Tag Archives: MasterImage

Daily Cinema Digest – Wednesday 3 September 2014

Barco Escape

The Hollywood Reporter has a special issue looking at ‘The Future of Film‘, which to a large extent is also about the future of cinema. Lots of rich pickings, including Carolyn Giardina looking at Barco’s three-screen Escape and what lies beyond it.

Movie screens will continue to morph into ever-wider configurations as well, predicts The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, a German research firm. “There will be more panorama screens; it’s already happening in Germany,” says Siegfried Foessel, who oversees the company’s moving-picture technologies department, which is developing a 360-degree camera system that was used to shoot the final of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. That footage will be shown in a special 360-degree OmniCam theater installation planned for the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich. Meanwhile, startup Jaunt is developing a 360-degree camera for use in virtual reality.

High-tech interactivity also may play a role in the next generation of theaters. Avatron Development USA is creating special venues, comprised of high-tech attractions, that could begin arriving in cities across the country as early as 2017. They would include a theater where a 3D movie is projected onto a 360-degree dome-shaped screen and real-time facial replacement would be used to project audience members into the action.  LINK

Have Faith in Popcorn

Elsewhere in the issue four ‘experts’ are asked where moviegoing will be ten years hence. The wonderfully out-there Faith Popcorn is the one we can resist quoting.

Movie theaters are dying. As consumers hide out in their at-home binge-cocoons, devouring entire seasons of HBO and Netflix programming, theater owners will partner with hotels to create binge retreats. These will be fab private dens you can rent for a few hours or days to binge-watch whatever you like. It’ll be all about decadence: Food will be catered and gourmet. Mixologists, masseuses and manicurists will be on-call. People will be unplugging from home and work, and plugging in to entertainment, fantasy and luxury.

In the future, fantasy adventure (our craving for exotic experiences) and technology will demolish the old-school movie screen. We’ll have completely immersive experiences. In a decade, Imax and even Oculus Rift experiences will seem as outdated as a Walkman.  LINK

Switch to MasterImage

China (PRC) – As if RealD wasn’t having a bad enough week with Vue announcing that it was switching to Sony Digital Cinema 3D (see yesterday’s Daily), its Asian 3D nemesis MasterImage is now coming for them all legal patent guns blazing.

MasterImage 3D, a worldwide leader in 3D display technologies for digital cinema, took action to challenge the validity of RealD’s utility model (UM) patent in China, filing an invalidation before the State Intellectual Property Office on August 22, 2014. MasterImage 3D specifically argues that RealD’s utility model patent blatantly lacks novelty over MasterImage 3D’s earlier filed patent applications and over RealD’s older patents disclosed several years prior in the United States.

MasterImage 3D concluded that RealD’s utility model patent filed in China is not valid and lacks inventiveness. This UM application was only successfully granted because Chinese UM patents lack substantive examination.  LINK

 

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Daily Cinema Digest – Tuesday 10 June 2014

MI-Horizon3D

MasterImage3D – The licence-free 3D company will be showcasing its new MI-HORIZON3D cinema system, which promises a 33% light efficiency and 0.8 throw ratio, at CineEurope 2014.

Show your 3D movies in the best possible light. Our new MI-HORIZON3D cinema system takes 3D to new levels of brightness and picture quality — with better light efficiency, more vivid colors, and sharper images than any other 3D system.

See the brightness for yourself. Get a demo of the MI-HORIZON3D at CineEurope, June 16-19.

DepthQ - CineEurope 2014

And just so you know that we don’t do favouritism here at CJ, DepthQ tells us that they will be exhibiting too. Send us your press releases and you are pretty likely to get coverage. Volfoni didn’t send us theirs, but we will give them a mention nonetheless, though without graphics.

At this year’s CineEurope in Barcelona June 17th – 19th, Volfoni will showcase their game-changing 3D cinema system: SmartCrystal™ Diamond. First announced at CineAsia in December 2013, this system follows the success of their previous 3D systems (SmartCrystal™ Cinema Vertical and Horizontal), which are already installed in over 1000 locations worldwide.

Designed in Europe, and powered by Volfoni’s unique “Triple Beam” technology, the brightness achieved by the Diamond surpasses all other passive 3D systems in the market, with an amazing light efficiency (LEF) of 30%.  LINK

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Daily Cinema Digest – Thursday 24 April 2014

YouTube Preview Image

In something other than sad news from South Korea, enhanced experience cinema seat maker CJ 4DPlex has revealed its global ambitions and roadmap.

To many movie fans, “300” is a Hollywood blockbuster about an epic battle between the Spartans and the Persians. But for CJ 4DPlex, the number has a different yet significant meaning.

For the CJ affiliate, 300 is the number of theaters worldwide in which it hopes to deploy its 4-D technology called 4DX that offers a new experience for moviegoers.

“We are going to hit critical mass once our 4-D technology platform is adopted at more than 300 theaters globally by the first half of next year,” CJ 4DPlex CEO Choi Byung-hwan told The Korea Herald.  LINK

CJ 4DPlex wants 4DX to become a major cinema brand like Imax and drive added revenue for exhibitors.

The idea of 4DX came from CJ Group chairman Lee Jay-hyun, who suggested CJ CGV integrate the concept and technology of theme park rides with cinemas to offer a different movie experience.

This came as the theater market has been facing strong competition from the home entertainment sector.

Lee’s 4-D insight was also in line with his vision for CJ’s media and culture globalization, which was to encourage global consumers to watch one to two Korean movies a year; eat Korean food at least twice a month, watch one to two Korean soap operas a week; and listen to one to two K-pop songs a day.

Here is another video that explains the technology in more depth (that I’m unable to embed).

ArcLight Santa Monica

USA (CA): The go-ahead has been given to one of the two ArcLight cinemas proposed for Santa Monica.

Council voted quickly and unanimously to approve the first new Downtown Santa Monica movie theater in decades.

An ArcLight Cinema with 10 to 13 screens and up to 1,500 seats will be built on the third level of the Santa Monica Place mall and could be completed by next year.

Council also voted unanimously to move forward in negotiations aimed at placing another larger ArcLight on Fourth Street where Parking Structure 3 currently sits.  LINK

Concessions (not the snack kind) made include a USD $120,000 contribution to the pedestrian Colorado Esplanade, funding Downtown wayfinding signage, closed caption devices at all its theaters, three screens made available for AFM and local hiring of staff.

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CinemaCon 2014: Press Release Roundup

CinemaCon Logo

PLEASE NOTE: If we missed any individual press release it was not done purposefully. If you would like us to include a CinemaCon related press announcement in a future roundup, please forward it to tips@celluloidjunkie.com.

Historically companies and organizations doing business at trade shows and conferences have relied heavily upon press releases to get their message out to an industry. This has been especially true at CinemaCon and ShoWest before it. This year was no different.

The first day of the show always sees a flurry of announcements “hit the wire”. As the week (and convention) progresses the number of releases tends to dwindle. We thought it might be useful to sum up all of the announcements made at this year’s show, and when appropriate, provide a bit of insight or analysis. Here are the releases published during CinemaCon 2014 listed in alphabetical order by company name:


Arts Alliance Media
The London based digital cinema integrator and software developer is is always good for a few releases during industry trade shows. CinemaCon saw them release no fewer than four. The first announced the launch of a new software solution called AdFuser. The software was designed for all aspects of on-screen cinema advertising. The software is capable of planning campaigns and managing inventory, targeting ads to appropriate genres or audience demographics, automated ad playlist creation, ad content delivery, reporting and much more. AdFuser can be used in either an extremely granular or completely automated fashion.

Our Take: AAM’s cinema advertising software has been in development for years so it is interesting to see them finally launch the product. We have yet to have a close demonstration of the solution, but look forward to seeing it in action. The company is entering a niche market with a stiff competitor (Unique Digital) that has more than a decade head start in the space.

AAM announced a software deal with Vox Cinemas, a cinema chain based in the Middle East. The circuit will be employing AAM’s suite of software to manage their digital cinema technology and operations. This includes solutions such as Screenwriter Plus (Theatre Management System), Producer (Enterprise Circuit Management System) and Locksmith (Enterprise KDM Management) and Lifeguard (NOC Tools). Vox operates 9 complexes which account for 92 screens in Lebanon and the UAE.

Finnkino was already using AAM’s theatre management system (TMS) and will now upgrade to Screenwriter Plus, which has additional features for automation and monitoring. The circuit will rollout the new version of Screenwriter Plus throughout their 14 sites and at a later date has the option to include their 11 Forum Cinemas located in the Baltic.

AAM began as a digital cinema integrator with their own virtual print fees (VPFs) in Europe. They have now entered the complicated Latin American market with a series of partners, most recently Quanta-DGT. The trio announced three deals for VPF rollouts with three exhibitors in Uruguay; Grupo Cine, Life Cinemas and Movie.

Our Take: This agreement is a perfect example of just how complex Latin America can be for the motion picture business. While the combined 61 screens covered in the contract already have digital cinema equipment installed, these screens will now fall under AAM/Quanta-DGT’s VPF agreements.


Barco
CinemaBarcoThe Belgian based projector manufacturer was incredibly active during this year’s CinemaCon, showing up at the conference with half a dozen press releases. Many of the notices centered around their new CinemaBarco initiative, specifically the 60,000-lumen laser projector the company is bringing to market. The projector is DCI-compliant and capable of showing 4K content all the way up to 60 frames per second. The Barco 6P laser projector is capable of showing 3D content in 4K at 14 ftL and is fully integrated within the DCI-compliant projector. It will be commercially available immediately in the United States and China before being distributed in the rest of the world by the end of 2014. The company demonstrated the projector at CinemaCon without a “shaking” screen.

To prove just how market ready their laser projector is, Barco announced that Cinemark would be the first exhibitor to install the new technology. The release didn’t specify precisely which sites Barco would be installing its high-tech projector in, though don’t be surprised if Cinemark Century 16 South Point and XD winds up being the first. That’s the Las Vegas cinema in which Barco was conducting off-site demonstrations of its laser projector during CinemaCon.

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No More Silver Screens In France

CNC LogoBy 8:00 am Friday morning I had three voicemails and five emails all either trying to pass along or confirm the same implausible news. Rumor was spreading fast that France’s Le Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée, otherwise known as the CNC, had banned silver screens throughout the country, giving exhibitors a five year timeframe to comply. If true, it could have enormous implications in the 3D market.

I initially thought some announcement the CNC had made was being misinterpreted after the rumor mill twisted it into something far more alarming. As a part of France’s Ministry of Culture the CNC is responsible for regulating cinema as well as the production and promotion of “audiovisual arts” within the country, so it’s easy to see how such a rumor could be easily believed. However, a quick trip to the CNC website informed me the news was accurate.

At the start of a six day conference on technology in exhibition and distribution, CNC president Eric Garandeau announced an “agreement to ensure the quality of film screenings in movie theaters in the digital age.” In his opening remarks Garandeau acknowledged all the hard work that goes into making a movie and that, “if so many people put so much care to seek perfection in the image, it is necessary that these efforts are visible and even sublimated on the screen, in the most beautiful manner.” Wanting to see the difference for himself, Garandeau held a test screening to see “if a layman could make a comparison and tell the difference between a white screen and a silver screen.”

Garandeau says he saw the bright smile of Oscar winning actor Jean Dujardin switch from white to gray during the test and that the brightness level at the edges of the screen, compared to the center, decreased significantly. Not surprising since color balance, luminance consistency, and hot spots are the major drawbacks when it comes to silver screens, especially when they are used for 2D films.

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Designer Brands Give 3D Glasses A Makeover

Oakley 3D Tron Edition.jpg

Oakley's Limited Edition Tron 3D Gascan Glasses

Sometime last month I tagged a couple of blog posts about designer 3D glasses intending to write about them in the near future. After a Los Angeles Times story covered the subject yesterday, I figured it was about time to aggregate all the information into a post here.

More than a year after RealD announced that they would be teaming up with manufacturers to certify 3D glasses from name brand designers, the first models began hitting the market in October. Making waves first was Oakley, which announced they had created a pair of 3D specs with a proprietary technology named HDO-3D. The company claims their “premium glasses are engineered for unrivaled 3D performance, superior visual clarity and signature Oakley comfort”.

In a smart marketing move, Oakley is teaming up with Disney on the studio upcoming “Tron: Legacy” release by offering a special collectible limited edition “Tron” version of their Gascan 3D glasses which look as if they were take straight out of the sci-fi flick. A regular pair of Oakley 3D glasses will set you back USD $120, while the “Tron: Legacy” model goes for USD $150.

Gucci also began selling a pair of upscale 3D glasses last month for $225 and Marchon Eyewear has licensed their glasses to both Calvin Klein and Nautica who will sell pairs for between USD $95 and USD $150. Meanwhile, Australian based Look3D has been offering stylish RealD certified glasses since late last year.

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Battle Brews Over 3D Glasses In Europe

reald-3d-glasses

RealD's Disposable 3D Glasses

Late last week I picked up on a rumor that was circulating about European exhibitors.  Apparently, they are rejecting digital 3D versions of DreamWorks Animation’s “Monsters vs. Aliens” in lieu of 2D digital and 35mm prints as a response to being told that distributors will not pick up the tab for 3D glasses.  The film opens internationally on March 27th.

Disposable polarized 3D glasses cost between 50 and 99 cents (USD) and are required to view digital 3D movies shown using systems manufactured by RealD and Masterimage.  “Active glasses”, which operate using LCD lenses that flicker open and closed at the shutter rate of the projector, are reusable and cost upwards of USD $$25 to $30.  Such glasses are necessary to view 3D films shown using XpanD technology.  Reusable glasses for Dolby’s color wheel system cost USD $23.  More than likely the dispute is over disposable glasses rather than reusable glasses since it is generally accepted that the exhibitor will be responsible for the latter.

In North America it has become a somewhat common practice for the distributor of a 3D film to pay for disposable glasses in part or entirely.  This may not last however since distribution chiefs such as Mark Christiansen of Paramount Pictures have said they are determining whether they will be reimbursing an exhibitor for the cost of disposable glasses on a film by film basis.

The theatre owners that reported the unofficial boycott of “Monsters vs. Aliens” in 3D were from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and a few Scandinavian countries.  Equipment manufacturers and the few dealers I spoke with confirmed the story, and were somewhat frustrated as they believe such issues will hold up the rollout of digital cinema in Europe.  Read More »

Palace Cinemas Brings 3D To Central Europe

Palace Cinemas 3Digital

Central Europe will soon be able to experience 3D digital releases the way filmmakers had intended thanks to Palace Cinemas.  Tomorrow the exhibitor will announce they will be adding twelve 3D digital screens to their circuit just in time for Dreamworks Animation’s “Monsters vs. Aliens” to premiere on March 26th.

Palace, which is the largest exhibitor in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, will install three screens in Prague, two screens in Brno, two in Bratislava and an additional five in Budapest, where the company is headquartered.  The news is a bit of a coup for Masterimage.  The Korean company’s 3D technology has been selected for 11 of the installations.  Palace, which already has one RealD system, will install an additional RealD screen at West End, one of their premiere venues in Budapest.  Recently RealD and Dolby have stolen the spotlight when it comes to making announcments about new 3D installations.

“We like Masterimage, said Palace CEO V.J. Maury of why they chose the technology.  “It’s a combination of great 3D on the screen and the right price.  And we wouldn’t add another RealD screen at West End if it were not for its excellent 3D picture.”

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Hollywood’s 3D Dilemma Goes Mainstream

For months now the debate over the lagging rollout of digital 3D equipped screens has been argued by both distributors and exhibitors alike, mostly in public statements to industry media outlets. Well, on Thursday, the issue jumped from trade publications and trade show speeches, to the front page of the Los Angeles Times Calendar section. Industry insiders who have been following the story since it began in March will find the article of little value, as it is mostly a rehash of the current situation, however it is noteworthy if only because a major mainstream media outlet found the dilemma important enough to cover.

Journey’s 3-D PosterThe story was written by John Horn, a respected L.A. Times entertainment journalist for more than two decades who recently won the Los Angeles Press Club’s entertainment Journalist of the Year award. Using the pending release of “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and the need to drop “3D” from it’s title as his lead, Horn thoroughly laid out all the main facts and issues so that even a layman could talk about the subject like an expert.

He starts out saying only 800 theatres in North America (which account for roughly 1,200 screens) would be able to show “Journey” in 3D and that Warner Bros. had to augment it’s marketing campaign to let audiences know that the film would also be shown in 2D on about 2,000 screens. He points out that 2D Hollywood releases such as DreamWorks Animation’s 2D “Kung Fu Panda” open on more than 4,100 screens. And he doesn’t leave out that DreamWork’s head Jeffrey Katzenberg, one of the industry’s leading 3D proponents, has been upset over the slow speed in which exhibitors are installing the digital 3D equipment.

Horn goes on to detail how the low number of screens poses a problem for studios who have plans to release at least nine 3D features next year, including some by renown filmmakers such as James Cameron (”Avatar”) and Robert Zemeckis (”A Christmas Carol”). Disney, DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox stand to lose the most. While exhibitors also stand to miss out on the increased revenue which will come from the higher ticket prices charged for 3D releases, Horn explains that the high cost of digital cinema equipment is keeping them from upgrading their auditoriums.

He pegs the cost of a digital cinema conversion at a whopping $150,000, which seems to be an exorbitant figure no doubt provided by an exhibitor. Another slight misstatement by Horn is the confusion exhibitors have over the two 3D formats; RealD and Dolby. While these two companies (they aren’t really formats) are definitely the market leaders, certainly NuVision and masterImage may be upset over not being mentioned. Those are about the only two gaffs in the L.A. Times feature, as Horn goes on to properly highlight the stalemate between exhibitors and distributors over virtual print fees (VPFs) meant to finance the rollout of digital cinema.

To be sure, all of this is not news to anyone working in exhibition (or distribution), but at the very least Horn should be credited with writing one of the most accurate statements about the world-wide digital cinema rollout to date:

“At a time when the rest of the media world is transforming at light speed, movie exhibition is struggling to keep up. . .”