Digital Cinema: independent blackout is coming?
Buenos Aires, January 20, 2012
Without going into details, there are two kinds of cinema; the trade show movies or ‘mainstream’ of the Hollywood studios, and films that offer so-called independent filmmaking. The first, with major box office income, can afford the investment needed to access the conversion to digital cinema, for independent, now is just a pipe dream.
In international values, the investment required to convert a movie theater showing films 35 mm. in a Digital cinema, involves an expenditure of $ 150,000 for the projector over another 50,000 to 75,000 for server, silver screen and accessories. For a room of a complex commercial multiplex, this amount is equivalent to the income of a few weeks to a full house, but for an independent movie theater would not get a full year of continued success to finance it.
So far, while many saw that film and digital cinema 3D options were designed only from the cash register in the box office, selling tickets much more expensive to see giant robots, visceral explosions and cartoon superheroes left open the mouths filled with popcorn of adolescents, some directors considered unquestionably serious film artists as Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog, Martin Scorsese or Baz Luhrmann, took advantage and emphasize the benefits of the digital world to give their films a new dimension in visual spatial processing.
It is supposed to feature films and documentaries on these and other independent directors will not be released simultaneously in hundreds of rooms for the mere fact of being filmed in 3D, and will also know that not many art cinemas are digitized. So what is the option for the public? Seeing them “flat” in conventional art galleries or worse, legal or illegal copies on DVD, Blu Ray, VOD or Internet streaming. It’s not going to be a great encouragement to independent hearings, let alone knowing that it is precisely the most demanding and discriminating, which aims to be as close as possible to the original audio-visual experience proposed by the author of each film.
To the categories of commercial cinema and independent cinema, it is added the local Argentine cinema subsidized by the State, which plays with completely different rules. Like subsidies reach to the production of each film, may also cover in the near future the costs of rooms conversion for this film. In that case, they can continue, beyond which was filmed in 3D or not, planned or not and that people choose to see them or not, unless one of these days a movie producer comes to mind get away with saying that as waiver of subsidies for electricity and gas, also give up these others.
But there is an Argentinean film that actually resigns or cannot access to state subsidies. These productions-isolated, which are related to independent films coming from outside, such as those mentioned Wenders, Herzog or Scorsese. For this kind of productions it is envisioned an uncertain future: if you shoot in 3D, may show little or nothing in that format, and if it is produced and distributed in 3D or Digital Cinema, are left out of what technology offers the moment and stripped of the resources it will bring.
Hardly this dilemma is resolved quickly, but what seems even more difficult is that the filmmakers and independent film producers down the arms with ease. It is precisely they who resist and fight more, which are almost always against all conditions, but this time are those that are proving that digital technology in film can be used for something more than just a circus show.
By Pablo Perel