Release print
A release print is a copy of a film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

 that is sent to a movie theater
Movie theater
A movie theater, cinema, movie house, picture theater, film theater is a venue, usually a building, for viewing motion pictures ....

 for exhibition.


Release prints are not to be confused with the other types of print used in the photochemical post-production process:
  • Rush prints
    Dailies, in filmmaking, are the raw, unedited footage shot during the making of a motion picture. They are so called because usually at the end of each day, that day's footage is developed, synched to sound, and printed on film in a batch for viewing the next day by the director and some members...

    are one-light, contact-printed copies made from an unedited roll of original camera negative
    Original camera negative
    The original camera negative is the film in a motion picture camera which captures the original image. This is the film from which all other copies will be made. It is known as raw stock prior to exposure....

     immediately after processing
    Film laboratory
    A film laboratory is a commercial service enterprise and technical facility for the film industry where specialists develop, print, and conform film material for classical film production and distribution which is based on film material, such as negative and positive, black and white and color, on...

    , and screened to the cast and crew in order to ensure that the takes are able to be used in the final film.
  • Workprints
    A workprint is a rough version of a motion picture, used by the film editor during the editing process. Such copies generally contain original recorded sound that will later be re-dubbed, stock footage as placeholders for missing shots or special effects, and animation tests for in-production...

    , sometimes called cutting copies, are, like rush prints, copies of a camera negative roll. They are used for editing, before the negative itself is conformed
    Negative cutting
    Negative Cutting is the process of cutting motion picture negative to match precisely the final edit as specified by the film editor. Original camera negative is cut with scissors and joined using a film splicer and film cement...

    , or cut to match the edited workprint.
  • An Answer print
    Answer print
    Answer print refers to the first version of a given motion picture that is printed to film after color correction on an interpositive. It is also the first version of the movie printed to film with the sound properly synced to the picture....

    is a print made (either from the cut camera negative or an interpositive
    An interpositive, intermediate positive, IP or master positive is an orange-based motion picture film with a positive image made from the edited camera negative...

    , depending on the production workflow) in order for the crew to verify that the grading
    Color grading
    Color grading or colour painting, is the process of altering and enhancing the color of a motion picture, video image, or still image either electronically, photo-chemically or digitally. The photo-chemical process is also referred to as color timing and is typically performed at a photographic...

     ('timing' in US English) conforms to their requirements, so that final adjustments can be made before the main batch of release prints is made.
  • A Showprint is a very high quality projection print, made for screening at special events such as gala premieres. It is usually printed directly from the cut camera negative with each shot individually timed, as a duplicate intermediate element would normally be, and onto a higher quality of print stock than is usual for mass-production release prints. As it is one or two generations closer to the original camera negative than a typical release print, the definition and saturation in the projected image is significantly higher.


In the traditional photochemical post-production workflow, release prints are usually copies, made using a high-speed continuous contact printer, of an Internegative
An internegative is a motion picture film duplicate. It is the color counterpart to an interpositive, in which a low-contrast color image is used as the positive between an original camera negative and a duplicate negative....

 (sometimes referred to as a 'dupe negative'), which in turn is a copy of an Interpositive
An interpositive, intermediate positive, IP or master positive is an orange-based motion picture film with a positive image made from the edited camera negative...

 (which were sometimes referred to as 'lavender prints' in the past), which in turn is a copy, optically printed
Optical printer
An optical printer is a device consisting of one or more film projectors mechanically linked to a movie camera. It allows filmmakers to re-photograph one or more strips of film...

 to incorporate special effects, fades etc., from the cut camera negative. In other words, a typical release print is three generations removed from the cut camera negative.

Digital Intermediate

The post-production of many feature films is now carried out using a digital intermediate
Digital intermediate
Digital intermediate is a motion picture finishing process which classically involves digitizing a motion picture and manipulating the color and other image characteristics. It often replaces or augments the photochemical timing process and is usually the final creative adjustment to a movie...

 workflow, in which the uncut camera negative is scanned
Film scanner
A film scanner is a device made for scanning photographic film directly into a computer without the use of any intermediate printmaking. It provides several benefits over using a flatbed scanner to scan in a print of any size: the photographer has direct control over cropping and aspect ratio from...

, editing and other post-production functions carried out using computers and then an internegative burnt out
Film recorder
A Film Recorder is a graphical output device for transferring digital images to photographic film.All film recorders typically work in the same manner. The image is fed from a host computer as a raster stream over a digital interface...

 to film, from which the release prints are struck in the normal way. This eliminates at least one generation of analogue duplication, and usually results in a significant higher quality of release prints. It has the further advantage that a DCP
Digital Cinema Package
A Digital Cinema Package is a collection of digital files used to store and convey Digital cinema audio, image, and data streams.The term has been defined by Digital Cinema Initiatives, LLC in their recommendations for packaging of DC contents...

 can be produced as the final output in addition to or instead of film prints, meaning that a single post-production workflow can produce all the required distribution media.

Release Print Stocks

Film manufacturers, such as Kodak, Agfa, and Fujifilm
is a multinational photography and imaging company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.Fujifilm's principal activities are the development, production, sale and servicing of color photographic film, digital cameras, photofinishing equipment, color paper, photofinishing chemicals, medical imaging...

, produce stocks of film specifically intended for use as release prints. A "deluxe" variety of these stocks may be used to provide a wider range of color reproduction. The person operating the printer on which the release print is generated must take several factors into consideration in order to achieve accurate color; these factors include the stock manufacturer, the color temperature of the bulbs in the printer, and various color filters which may have been introduced during filming or printing.

Theatrical Projection

At the theater, release prints are projected through an aperture plate, placed between the film and the projector's light source. The aperture plate in combination with a prime lens of the appropriate focal distance determines which areas of the frame are magnified and projected and which are masked out, according to the aspect ratio in which the film is intended to be projected. Sometimes a hard matte is used in printing, to ensure that only the area of the frame shot in the camera that is intended to be projected is actually present on the release print. Some theaters have also used aperture plates that mask away part of the frame area that is supposed to be projected, usually where the screen is too small to accommodate a wider ratio and does not have a masking system in front of the screen itself. This may result in confusion for the audience when significant action appears on the masked-off edges of the picture. Director Brad Bird
Brad Bird
Phillip Bradley "Brad" Bird is an Academy Award-winning American director, voice actor, animator and screenwriter. He is best known for writing and directing Disney/Pixar's The Incredibles and Ratatouille . He also adapted and directed the critically acclaimed 2D animated 1999 Warner Brothers...

 expressed frustration at this practice, which some theaters applied to his film The Incredibles
The Incredibles
The Incredibles is a 2004 American computer-animated action-comedy superhero film about a family of superheroes who are forced to hide their powers. It was written and directed by Brad Bird, a former director and executive consultant of The Simpsons, and was produced by Pixar and distributed by...

Production and Disposal

Release prints are generally expensive: in the United States, it is not unusual for each one to cost around $1,500 to print and ship to theaters around the country. The cost of a released print is determined primarily by its length in feet, the type of print stock used and the number of prints being struck in a given run. Laser subtitling release prints of foreign language films adds significantly to the cost per print. Due to fears over piracy, distributors
Film distributor
A film distributor is a company or individual responsible for releasing films to the public either theatrically or for home viewing...

 will try to ensure that prints are returned and destroyed after the movie's theatrical run is complete. However, small numbers of release prints do end up in the hands of private collectors, usually entering this market via projectionists
A Projectionist is a person who operates a movie projector. In the strict sense of the term this means any movie projector and therefore could include someone who operates the projector in a home video show or school. In common usage the term is generally understood to describe a paid employee of...

 who simply retain their prints at the end of the run and do not return them. A significant number of films have been preserved
Film preservation
thumb|300px|Stacked containers filled with reels of [[film stock]]The film preservation, or film restoration, movement is an ongoing project among film historians, archivists, museums, cinematheques, and non-profit organizations to rescue decaying film stock and preserve the images which they contain...

this way, with the prints eventually being donated to film archives and preservation masters printed from them. The polyester film base is often recycled.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.