What brand of film do movies use and other questions

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Bot-tastic, Jul 25, 2003.

  1. Bot-tastic

    Bot-tastic Guest

    I'm talking about the film that the Theatres use.
    1.Is it Positive or Negative?
    2.How do they splice all the diffent parts together?
    3.How do they copy one film to another film so that they can distribute to
    theatres around the world?
    4.What happens to the film after being shown in theatres?
     
    Bot-tastic, Jul 25, 2003
    #1
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  2. Bot-tastic

    Duncan Ross Guest

    From: "Bot-tastic"
    I might be able to answer question 1 thanks to a friend who was a
    projectionist.

    He reckons colour negative film is used - the master that it is copied from
    contains a negative image, two negatives make a positive. Apparently you can
    tell because the sprocket areas on the 'silent edge' are clear - I think I know
    what he means!

    Does that make sense..?
     
    Duncan Ross, Jul 25, 2003
    #2
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  3. Bot-tastic

    Alan Browne Guest

    The film in the theatre is a positive, of course, with the source light
    shining through it and the lenses to the screen.

    Usually the movie is split up on seperate reels and there are signals on
    the reels to synchronize and switch projectors at the right moment. You
    will often see a black blob appear in the upper right hand corner just
    before a camera perspective or scene change which is a visible
    indication of a reel change. When films break, the projectionist
    splices the film back together (sacrificing frames) on a splicing table.
    Some theatres have enormous open sided flat reels that sit horizontally
    and hold the entire film for the projection. In these films, the image
    is rotated 90° with respect to the standard reels. The projectionist
    splices the distributed reels together at the theatre.

    When the editing of the movie is complete and the production is "canned"
    several master positives are made. From the master positive(s), the
    distribution copies are made and sent to the local distribuors to be
    leased out to the theatres.

    Most copies are destroyed by the distributor following return. Some are
    kept for rental to the repertory market.

    When the original StarWars was repertoried as a trilogy about two years
    after the third film (yes, sit through all three films for about 7
    hours) in Montreal at the Imperial, the local distributor had shipped
    worn copies to the theatre. George Lucas heard about the trilogy
    showing and ordered new copies printed and shipped to the theatre (I
    learned this chatting with the projectionist between two of the films).

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
    Alan Browne, Jul 25, 2003
    #3
  4. Bot-tastic

    Dallas D Guest

    Interesting!

    Now for the curveball question:

    How do they print the CGI and other effects (including DTS sound) to the
    distributed film???

    On a slightly different note, I remember seeing an episode of Columbo where
    a projectionist told the intrepid sleuth about how they used nickels
    inserted into the film reels as warning signals for when they would have to
    manually switch to the second projector. As the reel was nearing the end the
    nickel would drop to the floor.

    I thought modern cinemas used digital projection. Mind you, I haven't been
    in a cinema for about 10 years...

    --
    website: www.imageunlimited.co.za
    email: dallas at the above domain
    ..



    The film in the theatre is a positive, of course, with the source light
    shining through it and the lenses to the screen.

    Usually the movie is split up on seperate reels and there are signals on
    the reels to synchronize and switch projectors at the right moment. You
    will often see a black blob appear in the upper right hand corner just
    before a camera perspective or scene change which is a visible
    indication of a reel change. When films break, the projectionist
    splices the film back together (sacrificing frames) on a splicing table.
    Some theatres have enormous open sided flat reels that sit horizontally
    and hold the entire film for the projection. In these films, the image
    is rotated 90° with respect to the standard reels. The projectionist
    splices the distributed reels together at the theatre.

    When the editing of the movie is complete and the production is "canned"
    several master positives are made. From the master positive(s), the
    distribution copies are made and sent to the local distribuors to be
    leased out to the theatres.

    Most copies are destroyed by the distributor following return. Some are
    kept for rental to the repertory market.

    When the original StarWars was repertoried as a trilogy about two years
    after the third film (yes, sit through all three films for about 7
    hours) in Montreal at the Imperial, the local distributor had shipped
    worn copies to the theatre. George Lucas heard about the trilogy
    showing and ordered new copies printed and shipped to the theatre (I
    learned this chatting with the projectionist between two of the films).

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
    Dallas D, Jul 25, 2003
    #4
  5. I sometimes to fill-in work as a projectionist at several theatres,
    festivals, etc., so I'll try to answer this vague question.

    Theatres normally show 35mm positive release prints, which are also
    known as "composite" prints, as they contain the optical soundtrack
    as well as the picture. I'll assume that you're more interested
    in the "chain" from camera to projector.
    Camera stock is negative and has always been for 35mm productions. Prior
    to the mid-'80s, 16mm originals were usually shot on reversal stock, but
    that is no longer done in most cases, now that fine-grain negative and
    intermediate stocks are available.

    Sound is recorded on location on magnetic tape and a separate optical
    sound negative is made. This is printed alongside the picture when
    release prints are made (the print stock passes through the printer
    twice--once to expose the picture and once to expose the soundtrack).

    Prints can be made directly from the camera negative, but, except
    for dailies/workprints and prints for "special" screenings, this
    is almost never done, due to the risk that is posed to the original
    film element. Normally, the camera negative is printed to an
    interpositive and this element is used to create multiple internegatives
    from which release prints can be made (often on high-speed printers,
    which explains the unsteadiness in many release prints, especially
    on "wide" releases).

    Almost all theatres show 35mm prints. Non-theatrical venues (colleges,
    etc.) sometimes show 16mm prints instead. Sadly, 70mm prints are not
    usually made of current titles, though there are many venues which still
    have the equipment to show them.

    Kodak is by far the most popular manufacturer of camera, intermediate,
    and print stocks, but Fuji and Agfa make motion-picture film as well.
    The film editor normally edits a film "workprint" by hand (or an
    electronic equivalent on an Avid system or similar). A negative
    cutter then "conforms" (cuts and splices) the original camera
    negatives to match the workprint (or cut list from an electronic
    editing system) so that prints can be made. Sound editors normally
    cut either 35mm magnetic film (looks like film with a mag coating,
    just like recording tape) or edit on digital systems. The final
    sound mix is normally output to magnetic film (usually 2-track
    Dolby matrix with SR noise reduction), which is used to produce
    the optical soundtrack.

    Release prints are distributed to theatres on reels which hold up to
    2000' (~20 minutes) of film. A typical feature comes on 5-7 reels.
    In single-screen theatres or special venues (museums, etc.), these
    reels are shown as-is, using two projectors, with the projectionist
    making a "changeover" after every reel (if done correctly--which is
    not difficult--this is imperceptible to the audience).

    Multiplex theatres almost invariably use one projector per screen along
    with a device called a "platter," which requires that the projectionist
    splice all of the reels together into one continuous roll. This makes it
    possible for one operator to run many screens.
    See above.
    For wide releases, only a few prints get saved for later screeings. Most
    get shredded and recycled into other products. A few make it into private
    hands.
     
    Scott Norwood, Jul 25, 2003
    #5
  6. 5247 isn't even in the Kodak catalog any more (though it might be
    available on special order). It predates T-grain and there really
    isn't any reason to want it now, though. There were actually
    several variants of 5247 made through the 1970s and 1980s.
    Those prints were probably made before 1982. Prints made after
    that time are on lowfade (LPP) print stock and haven't shown signs
    of fading over time. Older Eastmancolor prints do indeed turn
    pink/red or brown fairly quickly. Dye-transfer Technicolor prints
    never fade.
     
    Scott Norwood, Jul 25, 2003
    #6
  7. And to think Technicolor used to fade leaving little but red!
     
    John Garrison, Jul 25, 2003
    #7
  8. Well, assuming the master film is output via a digital neg printing device,
    all the dupes would be the same, no?

    (oh, and IIRC the soundtrack is actually on the same strip of film, printed
    alongside it. Saves sync errors, or some such)
    Don't believe everything Peter Falk tells you... the time-honoured method
    is the black oval in the top right hand corner of the neg.
    That's what you get for throwing popcorn at the audience.
     
    Martin Francis, Jul 25, 2003
    #8
  9. Bot-tastic

    Mxsmanic Guest

    _Singin' in the Rain_ and _Gone with the Wind_ still have some of the
    best color I've ever seen in any motion picture. I don't think it's any
    coincidence that Technicolor and Kodachrome have set the standards for
    their respective domains, and they both use similar technologies.

    There was a time back in the 1970s when every motion picture (almost)
    looked horrible. I don't know what they were shooting or how, but most
    films--even mainstream stuff--looked like Super 8. I think they had
    finally found out how to shoot by available light and were overdoing it
    a bit, or something. Everything from that period is fuzzy and grainy.

    Things have improved a lot, and today's filmss look great, if the
    production is competent. With high-quality digital transfers to DVD,
    you can appreciate them even better. Good examples from an
    image-quality standpoint are films like _Madeline_, _Mathilda_, _Apollo
    13_, and so on.

    Still, Technicolor can whip them all, but nobody shoots multiple-strip
    Technicolor these days (as far as I know).
     
    Mxsmanic, Jul 25, 2003
    #9
  10. Bot-tastic

    Mxsmanic Guest

    There were several generations of Technicolor processes. The best of
    them is very durable, although I think you have to go back to original
    negatives to get the full quality of the film, or something (I don't
    remember the details).

    I'm regularly amazed by the beauty of _Gone with the Wind_. They were
    able to get results like that in 1939?? I still have trouble getting
    results like that today!
     
    Mxsmanic, Jul 25, 2003
    #10
  11. Bot-tastic

    TLR Guest

    Sorry. The SDDS of Sony is not recorded in cd, the sound track is in the
    film itself, in one o the edges of the film. http://www.sdds.com/
    Tomas.
     
    TLR, Jul 25, 2003
    #11
  12. Bot-tastic

    Andrew Price Guest

    [--]
    How exactly is this done?
     
    Andrew Price, Jul 25, 2003
    #12
  13. Bot-tastic

    Mxsmanic Guest

    For shots with digital effects, the film is scanned, the effects are
    added, and then the result is printed back to film.

    Principal photography for shots that will include CGI is sometimes in 65
    mm (instead of 35 mm) in order to provide more headroom for the CGI
    manipulations. Since CGI can be generated with any desired precision
    and resolution, you need very clean original photography to blend in
    seamlessly with CGI elements, unless the CGI is deliberately downgraded
    (as it sometimes is). In the olden days it was the other way around,
    but faster computers have changed that.
    Only a very small handful of modern cinemas are equipped for digital
    projection. It's extremely expensive to install and there are
    practically no films that use it. And many people say that digital
    projection is inferior in quality to film projection.
     
    Mxsmanic, Jul 25, 2003
    #13
  14. Bot-tastic

    Bot-tastic Guest

    well I am glad that I stirred some minds here. It is interesting that 35mm
    is used for theatres when what is it75mm? used for Omni max.. 35mm projected
    about 100feet away looks pretty good....I guess I could make a enlargment
    from negative 10'x 15'?
    "
     
    Bot-tastic, Jul 26, 2003
    #14
  15. Principal photography for special effects is only shot in 65mm when the
    effect is being filmed and optical effects added, not computer generated.
    The reason is several copies of the effect must be made before the final
    effect is realized, increasing the grain.

    The problem with cgi is getting it to match the film, not the other way
    around. cgi effects are created at less than 2k x 2k or less. The film
    must be scanned at the same or less resolution on a similar scanning device
    otherwise the film outshines the cgi and is quite noticeable. So the film
    is downgraded, not the effect.

    Current digital projectors for theatres don't even do as well as home hdtv
    systems. Distribution is a huge, huge problem for satellite or current
    landline systems.
     
    drhowarddrfinedrhoward, Jul 26, 2003
    #15
  16. Negative, for several reasons.

    After exposure and development of the neagtive, 'interpositives' are
    made. From these, new master negatives are made of the whole movie.
    These negatives are use to make the hundreds of release prints. You
    don't want to handle the original negatives at all. They're precious!

    With splicing tape.
    See above.
    Stored and transered to DVD etc.
     
    Michael Scarpitti, Jul 26, 2003
    #16
  17. 70mm (actually 65mm) is used for filmed special effects, that is, not cgi,
    Omnimax and is available for use for feature films. But the production cost
    goes up 2 1/2 times if you use it. However the production value is
    startling to say the least. It's been a while and I don't remember the last
    time it was used for a feature. I think 1980.

    With hdtv coming into the home and pressure from digital projectors, it's
    possible 70mm could make a comeback. There would be little or no conversion
    for the theatres (compared to $150,000+ per screen for digital).

    Another thing, called Maxivision, is a high speed filming process, running
    at 48fps using 35mm film. The reviews, including Roger Ebert, pronounce it
    "astounding" with a "500% improvement". Theatres can use the equipment to
    project it for just $280 per month rental. The cameras only require a minor
    modification.

    So while digital is trying to catch up to film, film only needs a "minor
    adjustment" to jump ahead 5 times.
     
    drhowarddrfinedrhoward, Jul 26, 2003
    #17
  18. Bot-tastic

    Mxsmanic Guest

    I'll take your word for it, as I've forgotten the specifics.
    CGI can be generated at any resolution, if you spend enough money on it.
    However, I'll again take your word for it that it is 2K by 2K, or
    whatever.
    I assumed that digital movies would be physically transported on
    portable media like tape or disc, no?

    I'll agree on the projection part. I haven't gotten around to seeing
    digital projection, but it's very hard to imagine how it could match
    film.
     
    Mxsmanic, Jul 26, 2003
    #18
  19. 1.Is it Positive or Negative?
    You can say that the original film negatives have a value equal to the
    entire cost of making the movie (actor/staff/set/distribution-costs etc.)...
    They're worth their weight in gold... And then some...
     
    Snorre Selmer, Jul 26, 2003
    #19
  20. True, 4k by 4k is used at times but takes 4 times longer so much more
    expensive. Think of scanning a film negative at 2k, how long that takes.
    Now consider it can take a full day to compute one second of a scene.

    Digital transportation could be done by cd/dvd or other but the thought has
    been to use satellite or landline. Security is the issue there where the
    media could be stolen. Plus one button distribution without having to print
    the media (dvd/cd).
     
    drhowarddrfinedrhoward, Jul 26, 2003
    #20
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