Our continuous close-ups of the winds of change…
Some interesting facts worth knowing from a report by IHS Screen Digest (an organization that provides insight into the trends and models associated with digital content creation, market consumption and distribution), courtesy of Deadline.
The gist: digital projection is the future; although I think we already knew that.
But what we may not realize is just how soon conventional film print projection might become extinct.
The latest IHS Screen Digest Cinema Intelligence Service report states that film print projection will likely “cease in the United States and other major markets by the end of next year, with global cutoff likely to happen by the end of 2015.”
However, with only a reported 51.5% of worldwide screens having digital projectors at the end of 2011, there’s still a long way to go.
One major reason for the shift: the price of silver (which is heavily used in film processing) shot up from $5 an ounce in 2010 to about $25 an ounce this year; and thanks in large part to that fact, the number of feet of film screened by distributors in 2012 dropped by 8 billion over the same 2-year period – from 13 billion feet of film a year in 2010 (equal to five trips to the moon and back) to less than half of that, down to about 5 billion feet of film in 2012.
But it doesn’t end there for theater owners; as both Deadline and IHS note, soon it won’t be sufficient to have a digital projector, citing director Peter Jackson’s lobbying for theater owners to pay for the software upgrade necessary to show his upcoming The Hobbit films at 48 frames a second – the speed at which he’s shooting the movies – up from the usual 24 frames per second.
But Jackson isn’t alone; after that, James Cameron will give theater owners even more to worry about, because he plans to shoot his Avatar sequels at 60 frames a second.
Not that’s power, isn’t it? Essentially, if you want to show our films in your theaters (films that will likely be top ticket sellers) you had better pay for those upgrades, theater owners.
At the end of 2011 about 50,000 of the world’s 63,825 digital screens (19,000 of them in the USA) were capable of being upgraded to meet Jackson’s demands.