Forum - View topic
Answerman - Is It Worth Seeing 35mm Prints of Ghibli Movies?


Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next

Note: this is the discussion thread for this article

Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 2324
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:18 pm Reply with quote
The lack of any film projected films, along with a few other things, is why I rarely go to the cinema anymore. I can just stay at home and get basically the same experience. Interstellar and The Hateful Eight Were 70mm, I doubt you need a special cinema to show 35mm.

Film does have a higher resolution than digital, film was doing 4K a very longtime before digital.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
mgosdin



Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 1187
Location: Kissimmee, Florida, USA
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:28 pm Reply with quote
Having been involved in all things digital since the late 1980's I'm having fun with the various Analog revivals ( Guess how many Turntables & Cassette Decks I have. Wink ) but I haven't seen anything local about true Films being shown at the local theaters / art houses. I will have to keep a sharper eye out. The Theater experience in the 1990's with DTS and all was pretty good, I never really noticed issues with film wear except for the infamous bargain showings.

Mark Gosdin
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FLCLGainax



Joined: 10 May 2010
Posts: 371
Location: USA
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:17 pm Reply with quote
As someone who saw Princess Mononoke in a theater when it first came out in the US, I remember the print looking quite stable. It definately had that "charm" to it, especially the forest scenes. Don't know how well those prints have held up nearly two decades later. A digital projection would probably be more stable now.

Last edited by FLCLGainax on Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:30 pm; edited 3 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ouran High School Dropout
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 28 Jun 2015
Posts: 202
Location: Somewhere in Massachusetts
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:19 pm Reply with quote
I spent a decade in projection booths, and I can vouch for every single downside to 35mm that Justin mentions.

The war against dirt and dust was a never-ending chore. Every few weeks I'd do a partial disassembly of each projector head to clean rollers; similar care had to be given to all rollers on the platter. And, of course, the film gate and pressure pads needed cleaning after each and every show. If you worked in a multiplex, good luck.

Wait, there's more! With an analog soundtrack, you could instantly lose all audio if an incandescent light bulb burned out. If a shutter (normally closed when a frame was being pulled down) was out of alignment, you'd have visible streaks of light on screen. Forget to change aperture plates and lenses when going from 1:85 "flat" trailers to a 2:35 anamorphic "scope" feature? Or miss a manual changeover on 20-minute reels? Yowch.

Yet, for all of that, 35/70mm film had a charm all its own, and I still miss it. There's nothing like a new print, fresh from the lab, on opening night. The image is clean of blemishes, the optical track is as good as it's going to be, and the (70mm) magnetic sound stripes still have all their oxides. Ever hear of "new car smell"? Well, movies had a "new film smell" that was just as distinctive.

Good times, my friends.


Last edited by Ouran High School Dropout on Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:45 pm; edited 3 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Ouran High School Dropout
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 28 Jun 2015
Posts: 202
Location: Somewhere in Massachusetts
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:28 pm Reply with quote
FLCLGainax wrote:
As someone who saw Princess Mononoke in a theater when it first came out in the US, I remember the print looking quite stable. It definately had that "charm" to it, especially the forest scenes. Don't know how well those prints have held up nearly two decades later. A digital projection would probably be more stable now.

For any 35mm material that old, my concern here would be decay of the film emulsion, sometimes called "vinegar syndrome". After 20 years, I'd expect the image to be decomposed, especially if the print was carelessly stored.

I too saw Princess Mononoke in the theater, at an art house just outside Boston. Will never forget the placard on the sidewalk warning parents about the film's occasional gore.


Last edited by Ouran High School Dropout on Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
FLCLGainax



Joined: 10 May 2010
Posts: 371
Location: USA
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:36 pm Reply with quote
I remember the audience at the Angelika in NY breaking out in fits of nervous laughter at some of the violent scenes. Hope modern audiences watching this in a theater are a bit more mindful these days.

Last edited by FLCLGainax on Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:04 pm; edited 5 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
McThundergoose



Joined: 29 Apr 2015
Posts: 8
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 1:45 pm Reply with quote
A number of movies are still shot on film today, like Jurassic World and the last Star Wars films. They're just digitally transferred though. I'd also say it's not simply about warmth with film looking cool, there's an inherent depth and theatricality to the image you just don't see with digital. People tend to forget 70mm film as well when talkin resolution, you can pull around 8k digitally out of those things. Overall it's easier and more cost effective to simply shoot on film and exhibit digitally which isn't a big deal as long as they don't scrub the image which defeats the point imo.

BTW there are non-fade film stocks out there where all you really gotta worry about is damage from mishandling and being played over and over.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AholePony



Joined: 04 Jun 2015
Posts: 215
Location: Arizona
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:04 pm Reply with quote
I saw Dunkirk on film this year and really enjoyed the fit with that movie. The slight vignetting and inconsistent brightness added a lot to the experience, I have no regrets on that one. Weirdest part was hearing the projector roll, we're so used to not hearing it flickering away that it caught me off guard lol.

SDDS just didn't get the chance it needed, it had the capability of 12 tracks (though some were backup in case of film damage), so possibly 10.2 audio back in 1993.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 3365
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:30 pm Reply with quote
I'm as saber-wielding an activist on any film-preservation issue, and even I'm starting to side in favor of digital projection, even just for Ouran's old-school theater-employee reasons:

We've lost hundreds of good theaters with the loss of 35mm projection, and it's made a backlog of minor classics unable to be shown in new digital theaters--But that's a problem of what old movies tunnel-visioned studios (who literally believe modern audiences don't want to see any movie made before "Princess Bride") bother to upgrade for digital posterity, or have to get butts-in-seats for at Fathom screenings.
While it's nice to appreciate film-print grain--which first became an issue when some Blu-ray conversions briefly thought it had to "scrub" grain away, creating a weird plastic look that didn't stay long--showing film loyalty by saying "You should only see a movie in 35mm!" starts to resemble the keep-the-faith hipsterism for Vinyl LP record fans. You can appreciate grain and cinematography without becoming Luddite.

We need film preservationists working for digital, not against it, as digital is making films easier to be shown (less transportation and damage, less wear and tear on the prints), if only we had studio and theater management more interested in SHOWING them.

FLCLGainax wrote:
I remember the audience at the Angelika in NY breaking out in fits of nervous laughter at some of the violent scenes. Hope modern audiences watching this in a theater are a bit more mindful these days.


It wasn't "nervous" laughter, it was just the need to get some sense of entertainment out of the two-and-a-half hours, after being pounded over the head with Miyazaki's Important Downbeat Eco-Philosophical Statement About Conflict And War.
This was, for many historical reasons, NOT the movie you show to an audience that had just found out about Ghibli after Kiki and Cagliostro.

The biggest reaction our original '99 audience got was applause for the two horses that suddenly stopped "Why are we still running?" after their riders were graphically shot off.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Ouran High School Dropout
SubscriberSubscriber


Joined: 28 Jun 2015
Posts: 202
Location: Somewhere in Massachusetts
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:17 pm Reply with quote
AholePony wrote:
SDDS just didn't get the chance it needed, it had the capability of 12 tracks (though some were backup in case of film damage), so possibly 10.2 audio back in 1993.

Based on my experience in the booth, I have to disagree. The area containing the SDDS track (left edge outside the sprockets) is the most vulnerable part of a 35mm frame. When the film is in the gate, it is held in tension by pressure plates. The SDDS track is therefore abraded on both sides of the film stock with each pass (and based upon the design of the projector and platter, a lot of additional wear can be inflicted). After a few weeks of this treatment, even on the best-maintained equipment, you're going to have problems.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
zaphdash



Joined: 14 Aug 2002
Posts: 592
Location: Brooklyn
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:33 pm Reply with quote
To more directly answer the specific question that was posed: I'm not sure which specific theatres the asker is looking at, although I'm aware IFC Center is showing a bunch of Ghibli movies over the next few weeks (not sure if they're in 35mm). I caught Kiki's Delivery Service in 35mm at Sunshine Cinema three or four years ago and the print they used was in great shape. I don't think I've seen a 35mm Ghibli print at IFC, but they're definitely a theatre I would trust not to show a worn down old print. So if seeing something on film is something you appreciate in general, then yes, catching a Ghibli movie in 35mm is probably worth it. Of course, a lot of people (bafflingly) don't even notice motion smoothing on their TVs, so I'm guessing that the distinction between film or digital is also one that's lost on many people, and if you're one of those people, then you can probably afford to skip the 35mm screenings. It's kind of up to you. There's no guarantee that you, personally, will feel like you got much out of it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message My Anime My Manga
leafy sea dragon



Joined: 27 Oct 2009
Posts: 6746
Location: Another Kingdom
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:05 pm Reply with quote
Ouran High School Dropout wrote:
I spent a decade in projection booths, and I can vouch for every single downside to 35mm that Justin mentions.

The war against dirt and dust was a never-ending chore. Every few weeks I'd do a partial disassembly of each projector head to clean rollers; similar care had to be given to all rollers on the platter. And, of course, the film gate and pressure pads needed cleaning after each and every show. If you worked in a multiplex, good luck.


For people into retro things, that actually sounds like a part of the charm.

I've mentioned my love for pinball a few times here already, but I want to point out that there are people who buy pinball machines for home use because they are high-maintenance. Due to their nature in that you're always repeatedly slamming a metal ball into things, parts will crack and become dislodged, electronics will fizzle out, screws could loosen, the coating will start showing groove marks where the ball frequently rolls through and then the playfield art starts flaking off, etc. And this is a dream for those who just have a lot of fun repairing things. Some of them enjoy repairing and maintaining these machines more than playing them. Part of why pinball can continue to exist in public today is that there are people here and there who will repair pinball machines in public for no fee other than parts. Most of them have at least one machine out in public themselves for this reason.

That being said, being in pinball circles in turn led me to another group of retro fans: the diehard fans of incandescent lights. They really like the dim, yellowish light compared to LEDs (they'll refer to it as "warm glow" versus "cold white"), and they also like how they fade in and out rather than the suddenness exhibited by LEDs. To that end, there have been LEDs made since designed to replicate incandescent lights as closely as possible (minus the downsides in their heat, energy usage, and lifetime, downsides that even the most dedicated fans of incandescent lights would rather go away), so it's been tempered somewhat. Said LEDs are many times more expensive than regular LEDs and have to be programmed to fade, but hey, when you're selling to the hardcore fans, you can charge however much you want. That, and they'll need SOMETHING to deal with when incandescent lights will eventually no longer be sold in their country (2020 in the United States, last I checked).

Me, as I got into pinball after LEDs became the standard in almost everything, I had already become used to LEDs being everywhere in my life, and pinball machines lit by incandescent lights just felt much too old-fashioned. If I'm playing a machine from before LEDs were popular, I would much rather play one that was LED-modded, as those, personally, look a lot more colorful, energetic, and a lot easier to understand in brightly lit conditions. (By the way, operators have tested it many times: Nearly every single time, machines lit by LEDs will command attention of passers-by over machines lit by incandescent lights, so much so that they'll pay to get their machines LED-modded as the extra attention it will bring from people will cover the costs.)

Ouran High School Dropout wrote:
Based on my experience in the booth, I have to disagree. The area containing the SDDS track (left edge outside the sprockets) is the most vulnerable part of a 35mm frame. When the film is in the gate, it is held in tension by pressure plates. The SDDS track is therefore abraded on both sides of the film stock with each pass (and based upon the design of the projector and platter, a lot of additional wear can be inflicted). After a few weeks of this treatment, even on the best-maintained equipment, you're going to have problems.


By the way, I have to say I'm really enjoying reading your perspective on these things. You have the practical knowledge that can only come from experience. I hadn't even thought about how that side of the film is the one that would wear out the fastest, but reading about that, it makes perfect sense and is the sort of thing where I think, "How come I never thought about that before in my life?"

zaphdash wrote:
To more directly answer the specific question that was posed: I'm not sure which specific theatres the asker is looking at, although I'm aware IFC Center is showing a bunch of Ghibli movies over the next few weeks (not sure if they're in 35mm). I caught Kiki's Delivery Service in 35mm at Sunshine Cinema three or four years ago and the print they used was in great shape. I don't think I've seen a 35mm Ghibli print at IFC, but they're definitely a theatre I would trust not to show a worn down old print. So if seeing something on film is something you appreciate in general, then yes, catching a Ghibli movie in 35mm is probably worth it. Of course, a lot of people (bafflingly) don't even notice motion smoothing on their TVs, so I'm guessing that the distinction between film or digital is also one that's lost on many people, and if you're one of those people, then you can probably afford to skip the 35mm screenings. It's kind of up to you. There's no guarantee that you, personally, will feel like you got much out of it.


To be fair, motion smoothing seems to have been programmed with live sports in mind, and they don't look too bad. And live sports is something people often watch as a group in public places, in sports bars and other related venues. But yeah, I can detect motion smoothing pretty much instantly, especially when applied to 2-D animation (and usually to 3-D animation as well), and it looks gross.

Of course, when YouTube's crop and stretch tags were new, I kept getting pressured by people to use the tags on my 4:3 videos to stretch them out to 16:9. Some of them genuinely thought that the stretch tags added visual content to the videos themselves (one of them actually referred to it as "magic will happen" and ignored any attempts I made to explain to him what the stretch tags were actually doing). Inversely, there were also a bunch of uploaders who did just that, stretching out a video meant to be in 4:3. Sometimes, they were unaware of it, but sometimes, they did it on purpose knowing that, at that time, there were more people on YouTube who would rather watch a stretched-out video than a video with pillarboxes. In short, most people are clueless about picture quality of things they watch.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
StudioToledo



Joined: 16 Aug 2006
Posts: 840
Location: Toledo, U.S.A.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:32 pm Reply with quote
I will say Justin's opinions on the matter of film are his, as I couldn't quite read through most of this without shaking my head (and the last film I saw on 35mm was probably Ponyo).

MarshalBanana wrote:
The lack of any film projected films, along with a few other things, is why I rarely go to the cinema anymore. I can just stay at home and get basically the same experience. Interstellar and The Hateful Eight Were 70mm, I doubt you need a special cinema to show 35mm.

As long as they have the projectors. It didn't used to be that special, at least a decade ago before 3-D happened (and look where that went).

Quote:
Film does have a higher resolution than digital, film was doing 4K a very longtime before digital.

Just more or less we didn't really see it that way given the way television always had those sorts of limitations going back a good half-century.

mgosdin wrote:
Having been involved in all things digital since the late 1980's I'm having fun with the various Analog revivals ( Guess how many Turntables & Cassette Decks I have. Wink ) but I haven't seen anything local about true Films being shown at the local theaters / art houses. I will have to keep a sharper eye out. The Theater experience in the 1990's with DTS and all was pretty good, I never really noticed issues with film wear except for the infamous bargain showings.

Mark Gosdin

I will say I was impressed when I saw Jurassic Park at a theater that used the CD-Rom DTS set-up, it was quite different, though back then my mom always made me go to "dollar theaters" to watch films at. I'm sure plenty of tots these days don't remember that.

Ouran High School Dropout wrote:
I spent a decade in projection booths, and I can vouch for every single downside to 35mm that Justin mentions.

The war against dirt and dust was a never-ending chore. Every few weeks I'd do a partial disassembly of each projector head to clean rollers; similar care had to be given to all rollers on the platter. And, of course, the film gate and pressure pads needed cleaning after each and every show. If you worked in a multiplex, good luck.

Especially when they're automated.

Quote:
Wait, there's more! With an analog soundtrack, you could instantly lose all audio if an incandescent light bulb burned out. If a shutter (normally closed when a frame was being pulled down) was out of alignment, you'd have visible streaks of light on screen. Forget to change aperture plates and lenses when going from 1:85 "flat" trailers to a 2:35 anamorphic "scope" feature? Or miss a manual changeover on 20-minute reels? Yowch.

Most cinemas I went to had them all spliced into a continuous loop of sorts.

I will miss not hearing about "exciter lamps" though, that's a fun word!

Quote:
Yet, for all of that, 35/70mm film had a charm all its own, and I still miss it. There's nothing like a new print, fresh from the lab, on opening night. The image is clean of blemishes, the optical track is as good as it's going to be, and the (70mm) magnetic sound stripes still have all their oxides. Ever hear of "new car smell"? Well, movies had a "new film smell" that was just as distinctive.

Good times, my friends.

I was glad to make a film on 16mm myself, and got that smell when it came back from a lab that no longer exists!

Ouran High School Dropout wrote:
For any 35mm material that old, my concern here would be decay of the film emulsion, sometimes called "vinegar syndrome". After 20 years, I'd expect the image to be decomposed, especially if the print was carelessly stored.

Most of my prints are still pretty well stored for being in basic room temperatures.

FLCLGainax wrote:
I remember the audience at the Angelika in NY breaking out in fits of nervous laughter at some of the violent scenes. Hope modern audiences watching this in a theater are a bit more mindful these days.

When I saw Mononoke at a mall cinema that had it back when Miramax had it, I had to be in a theater of children, they all couldn't shut up, not even at the very end of the film and it's the single kodama on the screen that festered out giggles. The experience was ruined for me. Let this be a lesson to parents out there, don't take your kids to this until they're at least 13!

AholePony wrote:
I saw Dunkirk on film this year and really enjoyed the fit with that movie. The slight vignetting and inconsistent brightness added a lot to the experience, I have no regrets on that one. Weirdest part was hearing the projector roll, we're so used to not hearing it flickering away that it caught me off guard lol.

Anyone who grew up in grade school during the 70's and 80's would've been familiar with that noise anyway, though theaters technically would have soundproof booths those projectors would be in anyway.


EricJ2 wrote:
We need film preservationists working for digital, not against it, as digital is making films easier to be shown (less transportation and damage, less wear and tear on the prints), if only we had studio and theater management more interested in SHOWING them.

I wish more theater companies knew that.

Quote:
It wasn't "nervous" laughter, it was just the need to get some sense of entertainment out of the two-and-a-half hours, after being pounded over the head with Miyazaki's Important Downbeat Eco-Philosophical Statement About Conflict And War.
This was, for many historical reasons, NOT the movie you show to an audience that had just found out about Ghibli after Kiki and Cagliostro.

Thank you, parents just don't understand!

Quote:
The biggest reaction our original '99 audience got was applause for the two horses that suddenly stopped "Why are we still running?" after their riders were graphically shot off.

Wouldn't blame you if that was the same all over. There were these moments that could fester a giggle to the 'right person'.

zaphdash wrote:
To more directly answer the specific question that was posed: I'm not sure which specific theatres the asker is looking at, although I'm aware IFC Center is showing a bunch of Ghibli movies over the next few weeks (not sure if they're in 35mm). I caught Kiki's Delivery Service in 35mm at Sunshine Cinema three or four years ago and the print they used was in great shape. I don't think I've seen a 35mm Ghibli print at IFC, but they're definitely a theatre I would trust not to show a worn down old print. So if seeing something on film is something you appreciate in general, then yes, catching a Ghibli movie in 35mm is probably worth it.

I just wish I could get that in Toledo.

Quote:
Of course, a lot of people (bafflingly) don't even notice motion smoothing on their TVs, so I'm guessing that the distinction between film or digital is also one that's lost on many people, and if you're one of those people, then you can probably afford to skip the 35mm screenings. It's kind of up to you. There's no guarantee that you, personally, will feel like you got much out of it.

I blame 120Hz.

leafy sea dragon wrote:
To be fair, motion smoothing seems to have been programmed with live sports in mind, and they don't look too bad. And live sports is something people often watch as a group in public places, in sports bars and other related venues. But yeah, I can detect motion smoothing pretty much instantly, especially when applied to 2-D animation (and usually to 3-D animation as well), and it looks gross.

it just makes movies ugly.

Quote:
Of course, when YouTube's crop and stretch tags were new, I kept getting pressured by people to use the tags on my 4:3 videos to stretch them out to 16:9. Some of them genuinely thought that the stretch tags added visual content to the videos themselves (one of them actually referred to it as "magic will happen" and ignored any attempts I made to explain to him what the stretch tags were actually doing). Inversely, there were also a bunch of uploaders who did just that, stretching out a video meant to be in 4:3. Sometimes, they were unaware of it, but sometimes, they did it on purpose knowing that, at that time, there were more people on YouTube who would rather watch a stretched-out video than a video with pillarboxes. In short, most people are clueless about picture quality of things they watch.

There's always going to be clueless people out there.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Sakagami Tomoyo



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 610
Location: Melbourne, VIC, Australia
PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 1:34 am Reply with quote
Wow, that was one of the more educational Answermans I've read. I learned a lot of fascinating detail about 35mm film.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
PurpleWarrior13



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
Posts: 1731
PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 2:11 am Reply with quote
I will argue to hell and back that film photography (16mm, 35mm, and 65mm) is still superior to digital in basically every way outside of convenience, but that’s technically another discussion.

Film projection is a different story. I would still argue that the image on a fresh print looks better than digital, especially in IMAX 70mm, but it’s such a nightmare to deal with, there really is less of a need for film today. I work in a movie theater that converted to full digital back in 2012 (the last 35mm show was Battleship). It definitely has its own unique problems. Every once in a blue moon, the computer will freeze, and show’s over. The audio needs constant resetting, or else it will sound very tinny and distorted. Sometimes the system crashes before a show, and the audience is treated to a desktop background before everything is reset.

However, these problems are relatively small compared to the issues with film, like Justin mentioned. I’ll never forget watching Finding Nemo when I was 9, and being distracted by the constant dirt and scratches, just because we saw the movie a month after it came out. A manager where I work says that when he worked at a different theater, someone loaded Star Wars: The Phantom Menace into the projector incorrectly on opening night. The first show played just fine, but every show after had a neon green scratch running along the side. Oops. My film professor used to work at a cinema, and says that when Titanic was playing, they ran the prints so much, they would literally fall apart in the projector, and they had to order new ones from Paramount.

But I love movies, and I love film. I would love to see another show in 35mm (I think the last one I saw was Scream 4) for the novelty alone. The only anime movie I ever saw in 35mm was Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie, but I’ve seen plenty of Miyazaki movies through digital projection, and they look gorgeous.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic    Anime News Network Forum Index -> Site-related -> Talkback All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
Page 1 of 3

 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
Loading next article...