Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The ABC Cinema in a back garden

Every year the Channel 4 Amazing Spaces Shed of the Year throws up cinema designs that are ingenious or just plain wacky. They leave me slightly jealous (as well as wondering how people ever find the time and energy).

But this cinema shed is easily the most impressive I've seen for its attention to historical detail. It's not a cinema-themed entertainment room with a DVD player; it is a real, functioning facsimile of a 1930s-era supercinema. (The builder describes it as 1970s or 1980s era, but it hasn't been subdivided into lots of substandard smaller screens.) Not only does it look like a vintage ABC Cinema, but it is equipped with authentic fixtures and fittings such as genuine ABC carpets and signage.

The cinema has its own Facebook page.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Film vs Digital

In the Independent, the debate rumbles on. Or, rather, is endlessly repeated.

"No-one denies the magic of holding film or of feeding it through a projector."

Where this article differs from other recent efforts is in its focus on 35mm / 70mm / IMAX film as projection media, rather than shooting media.

"Prints for the films aren’t all in pristine condition but audiences don’t mind. In the same way that a new generation of music lovers are re-discovering vinyl, cinema enthusiasts are discovering, or re-discovering celluloid."

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk is being distributed on 70mm

According to this Guardian article:

"Nolan’s second world war epic the most widely released 70mm film in 25 years. They are piggybacking, to some degree, on the Weinstein Company’s work convincing theater [sic] owners to procure functioning 70mm projectors in advance of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight."

The article goes on to applaud the "automatic prestige" of shooting on this format - an echo of my own sentiments comparing 16mm to camcorder shoots.

Friday, 9 December 2016

More OFU films now available on YouTube

Just uploaded: three "new" OFU films from the archives. If you liked seeing the early shots of Stag Hill in the Rag '69 and Under Construction films, why not take a look at Peter The Cow, in which a panto cow tours campus? Then, head over to our most mysterious film, Kidnap!, a short thriller.

Finally, for a more modern look at student life, check out our coverage of River Sports Day 2000.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Danny Leigh: "Digital technology saved a dying medium"

"The ritual of 35mm is gorgeous. But it's only a ritual. It's not the movie."

Article in The Guardian by Danny Leigh.

It's an argument we've heard before, and with which I largely agree: it is more satisfying to make a film (or a photograph) without artificially constraining yourself by the technology. Unfortunately, one of the article's specific examples backfires: comparing David Lynch's gorgeous, thoughtful analogue Mulholland Drive with his interminable and impenetrable digital Inland Empire. Had Lynch shot the latter on film, the constraints of the medium would have put an automatic check on the director's over-indulgence.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Quit your job, become a projectionist

Article in Time Out.

Admittedly it's easy to be critical, but I'm really not sure about the inelegant job title "technical services technician". Or the hours. Or the prospects. The quoted pay seems pretty optimistic too ...

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Super-8 is back

Against all the odds, Kodak - which went bankrupt as recently as 2012 - has announced that it's "reviving" Super-8 cameras and film. Kodak's got a press release from CES 16 and here's the Super-8 Revival product page. They've also lined up a load of top Hollywood directors to sing the praises of this "analogue renaissance".

It appears that the camera will have built-in audio recording to SD card. When you send off your reel of exposed film for processing, Kodak will return it to you in digital form with the soundtrack synchronised.

Returning to the Guardian article in the first link, commenters seem reasonably split over whether this is a good idea or whether it is simply pandering to hipsters. At issue: can you do something with analogue film that you simply cannot do with digital? Years ago, I'd have thought this was a brilliant idea - shooting on OFU's 8mm and 16mm cameras brought an implicit level of professionalism that mucking about with a camcorder could never have achieved. But the convenience, cost and quality of digital makes me doubt this. Should we not be spending our creative efforts on the actual creative process, rather than simply selecting a tool for the sake of nostalgia?

Friday, 15 November 2013

Arthouse cinemas are facing the last picture show

Article by the Telegraph's chief film critic arguing that the Competition Commission has made a significant error in its handling of the acquisition of Picturehouse by Cineworld. It's comparatively rare to read a story in which a big company taking over a smaller, independent one is considered to be a good thing, but it's a compelling argument that Cineworld understands Picturehouse well enough to preserve its ethos - and its loyal audiences.

Leonard Maltin: "If you don't care about running a cinema business, go and open a fast food restaurant instead"

Video rant on YouTube and brief transcript extracts c/o Indiewire.