Sophisticated media consumers did not defect from film to television, despite the temptations of economy and comfort, partly because they could not see what they wanted to see when they wanted to see it and they could not avoid seeing what they did not want to see (commercials) when they did not want to see them. With pay-TV and cable-TV increasing the programming offerings and with VCRs permitting them to zap out or zip past commercials and to rent recently-released films, they may succumb to the temptation of this second wave of video innovations.

      In a recent issue of High Technology magazine, Jack Valente, President of the Motion Picture Association of America, stated that in order to compete, theatres must "provide an epic viewing experience that cannot be duplicated on a VCR - otherwise they're going to be out of business."

      Despite these expressed concerns, the film industry has shown little interest in technological research and development. The last major change in the neighbourhood cinema was the introduction of 70 mm film in 1956. Even that undramatic change has had little penetration into mainline cinema. Thirty years later, 90 per cent of films are still shot and projected in 35 mm.

      New film technologies such as FutureVision and Showscan are taking an evolutionary approach in trying to enhance the current technology and improve film using existing equipment. For example, FutureVision increases the rate of film projection from 24 to 30 frames per second so that flicker can be reduced, illumination increased, making film more compatible with the scanning rates of video and computer technologies.

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