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Digital Film Distribution System Coming

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the beam-me-a-hit dept.

Movies 124

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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124 comments

Porn please (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246246)

Does anyone else out there have the problem of sperm getting in the keyboard ? I try to lick it out, but the cracks are too small. Help ?

Re:Porn please (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246346)

Does anyone else out there have the problem of sperm getting in the keyboard ? I try to lick it out, but the cracks are too small. Help ?


I emailed your mother about it. I'll paste whatever she says.

Re:Porn please (1)

Benaiah (851593) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246562)

Its days like this I wish I didn't browse at -1.
Please post something worth reading.

How about a new mod rating -2. Rated that way for its total and utter irrelevance to anything.

Re:Porn please (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246662)

\re you saying the comment about sucking the sperm out of the keyboard WAS worth reading to you???

In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246268)

You go to the movies...

Digital = More Piracy? (3, Insightful)

bronzey214 (997574) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246300)

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:Digital = More Piracy? (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246402)

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 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?

Re:Digital = More Piracy? (1)

Kandenshi (832555) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246438)

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 just not willing to pay to see Norbit.
http://imdb.com/title/tt0477051/ [imdb.com]

Production costs (1)

acidrainx (806006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246636)

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 production costs. I do share your suspicious that any savings will be reflected in ticket prices.

Re:Production costs (4, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Production costs (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246844)

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.

Re:Production costs (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#18250106)

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.

Re:Digital = More Piracy? (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246698)

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.

Re:Digital = More Piracy? (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18249982)

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 low-budget films one day a week on a screen or two and then switch back to whatever Lohan flick normally shows for the other six days.

The indie films might command a standard ticket price to make up for the less-than-full seating, or they might be cheaper because they'd be offered more cheaply to the theatres, or they could be the same price even though they're perfectly popular because management is greedy. In any case, I'd hand over my $10 for a good indie movie in a real cinema much sooner than the run of the mill crap they show now.

Re:Digital = More Piracy? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246440)

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.

Re:Digital = More Piracy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246452)

I would think about it if it wasn't such a stupid thought. They've already digitized the movies, this is about secure encrypted distribution vs. hard drive drop offs. Of course the quality of a major motion release is better than a vid capture in the theatre...are you being serious? Try RTFA next time.

Silly Rabbit... It's Camcorders in Montreal! (1)

Cordath (581672) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246614)

"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 benefits to the consumer. However, I also hope the MPAA has realistic expections and doesn't play the scapegoat game when their own employees leak keys so that pirates can decrypt the satellite feeds and distribute the results. People with Camcorders in Montreal... Now the mailman! Who are they going to blame for this one? NASA?

Re:Silly Rabbit... It's Camcorders in Montreal! (1)

monsted (6709) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247784)

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?

Re:Digital = More Piracy? (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248288)

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.

eh (0, Troll)

ezwip (974076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246304)

Slashdot blows. These threads aren't even worth replying to anymore. I've seen better discussion material on the back of a roll of Charmin.

One to Many (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246312)

"About 2,200 U.S. theater screens currently show digital films, and today these are, by and large, delivered on hard drives."

Guess they don't have satellites in their universe.

Re:One to Many (0)

jonwil (467024) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247262)

Given the cost per megabyte for a hard disk is significantly cheaper than the cost per megabyte for a sattelite downlink, it makes perfect sense.

Also, theaters do not need to install sattelite dishes to receive movies (which may be hard or even impossible for some theaters to get permission to do).

And, sattelite links can go down or fail to work (especially if there is really severe weather such as thunderstorms).

Digital Film Distribution Coming... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246318)

So is Christmas.

Careful... (4, Funny)

gadzook33 (740455) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Careful... (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246548)

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.

Re:Careful... (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246718)

Plus every stage of the projection process will need to be secured, otherwise the theater can only display the content at a reduced resolution.

Amateurs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246328)

I'll bet the torrents puts their system to shame.

"Beaming an encrypted version", eh? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246340)

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! (1, Insightful)

FlyByPC (841016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246344)

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...

Re:Cool! (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18250076)

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 consider it a fair trade, since it's not that much more expensive than a movie ticket, and you could play it as many times as you wanted. On the other hand, it would not be portable (just like a cinema now) and it would not be convertable/copy-able (again, like a real cinema experience generally speaking).

Three Strip Technicolor (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246354)

Nothing, but nothing will ever beat the real thing: Three Strip Technicolor. [reelclassics.com]

Sometimes real "stuff" is better than bits and pixels.

Re:Three Strip Technicolor (1)

Apotsy (84148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247668)

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 materials are capable of delivering, I think it would blow everyone away, and rival dye transfer. It's time for a neo-Technicolor renaissance!

Re:Three Strip Technicolor (1)

humberthumbert (104950) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248168)

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... (3, Insightful)

lordvalrole (886029) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:I am sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246448)

Clearly you have no friends. Because if you did, you'd know that they are the ones who violate the shut the fuck up rule the most!


*nudge* "Oh, my God! Did you see that?"


"No, I didn't see it. I'm in a dark fucking room with the only light coming from the entertainment we have before us. I missed it, I must have blinked or something. But hey, don't tell me, I'll catch it later."


"Dude, he totally just skewered that..." (continuing on for ten fucking seconds, missing crucial dialogue)


(five minutes later)


"Hey, what happened? Why's he doing that? I don't get this."


I will never go see a movie with my friends again.


Go to a Landmark Theatre - you won't hear a peep in a single one of those. The reason why all these theatres are poorly run is not just because of poor management, but because no one will actually say anything to the theatres in question! They just complain about how their theatres blow to everyone else except those who may have the ability to change it.



The theatre experience is something that, when done right, is amazing. Watching independent films in a Landmark Theatre is awesome, and something everyone should do at least once, if they enjoy film the way I do.

Re:I am sorry... (2)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246480)

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: Started playing Tomb Raider instead of the right movie.
And this ignores the fact that most of the titles above were also crap. It's not a boycott per se, it's just that movies are not worth seeing in the cinema anymore. Or renting on DVD. 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.

Re:I am sorry... (1)

slugstone (307678) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247542)

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... (4, Insightful)

RexRhino (769423) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:I am sorry... (1)

lordvalrole (886029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247048)

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...when it was cheap)
4. Pirating
5. Pirating. If they aren't on DVD they wouldn't be out in a theater unless it just launched.
6. Pirating. You can get Imax movies online...just got to search for them

I think that about covers it. A lot of the times you can get a good screener rip of a movie online which a lot of times is DVD quality. Not too many people watch art films or foreign films anyways. If so, there is one MAYBE two theaters in a city that will have it.

As for the date thing. I think I would much rather save my money...spend it on a nice dinner and go to the beach....then head back to my place. Or you can get creative and go to a museum or something like that. Movie theaters are way overrated.

Re:I am sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18247130)

The only time I see teens in the theater these days is when they're fucking in the back row.

Re:I am sorry... (1)

Apotsy (84148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247586)

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.

Re:I am sorry... (1)

lordvalrole (886029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247898)

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 eyes.

I have 1080p Imax HD content on my computer right now that looks amazing. So I believe you sir are wrong.

Re:I am sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18248314)

1080p and IMAX are so widely different in quality that it's just not funny anymore. 1080p may be acceptable as a replacment for some mediocre anamorphic 32mm Film, but 70mm film is already much better, and it's only 48.5 mm wide by 22.1 tall. IMAX on the other side has 3 times the area with 69.6 mm by 48.5mm, equivalent to about 10000 x 7000 pixels [wikipedia.org] - that's about 33 times as much as the lowly 1920x1080. I have just about everything IMAX that is available on the net as 1080p/i or 720p, and I have to say that most of that really does look quite amazing even an a 110 inch screen, but it's just not comparable to a real IMAX cinema.

Re:I am sorry... (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248640)

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.

Re:I am sorry... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247644)

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.

Re:I am sorry... (1)

lordvalrole (886029) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247882)

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 content is pretty much the best you are going to get for TV sets and projectors. Your eye can't really make any difference beyond 1920x1800. It becomes a scaling issue. The only reason why you would have a high res. picture would be to enlarge a picture to a jumbotron size screen. In movie theaters you will probably see a small difference at higher res but not enough to say its totally amazing. We have hit the mark of what 2D images look like on a 2d surface. That is why HD content will last a very long time (20+ years) until we figure out how to manipulate light and create hologram type of media.

Re:I am sorry... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247938)

The ignorance in this exchange is in the assumption that resolution has anything to do with what I was talking about.

Re:I am sorry... (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248066)

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?

Re:I am sorry... (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#18250218)

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.

Re:I am sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18250286)

He isn't, but it seems you might be.

You can't compare a 30-foot screen to a 24" one. If you stand 20 inches from an 8x10 print of a painting (even if it's an exact, full-resolution print), it's not the same as standing ten feet from the 8 foot original.

You're also fooling yourself if you think that a $140,000 digital projector displaying a film at its native resolution isn't at least as good as a consumer HDTV set, and that's well before any discussion of full-size DTS speaker systems.

Re:I am sorry... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247942)

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 you want to watch something
2. It doesn't operate at a fixed schedule. Want to see something at 9AM one morning? Knock yourself out.
3. You don't have to get to whereever the cinema's at (easily 30 mins each way for me)
4. It's instant, put in a movie and it's go (how annoyed do people get over a 5 sec FBI warning?)
5. You can have any kind of comfy seating, and the last guy didn't spill coke on it.
6. You can have whatever snacks, food and drinks you like - particularly noisy ones
7. If you're alone you can pause it for any reason. Rewind and rewatch any scene you like.
8. You can stop/change movie if you realize this movie sucks
9. If you're a pair of good buddies you can talk as much about the movie as you like
10. Speaking of dates, if you get them sold on watching it at your place...
11. Last and definately not last, it's free of all annoying distractions from the movie.

Plus, there are crummy cinemas too. I watched LotR on the best screen in town, no way in hell I could match that. Movies like Serenity or Pan's Labyrinth? Crappy sidescreens that quite frankly are easily matched by a sub-$1000 setup.

Re:I am sorry... (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246870)

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 kids had to have sodas and snacks so add that to the ticket price plus gas to get there and back and it was like $50 by the time it was all said and done.

I swore then that I would never piss my money away on a movie ever again.
I have a 36" TV and an HTPC and I can watch stuff now without the shitty video, shitty sound, dumbasses with cellphones and high prices. Best thing, I can pause it to go to the bathroom or walk the dogs.
Now it's MY theater and I'm the projectionist and I call the shots.

Traditional theaters are so yesteryear.

I am sorry...no I really am...I'm not kidding! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18247064)

"but come on....do a little better than that. Theaters are a thing of the past"

People said the same thing about LP's and they're still being made.

"Tell me why the hell am I going to pay a crap load of money for a shitty experience? "

Guess that's why you don't have a slashdot subscription.

"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."

Travel much?

"MPAA and studios....move on, please. Get in the 21st century. Thanks, bye."

This just in, DVD's are no longer being made. The MPAA say they're going back to shadow puppets.

Re:I am sorry... (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247304)

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 the theater anytime soon.

As for the lousy experience that the parent poster had, complain about it. Better yet, threaten to go elsewhere if its not fixed. Recently one theater chain here in australia changed the rules so you couldn't bring in outside food (hot food, glass bottles, cans and alcohol were already banned for valid reasons, this ban was on lollies, chips, chocolate, plastic and paper drink containers etc). But there was a lot of complaints about the change in the rules so they reversed the change of policy and you can bring in outside food (other than hot food, glass bottles, cans and alcohol) again.

And this was a national theater chain with theaters all over the country.

Re:I am sorry... (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248658)

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.

collective experience (1)

old man moss (863461) | more than 7 years ago | (#18249000)

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:I am sorry... (2, Interesting)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18250194)

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 have a good time being in the company of strangers anymore? It just feels different when you're doing something with 200 people instead of 5.

Yeah, lots of other people suck, and yes, you can have a far more undisturbed experience at home--but getting out in the world and being among people used to be a fairly basic part of life. Now people complain about having to deal with anyone other than themselves.

Why reinvent the wheel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246380)

Sending an encrypted file through BitTorrent already does everything they want. Also, BitTorrent is plenty efficient enough, and probably more efficient than what they'll come up with. Classic example of reinventing the triangular wheel.

Re:Why reinvent the wheel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246462)

When Attack of the Clones came out in 2002 the digital theater render that was distributed (mostly on 16+ DVD-Rs, though some via Boeing satellites) weighed in at 68 GB. I'm guessing this would take a bit of time via BitTorrent, even if you had a handful of seeds...

Coming Soon? (1)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246404)

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...

Re:Coming Soon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246488)

but which everyone else seems to have forgotten...


Yeah, everyone else but the c001 X3n0gR4>h1C.

Re:Coming Soon? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246726)

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.

Old news (1)

Ayal.Rosenthal (1070472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246406)

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

If you could instantly download any movie.. (2, Interesting)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 7 years ago | (#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?

Re:If you could instantly download any movie.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246476)

Yes, otherwise everything would be pwned by the MAFIAA.

Oh wait.........

Re:If you could instantly download any movie.. (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246744)

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.

Re:If you could instantly download any movie.. (1)

shawn443 (882648) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247010)

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 could out pay the cokehead who wants to hear AC/DC ridiculous bad.

satellite (1)

sonciwind (970454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246492)

I thought movies were delivered to theaters digitally by satellite already.

Re:satellite (1)

Apotsy (84148) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247692)

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 really gets going, it will be decades before film goes away. Until then, double inventory (digital and film) will be the name of the game.

Hell, there are theaters out there still that don't even have digital sound yet!

Not likely to lower ticket prices, but (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246576)

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 large and they have a problem that they would like to blame on someone else. That someone else is primarily pirates or illegal downloaders. Once they digitize the movies and transport them over networks they will have a ready made excuse for stock holders: Those downloading pirates are ruining our business.

This is basically the same thing as if they were to get distribution costs that are 1/10th the current costs. It won't make movies any better and will barely give them something to compete with the DVD rental market. Either way, they won't be making tons more money and if they do, it won't be passed on to the consumers. This is just cost cutting to improve their bottom lines in the face of the light at the end of the tunnel.

Re:Not likely to lower ticket prices, but (0)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246612)

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... (2, Interesting)

gumpish (682245) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246714)

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:24 fps... (2, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247370)

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 then move on up with that generation...

Re:24 fps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18247912)

Video is 50 or 60fps (f meaning field if watched on an interlaced display).

2x30 fields per sec != 30 frames per sec... (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248876)

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 a set of lines. Rather than drawing all these at once, all the odd-numbered lines are drawn, *then* all the even-numbered ones. (This is what's meant by "interlacing").

There are 50 (PAL) or 60 (NTSC) such "half-frames" (fields) per second. This is why video has a more fluid look than film; motion is still being updated at 50 or 60fps, albeit not at complete resolution. So although there are still 25 or 30 complete redraws of the screen per second, any moving object will be shown moving at 50/60 fps.

Re:2x30 fields per sec != 30 frames per sec... (1)

penp (1072374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18249730)

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 second. This is why I tend to make the distinguishment betwen 50/60hz and 35/30fps.

Still, film runs at 24 full, complete frames per second. I'm not sure what the standard framerate of 1080p is, but I'd assume that it's probably close to this - not because we couldn't create anything that moves faster, but that because anything faster would probably look unnatural. I only say this because we've spent so long seeing 24fps films and calling that format "cinema" to be able to go back and change that.

Personally, I hope we keep making films in 24 frames.

Cool (1)

EvilCabbage (589836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246766)

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).

Re:Cool - hate replying to myself.... (1)

EvilCabbage (589836) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246786)

..... 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 is massive, if only the big players don't lock the system down with horrible license fees.

"Of course you can show your indy film on our projection gear, it's free! Oh, but the codec will cost you thirty grand." etc...etc...etc...

Amazing New Technology (4, Funny)

Siker (851331) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246826)

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).

Great but... (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246898)

...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 disc, more than enough space for a high-quality digital projection version of a two hour movie plus multiple language soundtracks and maybe dozens of language subtitle tracks.

They really put a lot of thought into the security (5, Interesting)

Matrix5353 (826484) | more than 7 years ago | (#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]

Re:They really put a lot of thought into the secur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18247314)

This could be a bad idea.

1) someone gets the key.
2) some dish equipment.
3) high quality movie on P2P.

This could end up being easier then camming the movie.

And nothing else (4, Interesting)

Apotsy (84148) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:And nothing else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18248072)

Actually, DCP's (digital cinema package) makes use of MXF files as track files. And since there is a SMPTE standard way to map JPEG2k into MXF, perhaps that completes some of the jpeg2k details you are looking for.

I don't know their process on accepting outside comments, but perhaps you should e-mail to them your opinions. If the document is called v1.0, perhaps they are already working on another version...

Cheers,
R.

Re:And nothing else (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248322)

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 pixels, for crying out loud! (page 14)

Agree here too. Why did they do this? I'm sure most projectionists are capable of swapping a lens to anisotorpic.

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.

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.

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).

True. Especially if they feel the need to go up to 6K

They do need a per-frame limit at some point. No idea why they went for such a low value. Are they assuming that everyone will use 48fps? Even then, they're only looking at 384Mb/s. No idea what they're using for transfer, but Firewire 800 can manage twice that. SCSI can handle a lot more.

Re:And nothing else (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18249866)

I think you mean "anisotropic" rather than "anisotorpic", and in fact "anamorphic", not "anisotropic". Although that would be cool. That'd be some lens.

Re:And nothing else (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18249960)

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, not the working/DI format, so it can be heavily compressed without causing too many problems. Of course enough compression on the delivery end and you'll see all the lousy artifacts that make people like me ask what the big fucking deal is with HD/digital television, but hey.

I do, however, wholeheartedly agree that theater chains are remarkably shortsighted in their business vision. And that their interest in quality of presentation is next to zero.

Re:And nothing else (1)

Franklin Brauner (1034220) | more than 7 years ago | (#18250432)

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 owners to the movie goes, cares about quality. I think all theater goes care about these days is the quantity of fake cheese put on their nachos. The sad and simple truth is that the theaters will exist despite the quality of product or projection because kids need a place to go out on Friday and Saturday night with their friends, and dad's home theater is too close to home.
--
Franklin

Re:They really put a lot of thought into the secur (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18247990)

How I wish I could get to see a single 4K frame. Or at least a crop to see how much detail it has.

coming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18247032)

*looks to slashdot headline* duhhhh... duhhh... *looks to BT window* duhhh... duhhhh.... *looks back and forth* duhhhh... huh?

Industry lagging reality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18247188)

OK, I can beat this recent news. Bittorrent has been distributing movies on not 14,000 screens, but 140 million screens for several years now. Not all of the content is original, but some of it is, and its really good. It would be a fairly minor step to have someone go to a torrent site, watch the ad while getting the torrent. The torrent contains legal to download (intended to be distributed in this fashion) movie content. The creator of the film gets revenues from the site, and the site gets revenue from google ad sense. Think of it as a version of Youtube but for professional film makers, with clips like Youtube, but torrent files for getting anything past 10 minutes. The film makers would not get revenues like those for Hollywood films, but they could still earn $20,000 per week (for several years). Not exactly chicken feed.

Bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18248084)

Depending on distance, and capacity, the bandwidth of a hard disk drive can be pretty impressive.
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