All-Cyan Switch To Be Completed By January
Disney Converting To Dye-Only Soundtracks
BURBANK, Calif. – Buena
Vista Pictures Distribution announced March 22 that it
would this autumn begin issuing its 35mm prints with environmentally-friendly
pure-dye cyan soundtracks and, starting in January, issue
all Buena Vista prints this way.
“Our industry is striving to eliminate
sources of environmental harm, improve lab productivity
and theatrical efficiency,” said
Buena Vista distribution president Chuck Viane. “I’m
sure that other distributors will soon be supporting this
movement to cyan soundtracks and that together we can all
do our part to make this a cleaner planet.”
Disney’s revelation follows a similar, March 19 announcement
revealing that MGM would become the first film distributor
to release all its titles on dye-only tracks, starting
with the May 28 release of “Soul Plane” [In
Focus, May 2004].
Cyan-dye-only soundtracks are produced without
the caustic chemicals and silver used in the usual print
process and significantly reduce water usage. Silver-replicated
tracks collectively use approximately 20 million gallons
of water a year – enough drinking water for a town
of 75,000. Distributors further reduce waste by eliminating
the need to replace prints due to redevelopment problems
in silver soundtracks.
Conversion to cyan requires the installation
of red light-emitting diode (LED) readers in projectors,
as a pure cyan soundtrack
played on a white light or infra-red reader will cause
distortion, sound reduction or possible inaudibility. It
is estimated that the vast majority of the projectors in
the United States are now equipped with the red LED readers,
according to an MGM press release.
The release of these prints marks a significant
breakthrough in making the conversion to pure cyan a reality
which has worked closely with the Dye Track Committee,
a group of motion picture executives formed in 1998, in
the fight to replace silver tracks with pure cyan dye tracks.
LEDs also last about five times longer than
tungsten lights, and slowly fade over time, giving operators
replacement is due.
“NATO congratulates our friends at
Disney for taking this important step,” said NATO president John Fithian. “It’s
wonderful to see America’s movie theatres and movie
studios work together to improve the environment.”
Digital soundtracks do not require silver replication and
are thus not affected by the new process.