• New Patreon Tier and Early Access Content available. If you would like to support AVForums, we now have a new Patreon Tier which gives you access to selected news, reviews and articles before they are available to the public. Read more.

Question do film studio's still make film prints for distribution or is it all digital.

rampant

Prominent Member
Hi all,

was thinking today about how films now get distributed around the world from the MP studio's - do they still send around boxes of films to cinema's or is it all digital delivery now?
 

zantarous

Distinguished Member
Not knowing about this at all, but I would guess its all digital now and nothing physical is shipped to cinemas which is I guess what makes simultaneous global releases possible now. Unlike when I was a child/teen when movies would take weeks or months to make it to the UK as you only had a certain number of copies of the film in circulation.

I recall someone telling me about a trip to a midnight screening last year at Cineworld where the cinema internet connection went down and they had to abandon the screening so I wonder if there are some DRM technologies built in here as well.
 

VisionMan

Distinguished Member
Like @zantarous I'm no expert either but yes, films and movies are now delivered digitally to cinemas via superfast internet and from there onto the screen. If anyones got an article link on the subject I'd love to read it.
 

PlexShaw

Prominent Member
For film prints, Tenet is an obvious one recently as that has 35mm, 70mm and IMAX 70mm options available at select sites where they still have the ability to project film - Joker and Roma both had 70mm, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood had 35mm and I saw Uncut Gems in 35mm at the Prince Charles earlier this year (which feels like 300 years ago at this point). But most recent releases are digital only, and are presumably distributed via the internet to cinemas.
 

HMTB

Distinguished Member
Are you guys kidding? Are you saying that when we go to the cinema, the content is streamed online? If so, at what bit rate etc?
 

zantarous

Distinguished Member
Are you guys kidding? Are you saying that when we go to the cinema, the content is streamed online? If so, at what bit rate etc?
No we are saying that the content is delivered via the internet not streamed. The size of those files will be huge compared to home media. I would imagine a 4K presentation to be in the multi terabyte size wise.
 

richp007

Distinguished Member
Could you imagine it, having it streamed. Watching Endgame and getting to the bit where Cap says "Assemble", and then getting the little spinny circle as the connection fails. There'd be a riot :laugh:

Digital delivery isn't something I've ever thought about to be honest. Bet that's gotta be secure, and I wonder if criminals make many efforts (if at all) to intercept.
 

zantarous

Distinguished Member
So almost everything I have said on this is speculation by me, I really have no idea, just from little snippets I have seen and heard. Googling this I found this in the Independent from 5 years ago:


At this point films were still being sent on hard drives that you slotted into a server.

This link does suggest that delivery over the internet is now common as well


For the encryption part it looks like the decryption keys are unique to each cinema and server and I would imagine there is some form of call back home from the cinema to allow a file to start playing.
 

rampant

Prominent Member
thanks for the responses - interesting how its changed over time - even 5 years ago - they were using hard disks of only 500gb in size
 

Miss Mandy

Moderator
Back when I worked in a cinema the digital films were delivered on hard drives that plugged into the server. These would often come in weeks before the film's release, but we're all encrypted so wouldn't play until the USB stick or email containing the key arrived.
I was made redundant in 2012 because the switch over to digital projection meant my role as technical manager was no longer required. The schedules and programming were then all done by someone at a computer and prints no longer needing making and setting up.
 

VisionMan

Distinguished Member
I worked at a place once where a manger informed me they had a business internet connection speed of 5000 Mbps and had more than one. I'm going back 6 years there so heck knows what they are capable of now.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
I seem to remember reading the only lab in the UK that was producing prints for cinematic release closed, so all prints come in from overseas now.

Never seen the point of 35mm now we have 4K. It simply doesn't look as good. 70mm and IMax might have more going for it, but does it look better than decent digital projection? Different yes, but for me, the jury's out on the technical quality.

Our local cinema had a satellite based connection for movie download. It must have taken an age at those sort of data rates! They are now on a fibre connection back to the exchange and the whole projection operation is a sealed set and forget system. There's a volume control in each theatre hidden behind a panel, but that's it. The projection floor is a corridor about 7' wide with air con and 6 Barco Series 4 projectors. They are linked to a central video server and remote diagnostics and that's pretty much it. The amplifier room is common to all screens and again is fiddle free, with no visible controls, just a wall of quietly humming amplifiers and processors!

Each cinema has a local connection panel that provides HDMI @ 1080p max plus stereo sound into the associated theatre. When they do a corporate hire they have a pair of 10" PA speakers and a little rack that they wheel in containing a mixer, a couple of radio mic receivers and a stereo amp.

All very simple and tweak proof and not at all like the generations of "proper" projection!!
 

VisionMan

Distinguished Member
Our local cinema had a satellite based connection for movie download.

Thats the way Sky and BT Sport do it. Outbound truck to satellite, satellite to studio base. Then from studio base re-distributed to satellite, fibre and cable (Virgin Media).
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Thats the way Sky and BT Sport do it. Outbound truck to satellite, satellite to studio base. Then from studio base re-distributed to satellite, fibre and cable (Virgin Media).
Yep, I've booked quite a few trucks and slots in my time. The sweat on corporate events around if they were going to finish before the slot closed and having to call up the provider to plead for another 15 minutes as they were overrunning!!

Satellite broadband is a different kettle of fish though. Quite limited bandwidth and high latency - not to mention cost. I don't think they were using 1 to Many broadcast for film downloads, but it might have been the case.

I remember having to do that with adverts and syndicated content for radio stations in the late 80s. There would be an afternoon slot of a few hours each afternoon for all the independent stations to record direct to tape all content needed for the following week. This was usually on the regular news feed line, so you had to remember to switch it out for the 3pm news and do a local bulletin or your listeners would get a 3 minute preview of the advertising content for the following week!!
 

The latest video from AVForums

Is 8K TV dead? Philips OLED+907, Pioneer LX505 AVR plus B&W 700 S3 Reviews & Visit + AV/HiFi News
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom