[Tig] the Talk of Telecine (report)

Rob Lingelbach rob
Thu Jan 10 00:30:29 GMT 2002

with apologies to The New Yorker, here is the Talk of Telecine.

the following is to be taken at face value.  The authors are not
available for comment and it can all be characterized as rumor.
However, this information is copyright the Telecine Internet
Group and not to be reprinted without permission, thank you.

state of Telecine, January 2002  
according to some far-flung correspondents

A number of telecine houses have gone out of business in
the last 1 or 2 years.  It is thought that this might be a
"correction", as there were perhaps too many telecines in the
market.  Optimism that 2002 will bring at least a leveling off.
Telecine seems to have gone back to the film industry,
for feature film release- there are 4 Spectres in Paris with DLP
projectors for digital color correction.  Film labs seem to be
doing well because they bundle their sales of processing, rushes,
digital color-correction, and prints.  On the other hand
companies whose primary market has been SFX and offline editing
with no link to film processing have been hurting.  DP's are
still shooting 35; Super 16 is giving way to digital Betacam
origination, as video-to-film is getting better and less
expensive.  Shooting HD is still at the testing stage.

commercials market depressed, drop in telecine business.
Estimate is a 10% to 15% downturn over the pre-Christmas period
from 2000 to 2001.  A figure of 200 layoffs in Soho was given 
in the press but very likely an exaggeration.

Mid-Atlantic US
down a little, fewer high-level agency jobs coming through.
Small increase in SD tape-to-tape sessions.  Overall maybe 5%
downturn, related maybe more to the economy than to HD
origination cutting in to film origination.

Australia (Gold Coast)
less telecine work than there used to be, facilities that had 4
or 5 chains are now doing fine with 1 or 2.  Grading and
maintenance are quicker, digital vtr's are obviating the need to
keep tk on line to save generations, grades more accurate so can
be revised more quickly, equipment makes it easier so chain can
be kept up 24 hrs.  Trend toward "technical rushes grades" (no
clip/no crush) and final in other media means less work in the
telecine suite.

Conversation heard recently in a Sydney pub:

Me: "How's business?"
Other: "Flat out, we might even need another chain"
Me: "really, we're dead"
Other: "uh, yes, us too- it's a worry"

New York City
tremendous decline in both commercial and longform work.  Post
houses dropping like flies.  Prinzco gone, as are most of the the
"second tier" houses.  Even Post Perfect in tatters but will
probably regroup soon.  Big players are R!IOT, Nice Shoes, Image
Group, Tape House, to some extent Rhinocerous and Moving Image.
Both labs --Technicolor and DuArt-- are down but trying to
supplement with DV, scanning etc.  DV is used for origination
only in documentaries, shorts, student films mostly.  The bulk of
production is still in film for both episodic and commercial

Los Angeles
almost the same story as NYC, but with so much more volume in LA
the effects are spread out more.  Corporate takeover of the
commercial boutiques in the past 2-3 years have lowered prices,
increased competition, lowered salaries, and driven many artists
out of work.  Substantial amount of work originating on DV and
more coming, many projects go through CineLook.  Impressions are
that the longform houses are doing better than the commercial
houses, but with the consolidation of commercial work the
remaining houses might be seeing an upturn.

Rob Lingelbach, System Administrator, Computer Animation Lab
California Institute of the Arts        
rob at film.calarts.edu      

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