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Death of film disrupting Canadian film and TV production levels

By: Etan Vlessing for Playback Magazine
Jan 24, 2012

Film and TV production levels in Vancouver may have been down in 2011, compared to rebounding production levels in Toronto and Montreal – but Sim Video president Rob Sim insists his equipment supply house enjoyed record business in the West Coast city last year.

And Sim cites the victory of video over film to explain the disparity.

“Over the years, at certain junctures, there’s been people predicting the death of film. And I was loathe to get into that, with film still being a wonderful medium,” Sim tells Playback Daily ahead of his 7th annual Sim Video open house to showcase digital cinema technologies in Toronto on Thursday.

But Eastman Kodak, the film photography pioneer, filing for bankruptcy protection only underlines a near-death experience for film.

“When we look at Vancouver, it was a big 35mm town,” Sim says as he gets set to celebrate 30 years in business at Sim Video at his industry gathering.

Shows shooting in Vancouver are still using 35mm film, but levels are down, as elsewhere.

“Everything has gone digital. In terms of our market, we’re seeing the increase of digital production and a decrease of film production,” Sim says ahead of hosting top digital equipment makers and suppliers at his Toronto headquarters on Thursday.

Local multiplexes are fast transitioning to digital projection, the demand for film cameras is collapsing, and next-wave stereoscopic 3D production is accelerating the death of film.

At the same time, Sim confirms anecdotal evidence across the industry that production levels in Vancouver will rebound in 2012.

“It will be busier this year,” he says.