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21/12/2011

Film Talks Held As Digital Accelerates

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With half of all cinema movies now produced in digital format, traditional film is in crisis.
Officers from the broadcast union, BECTU are due to meet senior management at Technicolor today (December 21st) to discuss the firm's announcement of lab closures in the company.
On December 19th, Technicolor revealed plans to close film-processing laboratories in Madrid and Rome, and to cease the production of cinema prints in London.
This will leave just one film industry lab in the UK, Deluxe, still handling show prints, and expected to take over the work dropped by Technicolor.
At the meeting with union officials the company is likely to blame the closure on the rise of digital projection, which is now used in 50% of screens globally.
Technicolor's output of show prints, the reels of film needed for traditional cinema projectors, fell from 5bn feet in 2005 to 3bn feet last year.
With British screens also set to hit the 50% digital 'tipping-point' in the next month, observers have been waiting to see which of the two UK companies would pull out first.
No information is available yet about the impact on jobs at Technicolor, although the blow has been softened by a commitment from the company to continue handling rushes and other front-end processing activities in London.
BECTU Assistant General Secretary Martin Spence said: "The sad, but long-expected, demise of celluloid distribution in the UK has taken its toll on the laboratories industry, just as it has on projectionists in our cinemas.
"It is a devastating blow to a group of highly-skilled workers who take great pride in their jobs, and the union will do everything it can when we meet MD Simon Wilkinson to lessen the impact on our members at Technicolor."
In December 2010, Technicolor shut its 35mm release printing plant in Los Angeles due to the rise of digital cinema and loss of a significant volume contract to rival Deluxe.
At end of June 2011, there are over 47,000 d-screens around the world or 40% of the world's modern screens - which has now hit the 50% mark and rising.
(BMcC)
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