You could argue that when Arri introduced its first laser recorder in 1999, low-budget indie productions could finally achieve the look of Hollywood's biggest productions.
How's that? Lasers can output more energy compared to the then-traditional CRT film recorder, so a laser recorder could use slower intermediate film stock but run it at the same speed or faster than a CRT took to print to camera negative stock. This meant the new technology was cost-effective.
Next, since intermediate stock's grain is finer than camera negative, studios could distribute using polyester-based intermediate, which is tough and difficult to tear, instead of the traditional IP and IN for release printing. Since release prints could be made directly from that original polyester-based digital negative, first-generation quality.
Now, Arri is shipping its ArriLaser 2. Announced earlier this year, the new film recorder runs on Linux, records at speeds that double those of previous models, and supports a 16-bit image path. The updated GUI enables users to see a constant overview of recording jobs in progress and is claimed to greatly speed up daily operations because multiple ArriLasers can be controlled and operated by one application.
For distributing a movie, faster is better in any lab operation, so the new ArriLaser 2 offers much greater recording. The new top model, the ArriLaser 2 HighSpeed Performance, delivers a maximum speed of 0.8 seconds/frame in 2K and 1.3 seconds/frame in 4K. That's more than double the throughput speed of the existing ArriLaser Speed.