desperation when their fancy Wang Laboratories magneto-optical cartridge disk systems started failing.

You are confusing a proprietary peripheral standard with a userbase of a few thousand with a consumer media standard with a penetration measured in billions of units. We will be able to read CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray with either off the shelf or small-scale manufactured readers a century from now.

And I hope to god you pointed them in Magenta's direction, and didn't actually tell them their data was locked into the old format.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:50 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


It strikes me as strangely appropriate that Anchorman 2 was Paramount's last celluloid film, because as a bright-eyed young projectionist, I once caught a copy of the original Anchorman on fire (there was a brain wrap, and nobody in the auditorium that showing). Fixing the film was a relatively simple matter, and we just had to cut out the three or so damaged frames and splice the film back together. My manager gave me the burnt out cells as a memorial. I'm sad I left that theatre before I learned how to work the digital equipment, but something tells me I would have just wreaked havoc on a much larger scale, somehow.
posted by mmmbacon at 6:54 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


I think one of the reasons I'm a skeptic about the methodologies of digital archiving is that it absolutely depends on an unbroken chain of staff that both know what they're doing and are trained to do it properly, and a consistent budget to support this staff. You just need one lousy manager or one little budget cut, unnoticed in the vast budgeting process of a studio or other organization, and you miss that transfer. Archivists are not in the forefront of upper middle management minds, even at places like film studios, where you'd think that would be essential. Without meticulous rigor, data is lost, and corporate environments are only meticulous when it comes to counting beans.

Film, on the other hand, will generally survive at the bottom of a coat closet, even if the conditions are not quite right, and when they degrade, it's a qualitative change that's different than how digital degrades, which is a lot more all-or-nothing, works-or-doesn't. Plenty of films have been recovered after some lost copy has been turned up in some tucked-away place. Heck, one of my own projects, recovering the data off microfilm from the Birkenau concentration camp, happened because people squirreled away film into whatever hidey-holes they could when the retreating Nazis were trying to erase all evidence of their work. Wasn't pretty film, and I had to build some special hardware to help with with the data capture, but the data was amazingly intact.

I'm not against digital, not by a long shot, but there's a really simple way to make sure your fancy film survives into the next century—make a few film prints and set them aside. If the unbroken chain of duplication works, you're fine, and if not, you're almost as fine.
posted by sonascope at 6:55 AM on January 20 [5 favorites]


This story about the effort to resurrect the Cray-1 software demonstrates the difficulty of digital preservation.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:05 AM on January 20 [4 favorites]


You are confusing a proprietary peripheral standard with a userbase of a few thousand with a consumer media standard with a penetration measured in billions of units. We will be able to read CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray with either off the shelf or small-scale manufactured readers a century from now.

It was worse than a proprietary peripheral standard—it was a proprietary peripheral standard, cobbled together from other proprietary peripheral standards, written with data compressed in a proprietary process that required data expansion with proprietary software after proprietary software and hardware was used to retrieve carts from their ridiculous cartridge jukebox that was, itself, modified by Wang to be proprietary, too. It was the kind of obscene system of concentrated stupidity that only a committee of middle management drones and salesmen could come up with, and I sat through hundreds of hours of the planning meetings desperately trying to point out that there were some big systemic problems, but everyone was just so dazzled by the plastic fantastic world of the magical digital future that would solve all problems that no one listened.

Yeah, I'm as still bitter about that and the other similar atrocities as I sound. It didn't have to happen.

As it happens, I did not point the government agency in the direction of Magenta—I gave them the contact information for the lead salesman who'd set up the whole thing. It disturbs me that we've essentially lost a hundred and fifty years of weather data from thousands and thousands of log sites, and that my tax money now has to go toward a project to recover data that should not have been baked into a fruitcake of bad ideas in the first place, but the industry lurched on without me and I'm neither smart enough nor energetic enough to fight the good fight, outside from being grumpy about it on metafilter.

I'm optimistic that emulation strategies are going to help out in the long run, and that getting away from media that requires constant attention or complicated systems that depend on the cultural consensus to keep them in production will work, too, but I just think we've rushed past the pace car, and data's going to be lost.
posted by sonascope at 7:13 AM on January 20 [5 favorites]


RobotVoodooPower: "This story about the effort to resurrect the Cray-1 software demonstrates the difficulty of digital preservation"

Actually, they just found a completely working copy of a version of the Cray OS on a disk pack. Most of their effort was making an emulator to run it on. The bits were fine.

It's also worth noting that while anecdotes from the 80s are certainly useful warnings to future generations, we've actually gotten a lot better at this stuff.

Computers are networked, things get shared and sent around a lot more, and we've basically moved to standardized data formats and standardized storage media to a huge extent. We've also decoupled data formats from storage media completely, so you can store the same files in the same format on a bunch of different media, without caring what media it is.

Back in the 80s and early 90s, we had a proliferation of proprietary file formats for text, graphics, and sound. Today, it's basically all standardized, falling back on a few formats, and most of those are backwards compatible and have been around for at least a couple of decades by now. There's always something new, but I have video software on my computer that can read weird codecs from the early 90s (Cinepak, anyone?), and basically the cost of being backwards compatible with all sorts of older formats has dropped to zero with the availability of free (often BSD licensed) libraries that do the heavy lifting for you.

So I think we're fundamentally in a much better place now than we were in the 80s.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:14 AM on January 20 [8 favorites]


Makes me really glad my local theatre did a kickstarter to upgrade their systems last year.
posted by atbash at 7:45 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


"I will say that I cannot imagine any condition which could cause a ship to founder. I cannot conceive of any vital disaster happening to this vessel. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that." - Captain E.J. Smith

THIS time, we've got it figured it.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:54 AM on January 20


entropicamericana: "THIS time, we've got it figured it."

I know you're exaggerating to make a point, but I think there's a pretty big difference between "nothing can go wrong" and "we've gotten quite a bit better at this over time".
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:55 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


Having built my own DCP to screen a trailer I edited together, I was very pleased by how absurdly straightforward the format is. Convert the individual frames to JPEG2000 stills, flip the colourspace, concatenate the list of numbered .jp2 files. Parts of this could be decoded on graph paper by high school students.

When JPEG2000 is the most exotic ingredient, I'm fairly confident that the Morlocks will be able to cobble together a method of watching 47 Ronin. Media persistence issues aside.

That being said: my local IMAX theatre getting its 15/70mm projector ripped out and replaced by a mediocre 2K boardroom Powerpoint screener was complete bullshit on the highest order.
posted by whittaker at 8:24 AM on January 20 [4 favorites]


His thoughts were red thoughts: "Then there's the archiving problem. Celluloid has been basically unchanged as a format for 100 years, and 100 year old celluloid still works. Digital formats change every few years, and digital storage mediums don't last long - certainly not for 100 years."

All this talk about the longevity of film stock has been ignoring the fact that reading your film archive degrades your archive. Everytime you take a print off your master the master is worse for wear. What use is a film archive if you can't actually watch the thing whenever you want. I can watch the digital images and films on my computer anytime I want without degrading the file and I can make multiple copies for off site storage for practically nothing (a terebyte of disk storage is less than $100).

If we'd get our heads out of asses on the subject of copyright we'd never have to worry about loosing a commercial film ever again unlike the thousands of analogue films that have been lost via accident or intentional destruction by the studios. Shifting data standards aren't a significant risk for the loss of commercial films; a studio exec to fracking cheap to build another storage vault is.

sonascope: "I think one of the reasons I'm a skeptic about the methodologies of digital archiving is that it absolutely depends on an unbroken chain of staff that both know what they're doing and are trained to do it properly, and a consistent budget to support this staff. You just need one lousy manager or one little budget cut, unnoticed in the vast budgeting process of a studio or other organization, and you miss that transfer. Archivists are not in the forefront of upper middle management minds, even at places like film studios, where you'd think that would be essential. Without meticulous rigor, data is lost, and corporate environments are only meticulous when it comes to counting beans."

This is a lot more of a problem for business and research data than commercial film. If studios released films to the public domain after the original copyright term expired (IE: 28 years) we'd probably never loose another commercial film again. Certainly the loss rate would be less than that we've experienced with physical film entrusted to the studios who haven't even managed to keep copies of all the Academy Award "Best Film" nominees available for future generations.
posted by Mitheral at 8:40 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


It's important to note that people are still shooting on film, it's just the distribution that's no longer being done on film.
posted by furtive at 9:27 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


furtive: "It's important to note that people are still shooting on film, it's just the distribution that's no longer being done on film"

Acquisition is changing over too, just not quite as fast. There are already far more films being shot on digital than 35mm, and that trend will continue, although there will always be holdouts, though in the future they'll primarily be the ones who can afford it, like Spielberg. Modern digital cameras are exceeding 35mm film both in resolution, and, more recently, dynamic range, but Kodak will continue to make some camera film, so the option will be there for at least a few more years.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:59 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


Actually, they just found a completely working copy of a version of the Cray OS on a disk pack. Most of their effort was making an emulator to run it on. The bits were fine.

This link describes the data extraction effort in more detail -- I think modifying a Makerbot to scan data off the platters and feed it through a FPGA constitutes significant effort :) Good luck even getting that far with a failed SSD 30 years from now.

Final-print movies are an easy case though. Consider all of the assets around video game production. I think only one game company (Blizzard) has a team dedicated to asset preservation. Most of this stuff disappears into the bit bucket, especially for online games. The same problems certainly must exist for movie production, as you just can't throw stuff in a box and put it in a warehouse.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:27 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


The production asshole in me thinks this is a great idea. Schlepping actual physical film around was a huge problem for film production, and not having to work with that makes it much cheaper and easier to make movies. I remember my first job, which was an international film that shot partially in New York and partially in Kolkata. The production actually had to hire someone to physically accompany the exposed film stock between the US and India. Which is completely absurd, when you think about it. Now we just have a bunch of hard drives which can be shipped easily via FedEx.

This is part of why you can basically make whatever you want, wherever you want, rather than being stranded in one of a few specific centers of film production. It also makes low budget film projects much cheaper and more ambitious -- sure I've blown a few hundred dollars on hard drives for my web series, but that's nothing compared to the price of film processing costs alone.

The cinephile in me, though, totally laments the era of actual literal celluloid.
posted by Sara C. at 10:29 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


Even if digital formats resulted in a technically indistinguishable product to the consumer, they're not at all the same as a physical thing that can be owned, exchanged and read without the implicit approval of the content "owner".

This was just as bad if not worse in the analog days. Yes, celluloid is celluloid, but 35mm film is highly proprietary. Not just anyone can own a print of a feature film. The entire distribution infrastructure that exists now was built on the idea of features being an expensive and physically voluminous actual object that needed to be physically created and then transported from one place to another. With pretty much all the power in the hands of the owners of said actual object.

This is part of why piracy scares the studios so much. Anyone can get anything anywhere, at any time, via file transfers.
posted by Sara C. at 10:38 AM on January 20


“Only wimps use tape backup. REAL men just upload their important stuff on ftp and let the rest of the world mirror it.”

Linus Torvalds
posted by mikelieman at 10:41 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


I spend way too much time time thinking about what's "real"

Nothing is "real".

Even if everything is done "inside the camera", chances are that lawn is astroturf on a sound stage.

Even if you're shooting on location, it's easy to do special lighting effects so that it looks like there's morning sunshine coming through the windows when the scene was shot at 3AM.

I have a shoot that is outdoors on location in a few weeks, and I went this weekend to scout out locations that will look like a remote hiking trail but which are actually located close enough to a parking lot that we don't have to haul equipment up the side of a mountain. On the day, we'll have the cast made up within an inch of their lives despite the fact that they'll be in grubby hiking clothes. I will be standing immediately off-screen choreographing a bunch of physical comedy gags the entire time.

Nothing is "real". That's the whole point.
posted by Sara C. at 10:51 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]


> the first major motion picture to be distributed entirely digitally

I'm reading this as the first major film made by Paramount to be distributed entirely digitally. Which doesn't seem as momentous as The first film ever.
posted by stbalbach at 10:55 AM on January 20


Dude. Get off my lawn.

Technically, it's just your sound stage. They are adding the lawn in postproduction.


From bluegrass to bluescreen.

Nothing is "real".

But it's nothing to get hung about.
 
posted by Herodios at 10:57 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


All media needs to be cared for to remain viable for future generations, or as the source of future profits. Star Wars itself didn't really have a viable master copy after years of long runs and rereleases in the movie theaters. What makes sense to me is recopying the masters to the latest and greatest media continually, and being resigned to not being able to save it all.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:02 AM on January 20


it absolutely depends on an unbroken chain of staff that both know what they're doing and are trained to do it properly, and a consistent budget to support this staff.

Within the studio system, I don't think this is much of a problem. The head archivist at NBC/Universal is in her 60's and has been there basically forever. She was trained by the previous archivist, who may have been the first archivist, or would have been trained by that person, depending on the ages of everyone involved. These are jobs that don't tend to disappear in mergers.
posted by Sara C. at 11:03 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


There was a film archive system that did a color separation and printed black and white to paper. As stable as books.
posted by sammyo at 11:16 AM on January 20


RobotVoodooPower: "
This link describes the data extraction effort in more detail -- I think modifying a Makerbot to scan data off the platters and feed it through a FPGA constitutes significant effort :) Good luck even getting that far with a failed SSD 30 years from now.
"

Fair enough, though he only had to do this because he didn't have a few thousand dollars to buy one that he could easily have gotten in pristine condition. So yes, significant effort if you don't have any money to spend.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:25 AM on January 20


Genuinely archival media is important, and there's none yet in digital

What about Spanner?
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 11:36 AM on January 20


happyroach: I'm gonna pour out a 40 Ouncer of Coke, and light up some old film stock in memorium.

For just 50 cents more, you can upgrade to the large size.
posted by emelenjr at 11:37 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


What about Spanner?

Good point. It's entirely possible that we'll never have a genuinely long lasting "medium" in the digital world—but databases that are transparently distributed across large numbers of media make that irrelevant. When you can spin up a cluster of new machines and plug it into the existing infrastructure, then have that cluster become a complete copy of the extant data, the "media" become a low level concern: you've effectively abstracted "archival" to the level of a concept rather than the infrastructure. You could have some of the replicas on tape, some on SSDs, some on platters, and some even in volatile storage, and it wouldn't matter.
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:42 AM on January 20


Distributed file systems typically have many copies of the data (say 3 by default). If one of the hard drives crashes, it is replaced, and in the meantime the system automatically replicates the data from one of the other drives to a live one. All of the drives in a typical cluster are just cheap consumer drives (rather than tape, SSD, etc.)
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 11:46 AM on January 20


I don't see why if not now, then soon, digital will be superior to film in every way.

Seriously. If you doubt this, then go to Netflix and watch the documentary Side by Side. Keanu Reeves (whatever you think of him as an actor) does a solid job narrating and interviewing directors from Cameron to Fincher to Lynch to Soderbergh on their experiences and views of the transition to digital filming. It's both quite technical enough to fascinate and accessible enough for the average film buff to understand. The consensus seems to be that we've reached the point, with current technology such as the RED cameras, that film has become a stylistic and fringe choice the way black and white film has been since the color era began. The flexibility and ease presented by digital technology is something attractive to almost all directors, and there are no longer any realistic constraints on what can be filmed in digital, and many new options that open up as a result (such as editing in-camera or on-site during other down-time).

Nothing is "real". That's the whole point.

As a film buff who sees many more movies per year than the average, I can confirm that at a certain point there is absolutely no movie in which you can't see the artficiality in some way. I long ago passed the point where one can immediately think "studio set", "practical set", "location", and I'm more at the level where I see the way a director "cheated" a scene to make something look larger or to get two different rooms out of the same real room and so on. I am, however, still impressed with the instant ability of a self-shooting/lighting director like Soderbergh (on his Chinatown commentary) to say how a particular scene was lit, indeed, with precisely what type of light. This goes far beyond CGI, which is now ubiquitous in even small movies with seemingly limited SFX needs, and just another tool in the box; it's about how you create the scene and atmosphere and setting that you need to tell the story. It's not just about being cheap, either, although that's a factor; there are often even in a "realistic" film things that just can't be recreated in a practical set sense. I just rewatched Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, for example, and large amounts of the MI-6/SIS complex in that film are digitally composited to give the impression of an enormous Whitehall facility built inside an ornate Edwardian edifice. The interior shopping courtyard in Budapest is also largely digital. But it really doesn't matter. The thing is, the human eye adapts to the available technology more than you'd think. Stop-motion animation and rear projection were enough for the viewers of King Kong (the one with Fay Wray); Jurassic Park viewers weren't satisfied and demanded Sensurround and the "realism" that then could only be achieved with comparatively-to-today primitive CGI. We went through years of believing wholeheartedly that matte paintings were glorious locations. But in the end, it's all fake, and you're better off relaxing and enjoying it.
posted by dhartung at 12:24 PM on January 20 [5 favorites]


The quality of a film has little to do with the medium of its release format. What we love and respect about film is not limited by the shortcomings of digital projection. What matters is story, concept, performance, creative choices, etc. etc. Shooting on film and projecting on film won’t improve a bad film in any significant way. Garbage in, garbage out. Digital capture and digital projection are good enough. They aren’t significant limitations. Not compared to the script, the director’s imagination, the studio’s meddling and the quality of the performances. Shooting and projecting on film produce a certain look and it is a good look but it is just one look out of many that are available and useful.
posted by conrad53 at 12:33 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


Digital has allowed for the creation of so many projects that the cost of film and film equipment would have prevented that I genuinely believe this is progress in a positive way.

Archiving, as mentioned already, is a matter of caring to preserve. Much like neglecting film and letting it rot, good archiving means copying and transcoding to whatever new codecs become popular (an original RAW can always be kept to accompany it, much like how many digital darkroom processes never touch the RAW and put all post-processing in a catalog).

As for the look of film, this can be worked on and achieved.

What I object to is when someone watches something like the Godfather on their TV with motion interpolation on as this can ruin the intent of the film maker. I also objected to pan and scan as this does the same thing; thankfully we've moved on to no longer needing that dreadful practice.
posted by linux at 1:25 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


One thing I do worry about, completely aside from the archivality of film vs. digital, is if this is going to kill the tiny little 86 year-old movie theater in Berkeley Springs, WV, which where I like to spend my Saturday evenings after a long cold day chopping firewood and working to keep my cabin from falling off the mountain.
posted by sonascope at 1:46 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


This would be a much sadder tale if the craft of film projection hadn't fallen into such a state of neglect. Maybe, eventually, digital projection will reach a stage where your local popcorn stand/movie house can't screw it up too badly.
posted by Flexagon at 3:01 PM on January 20 [3 favorites]


Not sure if anyone here noted it, but Paramount is still distributing films internationally on film; it's only in the US, where digital projectors are the most common, that they are discontinuing this method.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 3:14 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]


Jurassic Park viewers weren't satisfied and demanded Sensurround and the "realism" that then could only be achieved with comparatively-to-today primitive CGI.

Really? I feel like 90+% of JP holds up better than a lot of movies made even a few years later--more believable than many of the shots in the Matrix movies e.g.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:01 PM on January 20 [4 favorites]


Of course, Side by Side is being archived on film.

Though... that article I link to there represents the analog 'side' of the same tired argument that's been happening in this thread. In the Side by Side piece, Kodak crows about the archival superiority of photochemical film for PR purposes. In this thread, folks with a business interest in digitization are crowing about the archival superiority of digital scanning and infinite migration. The conversation often goes the same way on professional listservs. People are defensive and cranky and biased by their professional relationships to the various media in play, and the real work (and pleasure) of working with moving images - improving the technologies that enable their production, distribution, projection, and preservation - and even collaborating productively with colleagues - gets lost.

This recent blog post from AVPreserve is still a little too cranky for me, but he makes an important related point:
When the popular discourse comes down to arguments that are based on consumption, marketing, personal opinion on quality, and cultural shaming, and where failures of the “enemy” are cheered as heartily as one’s own successes, the importance of the work that needs to be done and the financial and organizational support allocated to it are minimized. The access formats become a stand in for the preservation formats, both making the preservation formats seem bad and making is seem that the access formats should just be used for preservation. Not only does one have to advocate for the importance of preservation and the archive, but it is also an uphill battle against the idea that all digital formats are as unstable as a CD.
And so does Tacita Dean in this 2011 Guardian piece that heralded her show at the Tate Modern that year:
Many of us are exhausted from grieving over the dismantling of analogue technologies. Digital is not better than analogue, but different. What we are asking for is co-existence: that analogue film might be allowed to remain an option for those who want it, and for the ascendency of one not to have to mean the extinguishing of the other.
(and there are other artists working in film who wish for the same.)

I wish for a future of co-existence too.

I show film from archives professionally, out of an interest in film prints as art objects - so I have my professional biases too. I have seen 100 year prints run through projectors safely — it's beautiful, I love to see it happen. I also have a reel of turned-to-dust 35mm nitrate sitting in the snow on my back porch right now; I don't have illusions about the eternal permanence of film (though I do love its idiosyncratic longevity). But I also saw my first Stan Brakhage film on YouTube, and I hope that the many archive-driven digitization projects continue blooming and that the work they distribute this way will reach many, many people. And I do think that it's perfectly appropriate for studios to distribute new films digitally and to phase out film as a mainstream format. But simultaneously, I hope that both archives and studios will work with exhibitors who can handle film material responsibly to continue making historical material publicly available in historical formats. The technological history of cinema is part of its cultural history. There's no reason we should have to wholly lose contact with the earlier parts of that history to add more machines to the story.

(Fortunately, we'll probably be able to watch 35mm prints in various basements for years to come....)
posted by bubukaba at 8:00 PM on January 20 [4 favorites]


It would be interesting to see what the digital equivalent of Decasia would be.
posted by sonascope at 8:44 PM on January 20


I think there's an attempt to compare apples to oranges. But I do consider this relevant. Old School, Analog, Practical Effects had a set of limitations which forced people to work around it in ways which left a lasting impression.

Consider, Alien or Jaws for example. Scott and Spielberg crafted these classics of suspense and terror, because the limits of the medium required them to stick to a model where most the terror was created by the environment. ( The other side of this axis being it's fake, we know it's fake, you know it's fake, We're going make it as goofy and over the top as we can, so excuse us, now we're going to spray 5 gallons of karo syrup and red food coloring over the topless cheerleaders ok?
posted by mikelieman at 5:06 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


Jaws is an interesting example of a happy accident, in that the robot shark didn't work, so instead of Spielberg's original vision for the film, which would have been robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark robot shark in every shot, the shark was alluded to, shown in glimpses, and otherwise not a cheesy omnipresent plastic clunky robot shark except in a few scenes. All's the better, I think.
posted by sonascope at 11:02 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]


the "realism" that then could only be achieved with comparatively-to-today primitive CGI.

Really? I feel like 90+% of JP holds up better than a lot of movies made even a few years later--more believable than many of the shots in the Matrix movies e.g.


Oh, make no mistake, I'm only talking about a technical comparison. JP holds up superbly, but IMO that's as much due to story and direction as the CGI itself. And I don't put it in the same category as The Matrix, either, which is outright fantasy (whereas JP, though it has a mythic and psychosocial component, is very nearly hard sf). But The Matrix suffers (outside of the story-related problems in the sequels) from leaning toward show-offy novelty effects like Bullet Time that turn out to be readily replicated ad nauseam, and I think it's more the latter-day commonality of those effects that hampers their effectiveness in the original film.
Much like my "favorite" gripe someone had about Bullitt's chase scenes, in that "it's just another car chase", when much of what we now think of as the modern car chase was created in that film, largely thanks to the then-new ability to mount a small camera on the hood or fender of a moving muscle car.

What we are asking for is co-existence: that analogue film might be allowed to remain an option for those who want it, and for the ascendency of one not to have to mean the extinguishing of the other.

Someone (Soderbergh? One of the indies?) makes a similar argument in Side by Side, unless my memory is suffering degradation from improper storage. Basically, the end of film's dominance effectively means the end of investment and innovation in film technology, and the available types of film and film processing are going to decrease as labs close and career experts retire or die.
posted by dhartung at 2:02 PM on January 21


Oh, make no mistake, I'm only talking about a technical comparison. JP holds up superbly, but IMO that's as much due to story and direction as the CGI itself.

Also, it's used in the right places. The CG was there to accomplish what practical puppetry could not.
posted by brundlefly at 3:42 PM on January 21


sonascope, I've been thinking all day about your musing about the "digital equivalent of Decasia". The closest thing I can come up with is Rebecca Baron and Douglas Goodwin's Lossless series, which explores mpeg compression of digitized classic films. But there are lots of other artists out there working with digital glitches and decay, so I expect we'll see more. Whether there will be anything like it in a century is the real question.
posted by bubukaba at 7:37 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]


If you have a Roku box, get the Vimeo channel. Go to "Editor's Picks" - art film shorts, animated art film shorts, on demand. Remember Spike and Mike's Twisted Animation Festival? Ony if you're old and lived near a major city. Well, Vimeo gives you that twice a week. Color banding is an issue. Much less of one now that there are digital projection standards and distribution medium to accommodate them in place.... that quaint little theatre in West Virginia, if it gives up it's kilobuck electric bill for payments on a 4k projector, can hold special events to bring in theater nerds from as far as Winchester and Germantown.

I envisage a future where small arthouse theaters nationwide look forward to May, as that's when final projects at art schools are due. Film festivals all summer long... plus Blade Runner and Wallace and Grommit double features!
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:50 PM on January 21


dhartung: "The consensus seems to be that we've reached the point, with current technology such as the RED cameras, that film has become a stylistic and fringe choice the way black and white film has been since the color era began."

Fun fact: Red has a monochrome version of their Epic camera. It's a non-bayer full spectrum 5k resolution sensor, and it's vastly more sensitive than the bayer version, since there are no filters (the normal sensor is a native ISO 800, the mono version is about 2000). David Fincher is shooting a feature on it, and in the meantime, he directed this music video shot on it. It looks pretty fantastic.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:13 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


I predict 'artisinal' 16mm movie houses...
posted by judson at 12:54 PM on January 23


I predict 'artisinal' 16mm movie houses...


The plan is to use the theaters to show a range of old movies -- from classics like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to more recent cult classics like The Big Lebowski and Zoolander. Tickets will be $5.

posted by mikelieman at 2:35 AM on January 24


There already are 'artisinal' film houses + festivals — just a few examples:

Light Industry - Brooklyn
Mono No Aware - Brooklyn
Melbourne Cinematheque- Melbourne
Early Monthly Segments - Toronto
Lost Dominion Screening Collective - Ottawa
Berkeley Underground Film Society - Berkeley
Chicago 8 Fest - Chicago
etc!

(I've been trying to keep a slightly more expansive list here).
posted by bubukaba at 11:16 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


« Older Rodrigo Davis of the MIT Center for Civic Media is...  |  On Breaking One's Neck. Dr. Ar... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments