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Digital Film Distribution System Coming 124

Posted by kdawson
from the beam-me-a-hit dept.
aniyo~ writes with word of a collaboration of movie studios with distribution companies to come up with a system for rapid digital distribution of movie masters. Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., and a company called Digital Cinema Implementation Partners are working on technology that will allow much more responsive film distribution based on local needs. DCIP is wholly owned by the Regal, AMC, and Cinemark theater chains, which among them run 14,000 screens in North America. The new system would be available to those and other interested theater operators. About 2,200 U.S. theater screens currently show digital films, and today these are, by and large, delivered on hard drives.
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Digital Film Distribution System Coming

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  • With the advance of digital video being shown at movie theaters, does that mean that piracy of said movies will be better and more frequent?

    That is... would the quality be raised, i.e. the actual movie being copied vs. someone recording the screen? It would be a lot easier to borrow one of the HDDs, copy it, and return it rather than coming in w/ a tripod to record it.

    Something to think about...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      It would be a lot easier to borrow one of the HDDs, copy it, and return it rather than coming in w/ a tripod to record it.

      Which is why they're working on a broadband setup to quickly send around encrypted movies for the digital projectors. It says so in TFA.

      What I'm interested in was this line:
      That kind of rapid delivery, Reid said, would allow theater operators the flexibility to economically market niche films that could be shown for just a day or two to a targeted audience.

      Are they saying that cutting o

      • by Kandenshi (832555)
        Well, as Reid and you said, we wont get the savings passed on in terms of lower ticket prices, but we might have the savings passed on in terms of a better list of films to choose from.

        Personally, the abysmal selection is the strongest factor in keeping me away from the theater right now. I wouldn't be going every week if they offered that better lineup, but I'd be going a hell of alot more often than I do now. The prices are ... somewhat steep sure, but I'm willing to pay for a good experience. I'm ju
        • if any thing they should lower the cost of popcorn and soda
          • That cost is set by the theatre. Since theatre gets next to nothing from ticket sales (it all does to the studios) the theatre itself makes money off concessions. That is seriously the only profitable part of a theatre, and is why they rape you with $5 drinks.
      • Why should it be? People are still willing to pay the full price.

        Fuck capitalism.
        • by Kadin2048 (468275)
          Why should it be? People are still willing to pay the full price.

          Some people, sure. But how many people? The theaters have pretty much saturated their current market, which seems to be kids, parents of kids, and teenagers / young-adults. There's no expansion there, and even within those demographics, I think that their marketshare is shrinking, lost to DVDs and other entertainment activities.

          The theaters are desperate for some way to recapture some of the market that they've lost over the years to home view
      • Are they saying that cutting out the production of film reels is going to lower costs for the movie theaters (they won't have to spend tens of thousands on reels)? Why do I suspect that no savings will be passed along to the ticket buying public?

        Sure there will be some savings incurred without having to produce the reels but it's the licensing cost that's causing the high price. The thousands of dollars covers their right to show the film to thousands of people. I doubt much of it comes out of the reel's

        • Re:Production costs (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Technician (215283) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:22AM (#18246830)
          Sure there will be some savings incurred without having to produce the reels but it's the licensing cost that's causing the high price.

          You are dead on. I worked in a theatre for a while as a projectionest duing the economic downturn in the 1980's. To get one of the current releases, theatres bid on them. The submitted bid includes things liKe a percentage of ticket sales and number of seats in the auditorium and a factor from past performance and location in relation to other theatres.

          This combo keeps new releases out of small theatres and theatres with poor performance. This is the big divide between new release theatres and second run theatres. It is common for a new release to get bid up to over 100% of ticket sales. Many theatres simply have no revenue except concessions sales due to the cost of the feature. They bid on the movies to fill the seats and get consessions sales. That is why it's over $10 for a bucket of popcorn and a couple drinks.

          This is effecient for the distributor as they easly maximize profit and often take 100% of the ticket revenue for the limited number of reels, but it is devastiating for a smaller theatre. This is why many of them have moved to indi films or porn. They are stuck with small audiances due to the older flims and can't win any bids for new films. They fold or go to alternatives. I know. Been there done that.
        • by Anpheus (908711)
          Film is ridiculously expensive. Think about any time you've ever bought camera film.

          A movie can be over a mile of film, it's actually a pretty close ratio at roughly a mile of film for every hour. The film runs through the projector at about 1.022 miles per hour.

          So for, say the recent release, Zodiac, that's about 2.6 miles of film, over 230,000 frames of film in all.

          Larger theatre chains can of course bargain down a lot of prices, but nevertheless, the production cost is very real.
          • Film is ridiculously expensive. Think about any time you've ever bought camera film.

            I see your point, but the quality of film stock used for a print of a theatrical release isn't going to be the same quality as even a mid-grade consumer 35mm still camera.

            With the still photo, the viewer is going to see the image captured by a single rectangle of celluloid for seconds, minutes, even hours at a time. For a theatrical film, it's gone 1/24 of a second later.
            • by Anpheus (908711)
              Yet that film is still, often, printed from a digital print that is at 2K (roughly equivalent to 1080P HDTV,) 4K (twice the resolution in both directions,) or even 6K (three times the resolution in both directions.)

              It's still damned high quality film. That's why it can cost hundreds per reel.
      • by Anpheus (908711)
        Because digital projectors and servers can cost hundreds of thousands to install.

        By the time digital is widespread, so to will be the 'loans' (they aren't called that, but essentially theatres get a loan from industry companies to go digital.) And that means they'll still end up paying an arm and a leg for digital film.

        Eventually prices may go down, but why would you expect them to go down so soon? Right now there are very few digital projectors being installed nationwide.
      • It's not so much for cost reductions for tickets as it is a platform for the release of smaller, indie films that could never hope to be shown at a major theatre before.

        The reason they're not shown isn't usually because people wouldn't watch them (that's partly true as a function of the low advertising), but more because putting one of your say, six cinemas out of commission on a gamble for a few weeks is risky business. This way, a local movie theatre could make "Indie Thursdays" where they showcase a few
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It may actually reduce piracy in Australia. We normally get movies 6 months to 2 years late because there are a limited number of reels to go around the world. Digital versions mean there could be world wide release of any movie and impatient Australians wont have to resort to piracy to see a movie they've heard so much about.
    • "Beaming an encrypted version of a digital film directly to the theater should also cut down on film piracy and bootlegging, Antonellis said, by eliminating the number of opportunities for people to get their hands on the movie as it is transit."

      I find this line humourous. In one sentance they simultaneously assume that their encryption will not be broken or circumvented while at the same time blaming piracy on the mailman!

      I whole-heartedly hope this system is implemented and suceeds since it offers obvious
      • by monsted (6709)

        I find this line humourous. In one sentance they simultaneously assume that their encryption will not be broken or circumvented while at the same time blaming piracy on the mailman!

        If they're a little clever, they'll give you a vpn-enabled black box that you connect to the intarweb and you'll have no real access to the content without breaking the box, costing you many thousands of dollars.

        On a different subject, why are they even worrying about camcorder piracy in theatres? Who in their right mind would watch such crap anyway?

    • With the advance of digital video being shown at movie theaters, does that mean that piracy of said movies will be better and more frequent?

      I don't mean to nitpick, but how can it be more frequent? Every movie that comes out is already immediately available on filesharing networks and the like.

  • Beaming (Score:4, Funny)

    by shawn443 (882648) on Monday March 05, 2007 @10:46PM (#18246320) Homepage
    I can't wait for beaming movies crossing my front yard. I hope the password is admin.
    • by dafing (753481)
      Jeez I'm slow, but here in New Zealand, The Lord of The Rings was actually "beamed" to America, something to do with showing how far through they were to the producers in Hollywood etc, if only I had my Satellite dish pointed at the stream and pushed record on the vcr... :(
  • Careful... (Score:5, Funny)

    by gadzook33 (740455) on Monday March 05, 2007 @10:46PM (#18246324)
    They're probably going to want to put some protection on those drives to make sure the movies are only show in the theater they were sent to. The theater can share with a friend theater but only on a limited basis. There's some indication that the theaters may be able to share wirelessly at some point but that doesn't really seem to work right now. A theater's right to show the film can be revoked at any time but it doesn't really matter since a major outlet already left the key in the clear.
    • by TheSync (5291) *
      The Digital Cinema Package file (reference [dcimovies.com]) sent to cinemas is indeed encrypted (as well as digitally signed). The high speed data link between a playout server at the cinema and the projector is also encrypted.
    • Plus every stage of the projection process will need to be secured, otherwise the theater can only display the content at a reduced resolution.
  • Let's hope it's a teeny, tiny bit better than the stuff they used on those new hi-def disks the kids are using today.
  • Cool! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by FlyByPC (841016)
    I have a theater. Granted, it's a home theater, but still -- I want in on this. Maybe now I won't have to wait forever for the DVD to come out, if I don't like driving halfway across town to sit in a noisy, dirty room with 200 of my closest friends.

    Yeah, I know. And pigs may fly...
    • Question. This will naturally be highly protected, likely encrypted and loaded with DRM as it goes to the theatre. Would you want in on that? Like say they offered to send you films for $15 each, but they could only play on the single designated device, just like the theatre?

      Knowing that the DVD is probably going to be around $15 within a few months and will work in any certified player, would you still be interested in a locked down version with no extras solely for the sake of getting it earlier?

      I'd co
      • by FlyByPC (841016)
        If it can be played... it can be copied. The only questions are how difficult it would be, and if there would be any significant quality loss. It's theoretically possible to make a perfect copy of a movie, given any DRM. (Imagine a PCI-X video card that digitized the input it was given to an AVI stream etc...)
        • I speak not of technical ability, but clear and unequivocable usage rights under the law. I am artificially discounting the concept of piracy in order to get a more honest answer. If you're just going to pirate it anyway, there's no real difference what the agreed upon terms are.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 05, 2007 @10:50PM (#18246354)
    Nothing, but nothing will ever beat the real thing: Three Strip Technicolor. [reelclassics.com]

    Sometimes real "stuff" is better than bits and pixels.
    • by Apotsy (84148)
      I've seen dye-transfer prints, and while they are very impressive, I also happen to think that a nice, clean, new print using Kodak's 2393 (Vision Premeire) print stock can equal or even beat it.

      The problem is, most of today's movies are drained of their color & contrast at the post production stage, near as I can tell merely for "artistic" reasons. Dull, desaturated images are all the rage for some reason. If a movie were to come out that actually tried to deliver as vibrant an image as today's mater

      • Yeah, I hate that about new movies.

        It's like a bad Photoshop effect and everything looks so washed out.

        And I also hate jerky, unwatchable, fight sequences. I know it's supposed to convey a verite feel, but the results are usually bleh...

        They should take a look at Apocalypse Now. Glorious colors. And that chopper attack segment -- THAT'S the
        way to do an action sequence.
  • I am sorry... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lordvalrole (886029) on Monday March 05, 2007 @10:52PM (#18246364)
    but come on....do a little better than that. Theaters are a thing of the past. Tell me why the hell am I going to pay a crap load of money for a shitty experience? A lot of times most movie theaters are run by teenagers who barely have any respect for anyone and can care less about your experience. You pay a lot for a washed out picture with a bunch of people around you that can't turn off their cell phones or they bring their kids in. I can watch a movie on a big screen or my 24" monitor at home or a friends house that has much better picture and I can drink beer. It is all about comfort and quality, and theaters just lack both. Paying $10-15 just for an hour and a half experience is not worth it. MPAA and studios....move on, please. Get in the 21st century. Thanks, bye.
    • by Kris_J (10111) *
      I agree.
      • Mimic: Little green dots throughout the picture, a (small) portion of the film missing.
      • The Replacement Killers: Bottom 10% or so of the picture obscured until a two-line subtitle poked over the top and someone went to tell the "projectionist".
      • Hollow Man and the second half of Star Wars Ep3: Cyclical distortion of the audio.
      • Thirteen Ghosts: We were sent to the wrong theatre, the "wrong" move started 15-30 minutes after the right movie started in the right theatre.
      • Something I don't even remember: Sta
      • by slugstone (307678)
        Movie studios may be worried about "piracy", but they should be more worried if more people decide that movies aren't even worth watching free

        They will just blame all their problem on piracy, and not say what the real problem is.
    • Re:I am sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RexRhino (769423) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:08AM (#18246752)
      Movie theaters are good for:

      1. Dates.
      2. Teenagers who want to get out of the house.
      3. People who want to get together and watch a movie with a bunch of friends, and don't have a $3000+ entertainment system and a living room that seats 20+ people comfortably.
      4. New movies that aren't on DVD yet.
      5. Art films and foriegn films that aren't available on DVD.
      6. Imax.
      • 1. You can have dates anywhere....that is including your house.
        2. Half the time, I see teens go in and out of movie theaters all the time. Waste of money. Plus you can go out and do other things than movie theaters.
        3. You can do this at your house and not pay $3,000 for a entertainment system. How many times do you go out with 20 or more people to the movies? probably not that often, if ever. I rarely ever have seen a group over 5 or 10 people go to the theaters (trust me I grew up on going to the movies..
        • by Apotsy (84148)
          6. Pirating. You can get Imax movies online...just got to search for them

          You can't get IMAX quality at home, and likely won't for 20 years at least, if ever.

          • What are you talking about? Yeah you can. The only thing IMAX is good for is actual physical size. They shoot the film at like 70mm if I am not mistaken. A 1080p dlp projector with 1080p can definately get you imax quality if not better. Not too mention the variety of VR headsets that are out there right now. Granted they don't display 1080p but for a reasonable price you can get something that displays 1024x768 resolution which is freakin huge considering the screen is like an inch or two from your eye
            • by Apotsy (84148)
              Stop reading the home theater magazines & forums (which are mostly designed to make you feel good about your purchases) and learn something [cinematography.net] about audio/visual systems. Digital scanning for IMAX actually starts at 4K and goes up from there.

              Find a local IMAX theater that is showing material that was actually shot in IMAX, and watch it. Then watch James Cameron's "Aliens of the Deep" (shot in 1080p and transferred to IMAX). The difference will be night and day.

        • by Dogtanian (588974)

          You can get Imax movies online...just got to search for them
          Yes, and then watch them on your iPod's LCD, right?

          I think you've totally missed the point of Imax.
      • I can watch a movie on a big screen or my 24" monitor at home or a friends house

        3. People who want to get together and watch a movie with a bunch of friends, and don't have a $3000+ entertainment system and a living room that seats 20+ people comfortably.

        Yep. And no matter how much you handwave - no (ordinary) home big screen even remotely approaches the quality of experience that comes with a movie theatre screen. 24" monitors? Don't make laugh - the difference is beyond apples and oranges.

        • uh? are you retarded?

          First of all...a 1080p DLP projector is far better than 95% of all movie theaters out there. They are more vibrant and actually can display at high resolutions. Obviously, you have not seen any HD 1080p big screen in the last 6 months to a year. AND yes a 24" LCD monitor is a far better picture than any movie theater. I live in LA and have gone to the best digital theaters here. So please check your ignorance at the door. Start learning your resolutions.

          Not too mention that 1080p co
          • The ignorance in this exchange is in the assumption that resolution has anything to do with what I was talking about.
          • by Ed Avis (5917)
            I can't believe that any digital projector will give better dynamic range and a wider colour gamut than a cinema projecting colour film. A television set or computer monitor has much lower dynamic range than cinema, and a projector designed for TV or computer use would surely be the same.

            Is there a quantifiable measure of dynamic range so we can check this?
          • Not too [sic] mention that 1080p content is pretty much the best you are going to get for TV sets and projectors.

            I am going to remember you said this in five years, when Sony starts trying to convince us that anything less than their new 2560x1440p displays looks like crap.
          • This kind of semi-ignorant rhetoric smacks of something else ...
            Oh yes! The retards who played Gran Turismo 3 and came away convinced that the Subaru Imprezza WRX was the best vehicle evar; all-wheel drive pwns everything else!

            Sure, there's some truth to what you say. But to bluntly assess "Obviously, you have not seen any HD 1080p big screen in the last 6 months to a year" is completely stupid, as is "AND yes a 24" LCD monitor is a far better picture than any movie theater." The sense of scale that come
      • by Kjella (173770)
        Movie theaters are good for:

        4. New movies that aren't on DVD yet.
        5. Art films and foriegn films that aren't available on DVD.

        The other points are fair enough, sometimes you want to go out because that's your choice (or lack of space, cash or interest in a home theater setup). But those two, that's sorta like saying chopsticks are good for eating noodles because we won't give you a fork. Even if you don't have a $3000 home theater system, it has several other advantages:

        1. You have it permanently, every time
      • by evilviper (135110)
        2) Tickets are expensive, and teenagers have plenty of other places they can go.

        3) Tickets (and snacks) are expensive. For the cost of a couple such gatherings, you can afford your own projector.

        4) The time between theatrical and home release is ever shrinking, and frankly, you have to be an awfully screwed up individual if you can't stand the wait.

        5) It's usually far easier to order foreign films than to find a theater showing them.
    • I agree 100% with you on all points.
      Last time I went to a theater was about 10 years ago with the wife & kids and it was a miserable experience.
      The teenagers running the system obviously were suffering severe hearing loss (from their 200,000 watt ghettomobiles). They had turned the sound levels up in the theater so loud that the speakers rattled and it hurt my ears. I was PISSED. The picture quality was shit too. And every dumbass in there had a cell phone going off every 10 minutes.

      Of course the ki
    • by jonwil (467024)
      The theaters I go to aren't like that. The staff do their jobs. People don't leave their mobile phones on. Kids are not a problem (although films specifically aimed at kids may be a different matter). And I have never had any problems with picture quality.

      As for the idea of a home theater, even if I could afford such a setup (which I can't), I don't have the room in this small apartment to set one up. Plus, if I did have one, the neighbors would complain about the noise :)

      I have no plans to stop going to th
      • by Dogtanian (588974)

        Recently one theater chain here in australia changed the rules so you couldn't bring in outside food
        They probably got pissed off with people bringing their barbecues in.
    • If it is about comfort you are probably right. But there are films that are just better at the cinema because of the collective experience. In other words, there are aspects of "quality" that you can't replicate at home because you don't have a large number of people watching it with you.

      Similarly, many people pay more to watch sports or listen to music live rather than on TV or CD.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mr_matticus (928346)
      This seems to be a popular Slashdot view, but really, going to the movies is a social event. It's the same reason people go out to bars with loud noise levels and dirty bathrooms and tip a bartender for pouring out of a bottle. You do it because it's fun to go out with friends and make an evening out of it. The sticky floors, overpriced concessions, and annoying people are part of the experience of the thing.

      Don't people make fun of people with ridiculous hair, fatties with three tubs of popcorn, and hav
    • i was just talking about this two weeks ago here [slashdot.org]

      #1: tv didn't kill the movie houses in the 1950s, and people thought tv was going to kill movie houses in the 1950s. ask yourself why

      #2: paraphrasing from my earlier post:

      psychologists have done studies showing that people actually subconsciously like the ooohs and aahs and laughs and startles of their fellow popcorn munchers at a movie. yes, a site like slashdot won't admit to the fact, but people apparently have an enhanced emotional experience in a packed t

      • by evilviper (135110)

        psychologists have done studies showing that people actually subconsciously like the ooohs and aahs and laughs and startles of their fellow popcorn munchers at a movie.

        Something which can be trivially easily simulated. It just isn't... yet.

  • Then what's this Pirate Bay [thepiratebay.com] thingy, then? :]

    Not to mention *cough* that other place videos get posted that every savvy internet user knows about, but which everyone else seems to have forgotten...
    • by timeOday (582209)
      I don't see why digitally distributing movies to theaters is any particular problem. They're already distributing millions of high-def digital movies to private residences (on Blu-Ray, DVD, cable, and satellite). The theaters are the least of their concerns.
  • This is a lot of been there, done that. Access Integrated Technologies (ticker symbol AIXD) already does that via satellite. Its implemented in the 2,200 theatres mentioned in the article and has a significant first mover and infrastructure advantages. Its taken them a lot of losses to get there but I think their biggest hurdles have been overcome. - Ayal Rosenthal
  • by Brad1138 (590148) <brad1138@yahoo.com> on Monday March 05, 2007 @11:03PM (#18246422)
    Eventually we will be able to watch any movie or anything instantly "on demand". When we reach that time would there be any reason to own movies or TV shows etc on DVD or Blu-Ray or whatever?
    • by timeOday (582209)
      Predicting the future is risky, but here's my 2 cents: audio has already reached the point of being easily streamable, but the download model still seems to be holding on strong.
    • by shawn443 (882648)
      I'm sure I'm not the only one who previously thought of a bar with an stereophonic interface to any song ever wanted to be played at 25 cents a pop. Cool Thing is that I am starting to see that. Now I can play Pink Floyd's Animals and even pay extra to que it up before the lamo who played something I could hear on the corporate airwaves. Data wants to be free but plunking a quarter into a machine for whatever I want to hear at bar is OK with me. The machine I saw even had a bidding mechanism where you co
    • Like anything, it depends on what they want to charge me. If they want to charge me everytime I want to view the same video, then yes - yes, there is still a reason to "own" the media.

      It's sad that is has to be that way, really. Because what you describe would be very very cool. They could become what you describe. But at this point, it's difficult to see how that can become reality.
  • I thought movies were delivered to theaters digitally by satellite already.
    • by Apotsy (84148)
      I don't know where people get this idea. There are somewhere between 30-40 thousand theaters in the US, and about 100 thousand worldwide. 97-98% of them have no digital projection capability at all! And the ones that do, don't even have enough material to be shown on them year-round. Those booths share a 35mm projector, which is what is actually running most of the year.

      Several BILLION (yes, with a "b") feet of motion picture print film are printed every year. Even when mass-scale digital conversion reall

  • BitTorrent ;)
  • if the distribution companies lower their rates to theaters, it could conceivably make it possible for theaters to offer more movies without raising their operating costs.

    Now, on the face of things that sounds like a good idea, however when analyzed with a critical thought process it gets much worse than you think.

    First, movie theaters are losing business for a number of reasons and one of the biggest is that many new releases pretty much suck. Add to that the myriad of financial pressures on the public at
    • by garcia (6573)
      if the distribution companies lower their rates to theaters, it could conceivably make it possible for theaters to offer more movies without raising their operating costs.

      Just what I want. *More* shit movies taking up screen real estate in the theaters so that the MPAA can claim that they are losing money due to piracy and not because they are producing more garbage than ever.
  • 24 fps... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gumpish (682245)
    While it's fine and dandy that the film industry is making use of modern technology, I'm wondering if any "bold" filmmaker will ever part from the 24 fps standard.

    I can only wonder what a 60 fps film would look like, but I do know that I've had my fill of backwards spinning wagon wheels and nausea inducing camera pans.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dutch Gun (899105)

      While it's fine and dandy that the film industry is making use of modern technology, I'm wondering if any "bold" filmmaker will ever part from the 24 fps standard.

      I can only wonder what a 60 fps film would look like, but I do know that I've had my fill of backwards spinning wagon wheels and nausea inducing camera pans.

      People can readily (although subconsciously) distinguish between "shot on film" and "shot on video" - it's the frame rate that is the biggest giveaway (24 vs 30). They'll probably initially feel like there's something "wrong" with a 60fps image. Having grown up watching movies and television, both with well established conventions, I suspect many will be quite resistant to anything that pushes these conventions aside too quickly.

      Probably the best way is to start with the Pixar-type films for kids and the

      • People can readily (although subconsciously) distinguish between "shot on film" and "shot on video" - it's the frame rate that is the biggest giveaway (24 vs 30)

        You're right that a greater frame rate gives a more "video"-like look. However, 24 vs. 30 fps is a minor difference, and doesn't explain why video loks different. In fact, PAL uses 25 *full* frames per second, such a minor difference that the easiest way to show 24fps movies on PAL is to simply speed them up to 25 frames per second. Yet, there's still an obvious difference between film and PAL video. Why?

        It's because standard PAL/NTSC video doesn't work with complete "frames". The picture is made up of

        • by penp (1072374)
          Correct.
          The reason PAL runs at 50hz and NTSC runs at 60hz is because that is the standard frequency of electricity in European countries and in the US, respectively. When television was first crafted, they used this frequency to time the frames - but at the time they could only transfer enough data through radio waves to draw half a frame.

          Yes, it's drawing 50/60 half images a second, but every two of those images is half of the same image. Thus, you still only get a real movement of 25/30 frames per seco
          • by Dogtanian (588974)

            Yes, it's drawing 50/60 half images a second, but every two of those images is half of the same image. Thus, you still only get a real movement of 25/30 frames per second.

            Wrong; my point was that the "real" movement with traditional interlaced video *is* 50/60 fields per second. If we show a ball moving across the screen, it will have changed position in the 1/50 or 1/60 second between subsequent fields.

            That's primarily why PAL video looks different to a cinema film shown at 25fps on a PAL system. With the 25fps film->video transfer, the same frame is recorded on two adjacent fields, so movement is still only updated 25 times per second. Whereas with material original

            • by penp (1072374)
              I think I understand now, I was getting [film->video] confused with actual video.

              Does that mean a film moving at 50/60 progressive frames would appear to be moving at the same rate as a video source moving 50/60 fields per second? Or would it prove to have a completely different effect? (obvious image quality aside)
              • by Dogtanian (588974)

                Does that mean a film moving at 50/60 progressive frames would appear to be moving at the same rate as a video source moving 50/60 fields per second? Or would it prove to have a completely different effect?

                Well, really, it depends what you mean by "would appear to be moving at the same rate".

                I haven't seen genuine film running at 60fps for the simple reason that most films are shot at 24fps. Film played back at 2x speed on my DVD player exhibits video-like motion fluidity (*); but that's not the same as real film shot and played back at 50 or 60 fps. But yes, it would probably exhibit the same "moving" feel.

                It should be noted that there are several distinct reasons for the difference between film and vid

  • A friend of mine is a manager / projectionist at a cinema and I was discussing this kind of thing with her last week.

    Digital distribution (through teh intarweb / closed network, not hard drives you chumps..) would make her life much, much easier, make it easier to fill more sessions with less cost and generally make life rather rosy for cinema workers and projectionists everywhere.

    It's a Good Thing(tm).
    • ..... sorry, had an afterthought.

      This distribution method is awesome, but of course it doesn't solve the problem of poor content. Not yet anyway.

      If distribution gets so cheap and easy to do, there's real potential for indy film makers to get their work seen. Dupe their movie to a few hard drives and hand them out in person, or send their local cinema a link to a torrent of their work and offer it to be screened for free or at minimal costs. The potential for new, unsigned work and interesting local cinema i
  • by Siker (851331) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:22AM (#18246826) Homepage
    Digital Cinema Implementation Partners today revealed a technology to send movies without physically moving hard drives. They have patented this innovative technology and tentatively named it Film Transfer Protocol (FTP).
  • ...until the cost of the digital projector comes down drastically this idea won't be popular.

    I still think they should distribute the movie on specially-encrypted HD-DVD or Blu-Ray discs, where the movie is stored in a lossless compression format over 2-3 discs. It's still way cheaper to send out 2-3 discs per movie than six 35-pound reels of 35 mm film stock for a movie about two hours long. More long term, once holographic video disc (HVD) technology reaches production they could store 1 TB on a single di
  • by Matrix5353 (826484) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:46AM (#18246926)
    I actually had a chance to meet with Walt Ordway, the head of DCI's technology branch, at my school a few years ago (he's a Northeastern University Alumnus). He gave a really nice presentation about what they're doing to secure the distribution masters and minimize piracy. Basically, they have a Digital Source Master (DCM) which is a final cut of the movie in a high definition format taken directly from post-processing. From this, they make various distribution masters in different formats for DVD, TV, Airline showings, and also conversion to film masters. One of the masters they make is a Digital Cinema Distribution Master. After processing, this is what is actually sent to the cinemas.

    After all the video, audio, subtitle, and auxiliary data channels (things like cues for curtains, theater lighting, etc.) are compressed and packaged, it's encrypted via AES with a 128-bit key. Along with the compression and encryption process, a watermark is embedded into the video source. The Digital Cinema Package (DCP), as it is now called, is delivered to the theater via satellite uplink, hard drive delivery, internet, etc. However, the encryption key is delivered separately, via secure courier, and each theater will get a different key. The DCP is uploaded into a central server in the theater, where it will then be scheduled by the manager to be loaded into a specific screen on a set schedule. Each screen will have a digital projector along with its own server to store a local copy of the DCP.

    Key entry and decryption only actually happens when the movie is played, and as everything is decrypted, the forensic watermark is added to the video as well as the audio. This watermark is unique not only to the theater, but to the specific projector and even the time that it was played. This ensures that if anyone is sitting in a theater with a camcorder, they can trace it back to the exact showing using the embedded watermarks.

    If anyone is interested in checking out the Digital Cinema System Specifications, they were awarded final approval on July 20, 2005 and can be found at http://www.dcimovies.com/DCI_Digital_Cinema_System _Spec_v1.pdf [dcimovies.com]
    • And nothing else (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Apotsy (84148) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @03:18AM (#18247570)
      Yeah, they thought about security. Too bad, they apparently thought of little else.

      If you look through the document you linked, the security section is 25 pages long, while only a few pages are dedicated to image and sound. For the image, the system mostly talks about 2K, with some additional modes for 4K, but no requirement to use it, and no inclusion of the higher framerate 48fps mode for 4K. Considering there are already 4K film releases [efilm.com] and 2K is already in the home, this does not seem very forward thinking. Home theater freaks have been saying for years what they have at home is better than what's in theaters. For the first time, they will actually be right, if theatrical 2K becomes the de-facto standard (which it already has to some extent, thanks to an overload of crappy 2K digital intermediates).

      Another short-sighted mistake is that it defines the image as a constant width format, meaning you get fewer pixels for a scope image vs. non-scope. Does that seem backwards to anyone else? The 2K scope image only has 858 vertical pixels, for crying out loud! (page 14)

      Page 14 also specifies: "The bit depth for each code value for a color component shall be 12 bits. This yields 36 bits per pixel." Doesn't say whether it's linear or log (like Cineon). I assume linear, but considering most linear film work is done in a 16-bit space (see the GIMP spin-off "CinePaint), this doesn't seem like enough. All theatrical digital presentations I've seen so far have been severely lacking in dynamic range compared to film. This document totally fails to address that.

      There is also a data limitation of just over 1MB per frame, regardless of whether the image is 2K or 4K (page 25). That's just stupid (hopefully I don't have to explain why).

      There seems to have been very little consideration given to quality for either the present or the future. Simply slapping a big HDTV into theaters is a bad, short-sighted idea, and will surely be a further nail in the coffin for theatrical presentations. AMC for example has lost money for nine years straight, and now they want to dump money into this shit?

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by 91degrees (207121)
        For the first time, they will actually be right, if theatrical 2K becomes the de-facto standard (which it already has to some extent, thanks to an overload of crappy 2K digital intermediates).

        True. And film can be better than this (you'll need a good print but it's possible).

        Another short-sighted mistake is that it defines the image as a constant width format, meaning you get fewer pixels for a scope image vs. non-scope. Does that seem backwards to anyone else? The 2K scope image only has 858 vertical
        • by Apotsy (84148)
          That's less of a problem. This gives 4096 greyscales. That's plenty to prevent any banding. The problem is maximum contrast. I don't think more levels will help here. 16 bit is usually used to compensate for rounding errors if a lot of filters are used. 12 bit is plenty for a final print.

          That's probably true, the scale, and the capability of the output device is what's more important. So far, only DLP and some LCOS projectors have found their way into theaters. The amount of contrast they are capable of i

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Well, actually, any given film print you see at your local film print is much closer to HD resolution (and I'm talking 1280x720) than even 2K, by the time you project that print (which is less than perfect) through improperly calibrated and uncleaned glass onto a dirty, imperfectly reflecting screen. My point is that in multiplex terms, the 2K projection will likely be *better* than a standard film print.

        The 1 MB per frame limit isn't too handicapping, either. Keep in mind this is the *projection* format,
        • by Apotsy (84148)
          Well, actually, any given film print you see at your local film print is much closer to HD resolution (and I'm talking 1280x720) than even 2K, by the time you project that print (which is less than perfect) through improperly calibrated and uncleaned glass onto a dirty, imperfectly reflecting screen. My point is that in multiplex terms, the 2K projection will likely be *better* than a standard film print.

          Not true. People always come up with these fudge factors to explain away the advantages of film, but m

      • There seems to have been very little consideration given to quality for either the present or the future. Simply slapping a big HDTV into theaters is a bad, short-sighted idea, and will surely be a further nail in the coffin for theatrical presentations. AMC for example has lost money for nine years straight, and now they want to dump money into this shit?

        Have you noticed that crap like Wild Hogs whupped the ass off of Zodiac this weekend? Your assumption is that anyone, from the studios to the theater
        • by Apotsy (84148)
          I know you're right, most people aren't aware and don't care much about quality. Wat's worse, the few people who are mostly seem to be interested in "home theater" (which is a bit of an inherent contradiction as far as I'm concerned).

          I'm a rare bird in that I actually like film, like theaters, want something better than HDTV, and believe the gold standard of quality is and should be theatrical presentations. I can't help it -- I grew up watching 5-perf 70mm in really well run theaters. People who don't kn

          • I too am a cinephile who grew up with epic presentations (remember the add blitz on Quest for Fire, which stressed the largesse of the presentation). What I wish would have taken off was Maxivision48 [maxivision48.com], which was a practical variant of Showscan. The Maxivision48 system ran at 48fps (twice the amount of a "normal" 24fps film), giving the audience twice the information. But it was backwards compatible, meaning that a movie shot at 48fps, could create standard 24fps prints for theaters that didn't have the Ma
            • by Apotsy (84148)
              Maxivision is interesting. I even spoke to Deal Goodhill once about it. He's very passionate, but had no idea how to get it off the ground. The high framerate is cool, but it's focused on the 1.85 ratio (he claims it supports 2.39:1, but have they ever actually done a demo of it?). In any case, I think he's missing the point.

              After working in film and video for years, I beileve the most important thing to bring a picture to life is contrast, aka dynamic range. (Same thing for audio really.) Resolution is n

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