NAB 2011 Annual Dinner and Speeches
On April 13, more than 65 guests converged on Del Frisco’s Steak House to attend the ever-popular, annual Cooke Optics dinner. The wine and beverages flow smoother than workflow, the steaks are Jurassic in proportions, and the conversation is better than most seminars. The evening quickly becomes a moveable feast as industry leaders from around the world trade places to swap ideas with colleagues. One of the high points has always been between the point at which Geoffrey Chappell, Sales for Cooke Optics, makes a toast and calls upon the unwary and unprepared to give a short talk on the state of the industry. One sad post-script: it was to be the last Cooke evening for John Bowring, ASC. He passed away a few days later in Hong Kong, enroute home to Australia. He will be missed by all. John was the first person called upon to comment on current productions trends down under.
GEOFFREY CHAPPELL, Cooke Optics, U.K.: I’d like to call on several people to give us an overview of where we’ve been this year and to provide some thoughts on where we might be going.
JOHN BOWRING ACS (1955-2011), Managing Director LEMAC Australia: Our community really needs to get together to promote how good film really is. This is often lost in the current digital haze of different formats. Aha. I see some vendors in the room ready for roasting…nothing personal about suppliers being past their delivery dates, but… We had to buy Alexas because Aaton has been taking their time getting their new digital Penelope to us…ha ha…but I’m sure they’ll have a deliverable one by the end of the year.
Certainly the biggest camera release of the show has been the new Sony F65 and it certainly looks to be an interesting kit. We’ll have to see what the price comes in at, because our model has been sort of changing, particularly in Australia. We’re always trying to do it cheaper and cheaper and cheaper–perhaps not as good at times, but it’s going to be interesting to see where the next year goes. There’s all this new stuff. The Sony F3 cameras, NEX-FS100 NXCAM Super35, other little cameras…The digital stills things has gone off like a packet of fire crackers in Australia. Everybody who wants to be a filmmaker buys a Canon 5D and considers themselves a film production company. It’s a bit of a frustration, but the core business on the film side…it’s amazing– it keeps going and looking good. So I think film will be around for a long time, long after I retire anyway.
At the end of last year, we got our Aaton Penelopes. We started our first Aaton Penelope features at the beginning of 2011. We’ve done our first Aaton Peneope 2-perf feature, and from that there’s a lot of other interest in doing 2-perf film. Because 2-perf is really such a strong format, as Denny (Clairmont) said. It is starting to become a strong way of getting film back into the marketplace. Many of our older cameras are sort of sitting on the shelves in terms of 35mm, but certainly the Aaton 35-3 and the Aaton Penelopes are very successful in 3-perf, in the marketplace doing features as well. These are mostly very low budget features; they don’t necessarily have a lot of resources like the two little boys over in New Zealand have. A lot of our features are being shot in the Outback with Aatons working with timecode and all that. It’s a very efficient way of making productions be able to shoot film and still come in relatively competitive to certain other digital formats. And with film, they have a glorious look.
DANYS BRUYERE, Directeur, TSF France and Belgium: Asterix. Les Gaulois. Tin Tin. No, actually we didn’t get Tin Tin. Well, it’s been an interesting year for us, and I think that the way the technology is evolving, we’ve always been centered around camera rentals. And I think that for us, the biggest realization in 2010, with the arrival of those prized EOS cameras which have sold 50 million of so far, is that we’re not a camera rental company anymore. I grew up in cameras and we’re not camera rental companies anymore. We’re accessories rental companies.
What distinguishes us from the private owners that have an EOS and that may have a little monitor and stuff, is that we’ve got the big kit, we’ve got the good lenses, we’ve got the good monitors, we’ve got the ability to provide films that need four sets of lenses and that need a bunch of zooms, monitoring galore, and need service for all of that. Probably a lot of people have already realized this, but for us, this was a real realization. It’s this thing that the cameras of today are disposable. We don’t care about the cameras anymore. It’s not about the Alexa, because the Alexa today is great. Good camera, I’m not complaining. Next week, it may be the Epic when the Epic finally delivers. After the Epic, it will be something else. We’re really just tying on sensors to what the real core of our business is today: providing good lenses. (applause).
No, no, but it’s true. The biggest part of our business today, when we look at how we structure our rentals, the biggest part of the investments that we put out on a set today is not cameras. In Arricam days, we’d have a 400,000 euro Arricam kit, we’d have 180,000 euros of lenses, and then we’d have 40,000 or 60,000 euros of accessories and monitoring. Today, that’s all shifted. Now, we can provide a 2,000 euro EOS with 100,000 euros worth of lenses, and 60,000 euros worth of monitoring. So that’s where our business is today. And that, for us, is the realization that cameras today are disposable. What stays is the glass.
JUAN PABLO FABRES, JPF Cine S.A. Chile: I totally agree with Danys about the camera issue. Being a still photographer, I learned very early that the camera is, I’m sorry Aaton people, but the camera is a box. The thing is the lens and the film. Or the recording material. I remember last year, Jon Fauer said that the world was going to be a PL world. Remember? And it is. It has changed into that. I remember my impression last year at NAB was that the world was be in total darkness until Alexa appeared. Remember? Because Alexa brought us the light. It created quite an impact. I have never seen a camera so much requested. It changed the whole thing. It’s like Red was the camera that everybody was talking about up to then. And then cinematographers felt very comfortable with a digital camera that handled like a film camera. But the world became PL. Alexa had a real impact.
Film is alive. And it will last as long as Kodak doesn’t mess things up. The film manufacturers need to do a better job promoting film—the way we are here tonight. Fujifilm is doing a better job in our market. Last year was a very interesting year. We all worked a lot. In my country, we had the earthquake, and three days after the earthquake, we kept shooting. We lost some foreign customers because they were a little afraid of an 8.8 earthquake, but I don’t blame them.
But we kept shooting the whole year. And then, this year’s been a wonderful year. We are not receiving too many American crews, and that’s good for you guys because the dollar is too weak. As soon as the dollar gets some strength, Americans will be back, but Europeans are moving a lot. And there are many countries that are looking for other locations. And they will find their Cooke lenses everywhere, because Les Zellan is doing a fantastic job, both into selling and building, but maybe not delivering. Delivery, I’m sorry, is slow—maybe because we are so far away.
BARRY MEASURE, Take 2 Films, London, Manchester, South Africa: I suppose from the British point of view, after having stood aside a bit for the last six months, I’m back in the industry. I can only talk about the beginning of 2010, and my recent history at Take 2. I think the biggest movement has been the movement into 3D. I think it’s no secret.
In the British Isles, we’ve probably got three major productions shooting 3D. We’ve had probably six shoot over the last two years. And I had an interesting discussion with Danys, because I would have agreed with him that 3D isn’t a very good business model. Because you can’t see what the advantages are except that the consumer products in the TV market is normally what drives the acquisition end. So, why this interest in 3D? And I read a very interesting article which I shared with Danys, and I’ll share with you. Which is that 3D is probably the most difficult thing for pirates to pirate.
There was a cost benefit analysis which showed that in fact, shooting a 3D movie for a producer was more cost effective than shooting it 2D. So, I think the biggest move apart from digital versus film, which is a debate that will carry on for a bit longer, I think film has still got a place in acquisition. I think we’re probably looking at 3D not going away on this occasion. There’s been lots of sections of time where 3D has come and gone, but I think this time it’s here to stay. And it’s here to stay because producers are always looking at the bottom line.
And for them, the bottom line says it’s a format that’s worth pursuing. Which is probably good news for Cooke, because if you’ll shoot in 3D, you need two sets of lenses. [Laughter] Probably great news for Red and Arri because you’re going to need two cameras. But for us in the facilities industry, it probably means a lot of thinking outside the box, because there are systems that are around which could help us in not only simplifying the system, but also making the system more user-friendly. So, I think that’s the biggest movement I’ve seen. Film versus digital is a debate, but I think the real essence, certainly from the British perspective, is 3D movies.
TARUN KUMAR, Anand Cine Service, India: Good evening, friends. We are in the same situation as service providers like everyone else, like most of you, if not all of you, to provide the best services to the customer, be it film or digital. And to just tell you, our company has been very strong in film, being a 60 year old company.
But we have not resisted the advent of digital, and we are supporting it to the maximum extent by providing an end to end solution. Not just camera rental, but including the post as well. So, we make it most comfortable for the client. We study the workflow, we understand, and we conduct workshops and classes for our clients to understand and be most comfortable with the workflow which, as John said, is a big haze or a maze. Both terms are apt. Additionally, from our perspective, we also have the responsibility of upgrading our workforce who have been very loyal to us. India is a slightly different market.
India is very unique in the sense that our equipment goes with our people. There’s no dry rental at all. There have been people who have been with us for not less than 20, 25 years. And some people have, by themselves, upgraded to the latest digital technologies. So we invest in them. We conduct courses to familiarize them with the latest terminology, technology, operation of the latest digital cameras, so that there is no discomfort, there is no confusion on set. Because these guys have developed a rapport with the cinematographers.
All of our camera technicians work as focus pullers as well. And there’s a very close relationship between the DPs. So, the DPs are comfortable because they’re working with the same set of people, but a new set of equipment. This makes for zero transition time. We are still working to give more life to our film cameras. The 2-perf is quite strong, very well accepted, and in our context until three, four years ago, we are very strong in anamorphic. Shooting anamorphic and 2-perf is not very different. So, acceptance has been, I would say, pretty easy and pretty good, and we hope that it’ll give more life to our film cameras. Film, on the film side, because we also have the full chain, including the laboratory and film stock supply and conversion of Kodak stock in our factories in India.
Digital, on the digital side, we have accepted it whole heartedly with open arms, and we are supporting it fully with the latest digital technologies. We have been the first ones to get ARRI Alexas in India, the Codex systems in India, and Weisscams where we have excellent support from P+S Technik. So, it’s not very different from anywhere else in the world except for the fact that a lot of senior DPs want to try digital, but they don’t understand or maybe they’re too, how do you say it—hesitant. Or patience—perhaps they don’t have the patience to go through the steps of digital. But we are supporting it in a very, very strong way, and trying to give everyone a very comfortable life. That’s it. Thank you.
GEOFFREY CHAPPELL: I would just like to add to that. I feel very closely connected to Anand Cine Service, seeing the transformation over the last few years. A company that was shooting anamorphic, not Super 35 with Arriflex 35-3 and 435 cameras, which I think were their top cameras—it’s great to see how they’ve invested in the future. They have a very large processing and printing facility. They saw the laboratory side diminishing in business, so they invested heavily into digital. And they’re probably the second largest facility provider outside L.A. of the Pablo from Quantel.
So, their investment has been enormous. I mean, I’d just like you all to remember that to keep on top of the industry, you have to invest in the latest technology. And certainly from my point of view, I’ve seen both India and Anand Cine Service, and China investing heavily in new technology. So, they’re not standing still. They are forging ahead, and pretty fast.
ERNESTO MUSITELLI, Musitelli Film and Digital, Uruguay: Excuse me, what is the population of India? How many millions you are–
TARUN: 1.2 billion.
ERNESTO: Billion. Okay. We, in Uruguay, are just three million. Hearing Tarun, I really discovered that we have a lot in common between our two countries. We rent cameras, we rent film cameras, we rent digital cameras, we rent lights, tracks, generators. And for us, the biggest challenge we had in the last year was probably related to educating our clients and our own staff to the new technologies. And being a very small country, it was very hard for us to find people that are used to this new digital equipment.
In fact, at this NAB, we, really spent most of the time in the other hall with Convergent, AJA, Black Magic, Codex, and post companies. I mean, we really need to learn more, because now cameras are more related to computers. In fact, most of our investments last year were related to workflow and today, we had a demo at Iridas, tomorrow, Scratch.
We really see that at some point, the post production will be done more on set. We have not really wanted to be a post production house, but we see that we have no choice to provide some of these on-set processes. We have to learn how to service our clients. So, we are very happy because we like this new challenge. I mean, if we have to dance, we dance. But we also know that we have to learn and we have to educate our people and we have to educate the clients. And we are very happy because we really like what we do, so it’s not a problem. Thank you.
THOMAS JÄRN, Dagsljus Sweden and Angel Films Finland: In Scandinavia—well I probably should speak for Sweden and Finland, at least. Last year we turned very quickly over to digital. I would say about 75%, 80% is digital in the feature film market. The rest would be 35mm and some 16mm, not much 16mm unfortunately. The Alexa had a big impact last year for us. The demand is very high. Basically we are looking into working more with the complete workflow on our part, and the word that we’re able to provide the IT services all the way to the post house, delivering what they need to carry on, finish up the production. That’s about it.
GEOFFREY: Okay, now something very unusual. A Canadian going to China and setting up a rental business.
NOAH WEINZWEIG, Redgate Rentals, China: Two Canadians.
GEOFFREY: That sounds strange, but two Canadians going to China, learning Chinese, and taking on the Chinese! And taking them into the new phase in art and cinematography. It’s a very exciting time in China. We’ve seen enormous TV studios, film studios being built, the size I’ve never seen before anywhere in the world. I thought in India, Ramoji Film City, which is the largest film city in the world, already was quite mind boggling.
But recently, Les and I were in China and we visited the Chinese film studios, with 17 sound stages some even larger than the 007 stage at Pinewood, England. I mean, it is phenomenal. With their own freeway leading to the studios! Plus hotels. You have to see it to believe it. I’m going to call upon Noah who’s got a rental company with his partner Benjamin Graham, and who’s here this evening, to give us an overview of how they are finding business and how they’re making their way through the maze of, dare I say, red tape in China.
NOAH: I think you actually know more about China than we do. Okay, here we go. [Noah delivers short speech in Chinese]
GEOFFREY: I agree.
NOAH: Yes. [Laughter] That’s my speech.
Okay, the late Deng Xiaoping, leader of China, famously once said “Black cat, white cat, it doesn’t matter as long as it catches the mouse.” This is China’s sort of artful pragmatic approach to life and business. In rental terms, the axle [stet] goes something like this. Axiom, sorry. I don’t get to speak English that often.
It goes like this:
Red camera, gray camera, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s under $500 dollars a day and the client can return it in a thousand broken pieces with no responsibility to the client, and no legal recourse to the rental house.
So I say to you, brothers and sisters of the rental world, noble equipment manufacturers, Redgate Rentals wants you all to know that we continue to toil in the frontier land, suffer the humiliation of poverty, and expensive international shipping costs. All of this is for you. So that one day, you may inherit the glory of a 1.3 billion strong market. Godspeed and good luck. And officially, from tomorrow on, Redgate Rentals is moving to Las Vegas. [Laughter and applause]
GEOFFREY: I must admit, on my visits to China, I do thank my dear friend Luke Tai here, who’s from Taiwan, but relocated to Beijing and who does a great job for Cooke and many other manufacturers in China, bringing them the latest technology. Luke introduced us to Noah a few years ago and Noah’s been very supportive of supplying us and helping us with the locally available technology. And of course, they have mastered the language very well and they give a lot of assistance to productions that are actually going to China for locations and facilities. Redgate is doing a great job and I think we need them desperately to stay there. [Laughter]
GEOFFREY: I’m going to ask Denny Clairmont, if he would, to speak about the US market. But first, I’m sure many of you know that Denny was awarded a very high honor by the Academy, the John Bonner Award. And we would like to show our appreciation for somebody who’s worked his whole life, with his brother Terry, in this industry helping everybody.
Denny has never, ever, as far as I know and when I’ve been in his office, refused a phone call. Anybody in this room could phone up Denny Clairmont and they will speak to Denny Clairmont. And they will get an honest answer. I’m putting this man on a pedestal, but he deserves to be on a pedestal, because there are not many people like Denny who helped so many in this industry.
DENNY CLAIRMONT: Thank you all. We’ve been talking about technology. I’d like to talk about the state of the industry. Being really at the heart of the movie industry—I appreciate that all your countries have their own indigenous markets, but so much of it comes from Hollywood. What has happened over the last several years, the film industry’s been very, very sluggish. And one of the main reasons is that SAG and AFTRA, all these unions, the two actors unions, really had no contract with the producers. And if you’re a producer—well, let’s put on a producer’s shoes for minute.
As a producer, you spend millions of dollars to build sets, you hire all these production people, you set up your office, do all this, and the actors can walk out at any moment, even once production has started, they could walk out. The day they’ve all got contracts in place, SAG, AFTRA, the teamsters, the writers, the directors get a couple little teeny details ironed out, and it’s supposed to be all settled…until the next time the contract is up for negotiation. We’re not supposed to have any labor problems for the next couple of years. But already, we’re feeling the increase. We’re going to feel this worldwide. We’ve seen this before and it’s always been wishful thinking. Well, it never came true. This time I really believe it’s not wishful thinking, it’s a fact.
I get a little book every year from the Motion Picture Academy, all the movies that are eligible to be nominated for an Oscar. It doesn’t mean they’re worthy of it, but by the rules. And the rule is the movie has to be shown in Los Angeles in a particular year. Like, for a movie to get the award for 2010, it has to be shown in Los Angeles seven times to paying audience. The last three years have been 249, 250 movies each year that technically are eligible. But they could have been shot anywhere in the world. There always have been over 500 of those films—shot outside the US, but shown 7 days in Hollywood. A lot of those movies were not even very good movies.
They put them on the shelf trying to figure out whether they should they put them on DVD, should it be out on cable, what should we do? They run out of product, they are now secure with all the labor unions. So, it’s going to be busy. A lot of our work depends on independents. Due to the financial problems we had in the United States, it’s been difficult for the independents to get money. That is smoothing out. They’re starting to be able to get money. Because they get a lot of the money from Wall Street. So that is coming through. So we are going to be busy.
I want to thank Les Zellan, head of Cooke. You know, for his Cooke S4 lenses. What made it happen, is years ago, the Cooke S4s came out, the most complete line of focal lengths that Cooke ever made. And then we get these producers, excuse me, directors and DPs that we called Pana-people. Well, now we get them, and they realize that the Arricam is a wonderful camera, and they want to use our stuff. We actually had a director refuse to use equipment because we didn’t have a 27 millimeter lens. Les said, “What the hell? We’ve got 25mm and a 32mm.”
And the DP replied, “Got to have a 27mm. I shot all my movies with a 27mm.”
I approached Les and he now has provided all of us lenses with every focal length Cooke ever made, every focal length that Panavision ever made, and every focal length that Zeiss ever made. And I’m telling you, that has helped us a lot. Because we get these lists made up by Panavision users. All those focal lengths, we got them, no problem. So, Les, thank you for that. [Applause] And I want to get back on 2-perf again for a moment.
With the 2-perf, we can use the Cooke lenses, which is wonderful. We use very good lenses which I like much better than anamorphic lenses. The anamorphic lenses have all these strange aberrations. Having said that, the DPs and the directors, they like those aberrations. It’s an artistic choice, we can’t say right or wrong. But thanks to Cooke, we’re able to do these cameras 2-perf, use what I feel are better lenses, and particularly the Cooke S4s, and now the 5/I lenses. My only problem with the 5/i, is that I am on backorder more. I have some, but I still need more. So, I wanted to mention that. [Laughter]
ROBERT HOWARD, CEO COOKE OPTICS, U.K.: Could we please clear up a misconception here? It’s not that we’re late in delivery, it’s that you didn’t place the order early enough.
DENNY: Yeah. [Laughter] Getting back to the state of the industry. The building that we own in Hollywood. We have, right now, a little more space than we need. And we rent out 3500 square feet to a talent agency. They’re a very, very good barometer of what the state of the industry is going to be in the near future. Because casting directors, directors, they start looking for talent. When they go do a big movie, they book Tom Cruise or somebody first. That’s how they get part of their money to make their darn movie.
They say “We’re going to have Tom Cruise, this director, this particular actor.” But they depend on a lot of bit players, depend on a lot of supporting actors and actresses. So, months before we get busy, they go to that agency or others just like it, and say “Hey, we need these kind of actors.” And the casting directors. So, they know long before we do if we’re going to be busy. They assure me that we’re going to be busy, and they’ve never been wrong. Sometimes they’ve said, “Okay, the next three months are going to be a lot of commercials.” And they’ve always been right. And so, the state of the industry is going to be good. Again, I hope this is more than wishful thinking, but it’s a pretty good educated sight. And anyway, don’t forget 2-perf, guys. It’s here to stay.
GEOFFREY: I would just like to add to what Denny said. There is going to be a massive shortage of lenses out there, with these new PL mounted cameras coming out. My advice is, you should only be renting out your lenses with your camera bodies. We, at Cooke, have got three glass shifts going in manufacturing. But the demand for glass is the greatest we’ve ever seen. We are investing at Cooke by taking on extra people and training them, but it is a process that takes time to get the level of skills that we require. So we do ask you to bear with us at this moment.
Robert Howard’s (CEO) doing his best with his team and we’ve restructured the company trying to improve our output and streamlining the flow of production. But the demand is something unbelievable. Not just from you guys and you here have been with us all the while. But all of a sudden, we’ve got a new category of customers. And they’re competitors to you. These are the guys from the broadcast industry that have been with the Sony B4 Mounts. B4 Mounts are virtually dead now. A few TV production companies are using them, but the big swing is to PL. And all these are broadcast companies. I’ve seen an increase in my database of at least 20% new customers all coming from the broadcast industry. They’re all muscling in on your industry. They’ve ordered up the Alexas, they’ve ordered up many of the other new cameras. But what they do not have, they do not have the broad spectrum of lenses and accessories that you do. But they are muscling in on your industry, they are trying to cut the prices to get these long productions. Certainly I’ve seen it in drama around the world, but it’s to say, many do not have the in depth knowledge and experience.
Yet they are out there and they can be ruthless. Some are renting them out for ridiculously low rates. But they don’t have the sets of lenses, they don’t have the accessories.
Now that we’ve gone around the world with rental facility companies, I’d like to call upon Jon Fauer, who’s holding the microphone, so that’s very advantageous. [Laughter] Jon will give you his point of view not only as a Director-Cinematographer, but also with his extensive travels to the manufacturers around the world for his first publication, which we all hold in high esteem, Film and Digital Times. So, Jon, do you think you can hold the microphone and do a report?
JON FAUER: I’ll try my best. Well, thank you Geoffrey. I probably should not be here, because I was reminded by Juan Pablo that a year ago, I made a very interesting prediction which did not prove true. What did I say? That RED would buy Panavision. I was wrong, sorry about that. But I did say that it would be a PL mount world, and I guess that probably is true. It’s been a very interesting year, and you, in rentals and manufacturing, probably know better than I do where you’ve been this year.
But I’d like to throw out a few ideas of where I think maybe we’re going, based on some of the things that I’ve seen this year and at this NAB. The first thing I notice in production is something that should make everybody happy. Denny, Mardrie, Les, Martine, Geoffrey, Danys, Noah, Ernesto, Alfred, Marcus, Jacques… What I notice is that the bigger productions are gravitating towards putting a camera body on almost every lens that they have. This reduces the time it takes to change lenses on the set or on location. If you can save five minutes per lens change, that can add up to an hour of valuable and very expensive production time saved every day. So, we’re seeing a separate camera body for almost every lens we’re using. We’ve did this on some of our big budget commercials, with a raft of camera-lens systems ready and waiting on the camera cart. But as camera bodies become lighter-smaller-faster-cheaper, it’s becoming easier and easier to convince the producer to do it.
Scorsese was doing it on Hugo Cabret, Ridley Scott is doing it on his next picture. And so, we’re almost getting to a point which Fred Meyers predicted, that we’re going to basically attach sensors onto each lens that you sell. [Laughter] But that should be very good news for everybody who’s doing manufacturing and rental, because to save time, which saves money, on big budget productions, you don’t do lens changes and you don’t risk getting dust on the sensor when you take a lens out of the camera. Dust blows in, and then you take, ten minutes to try to clean the sensor while the sun is setting or the actor is fuming.
I was in Tokyo last month, and I saw some very interesting things. I went to one of these optical labs affiliated with the University in Tokyo, and they’re taking tiny cameras, like backup cameras from cars, and putting ten of these cameras in an array inside a baseball. You can throw the baseball and all these lenses are pointing in different directions. Optically, they’re able to stabilize the shot with a computer. The ball is hurtling through space, and they use complicated algorithms and computer post production to keep the horizon level and make the ball look like it’s flying smoothly through the air.
I think we’re going to wind up with more cameras, more lenses, more technology, which is great for everybody in this room. Technique is driving technology, and vice versa.
Where are we going in high end production? It’s definitely a PL mount world. Geoffrey, you said that the B4 mounts are going down. Les, you were one of the few people in the world who predicted this. You were here five or six years ago saying it’s going to be a PL world. And you were absolutely right. Even the small, home video cameras are going 35mm format PL.
I think the consumer electronics industry is also going to drive something that probably we’ve all thought of. It seems like every three years, the consumer electronics industry comes out with something that makes everything else, up to that point, obsolete. Well, we’ve already bought our HD flat screens and our 3D flat panel TVs, so what do we have to next? Not 2K flat panel TVs, but 4K consumer TV sets. I think that is driving something that’s the next step, and that’s going to be 4K. 4K of course, is, has been and can be film. But 4K is also going to be 4K digital. I think that’s one of the areas that’s going to be driving something. There are now ten thousand digital 4K projectors in the world. I was looking at a test recently. With digital 4K projection, you can sit in the front row and you don’t see grain, lines, gate weave or artifacts. You’re just as happy in the front row as you are in the back row. That is going to drive something for all of us.
This NAB 2011 has been like the magic moment where a switch was pushed, and the two formats, film and digital, have truly converged. See you next year.
LES ZELLAN, Chairman of Cooke Optics: I’ve pushed /i Technology now for about eight or nine years. Sometimes to the detriment of Cooke, or some people thought so. But I really believe that the data and information is the key. I think what we’re seeing now is that /i Technology is coming into its own as metadata in the digital world. It’s certainly important. It’s easier to collect in the new cameras from Sony, and from Aaton with Penelope. It’s being very useful on the set. I have to thank Jacques Delacoux at Transvideo. He’s been a real asset and proponent of metadata.
He approached us to use the metadata in his monitors, and we’ve seen it firsthand and used on Hugo Cabret in Paris and London, that shot last year and early this year. They were actually taking Transvideo monitors, looking at the metadata they displayed along with other information, and were able to make decisions. It’s really coming into its own. Thanks for the support from you, Jacques, from Aaton, Sony and from the other manufacturers. We have a website: imetadata.net
It shows there are quite a few companies and quite a lot of manufacturers that are getting behind the /i System for metadata, and it’s very gratifying.
I know it’s getting late and it’s time to go to bed probably, but a few things. I said when the RED was coming out, that all of a sudden people are going to buy these inexpensive cameras and need a quarter of a million dollars worth of accessories and lenses to make them at home in the professional world. And I think that’s been proven true. The cameras have become a commodity, which is good for us. Because, I used to see ARRI in the end credits, and think, “Boy, if people only knew it was the lenses.” Well, people really are starting to appreciate the glass, and that’s nice to see.
I’ll mention 4K just briefly, because it came up at a press conference yesterday. You know, people say can you do 4K? Well, film is beyond 4K, and our lenses already do it. So, when somebody says “Can your lenses do 4K?” Of course, they can. In fact, if you do the math, you only need about less than 40 lines of resolution to do 4K. So, Cooke lenses do in excess of 200 line pairs on axis, which is about 20K.
So, be assured that the product that you’re buying today is going to be useful for a long time. And I’ll just leave on this. Chris Menges, BSC is shooting, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in New York. Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, and the director is Stephen Daldry. Using ARRI Alexas from CSC and Cooke 5/i lenses from TCS. I was on the set a few weeks ago. I was talking to Chris, and he said, “You know, Cooke and the Cooke look give me visual stability in this digital world.”
I really appreciate that comment because he knows he’s going to get a certain look and a certain quality, whether he’s shooting film or digital. And so, that was really gratifying to hear. And with that, I really thank you all for coming. I hope you had a great night, and thanks.