Daily Cinema Digest – Friday 24 October 2014

Ymagic d

The acquisition of dcinex by Ymagis has finally been approved by shareholders. This is the single largest and most important digital cinema consolidation in Europe as dcinex/Ymagis is without a pan-European competitor of similar size, facing instead competition on the national levels. From the translated French-only press release.

“We are convinced that the combination between dcinex Ymagis and will in the short term, create synergies creating value for all shareholders Ymagis” says Bart Diels, outgoing Chairman of the Board of Directors and Partner of dcinex GIMV (1).

Creation of the European leader in digital technology for the film industry

With the acquisition of dcinex, Ymagis performs an operation that will create a European leader in the provision of financial services and technology to the film industry.

Following this acquisition, Ymagis becomes:

The financier No. 1 Park cinemas in Europe deployed VPF contract with nearly 5800 auditoriums in 14 European countries;

The European leader in the sale and installation of cinema equipment operators with a share estimated at 20% of the European market;

Operator No. 1 st European network routing dematerialized content, with more than 3200 theaters in 15 countries connected in Europe;

Technical partner No. 1 Park cinemas in Europe as outsourcing and maintenance contract with nearly 7200 screens (about 36 000) under contract in 21 countries.  LINK

Dolby Logo

Dolby – Quarterly earnings from Dolby show revenue at USD $227 million, which was slightly above their own projections and full year-on-year revenue is up 6%.  Licensing revenue outweighs product and services revenue by more than 11:1 (USD $208.9 million to $18.1 million), so don’t be surprised that Atmos was not the first thing discussed in the earnings conference call (transcript courtesy of SeekingAlpha). They do say that “The amount of revenue we get from the Doremi acquisition in Q1 will depend on the actual timing of the close,” which is still pending approval in Brussels.

Turning to cinema. We’ve seen tremendous growth with Dolby Atmos, increasing our screens by 150% this year to over 750 screens committed globally. Providing content to these screens is a key focus, and we now have more than 200 titles released or announced in Dolby Atmos; which includes content from all of the major studios. 14 of the 15 highest grossing titles in 2014 were in Dolby Atmos and we have a strong slate for the rest of the year, including The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.  LINK

Read More »

 

CJ@SMPTE Conference – Howard Lukk Presents HDR Footage From “Emma”

Emma Preview at 2014 SMPTE Symposium

In an effort to provide updates on the proceedings of the 2014 SMPTE Technical Conference and Exhibition presently taking place in Los Angeles, CA, this post was written live, and in the present tense, during one of the event’s panel discussions. Comments attributed to panel members are paraphrased unless denoted specifically by quotation marks.

The afternoon session of SMPTE 2014 Symposium begins with a preview of footage from “Emma”, a short film directed by Howard Lukk, formerly the Vice President of Production Technologies at Walt Disney Studios. “Emma” was shot in high dynamic range by Lukk and cinematographer Daryn Okada.

Four minutes of the 13 minute film is shown. To maintain eligibility for film festivals Lukk can’t show the entire piece. Nor can he show it in true HDR at the symposium since the projector being used isn’t capable of HDR. Still, Lukk says what he is showing should give attendees a good sense of the latitude HDR gives filmmakers.

Emma” was shot in Los Angeles over four days in May and June of 2014. Locations included Griffith Park, the historic Mount Pleasant House and a sound stage. Okada used an Alexa camera with an open gate to facilitate a scope picture shooting ARRIRAW in the ACES color space.

Since the piece is a suspense thriller Lukk and his cinematographer strove to get rich contrast. Lukk cites the work of cinematographer Greg Toland on “Citizen Kane” as an inspiration.

One of the biggest problems on set was monitoring, says Lukk, “We were shooting an HDR movie and using and SDR monitor.” As such Okada had to rely on his light meter to estimate light drop-off in certain shots.

Lukk reports that HDR allowed his team to rely heavily on natural light, but that in closeups the use of (too much) makeup was an issue. “When we went in for the closeups you can see a lot of flaws in peoples faces,” he recalls. “I wanted to see those realistic things.”

Read More »

 

CJ@SMPTE Conference – What We Want To Do With More

SMPTE Symposium 2014 - What We Want To Do With More

(from left) Steven J. Scott, Ben Grossmann, Joe Kosinski, Carolyn Giardina and Steven Poster at the 2014 SMPTE Symposium in Hollywood, CA

In an effort to provide updates on the proceedings of the 2014 SMPTE Technical Conference and Exhibition presently taking place in Los Angeles, CA, this post was written live, and in the present tense, during one of the event’s panel discussions. Comments attributed to panel members are paraphrased unless denoted specifically by quotation marks.

The daylong SMPTE 2014 Symposium is being held at the historic El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA on the first day of the organization’s Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition. The symposium is being hosted by the Hollywood Post Alliance as one of the first joint events SMPTE and HPA are putting together as they work toward consolidating their organizations by May of 2015.

The symposium begins with comments from Leon Silverman, President of the HPA and General Manager of the Digital Studio at Walt Disney Studios, along with Jerry Pierce, Vice-President of the HPA and Technical Advisor at the National Association of Theatre Owners.

This year’s symposium is meant to address workflow demands involved with emerging technologies offering higher resolution images with greater contrast, color and brightness, high frame rate production, immersive audio… generally more of everything.

During the first session, titled “So Tell Me More” Mark Schubin, whose not only the Program Chair at the HPA but has a list of credits too long to list here, does a yeoman’s job of educating attendees on the intricate details, studies of image resolution, high density range, high frame rate, screen brightness and immersive sound. Schubin’s presentation is so heavy on acronyms there are enough letters to make a complete alphabet soup in numerous languages. Way too much information to document in a blog post. At the presentation’s conclusion Pierce rightly says it was like “drinking through a fire hose”.

Suffice to say, big take away is that HDR provides the biggest bang for the buck when it comes to audience perception, but that there is no stopping 4K for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that marketers have gotten their hands on it and the technology is ready right now. HDR, laser light sources (screen brightness), immersive audio and HFR are still being worked on. Exacerbating the problems with imaging is that each of the enhancements interacts with one another… and not in a good way.

That brings us to the first panel discussion of the day, “What We Want To Do With More”. Journalist Carolyn Giardina moderates a panel that includes Ben Grossman, a visual effects supervisor who won an Oscar for his work on “Hugo”, Joe Kosinski, the director of “Oblivion” and “Tron:Legacy”, Steven Poster, a cinematographer who counts “Donnie Darko” and “Amityville: The Awakening” among his credits. and Steven J. Scott, a senior digital colorist at Technicolor whose numerous credits include “Gravity” and the “Iron Man” franchise.

Giardina conducts a quick survey of the room that reveals a good number of attendees work in post-production, only a handful working production and that an overwhelm majority are engineers (the latter to nobody’s surprise).

Giardina asks Kosinski if HDR is important to him. “Well I’m real excited by it, more than any other recent development, even more than 3D,” says the filmmaker. “That’s because anytime you can show your work that mimics the world we live in with the color and brightness of everyday life, I think that’s a good thing. Frame rate I have slightly different feelings on.”

Read More »

 

Daily Cinema Digest – Tuesday 21 October 2014

The Space Italy

Last week’s big news was the announcement that UK/European exhibitor Vue had acquired Italian cinema chain The Space. Having previously expanded into Germany and Poland, this was a vote of confidence in the troubled south European market – though The Space is the cinema leader in an otherwise fragmented market, plus Italy had unless most other European territories an excellent cinema year in 2014.

European exhibitor Vue Entertainment International said Thursday it has agreed to acquire The Space Entertainment, a cinema chain in Italy with 36 multiplex theaters with 362 screens.

The deal is Vue’s fourth acquisition in the past three years and is supported via a follow-on investment from the firm’s Canadian owners Omers Private Equity and AIMCo. Over the past three years, Vue has more than doubled the number of cinemas and screens under its ownership from 70 to 187 cinemas and from 678 to 1,727 screens.  LINK

Wanda Cinema

China (PRC) – Wanda has re-filed its IPO documents for a listing in Shenzen. So much for the conspiracy theories that the first failure was a face saving strategy to list in Hong Kong or abroad.

Wanda Cinema Line, China’s biggest theaters chain, has re-filed its application for an IPO.

Its earlier attempt to float on the Shenzhen stock market in July was denied by regulators who said that its documentation was insufficient.

The company plans to issue 60 million shares and raise RMB2 billion ($326 million) of fresh capital.  LINK

Read More »

 

CJ@ECA Conference: Event Cinema Awards 2014

image

It is time to hand out the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards for event cinema, which is for 100K, 250K and 500K admittance to any event cinema event. This is to help cast a light on the success of events in cinemas. The second category of awards is excellence awards, voted on by the members of the ECA. Sponsor is Rentrak.

The first Gold award goes to BBC WorldWide for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary – Day of the Doctor, for getting more than 500,000 admissions this year. No silver, but five Bronze awards: Arts Alliance for The Nutcracker. Nobody from Arts Alliance is here to collect the award, but nobody is here from AAM to collect it. which is a shame, because they also win the next two prizes. The last two bornzes go to Omniverse for Muse and More2Screen for Pompeii, both of which got more than 100,000 admissions.

Mark Allen, Picturehouse picks up first excellence award and the second goes to Graham Spurling for Movies@. Final exhibition award goes to Mark from National Amusements. He is also not here to collect. “It is a bit like the Indian films awards” our host quips.

The first Excellence in Programming Award goes to The British Museum for Pompeii Live. Then Omniverse gets one for Keane and the final one is for Nexo for the live Cannonization. Caspar from AAM appears and runs down and collects his stack of awards, slightly out of breath.

Phil Grabsky, Exhibition on Screen delivers the Closing Address.

Read More »

 

CJ@ECA Conference: Practicalities of Live Cinema Delivery

image

The afternoon break out session No. 1 looked at technical issues, such as delivery of live events to cinemas. Fabrice Testa of DSat gave a presentatio earlier over lunch (which they sponsored) of the company and its network 1,300 cinemas, showing 50 events and 400 hours of content last year. Isabelle Fauchet is the moderator.

The session structure will include a tour of the OB truck parked outside the Genesis cinema, with a live video link into the theatre. “We want to show you the sharp end of digital cinema,” were the opening words from Arqiva’s Nigel Crow and the OB truck that could be used for small and medium sized events.

A Tour of the OB Truck

We got a walk-through of the equipment in the self-contained truck. Nigel talks the audience through the routing that the signal takes in reaching the cinema, having a choice of four different satlites (Thor 10-02, EUT 5WA, IS-905 and Galaxy 16), which can then pass on the signal via the Arqiva Winchester Teleport all the way via fibre to Hong Kong or Atlanta. It will be used for Manon from the Royal Opera House this evening. With that he signs off and prepared to come in and join Fabrice and Isabelle on the sofa.

Read More »

 

CJ@ECA Conference: New Business Models and New Technology

image

Micheal Gubbins of Sampo Media chairs the afternoon panel looking at new business models and new technology for event cinema. He begins with an anecdote about pensioners in his neighbourhood that book up entire opera seasons, go to every performance and all of them dressing up in their best operatic gear. Even the 90-year old gent.

Starting on the far end of the Salim Mukaddam, BBC Worldwide, who works on the music side on thing like the Westlife concert, in addition to Doctor Who and other content. Tom Shaw of Digital Theatre who captured some of the content we saw before the panel started (including flashing Philips lights0. The Matthew Aspray from LANsat/MPS. Thgen award winner Mariusz Spisz of Multikino in Poland (who I  just saw at the SAWA event in Berlin last weeks). And finally the Philips rep – Ronald Maandonks.

Micheal starts off with question to BBC WW about what it is with technology that now makes event cinema possible. Salim begins by stressing BBV WW’s television strength, being the biggest non-Hollywood studio television exporter. “Back in 2009 event cinema was possible and we were looking at things like Met Opera about how we can replicate things for things like the Proms. We split the world with By Experience in US and another company for Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.” Aparently the experience with By Experience was good [but what about the other one?] and they continued doing Last Night of the Proms with them.

They then continued the trials with Robbie Williams’ comback concert and Westlife, both of which were record breaking event cinema events. “It’s really about cost of taking it to the market. Prior to 2009 we would never have done it for the cost of taking such a film to cinema,” Salim states. “It is the move to digital that did it for us.”  The point is made about technology becoming’ invisible’ and now it is about the business model and the experience. Salim confrms that “the key for us is live, so if we can go briefly live over satelite makes it a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience,” as well as “cost effective ways of going live across the globe or near-live” rather than going out on DCPs.

Read More »

 

CJ@ECA Conference: Farsight Blueprint of the Future – Discussion Session

image

Christine Costello from More2screen introduces the session looking ahead by quoting Bill Gates about over/under estimating change in the short/long term, as well as getting it wrong (as Bill Gates and Microsfto did with the Internet).

There is no panel, but an opportunity for discussion between Christine (a true veteran and event cinema expert) and the audience. She starts off by giving a background to her companyand the industry, ticking off several firsts and partnerships with the likes of Glyndbourne and the Royal Opera House into UK and international markets.

More2screen has gone out on 5,000 screens, 60 territories for 150+ productions (as you can see from the slide at the bottom). What’s new in 2014 is the British Museum for the first archeological exhibition (earlier ones had been art-focused), representing new genres. “Where there is new technology, we want to be using it,” Costello affirms. Which ties in neatly with how they also did the 4K concert for Peter Gabriel this year.

Key themes are using new technology, building new genres, collaboration, innovating wherever possible and partnering. “That’s us. Now we come to the big question: how will event cinema change ib the next ten years.” Admitting that none of us have crystal balls, she sent out the question ‘How will Event Cinema landscape develop in the next decade?’ to leading members of the industry all over the world.

The question/statement was: Event cinema is on a steady growth curve and by 20202 will represent the following % of my territory’s box office: 5%, 10%, 15%, or other. In the US it is just 2% today. The majority seem to be voting 10%, with 3-4 people voting 15% (including myself and Hancock, so that’s the analyst’s guess) with Rickard and Isabelle voting for ‘other’.

Read More »

 

CJ@ECA Conference: Utilising the Intermission to Generate Ravenue

image

The second breakout session looked at revenue generating opportunities in the intermission, presented by Atena Simovic, head of event cinema department in a multiplex in Bucharest with 13 screens for past three years, during which they have had over 500 events, which inlcludes renting out the venue.

Their cinema organises live on-stage event, including stand-up comedy and concerts with full staging capabilities. “The first time when we had intermissions is when the distributors told us about the line-up of their shows,” she explains. There was a conscious effort to extract more revenue, but in the beginning effort such as opening new bars didn’t work. So they said, “let’s announce it and it started very slowly to grow. But then they had the first event without intermission. So we had an idea to have the intermission BEFORE the event.”

Initially this didn’t work because people didn’t shw up on time. “OK, we said, let’s create and Event Before the Event, which is a complegte experience.” So people gathered before for socialising, sharing and getting together as friends. During the week theyhave kids’ theatre, so they come up with After-the-show-Intermission with breakfast, games or face painting for their children, because the mall didn’t open early enough to do these events before the show.

They then tried product presentation and for an event that had not been selling well, once the commercial partner offered a beer and a sandwich for each attendees, the event sold out. “This is a little bit of what we have done and learned a ot in thr process, but we had questions; questions we want t share today.”

Read More »

 

CJ@ECA Conference: Marketing Event Cinema panel

Marketing Event Cinema

The first panel of the conference is a ‘big sofas’ discussion on the major and challenging topic of marketing event cinema, with a panel of truly leading industry expert. Each sofa sitter introduces him/herself  and provides a background to their company. There seems to b a friedly competition as to who has the longest experience in the field, with Cineplex’s Brad LaDouceur probably winning with the PPV wrestling events from WWF in the lat 90s in Canada.

The discussion kicks if with moderator Austin Shaw (Omniverse) highlighting the value chain, pointing to films having a long value chain of exploitation rights, but this is simply not the case with event cinema. “We’ve talked about some great success, but there have also been turkeys along the was,” so the question is how to make every event a success at every level, thus maximising returns for everyone involved. Given the limited marketing budgets, there is thus an imperative to grow the market together.

Producer Dione Orrom gets the word first, and she points to personal experience of living outside London and the frustration of meeting people who had not heard of NT Live (“Friends say, ‘I didn’t know that was happening’”) and school classes seem ignorant of things such as Matisse Live. “There is less time for awareness to percolate” for event cinema.

Next Austin points to the trio on the ‘distribution couch’. Craig from Altive Media says that they try to emulate film distribution, saying they have an average of GBP 60 to spend per cinema venue for posters, post cards, tralers, etc.. This is little, “but when Bon Jovi was done there was NOTHING spent per cinema. If they were lucky they got a PDF to print.”

BBC Worldwide’s Julia Nocciolino talks about building brands and communities around those brands, with ‘activations’ in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the Doctor Who event. “Innovating, creating unique experiences, which gets you attention in the press and that gets it out to a wider audience.”

Arts Alliance’s Mark Foster contridicts Craig and states that “we are NOT trying to replicate the movie distribution model.” He talks about engaging with schools, “since Shakepeare is always on the curriculum.”  (AAM has the rights to The Globe theatre).

Read More »