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Panavision having financial problems


Brian Drysdale
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I wouldn't think of Panavision as purely a film equipment rental company, they've been involved in the development of video and digital cameras with Sony and others for many years. What happens will depend on how this $1.7m plus the costs is handled by the courts and how potential any sell off is handled. I suspect the most likely outcome could be it being sold off as a going concern.

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I wouldn't place much trust in an article whose only interview is with Shane Hurlbut talking nostalgically about the Primos he used to shoot "Act of Valour" and how "they vignette up to a 35mm, which translates to a 24mm lens. Now that is nice. There are so many different lenses that have been lost and need a re-birth." WTF? :blink: This is the end of Panavision and the only commentary they can come up with is Shane Hurlbut talking nonsense?

 

Panavision have been in troubled financial waters since Perelman acquired them in '98. I remember going through a patch in the early 2000s working at the Sydney branch where every purchase, even a screw, had to be cleared through Woodland Hills. Nothing new here, though I imagine the digital revolution has hit them hard. Their big advantage is their lens inventory and the fact that you can't buy a Panavision product. Yet.

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Is it just me or does 1.7M seem trivial almost? It's not to me, mind you, but I don't understand how it could be so hard to raise that much capital.

 

I thought the same thing, Adrian. You would think a company like Panavision would have that amount stored in the cookie jar.

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Is it just me or does 1.7M seem trivial almost? It's not to me, mind you, but I don't understand how it could be so hard to raise that much capital.

 

That article said that most of their 335M debt was written off in restructuring. Must be hard for lenders or investors to have confidence after that. Maybe it's an opportunity for the high risk takers.

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Guest Christopher Sheneman

I'm guessing they just want to seize their assets, physical and otherwise, making such a fuss over 1.7M..

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I mean in reality, they could probably sell some older lenses for 1.7M easy and call this a day. Of course they probably won't do that. Another cool option would be maybe to release their own consumer lenses. Man, could you imagine the feeding frenzy of low-budget shooters if all of a sudden they could buy a "Panavision" lens for their 5D! I can see the jobs postings now... though it would be some money of course .

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Their Toronto office famously demanded payment for their equipment in US dollars all through the 90s when the Canadian dollar was very low against the USD and it cost $1.40 CDN to buy one USD. This really ticked off a lot of people as the other rental houses all took payment in CDN dollars. Panavision's philosophy seemed to be that they would service the big US productions coming into Toronto who already had USD to spend.

 

They ended up alienating a lot of potential customers here. Bad business decision and now they are paying the price.

 

R,

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It seems that Panavision may be having difficulties.

 

http://news.doddleme.com/equipment/panavision-sued-over-unpaid-loans/

 

This is news?

However, I suspect that the writer may not have gotten the whole story, since $1.7 million is microscopically small change compared to the amount of money that has gone down the Pana-Drain over the last 20 years.

Also, the fact that they're not making more lenses, may just mean that they don't need any more lenses at the moment.

 

Panavision haven't issued a shareholder dividend since about 1975 if I remember correctly.

They were only kept afloat through the 1990s by racking up about US$600 million in bond debts. Ronald Perelman paid about $28 a share for the company in 1997; it got down to a low of $1.25 in the early 2000s before he took it private. After that its embarrassing financial record was no longer open to public scrutiny and the record gets rather murky. It is known that Perelman spent hundreds of millions of his own money, to pay out a lot of the outstanding bonds, under the guise of a "Private Investor". Then, a couple of years back the banks seized the company, and Perelman no longer has any interest in it.

I mean it's great if you're one of their endless list of executives, but as an investment, Panavision was crap.

Shorn of all its debts, I would have thought it was a workable company again, but apparently not.

I'm frankly baffled as to how Panavision Australia have kept their heads above water for so long, because there is virtually no work here for them anymore.

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I wouldn't place much trust in an article whose only interview is with Shane Hurlbut talking nostalgically about the Primos he used to shoot "Act of Valour" and how "they vignette up to a 35mm, which translates to a 24mm lens. Now that is nice. There are so many different lenses that have been lost and need a re-birth." WTF? :blink: This is the end of Panavision and the only commentary they can come up with is Shane Hurlbut talking nonsense?

 

Panavision have been in troubled financial waters since Perelman acquired them in '98. I remember going through a patch in the early 2000s working at the Sydney branch where every purchase, even a screw, had to be cleared through Woodland Hills. Nothing new here, though I imagine the digital revolution has hit them hard. Their big advantage is their lens inventory and the fact that you can't buy a Panavision product. Yet.

I don't why Jim Jannard doesn't buy the place. The already have quite a few RED cameras and most of the rental infrastructure (where the real money is) is in all the accessories, which are generally format-agnostic and paid for ages ago. If they parachuted in a lot more RED products, got rid of most of their pointless management positions and relaunched the company, Jim could be a rich man :rolleyes:

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Guest Christopher Sheneman

Panavision is a niche product not a global phenomenon ripe for re-invention. Buy them and do what? Any camera company successful now won't be interested in this company's obsolete technology or diluting it's brand or confusing it's customer base for an imaginary return all because of a hoped for 'new' Panavision innovation which will never ever materialised.

 

 

 

Plus Panavision has always represented a divide between monied studio filmmaking and independant filmmaking. And they've been pimping fillmakers for the last 15 years too, huh? Well, I'll be glad to see them go.

 

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What used to sell Panavision was their system, they were modular long before RED came up with the term. I suspect how much you got charged depended on the local manager, I used to get pretty good rates from our local Panavision office. However, there was always the impression that the company was ever expanding and that's something that comes at a price, as the Royal Bank of Scotland discovered. Also, large organisations tend to have remote management with a particular corporate style, unlike Joe Dunton Cameras, where Joe Dunton had his desk on the equipment floor.

 

I'm not sure which divide between independent film making is being referred to, the tough part is attaching name actors so that you can get production funding and distribution, the cameras are the easy bit.

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Guest Christopher Sheneman

 

I'm not sure which divide between independent film making is being referred to, the tough part is attaching name actors so that you can get production funding and distribution, the cameras are the easy bit.

Brian, I'm talking about real independant filmmaking. "Clerks", "Go Fish", "Primer". Some of us don't wish to "attach" name actors to our films.

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Christopher,

Is it your own personal experience that the local Panavision is non friendly to indies or is this just a myth that you want to promote?

 

In Auckland New Zealand I found the repair and sales guys friendly, helpful and happy to do some tech stuff off the books for a case of beer.

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You mightn't but the distributors do, it's the first question they ask. The independent films on which no one gets paid, but with a small number breaking out the festival circuit have existed for many years. Funding an independent film on which you have a paid cast and crew is a serious commitment for a producer, unfortunately, the same type of people who are after the repayment of the loan we're discussing are also after the same from people working on the films.

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Guest Christopher Sheneman

You mightn't but the distributors do, it's the first question they ask. The independent films on which no one gets paid, but with a small number breaking out the festival circuit have existed for many years. Funding an independent film on which you have a paid cast and crew is a serious commitment for a producer, unfortunately, the same type of people who are after the repayment of the loan we're discussing are also after the same from people working on the films.

I just payed my yearly film production liability premium today of a measly $500, it's what indie filmmakers got to do on their own every year- did you know that Brian?

 

It's my turn to be not so sure about what you mean about independant film, are you saying the actors and crew are financing films and they'll be the ones seeking loan repayment?

 

Yes, one can spend her/his months and years in Los Angeles engaging in the art of deal trying pursade big shot actors to appear in their film for financing but it's that whorish and desperate, especially when there's so many good unknowns to choose from?

 

And distributors are just in my way because I plan on sending my feature film from my i7 desktop over the internet, straight into theaters.

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I just payed my yearly film production liability premium today of a measly $500, it's what indie filmmakers got to do on their own every year- did you know that Brian?

 

It's my turn to be not so sure about what you mean about independant film, are you saying the actors and crew are financing films and they'll be the ones seeking loan repayment?

 

Yes, one can spend her/his months and years in Los Angeles engaging in the art of deal trying pursade big shot actors to appear in their film for financing but it's that whorish and desperate, especially when there's so many good unknowns to choose from?

 

And distributors are just in my way because I plan on sending my feature film from my i7 desktop over the internet, straight into theaters.

 

$500 is pretty cheap for a year's premium. I've done what's termed independent film making when we were shooting on 16mm film, I even have a well thumbed copy of Lenny Lipton's book.

 

The industry meaning of independent is a production made outside the studio system. Yes, actors and crew are financing many films with their unpaid labour, I've done the deferred payment deal on films for people I know, but I know I'm not going to get paid, just some people doing this think they might get paid. Many do it to practise their skills, so they can progress in their careers, for others it's a hobby.

 

Good luck with internet feed into theatres, I know some local theatre owners sometimes do a one off special screening, but they're extremely reluctant to screen a film for a week to a near empty theatre. You really need to have marketed your film to make it worthwhile, even for art house theatres.

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Guest Christopher Sheneman

 

Good luck with internet feed into theatres, I know some local theatre owners sometimes do a one off special screening, but they're extremely reluctant to screen a film for a week to a near empty theatre. You really need to have marketed your film to make it worthwhile, even for art house theatres.

I understand what you're saying, Brian. That's why I have this awesome poster to show theatre owners that- no, in fact, their theatre won't be empty!

 

bearsonasubmarineviamoofc3.jpg

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