Monday, March 21, 2005

Ireland in the Lead 

What will Ireland have shortly that the rest of the world won't? All-digital cinema. About 500 cinema screens in the country will have 35mm projectors taken out and replaced with digital projectors. Having seen digital projection in two separate theaters, I can tell you the difference between film and digital is amazing. There is none of the washed-out color from an older print, scratches from too many passes through the gate and the occasional splice. Digital sparkles and has a realism that film doesn't possess unless it is a new print.

Why should PR practitioners care about digital projection? Because it is changing how the movie industry operates. It will change the industry economically, and it will change how one promotes films because there will be less time from editing suite to theater. There is even the possibility of changes after a film has been released. Digital films are uploaded from the studio and downloaded to the individual movie house. It is possible that a film could even change endings from one run to the next.

I don't like going to the movies anymore because films are often out of focus, and print quality deteriorated. I prefer watching DVDs at home on a large-screen TV where the image is crisp and colors true. Digital projection could change my mind quickly. On the other hand, digital projection may be too late. Recent books have stated that studios don't care that much anymore about theater runs. They make their money in other ways -- through tie-in promotions, through selling DVDs, through international distribution rights. Movies that bomb in US theaters prove to be solid money makers when all is toted at the end. It may be that movie publicity will move more toward supporting the DVD than the film, although I have yet to read that anywhere.

Anyway, all hail to Ireland for leading the change.


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