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Author Topic: Digital projection in the cinema
David Park
Master Film Handler

Posts: 346
From: UK
Registered: Nov 2003


 - posted March 17, 2007 04:21 AM      Profile for David Park   Email David Park   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well I've now been able to make my mind up on the incoming digital projection and the outgoing of 35mm in the cinemas.

Yesterday had a good demonstration on Digital film presentation and it blew my socks off.

It is equal to a very good 35mm print, and might be better. Definitely better than the mass produced 35mm prints used in the multi-plex.

The uncompressed digital sound is better too, I understand a 35mm system often encounters problems with the digital sound track, which is compressed, due to print wear and it defaults to analogue.

Yesterday the screen was standard cinemascope but tomorrow hope to see it on a 70mm/Cinerama deep curved screen.

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Regards,
David

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Paul Spinks
Master Film Handler

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From: Barking, Essex, UK
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 - posted March 17, 2007 11:42 PM      Profile for Paul Spinks   Email Paul Spinks   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think that good old celluloid presentations will be with us for a while yet.

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David Park
Master Film Handler

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From: UK
Registered: Nov 2003


 - posted March 18, 2007 03:19 AM      Profile for David Park   Email David Park   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The problem with 35mm is the poor quaulity of the prints which they mass produce. Hence many like my self have home cinemas and use DVD via a VP and do not visit the multi-plex.

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David

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David Kilderry
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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 - posted March 18, 2007 05:06 AM      Profile for David Kilderry   Author's Homepage   Email David Kilderry   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
David, don't belive for a moment that digital presentations don't go off with time. Some early installs have had their optical engines shift alignment and they look a whole lot worse than 35mm ever could. They have also been superseded already by the DCI 2k spec after only a few years in operation.

These digital demos are carefully stage managed beta test units. Remember how impressive 35mm show prints or 70mm road show presentations looked? Have you seen IMAX?

With 35mm projection the resolution technology is in the print and controlled by the studios and in most instances looks very good. With digital the resolution technology is in the optical engine of the projector and its processing ability. Highly skilled techs are required to maintain these units and your average multiplex projectionist is stretched doing a drive-in belt change on a Vic 5, let alone doing a delicate alignment on a Christie Digital.

This high operating cost scenario is scaring the hell out of exhibitors the world over. 35mm will not last forever, but its impending death is greatly exaggerated.

David

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John Clancy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1954
From: Cornwall
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 - posted March 18, 2007 05:11 AM      Profile for John Clancy   Author's Homepage   Email John Clancy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Where is this Cinerama deep curved screen? Bradford per chance?

35mm still exceeds the best standards offered by video projection. 16mm still exceeds the best standards offered by the top home video projectors. Sub £5k cheapies are given a run for their money by the best 8mm prints given sufficient light output. Sub £1k there is still no contest.

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Barry Johnson
Master Film Handler

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From: United Kingdom
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 - posted March 18, 2007 12:17 PM      Profile for Barry Johnson   Author's Homepage   Email Barry Johnson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well David,as you do not visit a multiplex you are not best placed to make comments on the state of new prints are you?
Yes,I am a Chief Projectionist with Apollo Cinemas and know what we recieve in the lines of quality prints.Its damn good. [Frown]

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Standard8 rules!!

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David Park
Master Film Handler

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From: UK
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 - posted March 18, 2007 12:48 PM      Profile for David Park   Email David Park   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes what I comment on is from the Picturville, Bradford.
This morning I have again seen digital in action, even being projected onto the deep curve Cinerama screen, and what I saw was as good as film if not better. Not a wearline or imperfection in sight, all I spoke to were as equally astonished with quaulity as myself.
This is the current standard 2K system with the Christie digital projector. There is a programme to finance and install 270 in the UK, think it was 270, if not 240.
Picturville was the 51st, and 170 done in the programme.
Engineer visits each one every 6 months to ensure correct performance.
Odeon have had 13 screens installed with digital to trial the system, it was stated if successfull all Odeons would then go digital.
The comparison of same film in digital and 35mm was with a standard print as used in muti-plex's, this had been specified to the distrubuter.
I do at times have to go to a muli-plex but not by choice, my grand children demand I go. It is just like I have to go to Mac Donalds from time to time.
Sorry to those who have not found digital to be as good or better than 35mm but I have seen it now on demonstration and " Oaklahoma" on digital last year and I do not fear this incoming system.

--------------------
Regards,
David

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Mark Todd
Film God

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From: UK
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 - posted March 18, 2007 04:50 PM      Profile for Mark Todd   Email Mark Todd   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I agree with David on some of this, our local multiplex often gives very very poor results, poor focus, different area or pic, ie in in middle out at sides, or top/bottom or just out etc and sometimes poor sound.
When its good its great but rarely is and if you go and ask them to put it right they simply don`t.
Not films fault but you get it a lot.
Best Mark.
PS I think between £500 and £1500 in the UK and much less abroad vp can give super 8 and much 16 a run for its money and often, win hands down but thats not what cine is about, etc etc
Aligned with HD DVD or Blue Ray its wel beyond super I believe evn on low cost machines.

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Joerg Polzfusz
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From: Berlin, Germany, Europe, Earth, Solar System
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 - posted March 19, 2007 05:09 AM      Profile for Joerg Polzfusz   Author's Homepage   Email Joerg Polzfusz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
If you look up the technical data of 35mm-film, you'll find out that its resultion can be as good as 8k with the current filmstocks. But most of the current digital cinema-projectors can only do 2k (and there are are already Super8-films that are scanned at 2k with no problems!). The next generation of digital cinema-projectors will hpefully be able to do 4k. But the data for the image will still be compressed. And the used compression algorithms are "lossy". Hence I don't see why digital projection should be better than 35mm (unless the film came from a 2k or 4k DI oder video-camera).

IF the digital projection really should be better than 35mm, the industry should at least try to archieve the quality of 70mm-prints IMHO! But the industry doesn't even try to archieve the full quality of a 35mm-print! It's a shame!

Just my two cents,
Jörg

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John Clancy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1954
From: Cornwall
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 - posted March 19, 2007 05:10 AM      Profile for John Clancy   Author's Homepage   Email John Clancy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
But then you've probably not got a Super 8 machine equipped with an HTI lamp Mark. Although I have to agree the new 1080 line system does give small format gauges a test. Just often looks a bit too unnatural.

I wonder how many lines the new discs actually provide. Around 800 I would imagine. Current DVD's are around 400. Kodachrome Super 8 is 600 but estimated half as much again due to the random grain. Release prints won't be quite up to this standard but you can probably begin to understand how good they are based on the Kodachrome figures I've been given. 16mm Kodachrome is therefore off the scale as far as video projection in the home is concerned. Any perceived superiority offered by video projection is coming from other methods... edge sharpening and enhancing the image on the place the human eye is likely to be looking etc.. Not something that can be done with film and hence why it probably looks so much more natural.

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British Film Collectors Convention home page www.bfcc.biz. The site is for the whole of the film collecting hobby and not just the BFCC.

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David Park
Master Film Handler

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From: UK
Registered: Nov 2003


 - posted March 19, 2007 05:48 AM      Profile for David Park   Email David Park   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Joerg, the standard is 2k for digital.
I'm not allowed to mention on the internet all I saw this weekend, but believe me as a widescreen enthuist I'm completely overjoyed at the digital film projection I've seen this weekend.
Yes if done well a 70mm print is really the best but the industry is just not going to film in 65mm film and issue good 70mm for projection. Sorry those days are gone and we are stuck with 35mm mass produced prints in the muti-plex with many not giving the old fashioned showmanship.
What I saw on a Cinemascope screen from digital was extremely good and the best I've seen for a long time. With a higher powered lamp onto the Cinerama screen it was equally impressive.
There were people from Germany in attendence from a Cinerama theatre in Germany I do hope you can check it out to see if they are doing digital.
It looks as if Digital is coming to the Multi-plex screens and 35mm on the way out. We can only hope that the quaultiy I've wittnessed is maintained.

--------------------
Regards,
David

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Chris Quinn
Master Film Handler

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From: England, Bedfordshire.
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 - posted March 19, 2007 11:20 AM      Profile for Chris Quinn   Email Chris Quinn   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Personally i don't think the change over to digital from 35mm has anything to do with picture quality, it's all down to costs. 75% of Joe public would not be able to tell the difference between digital and 35mm. If the picture houses see digital as more cost effective they will change. The initial costs of changing is expensive, but after that costs must be cheaper.

I don't want to get into what is the best format, but i will go with 35mm having a more natural look. I hope it is here to stay for sometime yet, but the next 10-15 years may see more houses changing to digital. [Frown] Maybe we will have to have a 35mm forum added. [Wink]

Chris.

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The other half thinks i'm up to something. Shes right of course.

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David Park
Master Film Handler

Posts: 346
From: UK
Registered: Nov 2003


 - posted March 19, 2007 11:33 AM      Profile for David Park   Email David Park   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Over past 4 days I've seen some films on 70mm, they showed wear lines and marks, colours varried between scences/sections, and the last one was faded to allmost red, and clicks on sound.
I'm afraid this is what will happen to 35mm prints will just not be reissued.
I also saw some reissues of films made in the 1930s/1940s on digital after resoration fantastic they were, I was told money saved on reprinting on 35mm goes to the resoration of these old movies.
I did like many of you have reservations about digital film having like you seen digital TV and listening to digital radio but I'm won over to digital cinema.
You just have to see this for yourselves, then make your mind up
I wonder if there is a web site listing these 170 screens allready equipt?

--------------------
Regards,
David

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Joerg Polzfusz
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From: Berlin, Germany, Europe, Earth, Solar System
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 - posted March 19, 2007 01:10 PM      Profile for Joerg Polzfusz   Author's Homepage   Email Joerg Polzfusz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Joerg, the standard is 2k for digital.
That's correct, when you take the current installations as "standard". But the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiative) clearly specifies 2k AND 4k resolutions in their nearly two-year-old "Digital Cinema System Specification V1.0". So if a projector wants to fulfil this "industry standard" by 100%, it has to be able to project 4k-films at 4k-resolution ... but since "digital cinema" is all about saving money, they won't even stick to their own standards.

Jörg

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David Park
Master Film Handler

Posts: 346
From: UK
Registered: Nov 2003


 - posted March 19, 2007 01:39 PM      Profile for David Park   Email David Park   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Information on progress of digital cinema screens

thttp://www.ukdsn.com/DSN/about/?section=Installations

hope you will be able to find near you when showing from digital and make your own minds up.

More on subject

http://www.artsalliancemedia.com/DigitalCinema.html

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Regards,
David

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Barry Johnson
Master Film Handler

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From: United Kingdom
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 - posted March 19, 2007 02:18 PM      Profile for Barry Johnson   Author's Homepage   Email Barry Johnson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Digital projection in the trade is not as accepted as you may think purely down to overall cost and ongoing maintenence.
It will still be five years before a mass adoption of this format takes hold.One reason for this is that someone somewhere invents a better quality system.The industry has to standardise to survive.
Whilst they are still fiddling with it,it wont.
In fact,that is one reason I personally will not adopt a domestic vp.
But then I am beyond hope,as I still use top quality Standard 8 gear.Poor old bugger.

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Standard8 rules!!

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David Park
Master Film Handler

Posts: 346
From: UK
Registered: Nov 2003


 - posted March 19, 2007 03:13 PM      Profile for David Park   Email David Park   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think a lot will depend on the Odeon, if they decide to go digital on all thier screens then surely this help the film owners who are the ones wishing to change to push other circuits into digital.
I guess Odeon will have a good percentage of the screens in UK. Thus giving the film owners the chance to say no more 35mm prints of new films. Take digital or do without new films.

--------------------
Regards,
David

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John Clancy
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1954
From: Cornwall
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted March 20, 2007 04:50 AM      Profile for John Clancy   Author's Homepage   Email John Clancy   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
David, you seem to be making your argument a bit forcefully here. This is, after all, a film based forum so you will excuse some of us if we prefer the nature of film to a computer. Up until recently my local cinemas were the Odeon and the Empire (yes, Leicester Square). The digital projections there are excellent and after the initial disappointment of an obvious digital image appearing on the screen it soon appears to the eyes as being as good as film. But it's not really. The first run prints these houses used to get were superior to today's prints. The distributors want to kill film so they can make more money it's as simple as that.

About 10 years ago you wouldn't have believed the appaling demonstrations and attempts to supplant film. At least they've improved and are no longer trying to foist VHS quality imagery on us but the principle is the same.

There are no doubt second hand projectors for the smaller cinemas already available which for smaller screens will be adequate, but it will give the poor mug attending dubious picture quality compared to film. Of course, aforementioned mug will be told it's digital and therefore better. And what does digital really mean? Compressed for one thing. But people believe what they're told nowadays. Take global warming as a prime example.

--------------------
British Film Collectors Convention home page www.bfcc.biz. The site is for the whole of the film collecting hobby and not just the BFCC.

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Graham Ritchie
Film God

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From: New Zealand
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 - posted March 20, 2007 05:01 AM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Well as far as the video revolution in the cinema industry out here in NZ is concerned it seems to have fizzled out [Roll Eyes] interest is now zero [Wink]

Graham [Smile]

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David Park
Master Film Handler

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From: UK
Registered: Nov 2003


 - posted March 20, 2007 05:40 AM      Profile for David Park   Email David Park   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Sorry John if I'm a bit seeming forcefull, but I can only report what I have experienced.
It is no good to me to sit in a multi-plex to watch a 35 mm print with soft focus, varring colour, scratch marks etc., and having to imagine how good it would have been in a proper 2000 seater cinema of yestur year.
I was not told Digital is better I was allowed to make my own judgement.
Yes I have been told digital TV and Radio is better, but for myself I've found it not to be.
Yes this is a cine forum, hence I posted in the General Yak.

--------------------
Regards,
David

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David Kilderry
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 - posted March 20, 2007 06:32 AM      Profile for David Kilderry   Author's Homepage   Email David Kilderry   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
David, trust me, digital projection can look out-of-focus, lack contrast, have varying colour and even stop part way through in a mess of pixels if not constantly maintained.

Digital is NOT a solution for 35mm projection presentation issues, it is a solution to the Hollywood studio print costs. Cinemas derive little if any advantages, but must bare higher running and maintenance costs.

To illuminate an average size 10 meter screen needs a 3-4k xenon with film, a digital projector requires a 7k lamp to light to the same standard. A 7k xenon is almost double the cost and lasts half as long. I have done extensive cost analysis as the former senior technical mamager for the largest cinema chain outside the US.

Digital will continue to roll out, but your local multiplex in 5-10 years time will be beset with the same issues as 35mm presentation has today......and a few more!

David

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Graham Ritchie
Film God

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 - posted March 20, 2007 06:39 AM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi David
Its a pity yourself and others have experienced sub-standard presentations [Frown] this is not the fault of 35mm film, this stuff has been around a very long time and entertained billions of people thats why its lasted over 100yrs, Its a pity we live far away as I could show you exactly what 35mm is capable of in both picture and sound quality. [Cool] The cinema where I work we take our projection work seriously and as a result we maintain a very high standard of presentation, and if the feed back I have recieved from our customers over the years is anything to go by its pretty good, [Smile] many of the films I have screened King Kong, Narnia, The Lord Of The Rings, "all filmed in NZ" of course [Wink] all look and sound great, I really doubt digital would or could be better.

Graham.

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David Park
Master Film Handler

Posts: 346
From: UK
Registered: Nov 2003


 - posted March 20, 2007 07:37 AM      Profile for David Park   Email David Park   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Graham, Yes I know what 35mm and 70mm are capable of with a well printed film and good presentation which as saved it from damage, I've been going to the cinema for 60 years.
I can only assume you get better quaulity prints in NZ.
I am doubtfull that a print with soft focus and grain can be made to look good.
I saw a 65mm film on 70mm print on Sunday it was straight from the orginal not an intermediate copy for printing and had no wear visible , it was superb. This film as been shown to younger people who have never seen 65/70mm in thier lives and they have been truly amazed. So yes I know good film when I see it.

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Regards,
David

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Joerg Polzfusz
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From: Berlin, Germany, Europe, Earth, Solar System
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 - posted March 20, 2007 08:09 AM      Profile for Joerg Polzfusz   Author's Homepage   Email Joerg Polzfusz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi,

IMHO in 99.99% of all cases the problem with "soft focus" isn't caused by the print itself, but by the projectionist who is in charge for all cinemas at once and is normally also selling sweets and/or tickets at the same time.
Digital projection doesn't solve this as the tests in the USA have shown: Pixels dropped dead in the projectors that are projecting enlarged LCDs/plasma-screens after a year or two, the rotating mirrors (used in some projectors) got stuck after a year, hard-discs/DVDs suddenly had read-errors, the PCs in the projectors crashed, ... .

Anyway: I have to agree that the projected picture of those new Sony-4k-projectors is "good enough" to replace 35mm-film (since most current 35mm films are already reduced to a 4k-resolution by the DI). But those 2k-projectors are all crap IMHO - every 16mm-projector gives a better picture!
The only digital projectors that managed to really impress me by now are those "laser projectors" made by Schneider and/or Zeiss.

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Chris Quinn
Master Film Handler

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From: England, Bedfordshire.
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 - posted March 20, 2007 11:31 AM      Profile for Chris Quinn   Email Chris Quinn   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This is worth a look...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_5260000/newsid_5261000/5261094.stm?bw=bb&mp=rm

Chris.

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The other half thinks i'm up to something. Shes right of course.

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