Is 2012 going to be the end of the World?
Probably not. But it may be the end of film.
When was the last time you saw a film? Are you sure it wasn’t a DCP???
At my local theater chain, Regal Cinemas here in suburban Philadealphia, I’ve been told that they will no longer be using film projectors, only digital projectors by the end of this month. 35 mm prints are now going to be replaced by what is called a DCP- A Digital Cinema Package (DCP) is a collection of digital files used to store and convey Digital cinema (DC) audio, image, and data streams. (— good ole wikipedia- also comfirmed by the Museum of Moving Image)
And it’s not just the major chain theaters. Even independent theaters are now showing DCP’s of older films because that’s all there is. I saw Far From Heaven (dir by Todd Haynes, ’02) on a “DCP” at the Museum of Moving Image in Queens. According to one curator at the museum, 20th Century fox will no longer distribute ANY movie on FILM in 2013. I have to infer that most distributors will follow suit. And even old, vintage movies will now be archived on DCP.
I will remember The Hunger Games as the last film I saw shot on 35mm film and projected on 35mm film. Then there’s the Dark Knight Rises- not only is it the first major Hollywood movie to have 50% of the film shot in IMAX, you can actually see it projected on imax film at most Imax locations, (be sure to check before you commit to $18). But there is virtually no other film I know of that will be shown on imax film projectors. In fact, one imax theater said only the Dark Knight Rises is on the 15 perf/70mm film format; Everything else in imax is actually projected using two digital projectors- the standard of Imax since about 2008. Note- 15 perf means 15 perforations or sprocket holes per image the 70 mm high image.
Here’s a comparison of 35mm compared to 15 perf/70mm Imax taken from The Dark Knight
For more imax info- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMAX#IMAX_variations
Next month, we’ll get to see Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, which was shot on 65mm. The Master will almost certainly be shown as a DCP, nless you live in LA or New York or Austin where you can go to the Alamo draft house and see it projected on actual 65mm film.
Whereas many fimmakers 10 years ago would start on film, tweak on Digital, and end of film. Think Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Now it’s mostly start on digital, end on digital. Sam Mendes and Roger Deakins are on the Arri Alexa for upcoming James Bond Skyfall, Peter Jackson and Andrew Lesnie are on Red epics 3D for the Hobbit, and Martin Scorsese and Rodrigo Prieto for The Wolf of Wall Street will be using digital capture (NOT film or 3D).
This may be the last time you will ever be able to see ANY new release projected on film. So, I suggest you make it to an imax theater to see the Dark Knight Rises. It’s a nice farewell to film- on the biggest film and the biggest screen we can find. Or call your local cinema to see if ANYTHING is still on 35mm and check it out SOON. If you find yourself at a big chain theater with only digital- seek out the theaters with the Sony 4K projectors. I really enjoyed Hugo 3D and Prometheus 3D on the Sony 4K.
I’m a huge fan of film. In fact, that’s what got me into studying cinema and working in the industry. It just looks amazing to me. So I look forward to filmmakers starting on film and ending on Digital, like my favorite movie thus far this year, Beasts of the Southern Wild, shot on Super 16mm film/shown as a DCP.
— A quick side note. A lot of projectionists have lost their jobs over the last 5 to 10 years. Thank you for showing so many great movies, one reel at a time.
Also in the news is a new documentary called Side by Side- produced by Keanu Reeves featuring interviews with Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, Robert Rodriguez, Vittorio Storaro, Christopher Nolan and many others.