Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 1 October 2014

Billy Elliot

Event cinema has a new hero and his name is Billy Elliot, having grossed more on the day it beamed than The Equalizer, the highest grossing film.

Universal’s live stream from London’s Victoria Palace Theatre last night [Sept 28] danced its way to an extraordinary $3.1m (£1.904m), setting a new record for Event Cinema releases.

Based on figures from Rentrak, in terms of theatre releases, Billy Elliot surpassed the previous best opening set by NT Live: War Horse at $2.5m (£1.6m). War Horse is also currently the highest grossing theatre release at $4.6m (£2.7m).  LINK

Good timing for Variety to cast a spotlight on event cinema, which accounts for almost a fifth of revenue of some art house screens and has saved many a rural cinemas.

Picturehouse director of distribution Marc Allenby says a like percentage of his company’s box office comes from such programming. “What’s remarkable,” he adds, “is that that 18% comes from such a small proportion of screenings.”

In Sweden, not only has the sector been a boon to rural cinemas, which struggle to book new film releases day-and-date with big cities, it also has enabled exhibs to take advantage of new revenue streams.

“A court decision said that when a cinema is screening opera or theater, it automatically becomes an opera house or theater, so legally, we can serve alcohol,” says Rickard Gramfors of Folkets Hus och Parker, which operates 170 cinemas in the nation.  LINK

Both of them will be attending the ECA event in London on 16 October – see our banner and side bar for details.

AMC premium seats

AMC is pushing ahead faster than planned with its re-seating plan of upgrading more of its cinemas to premium quality (and pricing). It will spend USD $39 million more than initially planned in the current year. Smart or desperate strategy? The answer is: ‘necessary’.

The approximately $39 million represents a nearly 20 percent increase from the estimated $200 million in planned net cash outlays in 2014. Actual total capital spending for 2014 will be approximately $265-$285 million, before expected landlord contributions of $35-$55 million.

The additional 2014 capital investment will primarily support the acceleration of recliner re-seat initiatives, additional MacGuffins bars and IMAX screens in AMC theatres. As of June 30, 2014, AMC had recliner re-seats in 44 locations with 505 screens, 74 MacGuffins and 148 IMAX screens, which makes AMC North America’s leading and largest IMAX distributor.

In December of 2013, AMC announced a $600 million, five-year recliner re-seat investment. During the second quarter of 2014, admissions revenues per screen increased by 33 percent and Adjusted EBITDA more than doubled at AMC’s 44 recliner re-seat locations.   LINK

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China Special Cinema Digest – Thursday 25 September 2014

Today we catch up Chinese cinema news from the last couple of weeks, which I was unable to report while travelling. As always, the Google translation is not perfect, but as we do not have a journalist on staff who can translate perfectly from Mandarin (yet!), it will have to do. We are also saving the biggest piece of cinema news to come out of China recently for a separate post.

Chen Xing technology laser

Our favourite Chinese (digital) cinema equipment manufacturer Chen Xing has issues a list of “Seven Rules for Cinema Brand Building” that heavily promotes its own technologies and solutions, while also providing an insight into the company’s thinking and strategy.

Don’t forget what we’ve written about them before: “China’s ‘Last Mile’ Plan for Digital Cinema: Ditch Western Technology.” This is as much true for smartphones and airplanes as it is for cinema equipment – China does not want to keep importing ‘Western’ technologies but build their own (then export it). Such competition and innovation should not be seen as a threat but a good thing.

The Seven Rules are: acoustical design, sound system, laser light source projection, TMS centralized management and control systems, cinema ticketing management system and service quality guarantee system.

Chen Xing talks about the alternatives it will offer up when it comes to laser (illuminated) projection, as well as immersive audio, where its Cinelab has developed 5.1, 15.1 and 17.1 audio which “get rid of the shackles of sources,” and offer “the perfect interpretation of the Dolby (ATMOS) panoramic sound studio truest sound.”

Chen Xing fires a shot across the bows of the other manufacturers by pointing out that while not being part of the original DCI elite, it is one of the largest server/media block deployers in the world today.

Digital Film for film and television industry has brought tremendous changes. Especially in distribution and exhibition side, digital cinema technology has maintained rapid growth in recent years. Of course, these are inseparable from the updated device technology. Regardless nowadays 3D, IMAX, 4K and other high-tech marketing, have become an end shadow vane hall, the market demand for high-tech also “hubbub straight on.” Christie, Barco, NEC, SONY have launched projectors with laser light source, which means Hollywood recommended type of light source laser source trend.

Among them, in the digital cinema systems, as film screenings server core products while always being SONY, GDC, Dolby, Doremi and other foreign manufacturers, “occupation”, but with the development of technology, more and more Chinese national brand manufacturers Chen Xing Technology began as “emerging” by the market influence is also rising. It is understood that the field of the world’s digital projectors DCI-compliant digital cinema server products, market share and influence were sorted by: GDC, Dolby, Doremi, Chen Xing AQ series.  LINK

Imax Tianjin

Imax screens only account for one per cent (1%) of the total Mainland screen count but an astonishing ten per cent (10%) of the box office, according to an interview with Imax’s director in China Yuan Hong. He also reiterates that China’s total box office will overtake the United States, some time between 2018 and 2020. “When will we surpass the United States? Five years ago we did not expect to ask this question, now it is just around the corner,” he observes.

Also at the box office, too, “as the movie, the theater itself is dependent on bringing new grossing film screenings, but also for the huge traffic.” Especially as the Lunar New Year stalls, summer gears up. “It also shows that, for shopping centre developers, the introduction of a cinema format still has a very good future.” At the box office, although high, it brings high turnover, but the scene, Yuan Hong also points out is “broke.” “For the cinema itself the profit margins are very limited, even if the movie is good, it is quicker to make money from popcorn, drinks, toys and other Transformers. ”  LINK

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Event Cinema Association Awards Nominations Out

ECA awards

One of the key feature of any cinema-related conference or event is the awards and recognitions of excellence in its field.

So it is too for the Event Cinema Association, which kicked off with its inaugural conference and ECA Awards in London last year, where there was recognition for the likes of  Queen – Hungarian Rhapsody (More2Screen/Eagle Rock, UK), Mariusz Spisz (Multikino Cinema, Poland) and NT Live (Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time), amongst others.

This year the field is set to be even bigger, with a wider range of events, candidate and nominees, reflecting the significant growth in the field of what used to be known as alternative content (and is still is in the US). ECA has now announced the nominations (NB: voting open for ECA members only), with details in the press release below.

CelluloidJunkie is an ECA media partner and will be reporting from the conference and the awards. Hope to see many of you reading this there.

 

**Press Release – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

 2ND ANNUAL ECA AWARDS NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED

AWARDS CEREMONY ON OCTOBER 16 AT 17.30

AT THE GENESIS CINEMA, LONDON E1

LONDON – The Event Cinema Association (ECA) has announced the nominations for its 2nd Annual ECA Awards. The ceremony will take place at the ECA Conference on October 16 at 17.30 the Genesis Cinema in London E1, and the awards, sponsored by Rentrak, recognize the achievements at the box office that the Event Cinema industry has made over the last 12 months, along with awarding excellence in 2 key areas – programming (aimed at content providers and distribution) and exhibition (for cinemas). A multitude of records have been set, broken and set again repeatedly in an unparalleled year for this sector.

 

Melissa Cogavin, Managing Director of the ECA, said  “It’s so important in this growing area to give credit where it’s due, and recognize the incredible achievements that are becoming more an more frequent in the event cinema market. The last 12 months has seen some truly extraordinary and groundbreaking progress made at the box office for Event Cinema and the ECA is delighted to do what it can to raise the profile of these achievements and help grow the business so everyone benefits.”

 

The Award season runs from May 31 – June 1 each year, and nominations this year include the British Museum’s record-breaking Pompeii Live in June 2013, which although having emerged several years previously with its Leonardo Live exhibition and subsequent others by provider Exhibition on Screen (also nominated this year for its Manet exhibition) firmly established the museum and gallery exhibition firmly as a mainstream genre.  Crucially the results proved naysayers wrong as admissions at the museum actually increased further to the release in cinemas; audiences saw the cinema release, then went to the real exhibition itself, thereby viewing it twice. Worries about cannibalization proved groundless after all.

Other nominations include the NT Live’s stunning War Horse, along with the ENO’s critically acclaimed Peter Grimes, Henrik Ibsen’s play Ghosts which the world’s first Dolby Atmos event cinema release, the unique Canonization of the Pope Live in 3D and not forgetting the excellent Monty Python’s (Almost) Live from the o2.

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Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 24 September 2014

Iosono lab

IOSONO – when 11.1 speakers just ain’t enough.

Barco is doubling down on its immersive audio efforts by hiring away IOSONO’s audio team and setting up what is now called Barco Audio Technologies [BAT?]. This could potentially mean moving away from a dependance on the Auro brand and Auro Technologies partnership, though the latter is quoted on how thrilled they too are about the new corporate sibling’s arrival.

With 500 screens committed or installed, Barco is now ready to take immersive sound to the next level. The digital cinema leader is adding the team of 3D audio expert IOSONO and its assets to the Barco family to further enhance and customize its object based immersive sound technology. In this way, it wants to help cinema exhibitors bring even more magic to the movie-going experience.  LINK

And since Barco does not have any film immediately lined up to follow “The Maze Runner” for its Escape triptych-screen it is venturing into event cinema, by announcing a concert film with Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett.

Barco will collaborate with Universal Music/Interscope Records and recording artists Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga to bring their performance at the Grand Palace in Brussels into Barco Escape theaters in early 2015.

The performance will be filmed today specifically for the Barco format, the day before Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s “Cheek to Cheek” album of jazz and popular standards is set to release worldwide.  LINK

Everstone

The interest in India’s multiplex business is heating up, with yet another private equity company talking to two multiplex veterans about setting up a new cinema venture called Cinemasia, that could be looking beyond just India.

Private equity fund Everstone Capital may team up with two individuals with experience in the entertainment industry to start a venture called Cinemasia, three people familiar with the development said. Everstone is in talks with Shravan Shroff, the former promoter and managing director of multiplex operator Fame India Ltd, and Pramod Arora, who recently quit PVR Ltd as group president, the people said on condition of anonymity.

And:

This would be Everstone’s maiden venture in the multiplex business, which has already attracted other private equity funds. Renuka Ramnath-promoted Multiples Alternate Asset Management Pvt Ltd and L Capital Asia, the third party private equity fund of LVMH Group, backed PVR Ltd to acquire Cinemax India Ltd in November 2012. Before selling off Fame, Shroff also raised capital from India Value Fund and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings (Private) Ltd.  LINK

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Barco Escape Gets First Real World Test With “Maze Runner”

Maze Runner In Barco Escape

This weekend’s North American debut of Twentieth Century Fox’s “Maze Runner” is enabling Barco to move forward with a new product initiative it first announced at CinemaCon earlier this year.

Barco Escape is an immersive offering being developed by the digital cinema projector manufacturer that wraps three screens around the audience to provide a 270 degree viewing experience. The additional screens are placed to the left and right of the main screen, extending the projection surface and placing images in an audience’s peripheral vision.

The existing visuals of a film shown in the Barco Escape format are not simply extended onto these new screens. Supplemental visual material must be created specifically for the increased projection areas. That is exactly what Barco had to do for the Escape version of “Maze Runner” showing in the following five specially equipped theatres throughout the United States:

  • Cinemark 18 & XD at the Promenade at Howard Hughes Center in Los Angeles
  • Cinemark Paradise 24 & XD in Davie, Florida
  • Cinemark Legacy Theatre & XD in Plano, Texas
  • Cinemark at Seven Bridges and Imax in Woodridge, Illinois
  • Cinemark’s Redwood Downtown & XD in Redwood City, California

It should be noted that each of these cinemas is owned and operated by Cinemark, a circuit that is predominantly outfitted with Barco projectors. Presumably the exhibitor is assisting the manufacturer with what Barco’s CinemaVangelist Ted Schilowitz refers to as a “technology experiment”.

“We are in probably phase two of something that is not completed yet,” Schilowitz told an audience of press and industry professionals last Wednesday evening before a special screening of the Escape version of “Maze Runner” at the Cinemark 18 in Los Angeles. “You are all getting a sneak peek of something behind the curtain. We have been working with a visual effects team on helping create some of this movie magic.”

Schilowitz was referring to the seven minutes of “Maze Runner” that are projected in the Barco Escape format. This includes the opening scene and an action sequence in the middle of the film. The vfx team will continue to work on “Maze Runner” so that in two or three months an estimated 16 to 18 minutes of the movie will be in the Escape format.

Production of content in the Escape format is one of the biggest hurdles to its adoption. The team working on “Maze Runner” utilized a gaming engine from Crytek a German video game company, to speed up the production of the computer generated visuals. The images were then rendered by supercomputers from Devil & Demon, a company for which Schilowitz serves as president.

Inside a cinema the Barco Escape format requires that an existing theatre be retrofitted not only with two additional screens on the left and right walls, but also with two additional projectors. Unlike the projector that throws the original movie onto the main screen from a projection booth in the back of an auditorium, the two ancillary projectors are mounted to the ceiling inside an auditorium and cast images across the theatre to a screen on the opposite wall.

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CJ@IBC ‘Laser Projection part 1 – Seeing is Believing’

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Peter  Lude’ (now with Real D) dives straight into the deep end of the many questions buzzing about laser ILLUMINATED (his emphasis) projecton, ranging from safety to speckling. He even provides a quick Cliff Notes answers to those questions (see above). He then outlines the afternoon (in two parts)

Lude’ starts by explaining the different laser projector types, starting with spot scanners (rarely used, only for pico projectors in low energy), then line scanner (GLV projectors – currently not available), then LIPs (laser illuminated projectors – which is what we have been seeing here at IBC). This last category is one where the Xenon lamp-based optical architecture is replaced with a full laser based optical architecture, or a laser/phosphor based optical architecture which typically only uses one colour (blue) that gets changed into white light.

Lude’outlines that lasers have the potential of:
- Dramatically improved image quality;
- Substantially lower power consumption (20-30% less than comparable Xenon)
- Lower operating cost  (everything from A/C to lamp replacement);
- Reduced environmental impact;
- Flexible design / boothless theatre.

There are over a dozen laser illuminated projectors that you can buy today, most of them small projectors for conference rooms. There are about 90,000 units sold per year and 1st LIP was launched in 1Q13. Around 10,000 units sold per year would requie FDA variance. Currently all devices that contain lasers are regulated, whether or not they actually emit a laser (like BluRay players). The goal is a new laser notice by January 2015 in terms of regulations to reflect the new IEC Edition 3.

Jan Daem (Barco) comes up to stage to talk about bringing regulaion up to date with technology, but from a European perspective. Begins by talking in technical detail about what a saler is. “Thermal induced retinal damage” measurement makes it sounds scary. Talks about national and Eurpean regulation and legislation. Final situation will be Class1RGX. (This presentation has a feel of engineer white paper. Not much that I can usefully summarise.)

Matt Cowan (ETC) whose title is ‘What do we do with all that Color?’ Will deploying different laser primary selection have an impact on color grading, does BT.2020 reqiure narrow band primaries. He then does “100 years of color science in 1 slide” looking at ‘what we see, what we measure.’ He observes that color spaces changes throughout the workflow. “There’s no colors that cant be defined with X’Y”, even colors that we cannot see,” Cowan affirms. He explains to the audince how we can get any colour by mixing red, green and blue light. “Mathematics provides exact conversions among different color representations.” How does projector handle XYZ color? Through projector calibration, Cowan explains. He then did a primary color comparison, highlighting the differences between Rec.709 and BT.2020. For speckling, multiple wavlengths get close to 2020.

Don Shaw (Christie) starts off by discussing why Christie is building laser projectors. “Not because it is cool or because Barco is doing, it is because that’s where cinemas are going.” Highlights Premium Large format (PLF) that offers customers a differentiated experience (and a significant increase in box office proceeds). 3D movies allow a >30% upcharge. But 3D atttendance is declining in (US) domestic market. Novelty has worn off. “This will happen in international markets unless we fix the problem.” LIPs are that fix, apparently.

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CJ@IBC ‘Immersive Audio – from the big screen to the small screen’

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Julian Pinn (Julian Pinn Ltd.) says the industry in embracing immersive audio at a fast rate, at least if compared to the uptake of digital audio in cinemas in the 1990s. He invites the panel to stage in turn and opens up the session. No powerpoints. Instead Julian promises to be a ‘fair’ moderator and give each speaker his turn. (The balance between Atmos, Auro and DTS is fair, in terms of time, though Skywalker Sound is given the most time.)

“There is a real hunger that people are prepared to pay for a premium cinema experience,” which includes better audio, says Pinn as he kicks off the panelists’ five minute each.

Brian Claypool (Barco BV) says Barco is not known for audio, but once digital cinema projector deployments were well underway they asked cinemas what was next. Atmos and other Barco initiatives (Escape et al) is what the result of that feedback was. “We don’t want to re-invent the wheel, we want to create something tangible of value to exhibitors,”  says Claypool of Auro. “We need to keep the interest of cinema at the forefront of what we do. Not many people have Barco projectors in the home.” [Do I etect tension with Auro in the home?] Stresses importance of unified workflow.

Stuart Bowling (Dolby Laboratories) stresses that “audio is our background and we had different approach” to immersive audio. “5.1 is not enough. Creatively the movie makers we spoke to felt it was holding them back.” He goes on an elaborates, “With digital cinema we had greater bandwidth and uncompressed audio, which gave greater potential. We had to create tool sets, we had to create new ecosystem.” The starting point was with a ProTool plug-in and worked with mixers.

Gerard Loupias (DTS) – Pinn asks if DTS didn’t exit cinemas and why is it getting back in? Loupias says “we want to do immersive audio without restrictions and by ‘restrictions’ we mean costs. This is why DTS is offering an ‘open’ format.” He says if a cinema has 20 screens it cannot afford to make them all immersive because of the cost. Points out that all of them on the panel “love sound”. Says that Auro and Atmos “are the same idea.” Emphasizes that this is aso an issue for broadcast and the home. Says that their tools are available from the likes of Fairlight.

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CJ@IBC ‘Doug Trumbull Keynote – An Odessey of Cinematic Innovation’

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“There is no more appropriate visionar than Doug Trumbull to have as our keynote,” Julian Pinn says as he opens the IBC Big Screen Keynote session, listing Trumbull’s many cinematic achievements, ranging from being responsible for the groundbreaing visual effects for ’2001 a Space Odessey’ and ‘Star Trek the Motion Picture’  to writing and directing ‘Silent Running’ and ‘Back to the Future: the Ride’.

Trumbull begins by thanking the team behind the scenes. (I know that this presentation was particularly bleading edge and that the last 48 hours had been frantic in getting it all together.) He talks about his life-long fascination with science-fiction and how he liked panoramic paintings, but got frustrated that they didn’t move – hence he got into film.

From the beginning it was always the largest of screns that held the greatest fascination for him. “I was disapointed when the giant screen experience went away and they got chopped into multiplexes. 70mm production largely ended,” and this was tough for him, Trumbull admitted. Anyone who has seen a 70mm presentation of ’2001′ can probably understand his sentiment. He then switched his focus to World Fairs and Expos as a substitute for he big screen experience.

The Life and Times of a VFX Wizard

By way of introduction to his body of work and cinematic vision he then screens a short film and history which charts his journey from ’2001′ all the way to his Magi process and Trumbull Studios, with cameos by the likes of Roger Ebert, Steven Spielberg, Richard Donner extolling his virtues. He then switches back to explaning how he arrived at the 70mm Showscan process in the late 70s/early80s, which he had wanted to use for his film ‘Brainstorm’, and how this in turn then led him to Magi in the present day.

“We lost track of something a long time ago when we transitioned from silent films with hand cranked cameras – we called them ‘the flicks’ for the flickering – to 24fps to accomodate the optical soundtracks. We have never insreased it since then,” Trumbul bemoans, even as color and other innovations were added. “Unfortunatelly people are now migrating away from the cinema experience, because the convenience of tablets outweighs the inconvenience of going out to the movies.”

He says that the Hollywood studios think they have the tiger by the tail… so they prefer a commonality of formats that works for cinema and television. But Trumbull sees this as a false economy if it dilutes the cinematic experience. Studios also don’t invest in R&D, prefering to leave that to manufacturers, he observes. This left him in a quandry.

Trumbull Studios

“My wife and I decided we have to do it ourselves, so we had to build the stage, bum every camera and light we could get our hands on and put together this UFOTOG film as cheaply as possibly,” Trumbull explains, bringing us into the present with his latest work. “Instead of the two cameras shooting in sync, they shoot sequentially, [and thus] they achieve 120fps for the same price as 60fps.” It is the same (Threality) rig that Jim Cameron and Peter Jackson use, with Cannon cameras. “This captures 100% of the action that goes on in ront of the camera and 120 frames of unique fields of action,”Trumbull explains.

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CJ@IBC EDCF Global Update

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The EDCF annual IBC gathering is a smorgasbord of information about the latest developments in the digital cinema industry. More speakers than time, so without further ado, Dave Monk kicks it off handing over to the first speaker.

David Hancock (IHS) – “9 1/2 years I’ve been doing this slide,” Hancock said, “and in 12-18 months there won’t be the grey bar any more because analogue will be gone.” There are still a handful of territores where there is analogue (Turkey, Baltic States, Latin America). “Technlogy is now the currency driving cinema,” and that’s what he is focusing on today. Hard drives dominate still, even though some territories like Fance it only accounts for 1/3. But that’s all set to change. Most of the focus for DCP delivery today is on broadband, but that and satellite co-exist.

Ymagis takeovers of dcinex and Smartjog has created one major entity. That’s the biggest change in the last year. “The market is concentrating down to a few players,” such as Deluxe, Unique and Ymagis. “But as an exhibitor, how many suppliers do you want i your site?” Some countries have just one supplier for all sites.

Laser projection – some consumers cite lack of brightness as reason for not going to see 3D. It has not been proven to work, “but what we have now is the first generaton and not what it will be shipped to cinemas.” IHS predicts 100-200 this year and 400-500 in 2015, but mainly smaller projectors. “Laser is inectricably linked to the replacemnt [cycle] of the first generation of digital cinea projector.” Business model is needed for replacement machinery – there is no VPF for laser replacement, Hancock highlights.

Audio – “Recently the sector has re-discovered competition after a decade of lack of competition.” 1,500 screens equipped with Atmos or Auro by the end of 2014. But there is now focus on the home evironment, as well as markets such as automotive (cars). Where does it all lead, ancock asks. Premium cinema, particularly large format, is the answere Hancock notes. “Technology pushes the premium experience,” he observes. 1.,401 PLF screens 1h 2014 with IMAX capturing 45%. Conclusion: may you live in interesting times.

There is a tension between technology and cinema. “The cycle of technology does not match the technology of cinema.” Last observation particularly interesting: “physical decline [DVD etc.] ups cinema in Europe: the value chain increasingly underpinned by cinema.”

John Hurst (Cinecert) – First slide asks ‘Is Ten Years Too Long’ but his topic is the state of [digital cinema] equipment in the field. It looks like cinemas here in Europe are better maintained than cinemas in US in temrs of receiving SMPTE DCPs. You have to keep your software up to daye in your digital cinema server to take advantage of all new features – not just bells-and-whistles ad-ons.

He then calls Rich Philips from Arts Alliance (AAM) up to stage. AAM have spun off most of their digital cinema business, but they still have the digital cinema software technology. The message from Richard is that verisoning is not too bad in Eurpe, but that education is an issue, with most exhibitors clueless that there is another hurdle that needs to be jumped through. “That’s all I have to sya really.”

Chris Witham (Disney) is then called to stage by Hurst. He jams through it in two minutes. “For people to keep coming back to cinemas, we have to offer the best experience possible.” He then discusses Disney’s transition plan to SMPE DCPs with 2015 the target date.

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CJ@IBC ‘Life of Pi’ in Christie 6P laser 14 ftL 3D with Dolby Atmos

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The IBC movie night screenings have always been an opportunity to showcase the latest advances in big screen technology, while also giving IBC attendees a bit of blockbuster fun. This year was a technology world first that made a big impression on everyone attending.

Thanks to tremendous support from IBC’s technology, integration and content partners, we were treated to a 3D presentation of an unsurprassed quality. Thanks to the use of Christie’s new 6P laser-illuminated projector, over 40 speakers from QSC, Dolby Atmos immersive audio and a DCP of 20th Century Fox’s multi-Oscar winning ‘Life of Pi’ graded especially for 14 footlamberts (ftL) 3D brightness, projected onto a 1.0 gain matt screen, it showcased something that no public audience had yet seen before, as IBC Big Screen Experience producer Julian Pinn explained on stage.

Two years ago Christie first showa ased its laser projectors at IBC with a secial screening of ‘Hugo’, but that was off a silver screen with an 1.8 gain. Back then there was no immersive audio (either Atmos or Auro), so this presentation raised the bar in several regards. While not new, the film was an excellent choice, not least given that it had won Academy Awards for best Cinematography, Visual Effects and Music.

Watching it I was not so much immediately struck by the brightness but by the colours, details and clarity. It is a cliche to talk about ‘looking through a window’ but that is what it felt like as the camera panned through the Pondicherry zoo over the opening credits. Yes, it was bright as you would expect a sunny day in southern India to be, but the brightness felt natural. But brightness is only something that you consciously appreciate when it is not there – as will be the case with future 3D films I watch in regular cinemas.

The audio was equally impressive, not least because of a terrific mix that was as nuanced in the stormy sea scenes with the ship sinking as the quieter moments that picked out individual sounds of animals. The combines effect was such that almost nobody in the audience (who filled the big RAI Auditorium) got up to leave once the film had started. For a Saturday night in Amsterdam, that is truly impressive.

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