Cinema Technology Magazine - September 2016

Page 1


The leading magazine for cinema industry professionals

September 2016




how loud is loud? smaller, better…

eventful times

Introducing a brand new metric for measuring a film’s subjective loudness

Ten years on, what have we learnt about the event cinema marketplace?

Douglas Trumbull on why cinema’s future lies in a more intimate auditorium

Vol 29, No3 produced in partnership with



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dynamic content platform

dynamic adjective dy路nam路ic 1. (of a process or system) characterised by constant change, activity, or progress. 2. positive in attitude, full of energy and new ideas.

content noun con路tent 1. information made available, eg on film, on a website or other electronic medium. 2. a state of peaceful happiness.

platform noun plat路form 1. a group of technologies used as the base upon which other applications, processes or technologies are developed. 2. a raised structure from which rockets can be launched.

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE September 2016 • Vol 29 • No 3 NEWS 008 011

The Editor’s pick of the latest industry happenings Vue expands, Lux lights up the Louvre and the rise of the all-laser multiplex

COLUMNS 077 079 080

A job half done? UKCA’s Phil Clapp on why digitisation is yet to deliver for all The visionary Billy Bell brings clarity to the subject of porthole glasses EDCF’s Dave Monk updates the industry on the work on SMPTE standard DCPs

TEchnical developments DCP to 35mm — surely not? 057 Converting The Cinevator recorder says otherwise

Features David Hancock gives his take on 014 IntheFocus: significance of analytics — big data


David A Ellis interviews Charles Morris, a truly independent northern cinema owner


Grant Lobban continues his exploration of the rise, fall and rise of the 2.35:1 format


Dolby’s Ioan Allen presents the results of five years’ research into cinema sound — a new loudness measurement


Heading to IBC? Don’t miss out on a trip to Amsterdam’s Tuschinski theatre


Are premium small formats the future? Film-maker Douglas Trumbull thinks so and Mark Trompeteler finds out why


Julian Pinn offers his perspective on the latest developments in the cinema technology marketplace


The IBC Big Screen takes place in Amsterdam this month — be there!


Event cinema is officially 10 years old — The past decade has taught us plenty


Dalian Wanda is set to take over an icon of cinema: Odeon. What of its future?


At a critical juncture in its history, the newest Odeon cinema, in Orpington, points to the promise of things to come

is the buzz, but what does it all mean?


A preview of the latest Rec.2020 laser projection equipment from NEC


RealD sets the standard high, with its new “Ultimate” cinema screen


A new initiative that is ensuring deaf cinemagoers will get a warm reception


Intensify aims to engage the customer with its gamification-based system


Richard Boyd, head of technical at BFI Southbank, reflects on his time there

Events: CineEurope 2016 030 032 039 042

Patrick von Sychowski reflects on the highlights of a Barcelona spectacular Nothing less than the future of the cinema business was under discussion in the seminars at CineEurope Trade was brisk on CineEurope’s show floor and innovation was all around ICTA had a place at the heart of CineEurope this year — technology was at the front of the delegates’ minds

And one last Thing… people say Netflix is killing the 090 Some cinema. It isn’t, argues Alastair Balmain — but it will if the industry doesn’t act

The BKSTS (British Kinematograph Sound and Television Society) exists to encourage, sustain, educate, train and provide a focus for all those who are creatively or technologically involved in the business of providing moving images and associated sound in any form and through any media. The society works to maintain standards and to encourage the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of moving image and associated sound technology, in the UK and throughout the world. The Society is independent of all governments and commercial organisations. Association of Motion Picture Sound • British Film Institute • British Society of Cinematographers • British Universities Film & Video Council Cinema Exhibitors Association • Cooke Optics • CST • Focal International • SMPTE Skillset • Society of Television Lighting Directors • UK Film Council. The Society gratefully acknowledges the support of the above Companies and Organisations. BKSTS membership enquiries should be addressed to: Roland Brown, President, BKSTS - Moving Image Society, Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Bucks SL0 0NH, UK. Email:


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from the editor J\gk\dY\i )'(- Mfcld\ )0 Ef%*

Much of this issue of Cinema Technology focuses on CineEurope, with the message coming across strongly that the exhibition business is something of a family affair. Our technical articles, technical co-operators and the companies we deal with just don’t recognise borders or boundaries. In Europe, this is especially true, but increasingly applies globally. Distribution and exhibition technologies are the same worldwide, and a strength of the close co-operation in our business is that we are all learning new commercial and marketing messages and techniques from each other. Consolidation has become an ever-more important theme, with industry groups coming together to improve their offerings to customers and the latest cinema takeovers linking operators in The recent decision for the UK to leave the European Union is in total contrast to the trend in the cinema industry in recent years, and leads to all manner of questions. Likely effects on the production and post-production parts of the film business are well covered elsewhere, but the cinema exhibition business merits special consideration here. In the absence of a crystal ball, I’ve talked with many in exhibition, and though most were shocked and surprised by the poll outcome, the general consensus is that European cinema equipment manufacturers, integrators and service providers will carry on business as usual, with the UK playing its usual big part, although it wouldn’t

be surprising if prices rise due to tariff changes. Looking at cinemas, we can’t escape from the basic premise that if the UK stops paying into the EU then it must expect to stop receiving money from the EU. While opinions vary, it could well be that UK independent cinemas will lose out — more than 50 UK independent cinemas currently receive EU funding from the Europa Cinema scheme, which supports cinemas that commit to showing a high percentage of European films. I’ve seen estimates that these cinemas received an average of more than €100,000 each over the past few years — money that will be sorely missed. It is possible that if the UK government no longer has to pay money into the Europa scheme it could afford to spend it instead on supporting cinemas — but will it? Large amounts of EU funding have been spent on ensuring UK films are shown in European cinemas, so it seems reasonable to expect fewer UK films will be shown there. If the pound continues to weaken it will cost more for UK distributors to acquire content from everywhere — will cinema prices rise? The ‘free movement of people and services’ that is so important a part of the European project could affect job prospects for cinema workers. One interesting advantage for the UK of pulling out is that it could avoid proposed new EU rules on release patterns that could mean films must be released Europe-wide at the same time, taking away the long-held freedom of distributors and individual cinema operators to choose how they bring their products to market. The cinema exhibition business is currently continuing to make massive investments in new technologies and in its cinema buildings. Such investments are not made lightly. The decisions are taken on a long-term basis, thus the uncertainty caused by the vote to leave could be seen as unhelpful. But against that, all of my discussions suggested there is an innate confidence in the future of the business of ‘getting people to go to the cinema’ such that whatever happens I’m sure that the exhibition industry will, as it always has done throughout its history, find ways of coping with the changes, and continue to drive forward its message that going to the cinema is a special event, an experience you can’t get elsewhere.

Jim Slater, Managing Editor

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David is research director for film and cinema at IHS Markit. In this issue, he explores how “big data” can positively impact the industry, page 14.

Mark has written for CT for a number of years. In this issue, he interviews film-maker Douglas Trumbull on his vision for premium small format cinema, page 25.

A consultant with decades of experience in the entertainment industry, in this issue, Julian writes on cinema’s technological development, page 49.


NEWS CT’s roundup of the latest industry news and events


Cinemeccanica Lux laser retrofits for 100 projectors


Cinema Technology has previously invesigated the way in which the Cinemeccania Lux system enables virtually any DLP projector to be retro-fitted with a laser light source. It is scalable, easy to install even in a small projection booth. The laser source, embedded in one or two selfstanding compact racks feeds a fibre-optic bundle that can be fitted in the projector lamp house to substitute the traditional xenon lamp, bringing the benefits of laser projection without other changes to the projector. Jinyi Cinemas, the 17th largest cinema chain in the world, has signed an agreement with Caiz Optronics Corporation and Cinemeccanica to retrofit 100 digital projectors in China this year, the first retrofit solution to have been installed on such a scale. Cinemeccanica and Caiz have already supplied several Lux units for Barco and Christie projectors. The Lux RGB 6P cinema laser, was selected after evaluation of different solutions. The laser light source will provide better light uniformity and stability over time, excellent quality with different 2D/3D configurations and the retrofit will maximise the benefits of the original investment in DLP digital projectors.



Filmmaking all over the world is pushing boundaries to create masterpieces. From stunning visual effects to breathtaking cinematography, exceptional screenwriting to outstanding acting, films are becoming not just entertainment, but an art. It is only natural, that cinema technology keeps up with the times. With that in mind, Galalite Screens has launched a brand new screen — the Prism 3D Ultra — that claims to give viewers a 3D cinema viewing experience like no other. Galalite, makers and distributors of cinema projection screens, has revealed that its latest offering will be available in a 2.4 gain. The Prism 3D Ultra will be available in standard and M4K perforations, which will enable better light distribution and make pictures clearer and crisper. Talking about the new screen, director of operations, Yusuf S Galabhaiwala says, “Due to its higher contrast level, colours will be more vibrant and higher polarisation ratio will further enhance the 3D viewing experience.” The Prism 3D Ultra is also said to provide a more engaging 3D effect, and will be more suitable for long and narrow cinema halls. Galabhaiwala explains that the screen offers a “true 3D effect”, and as the future of cinema lies in 3D, it will keep cinema-goers coming back, simply because of the quality it offers. Galalite Screens launched the Prism 3D Ultra at the recent Big Cine Expo, which was held in Chennai, India, on 23 and 24 August 2016. The projection screen is the latest addition to a line of other quality cinema screens that Galalite has developed over the years.





QSC WINS CINEMA MANUFACTURER OF THE YEAR For the second year in a row, QSC Cinema, which offers the cinema industry’s most comprehensive catalogue of audio solutions including signal processing, power amplifiers, and loudspeakers, was honoured with the prestigious “Teddy” Award voted by dealer members of the International Cinema Technology Association (ICTA). The award recognises the ICTA Manufacturer of the Year which best exemplifies the progressive principles of product development, and provides dealers with service and up-to-date technical and sales information, while supporting the status of their product without ualification. The Teddy Award was presented to QSC at the recent annual ICTA Convention in Vancouver, BC, Canada. It is the third time that QSC has won this honour, and only the second a manufacturer has won it two years in a row.


The s annual idescreen eekend will take place again at the ational edia Museum, Bradford, from 13–16 October. For those interested in cinema, cinema technology and exhibition it is a unique event in a unique venue.

ver the weekend delegates will have the opportunity to view films in 3 mm and 70mm film, 2 and 4 and Cinerama. Based in the excellent Pictureville cinema — there is even an IMAX Cinema within the same complex. This year s festival welcomes back

Sir Christopher Frayling as guest curator. The festival will also feature premières of two new restorations of Cinerama films, capitalising on the Museum’s status as the only venue outside of the US capable of screening Cinerama films.



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Ecco Cine Supply and Gofilex have signed a strategic partnership to provide the GoFilex Organized Digital Delivery (ODD) electronic movie delivery service to more German-speaking territories.



CINEMECCANICA France will supply a Lux laser projector to the prestigious Louvre museum. The Pyramid project aims to better organise the space and flow of visitors in and outside the pyramid at the Louvre. Cinemeccanica France will supply and install a 6P high-power laser projector that will be dedicated for projection of arts, animations and various presentations related to the museum activities. The cinema solution consists of a 6P CineCloud Lux RGB laser projector and a media-server. The projector head will be installed at the entrance roof of the museum, under the pyramid, and will be connected to the laser source via a 60-metre optical fibre.

Qube Wire distribution system Qube Wire is a new technology for distribution of DCPs across the world in a scalable and costeffective manner. It helps remove pain points of KDM management, DCP duplication and delivery while reducing costs. Its easy-to-use, secure web interface allows content owners and distributors to select theatres and send content and keys. It handles content upload and management as well as long-term archival. Features include the ability to assign movie rights to specific territories and enforce multi-level approvals for KDM requests. Qube Wire efficiently makes its service available over a wider region, while centrally managing data flow to ensure delivery of content and keys. In July Qube wire was used to release Kabali, across 3,500 screens worldwide, across 2,400 sites. The web-based key management system simplified handling of digital cinema keys for this widespread Indian feature release.


Vue has opened its 85th cinema in the UK, a stateof-the-art multiplex in Darlington. The new £4.6 million venue has nine screens — three of which are 3D — and contains 1,424 seats, including VIP seats and stadium seating. The auditoriums contain all the features synonymous with Vue — including Sony 4K digital projection and Dolby 7.1 surround sound. The new venue is part of the £30 million Feethams leisure destination in the town, and the cinema has created 48 new jobs. As described elsewhere in this issue (see the ICTA Awards coverage on page 47), Vue won the New Build Screen of the Year award at the International Cinema Technology Association (ICTA) awards for its new multiplex in Alkmaar, Netherlands. Vue announced the successful pricing of a €120 million sevenyear loan, which had been pre-marketed and placed privately. The proceeds will be used to pay consideration for the transfer of JT Bioscopen (JT) on a debt-free basis into Vue’s Restricted Group, with excess proceeds providing a strategic reserve for general corporate purposes. Following the acquisition of the JT chain in 2015, the opening of the Alkmaar multiplex earlier this year marked the roll out of the Vue brand into the Netherlands.




ENTER THE ALL-LASER MULTIPLEX BKSTS CINEMA TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE Richard Huhndorf (Chairman), Max Bell, Mike Bradbury, Chris Connett, Laurence Claydon, Michael Denner, Tom Dodgson, Rachael Eldrett, Keith Fawcett, Fred Fullerton, Graham Hughes, Denis Kelly, Peter Knight, Graham Lodge, Adam MacDonald Andre Mort, Richard Mitchell, Mark Nice, David Norris, Ngozi Okali, Kevin Phelan, Rich Phillips, Julian Pinn, David Pope, Toni Purvis, Paul Schofield, Jim Slater, Russell Smith, Simon Tandy, Chris Tostevin, Paul Willmott, and Demir Yavuz.

CINEMA TECHNOLOGY ISSN 0955-2251 - is published quarterly by Motion Picture Solutions Limited on behalf of the BKSTS. The print edition is mailed to members of the BKSTS and is also distributed to the major cinema chains and independents to reach virtually every cinema in the UK and many in Europe and worldwide. Printed in the UK by The Magazine Printing Company using only paper from FSC/PEFC suppliers. Cinema Technology Magazine online is an interactive version of the print edition allowing free access to everyone and providing a continuously updated news link of all the latest cinema industry happenings Views expressed in Cinema Technology Magazine are not necessarily the views of the Society.

EDITORIAL MANAGING EDITOR: JIM SLATER 17 Winterslow Road, Porton, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP4 0LW, UK T: +44 (0) 1980 610544 F: +44 (0) 1980 590611 E: ADVERTISING AND PRODUCTION: BOB CAVANAGH Caixa Postal 2011, Vale da Telha, 8670-156 Aljezur, Portugal T: +351 282 997 050 M: +351 962 415 172 E: ART DIRECTOR: DEAN CHILLMAID W: E:

SUBSCRIPTIONS Cinema Technology is mailed free to BKSTS Members. For subscription payment details or further infomation — or e-mail


When many cinemas are considering installation of one or more laser projectors, some cinema managements have been so convinced of the advantages they have opened all-laser multiplexes. aking history as the first all-laser multiplex in the world, the Casa Blanca Theatre in San Antonio, Texas, uses Barco’s Flagship and laser phosphor projectors to illuminate all 16 screens. inepolis Group has opened urope s first allBarco laser’ multiplex in Breda, the Netherlands. The brandnew, 10-screen cinema complex features one Flagship laser and nine Barco phosphor laser projectors. A long-term Barco customer, Kinepolis group was an early adopter of Flagship laser projectors in 2014, it was the first uropean exhibitor to introduce Barco’s Flagship laser technology. Eddy Duquenne, CEO of Kinepolis Group said Kinepolis is on a constant quest to introduce innovative technologies that help bring back the magic of the movies. By going all-laser, Kinepolis claims it will make huge operational efficiencies, thanks to the absence of lamps. Surveys suggest moviegoers will return more often when images are spectacular, so installation of the laser projector in the Kinepolis’ Laser Ultra theatre is also expected to be a smart move from a revenue and marketing point of view. The largest auditorium in the Breda multiplex has a top-of-the-range, ultra-bright Barco Flagship Laser projector DP4 -30L . In the other screens there are five DP2 -1 CLP and four 20,000-lumen DP2K-20CLP laser phosphor projectors. Further east, another all-laser multiplex, this time with every screen incorporating AuroMax immersive sound, is opening in Kursk, Russia. The nine-screen Grinn Film multiplex will install two Barco Flagship laser and seven laser-phosphor projectors. Grinn ilm becomes the first all-Barco laser multiplex in central and eastern urope. ven further afield and even higher-tech, Barco has announced an all-Flagship RGB laser cinema in Dubai that will feature in the largest cinema complex in the world. Reel Cinemas will fit each of the 22 theatres at its multiplex at the Dubai Mall with Flagship laser projectors. There will also be a 270-degree multiscreen panoramic Barco Escape installation.

Fountain Studios — a call for help


Wembley’s Fountain Studios are home to the biggest TV entertainment shows including Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor. It’s previous glittering history included classics such as Upstairs Downstairs and On The Buses, and film greats such as Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, The Elephant Man, Quadrophenia and Brazil.

The building has now been sold to property developers and the Fountain team, currently working within the studios are in search of people who helped create the magic inside its walls and anyone who may have archive material or pictures of Fountain formerly called London Weekend Television, Associated Rediffusion, Limehouse and Lee International Film Studios.


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Data is being used to drive the cinema sector into the digital economy — David Hancock analyses what this means for the industry and how it can benefit.


nalytics, analytics, analytics… It occurs to me as I write this that I don’t really know much about analytics. I mean, I know what it is broadly and I know everyone is talking about it and I know I am moderating a panel on it at IBC this year, but what actually is it? What is the physical manifestation of analytics? In an unusual turn of events, I find myself talking about a subject I know little about and that has very little data attached to it, so expect no bar chart to accompany this article. Bit awkward really.


In time-honoured fashion, I search for a definition on a well-known search engine. It uses algorithms to search the online world. Hang on. Aren’t algorithms analytics? And isn’t analytics “Big Data” — another buzzword. But cinema has relatively small transactional volumes, so can it really be Big Data? How does this differ from data science? So many questions…

an economy based on analytics Whole areas of the digital economy are based on analytics. The emergence of Amazon as an e-commerce giant is built on analytics, understanding consumer behaviour and what they might like.

* The author does know more than this, honestly, but ignorance works better as an introduction.




Closer to our industry, the rapid growth of OTT (Over-the-Top) services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime are also built on matching content to consumers using algorithmic analytics. In this light, we are lagging behind significantly as an industry. At this year’s CineEurope, one of the main talking points — one which Phil Clapp, UNIC president, chose to underline — was the need for continued and greater collaboration between exhibitors and distributors. This was a theme echoed at the high-level executive round table, held on the conference’s opening morning, where Jeffrey Katzenberg and senior exhibition executives decried the inability of both sides to work outside of film-by-film silos. This is especially relevant now in a technology age where data can help drive business growth, through the use of analytics. Both parties sit on valuable raw data, and using this data collaboratively would produce more of a benefit to the industry than using it in isolation. As Sarah Lewthwaite, Movio’s EMEA strategic partnerships director, puts it, ‘I think that analytics has always been important to our industry. That said, I believe that in recent years, the combination of improved database technologies and the need for cinema chains to strategise and reassess their business models in the face of new and differing forms of competition, has resulted in analytics being put more to the forefront’.

the analysts on white chargers To help with this, there are a number of providers of analytics to the cinema sector that are now beginning to gain traction. The Vista group, which made its name on box office and ticketing systems and has a significant market share globally in this field, has spent the past few years acquiring a range of companies that make it the most integrated analytics provider around. Aside from Vista itself, the group comprises


Movio (movie marketing), Veezi (cinema management for independents), BookMyShow (New Zealand ticketing site), MACCS International (distributor scheduling and interface system between exhibitor and distributor), Numero (box office reporting), and Movie Team (cinema staff scheduling). This set of companies provides a strong base for a presence in almost all areas of cinema distribution and exhibition analytics. A larger presence is provided by the recent merger of Rentrak (movie and TV reporting) and comScore (a cross-platform measurement company), which will provide data underpinning advertising across all media, including cinema. Amongst the smaller players, Showtime

well-defined within strict parameters. The underlying tools of analytics are little heard of outside of this sector, and include names like Monte-Carlo methods, Apache Storm, Racket, Haskell, Lucene/SOLR and so on. Where does the data come from? The short answer is that the data most likely already exists in some form, and is sitting somewhere in current systems. Whether it is scheduling, VPF management, box office revenues, concessions sales, employee performance, ticketing sales (from the various platforms including website, online third parties, mobile, telephone, the cinema box office), loyalty schemes, social media usage, NOCs, IT backbones and so on. The sources of data are increasing as the industry proceeds along the digitisation

“ANALYTICS WILL NOT REPLACE EXPERIENCE AND INSTINCT, BUT IT CAN ADD ANOTHER TOOL TO MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS” Analytics is an Irish start-up specialising in operational cinema analytics with intuitive visual representations. On the distributor side, Gower Street Analytics is a UK-based data science start-up aiming to provide data-driven dating and booking decisions, helping to boost box office by determining the optimum date of release. The company signed an agreement with Rentrak (now comScore) to work on this at the end of 2015.

analytics — no humans allowed? Let’s start with a definition, what is analytics? It is defined as the systematic computational analysis of data or statistics, or the information derived from such. This already tells us that there is no human intervention after the analysis phase has been set up, and suggests that the data itself has to be very accurate and that the question asked needs to be precise and

path. The issue with them is that sources are not standardised, and given the global nature of much of the business, the complexity of data becomes a problem. Cinema is often regarded as somehow different to other industries, no doubt due to its longevity, with experience and instinct seen as the key components of success. Analytics will not replace these, but it can add another tool for the industry to make more informed decisions. For example, the existing breakdown of customers into gender, broad age profiles and other top line categories can be greatly enhanced by analysing data, bringing a level of sophistication to understanding customer behaviour that most agree is not present currently. Analytics within the cinema business so far operates at a number of levels. I would break them down as boxed — Operations, Scheduling, and Marketing.


My feeling is that instead of Big Data, cinema is more accurately using unstructured data, and the main challenge of the work will be less the volume of data needed than the harmonisation of various differently structured data (if there is a structure at all) being pulled in from a wide range of sources, and making sense of them using analytics. Making incremental gains from the more planned use of data is the next phase of the sector, and not just in some areas. The use of data and research has not always been an initial reflex within the film industry (and I should know!) but if the sector is to thrive in the digital economy, and let’s not forget that digital makes this all possible, then it needs to embrace such techniques, organise itself more effectively between distributors and exhibitors and begin to understand in much greater detail its customers and its performance. In short, the cinema sector needs to be driven by data more than it has. This may not be welcome to some but the alternative is to lag further behind comparable and competitor sectors that are making good use of it. The exciting thing is that the business has survived this long without analytics and continues to be broadly profitable, and used properly, the outlook for the customer experience and the sector’s bottom line is very positive. David Hancock is Research Director, Film and Cinema at IHS Markit and the President of European Digital Cinema Forum (EDCF).

OPERATIONS Analytics is very useful in identifying areas of improvement and increasing rofita ility ithin the cinema itsel These can be done using existing data ein ca tured y the o o fice tic etin sta fin systems, mi ed ith data from other sources to create a site-by-site analysis (and even down to individual staff members) of performance.

MARKETING Jeffrey Katzenberg’s call for greater collaboration was supported by his point at CineEurope that studios currently spend as much on marketing as on producing movies, aiming campaigns at 1bn people to get 100m to the cinema, hich is hi hly ine ficient, and means uildin audiences from the ground up for each new title. There’s a key opportunity for exhibitors and distributors to work together with data to e more e ficient se o analytics in this area is ty ified by work done by Movio. The ultimate aim is to make a marketing budget more effective, losing fewer dollars invested on people that won’t respond. The days of blanket emailling need to be over, to be replaced by personalised campaigns based on consumer preferences. Predictive analytics is also being used by studios, to understand better what films or here, and to redict er ormance across platforms.

SCHEDULING ne o the romised enefits o di ital cinema was greater flexibility of scheduling for cinema circuits. Cinema programmers know their job, but additional help from analytics is possible, by predicting performance on a given day (taking into account a range of data including weather, critical rating, day of the week, time of year and more and schedulin films screen y screen Distributor scheduling can also be aided by analytics, with release dates being optimised to suit the predicted audience pattern, as well as the marketing campaign being developed and amended as the release is ongoing, all made possible by the realisation that such behaviour is predictable.


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d u o l w ho is a ? e i mov logy Cinema Techno inal paper, m se a ed sh li b u p Loud?’, 18 ‘Are Movies Too her by get years ago. Put to , it became olby Ioan Allen of D sound, but a m e in c n o rk o a reference w unresolved re e w s e su is e m Ioan realised so f experimental work, rs o — after five yea er on the subject. pap this is his latest edure has been


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Now, the movie business is unique in many ways. One of these is the potential for control of image and sound quality throughout the chain from studio to exhibition. In contrast, the producer of a radio program or television show has no control over the consumer’s playback color adjustment, or the setting of the volume control. We used the word “potential” because the theatre operator can always override the reference settings of sound and picture. A correctly aligned theatre playing a movie at fader 7 will reproduce the level heard by the director and mixer on the dubbing/mixing stage. Excessive use of the power capabilities of content technology, however, leads to many a theatre fader being lowered from reference 7 to 6, 5, or even 4½, a reduction of as much as 10dB. Such a lowering of level leads to severe dialogue intelligibility problems. A film’s director may have ultimate control of the film itself, but trailers are in part controlled by the studios’ marketing department. Inevitably, trailer designers feel they are in competition with other trailers and will pack every available highlight from a two hour movie into a 90 sec trailer. Naturally, the highlights more often than not will be the loudest elements. CINEMA TECHNOLOGY | SEPTEMBER 2016

Digital sound on 35mm film was introduced in 1992 — and loudness wars between trailers became so violent that there were many complaints from theatre owners and the general public. These were highlighted by trailers for films such as Twister (1996), Star Wars (1997, re-release),




4. Mission Impossible 3 with 85dB threshold & single metric, Leq(m)

Hz 31.5


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80 90 100 110

Enter Leq(m) For years, a process had been utilised to measure the average sound level of typical industrial noise over time, which is referred to as Leq. This averaging method typically utilises a “weighting” characteristic, which highlights certain frequencies depending

“THE PRESS RARELY POINT OUT THAT THE CINEMA EXPERIENCE IS FAR QUIETER THAN THE SUSTAINED LOUDNESS OF A FOOTBALL GAME” and Men in Black (1997). As theatre chains employed fewer projectionists, and many cinemas were not equipped with automation control of fader settings, a lowered playback level of the trailers led to the same reduced level being applied to the feature. As a result, complaints of inaudible dialogue levels on feature films increased — not surprising when the dialogue levels had been lowered by as much as 10dB below reference. Studios saw things were out of control, and a committee, later known as the Trailer Audio Standards Association (TASA), was formed by the (then) seven major studios to review the situation.

on the application (see below and Fig. 2). Dolby Laboratories carried out research work in 1996 to determine ideal weighting characteristic for measurement of trailers and commercials, both of which typically have a forceful upper mid-frequency dominance. This led to their proposal for a measurement procedure called Leq(m), with “m” standing for “movies.”

a Hierarchy of loudness The intention of a loudness measurement system, not surprisingly, is to get a series of numbers that match the subjective loudness. In other words, if sample A is subjectively louder than sample B, and

5. Comparison of 85 and 70dB thresholds

6. Comparison of ‘loud’ and ‘quiet’ movies

1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0

1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0

85 db leq (m10) 70 db leq (m10)

Vera Zaara


Master & Commander

Star Wars 2

Lord of the Rings The TwoTowers (1st half)

normal ‘loudness’ units

normal ‘loudness’ units



85 80 75 70 Loud Movie

Quiet Movie

7. Effect of changing threshold from 85 to 80dB normalised to Veer-Zara, the loudest film yet measured veer-zaara: 635 u2 3d: 528 transformers 2: 367 mission impossible 3: 396 2012: 297 transformers 1: 296 iron man: 254 slumdog millionaire: 231 superman returns: 210 master and commander: 185 bolt: 115 wall-e, up 104 mighty heart 69 kite runner, grand torino: 4

sample B is louder than C, then the measurement system should also show that A > B > C. In this context, the scale A > B > C can be referred to as a “hierarchy.” There are numerous weighting curves in use for different applications. Most common is probably A-weighting, which is typically used to measure the annoyance from industrial noise. It was found, when evaluating a number of trailers and cinema specific commercials, that the M-weighting curve, favoring the 2-3 kHz regions, created a better hierarchy than C-weighting, Aweighting, and no weighting at all (Fig. 2). TASA first met in August 1997. The intention was to measure and control the level of trailers. The association adopted Leq(m) as the measurement procedure and, to formalise the control procedure, tied the TASA program with the ratings procedure of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). In June 1999, the MPAA administration formally began, and since then, no approval rating has been given to any trailer without TASA certification. An initial maximum level was 87dB Leq(m), and this was lowered in two steps to 85dB Leq(m) in 2001 and remains there today for both film and digital cinema. Compare this with 1996 and 1997, when the loudest

trailers measured 92 and 93dB Leq(m), respectively. This means that the loudest trailers today are 8dB quieter than before TASA was introduced. It also meant that the trailers better matched the level of the features. More than 6,000 trailers for US features have now (2015) passed through the TASA approval routine. The process has been adopted by several national standards bodies and by the International Standards Organisation.

“it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil” Surveys and cinema exit polls suggest most moviegoers are content with volume levels of commercials, current trailers, and features. Complaints that do arrive, however, frequently get widely reported in the press, where articles rarely, if ever, point out that the moviegoing experience is far quieter than the sustained loudness of a football game, or a high-school basketball game. From time to time, politicians have reacted to these press articles by threatening legislation. Unfortunately, some of the potential legislation has suggested constraining the peak level heard in the cinema. This would be wrong from two standpoints. First, it puts the onus on the theate owner to check and control the

85 227

Threshold leg (m10)

80 635 528


367/396 297/296

90 85 49 41 34

254 231 210 185 115 104 69 4

levels — as mentioned previously, with a correctly aligned theatre, the levels are set by the filmmaker. Second, control of peak levels could well constrain the filmmaker’s artistic intent — a single gunshot at peak level surprises, but 10 min of sustained machine-gun fire would prove annoying. Luckily, at least in the US, no threatened legislation has so far been enacted.

What Is the Loudness of a Feature Film? I am firmly against any constraint of levels of feature films, believing that to be the domain of the film’s director and sound crew. If the filmmakers are foolhardy enough to over-abuse the technology by piling up the loudness, that is up to them. That said, there is one missing link — there is no established method of determining the subjective loudness of an entire feature film. It has been suggested that an Leq (long-term average), such as Leq(m), could be used. This does not work — think of a film having six 20 min reels. Imagine reels 1 to 5 being very quiet, but the whole of reel 6 being at 100 peak level. A Leq reading would come out quite low, but the audience would come out screaming at the end of reel 6. Twenty minutes at 100 is obviously too much sustained loudness. SEPTEMBER 2016 | CINEMA TECHNOLOGY



So, at any one point in time, let us consider the idea of measuring the Leq of the prior (let us say) 10 min (Fig. 3). This would be a useful starting tool. Leq measurements would not be unduly influenced by a few sudden peaks, but would clearly show up prolonged use of 100% capability. In addition, because we are trying to assess typical film program material, applying the same M-weighting as is being used for the subjective measurement of trailers, this 10 min average would be weighted in the same way — let us call it Leq(m10). However, this in itself is not very useful. It is not very helpful, for example, just to say that, at 23 min into the film, the Leq(m10) for the previous 10 min was 85dB, or to state it more correctly, 85dB Leq(m10). So let us try adding together all the Leq(m10) readings at some given constant clock frequency (sample rate) and then dividing by the duration of the film. For the first 10 min of the movie, the data will show a conventional Leq reading. At the 10 min point, the pre-10 min samples will be dropped off. The last reading will be taken at the last frame of action (LFOA). To make a further improvement, we do not want to have the result influenced in any way by sustained low-level material. As an example, the difference between quiet dialogue and quiet atmospheres should have minimal effect. Our interest is only in sustained material above a certain level. So, let us set a threshold point. Our starting parameters were as follows: (1) window duration — currently 10 min; (2) threshold — initially 85dB Leq(m10), changed later (see below); (3) sample rate — currently 750mS, not a time constant, but the point at which a sample is taken; (4) film duration units — minutes (why not?). A number of films were measured using these parameters, creating a single metric, and a hierarchy close to subjective analysis was revealed. The complete paper provides a selection of graphs, we show here as an example just the one for Mission Impossible 3, with the 85dB threshold, showing a single metric (Fig. 4). However, a couple of films seem to come out with too low a number when compared with the subjective level. Noticeable was Slumdog Millionaire, where a lot of energy was concentrated in the region between 80 and 85dB Leq(m).

Threshold Selection We took selected titles and compared an 85dB threshold with a 70dB one. Results are in Fig. 5. Next, we made an analysis of “loud” movies versus “quiet” movies at different thresholds (Fig. 6). The conclusion was that an 80dB threshold gave the best hierarchy. The comparison of 85 and 80dB in Fig. 7 shows not only a good but also a more evenly spread hierarchy. CINEMA TECHNOLOGY | SEPTEMBER 2016

8. For comparison — Leq(m10) metric for Apocalypse Now, 35mm Dolby Digital 92 90 88 86 84 82 80 78 76 74 72 70

CONCLUSION Once again, we are in no way su estin that eature films should e re ulated The rocedure descri ed is rimarily ein o ered as a much etter method o deri in a num er that re orts the su ecti e loudness o a mo ie ar etter than measurin ea le els reached n addition, it should e ointed out that the metric descri ed has no a solute alue its alue is urely relati e, re ealin hich films are su ecti ely louder than others










98 110 112 134 147

9. Birdman — 80dB threshold 92 90 88 86 84 82 80 78 76 74 72 70




8 11 15 19 22 26 30 34 37 41 45 48 52 56 59 59 63 67 70 74 78 81 85 89 92 96100 103 107 111 114

10. The Hobbit - 80dB threshold 92 90 88 86 84 82 80 78 76 74 72 70


0 4 8 11 15 18 22 26 29 33 37 40 44 48 51 55 59 63 66 70 74 77 81 84 88 92 95 99 103106 110 113 117 121 124 128132135139143

As stated earlier, too short a window and peak levels would be restricted. Too long a window could allow abuse. Ten minutes seems about right. This was a subjective call, but minor revisions would probably not cause major changes in the hierarchy. All the material cited in this paper came from DCP packages, with the exception of Fig. 8, which, for historical reference, shows the Leq(m10)

of the 35mm Dolby Digital version of Apocalypse Now. We have carried on measuring selected features and Figs. 9 and 10 show the 80dB threshold results for Birdman and Hobbit 3. With special thanks to the author and the SMPTE for permission to publish this abridged version of the paper that originally appeared in the SMPTE Motion Imaging Journal in June 2016.

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Are premium small formats in cinema’s future? Film-maker Douglas Trumbull has a compact, immersive vision for the future, as Mark Trompeteler discovers


t the Digital Television Summit organised by the Digital Television Group and held in London in 2015 a fairly obvious but simple point was made by one contributor to the conference, Ron Martin, vice president/director of the Panasonic Hollywood Lab. During his presentation he said that the whole point of manufacturers and image technologists constantly forging forward the boundaries of resolution, detail,

dynamic range, colour gamut and pushing image quality from 2k to 4k and possibly 8K is to make the image and its viewing so good that the “window” of the screen will effectively disappear. The viewing experience will be so totally convincing that “the fourth wall” of the cinema screen, or the TV, will essentially disappear to the audience. They will eventually lose the sense that they are watching an image on a screen at both conscious and sub-conscious levels and will feel they are experiencing a kind of reality. You get a similar sensation when

the curtain in a theatre opens and “the fourth wall” is demolished. You are then immersed in a convincing kind of reality. I can only identify two occasions in my life of cinematic and audio visual experiences when I completely lost the sense I was watching a projected image. Somehow it had disappeared and I was experiencing a kind of reality. The renowned cinematographer, director, cinema engineer, technologist, and VFX expert Douglas Trumbull was the man responsible for both. SEPTEMBER 2016 | CINEMA TECHNOLOGY



Enter Douglas Trumbull Back in 1991 or 1992, on a theme park ride — “Back to the Future” — I climbed into a DeLorean with my children and “took it for a drive”. During that short ride, I became really scared and thought the car and us, its occupants, were all close to complete disaster and death. Although a sane, responsible adult I actually screamed my head off in front of complete strangers, much to the eternal embarrassment of my children. All my senses were fooled by various technical devices and I lost any notion that I was seeing projected images. The second occasion was when, as part of the 2015 Widescreen Weekend in Bradford, I saw Trumbull’s short film UFOTOG, shot in 4K, 120fps and 3D. While the luminance levels of the projection set up did not do his 3D film full justice and the subject of his film tended to be a little dark, what he showed us was impressive. I was stunned by the clarity and realism that the 120fps rate added to the visual experience. The clarity of the image and absence of any image artefacts made me lose any consciousness of the fact that I was looking at an image on a screen — it appeared as if the actor was looking directly at me through an open space. I was looking directly back at him and no screen surface separated us. I think the lighting, lens used and composition all augmented the effect. The effect on a screen that would totally fill my field of vision would be remarkable.

VR battle lines are being drawn From the moment people screamed and took cover as they watched one of the first Lumière films of a train entering a station with the locomotive coming straight at them, cinema has always been a form of virtual reality. Today, with the imminent availability of affordable virtual reality headsets, 4K television sets that the likes of the BBC’s R&D unit say we should be sitting very much closer to in order to encompass our field of vision, and with Japanese broadcast researchers who say we

will need to do so even more with the advent of 8K televisions, there has never been greater pressure on cinema to provide a convincing virtual reality experience. The accepted wisdom and “on trend” response to all of this is Premium Large Format cinema. Douglas Trumbull’s thesis, however, is that a more effective, convincing and cost conscious alternative to PLF is very much worth considering. All that needs to be done is to use existing cinema technology in a different way. A fortuitous, congenial chance meeting in a Bradford

ENTER INTO THE MAGI POD… The Magi Pod (right) is Douglas Trumbull’s concept for “Premium Small Format” cinemas. Using existing projection technology and smaller auditoria, the goal is to provide a superior immersive experience at a lower operational cost: MARK TROMPETELER (MT): ne o the first thin s you learn a out ro ection is called somethin li e the in erse s uare la the closer you rin the ro ector to the screen the ri hter you can et the ima e n your conce t o the small od cinema, you could achie e ery ri ht ima es on a hi hly re lecti e sur ace, ith com orta le ie in , y irtue o the od s dimensions ein smaller than con entional auditoria DOUGLAS TRUMBULL (DT): actly ou can do a sim le calculation around, say, a small auditorium or instance o t t t ith, say, seats t has a i cu ic ca acity as it has i roo s an o a out t you ta e the dimensions o the od you soon realise you can et more eo le in ods into the cu ic ca acity o the auditorium They ill ha e a etter, more leasura le e erience or a lo er cost than fittin out the con entional auditorium MT: t msterdam last year, it as the ery first time had really ut on any irtual reality headsets and a e them serious consideration i e e eryone, understand hat R is a out ut as disa ointed ith the uality o the ima es the headsets


deli ered hat stri es me a out your od cinema conce t, that you ha e uilt and demonstrated, is ho it resem les a lar e R headset in hich, say, an audience o u to eo le can sit The R headset is such a solitary ie in e erience n your od you deli er a communal e erience hich is hat ma es cinema cinema lo e the idea that a cou le, rou o riends, or a amily can e in a od and as a rou en oy a cinematic R e erience communally JULIA TRUMBULL (JT): The od retains the nature o cinema in as much as it retains the audience s social relationshi s DT: lso started realisin that theatres are o es consistin o lat alls, lat ceilin s, lat screens orin o es The od consists o cur ilinear lines and alls The screen itsel started to define the s ace e as ed hy don t e uild the uildin in the sha e o the screen and carry it on ehind This e sha e emer ed that i es the ma imum use o s ace and the ma imum entertainment er s uare oot ima ina le





hotel bar with Douglas and his wife Julia, led to a subsequent discussion of the issues: Mark Trompeteler (MT): In London recently cinemas have been showing The Walk and Everest in 3D IMAX with immersive sound systems. I wonder what your take is on cinema’s trend towards Premium Large Format (PLF) auditoria and these large “tentpole” movies. Is cinema going in the right direction? Douglas Trumbull (DT): I don’t think so at all. The whole mission of my life, the trajectory of my career within cinema, started with “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Working with Stanley Kubrick, I found myself alongside a brilliant genius who paid extremely close attention to every aspect of the movie, right

Douglas Trumbull’s goal is to bring cost-effective immersive experiences to the cinema industry

lack of interest at the studios in ensuring a truly high-quality product got to the theatre that I stopped directing altogether. I had to regroup, leave Hollywood, set up shop elsewhere and redefine what was possible. I’m trying to make a long story short — but the story is reaching its conclusion because I have really been researching digital photography, digital post-production and digital exhibition as one continuous chain. So the movie is not separated from the way it is going to be displayed. I feel there is a huge human craving for experiential entertainment that is undefined. It is like virtual reality, in the sense that when people think of virtual reality, they think of some alternative

“THE ABYSMAL TRUTH IS THAT THE SITUATION IN MOVIE THEATRES IS POOR. SHOWMANSHIP IS GONE. THE GIANT SCREEN IS GONE” down to the details of the print that would go to the theatre. He even considered the focal qualities of the lens in the theatre and the steadiness of the gate. He saw the entire process. That has stuck with me ever since. The abysmal truth is that the situation in movie theatres is poor. Showmanship has gone. Mostly, the giant screen has gone, 70mm has gone. There is a disconnect between the creative process of making the movie from the way it is shown. They are now two completely separate industries. In a sense, Cinema Technology is talking to one industry, and 99.999% of those who actually make movies are not going to read this magazine. They don’t concern themselves with exhibition issues — I do. I came to a point in my career at which I became so utterly frustrated at the complete

experiential out-of-body experience, a dream state or a drugged state that somehow could be life- enhancing and powerful. I think they crave it, but they are not getting it.

when television terrified cinema MT: Don’t you think that PLF auditoria in mainstream multiplexes offer that? DT: They do in the sense that there is a recognition that a more spectacular presentation is desirable and achieves a premium ticket price. It can be more profitable for them. Upgrading to a bigger screen, brighter projection, more comfortable seats and any number of things that patrons can have at their disposal is probably a good thing by its nature.

Douglas Trumbull worked on the classic mm film 2001: A Space Odyssey — he contri uted si nificantly in the area o isual e ects and made a memora le contri ution in the de elo ment o the slit scan hoto ra hy rocess used in the “stargate” sequence. He went on to contri ute e ects to The Andromeda Strain, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and, in , on Ridley Scott s Blade Runner. Trumbull developed his patented Sho scan rocess, a hi h s eed, lar e ormat mo ie mm rocess shootin and ro ectin at s that provided an unprecedented visual clarity in the mo ies e directed the classic cult film Silent Running and the film Brainstorm. Redirecting his career a ay rom olly ood he concentrated instead on de elo in ne technolo y or mo ie roduction, and or the e hi ition industry and theme ar rides, such as the “Back to the Future Ride at ni ersal Studios n Trum ull as rie ly a ice chairman o or oration e contri uted to s ecial e ects or on Terrence alic s film The Tree of Life ost recently Trum ull has een or in on his atented rocess hich he says oes ay eyond anythin that eter Jac son and James ameron ha e een doin ominated or cademy ards on fi e occasions, he has recei ed the merican Society o inemato ra her s i etime chie ement ard

Nevertheless, I am coming up against this real unexpected discovery. It goes back to post-2001, when I became disillusioned that the giant screen cinemas were carved up into multiplexes and the giant screens had gone, 70mm had gone, and we were just back to 35mm. At the same time, back at the studios, at production level it was becoming simultaneously movies and television. There was a time in the 1950s, when Cinerama, ToddAO, Vistavision and D150 were all emerging because studios were terrified television was going to take their customers away. It was an understandable fear. The studios actually became happy campers because they ended up becoming television producers. A large proportion of production at the studios was for television and they joined the enemy. That was what helped develop a common format that would suit both cinema and television, which is what has now developed into 2K at 24 fps — the world standard medium. This SEPTEMBER 2016 | CINEMA TECHNOLOGY



The curved cinemas of the past (above) — a concept reflected in the Magi Pod system. (Right), 2001 as seen from the the projection box

means that, even if you have a bigger screen, you still only have a 2K image and you still only have 24 fps. I have come to this new revelation — and this is part of what Julia and I have been doing at our studio, we have been experimenting with an entirely new way to go, namely 3D, 4K and 120 fps. The first concern has been, legitimately, that if 48 fps creates a movement towards a televisual look, a sitcom, soap opera look, then 60 fps is going to be worse and 120 fps objectionably bad. That is a convoluting thought that is forthcoming from the studios. They are upset at the thought of anything that might rock their paradigm. What we have discovered is this new alternating frame 3D system at 120 fps. It is

DT: We have to remember that the whole history of the movies since their inception has been to create immersions by some means. The intention from film-makers has been there all along ever since that first movie of the train coming into the station. My philosophy is that if you accept the motion picture medium as it has been all of our lives at 24 fps — usually at double flash, sometimes triple flash — that creates a two dimensional texture in which the movie remains at the screen and is not entering the room, it is staying where it belongs. It is an envelope within which the story is told, directed, scripted and acted — you are telling a story. As soon as you detract from that convention to try and create an experience that is more visceral,

“KUBRICK KEPT STRIPPING OUT DIALOGUE — AND HE LET THE AUDIENCE FEEL LIKE THEY WERE BECOMING THE CHARACTER” extremely elegant. It is extremely easy to do and doesn’t look like television at all.

3D Towards Virtual Reality MT: With immersive experiences, you don’t use the old words of television as being “a window on the world”, but instead have used a term to define your experiments as striving to achieve “a window through into reality”. So, like others, are you pursuing “The Holy Grail” of cinema technology — of breaking down that “fourth wall” of the screen in the cinema completely? CINEMA TECHNOLOGY | SEPTEMBER 2016

more immersive and more involving, by adding 3D or adding 70mm and adding a bigger screen, you are, in fact, creating a different medium. Kubrick recognised this and I learned it working with him — there is a whole other world of potential within immersive experiences. Technologically, once you create immersion, you tell the story differently. There is a different balancing of forces. You use less dialogue and more visuals — and that is a mysterious formula. In 2001 Kubrick kept stripping out dialogue,

stripping out over-the-shoulder shots, stripping out reverse-angle shots, and he let the audience feel like they were becoming the character. There is something like a whole 17-minute uninterrupted sequence of pure point-ofview, during which there is no story, no plot, no drama, no dialogue. Just a visual trip. Fortunately, it was at time in modern history when a trip could be considered a good thing. That profoundly affected me, so when the multiplexes arrived, I was disappointed that the approach we were only beginning to explore was being cut off. Since then, it has been my mission to see how we can get back. How can I get back to that art form and go further with it? Surprisingly, it has a lot to do with 3D technology. I was never a fan of 3D, but as we started to experiment we discovered that we could do 3D so perfectly that the screen surface is virtually gone — you are looking through a window into reality. It is like a live drama unfolding before your eyes. When you look at something stereoscopically you ask the audience to converge their vision onto distant objects, but you also ask them to focus on the screen surface at the same time. You ask them to decouple the muscles in their eyes, this is what causes eye strain. We do not decouple the muscles in our eyes naturally. I began to realise that small screens are in fact better. It is all about field of view, not about scale. When you present a wide field of view, but not at such a distance and scale, you are not demanding such a strenuous muscle decoupling in the eyes — the 3D viewing can become very pleasurable. Also, if you can make the 3D image brighter, your eyes default down to a more normal exposure, it increases the eyes’ depth of field and this increases eye comfort further. This has led me to this amazing concept that multiplexes can, in fact, be a good idea and not bad, and that a giant screen may not be desirable. We have constructed a much smaller idea of a cinema with screens of up to 35 feet wide — not very big screens. One of the constituents of the screen is the Torus material which is highly reflective. It is also deeply curved, like Cinerama was, but the key is how highly reflective it is. There is no cross reflectance, it does not need to be louvered, and it does not require a million dollar laser illuminator to make it work. You can do it with conventional off-the-shelf equipment. Lasers are obviously coming, but the scale of this is really comfortable and fits in well with the smaller kind of multiplex size theatres. Find out more about the work of Trumbull Studios at With thanks to Douglas and Julia Trumbull, and the National Media Museum Press Office.






CINEEUROPE: BEST YET? Just as the IOC proclaim each Olympics “the best yet,” there’s always an inclination to hail each CineEurope the best ever — but in its 25th year, the event has found its own space, voice and profile, says Patrick von Sychowski art of the feel-good factor at this year’s CineEurope naturally stemmed from a successful 2015 box o fice year Spectre and Star Wars VII) and a strong start to Deadpool, Zootropolis), though more factors come into play to explain the optimism about the future, not just centred on the slate o films resented, hich as al ays remains a mi ed a o trailers and cli s o films o un no a le o o fice potential. Some eared that ith di itisation o European cinemas pretty much completed, the a sence o the main tal in oint and s onsor s Te as nstruments no here to e seen at this year s sho ould lea e a a in hole in the e ent This has not ro en to e the case t is not that laser ro ection has filled this role, but a recognition that far from ust u radin ro ectors e ery years or so, cinemas no need to inno ate and em race ne technolo ies and o erin s constantly They ha e to do so to remain the remium choice or mo ie consum tion y an audience a ash in on demand content o tions on e er etter de ices and screens


Recruiting the Millennials i en that ine uro e as orn in russels in ac then as ine o it is o ficially a illennial o to recruit this critical uture audience as a i ocus o the sho , includin the first o the t o oca ola seminars, here it as announced that a oint study y , and o e ill loo into illennials and their cinema ha its e ha e to come u ith connected solutions, oca olas orinne Thi aut im lored the audience art o this ill come rom cinemas increasin ly loo in to other businesses for learnings. Examples of e erythin rom c onalds ith entry menu items to hotels smaller rooms ith lots o S soc ets ere mentioned et the most o er ul e am le came in the second o e seminar, here ret a an es ormer head o desi n, atthe ilson, ro ided a ascinatin insi ht into the ind CINEMA TECHNOLOGY | SEPTEMBER 2016

o desi n, customer and sta led inno ation that dri es customer loyalty s cinemas increasin ly ecome art o the e erience economy as S s a id ancoc re ularly reminds us , they ha e to learn more rom hos itality and other industries e li e in e onential times, rista e arney, head o oca ola esi n reminded us

the Big Data dilemma i data and analytical insi hts fi ured throu hout the ee , ith e eryone rom Je rey e le it on at en er to anels eaturin ioneers such as o io and Sho time nalytics sayin that cinema-goers can be targeted in smarter, more cost e ecti e ays ecisions are increasingly dependent on big data sets,” arner ros nternational s Tonis iis o ser ed, notin that, a aradi m shi t in the industry has facilitated this.” ut e en as distri utors and e hi itors ay li ser ice to the need or reater collaboration in sharing data about customers, age-old enmities smolder. istri utors see e hi itors as eo le ho collect money for them,” Cinepolis Spain’s ernando ole caustically o ser ed et third arty so t are com anies that can rid e this a are o ten ercei ed the same ay third arty di ital cinema inte rators ere a decade a o a necessary e il to et somethin im ortant done that can’t be handled in-house.

here , ol y inema and in house ormats already do attle remains to e seen There is no sil er ullet ne t eneration technolo y to sa e cinemas, ut a aryin mi o ne seatin , ser ice, retail, data, audio and projection enhancements.

Eleven Distributors… and Event Cinema Juggling product reels, conference sessions, rece tions, trade sho and meetin s is ne er easy or schedulers, ut ine uro e seems to ha e ound a ood mi this year This is articularly im ressi e i en that a record distri utors sho ed their films, e en i it as elt that some o erstayed their elcome u h Jac mans PT Barnum, e are loo in at you , includin a li eral smattering of European titles. The ent inema ssociation has also come into its o n, cele ratin the th anni ersary o the enre, ith oth a record rea in ool side arty, as ell as the best attended conference session at

Ymagis, UNITIA and EclairColor S ea in o inte rators, ma is seems to ha e ro n to a si e here it not only needed to s lit into t o distinct o erations clair and inema e t , ut also stimulated o osition ith the hi her rofile creation o the ranco erman S anish T the nited Theater nte rators ssociation that elcomed three ne mem ers to its osom at the sho ay rom the sho and in ri ate demos at the nearby Cinesa multiplex, the enhanced mastering and projection of clair olor as the most interestin ne technology to emerge from this CineEurope. o it fits into the cro ded s ace

FEATURED IN THIS SECTION Nearly 4,000 professionals came together to discuss major technical and commercial issues and innovations transforming the industry. Jim Slater reviews the discussions.

the expanding trade-show floor seminar space, which this year also played host to the better integrated ICTA seminars. The main conference room had also expanded and will next year see cameras deployed for a better close-up view of the speakers.

Future Improvements Good though the show was, there was recognition for further room for im ro ement The first t o all male anel session were an anachronism that failed to recognise the gender diversity of talent in today’s cinema landscape. To its credit, UNIC held an invitation-only session looking at the issue of gender balance in the industry that will hopefully be more centre stage next year. While the trade show is evolving, with a si nificant hinese corner this year, there is a recognition that small and nimble companies that will be essential to cinema’s future are not the ones that would necessarily have their own booth. New companies like Powster or P4CK were more likely to have a virtual tradeshow presence courtesy of the generous CocaCola booth and lounge. More innovators like them need to be made part of the future.

Complacency loses audiences

On the trade show floor, p.39 The trade show at CineEurope is increasingly at the heart of the event — the range of products and services available reflecting the cinema industry’s buoyancy.

UNIC President Phil Clapp urged the assembled denizens of European cinema in his keynote. It seems that CineEurope itself will also not be resting on its laurels. With the CineEurope delegates waking up to the almighty hangover of the Brexit vote the day after the show, it was a reminder that even buoyant industries are not immune to outside shocks. And while Korea’s GDC buying Turkey’s Mars prior to the show and AMC/Wanda snapping up Odeon and UCI a few weeks later are both a ote o confidence in the o erall uro ean cinema market, nobody would predict that the next 25 years of CineEurope will be easy or straightforward.

The ICTA sessions, p.42

ICTA’s seminars and focus sessions have been given greater prominence at CineEurope and now form an integral part of the main event. We reports on the technological developments.


The cinema of the future, p.32

2 Thou h the first two all-male panel sessions failed to recognise the diversity in today’s cinema, UNIC will prioritise gender balance next year.

“We cannot be complacent in the face of changing demographics, technologies and audience tastes,”


A record eleven distributors showcased their orthcomein films at CineEurope.



the cinema of the future

Nearly 4,000 professionals came together to discuss major technical and commercial issues and innovations transforming the industry. Jim Slater reports here's always an air of anticipation at the opening session of CineEurope — the huge conference room was packed for an 8.30am start. The first sessions traditionally in ol e a ood mix of technology and business, and the organisers took care to see that each of the distinct strands would appeal both to ‘techies’ and business people alike. Thomas Rüttgers, international vice president of ICTA, welcomed everyone and, highlighted the international nature of the event, reminding delegates that live translation was available in four other languages.


The future of the Cinema Business Billed as an executive round table, Mike Gubbins of SampoMedia did an excellent job getting the most out of a panel of cinema experts, consisting of Jeffrey Katzenberg (Dreamworks), Jan Bernhardsson, (Nordic Cinema Group), Paul Donovan (Odeon Cinemas) and David Passman (Carmike). Mike asked how the cinema-going experience would change in years ahead and how the industry can continue to create excitement around the big screen. Paul Donovan said that, as in the telecoms industry, he expected the

Jon Karafin of Lytro introduced light field cinema


cinema industry to end up with a handful of ‘super-operators’. A second wave of capital will be needed to provide enhanced guest experiences that are now coming, and com anies need stron financial structures for that. There is room for improvement — the industry isn’t making use of the latent demand for cinema. Many people don’t actually go to see the movies they say they want to — we need to address that. David Passman felt there has never been a time of greater opportunity for innovation in cinema. He compared the industry with US sports, saying that virtually every sports stadium has been rebuilt or replaced in recent years, and along with that has come a much-improved customer experience. Lots of new, exciting things now happen during and around the match, and attendances have never been higher — in spite of premium prices.

“IF DISTRIBUTORS SPENT LESS ON ADVERTISING, PERHAPS EXHIBITORS COULD GET A BONUS?” This should provide an analogy for the cinema business in the future. Asking what the driving force needs to be to make the industry larger, he explained that ours is a mature industry with attendances broadly flat over recent times. We need to increase our effectiveness. Consolidation will provide major improvements, allowing cinemas a stronger hand in negotiations with studios and in purchasing everything from food, beverages, equipment, even seats. Consolidation could also reduce or eliminate admin costs — you only need one CEO for a large group of cinemas. The resulting increase in size could create

more big data, information and an in-depth knowledge of your customers. Jan Bernhardsson said that even with relatively small numbers of customers it is essential to invest in consumer databases. Paul noted that such investments are one off, and that there is a need to do far more. inemas need to find ays o im ro in their effectiveness, and Odeon/UCI’s work on the Innovation Labs project formed part of the company’s strategic programme to explore and develop the most innovative cinema experience of the future, pushing the boundaries over the use of data and technology in the industry. Jeffrey Katzenberg's view was that the single greatest opportunity for cinema today comes from smartphones. People usually go to the same cinema each time as regulars. Effectively, there is a relationship between cinema and customer, but few cinemas make the most of that potential. Hollywood spends as much on marketing movies as on making them, which could have a lesson for exhibition. Cinemas use the ine ficient method o ad ertisin each movie to a big database of people each time, whereas it would be more sensible and effective to concentrate advertising

4000 Nearly 4,000 industry professionals gathered at CineEurope this year — the biggest in the event's 25 years.

Big Data on the targeted individuals we know will like a particular movie. Billions could be saved by making the most appropriate use of the database from local cinemas. Netflix recommends content all the time — cinemas should be able to do the same, but they don’t yet make the effort. It's true that it would be effective if we got bigger and better at this, using big data like Google, but it isn’t necessary, we could also involve personal relationships — it doesn’t have to be big data to be effective. If distributors spent less on advertising, perhaps the exhibitors could get a bonus?

so, what's new in the cinema world? Mike Gubbins asked for thoughts on whether anything new is coming to cinema — Jeffrey Katzenberg said "We blew it on 3D." There was so much original enthusiasm for 3D that customers were happy to pay a premium. But by content creators putting the 3D stamp on substandard content, we lost the goodwill that the best 3D movies generated, even though exhibition invested in the technology. Avatar 2 will provide another hi h uality e erience, so e must capitalise on it to regain that goodwill. David Passman noted that product is

Focused on the industry — delegates packed in for the opening sessions at CineEurope

changing and so is the audience. We all have a kitchen, but we still go out to eat, a good analogy for the relationship between TV and a cinema visit. It is important for movies to be ‘calendarised’, to maintain the momentum o a re ular lo o ood films, making more movies for more people. The distribution pattern needs to be looked at — word of mouth is a great way to get people to movies, but by the time many people hear how good a movie was, it is no longer in the cinema. Paul Donovan called for ways to capture people via social media — it is quicker than word of mouth. He felt gaming has great potential for cinemas, and that virtually reality could provide a complementary experience. He added that Event Cinema has greater potential for growth — opera has great faith in using the cinema to spread interest in its product. David said that the exhibition business needs more targeted marketing — if audiences knew that particular events and movies were available, they would go more often. Perhaps opera could be ‘serialised’ or at least advertised clearly that it will be available on certain dates.

Use of data was one of the key topics discussed at CineEurope. ore accurate tar etin o films to audiences would allow more precise use of the marketing spend — this requires closer collaboration between exhibition and distribution.

70% of people with unlimited Odeon subscriptions are also Netflix subscribers.


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Jeffrey said that there is a need to get cinemas better synchronised with ost theatrical relationshi s indo s need to be looked at and marketing costs need serious reali nment t doesn t ma e sense to use theatrical windows to deny customers access to movies they would lo e to see ain there as the com arison

“SHOOTING AT 300FPS ENABLES AMAZING CONTROL OVER THE RENDERED OUTPUT" with sports events — sports events have never been more available, but attendance at s orts enues has ne er een hi her Paul reflected on the same theme, saying that ‘People who love movies love movies’ — 70% of those with unlimited Odeon su scri tions are also et li su scri ers Summing up, Mike Gubbins said that the big changes going on are ‘all about the audience e need to understand the chan in culture, here ma on and Netflix are already making maximum use of big data, which allows companies to satis y customers needs i cinema companies can use such information to drive the differences between cinema and alternatives, but smaller cinemas can achieve similar ends by adopting a more ersonal a roach There is no dou t eo le ant a i er experience, and that they are prepared to pay a premium, whether it involves the latest technologies or the intimacy of a boutique cinema e erience The industry can roceed ith confidence

Technology meets content Julian inn, o Julian inn td, enthusiastically introduced the first s ea er, Jon arafin o ytro, sayin that hat as to follow was nothing short of magic — we should tear up all we thought we knew

Mike Gubbins, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Paul Donovan, Jan Bernhardsson and David Passman represented a broad spectrum of the industry's view

about imaging and start from scratch! Jon’s presentation certainly lived up to its billing as he obviously enjoyed introducing us to the onders o li ht field cinema e used some excellent diagrams to explain ho li ht field ima in ca tures all the rays of light within a scene, providing a rich amount o li ht field data ery i el has colour properties, directional properties, and e act co ordinates in s ace The system a arently defies the traditional hysics of image capture by virtualising creative camera decisions, allo in infinite creati e choices to be generated in post-production, including unprecedented control over focus, perspective, aperture and shutter angle — we were shown that the system can actually create shots that would be impossible usin con entional cinemato ra hy as

amazed by its ability to key out background without the need for a green screen, and to learn that its shooting at 300fps enables ama in control o er the final rendered output in terms of shutter angle, and thus allo s control o er tem oral lur This is not the lace or a ull technical article, hich hope to carry in a future issue, but a simple description is that by inserting a microlens array at the image plane of a camera, one can record our dimensional li ht fields as a sin le sna shot nli e a con entional hoto ra h, li ht fields ermit mani ulation of viewpoint and focus after the shot has been taken, subject to the resolution of the camera and the diffraction limit of the o tical system The microlens array has millions of tiny lenses which collect all the li ht field in ormation, and there are hundreds o i els ehind each microlens n mathematical terms a li ht field is a our dimensional function representing radiance along rays as a function of position and direction in s ace ecti ely, ytro has developed a holographic video capture system The ast amount o data collected from all the pixels behind the microlenses needs tremendous amounts of processing before you achieve the wanted images — Jon mentioned data rates o u to s Jon arafins enthusiasm or the roduct ca tured the audiences ima ination They were fascinated by demonstrations of what can be achieved and it was a measure of the success of the lecturer that a less-technical colleague sitting nearby remarked it was ascinatin e en thou h only understood a fraction of it!"

The principle of the Lytro microlens array

he fir t light field ca ture y tem ere developed using multi-camera arrays at Stanford University. The massive array of lenses has now been miniaturised so that an array of microlenses sits above a semiconductor light sensor array.

optical lens array of microlenses array of image sensors



big data: it's all about business

There was a packed house at CineEurope for the seminar on Data Driven Innovation in Cinema — analysing the customer is key to the future. Here is the data crunched. Big chains are coming to realise their customer base is their major asset, and that they need to make use of all the data they can to maximise returns. Currently, the system primarily uses data to give studios what they want. This needs to change so e hi ition also enefits ith dee oc ets, studios can hel exhibitors understand better how they can gain more customers.


Exhibitor Fernando Evole indicated that although cinemas know it is important to offer customers the best experience, they don’t always know what customers want. He didn’t seem convinced use of big-data would be appropriate to all situations.


One way such co-operation could enefit oth sides was if data showed that more people were being encouraged by ‘prompts’ to come and see a particular new movie, its run could be extended.


Tonis iis confirmed that arner Bros as a studio is a major user of data from countries around the world. They base major decisions on what they learn from big data, so need to really understand the data and its implications.


Different data sets are needed for different purposes — this is where third party data analytics company can help.


Netflix's targeted approach of using data to give customers suggestions based on viewing history could be used by cinemas.



Exhibitors are realising the need to use data and are catching up with what distributors do. Big chains could learn from studios how best to aggregate data for major campaigns. oderated by Jan Runge, who opened the session with remarks about the influence Netflix is having on the cinema industry, the panel included an exhibitor, Yelmo/Cinepolis’ Spain’s Fernando Evole, a distributor, Warner Bros’ Tonis Kiis, CEOs of two data analytics companies (William Palmer of Movio and Richard Power of



Movio noted exhibition is nervous over giving data to studios, even via third parties, although both sides see the need to co-operate. Data analysis companies assure the industry that data belongs to cinemas and is e t confidential Only anonymised data is shared with other parts of the industry.


ANALYSING THE DATA SEMINAR In contrast, it was recognised that bigger cinema chains might have so much data it was di ficult to no hat to do ith it. They were advised to ask "what are you really looking for?" I wonder if they know.


Showtime Analytics) and Jim Zak from comScore, previously known as Rentrak. The session started from the premise that cinemas are now in a position to collect data from customers, which they should be able to track and analyse, enabling them to predict customers’ future behaviour, and use the knowledge gained to encourage more isits and de elo a more rofita le usiness hich could enefit distri utors

One small cinema operator asked whether they need this sort of data ("we know our customers"). The panel assured him starting small was sensible, using the premise "I'm going to look at my data and base my decisions on it."


and advertisers as well as exhibition. I gained the overall feeling from the various discussions that cinemas and distributors are not doing this as well as they could, and there is a reluctance to ‘call in the experts’ from data-mining companies outside the industry. The discussions were wide-ranging and not always fully harmonious, so I picked out the more salient points above without attempting a verbatim report. Jim Slater

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brisk trade at the show



The trade show at CineEurope is increasingly at the heart of the event. Jim Slater discovered the highlights But does it come with a laser?


ith more than 120 stands, six large exhibition suites and all the meeting rooms on levels 1 and 2 taken by manufacturers and cinema companies large and small, CineEurope's organisers must have been delighted at the increasing popularity of the Trade Show. Nearly a complete A-Z of companies (Airscreen to Volfoni!) were exhibiting at CineEurope, each knowing that there is more to the Barcelona show than merely demonstrating your products or services — it gives a unique chance to talk face-to-face with anyone who is anyone in the business. Its coverage is Europe-wide, but increasingly CineEurope has become more international. There were plenty of American, Japanese and Korean people



and companies in evidence, with one of the largest exhibition suites taken by The China Film Corporation, showcasing a range of services and equipment from laser projectors to xenon lamps to silver screens.

a Cornucopia of delights Cinema Technology was the only industry publication with its own stand on the Trade Show floor, and hundreds took the opportunity to stop and talk with our advertising manager Bob Cavanagh and me about new technologies and how "The leading magazine for cinema industry ro essionals fits into their mar etin lans for the coming year. As well as having copies to take away, our video screen told the story of Cinema Technology and its online presence — making the magazine available freely on the web means thousands around the globe are regular readers. There are too many stands in the Trade Show to mention them all, but below are a few of the highlights that particularly caught my eye on the show floor.

As is noted in other articles, laser projection technologies were being demonstrated by the big manufacturers. Barco had its RGB laser and laser phosphor products on display, but its stand was really just the starting point— an entrance to an Aladdin’s cave of attractions. The press tour moved from a general presentation on the stand to a specially built ‘boutique cinema’ on the first loor, sho casin arcos laser phospor projectors, and we then toured a further ‘auditorium’ fully equipped with luxury seating, where its RGB laser projector was demonstrated. The company also had a whole room equipped as a Barco Escape theatre, with three wrap-around screens (digital Cinerama really is an apt description) each fed from DCI projectors. or the first time, as a le to e erience a proper movie (14mins long) which had been specially crafted to show off the artistic capabilities of the Escape system. It was impressive to see how your attention could swiftly be moved from concentrating on the action on the front screen to becoming totally immersed in an all-around action scene. There is scope with this technology for cinema creatives to work with. The Christie suite showcased both its laser projectors and its Vive Audio LS series loudspeakers, with some stunning demonstrations. It was good to talk with Christie people, including Richard Nye, now based in South Africa, about how they see the future of the business. NEC showed its range of laser projectors, including its 4K RGB machine


Cinema for all in the main hall (1); Cinema Next presented its service range (2); Christie's demos impressed (3); Lino Sonego (4) and Figueras (5) were among a number of seating manufacturers






for large auditoria. It had also taken over an auditorium at the nearby Cinesa cinema where technical presentations to accompany demos of NEC's laser projectors were run (see the article on page 60). The Dolby suite featured a range of kit including its Integrated Media Server, but the company had gone to town by arranging a shuttle service of minibuses to take visitors to the Cinesa cinema La Maquinista, one of the select sites to be fully equipped with the phenomenal Dolby Cinema system Another projector-related manufacturer showing its wares was Cinemeccanica, showing its Lux smart cinema laser projection using its own design of RGB laser unit with a Barco-based projector. Power Technology showed how its Illumina Light Farm laser system (discussed in a previous issue of Cinema Technology) could use fi re o tic ca les to distri ute li ht from a central light source to all the different projectors in a multiplex. Various seat manufacturers had invested in impressive stands — special effects seats on the D-Box stand aroused lots of interest. Several competing 3D systems were on show, with MasterImage 3D having one of the smartest stands at CineEurope. Volfoni attracted a lot of visitors, while DepthQ's stand was a popular destination too. Loudspeaker and sound equipment manufacturers were well represented, including DTS, Harman, LuisWaSSmann, Sennheiser, QSC and USL. Screen manufacturers included Airscreen and Harkness, who broke new ground with their software products to make cinema design easier, brilliantly publicised by a four-minute animated video featuring ‘The Harklets’. In spite of all the fuss about laser projection, xenon lamps were still at the show in force, with Philips, Ushio and various Chinese manufacturers displaying their ares They seem to e aimin to fi ht o the laser challenge by offering longer-life lamps at good prices. CINEMA TECHNOLOGY | SEPTEMBER 2016





the consolidation game At a time when the cinema industry as a whole is showing signs of consolidation, it was interesting to see several of the bigger players had sizeable displays to showcase their offerings. The large stand for Cinema Next, the new name for Ymagis’s exhibitor services, was pushing the message that it provides an effective one-stop shop to meet all a cinema operator’s needs. Clients large and small are offered equipment installation, maintenance and monitoring. They claim to have installed 9,500 screens, to have 7,000 screens currently under service contracts (maintenance and NOC) and 3,300 cinema screens connected to their content delivery network. Arts Alliance Media were highlighting their Thunderstorm application which promises to provide innovative services for cinemas and attract new customers, increase revenue and boost cinema visits. Motion Picture Solutions had a well-illuminated stand with video walls publicising the CineEurope launch of OnCinema — an international delivery



platform for exhibitors and distributors — which combines innovative technology with MPS’s trusted content delivery services. Continuing with the theme of consolidation, Europe’s cinema integrators, who formed an alliance, UNITIA — the United Theater Integrators Association — in June 2015, had a sizeable stand where they hosted a UNITIA meeting as well as acting as a forum for potential members to come and find out more The three oundin members, Cine Digital Service (France), Kelonik Group (Spain) and Cine Project (Germany), have been joined by several other companies, including the UK’s Sound Associates, the aim being to work together and to bring to cinema exhibitors the guarantee that they are working alongside highly skilled, experienced and recognised companies. Such technical co-operation provides an alternative offer for exhibitors wanting to maintain their autonomy. CineEurope’s exhibitors continue to try to make the tradeshow floor an interesting place to be, even in the face of stiff competition from Hollywood’s latest blockbusters just a few hundred metres away. They have increased the number of commercial and technical seminars taking place in the exhibition hall, and have provided more lunches and sponsored drinks sessions in the hall, making it an attractive place to stay and talk business. The investment that exhibitors large and small continue to make in ever more attractive stands underlines the message that CineEurope is the place to be seen for any successful cinema-related business. See you there next year! Upmarket seating solutions from Quinette Gallery (16); AAM's Thunderstorm stand was impressive (17) while Philips' stand was a model of clarity (18); MasterImage went large (19) and Dolby went to town (20); Luis Wassmann showed its range (21); USL (22) and QSC (23) both kept the customers informed, while Volfoni presented their range on one of the best stands in the hall (24)



The Unitia stand (6) was an impressive venue for the new alliance; Ushio brought a beach hut feel to the show floor (7); Vista Group did brisk business (8); the only trade publication on the show floor, Cinema Technology (9); Harkness Screens introduced CineEurope to the Harklets (10); the China Film Pavilion represented a wide range of enterprises (11); Barco's stand on the showfloor was an immersive experience for visitors (12); SoundParc aimed for the perfect sound experience (13); NEC showcased its laser projectors (14); while MPS launced its new OnCinema platform on a busy, attention-grabbing stand (15).




22 21

24 23


ICTA: spreading the ICTA's seminars and focus sessions are now an integral part of CineEurope — Jim Slater reports on the technological discussions.

he International Cinema Technology Association, a global network of professionals in the motion picture industry with members from companies that manufacture, service and create the equipment that goes into cinemas, has long been a supporter of CineEurope. In earlier years, ICTA held its seminars in separate sessions prior to CineEurope, but Thomas Rüttgers, ICTA's international vice president, who oversees its European arm, has worked with the organisers to integrate ICTA seminars more closely with the main CineEurope programme. This year showed the success of the idea, with a single day of ICTA seminars on the Sunday prior to the main conference followed by a whole series of ICTA ‘Focus Sessions’ throughout the con ention These first e an last year, when many were so popular that people queued outside the rooms. The organisers this year arranged for a much larger seminar area — nevertheless these sessions were again often pleasingly full. The CCIB exhibition area is flexible in its layout, so perhaps it might be possible for these sessions to be held in a separate ‘walled off’ section which would help provide a more soundproof area in future years? The Sunday sessions took place in one of the nearby Cinesa auditoria and, after welcoming the audience, Thomas told us that the European arm of ICTA is growing, now with 20 members. He gave details of recent and forthcoming meetings, saying that ICTA will be in Berlin in July 2017. Jan Runge from UNIC also welcomed delegates, stressing the importance UNIC places on cinema technologies. It was encouraging to see that around 30% of those present at the sessions were exhibitors.


A Technological tête-à-tête After the welcome, Oliver Pasch (Head of European Digital Cinema Sales, Sony) conducted an on-stage interview with CINEMA TECHNOLOGY | SEPTEMBER 2016

Phil Clapp, president of UNIC and CEO of the UKCA. We can’t report all the topics discussed, but the questions and answers included the following exchange: Oliver: How much is technology is driving people into cinemas? Phil: We're in a technological arms race — it is a challenge for exhibitors to stay abreast. It is a major marketing problem to explain to people why new technologies should persuade them to visit the cinema. Oliver: Are arthouse audiences less interested in technologies? Phil: I don’t think the divide is as clear cut as that, and even then I suspect that the position is changing. I wouldn’t say that these audiences ignore the technology — everyone expects to see the best possible pictures and hear the best possible sound when they visit the cinema. Oliver: Has the audience noticed that we've changed from 35mm to digital cinema? Phil: I don’t think so. They just expect

excellent pictures and sound as the norm. Oliver: Technological developments are coming faster — think of immersive sound and laser projection — and they are expensive. Do your member exhibitors feel a pressure to invest? Is this going to be a continuing trend? Phil: Exhibitors are realising that they are entering a new area of fast-changing technology. There is a changing mindset and investment decisions are continuously being made only after consideration of the whole business case. Some exhibitors would currently like a pause for breath, to take stock. As a trade body, it is not our job to make business decisions for exhibitors, but to provide them with unbiased information to help guide their decisions. Oliver: What were the pros and cons of the change to digital for the industry? Phil: For distributors, the economic enefits ere erha s more clear cut, ut the picture was far more mixed and less



technology message Thomas Ruttgers introduced the ICTA sessions Oliver Pasch and Phil Clapp in coversation

certain for exhibitors. They have gained reater le i ility o content, enefited rom the comin o e ent cinema and also rom di ital ut sa in s in o erational terms ha e not materialised to the e tent many hoped, and costs have been high. Oliver: But with VPFs, the industry's creative side effectively subsidised exhibition. Phil: as an ena ler, somethin ha e descri ed as the least orst o tion don t see any a etite or on an industry wide basis. The challenge as the industry loo s to finance ne technolo ies is or all parts of the business to pull together again. The technical o tions are uncertain, ut don’t see any ‘over the top’ changes having a ma or e ect Oliver: ro a ly t o thirds o the s ecs related to piracy, but we hear little about this day to day as the ro lem one a ay Phil: Absolutely not. The nature of piracy has chan ed, ith most no online oliticians made it clear they aren t really interested, so the industry has taken on the ro lem and the urden o dealin ith it. We are using the latest technologies to ensure e ee u ith de elo ments Oliver: as the interest in iracy one do n ecause there are more o tions or le al do nloads Phil: The ast increase in the amount o film content online has had an im act ut there is certainly still a hard core of people who want their content ‘now’ and ‘for free’. Oliver: What would you change in a current cinema isit Phil: Other people’s behaviour. Standards of eha iour in society the uy ne t to me is usin a mo ile hone Oliver: So no more mo ile hones in cinemas or you Phil: Sadly, e can t an them, ut e can ma e the cinema e erience etter, such that the tem tation to use them reduces, and some cinemas are learnin ho to do this ustomers ie alue in terms o their overall satisfaction about the experience — it is nota le that the three com anies ith the reatest customer satis action ratin s are those ho char e most Oliver: oo or ard years to hat is a isit to the cinema oin to loo li e Phil: uess it ill not e essentially di erent rom no irtual reality is an interestin conce t, ut can t see ho it can e introduced into normal cinema

“WE ARE IN A TECHNOLOGICAL ARMS RACE. IT'S A CHALLENGE FOR EXHIBITORS TO STAY ABREAST OF WHAT IS HAPPENING” ithout underminin the shared e erience that has al ays een so im ortant am, ho e er, con inced the customer ill e o ered a reater di ersity o ro rammin This as re lected y a uestion rom John F. Allen in the audience, asking whether Phil saw any place for virtual reality in the cinema e thou ht it mi ht e a use ul mar etin tool in cinema lo ies and outside, or e am le s ed hat e hi itors thin a out i fi in auditoria, he said that and are doin research ith youth audiences — it would be great if young people could be educated/persuaded a out the enefits o not ein connected for a couple of hours in order to fully a reciate a film Patrick von Sychowski asked whether consolidation in the exhibition industry would be good, bad, or indifferent. Phil said that consolidation will be inevitable. om anies ill need to e loit the economies o scale, and it ill e necessary to deal ith any com etition issues arisin Bill Beck asked whether Phil expected ma or chan es in the ay cinemas are o erated to accom any the ne technologies that appear. Phil effectively summed u the inter ie y sayin that chan es in the ays the cinema usiness

operates will be inevitable — we need to chan e rom the current analo ue behaviour and to work through the changes to digital in such a way as to achieve the ma imum usiness enefits any o the eo le around cinema com any oardrooms are the same no as fi e years ago — new people will bring in fresh ideas to stimulate the uture o the industry

Discussing DCPs Sony s hris ullins rou ht to ether a anel o e erts rom all arts o the su ly chain to discuss ro ress ein made ith the chan e rom intero to S T s To y lo er rom elu e Technicolor i ital inema a e an o er ie o the di erent structures in ol ed, and, im ortantly in ie o the lar e num er o e hi itors in the audience, as a le to s ell out the enefits that the chan e ill rin or cinemas, includin the a ility to co e automatically with features such as encrypted subtitles, immersi e sound ormats, di erent rame rates and i her ynamic Ran e materials athy uis in t eld sser rom ofile e lained ho the testin had been arranged, saying that virtually all the issues that were found could be dealt with by software upgrades for servers and SEPTEMBER 2016 | CINEMA TECHNOLOGY


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CINEEUROPE 2016: ICTA looking for the future they can’t see any end to the need to keep on investing. She did concede that the investment is necessary and that the quality of sound and pictures in cinemas is better than ever. Hakan said that Mars in Turkey had com leted the first sta e o its di ital journey in 2013, but had to make its own VPF arrangements, which had given rise to severe pressures, but by working closely with integrators they had installed

Chris Mullins gave an update on SMPTE DCPs while Cathy Huis in't veld explained EDCF testing

projectors. The EDCF interim report on page 80 examines this subject in more detail. Chris Mullins gave a manufacturer’s perspective on the situation, saying that the changeover to SMPTE DCPs enables the forthcoming new technologies to be coped with, allowing a single master to be played out across a range of differently equipped cinemas. He encouraged exhibitors to update their software and reported that at the ‘plugfest’ held in May, all the various TMS/server combinations had worked. EDCF test content is being created to help manufacturers to ensure compatibility. Mike Bradbury from Odeon/UCI talked about the current situation, suggesting that the romised enefits o the chan e eren t yet applicable to them as exhibitors, simply because they aren’t yet using the new features. He was sure the change to SMPTE s ould e eneficial in the uture, ma in namin and identification o content easier. He had been encouraged by the way the tests arranged by GoFilex had turned out, but stressed there was more testing to be done before his chain could move to the format. He said testing and validation will be vital, and that this will require coordination and managing. His message was "Test and test again — don’t assume that all will be okay", but he felt the time has come to get on with the process and encouraged exhibitors to ‘grasp the nettle’.

Technology Meets Exhibition Patrick von Sychowski, editor of Celluloid Junkie, brought together three exhibitors for a discussion about the hopes, problems and suggestions for overcoming daily technical challenges in cinemas. He had deliberately not chosen technical people, in order to concentrate on the practical issues of running a modern cinema. The panellists were Laura Fumagalli (Arcadia Cinema,

Italy), Roland Jones (Vue, UK/Ireland), and Hakan Askar (Mars Cinemas, Turkey). He began by asking how the digital transition had gone — what went right, could it have been better, or did it all go wrong?! Roland felt the industry had done a reasonable job, and the changeover hadn’t proved as scary as some had feared. Vue has been pleased with the way staff have taken on the different new technical skills required by digital cinema. Remote monitoring works well, and cinema managements are better informed than ever before. Quality assurance for every presentation needs to be improved. aura elt that all the enefits o the changeover went to distribution. Exhibitors have had to make major investments and in

90% 10% 90% of cinema revenue comes from the top o films



More than 6000 eature films are being produced each year by the lo al film industry

“TEST AND TEST AGAIN. DON'T ASSUME THAT ALL WILL BE OKAY” — MIKE BRADBURY ON THE CHANGE TO SMPTE 530 projectors in a matter of months. He explained that the Turkish cinema market is different — they traditionally always have a 10 minute intermission. This was initially di ficult to achie e ith the standard servers, and gave problems, but things have no een sorted out Some o all films shown in Turkey are Turkish movies. They have moved to meet DCI specs, but there are still some problems with sound levels that need to be overcome. Patrick asked each panellist to look forward to the next round of digital investment, and to explain how they will make their decisions.

In 10 years' time, will projection technology be replaced entirely by LED active screen technology?



Converted: the number of projectors Turkish chain Mars installed in just a couple of months

The Royal Opera House reckons that just 1% of its older audience uses social media



Patrick von Sychowski in discussion with Roland Jones, Laura Fumagalli and Hakan Askar

Laura said that they now have a PLF screen with 630 seats and a 30-metre wide screen. Their investment decisions are made on the basis that if the public are offered three things — outstanding cinema design, the biggest screen ever and superb sound — they will come again and again. Their latest massive upgrade uses Meyer Sound equipment and the biggest Dolby Atmos® installation in the world. Arcadia has found the right choice of investment is the one that is repaid by customers coming back repeatedly, and this also applies to standard screens. When the audience is amazed, you know that you have made the right choice. Roland said that Vue has always been an early adopter of new technologies such as and ol y inema t is o ned y finance people, so any investment needs a robust business case. He said the industry hasn’t been good at telling customers why new technologies will make their cinema visit etter This can e di ficult as one model that did work. Hakan said that Turkish audiences are young and tech-savvy. He quoted from Kim Pederson that "The social experience is the most important thing about cinema". At a time when home cinema equipment can provide better picture standards than cinemas, it is vital that cinemas create a special social experience, from the lobbies through to the auditoria, where Mars has both IMAX® and 4D. Mars is constantly looking to provide further differences, and Hakan commended many of the Korean technologies that are driving this market.

Forecasting the ROI There was a range of questions from the audience. Bill Beck asked how it is possible to forecast Return on Investment. Laura denied the suggestion that such forecasts are down to trial and error, and said they use o o fice and attendance num ers to compare historic data and that from CINEMA TECHNOLOGY | SEPTEMBER 2016

competitors. Roland said you do have to usti y your R , ut it can e di ficult ue makes use of control groups to compare like-for-like performances week-on-week as changes are made. Haskan said that detailed information from the NOC can be helpful in making decisions. The panel agreed there are cultural differences. For example, German customers can be persuaded to pay extra for new add-ons, but others are reluctant — it is hard to get premium payments for 3D in Italy. Mark Waldman asked how the post VPF era will change investment decisions. Roland said that there will be an ongoing need for equipment-refreshing, and Laura noted that the whole industry must agree that it is important for manufacturers to invest in R&D to provide increasingly better experiences. Hakan said that if SMPTE DCPs won’t work with Series I projectors there will be a need for some form of VPF2. He raised the interesting possibility that in 10 years' time projection technology might be displaced by LED active screens, saying that such a development would certainly require a new round of VPF funding. The panel addressed questions on the introduction of SMPTE DCPs. Roland said that it is not likely to have major effects at Vue, they will cope with the changes. Laura said that in Italy there may be issues over lack of content in this format in the short term. Summer isn’t good for the cinema business in Italy and distributors often pull back movies for several months. Subtitles are used a good deal, so the new DCP facilities will be useful. Hakan said that there is likely to be a problem with getting local content in the new format, and he also foresaw problems with sound systems. Guy Hawley asked about policies for marketing new technologies in cinemas. He said that the man in the street is currently being bombarded with marketing information about new technologies

for TVs, OLEDs, UHD, HDR for example. How can cinema owners, equipment manufacturers and integrators help to tell cinema customers about the new developments that are coming forward? Laura reprised her earlier statements that cinemas must invest in top quality equipment that provides the customer with an amazing experience, and must not be shy about telling customers about it. Roland said that we should market the leading cinemas as the ‘gold standard’ for watching content. Such marketing needs to start with the distributor. Ioan Allen recalled that years ago there had been marketing campaigns for cinema, and he urged ICTA and UNIC to work with the rest of the industry to get across the message ‘Cinema is great’.

Event Cinema Marketing After a fascinating series of manufacturers presentations which brought the audience up to date with many new developments, Fabrice Testa of Premium Head Ventures chaired a session entitled Event Cinema marketing technologies. Fabrice gave a short update about event cinema in Europe, and was joined by James Dobbin of National Amusements and Malcolm McMillan of Peach Cinema. The group discussion attempted to unravel the secrets of reaching large event cinema audiences on a very small budget. We were introduced to technologies that can help a cinema to understand the make-up of its audience, including the Google Measurement Protocol which allows developers to measure how users interact with their business from different environments. The tool can then be used to measure user activity in these

THE LAST WORDS... final uestion rom atric a out the one wish or message that cinema owners would like to put to equipment manufacturers and others, generated these responses: Make it Cheaper Co-ordinate — give the confidence to uy Distributors, let us know your plans. Set the highest technical standards. Invest in R&D Improve 3D light levels Cinemas do well, help us to do it better and cheaper and that will bring in the audiences.


environments, linking online and offline behaviour. The importance of loyalty programmes in attracting and keeping event cinema audiences was also discussed. Different companies have different ideas. The ‘one night only’ special live event has enormous marketing potential, but ‘encores’ can bring in extra audiences, maximising the use of the marketing budget. James said that parts of the event cinema business are starting to see some marketing campaigns with realistic budgets. Cinemas are seeing real gains from programming for arts documentaries, rock and pop concerts, pre-school and gaming as well as the usual cultural events of theatre, opera and classic concerts. There is a real need to make these performances easier or otential customers to find nce you have information about customers, email is very effective with older audiences. Malcolm said that cinemas are now paying more attention to gathering audience data, and that it is important to use a wide range of media. Websites are an excellent marketing tool, especially as you can also use them to sell tickets, but it is important to choose the best channels according to the content and the event. National Amusements uses email to contact thousands of people, and care is taken not to be intrusive. Many customers value being contacted to be informed about events that they are interested in, so ‘push’ information can be acceptable if it is sent to the ri ht eo le The Royal era ouse reckons that just 1% of its older audience uses social media, so it also uses local ne s a er ad ertisin ne interestin statistic that gave food for thought was that live opera performances have about a 50:50 male/female audience split, whereas a much higher proportion of women go to see opera when it is a live cinema event.

The Event Cinema slate An interesting suggestion was that it might be useful if forthcoming Event Cinema programmes were publicised at shows such as CineEurope, in the same way movies for the coming year. Publicity for music concerts was discussed, with questions as to how best to forecast how strong an event will be. It was agreed that many musical events can attract passionate audiences, and that, although there is currently no accurate crystal ball, the industry is getting better at predicting audience numbers. Mailing lists can be built by handing out ‘cast lists’ and information sheets at cinema e ents, encoura in eo le to fill in email details by offering an incentive. Malcolm stressed that it is important to bring together data captured from all sources.


Cinema's evolution The Evolution of Cinema within the content alue chain as the title o the final T seminar o the day, in hich a id ancoc rom S too deli ht in underminin the ‘cinema is dead’ declaration that Quentin Tarantino made at the annes film esti al a id used a mi o acts, fi ures and charts to help determine the place of cinema within the overall value of chain of the movie industry. More than 6,000 eature films are ein roduced each year and new technologies are driving creativity as with Avatar, Hobbit and Billy Linn's Long Halftime Walk. The drivers for going to the cinema are widening — David identified content, enue, technolo y and social factors as contributing to the overall cinema e erience e said that the models are changing, citing the rise of Netflix subscriptions, and telling us that 90% of revenues in cinemas come from the top

“PARTS OF THE EVENT CINEMA BUSINESS ARE STARTING TO SEE MARKETING CAMPAIGNS WITH REALISTIC BUDGETS” o mo ies e concluded that cinema is becoming increasingly more important within the overall value chain, and reinforced the point that cinema is far from dead. ther T seminars durin the ee included the ‘Light Field Cinema’ session on the main conference programme, a ‘Global laser date rom oran Sto meno i of Barco, who provided excellent demonstrations of both blue phosphor and RGB laser projectors, and an acoustical room measurement lecture from J.F. Allen. Thursday saw interesting sessions about the technologies being applied to cinema seating, including information about moving seats and occupancy monitoring. The final T ocus session as a resentation rom ar ness Screens and TK Architects giving their views on how cinema design and construction will develop in the uture and sho in o ar ness latest technical o erin , ar ness reality capture, an affordable service providing exhibitors, project managers and architects with a rapid 3D digital surveying service designed to authenticate existing building drawings (2D CAD or 3D BIM) and provide accurate information and platforms for building performance simulation. The demo included a movie featuring the animated The ar lets See it at youtu e com watch?v=rKAdqrcal-I


CLASSIC SCREEN OF THE YEAR AWARD was presented to Mike Bradbury and John onnelly or deon eicester S uare, ondon,

NEW BUILD SCREEN OF THE YEAR AWARD as resented to Ron Ster or Vue Cinema, Alkmaar, Netherlands

NEW SCREEN OF THE YEAR AWARD With a focus on the technical renovation of a cinema from 1995 until now, the award was presented to Benjamin Dauhrer, T o inecitta rn er Jerome Michel, the international sales manager of Cinema Next (above, with the microphone) announced the award.





2016 2016 2016




b l u r r e d l i n e s 2.0 In the June issue of CT, Barry Fox gave a summary of the latest technological developments in the TV/home-cinema market. Here, Julian Pinn offers his perspective on the latest developments in the cinema marketplace.


he definition and rollout of Digital Cinema 1.0 was arguably the principal priority during the cinema industry’s transition from film to digital. Aside from 3D, which arguably acted together with the Virtual Print Fee model as a driver of this transition, not much experiential innovation was tolerated. With the rollout now completed, the industry has indeed renewed its hunger for, and innovation of, new formats that aim to heighten the immersive power of cinema for storytellers and cinemagoers. Which formats will survive and comprise this next phase of cinematic history — often referred to as Digital Cinema 2.0 — is for the market to decide. Let’s now speed through the key formats in question.

MORE PIXELS In spite of development in homeentertainment of HD ( 2K) and UHD ( 4K and 8K) and cinema’s maximum of 4K (4,096 x 2,160), the majority of cinema content is released in 2K (2,048 x 858 for 2.39:1 and 1,998 x 1,080 for 1.85:1). Whilst this may seem pitiful in comparison to the developments in home-entertainment, it is quite meaningless to play the numbers game in the typical case. Typical

summary at this stage will help navigate the rest of the article. Higher spatial resolution becomes valuable: • if motion blur is reduced either by limiting in-frame motion of the content or by increasing frame rates of the capture and projection systems — faster pixels; • if the projection system is capable of much higher sequential contrast ratios or peak-brightness — better pixels; or • if one is seated closer to the screen than 1.5 screen-heights — greater immersion. These attributes very much go hand-in-hand. Pixels are expensive and animators are unlikely to be first in line demanding High Frame Rate (HFR). However, even VFX-heavy titles have started to make use of HFR and there is generally a renewed interest in the topic. Whilst 24 framesper-second (fps) is indeed high enough to give the illusion of smooth motion from a sequence of otherwise still images, it is not high enough to offer blur-free cinematography, nor flicker-free presentation, without significant imposition of temporal distortion. Blur is minimised in production through the use of a 180° shutter angle, where — per frame of 24¯¹ seconds — only

48¯¹ seconds of motion is captured and then 48¯¹ seconds of motion is lost forever. Flicker is minimised in projection through the use of frame-flashing (times two or three for film projectors or thousands for digital projectors). The result is an imposition of motion artefacts — the ‘cinema look’ — that have been navigated around by cinematographers and identified as cinema by audiences for over a hundred years. Increasing frame rate from 24 fps offers the opportunity to reduce these motion artefacts and to explore new levels of temporal detail.


blurred lines Barry Fox summarises the latest technological developments in the TV/home cinema marketplace — how should the cinema industry react as the domestic experience improves?


s serious thought is being given by film companies to providing direct home downloads of new release movies, we should reflect on the newest generation of consumer TVs, being offered with 4K/ Higher Dynamic Range/Wide Colour Gamuts. They can provide pictures of a better quality than the average cinema multiplex, stuck with its last-century 2k projection technology. There is more to this than the pixel count — where cinema


“INCREASING THE FRAME RATE FROM 24 FPS OFFERS THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLORE NEW LEVELS OF TEMPORAL DETAIL” viewing distances of non-premium-largeformat cinema auditoria are sufficiently distant that even 20:20 eyesight needs little more, if any, than the spatial frequency offered by 2K at standard peak-brightness levels (14 fL / 48 nits) and dynamic range ( 1,500:1 sequential contrast ratio) — and especially for moving images at 24 fps. However, ‘typical’ is not the topic of this article; key picture format innovations are departing from this ‘typical’ and are each putting a greater need on higher spatial resolution up to 4K and perhaps even beyond. A brief



Forty-eight fps has been attempted but with mixed opinions. There is always a risk of replacing the ‘cinema look’ with a ‘TV look’ even if some benefits of tighter temporal accuracy are achieved. Doug Trumbull recently developed the MAGI process of staggered 60 fps 3D (in 4K) resulting in an aggregate frame-rate of 120 fps. Very interestingly, multiawarding winning director Ang Lee has taken this further and has shot his latest work, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, at 120 fps 3D per eye (also in 4K) — releasing later in 2016 (release formats to be decided). Interesting possibilities are unlocked with the use of such a high capture rate with no shutter (360° shutter angle) — motion blur is kept to a minimum, which makes VFX work much easier, and a dynamic synthetic shutter can now be implemented in post-production that offers complete control over its length and shape — and thus ‘the look’ — on a scene-by-scene basis. Companies such as Tessive are active in this area and this technique also enables very good control over ‘the look’ of a range of delivery frame-rates from such HFR-captured content. Early footage combining these techniques looks extremely beautiful, emotionally engaging, yet still very cinematic and could indicate a real 025_CT_JUN16_BLURREDLINES.indd 35

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Projection systems such as RGB laser, are able to achieve a target colour gamut towards Rec.2020

maturing of HFR from its early pioneering steps. Perhaps it could be said that 120 fps is high enough to be able to remove ‘the look’ from being baked in to the rushes and empowers film-makers to create their own look with much finer control as the art dictates. The importance of 4K in 120 fps 3D is still to be evaluated but early reaction has been that not only the higher temporal resolution that is revealed with HFR is helped with 4K, but so is the finer resolving of 3D depth as the scenescape tends to infinity. Moreover, the very limit of DCI-compliant projectors has been exceeded. At the time of writing, only the non-DCI Christie Mirage projector type is capable of 120 fps, 3D, 4K from a single projector. The maximum performance from series II DCI projectors is theoretically: • 120 fps, 3D, 2K with a dual-stack and dual-DCP setup; • 120 fps, 2D, 2K with a single setup; and • 60 fps, 3D, 2K with a single setup —but care is needed over the bit-rate used and testing will be very prudent. However, this is an interesting future direction and development in this area should be much encouraged.

BETTER PIXELS Laser-illuminated projection offers the potential for more efficient conversion of electrical power to light power, and thus a better chance of achieving higher peak brightness, and also the potential for finer control over the range of projectable hues from non-phosphor types. A display or projection system with narrower primaries, such as RGB laser, is able to set those primaries closer to the outer curve


of this chart and thus achieve a target colour gamut very much towards Rec. 2020. The broadcast sector is moving towards UHD and therefore from Rec. 709 towards Rec. 2020. However, it is unlikely that this extra colour gamut will be fully available until sufficient televisions are made with narrow enough colour primaries. Until that time, it is likely that DCI-P3 will — for the first time — be a viable standard for both cinema and UHD home-entertainment. Having said that, the introduction of RGB laser projectors into the market has enabled a very small number of productions to make use of the Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) available by these projectors. Hues that occupy the gamut outside of DCI-P3 occur quite rarely in nature, but more so in artificial lighting and art. Side-by-side demonstrations of DCI-P3 versus near-Rec. 2020 (Pixar’s Inside Out) have shown a clear difference between the capabilities of the two and those differences were indeed exploited to good artistic value. The benefits of WCG are eclipsed, though, in comparison to High Dynamic Range (HDR). HDR projection is now here as offered by Dolby Cinema

seems to be little more than an improved projector — nothing wrong with that — EclairColor, like Dolby Cinema, looks to be an offering of a new format by defining new projection specifications outside of the industry standard of 14 fL / 48 nits. Increasing dynamic range gives either darker blacks, or brighter peaks, or both. Dolby Cinema’s peak-white-output is 31 fL (106 nits) in 2D and 14 fL (48 nits) in 3D. EclairColor is aiming for 35 fL (120 nits) peak white — although it might make sense for them to align with Dolby at 31 fL—especially as those last 4 fL are very expensive. It’s also necessary to remember that the viewing environment of cinemas is intentionally dark; it’s all part of the theatrics. The concept of achieving a cinema peak-brightness of much greater 100 nits is rather moot; it is rather meaningless, therefore, to compare peak white levels with those of home-entertainment. Above which point one can claim true high dynamic range is debatable. Ultimately, the market will decide but to put it in context, the human visual system (given time for pupillary response and through the combination of two types of retinal receptors, rods and cones) is

“ABOVE WHICH POINT ONE CAN CLAIM TRUE HIGH DYNAMIC RANGE IS DEBATABLE. ULTIMATELY, THE MARKET WILL DECIDE” (1,000,000:1): a tightly-controlled audio-visual environment powered by Dolby-modified Christie 6P RGB laser projectors. It is as expensive as it is impressive, but a financial model is being offered similar it seems to that of IMAX and the uptake by exhibition, studios, and content creators has been very good. The appetite for HDR is clearly high and not only in cinema but, as Barry Fox summarised in the last issue of CT, in home-entertainment too. It is good for everyone when competition exists, so long as standards can play a balancing role. IMAX optimised the optics of its otherwise Barco-powered laser projection system resulting in an improved contrast ratio. Barco demonstrated its higher dynamic range system ( 6,000:1) at Cinemacon this year. And Ymagis is exploiting the higher dynamic range of specially set up Sony projector(s) (dual-stack for larger screens) with EclairColor™ ( 8,000:1) as demonstrated semi-publically at CineEurope this year. Unlike Barco’s announcement, which

capable of accommodating a wide range of light levels from starlight to sunlight (at least 100,000,000,000,000:1). The steady-state human visual system (without pupillary response) is still capable of accommodating a range of approximately 1,000,000:1. Of course, in the context of cinema, projectors cannot project negative light so there must be suitable darkness from the room to the screen in order for such projector performance to be appreciated. Light from the room includes both emitted light (health and safety lighting) and reflected light from the content itself (off walls, chairs, people) — all detract from the actual contrast ratio if significant enough. Some people are familiar with F-stops on a camera; a one-stop change doubles (x2¹) or halves (x2¯¹) the light level. The table (see right) is one suggested definition of the terms Standard, Extended, and High Dynamic Range, and relates these to the typical performance of regular DLP. It’s important to understand the exponential


relationship of ratio values — it’s the increase in exponent that matters in HDR and therefore the tremendously increasing ratios must be considered with this in mind. It is likely that we will sooner than later get a better understanding of the market value of systems in and around the EDR level and that seems to be the area where there is currently the most emerging competition. It’s worth pointing out that the dynamic range of most motion-picture

offering less periphery to distract the eyes from the main action. However, contrastingly and quite legitimately, the concept of getting closer to the screen or filling more field of view is decades old such as with the deep-curve and louvred screen of Cinerama, which is still wooing the crowds to this day in very few selected theatres around the world. The louvred screen was found necessary for deeply curved screens in order to minimise cross-reflectance, which is the

“IT MUST ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED THAT CINEMA PLAYS TO A RANGE OF GENRES AND AUDIENCE TASTES” cameras exceeds that of SDR projection. This means filmmakers capture images with an extended or high dynamic range and then squeeze this range to fit into the possible range of light levels for cinema and other delivery formats. This reduction in dynamic range reduces reality and all artistic decisions must comply with this restriction. HDR keeps open the artistic palette and the visceral emotional connection with the action and the story. A reproduction system that is closer to reality is more believable and it takes less cognitive effort by the audience for them to be taken in by the story. Unlike increasing the number of pixels, there is no practical cost difference associated with the production of content with a high dynamic range or wide colour gamut to define those pixels.

GREATER IMMERSION The human visual system only sees in detail over a very small area around where the eyes are looking. Sensitive to peripheral movement but not peripheral detail, the eyes must consciously and subconsciously scan the entire scene to refresh our visual memory of that scene. There is a good theory of cinema that postulates that a very dark environment except for the framed image area enables the human visual system to become immersed very easily into that frame, a bit like the allure of a flame, because there is less area for the eyes to scan and little to nothing in the periphery by way of costly distraction. Exciting the periphery therefore risks that mechanism and might actually be converse to an increased sense of immersion. It could, therefore, be argued that HDR offers a superb level of immersion by drawing the audience into the very lifelike image and

phenomenon of the image on screen reflecting upon itself — which destroys contrast ratio. IMAX is the most recognised Premium Large Format (PLF) brand with its imitators and very much benefits from the high resolution of 70 mm or 4K+ due to the closeness of much of the audience. A new entrant is Doug Trumbull’s MAGI POD concept, as discussed elsewhere in this issue (see page 25), which is best described as a Premium Small Format concept employing a torus screen, the ergonomics of which are precisely calculated to maximise immersion and minimise cross-reflectance. MAGI POD is Trumbull’s ideal presentation environment for content created in the MAGI format: 60 fps cadenced 3D (aggregating to 120 fps) in 4K. Other new entrants are ScreenX and Barco Escape — both of which seem to be inspired by the three-projection approach of Cinerama, but tending rather more towards the rectangular approach offered by typical cinema rooms. Unlike Cinerama, there is no obvious attempt

with either of these formats to make for a smooth transition between the three images. Also unlike Cinerama, there has been no obvious attempt to control the cross-reflection of light from one image to the others. Philips LightVibes features a number of portrait-oriented diffusedimage panels on the side walls of the room that can display a range of complimentary colours and low detail images. These are typically augmented with a range of steerable lighting options — which adds even more light into the room. Nonetheless, these latter three formats have gained a level of interest from content creators and exhibitors and it must always be remembered that cinema plays to a range of genres and audience tastes. There are many who consider the effect generated by these formats to be rather fun and involving — also of course applicable for pre-show and event cinema. It would be remiss to leave out 4D, which is a term applied to describe the excitation of more of the audience’s senses than sight and sound. 4DX allows the motion-picture presentation to be augmented with a full suite of environment effects such as seat-motion, leg-tickling, back-poking, face-air-jets, water-spray, wind, lightning, fog, scents, bubbles, rain, snow and heated air along with the standard image and sound of the main DCP. The control file is separate to the standard DCP. A more classic approach is by D-Box, which offers auditorium seats that move and vibrate in harmony with the action on screen; these are typically controlled by a signal recorded on one of the audio tracks on the specially-made DCP that is routed only to the seats’ controller and not to any of the auditorium-loudspeakers. It has been discussed and agreed by D-Box that their seats can be considered to cover the infrasonic region of vibration: effectively



Sequential Contrast Ratio















SDR Regular DLP





taking over from the sound system’s subwoofers down to 0 Hz. Of course, all seats do 0 Hz; it’s the region just above that is clever! Moving from infrasonic to sonic, since the talkies of the 1920s, cinema sound has attempted, with numerous innovations, to bring motion pictures to life. Even some of the early single-channel formats featured a single sound reproducer that was physically carried behind the perforated screen and moved laterally with the character’s position in the frame. Surround sound — including overhead speakers — was attempted in the 1940s but proved to be too expensive. Of all the formats, the channel-based format of 5.1, which was first introduced in the late 1970s with Superman and Apocalypse Now, has become the de facto standard since its popularisation by the digital sound revolution of the 1990s. There were originally two schools of thought as to the definition of immersive audio. Barco Auro 11.1 considered the adoption of three distinct layers of height to be the prime ingredient of immersive audio, whilst Dolby Atmos considered that a combination of height together with the ability for sound objects to pan through otherwise static arrays of loudspeakers to be key. DTS has now re-joined the cinema sound competitive environment and all three are participating towards the industry’s intended goal to create a single standardised open immersive audio bit-stream that can be created and read by anyone. Towards this goal, and with Barco’s launch of AuroMax, all key vendors are now proposing objectoriented solutions — so there is at least agreement there. Much work is to be done to achieve this goal in a timely manner and even once this has been achieved, there are lots of remaining questions as to how to define the minimum performance of renderers in order for the artistic intent to be reproduced with integrity. And that probably means defining the type, density/number, and positioning of loudspeakers for a given room. The entire open standards strategy is sensible and admirable and is being requested by the major studios and exhibitors. It is not at all straightforward, though, and it is still not clear as to what devils will be found in the detail along the path ahead. It questions the very concept of ‘reward for innovation’ but it does indeed seem that a balanced path is being found. Aside from the final bit-stream, immersive audio in itself is becoming a


great success even if the cost for exhibition to installed immersive audio — especially for retrofits — is considerable. And whilst only about 1-2% of the world’s screens currently feature immersive audio, the rate of deployment of such systems to date, and when combining all vendors’ sales, is reported to be 5x that of digital 5.1 surround sound of the 1990s. Moreover, the number of titles that are released with an immersive audio format are also impressively common — as is the increasing availability of homeentertainment versions — and this has, and is likely to continue, to drive the deployment of more screens as will the codification of the open standard.

MARKET FORCES An industry rife with innovation is healthy. Innovation has weaved its way through cinema’s history and will continue for the foreseeable future with any luck. With innovation comes the opportunity for differentiation and with that opportunity comes the risk of making the wrong investment-choices. The most informed choices are made by the survivors and these shape the medium’s future in a rather Darwinian

radical technology shift it faced since the introduction of sound. Without the strong influence of the studios (DCI) and the hundreds of thousands of people-hours within standards committees (principally but not exclusively SMPTE), digital/ electronic cinema would undoubtedly have become a very fragmented medium using a wide range of video and audio coding systems, bit-rates, colour profiles… Not one formula, but a fragmented set — and perhaps the concept of ‘cinema’ would by now have been historical. With today’s set of wonderful innovation, the paradox is that the industry is heading towards this same fragmented potential. Whilst it is for the market to determine which formats will comprise Digital Cinema 2.0, the question on many of the industry’s lips is what role key stakeholders of this market might or should play in these market-decisions. The future at this juncture is not nearly so certain for: • studios, who now face hundreds of release-versions of otherwise the same movie; • exhibitors, who face myriad options in which to invest with little-to-no clear assurances of a future stream of content

“AN INDUSTRY RIFE WITH INNOVATION IS HEALTHY. INNOVATION HAS WEAVED ITS WAY THROUGH CINEMA’S HISTORY” way. However, the cinema industry is rather a small one and has hugely benefited from the codification and adherence of international standards and norms that reduce the cost of interchange and maintain and drive forward the medium’s fragile quality. I like the analogy of Formula 1: it is the set of regulations (standards and norms) that creates that formula, enables innovation to thrive within that constraint, and defines and differentiates that sport from other forms of motor-racing. The same must be acknowledge for cinema; it is not simply another ‘screen’ or AV channel but a premium theatrical social event where friends, families, and strangers come together to be moved emotionally. Its competition is not home-entertainment, but other social events: music concerts, dining out, and the like. For cinema, sensible control of the competitive environment has been beneficial and will remain to be. We can learn a lot from the medium’s transition from film to digital. This was the first

featuring these new formats; • technology vendors, who face uncertainty over their return on investment; and • content creators, who need a predictable exhibition environment, whilst exploiting innovation, in order to tell their story more faithfully and engage the audience. At this stage, there does not seem to be any appetite by the studios to finance, or otherwise resource, a new DCI initiative of the might originally mustered for the transition to digital. Perhaps the task falls upon a more collaborative effort of the wider industry co-ordinated by the studios, key exhibitor associations such as NATO and UNIC, and key professionals’ associations such as SMTPE, France’s CST, and perhaps China’s CRIFTS institute to name but a few. Fortunately, the industry has never been shy about international standardisation and collaboration and it is critical that the heritage, culture, and appreciation of the theatrical nuances that have defined cinema to date continue to guide this wonderful medium’s future.

Conference 8 – 12 September : Exhibition 9 – 13 September RAI, Amsterdam

IBC Big Screen Experience At the edge of cinema’s next chapter

Featuring sessions on • Realising an Auteur’s Vision: A technical deep-dive into Ang Lee’s ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk • Transforming the Big Screen with Big Data • Light Field Cameras: Technology that is indistinguishable from magic? • High Dynamic Range and Wide Colour Gamut: The art and science

Ang Lee

Multi Academy Award Winning Director Keynote Speaker

• Plus complimentary movie screenings with the latest technology and much more!

The IBC Big Screen Experience is included in the IBC2016 Exhibition Visitor Pass. Register now at


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It’s all about Technology Engineered by MPS

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Premieres & special events From Leicester Square, to the Royal Albert Hall (via an East End helipad), MPS has a track record of delivering the Director’s vision where and when it matters most.


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Screening room installations Planning a new preview theatre or a bespoke screening room? MPS has the imagination and the skills to meet your brief and see your project to fruition.

For cinema projects large and small, the MPS specialist engineering team has the knowledge you need.

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IBC BIG SCREEN — BE THERE! Julian Pinn, IBC Big Screen’s consultant executive producer, gives a rundown of the 2016 programme

Julian Pinn Consultant Exec. Producer

tune with the needs of stakeholders from content creation through to the audience. EDCF Global Update promises a quickfire round of industry specialists covering a wide range of global topics — including a valuable networking reception afterwards. Big Screen Keynote: IBC proudly presents Mr Ang Lee on his creative artistry and transformational vision of cinema. For over two decades, the multi-award-winning Ang Lee has lead the way in utilising cutting-edge science towards his creation of some of the finest works of cinematic art from the fantasy of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to the visual beauty of Life of Pi. YOU’VE EITHER ALREADY BOOKED the trip, are already there, come away inspired, or you’ve missed out big time! The IBC Big Screen Experience conference programme has shaped up to be another unmissable industry event. The IBC Big Screen Conference in Amsterdam (9-12 September) is brought to you by a specialist conference committee and is aimed at executive level, decision-making motionpicture professionals. Housed in the Dolby Vision HDR, Atmos and Christie Mirage HFR-equipped RAI Theatre, the conference examines hot topics, movies, and insights surrounding the art, science, and business of cinema from capture to exhibition.

This year’s programme

Advancing the art and science of motion capture towards the continuous control of facial performance of actual live action footage is a session featuring Disney Research and Industrial Light and Magic over the science and demonstrable application of Medusa and FaceDirector technologies. Light Field Cameras — technology that is

indistinguishable from magic? features Lytro and Fraunhofer IIS over a revolutionary capture technique. HFR and synthetic shutter — separating ‘the look’ from the frame rate is a fascinating exploration into how fine artistic control can be made over the motion-look of High Frame Rate productions and their down-conversions. Virtual sets and Virtual Production — A Masterclass describing the production of ‘The Walk’ with special effects supervisor Kevin Baillie and recorded commentary from director Robert Zemeckis will examine the trend of virtualising live-action productions into photo-realistic animation and what this means for the industry — including VR. Critical Update: laser projection — is it ready for wide deployment? will provide a quick overview of the industry’s adoption of this new development in illumination. Critical Update: Immersive Audio – balancing key stakeholders’ needs will question if the effort towards open standards is in

“Realizing an Auteur’s Vision: a technical deep-dive into Ang Lee’s ‘Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk’” is a session examining and demonstrating details behind production and delivery of Sony’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, a 120 fps 4K 3D production on a technological scale never attempted. High Dynamic Range and Wide Colour Gamut: the Art and Science will bring together a panel of leading proponents and users of these new tools to examine their future in the creative landscape. Transforming the Big Screen with Big Data will explore how leaders in the industry are using data to influence each stage of the movie lifecycle. From how films are now programmed on screens to how they are optimised for in-cinema performance, how audience insights are being leveraged, and how data-centric strategies are challenging conventional business models. Digital Cinema Investment 2.0 — where’s the ROI? will round up the topic of innovation, evaluating the bottom line and whether the numbers stack up for digital investment.




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From DCP to 35mm film print in real time

DCP to film urely a typo not at all, as the demand for Cinevator from Pi L illustrates from DCP to film and back again Things change around quickly in this industry — it is only a few years since film-makers were asking “How do I make my own DCPs?”. Film processing companies, used to getting orders for hundreds, sometimes thousands of 35mm prints, could see the writing on the wall as distributors’ requirements changed so that they needed more and more Digital Cinema Packages (DCPs) on hard drive and fewer film copies. This had severe financial effects — having to produce only a few film prints means the cost of each is more expensive, the economies of bulk printing being lost. This led to the demise of all but a handful of print processing companies, to the current situation where nearly all the ‘film’ output from major studios is in digital form, with DCPs distributed on hard drive, via IP broadband, or satellite. Unsurprisingly, now that digital prints have become the norm, the industry has standardised on mastering and mass production of DCPs, which satisfies virtually all the daily requirements of the cinema business. But if a distributor should find that it requires a single copy of its latest masterpiece on 35mm film for some reason, perhaps to send to a customer in a part of the world where no digital projector is available, there is a real problem. Just as it wouldn’t make sense to print a single paper copy of

INTRODUCING THE CINEVATOR Althought the equipment above looks akin to the well-known telecine machine, the Cinevator is the polar opposite — a 35mm film recorder hich reads data rom a standard , rocesses it to dri e an ased li ht en ine that e oses the film and records the ima es as rames on a mm release rint, com lete ith sound and su titles, in real time y utilisin hi h s eed ideo and data inter aces, ad anced ima e rocessin and custom uilt

film trans ort, the ine ator recorder or s at rames er second in or T ima e uality ncom ressed ima e data is in ested throu h a dual lin or dual lin S inter ace and a ull it R data ath is used throu h the entire rocessin chain custom desi ned hi h o er li ht source and ima in en ine ensure colour fidelity and density, hile a hi h recision oom lens ro ides le i ility in the chosen rint ormat, the hi hest uality ima e on film and i el accurate e osure ith no need or di ital scalin or intermediation




Cinema Technology at an offset-litho printing company — it costs almost the same to set up the printing machine for one copy as it does for a thousand — so it is never going to be worthwhile producing one or two copies of a 35mm film using traditional wet-bath printing techniques.

an innovative, economical solution The economical answer to printing a few copies of a magazine came down to digital printing on a laser printer, and now Piql, a company headquartered in Norway and with branches worldwide, has come up with a similar solution to the film distributors’ problem. Since 2002, Piql has been transferring digital images to film. It has carried out an immense amount of research and worked with technology companies and film-makers to acquire expertise and competence in this field, and now offers a practical solution for cinema distributors who need to make 35mm copy of a film directly from a DCP.

Horses for courses The Cinevator recording platform comes with various options for different applications and provides full support for anamorphic image formats with inputs, data path and native recording resolution up to 2048 x 1768 pixels. It provides options for negative and/or positive prints, sound and subtitles, so that

cost of creating digital intermediate, optical sound and subtitle overlay negatives. Support can be provided for specific film stocks if required— the aim is to provide a system tailored to each customer’s needs. • Cinevator 5 is a very flexible option that allows production of negative intermediate prints, interpositive prints, negative sound film, or distribution copies

“SINCE 2002, PIQL HAS BEEN TRANSFERRING DIGITAL IMAGES TO FILM. IT HAS CARRIED OUT AN IMMENSE AMOUNT OF RESEARCH TO ACQUIRE EXPERTISE AND COMPETENCE IN THIS FIELD” customers are provided with a system tuned to their needs: • Cinevator One is for production of negative intermediate prints. • Cinevator Direct-to-Print is for production of release prints with image, sound and subtitles directly from the digital source. You get cost-effective prints at the highest image quality. Sound exposure is achieved using the same DLP technology as in the 2K imaging engine, allowing both Dolby Digital, DTS and stereo optical soundtracks to be recorded to film simultaneously with the picture. The addition of a live subtitle compositing engine makes this a truly versatile machine; with one device you can create Digital Intermediate negatives, subtitled DI negatives and true 2K resolution release prints complete with sound and subtitles. Direct-to-Print allows you to produce a perfect quality cinema release print without the time and CINEMA TECHNOLOGY | SEPTEMBER 2016

complete with sound and subtitles. • Cinevator Keeper produces archival copies with image, sound and metadata stored on the same reel. It complements magnetic tape in long-term asset protection strategies for audio-visual content, and enables film labs and post-production companies to offer additional services to their clients. Upgrade modules are available, including subtitle overlay negative creation, extended input resolutions supporting 3D stereoscopic image recording and print-watermarking / anti-piracy solutions, adding increased flexibility, value and potential revenue streams to an already very capable machine. The Cinevator technology is ideally suited to low-volume release prints, such as subtitled festival prints or re-versioning for international territory release. The extremely high image, sound and subtitle quality on these recordings make them perfect for use as premier or show prints.

Practical users Several of the major film labs around the world are using and have used Cinevator, and appreciate the speed, simplicity, quality and versatility of the system. The two biggest film labs in the UK at the time, Deluxe (formerly Rank in the UK ) and Technicolor bought Cinevators, and a UK company, CPC (Cinema Printing Company, London) is currently offering Cinevator services to its customers . I liked its tagline which offers ‘The ultimate solution for 35mm cinema print duplication.’ I spoke with CPC Director Chris Lane, who told me that its facility serving 35mm users around the globe, which opened in 2014, uses two of the latest Cinevator 5 machines whose direct-to-print technology makes the creation of 35mm cinema prints straightforward and economical. CPC has many different types of customers, ranging from obvious users such as film festivals and specialist cinemas who require one-off prints for particular occasions, to the more esoteric; the authorities in some countries require that a 35mm ‘reference copy’ of every movie shown is kept by a government department, and many archiving groups, government, academic and private, rely on having a 35mm copy — they know that it will still be playable whatever happens to electronic formats in the future. Customers find the whole process easy — they simply send a data file to CPC’s secure server, and CPC quickly creates the print and ship finished 35mm positive copies including subtitles and/or watermarking. Kevin Phelan, managing director of Phelan Good Film Consultancy Services,



T E C H N O L O G Y The two Cinevator 5s installed at CPC in London, Love you, Joseff Hughes (left) was an early test for Kevin Phelan that the Cinevator flew through

also liked the fact that you could shoot DTS timecode, a Dolby Digital Track, a Dolby SR analogue track and subtitles at the same time — all at 24 fps. He also appreciates that Cinevator has a 35mm neg capability as well, and summed up his views by saying that it is ‘an absolutely stunning piece of engineering!’

Top-end equipment

has been a Cinevator user for some years, and told me some of his experiences. He first tried out the system in connection with Nordisk Film Oslo in 2006 in what was effectively the first test run for the UK Cinevator. The system passed what turned out to be a difficult test — the film Love You, Joseff Hughes featured a poignant piece of material that begins in faint cyan, and other colours are gradually introduced. The film was in 2.39:1. Kevin’s team used Cinevator to provide a film print shown on the same day in the fabulous Nordisk Film screening room. The results were rock-steady, pin-sharp and a perfect reflection of the team’s work in London and the capabilities of the Cinevator system. Kevin commented that the price of the equipment was high, too high for many a small company to buy, but he was really impressed that the equipment achieved a higher rate of playable accuracy than other sound recording equipment. He

Manufacturers are never keen to publicise prices, but this high-quality equipment is undoubtedly expensive (around $500,000 was one figure I heard), but it provides a unique capability that cannot currently be satisfied in any other way. The investment would recoup a significant part of its cost every time a film print is needed — and what other alternatives are there? Piql AS (previously named Cinevation) has now decided to concentrate its efforts on the wider field of data archiving and preservation — Piql Preservation Services are offered worldwide through a network of trusted partners. The company’s passion since it started has been to challenge the industry standard creatively within imaging and display technology. With its first product, Cinevator, it managed to revolutionise the way the motion picture industry prints movies, and is now working to reshape data preservation, using its know-how of digital image and data transfer to photosensitive film. I gather that the Cinevator film recorder is no longer being manufactured, and understand from those using Cinevator film printers that the company makes its best efforts to support and supply spares for existing Cinevator users. Jim Slater

KEY APPLICATIONS ficient and cost e ecti e recordin o hi h uality i ital ntermediate ne ati es Record multi le ul release rintin ne ati es ra idly Create subtitled printing negatives for multiple international territories using the Cinevator’s live subtitle compositing engine, all rom a sin le clean master se uence Re-version content for foreign territory release in a familiar non linear editin en ironment se irect to rint technolo y or e ficient lo olume release rint runs m ro es alue or customers y remo in need or di ital intermediate and o tical sound ne ati es

KEY FEATURES Negative and positive recording natively at 2K and HD Support for common intermediate and release rint film stoc s rom oda and u ifilm Simultaneous recording of ima e, sound and su titles on rint Uncompressed 2K images are recorded via a dual link DVI interface at up to 16-bit colour de th resolution material is recorded ia dual lin S in uts Custom-designed, pin-registered film trans ort ensures er ormance, sta ility and steadiness uic and easy film loadin ith es o e film lates and a ully accessi le film ath uto detection o loaded and remainin film len th Imaging Engine based on Texas nstruments technolo y Patented LED illumination system guarantees full dynamic ran e, colour fidelity ith unsurpassed stability and an e tremely lon li es an Custom-designed optical zoom system allows recording of all supported image formats at native resolution, so no need for electronic scalin o source material Error-tolerant, ergonomic and user riendly inter ace desi n Integrated content security and anti-piracy features for image and sound watermarking of release print content tilises elu e T ilm and Sound technolo ies State-of-the-art digital imaging technolo y ithin a ro ust system The modular design’s reliability gives rise to a low-maintenance system backed by a highly trained lo al ser ice su ort team

Su titled release rints or film esti als or lo olume orei n territory release Provide customers with Direct-to-Print grading, VFX or subtitle recording tests without the time and cost of an intermediate ne ati e and contact rint Create digital check prints for test screenings, double-head sound screenin s, studio a ro al or international censorshi Subtitle overlay negative recording module allows creation o hi h uality, in re istered su title o erlay reels on a ariety o common film stoc s Extended 2048 x 1768 input resolution option allows the creation of 3D stereoscopic release print and intermediate negative compatible with Technicolor and Panavision 35mm 3D ro ection systems




NEC showcases its latest

The future is bright!


At the Cinesa cinema in Barcelona, NEC recently demonstrated that laser projection is here to stay A real cinema experience As well as having a full range of projection and signage equipment on display at its extensive CineEurope trade show suite, NEC also took the opportunity to show its projectors off in a real cinema. This year the company had again taken over one of the auditoria and its adjacent projection room in the nearby Cinesa cinema multiplex. The NEC team had installed a top of the range NC3540LS 4K RGB laser projector fed from an IPG Photonics light source, with its claimed Rec 2020 enhanced colour space. This was a preview of the model that will be available to buy from this November, and sales manager Jens Kayser showed some of the brilliant pictures that it can output in both 2D and 3D. The projector is capable of providing around 35,000 lumens, and NEC was keen to highlight that a dual-stack version can provide 70,000 lumens — suitable for even the largest cinema screens.

The ‘teach-in’ Having a captive audience within a cinema auditorium allows for much better communication than on the show floor, so Jens took the opportunity to provide a short and snappy ‘teach-in’ about laser projection technologies, stressing the economic (Total Cost of Ownership) arguments for NEC’s laser phosphor projectors, whilst insisting that picture quality is better and more consistent than from a xenon lamp-based projector. For its RGB laser machines, he focussed on the sheer brightness and colour depth of the images that can be provided.

change has enormous implications for both manufacturers and exhibitors. Exhibitors in 35mm days had become used to keeping projection equipment for years with little expenditure on maintenance. Now they must be prepared for considerable capital expenditure at intervals of only a few years — as well as regular maintenance bills.

Improving efficiencies, cost savings Jens explained how light sources had moved from xenon to UHP and to the different types of laser illumination. He showed how light efficiencies had increased from 0.04% for a candle, 2-3% for a tungsten light, 4.4-7.3% for a xenon lamp to 28-31% for lasers, illustrating the enormous benefits that new technologies can bring. He explained how potential power savings of €900 per year per projector can be obtained using a laser phosphor system (based on a 10m screen, 4,000hrs p.a. and €0.15/KWh). With a laser lifetime of more than 20,000 hours and no need to replace lamps, there can be additional savings of around €1,000 per year. Discussing the higher brightness RGB lasers, I was interested to learn that for top-end premium and special format screens, typical price levels for a projector are €6-7 per lumen — fascinating facts!

Looking to the future Jens finished his presentation looking to the future — including 4K, HFR, 120fps, HDR Rec2020 — and wasn’t afraid to talk about the possibilities of 8K and whether active screen technologies including LED and OLED might one day be a standard part of the cinema offering. He ended on a positive note: “The future’s bright”. I couldn’t help thinking… “If you can afford it!” Jim Slater

Learning from history Jens took us back through 120 years of cinema, pointing out that major technology shifts traditionally tended to occur every 20-30 years (sound - colour - stereo - digital sound…), whereas from 1999 — and the coming of digital cinema projection — everything speeded up. Major technical shifts now come on to the scene every two to three years (DCI - 4K - 3D - laser - 6P). This CINEMA TECHNOLOGY | SEPTEMBER 2016





LASER offering




“MAJOR TECHNICAL SHIFTS NOW COME ON TO THE SCENE EVERY TWO TO THREE YEARS — THIS CHANGE HAS ENORMOUS IMPLICATIONS FOR BOTH MANUFACTURERS AND EXHIBITORS” 1 Barcelona’s Cinesa offers manufacturers the opportunity to demonstrate technology in a real setting 2 The NC3540LS 4K RGB laser projector fed from an IPG Photonics light source (inset). The NC1201L laser phosphor projector can be seen at the rear of the picture. 3 A timeline for developments — the rate of technological change is rapidly increasing 4 Rather forlornly, hidden away at the back of the room was this Cinemeccanica VIC 5, ready to give decades more reliable service before being ousted by digital projectors. 5 A view of the NC1201L, NEC’s sercond generation laser phosphor projector, suitable for screens up to 12m wide. With the latest laser light source technology, the solution offers crisp colour, easy installation and maintenance-free operation. NEC will launch more laser phosphor projectors suitable for screens up to 17, 20 and 30 metres in 2K and 4K resolution, starting from the end of the year.




real-d “Ultimate” Billed as the future of RealD brings a number

a new entry in the screen world

Two micrograph images showing the ‘moulded’ surface of the “Ultimate screen” (right), and a standard silver screen surface (left). The Ultimate screen has a notably smoother surface than the standard screen


The main auditorium at the CCIB had

Theatrical windows, living roombeen cinemas: how the cinema industry equipped for CineEurope with a is meeting the challenges of the 21st century landscape RealD Ultimateentertainment Screen of 60ft wide — the same length as 1.33 London buses.

At CineEurope I was invited by RealD to view and discuss a new design of cinema screen. I confess I wrongly assumed this would be a development of the Premium White Screen (PWS) that RealD introduced to such good effect at CineEurope in 2013, which was reviewed in Cinema Technology September 2013. Readers may remember that PWS used much smoother and flatter aluminium flakes in its sprayed-on screen coating to produce more uniform and whiter-looking screens than the normal ‘silver’ screens used for 3D, and also that the patented screens with a gain of 1.4 were only made available to cinemas licensed to use RealD 3D. In fact, what I was to see this year really was something different — RealD had created a special screening room to demonstrate its ‘Ultimate Screen’, and had put the new screen material side-byside with a standard silver screen (below) to demonstrate the significant differences Being able to get up close to the screen made obvious several differences between RealD’s Ultimate Screen and the standard screen. First, its material is a more rigid ‘plastic’ than the soft vinyl material we are used to seeing. Its stiffer nature means it is less flexible than vinyl, so cannot be folded at the screen edges without damaging the surface, so the screens need to be fixed by eyelets — no problem for most cinemas.

New manufacturing techniques

The 60ft Ultimate screen at CineEurope had 17 actuators, to room cinemas: how the cinema industry Theatrical windows, living Suitable for use with both xenon or laser minimise speckle by vibrating the is meeting the challenges of the 21stprojection, centuryand entertainment landscape 2D and 3D formats, the screen. A conventional silver screen Ultimate screen preserves polarisation. would require about 3X as many.


Since the material is harder, perforations can be made by carefully controlled laser beams — a very different manufacturing technique from the perforating needles used on normal screen materials. Equally, rather than the coating being sprayed on to the base material, as is usual, the Ultimate coating is applied by rollers in a ‘printing’ technique — a very different process. The problem with all silver screens up to now has been that the sprayed on silver ‘paint’ forms flakes that can provide a relatively uneven surface, with the pits reflecting much less light than the top




c i n e m a s c r e e n s THE ULTIMATE FACTS 1000-1 85% — a new standard screen technology, the new Ultimate screen from of advantages to auditoria. Jim Slater focuses in surface of the flakes. The PWS process made these flakes smoother and more even, but, as the micrograph images (left) show, the new ‘printed on’ surface is far smoother — with almost a ‘molten’ look. RealD describes this matte screen surface as ‘moulded’. It reflects far more of the incident light and is claimed to be 85% more light efficient, whilst preserving the polarisation, providing a sharper, brighter image no matter where you sit. This consideration is important, of course, since standard silver screens provide brighter images in the centre than at the edges, making some seats at the sides of some auditoriums virtually unusable. RealD claims a 3D contrast ratio of 1000:1, compared to 100:1 on current silver screens. This reduces ghosting, creating a sharper and better 3D image.

the screen, and RealD estimated that a conventional silver screen would have required about three times as many. They would also have had to be behind the screen, as is normal, rather than just around the edges, as with the Ultimate. Although it was good to be able to see the side-by-side comparisons, and, unsurprisingly, the Ultimate screens provided much brighter and more consistent images across the screen area than the silver screen, I will reserve a final judgement until I get to see one of these screens in use — The Odeon at Surrey Keys, East London, has had one fitted as a trial, and the Ultimate Screen has also been fitted at Wanda Beijing, AMC Burbank and Cinemark Boulder. RealD says that it will be rolling this

“GETTING UP CLOSE MADE OBVIOUS SEVERAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN REALD’S ULTIMATE SCREEN AND STANDARD ONES” Speckle reduction A side-benefit of the stiffer screen material concerns speckle reduction. RealD is aware that any bright light source, not just laser, can create speckle. The demo screen I saw was fitted with a single vibrating actuator clipped to the bottom of the screen, and this was able to vibrate the whole ‘stiffer’ screen surface to reduce the effects of laser speckle. A larger screen would have needed more actuators — normal silver screens require several transducers behind the screen to achieve the same effect. Big cinema companies showing their wares are always keen to see them on the best possible technical equipment, so it was no surprise that the main auditorium at the CCIB had been equipped for CineEurope with a RealD Ultimate Screen 60ft wide. I watched hours of movie material and was impressed with the quality of the 2D and 3D imagery. The 60 ft screen had 17 actuators around it, to minimise speckle by vibrating

innovation out as production ramps up. They are manufacturing their own Ultimate screens in Wisconsin, with manufacturing in China due soon. From what I saw, the Ultimate Screen from RealD is a genuine move forwards, and RealD’s research engineers have managed to control more precisely how light is projected. This should mean that, no matter where you choose to sit in the auditorium, the experience is better.

Side-by-side comparisons: the Ultimate screen on the left, a standard silver screen on the right

The Ultimate screen has a strereo contrast ratio of 1000:1, compared to 100:1 on current silver screens. This reduces ghosting, and creates a sharper 3D image.

Claimed to be 85% more lighte ficient than its predecessor In trial with: Odeon, UK Wanda, China AMC, USA Cinemark, USA

Gain 240: 2.2: 40 ° HGA 330: 3.0: 30 ° HGA

Manufactured in: Wisconsin, USA, and China soon

Perforation 150 microns Surface Engineered reflective surface with anti-stick coating

Thickness Approx 8 mil (200um)

Weight 300 g/m2

Size 39 ft. (11.9m) max height x 94 ft. (28.7m) max width




INTENSIFY Intense customer engagement Intensify aims to offer cinemas advanced engagement solutions. This is how…

THE ADMIN PANEL Intensify’s Admin Panel, controlled by the cinema manager, includes a statistics en ine and notification ‘dashboard’ where customer behaviour and campaign results can be tracked and improved. “Scary” as my first thou ht or cinema managers, use of the Admin Panel is simple and various activities are automated. It connects to any existing POS ticketing system and imports data automatically. With Intensify, cinema operators can: Increase visibility – Intensify is a mobile/web loyalty solution using amification mar etin techni ues where costumers are have fun earning points and winning gifts. Increase control – a powerful behaviour statistical engine makes offers easily adaptable to individual users allowing better targetting. Increase loyalty – Intensify provides a new communication channel with the cinema through the customer’s mobile. The customer is rewarded with points and gifts for staying connected with the cinema. Increase social activity – by sharing offers, specials, discounts and notifications on social net or s Increase Sales – personalised offers are cost-effective, sending the right message to the right audience, exploit the power of social networks. ‘Scary’ as the potential for using all this customer data seems, the system sounds fascinating. I look forward to seeing it in action in a cinema. Intensify tells me it has several regional customers and is signing deals in USA and Europe, with a Turkish cinema company due to take up the system this autumn.


Drawing the customers in Advertising intended to persuade people to come to the cinema and to make more visits to the movies has taken many different forms over the decades. In the 1960s, I remember enjoying trawling through the Manchester Evening News in which multiple columns of densely packed text told you what was on at hundreds of local cinemas. You didn’t worry about start times — it was an era of continuous performances. It has been traditional to place colourful posters outside cinemas (classified as 4-sheet or 6-sheet depending on size) with close-ups of movie stars and scenes from films to tempt passers by in to buy their tickets.

Different times, different ways Today, posters are replaced by screens — far more expensive, but easier to change the content on. Newspaper advertisements have fallen out of favour with many cinema chains. There has been a general acceptance that social media, typically involving web advertising and ubiquitous smartphones, represent the future of this type of advertising. Many companies are currently trying to come up with the optimal solution to persuade people to come to their cinemas and to watch their particular movie. All sorts of different ideas are being trialled — from emailed or Facebook reminders that say “we noticed you like this film — we

think you would love to watch this one too…” to clever electronic posters outside cinemas that recognise your profile as you walk past with your smartphone and send you a Facebook message about the film that you could see, perhaps offering you a special price or a free drink if you buy a ticket now! So far there hasn’t been one single solution to the task of getting people to come to the cinema that has achieved universal acceptance — the door is still open for companies to come up with new ways of achieving the holy grail.

Bringing it all together At CineEurope, a new company, Intensify, was selling its wares. It describes its product as ‘a new age communication and advertisement system that allows cinema operators to reach their customers’. Its initial message is full of marketing speak and slogans, but talking with commercial director, Branko Macura, and business development manager, Vladimir Brankov, I was able to decipher some of these messages and sort out just what the company can offer cinema operator. Intensify makes use of many individual modern marketing techniques, most of which are familiar, but it brings these together in a unique way to generate synergies and add value to any cinema’s marketing efforts. The idea is to use a variable combination of special offers,

T E C H N O L O G Y social network sharing, promotions, giveaways, video ads and announcements. Each user is given a unique identity and an individual barcode to prove that identity so that a marketing package can be set up for each unique customer. They can be offered special incentives to keep on using the system and to keep on visiting the cinema and making purchases there. It is the ability to push those promotions to different segments of users, based on previous user behaviour, that is key to understanding how Intensify works. • Users are rewarded with loyalty points for sharing information on social networks • Users can (and are encouraged to) exchange collected loyalty points for tickets, concessions, gifts, etc. • Users are encouraged to invite their friends to the events over social networks.

Your own cinema app Cinemas using Intensify are provided with a ‘white-labelled’ mobile app that can feature the cinema’s own branding. The app connects to the cinema’s existing POS ticketing system. App users gain access to cinema listings, details, descriptions, trailers, etc. Tickets can be purchased, seats reserved, and payments made via different gateways. It displays special offers, discounts and promotions, encouraging users to work towards loyalty points. As well as push notifications, the app users can be sent banner video ads, links to social networks, and can interact with i-beacon sensors which allow Bluetooth devices to receive data messages when passing a cinema. The system has been designed with attractive web-page and mobilephone graphics, but the really different part of the Intensify system is that it provides cinemas with a monitoring system in the form of an admin panel. This allows a cinema manager to see what a customer has been up to and to control what further marketing ‘pushes’ are sent. The admin panel allows the cinema to track individual user behaviour, control the various notifications, and all this information should allow cinemas to increase customer reach. Visit Jim Slater


The Event Cinema Association's CineEurope ‘Focus Session’ was one of the best and most informative seminars on the subject in recent times — it answered questions and looked to the future


Event Cinema:


years' Growth

elissa Cogavin, managing director of the Event Cinema Association, gave an upbeat assessment of how far the event cinema industry has come in the past 10 years at the ECA CineEurope seming in June. What we now know as the event cinema business is officially in its 10th year, although Melissa acknowledged that some of those present at the seminar had been involved in broadcasting live events well before that, developing the technology and paving the way for today’s success.

Statistics that prove the point Much of the data that Melissa presented to support her case had been garnered from ECA members, and from Rentrak (now comScore) and David Hancock of IHS had helped with the analysis. Melissa noted the somewhat patchy nature of some of the data, and said that although the young industry had achieved a lot in a short space of time, it was realised that there is much to do to match the statistics that longerestablished film studios can provide. Gathering event cinema statistics can be challenging. The figures given are the truest available, but not the whole picture. The growth of the market has been tremendous since records began being collected in 2009. There was a sharp growth curve, with many record breaking titles during 2013-14. Such record-breakers must skew figures when trying to establish growth patterns, set averages and project in to the future. Reflecting what had been common knowledge around the industry, Melissa talked about worries the industry has plateaued, or is even in decline, since this year hasn't seen the same recordbreaking events as in previous years.

A panel of distinction James Dobbin, director of event cinema for National Amusements, introduced a panel of guests and managed to get each one to talk freely about areas of the business in which they have a special interest. The panel included Marc Allenby, Picturehouse Entertainment, Lucy Barclay, Target Media, Franco di Sarro, Nexo Digital, Monica Törnblom, FHP, Alban Dechelotte, Coca Cola, Simon Tandy, MPS, Nicole Heim, Cinecitta. Marc Allenby said that event cinema has been important to Picturehouse, its events growing from one show every three months to weekly screenings. It now has a regular audience which provides 15-20% of gross box office, with one particular cinema reaching 50%. Monica Törnblom said some FHP cinemas take 53% of box office from event cinema. She put this down to cinema managers with music and theatre

Five-year revenues for strongest territories 40

uk & ireland usa italy germany australia france

35 30 revenue in millions of €

One example appeared to show the French event cinema business in steep decline, but this was simply because, in 2014, a live concert by French singer Mylène Farmer sold 87,000 tickets for an event in cinemas for one night only. Inevitably, ‘normal’ figures for the following year looked disproportionately low. The UK, historically the strongest market, does seem to be suffering a small loss of 1.4%. From another angle, in terms of total revenue [er country relative to population size, Italy is well ahead of the rest of Europe apart from the UK, where most content still originates. The analysis has established a clear relationship between mainstream studio content and event cinema. They aren’t separate entities. When studios have a great year for film content, figures for event cinema can be lower than anticipated — 2015 was a good example. Cinemagoers only have so much disposable income to go to the cinema. When the ECA began in 2012 cinema attendances had been flat-lining for some time, but in a year with cinemas showing James Bond, Star Wars, Jurassic World, Hunger Games, Minions and The Avengers, it is unsurprising that box office takings from event cinema were down. Conversely, less productive years for film studios translate into successful times for event cinema. It’s all about content, and no cinema would turn down another week of sell-out blockbuster content such as Star Wars for a one-night-only event catering to a niche audience. The trick is to make both work successfully. The data suggests that the market has plateaued at around 3% of box office. Globally, many markets don’t come close to this yet, so there is room for global growth — but advanced markets like the UK now need a new product type to drive event cinema ahead again.

25 20 15 10 5 0 2011



backgrounds rather than being from traditional cinemas, allowing them to think differently. Nicole Heim said that event cinema is bringing older people back to the cinema after many years. They first come to watch classical stuff such as Met Opera but return to watch arthouse movies and more mainstream fare. It is a win-win situation. Talking about content, Marc Allenby commented that arts programming dominates 60% of Picturehouse's offering — James Dobbin noted that initially sports and music had been expected to dominate, but arts has seen the greatest success. Franco di Sarro considered the reason music performances have had a disappointing lack of success is due to poor selection of content. Interest in different types of music varies from country to country and is often driven by particular artists. It isn’t sufficient to take content made for DVD and play it in cinemas, you need to make a connection with the artists involved. Gaming and e-sports are a huge event cinema attraction. Alban Dechelotte said that people are passionate about watching others play games — 280 million views a week. It is different from showing football in cinemas, where you are competing with bars. eSports bring in more than ordinary sports — she quoted 45 million people for a recent final where the tickets sold out in three minutes. The events are not available on TV, the only alternative being to watch on a laptop. So cinema is the next best thing to watching the gaming live at the venue. Monica Törnblom explained how FHP had successfully put on special events in what she called Black Box venues,




presumably not cinemas, where they had DJs, bars and a general party atmosphere encouraging youngsters to come along. The successful live screening was just one element of the whole ‘party’ evening. In Italy, Franco di Sarro said there is wide range of different programming, from fine art documentaries to classic films. Nexo creates about 50 events each year. They find commemorations of anniversaries are successful. To commemorate the holocaust, they showed a Margarethe von Trotta film, and, working with the Jewish community, brought in some €40,000. A special event put on to commemorate Amy Winehouse brought in over €1m on one night and €2.2m on days which would otherwise have been quiet times for the cinema. Marc Allenby said that with plans to do 60 events this year, the business is still growing, but there is also the threat of saturation. High quality productions with wide appeal will always find audiences. Even though Hamlet and Winter’s Tale were put on within a month of each other, they still brought in good audiences. It is a challenge to ensure that we don’t cannibalise other markets.

Encores — or deja-vu? Encores are regularly provided at FHP and Monica Törnblom considers them important in maximising revenue. Some audiences don’t go out on a Saturday night. They prefer weekday evenings or daytime. Different venues try different days and see what works best for them, but Nicole Heim said that Cinecitta regard the live aspect of SEPTEMBER 2016 | CINEMA TECHNOLOGY


event cinema as a unique selling point, so it doesn’t generally do encores. Its marketing tag is ‘One night only: you only have one chance to see this event...’ MPS's Simon Tandy pointed out that the available engineering hardware and software solutions allow cinemas the best of both worlds — individual cinemas can choose whether to show an event ‘live’, or to record it for future use, or both. The quality of a recording is important and it is vital to provide proper quality control. Vendors like MPS work closely with content owners, take the original source material and can turn it round within 24 hours, providing the event venue with the programme as a standard DCP or in other digital formats.

Concessions and event cinema Alban Dechelotte explained that Coca-Cola has worked with cinemas for over 100 years. It recognises that the audience is aging and needs to find new people. Three years ago it started to look at opportunities that event cinema might provide to add more value to cinema partners. It looked at football and gaming as ways of engaging young audiences with cinemas. Effectively it was asking young people to buy tickets for something they can get online for free. The idea was to make going to the cinema a more social event. You get free gifts, you get to meet your friends, and you get a great experience on the big screen that encourages you to return. For one event Coca-Cola partnered with a games publisher to provide a launch party for a new game, allowing fans to watch favourite teams playing. They also provided an hour of video content and a panel to discuss the game — tickets sold out rapidly in several countries. Gaming has enormous potential. A secret to success is to combine live events and pre-recorded content — it is vital to be able to attach an ‘exclusive’ tag to marketing.

Marketing music events James Dobbin noted that pre-release teasers and marketing could perhaps boost interest in music events — we are not currently marketing music shows in the right way. It might be good to launch the ‘premier’ of an album at event cinema showings. Marc Allenby said that Picturehouse is showing One More Time With Feeling, a special feature that will screen in cinemas for one night only, launching Nick Cave's new album Skeleton Tree, allowing fans to hear it a day early. Involving the full engagement of all stakeholders, ‘sold out’ signs creating a valuable impression of ‘scarcity’. Music can be made to work, but as Alban Dechelotte said, Coca Cola is excited about music events, but keeps hitting problems. Each time it expects something to work it fails, while things it is pessimistic about do well! CINEMA TECHNOLOGY | SEPTEMBER 2016

% Revenue growth rates of event cinema by territory

uk & ireland






124.2 2662.1 58.0 132.4 84.1 -1.4

31.5 -12.6 -13.9 10.0

153.9 -4.2 149.7 96.0 4.4

98.5 20.9 43.9 7.7

26.5 39.9 -0.6 6.7

58.8 33.0 80.1 -29.9

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015

Pre-school engagement James Dobbin noted the untapped preschool audience for special events. Peppa Pig brought in €2.3m and Masha €4m. Nicole Heim highlighted Mitmachen by Disney. The message was ‘join in’ and children could dance and sing. It was popular with them and parents loved the idea of a regular 60-minute slot going to the cinema and having children entertained.

problems and solutions Monica Törnblom reported that in Denmark the independent cinemas have been blocked from putting on the bigger events by the big cinema chains. In Norway event cinema hasn’t always been successful. Simon Tandy was asked about occasional problems with delivery of event cinema, and relatively high costs. He admitted that when providing events to far flung places there can be technical issues and issues of cost, sometimes due to the need for local content and perhaps several language versions. He suggested that in Asia, perhaps IP delivery would be able to provide economies of scale. Franco di Sarro reported great success with event cinema, especially art documentaries, in Japan and South Korea, saying that high-quality productions were appreciated there. China is proving more difficult, with just a few regular sites. The Vatican Museum documentaries have proved popular at two sites in Beijing, in co-operation with the China Film Archive. They are hoping to work with smaller cinema groups in China. Concluding with questions from the audience, this ECA session showed just how much interest there is in this new area of cinema. Although there were suggestions that attendances have plateaued, the lively speakers made it plain there are plenty of new areas and new ideas that they are all keen to explore. I was left feeling ‘Event cinema — you ain’t seen nothing yet!’ Jim Slater

TARGET AUDIENCES Lucy Barclay talked about marketing techniques — Target Media has long done theatrical campaigns, so understands the importance of learning lessons when attracting audiences to event cinema. As an example, it worked with Picturehouse to analyse data on the people who went to see Amy and used this information to seek out people who might be interested in seeing similar programming. They use social media campaigns and try to establish what advertising channels will be attract a particular audience. For Monty Python, for example, they knew many potential customers wouldn’t use social media, so posters, press announcements and advertisements were deployed. Marc Allenby stressed that it is important to consider how an ad cam ai n can e modified hile an event is running, shifting focus according to what works. Monica Törnblom pointed to the need for a good local manager as events have to be built around local marketing — the manager has experience of what works best. To Nicole Heim, content is the most important factor — but it is only the start. You must be able to communicate to a potential audience that ‘this is something special and you only get this here’. And follow up with ‘If you liked that, you might like this.’ It takes work to create a marketing campaign from scratch, so it is important to learn from experience and carefully target people. It isn’t always obvious — Cinecitta has found, for example, that some opera audiences can be reached via Facebook, a point that flies in the face of received wisdom.

“I just wanted to say thanks again for all your help yesterday. You went beyond the call of duty on a simple 3D install, very much appreciated! Thanks for persevering though a complicated setup”


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T IC K E TS O N SA L E: 1 SEPTEMBER 2016 (Li m i te d s paces , b o o k ea rly !)




ODEON Orpington: The Modern Face of a Cinema Business Icon Odeon has been a stalwart of the business for decades — Mark Trompeteler discovered how the company is facing the future when he visited its newest seven-screen multiplex astounding with an above-average selection of wines and beers to rival any Curzon or Everyman, as well as many other drinks snacks and foods. The foyer also featured an in-screen dining concept with freshly baked pizza, from its Croma Pizza Point counter, with a small café style seating area.

Technical Management


n my house is a small framed English Heritage archive photograph of a classic 1930s cinema — Odeon Balham. It is a cherished reminder of where I first fell in love with cinema as a youth. Today, like any cinema business, Odeon has to strive continually to enhance and improve its customers’ experience. Paul Donovan was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Odeon UCI Cinema Group two years ago and launched a transformation strategy to make the company more guest-focused, using many of the training processes, marketing techniques, CRM and other technologies, that are commonly used in other consumerfacing industries. Public press statements from him have stated that the company is making good progress with its strategic changes. Among the developments, there has been a scrapping of online booking fees, the refurbishment of cinemas and an increased focus on staff training. It is a particularly interesting time to visit a brand new Odeon to see how this classic cinema business icon is facing the competitive environment of today. With 959 seats in total, across seven screens and a cinema


featuring Odeon’s second ISENSE screen in the UK with Dolby Atmos, its latest site gives an insight not only into the technology of a modern Odeon, but also a sense of the operational and management approach.

First Impressions The location of this new cinema, in Orpington, Kent, was a pleasant nod to the past, with a central location in the middle of a suburban high street. This was the only physical reference to the past in this impressive, immaculate new cinema. A simple linear, functional exterior leads you through entrance doors to a small entrance lobby with an escalator and lifts to a first floor foyer. Above the escalator is a huge image of an astronaut in space, a kind of visual metaphor that this cinema is going to deliver “out of this world” entertainment experiences. This was echoed beyond the giant image of the astronaut with use of space imagery and “ground control to space” voicetrack recreations in some of the Odeon’s new pre-feature on-screen announcements, coupled with eye-dazzling new branding, all underline that message. The range of refreshments, snacks and foodstuffs available in the foyer was

Just off the foyer is a small server room in which is located a metal cage cupboard containing the 20TB server and theatre management system. All the films and other content (trailers, adverts etc.) are ingested into the TMS and stored and distributed across the screens depending on where they need to play that day or week. They can ingest locally at each screen too if they so wish, but this isn’t common as most content goes via the TMS. Trevor Cavell, the manager, and his team have various methods of DCP delivery and ingest. They havetwo “electronic” systems whereby they are sent files over a secure satellite or internet broadband network, or they have the features delivered on a hard drive that the management team load into the TMS and ingest. Odeon has its own UK-based internal central playlist managers that build all playlists for the whole of the UK and Ireland. Trevor explained how meticulous these managers are and how they ensure that all screens



MEET THE MANAGER I was delighted to visit the cinema and be shown around by its General Manager, Trevor Cavell, who kindly also agreed to chat to me about some of the customer facing aspects of their work. MT: How is your 50-strong team organised?

play the right content for their market. Odeon has a Network Operating Centre in Norway, and these specialists support the teams in the cinema with anything that may not go to plan. Trevor and his team work closely with them and their own Odeon engineers to remedy any issues they come across. The remote programming extends to dimming down the lights and bringing them back up. All cinemas’ auditoria have been set up locally to react in the right way once certain commands are triggered on the playlist. This is standardised as much as possible with some small local changes, but Trevor stated it works well. Adverts and trailers are received separately from features, usually, but they are all placed together on playlists and run straight through. While the technology and remote planning is excellent, Trevor emphasised that they were also the human check on the ground to ensure everything is running smoothly for every screening. Servicing is carried out by internal Regional Operations Engineers. They visit sites on a monthly basis performing one full heath check on each auditorium as well as checking all the important presentation aspects such as focus, alignment, The cinema has a state-of-the-art 20TB server and TMS installed (above). The foyer (below) has concessions including the Croma pizza point

TC: I have two Deputy Managers who oversee operations and key decisions when I’m not in the cinema, ut e also ha e fi e uest erience Supervisors who run the day-to-day shifts. They all have individual areas of accountability such as overseeing Health and Safety Checks, Retail Orders, and Local Marketing. All of our Cinema Hosts are trained across all areas of the business (Ushering, Retail, Foyer Hosting and Limitless), but only around 20 of them are trained on the Croma Pizza offer, as there’s some additional fresh food and training required. I’m passionate about developing our people and internal promotion. MT: Amongst “old timers” of the exhibition industry, perhaps supported by the likes of Mark Kermode and other commentators, there’s been criticism in recent years about a lack of showmanship in multiplexes. How do you give customers a special experience? TC: Our strategy is all about transporting our guests to amazing worlds and giving them a great time. This is achieved in a wide variety of ways. People are at the core of it, but technology plays a role too. Last year, Odeon changed the way we operate in our cinemas so that more inema osts and uest erience ana ers are ront o house providing great hospitality. We are seeing the return of masking to frame the images and auditoria all ha e am ient music e are committed to ensurin the cinema e erience isn’t cheapened and we’re seeing the impact in the results of our business and feedback. Odeon has come a long way since 1930 and our heritage is something I’m proud of. ur assion or film remains the same and the cinema e erience is so dee rooted that it is embodied in everything we do. We pride ourselves on cutting-edge technology and the idest choice o e eriences rom ilm to i e oot all and era ein as ed to open the brand new cinema in Orpington was without doubt one of the proudest moments of my career — a chance to set the standards from scratch and build a team from nothing was an opportunity I’ll never forget. I couldn’t be happier with the enjoyable environment we’ve created and hopefully that comes across to guests when they visit! MT: Could you give an idea of your weekly cycle of operations as a team? TC: ter years ith deon and , ecause o film release dates and ee ly timesheets, my or and ersonal li e e ists on a riday to Thursday or in ee no or me, the im ortant it starts ith choosin the films and ritin the timesheet on a onday t s so im ortant to et the choice o films ri ht, loo in at hat local competitors have had success with and perhaps might have dropped too early. Once e ha e the times and films confirmed, that s hen e erythin ic s in, e can start programming for sale on our systems, writing rotas to reflect our opening times and usiness le els and ro rammin our T S to ensure films sho on time




A clinically clean projection room (far left), is host to the latest projection and audio kit including a 56-channel Dolby Atmos installation (left)

overhead Atmos speakers, I began to question former ideas of the uniqueness of sound at, say, the Odeon BFI Imax, or even at the Dolby HQ. The presentation of Gods of Egypt in just 5:1 at Orpington was still an audio visually stunning experience.

Digital Cinema Coming of Age.

“IT’S AS IF, AFTER THE DOOM AND GLOOM OF THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE PROJECTIONIST’S ROLE, DIGITAL CINEMA HAS COME OF AGE” brightness and stability. He informed me that if they have any immediate concerns, the NOC in Norway can assist remotely. If they cannot correct the issue due to hardware failure then their emergency engineers are called upon.

always use curved screens with 3D. Orpington has Harkness Clarus 170 screens which offer a better uniformity than standard 2.4 silver screens, as well as providing improved image contrast and clarity. All the 7 screens are 3D capable.

Tech Specs

ISENSE Stunner

The cinema utilises various NEC projectors in conjunction with Doremi playback servers. Dolby CP 750 and 850 sound processors are used together with LuisWaSSman amplifiers and speakers throughout. The “standard” screens are configured for 7.1 surround using 2K projection, providing more than adequate illumination, resolution and sound quality for the relatively small screens in comparison to Screen 4, the PLF screen. The PLF ISENSE screen is equipped with full 56-channel Dolby Atmos as well as utilising 4K projection. “Both IMAX and Dolby Vision are very immersive experiences,” explained Trevor, “Odeon has many IMAX screens and I love the format, but we are also proud of our own ISENSE brand. We offer 4K projection with a large, bright, curved, masked screen to present the film in the best possible way. The screen technology is of the highest quality to ensure the image is bright and uniform to all seats. We’ve installed Dolby Atmos with 56 channels for a truly thundering and impacting, immersive movie experience. In Orpington, all 276 seats are Premier Seats with additional leg room and headrests.” Odeon’s 3D system of choice, RealD requires a high-gain reflected polarised surface and, as with all high-gain screen surfaces, screens must be curved to ensure best possible light uniformity — so they

The first time I visited this Odeon was a pre-arranged visit with Trevor, during which we toured all areas of the cinema and had extensive conversations. The second time was as a cinemagoer with my wife to see Gods of Egypt in the ISENSE auditorium. During my first visit, Trevor screened the Dolby Atmos demonstration material that many of us are familiar with in the PLF auditorium. It was the best experience of seeing and listening to this familiar material that I have had to date. With its 18


In today’s mainstream cinema exhibition scene it is inevitable that most cinemas will be a multiplex with an array of functional modern oblong box type auditoria that bear no relation to the picture palace experience of yesteryear. Trevor and his team all seem to share a distinct, clear vision of what they think modern cinema exhibition should be and their and Odeon’s position within it. It is as if, after all the doom and gloom of the disappearance of the projectionist’s role and the demise of celluloid “purring” through a projector, digital cinema has now come of age. The technology is only as good as the people who operate it — and here some staff had been liberated from the confines of the projection box and back office functions to go into the light of customer-facing areas. At just 31 years old, I was struck at how well Trevor, the general manager, was leading a similarly youthful team of nearly 50 staff. The whole operation appeared to run like a well-oiled machine. All seemed so positive about their customers, their work and their cinema. The technology, management and team at the Odeon Orpington are a brilliant example of how rapid changes of the past decade have produced a newly established digital exhibition industry. This modern cinema seemed as exciting and impressive as the classic Odeon Balham of my youth — in many ways, probably more so.


odeon, orpington OPENED on: 26 February, 2016 Owned by: Odeon number of screens: seven PLF format: ODeon Isense 4k projection Manager: trevor cavell



ENSURING A WARM WELCOME A new initiative from HearFirst means deaf cinemagoers are set to get a better reception at the movies

Julie Ryder Director, Hearfirst

Jemma Buckley, project manager of the BDA, said: “We were delighted to be working with HearFirst on this important training programme. The workshops broadened cinema staff’s knowledge and increased their confidence in being able to offer a more diverse and inclusive service to their deaf audiences.”

Improving the experience

STAFF REPRESENTING OVER 50 cinema venues have been attending deaf awareness training sessions in recent months — then sharing their knowledge with colleagues to help deliver a more inclusive, accessible service to customers. Workshops, organised throughout the UK in Glasgow, Bristol, Sheffield, Brighton and Cardiff, have been delivered by the staff of HearFirst, our award-winning workplace training and consultancy company, in partnership with the Independent Cinema Office. The support of venues in the BFI Film Audience network has also been invaluable. Cinema staff at the workshops learned more about the different areas of deafness, how to improve service for deaf people in their venues and how to be more confident about approaching accessibility and welcoming deaf people. Areas such as

deaf awareness, visual awareness, mental health, British Sign Language (BSL), understanding learning difficulties and disability etiquette have all formed central elements of these courses.

Power in our hands…

The workshops were commissioned by the British Deaf Association (BDA) after funding was received from the Heritage Lottery Fund to create a landmark documentary called Power in Our Hands. This engaging documentary explores the secret history and the heritage footage of the deaf community within Great Britain in the 1930s. The 70-minute film was screened at 30 participating venues across the country this spring in conjunction with training organised to support deaf customers who attend these venues to watch the film.


Power in Our Hands explores the recognition of British Sign Language and deaf rights in the UK. The footage, which has never been seen before, was selected for its appeal to many deaf people across these cities. The BDA recognised the importance of improving the overall customer experience for deaf customers and approached us at HearFirst to deliver bespoke training for staff. We have run similar workshops in other areas of the country with very positive feedback and most attendees said they would be able to use what they have learnt back into the workplace to improve their service to customers. Catharine Des Forges, director of the Independent Cinema Office, explained that the response to the initiative has been encouraging: “We’ve been really pleased with the level of support for Power in Our Hands, both from audiences and from venues. Cinemas are an amazing communal space to share ideas and strengthen communities and it’s our goal for cinemas to be open and welcoming to all. This training is a great way to build confidence and knowledge.” HearFirst provides a full range of equality and diversity training courses to organisations across the UK. For more information on their deaf, disability awareness and BSL training, please contact the team at HearFirst on 01706 872 816 or visit

HearFirst is a member of UK Council of Deafness the umbrella body for voluntary organisations working with deaf people in the UK. For more information, visit SEPTMBER 2016 | CINEMA TECHNOLOGY



MOVING ON FROM SOUTHBANK Richard Boyd, known around the cinema business for his work at BFI, reflects on a life at the NFT

Technical teamwork

This was the team that I continued to manage once NFT evolved into the BFI Southbank, right through until my retirement. It’s down to this superb team that we have continued to be able show 16/35/70mm and occasionally 8mm films, in their many ratios and sound formats, plus a multitude of video, sometimes all at the same time in seamless combination for multi-format shows. BFI Southbank remains one of the few venues in the world where you can still see nitrate film projected — a rare privilege and a treat not to be missed. The public programme includes over 600 titles playing each year across the four theatres, and on top of this the 400 odd titles that play at the Southbank and across London cinemas during the London Film Festival. It has been a busy, challenging and exciting time throughout, and I have been lucky to work with such gifted and dedicated colleagues and industry partners.

The move from film to digital AFTER 19 YEARS as Head of Technical at BFI Southbank, formerly and affectionately known as the National Film Theatre (NFT), I took early retirement in March this year. This was no easy choice — the BFI has become part of my DNA. Although a change of lifestyle was overdue, I’m still looking forward to work on cinema projects ahead, and planning my next steps in the industry.

Lots to remember

Asking me to offer brief reflections on my experience at the BFI turned out to be no mean feat. Mine was a multifaceted role overseeing technical delivery of the entire offer at the Southbank — an environment that changed dramatically over the years. In my early days, I was proud to manage two technical teams. The first supported the Museum of the Moving Image, bringing alive the story of cinema. The second delivered the programmes and events for the NFT, one of the most technically complex and busy cinematheques in the world.

Without doubt the most challenging and exciting transformation during my time has been the shift to digital — the biggest change in cinema technology history. It’s true to say that the BFI Southbank was in the vanguard of these developments in the UK, educating both the industry and public to appreciate its potential. It began in 2000, with the ‘Silicon v Celluloid event’, hosted by the NFT in London, funded by the DTI. This was an early opportunity to demonstrate how digital was going to change our industry from production all the way through to exhibition. From this was born the Digital Testbed at NFT, sponsored by the DTI with match-funding from industry partners and manufacturers. Encouraged and facilitated by the BKSTS, this initiative brought together the pioneers of digital worldwide with the UK industry at large. At a time when there were no more than 25 Dcinema projectors across the world, two of were at the NFT. The Testbed showcased cutting-edge technology still in the early stages of development — signalling the way that digital was fast progressing and soon be



capable of cinema-quality presentation. At the opening of the Testbed, we demonstrated, via Sohonet, a live two-way link between the NFT and the set of Lord of the Rings in New Zealand. Another inspirational event was when Rob Hummel from Warner Brothers’ presented a medley of clips from their first digital restorations of Casablanca, Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind. Seeing these classics for the first time in many years as they were intended to be seen, the audience was enthralled. Another first was our demo of digital 3D — its first outing from North America. These were innovative times.

Digital training and film’s future

What we learned quickly was that showing digital can be complicated — it demanded of projectionists a new set of skills. As the technology spread, we initiated a training programme with the fantastic Rex Beckett from DCineco. Supported by Skillset, the BFI, the BKSTS and Christie Digital, we rolled it out to around 150 projectionists nationwide. In time, our training offer extended to include, among other things, input from Peter Wilson at HDDC on setting up film festivals and creating DCPs. The training agenda, of course, continues. It’s essential we get the best we can from digital projection and sound across the exhibition spectrum, from multiplex to art house, for regular programmes and festivals — and I hope to contribute to this area in the future. Finally, a word about film. I’m delighted the BFI Southbank will continue to show film for years to come. It’s a legacy that’s dear to my heart. There’s no doubt this will be challenging. It means not just keeping technical skills alive, but maintaining the sound and projection equipment that’s all but obsolete elsewhere. Thankfully, we can be confident that the stockpile of projection equipment acquired from cinemas as they converted to digital will stand the BFI in good stead for several generations.

Moving forward

I hope to see many of you in the times ahead. If you would like to, feel free to contact me at Meanwhile, my best wishes go to Dom Simmons, who has taken on the mantle of acting Head of Technical, and to all the technical team at the BFI Southbank.


73 77


In today’s world, cinemas to workloads be cautious— —so notwhy paranoid — about security risks Digitisation was meant to need reduce are cinemas stillheightened chasing content?

Phil clapp chief executive, UKCA

AS REGULAR READERS OF Cinema Technology will know, the UK Cinema Association has, over a number of years, been running a programme of regional FOLLOWING INCIDENTS in the past six meetings of members. months in place Parisevery and then Brussels, UK Taking six months (inthe spring Cinema Association has the and autumn) these are anrecently attempt taken for those opportunity toassociation revisit andoffice to refresh longworking in the in London standing to itsmembers, membersexplain on cinema to get out advice and meet the security issues. activities they have been undertaking on The core invite message to cinema staff is to their behalf, questions and comments remain alert, but notcriticism alarmed— —and to focus on — and occasionally ensure what can be doneresources to ensureare that cinemas the association’s being usedare to safe,effect. not least through relevant best The eventsensuring provide athat chance for information is communicated the cinema operators to networkthrough with each appropriate other and channels. colleagues from across the The Association’s actions comegenerous at a time industry, who are unfailingly whentheir the security threat level in the UK is with time in travelling to the meetings categorised as severe, that a that range from the far which reachesmeans of Cornwall major incident is highly likely. If that sounds to the North of Scotland. alarming, it is perhaps worth the noting The association reached endthat of the its UK has beenofoperating at this in level since spring round these gatherings Leeds in August 2014. May, where colleagues from the North and Cinemas are among a range of venues Midlands branch gathered to consider a identified presenting a particular wide agendaasincluding performance of the security challenge: they are relationships places where Meerkat Movies promotion, large the numbers of people gather and which with BFI and cinema security. The are sometimes found heard in high profile afternoon ‘open’ session more on the location(s). In addition, they sometimes association’s ongoing work on disability and

access as well as the worrying threat posed by the increasing prevalence of so-called ‘Android boxes’ — set-top TV boxes which have opened up a new and significant front show controversial content. in the challenging challenge of or film theft. In 2012, the Association established a Security Working Group to discuss and to Digitisation delivery dramas share best practice suchfor as As a trade body, thearound UKCAissues does not, security training andas awareness cyberreasons of legality well as and expertise, fraud. Through work, therelationships Association involve itself in this commercial has established goodcinema workingoperators relationships between individual and and channels ofdistribution. communication colleagues in film It can with look toa variety of contacts including the National involve itself where—there are more general Counter Terrorism Security however, Office issues around that relationship, (NACTSO), theseem bodyto responsible for raising where things go awry and make awareness(and of the national threat. members’ others’) lives security more difficult. NACTSO also haswhich an important advisory One such issue came out loud and role tofrom educate public on measures that clear thethe latest round of regional can be taken to reduce theyou risks and still mitigate meetings is that of what might call the effects of anyClearly seriousthere incident. ‘film transport’. is a danger of that phrase conjuring up images of 35mm Project Griffinvans training reels and delivery when (for the most As ain result of thisrespect) relationship, a number of part the latter the truth is a good circuit cinema sites have acted to host deal more complicated. counter-terrorism awareness When the UK industry — along training with its sessions under Project Griffin, whereby global counterparts — made the transition local police and NaCTSO contacts provide to digital cinema projection technology, I security and crime prevention training to think everyone understood that this was in frontline cinemas otherwhich local truth ‘jobstaff half in done’. The and savings


businesses. found be hugely would accrueThese in thewere long-term toto distribution valuable through and thealleviating Association would colleagues the need to certainly encourage to consider their strike expensive and others unwieldy 35mm prints involvement. companies wishing to were limited toAny a degree by the fact that the receive similar for their employees new digital filestraining still needed to be physically can registertotheir interest at transported cinemas on hard drive. b7ET3004hs1 Looking back, I think that most believed that by now — almost three years after the Stay safe, eyes full deployment in wide the UKopen — we would be The Association has also been make seeing the vast majority of, ifable nottoall, filma numberdelivered of resources available to members content by remote means: either to satellite supportorcinemas in ensuring that they by broadband. have appropriate policies and procedures in Perhaps inevitably however, the position place. arethan of broader to is moreMany complex that, andrelevance all involved colleagues face across the seems film industry (and currently what a confusing indeed more widely). ‘mixed economy’ of physical and virtual The ‘Stay Safe’ and ‘Eyes Wide Open’ transport, involving a wide range of players. training sense videos provide on Making of that, and information knowing what precautionary measures that can be taken to film to expect, from whom and when and in improve security awareness amongst staff, what format, is clearly something which is not leastaaround what do in theofevent of a proving challenge forto operators all sizes. security Addedincident; to this complexity is the issue of Protective Security KeyThe Delivery Messages (KDMs)Improvement — the pieces Activity (PSIA) Toolkit was content trialledand by of code which unlock encrypted several of the UK’s largest cinema operators are specific to the cinema site and sometimes in 2013 cinema and found to be useful in helping specific screen. Here too the drivers them totheimprove their security ontoafilm site behind approach taken from film by site basis and identify gapstoinmany. policies remains something of a mystery andThe procedures. consistent feedback from UKCA The PSIA toolkit helps cinemaamount staff to members is that a disproportionate assess of security to their of timethe — level not just theirs,threat but also thatsite of and offers advice what can be done to help colleagues at film on distribution and transport safeguard — is each business through companies spent chasing content, with developing more tailored in the processesanot always beingapproach simple or in identifying reducing some cases and logical. Progressvulnerability. towards a The vast majority measures can the be position where all filmofcontent (or at least implemented or no cost. vast majority)atislittle delivered remotely seems The training resources and — toolkit are more challenging than expected this does designed tobe besomething transferable applicableas to not seem to toand be dismissed wide rangeoroftransitional organisations and business aatemporary issue. sectors, not justhas cinema exhibition. The UKCA begun a discussion with The Association has recently made these colleagues in film distribution about how we available to all of its but others can can improve lines ofmembers, communication on both accessand, them either directly from NaCTSO sides while there is no likelihood of a ( or can via the UK Cinema uniform approach, we at least better Association general Head Office — info@cinemauk. understand ‘terms of engagement’ — the where further information onand any between distributor, transporter of the above can also be sought. cinema operator respectively. UKCA Autumn events kick off in London at the Phoenix, Finchley (5 October) with subsequent meetings at Savoy Cinema, Exmouth (13 October), Dominion, Edinburgh (25 October) and AMC Manchester (9 November). If you would like to attend UKCA events or find out more, Please contact the Association if you would like to find out email Annette Bradford on more on JUNE 2016 2016 || CINEMA CINEMA TECHNOLOGY TECHNOLOGY SEPTEMBER



BKSTS Archive: Can you help? Check your bookshelves… The BKSTS needs your help in digitising the society’s archive


rthur Cain, chairman of the Information & Archive Group together with a volunteer friend Terry Benton, who was a professional cataloguer, have been working away on cataloguing the whole BKSTS Archive book collection onto an electronic database, with a view to making the collection available with

photos of the book covers, contents’ pages and information on each book to BKSTS members from the society’s website. The pair has discovered that important books are missing from the collection. It appears they disappeared between moves from Victoria House to Pinewood Studios where it is now housed. These had been recorded as part of the main collection. Arthur is requesting BKSTS members

search their own libraries to see if they have such books belonging to the society. It would be appreciated if these books could be returned so this part of the archive project can be completed. Books will have a BKSTS I.D. label inside the main cover page and may also have a “Donated By” label as well. For instructions, you can contact Arthur direct by email at

YOUR BOOK IS OVERDUE… HAVE YOU SEEN ANY OF THESE TITLES? If you have any of the books listed below and want to return them (anonymously or not), then please post them to: Arthur Cain. BKSTS Archive, Pinewood Studios, Pinewood Road, Iver Heath, SLO ONH. UK l 60

Years: Royal Television Society Yearbook and Membership List: 1987/8 l An Introduction to the Study of Colour Phenomena, Lovibond J W, 1905, l Annual Report of the Board of regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 1865 l Cameramen at War, Grant I, 1980, l Canford Catalogue 97/ 98 l Chinese Photography 1987 No.1, l Chinese Photography 1987 No.2, l Chinese Photography 1987 No.3, l Chinese Photography 1987 No.4, l Chinese Photography 1987 No.5, l Chinese Photography 1988 No.2, l Chinese Photography 1988 No.3, l Chinese Photography 1988 No.4, l Colour Cinematography, Klein A B, 1936, l Colour Decoration of Architecture, Ward J, 1913, l Colour Harmony and Contrast: for the use of Art Students, Designers and Decorators, Ward J, 1903,


l Colour

- Music: The Art of Light, Klein A B, 1926, l Coloured Light: An Art Medium, Klein A B, 1936, l Film 2000: An Insight into the Future of the UK Film Industry, January 1996 l Film in the Digital Age, Throup D, 1996, l French - English Science and Technology Dictionary, Devries L, 1976 l IIford Manual of Photography, Bothamley C H, (No Date) l Light, Emtage W T A, 1896, l Motion Picture Presentation Manual, BKSTS, 1960 l PLASA: Earls Court, 7 - 10 September, 1997 l rofilm ilmmatic lectronic ilm Conforming Handbook, No Date? l Royal Television Society Yearbook & membership List, RTS, 1984/5 l Royal Television Society Yearbook & membership List, RTS, Smith F, 1986/7

l Royal Television

Society Yearbook & membership List, RTS, Dyer T, 1988/9 l Royal Television Society Yearbook, Dyer T, 1993/4 l Technical Writing for Publication, IEE, 1988, l The Cinematograph Book: Complete Practical Guide to the Taking & Projecting of Pictures, Jones B E, 1915, l The Wide view Report: European Widescreen Experts held in Brussels, Vision, 1994 History of Three - Colour Photography, Wall E J, 1925, l The Work of the Science Film Maker, Strasser A, 1972, l Traditional Methods of Pattern Designing: An Introduction to the Study of Decorative Art, Christie A H, 1910, l Video Production Techniques: A Handbook for Television, Film and Audio - Visual Program Makers, Foss H 1980



Through a glass, darkly The visionary Billy Bell brings clarity to the subject of porthole glasses in the latest installment of his Notes from a Movie Engineer’s Diary


rom the outset, the BTH Supa projector gained a reputation for focus problems, due to its badly designed curved gate. This fallibility was often seized upon as an excuse to cover a projectionist’s mistakes — but the Supa projector was not always to blame. On one occasion, I was called out to the Odeon Theatre in Penge to investigate a complaint of poor focus, affecting one Supa projector. The all-female projection staff watched as I spent many hours going through the picture gate realignment procedures. I also swapped lenses, but to no avail. Finally, removing the porthole glass solved the focus problem. One member of staff then confessed she had taken out the porthole glass for cleaning and dropped it. She then went to a local glass merchant’s and had a piece of window glass cut to size. Fortunately, porthole glasses, sometimes referred to as Copperlights, were made to standard size. This enabled me to use the identical observation window Copperlight for the projector port, and vice versa. Copperlights were made of small accurately cut and ground 6mm panes of glass, glazed into copper I-sections — the fire-resistant properties of Copperlight glazing made it an ideal choice for use in projection rooms. Not all projector mechanisms have framing lamps. At one small cinema, I noted that, when lacing the film, the projectionist would strike the lamphouse and using the small amount of stray light, would look directly through the projector lens to frame the picture. What he didn’t realise was that the back of his head was smearing the porthole glass. I installed projection equipment at The Other Cinema (right) in Rupert St, in London’s West End. The day of the grand opening and the afternoon rehearsals went well with perfect picture and sound. When the evening show began, the picture on the screen showed a travel ghost image in every conceivable direction, and the show was

The cleaning ladies polished the port glass with Pledge

Critical to successful projection, even the latest porthole glasses, such as this anti-reflective example from Diamond Coatings, just won’t do the business if the cleaning lady sets to with a bit of spit and polish

stopped. It transpired that the cleaning ladies had since polished the port glass from inside the theatre with a household cleaning substance — Pledge — which had deposited a silicon coating on the glass, creating the same effect as a photographer’s star filter. Removing this silicon deposit enabled normal service to be resumed. The same problem has arisen many times since, with a similar product, Mr Sheen. I have installed projection equipment in many curious places. One such venue was at a cinema club in Soho, London W1, where the projector was sited on one side of the proscenium arch, requiring four-surface silvered mirrors to enable the picture to reach the screen. Cleaning these mirrors was a regular chore. Fortunately, the projectionist was an ex-submariner who

had cleaned periscopes according to Navy statutory guidelines; he explained the cleaning method to me: 1) Remove dust particles very carefully with a soft camel hair brush, 2) apply Chrystal Clear cleaning fluid 3) polish the mirror with a new duster, but the duster must first be washed… During a new installation of projection equipment at an Oxford theatre, a young novice architect insisted on using a fire-resistant Pyrex type glass for the projector ports. The manufacturer of this silica-based glass stated that its product can have bubbles and vary in thickness by as much as 0.5mm in 6mm, but the architect insisted fire safety regulations must be adhered to. With projection lenses costing hundreds of pounds and faced with such intransigence, my only alternative was to seize the first opportunity and replace the Pyrex with optical quality 6mm plate glass. The theatre opened with a pristine picture and an architect blissfully unaware that a serious focus problem had been averted. Billy Bell died, aged 90, in February 2014, but left a legacy of unpublished stories which Cinema Technology magazine will be proud to publish in the coming years. SEPTEMBER 2016 | CINEMA TECHNOLOGY


STANDARDISING SIMPLICITY Dave Monk gives an interim update on work to introduce the new SMPTE standard DCP DAve Monk CEo, EDCF

Fixing the standard

One of the group’s first resolutions was to plant a stake in the ground of a standard that was constantly evolving. The group determined a feature set that would offer benefits to creators, distributors and exhibitors alike. It would also contain capability to enable release of the majority of feature film releases using the format. Other, more advanced features, such as extended colour space and variable frame rates would be the subject of future developments. For now, it was decided that the conversion would include a feature set tested as a minimum on all installed equipment in Europe. The features included would be: CPL markers Encrypted subtitles WTF sound format (5.1 and 7.1) Dolby Atmos sound option 2D and 3D features 24 and 25P frame rate

Test content and test markets

IN THE ERA OF DIGITAL CINEMA, as most readers will know, movies and associated content such as trailers, notices and advertisements are distributed to theatres as a digital cinema package (DCP). The DCP is a set of encrypted files that contain images, sound, captions, subtitles and even special effects commands. In the beginning the definition of the content was mainly focussed on the technical attributes of the playback equipment rather than the precise formatting of the package itself. To bring order to the process, a format was developed (INTEROP) to act as an interim scheme while the precise details of an industry standard were determined by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE). SMPTE has formalised the majority of standards used in theatrical exhibition of movie film for a number of years covering such things as the shape of the sprocket holes in film to the level of brightness on the screen. It took around 10

years for development of the original Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) requirements specification documents into a SMPTE standard recognised by the International Standards Organisation (ISO). During this time, practitioners developed the ‘Interop DCP’ format which is still in use today. The SMPTE DCP standard is now ready for deployment, even though it is being continuously updated to cope with new capabilities and features. The ‘Interop’ format has been patched along its journey to cope with the likes of 3D and higher frame rates, but is now creaking under the strain of its original limitations. Theatre owners and operators must now ensure their systems (projectors, servers and theatre management systems) are compliant with the new standard as studios and distributors convert to the new system. This is a complex task and one requiring a great deal of care and planning — hence the formation of a crossindustry working group to aid the process.



We felt it was important to be able to have exact knowledge about the test environment and we should commission test software that would test the chosen feature set as thoroughly as possible. Test content would be required for two distinct communities: Manufacturers to verify their compliance Exhibitors (and integrators) to test their complete systems from TMS to screen. The test content would need to be simple to use and enable unambiguous reporting. The first phase of the test content has been produced (thanks to the generosity of Deluxe Technicolor Digital Cinema) and successfully deployed. The team felt that we should deploy the test software under controlled conditions where we already had three things: Knowledge of the installed base of systems. Single local organisation which could coordinate the testing process with local language support. Electronic delivery infrastructure that could remediate problems quickly. Common Network Operation Centre. The markets chosen were Norway using Film und Kino with Unique Cinema Systems and the Netherlands with Gofilex. We were, in effect, field-testing the test software.

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Contact Diamond Coatings today to discuss your Cinema Projection Portal Glass The test process and results

The process would be to run the test software to find any compatibility problems and then report back results confidentially to relevant manufacturers. The second step was to secure a full feature film release using a SMPTE DCP to test the systems with real content. So far this has been done with 2D test material and 2D subtitle files that were not burned into the image files. We also tested 3D content where the subtitles were burned into the image. We found a few early servers that were not able to play SMPTE content and were not upgradeable. Theatres are in the process of upgrading to compliant equipment. These servers were very early installations and the manufacturer already knew these systems would not be SMPTE DCP-capable. Some systems needed firmware upgrades that were identified by the test content software. Some equipment needed to be configured to run SMPTE DCPs (they were capable but needed setting up for that case and the manufacturer resolved this). Some special systems needed manufacturer support — in this case a twin projector 3D system.

Major Lessons Learned

Most systems could handle the encrypted 2D SMPTE DCP files. A majority of systems were compliant once the systems were upgraded to the latest firmware. We

originally planned to test Theatre Key Retrieval (TKR) capability in servers but our tests found that the capabilities were still under development both as a standard and consequently in equipment capability. So this capability was removed from the Test software. The test software did its job well. Manufacturers are now verifying their equipment with the test software, but there has been no feedback yet. The plan to have a feature film with Interop versions for fast remediation worked well. This has been done successfully in the US too but is aided by a constrained release. Manufacturer response meant that most cases of non-compliance were quickly fixed so the SMPTE DCP could be run. There were very few uses of the Interop backup.

Moving on to 3D

We know TI series one-based projectors can’t be upgraded to render separate 3D subtitles. A solution is to configure it so that subtitles are rendered within the server into the image. SMPTE Subtitle Standards allow a subtitle to be placed at any position in the perceptual z-axis dimension of the movie. It further allows a programmer to define z-axis motion for a given subtitle instance on the screen. This allows the required optical fixation point to coincide with the anticipated fixation point of the image to minimise eye strain or conflicting depth

cues. At this time this feature has not been implemented by manufacturers, so they must use discrete subtitle instances to change the convergence point (z-position). It is unclear how the industry will adapt to this situation and this is currently holding up our testing process. If 3D subtitles are burned into the image the issues of rendering them live will not be a requirement. Watch this space.

Studio releases in SMPTE DCP

Studios are reluctant to produce major features in SMPTE DCP format until the landscape is better defined. Twin releases are expensive and potentially prone to errors on untested systems. More releases are needed to provide more real test content. Some studios are pushing for more releases so this conversion can be made more quickly.

Advice for Exhibitors

Ensure your databases contain firmware revision level for all equipment Projector, Server, TMS. Plan on regular upgrades as part of the maintenance process. Run test software as soon as convenient.

Information about SMPTE DCP is available on the following website SEPTEMBER 2016 | CINEMA TECHNOLOGY




charles morris

A truly Northern independent Charles Morris, owner of Northern Morris Associated Cinemas talked with David A llis on his roots in film harles Morris has been running cinemas for nearly twenty-eight years in northern England. His company is Northern Morris Associated Cinemas Ltd., named after the erstwhile Southan Morris Associated Cinema Circuit. He runs six cinemas, four in Yorkshire, which are each over 100 years old. They are: the Rex, Elland, described as one of the oldest purpose-built cinemas in the UK; the Plaza, Skipton; the Cottage Road, Leeds and the Picture House Keighley. He also runs the Roxy, Ulverston, which is over 75 years old and the Royalty, Bowness-on-Windermere, which is 90 years old next year, where some silent classics are often shown accompanied by the Wurlitzer organ. This is a three-screen cinema. Screen one is the original auditorium with the 1930s ambience. Number two seats one hundred and number three sixty-five.


DE: Where were you brought up — and did you go to the cinema a lot as a child? CM: I was brought up in Hoylake, near Liverpool, and saw my first film aged seven at the Winter Gardens cinema, Hoylake. The film was The Lady and the Tramp. It was a good time to go — some of the kids that come to my cinemas are too young to appreciate it properly. I got totally absorbed in the film on my first visit. I was oblivious to the surroundings, that came later. CINEMA TECHNOLOGY | SEPTEMBER 2016

DE: At that time did you go regularly? CM: Yes, as often as I could, which involved having to go with my parents — and that restricted the visits until I got myself a free pass to go to the Winter Gardens. I used to do hand-painted adverts for them and nail them to a tree at the front of the house. They came to the notice of the milkman, who knew the cinema manager, passed the word on and I got a free pass to go whenever I wanted. At that time, I had already met the projectionist, so I was either up in the box, or watching the films. They had Ross GC1s, RCA sound and Kalee Universal arcs, which were later swapped for second-hand Peerless units. It achieved greater

CM: I worked for the Ministry of Defence in engineering, but I always kept part-time cinema jobs. DE: Why did you decide to run cinemas? CM: It was this childhood passion, dating from that first cinema visit. I spent the best years of my youth in the Winter Gardens. I also ran film societies at school and university. My wife encouraged me to live my passion. DE: How did you get the opportunity to run your first cinema? CM: The very first thing we did in our own right was in Settle, North Yorkshire, where

“DIGITAL IS A BONANZA FOR EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS, INSTALLERS AND REPAIRERS. THEY’VE NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD” penetration with 3D because a lot of the arcs wouldn’t take the full run of the 5,000ft spools, needed for 3D at that time. DE: The Kalee Regal was similar… CM: Yes, I have one of those – it didn’t last long. I heard they were inhibited from marketing it. The mechanism was very similar to the Peerless. DE: What did you do before running cinemas?

we were on holiday in 1986. We went into the Victoria Hall where they were holding a flea market. At the back of the hall, downstairs I could see these projection ports. One thing led to another and we went to the council to discuss hiring the hall for use as a cinema. We booked it for two months the following summer. We brought in our own 35mm machines. We then ran films on the Fridays and Saturdays for those two months. That was our first commercial venture.



Charles Morris at the Skipton Plaza (left) and in the projection room (below); Charles at work in the Rex, Elland, one of the oldest purpose-built cinemas in the UK (bottom)

DE: And your favourite 35mm equipment? CM: My favourite is Kalee. I didn’t know any other machine but Ross for the first 10 years of my life. When I was at university, we had Kalee 37s in one of the lecture theatres. I think the Kalee 12 was probably the best projector they made. The Kalee 21s were lovely but they were grossly over engineered. They did have their weak points as well. DE: How long was it before you acquired another cinema? CM: It was two years before we ran another one. We obtained the Rex at Elland. We had been inspired by the Settle venture. I was definitely on the lookout for a cinema then. We lived in Rochdale in those days and we went to Buxton in Derbyshire a lot, because that was a town in need of a cinema. We searched for weeks for suitable premises and found nothing. Then a friend pointed me in the direction of Elland, between Halifax and Huddersfield, which to me was a town that was bottom of the list — it was midway between two towns that already had cinemas. It was by the M62 and it seemed likely that a multiplex would spring up in that area, which indeed it did. We ran the Elland with my friend and his wife — doing half a week each. DE: Did the multiplex affect business? CM: Well, not really. It took a while to get the cinema going. We were operating for 15 months before anything significant changed and that was after we managed to get an appearance on local television. The multiplex had just opened then. Our fortunes improved, but I don’t know if we would have been better without the multiplex. We just got better even though the multiplex was there. DE: What is your view on multiplexes? CM: Well, if they hadn’t arrived, I don’t know what we would have been left with. At the time of the opening of Milton Keynes in 1984, cinema in the UK was on its backside. The multiplexes rejuvenated the cinema-going habit, but unlike many multiplexes we still have lighting effects, tabs and music, just like it used to be. DE: How many cinemas have you got and are they rented or owned by you? CM: I have six. I started with the Rex, Elland in 1988. I gave up my engineering career to take over the Royalty Bowness in 1992, and then added the others roughly every four years apart. I also re-opened the ABC Lancaster for three years until the Vue

multiplex opened in 2006. I own one, the Plaza, Skipton. The others are rented. DE: You take care of film bookings — do you get restrictions on what you book? CM: Not now, but we did when we first started. When we opened Elland we couldn’t get anything less than four weeks old. Sometimes a film would be released in the US three months earlier and you might get a load of prints coming over afterwards. Occasionally, a distributor would have prints on his hands and you could get one then. It wasn’t always something you wanted or would do you any good. DE: What are your thoughts on digital equipment? CM: I have always said: “It’s an invention that necessity was not the mother of.” Digital has cost me an absolute fortune. Recently it’s all started to keel over. The equipment is over five years old. We had a

server that went down in Bowness and a week later in Elland. It is going to cost me well into four figures just to get them repaired. I’d never spent that kind of money on 35mm in 27 years. It is going to be an ongoing cost. It is a bonanza for the equipment manufacturers, the installers and repairers. They’ve never had it so good. DE: What equipment is in your cinemas? CM: I have 2K projectors; six Christies and three NEC 800s. DE: Do you show any live content? CM: Yes, we have started to do that. I have four cinemas fitted with dishes. DE: And finally how long have you been running cinemas and do you intend to carry on past retirement age? CM: I have been running them for nearly twenty-eight years. As far as I’m concerned I will continue until I drop. SEPTEMBER 2016 | CINEMA TECHNOLOGY



The rise and fall and rise again of 2.35:1

the impact of TV & digital cinema Grant Lobban continues his exploration of the 2.35:1 format and its role in the digital era


n the widescreen arms race of the 1950s and 60s, for many in the industry the less wide 2.35:1 version was more pleasing and easier to manage for both production and exhibition than other grand scale formats. The 2.35:1 format is sometimes quoted as 2.39:1 following a suggested reduced height projection aperture to hide possible ‘flashing’ negative joins. Helped by the option of optical sound prints, CinemaScope established a foothold in these years and soon no projection room around the world would be complete without its anamorphic attachments. Some of their manufacturers

could also provide camera lenses, leading to a long list of rival, but compatible systems appearing on the credits. These, like CinemaScope itself, would soon be referred to simply as ‘Scope.

CinemaScope by another name In Hollywood, M.G.M, going its own way, worked with another maker of projection attachments, Panavision Inc., to develop photographic lenses for the studio. Using a different ‘mumps-free’ focusing method, they soon replaced those from Bausch & Lomb for M.G.M.’s ‘Scope films, which, for contractual reasons, would still be ‘in CinemaScope’ up to the 1960s. Although Fox’s own later lenses were much better,

producing dreaded ‘pan and scan’ conversions. Despised by film-makers, and those more aware of the wider picture, the average viewer preferred them to a letterbox across their small screen at home. Even the Bond series dropped anamorphic Panavision (the first Roger Moore ones) but, like others, their ‘big picture’ look was soon missed. Bond returned… in 2.35:1.

Enter 16:9, the new shape of TV The prospect of wider TV screens began in the 1970s, along with proposed higher or extended definition TV systems. ‘HD’ would be a long time off due to wrangles over international standards, as TV was beginning its own switch to digital, a

“THE MONEY MEN DECIDED THAT WIDESCREEEN, PARTICULARLY ‘SCOPE, HAD NO RESIDUAL VALUE FOR 4:3 TELEVISION” when Panavision became generally available, they too switched, saying farewell to their rousing CinemaScope opening. ‘Filmed in Panavision’ became the popular process for producers going anamorphic, with directors and cinematographers using its 2.35:1 format, not only for the glossy spectaculars, but also more modest stories.

Television takes its toll

Panavision lenses could cure the anamorphic ‘mumps’ that afflicted CinemaScope close-ups


The number of ‘Scope films took a severe dip in the early·1970s when sales to television became an important factor — for many the difference between profit and loss. The money men decided widescreen, particularly ‘Scope, had no residual value for 4:3 TV, and there was the added cost of

process which eventually made ‘HD’ practical. At first, broadcasters used the extra capacity digital offered for more channels rather than fewer higherdefinition widescreen ones. As the final proportions of the screen were largely independent of rival HD systems, by the mid-1980s, 16:9 was the favoured shape. With the slow progress of HD, broadcasters and manufacturers asked ‘why not cash in and adopt it for standard definition digital TV and DVDs?’ The easy way was to copy CinemaScope and squeeze the wider picture information into the normal 4:3 frame. The necessary x1.33 compression could be electronically restored by a set-top box or the DVD player, with their displays including a letterbox for




he fir t made the letter o o tion more acce ta le to ie er above n earlier an and can rint for top, left) the ame re ult could e achie ed during a telecine tran fer con er ion of an original uee ed rint till occa ionally ho n if thi i the only readily a aila le co y centre cut out for today de ice middle can ometime roduce an un ati factory image etter re ult bottom u ing a an and can techni ue

older TV sets, or left squeezed to be stretched out across the screen of a 16:9 TV. Unfortunately, many viewers seemed to be quite happy to let the set do the same to older 4:3 films, leading to a further outbreak of ‘anamorphic mumps’. When HD TV and the companion Blu-rays finally arrived, they came with an already fixed ‘native’ picture shape, without a squeeze. The 4:3 images sat in the centre with two common options for those in 2.35:1, either complete, with a now less severe letterbox, or enlarged to fill the full height, with the loss of image mitigated by a small degree of pan and scan.

camera by three perforations instead of four. Fortunately, today, like conventional four perf, after leaving the camera and being processed it can easily be scanned, ready for the digital route to the screen. Some showing this at 2.35:1 in cinemas use the negative’s extra height to provide a 16:9 version for TV and DVD/Blu-ray, usually by adding more image at the picture’s bottom, keeping the same top line. Some home cinema enthusiasts who complained had to be reassured that nothing was missing from the sides. The same universal format scanners have been used for the digital restoration of films from the golden age of widescreen. During the 1950s and 60s, there were many individual ‘Scopes, ‘Ramas and ‘Visions, shot with or without anamorphic lenses onto various shapes and sizes of original camera negatives. The general rule was ‘the bigger the better’ for the best quality prints.

‘Scope without an anamorphic lens Beginning in the 1980s, there was a trend to produce this same picture shape without using the larger, heavier anamorphic lenses on the camera. The same squeezed prints could also be made by extracting a corresponding 2.35:1 slice from the middle of a conventionally shot full-frame non-anamorphic negative. To make the most of it, ‘Super 35’ extended the image into the area normally reserved for the soundtrack. It wasn’t a new idea. In 1954, it formed the basis of RKO’s SuperScope, RKO being one of the studios which had shunned CinemaScope. The idea would also prove useful for incorporating old 4:3 footage into CinemaScope films. Unlike anamorphic shooting, Super 35 still wastes much of the available negative area, so some productions, still being shot on film, made savings by only advancing the film in the

u er area for co e rint re iou ly al o u er co e ega co e arner co e and u er echni co e he full height i often e o ed to allo for other format or a erf ull do n can e u ed to reduce a ted film area

The pan & scan conversions of ‘Scope films only dis lay a ortion o the icture, ut constantly mo e it across the ima e to try to ee the most si nificant action in ie These ere the mainstay or T and are still occasionally sho n today i they are the only readily a aila le co y lthou h mm and mm s uee ed rints ecame a aila le, they ere a use ul alternati e or film li raries and uyers o ac a ed home mo ies or sho in ithout an anamor hic lens The ori inal film ased home cinema enthusiasts lead the ay to e cinema, ith the no amiliar and S R ima e ormin chi s first ein used in usiness and domestic ideo ro ectors e ore in adin cinemas The first home ideos and s also a oured an scan or Sco e films, ut e orts ere made to encoura e ie ers to see and a reciate the com lete icture ith s ecial idescreen editions These loo etter on a ne idescreen T

Giving them names to remember Still with us is the original Todd-AO 70mm format, which, like its Super Panavision equivalent, used normal lenses to expose its larger images on a wider 65mm negative with a higher 5 perforation frame. The 70mm prints, making room for magnetic sound stripes, would be the first Premium Large Format to fill the biggest screens. These became wider when MGM Camera 65, later known as Ultra Panavision, added a x1.25 anamorphic lens to both the camera and the projector to increase the 2.2:1 aspect ratio to 2.76:1. Cinemas without 70mm projectors didn’t miss out, benefiting from superior 35mm ‘Scope reduction prints. Technicolor’s contribution, Technirama, doubled the size of the negative by running conventional 35mm film sideways through the camera with an eight-perf pull-across movement (like a 35mm still camera). Half of the final x2 squeeze was achieved by the camera lens (x1.5) and the rest during printing. As well as providing superb (HD) 35mm ‘Scope reduction prints, its large-area negative images could be unsqueezed across a 70mm Super Technorama Todd-AO type print. For a couple of its CinemaScope features, Fox too tried shooting their squeezed images onto a special eight-perf 55mm film with a frame four times the normal size. Again, intended to produce better looking 35mm prints, CinemaScope 55 didn’t last long, abandoned for Todd-AO. SEPTEMBER 2016 | CINEMA TECHNOLOGY



amera uee ed rint anamor hic ro ector len attachment mm co e reduction rint

e eral manufacturer including hili ha e toyed ith the idea of a a ect ratio tele i ion

Something smaller for tighter budgets With improving finer grain film stocks in the 1960s, Technicolor came up with Techniscope, which only advanced the film in the camera by two perforations instead of the usual four. Shot with normal lenses, the resulting half-height, now 2.35:1 images were stretched vertically during printing to produce the compatible four-perf squeezed projection print. Although a little grainier, it proved popular for a time, bringing both ‘Scope and Technicolor to lower budget films, which would also benefit the most from

more ucce

mm rint ith o tical ound and a ful odd ith magnetic tri e

halving the cost of the negative stock. There would be many other widescreen processes hitting the screen, but fortunately for the producers and exhibitors, such was the laboratories’ skill at optical printing, almost all could be converted to produce a standard 35mm print for general release. Even the most exotic road-show formats —like the one which started it all, three-strip Cinerama — could still make money at the cinema and then on TV and video.

en a three tri inerama film could e reduced to a ingle mm or mm rint in thi e am le from How the West Was Won

not just those originated on film, some of their makers still prefer to use anamorphic lenses on the camera. Apart from making better use of the available frame area, for those with an eye for it, they also have their own special, if subtle, anamorphic look, extending the horizontal view without resorting to a shorter focal length lens with its less natural deeper perspective. However produced, 2.35:1 has survived the transition to digital and is even more popular today, for film-makers and

“THE NAMES OF THESE OLD WIDESCREEN PROCESSES LIVE ON, GRACING THE CREDITS OF PAST FILMS STILL SHOWN TODAY” Their memory lingers on The names of these old processes live on, gracing the credits of past films still shown today. Future students of cinema may spot them and wonder what they were all about. Sadly, apart from perhaps the digital reincarnation of IMAX, there don’t yet seem to be many digital equivalents to excite today’s audiences [They are coming! — Ed]. Despite HDR, HFR and 4K being available to tempt them, none are exclusive to the cinema, so it took the recent revival of a long-forgotten film process, Ultra Panavision 70, to again make news and capture the imagination of the public.

audiences alike, the true shape of the cinema, compared to the 16:9 on TVs and other devices. These sometimes share it, giving the cinematic look to many adverts and the occasional drama, now more acceptable on our larger widescreen TVs. Some television manufacturers have tempted cinema lovers with ‘Scope (21:9) models. They haven’t caught on — yet!

Early digital projection The future of anamorphic lenses is also uncertain. Although some of the first digital cinema projectors, with their

You can see the difference? The photographic decisions for the Bond films have continued to reflect current trends. Although still 2.35;1, from Casino Royale (2006), they switched to Super 35 until, after a brief flirtation with digital for Skyfall, the latest, Spectre, returned to film and anamorphic Panavision. For today’s 2.35:1 digital productions, he fir t digital cinema ro ector hich had uarer L chi inset, at top of image often u ed an anamor hic len for the e t icture he later ider format er ion inset at bottom of image made them unnece ary




The wide range of widescreen formats CinemaScope Panavision Superscope (2:1) Techniscope Technirama Todd-AO Super Panavision CinemaScope 55 The names and relative negative areas of the processes most often seen on the credit of film from the golden age of widescreen systems. All the resulting 35mm squeezed prints could be projected through the same x2 ‘CinemaScope’ anamorphic lens. With e er im ro ing film toc the larger area y tem ere the fir t to go

Technicolor’s big-budget Super Technirama 70 and their more modest Techniscope

earlier squarer 5:4 DLP chips, used a special (x1.9) anamorphic supplementary lens to produce their 2.35:1 pictures, later wider format (1.9:1) versions could accommodate them without. Striving for the genuine look of film, legacy anamorphic lenses are still used on current digital cameras, recording their still prized images onto their 35mm film frame size sensor. It has led to some of the leading manufacturers of cine lenses introducing new ranges of anamorphic lenses for film and digital, all helping to ensure that the 2.35:1 format will continue broadening cinemagoers’ horizons. On a closing personal note, I once spent a memorable day with fellow anamorphic enthusiast David Samuelson. On his mantlepiece was an original Chretien Hypergonar which he was kind enough to let me play with and photograph. In the next issue, Grant looks to a time when many actors lost their heads at the start of the cinema’s widescreen revolution.

digital co e rri le a camera fitted ith a Zeiss anamorphic lens (right, bottom); others include a ne range of riti h oo e len e igital camera li e the rri are often de cri ed a ha ing a u er film i e en or Original Chretien Hypergonar lenses (below) that belonged to the late David Samuelson

“SEE THE FILM AS THE DIRECTOR INTENDED” This popular tag-line promoting wider pictures in the home reminds me of an amusing as ect ratio story rom my days as a ro ectionist n re aration or a film re ie ro ramme inter ie , e ran the Sco e eature Flash Gordon to its director and the sho s resenter earts san hen arts o the o enin titles, ased on the ori inal cartoon stri , a eared stretched and shouldn t ha e een ro ected throu h an anamor hic lens ortunately, once assed, the rest o the film as o ay urin a li ht hearted a ter sho chat ith its director, i e od es, he admitted that due to some screen sha e con usion, the titles had indeed een inad ertently shot ithout the re uired anamor hic lens o one noticed until much or had een done ast cuttin them to ueen s roc score art rom ee in the lanet round, it as decided not to do it all a ain any remainin distortion ecame art o the ne desi n Some later an scan ersions le t the titles s uee ed, so ie ers sa lash in his correct ro ortions




Tuschinski: The Perfect Antidote to IBC Amsterdam

While in town for IBC, Mark Trompeteler stepped back in time at the Tushinski Theatre


nly a short tram ride from outside the busy halls of the IBC show, you can take a trip to the Tuschinski Theatre, 26–34 Reguliersbreestraat, a stop or so on the tram past Rembrandtplein. The Tuschinski Theatre is a step back in time for cinema lovers and those interested in film and showbusiness. Built in 1921 at a cost of 4 million guilders by a Polish tailor who felt the workers of Amsterdam deserved somewhere special to relax and enjoy entertainment on their free days, it remains a working six screen cinema still to this day, operated by the Pathé group.

Built in the “jugendstil” style This amazing cinema building contains elements of Jugendstil — a building style that slightly predates Art Deco and the “Amsterdamse Shool”. It is a fabulously preserved 1920s cinema, that escaped damage during WWII and retains many of its original amazing features, murals, and decorations. Beautiful auditoria feature balconies that were designed to balance, thus removing the need for supporting pillars, ensuring no seats have an obstructed view of the screen. The cinema still retains its 1923 working Wurlitzer 160 CINEMA TECHNOLOGY | SEPTEMBER 2016

organ, originally used to accompany silent films, with a Wurlitzer-Strunk theatre organ added in 1940. During the war years the cinema was called the Tivoli, a name presumably more acceptable to the German occupiers than the name of a Polish tailor. Between 1998 and 2002, the cinema underwent a major renovation. It was also expanded, with a new, more modern wing that connects to the original building via a corridor. The new wing added three extra auditoria to the Tuschinski. The main auditorium today, which includes a stage behind the screen, seats 735 as opposed to 1,600 in its original, narrower seat, heyday. There are a further 696 seats across the other five screens. As well as being a premiere national screen in Holland, it hosts many premieres of Dutch films and has been the venue for many live shows.

MORE INFO The Tuschinki Theatre is open daily with two 45 minute tours between 09:30 and 11:00, costing €10. To make a booking, email or visit

A sympathetic restoration of the Tuschinski Theatre between 1998 and 2002 honours the architectural style of the building perfectly

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Projected Picture Trust G Mill, Dean Clough Mills, Halifax HX3 5AX, UK Tel 07936 735613 Email

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To all those who have, or had, some interest in projected moving images, past and present. Perhaps you are already connected with today’s cinema, technical or otherwise, but have an interest in vintage equipment, or you have been retired from the business so long, you would wish to revisit “the good old days”. Take heart and consider joining The Projected Picture Trust and help preserve the magic of cinema.Apart from equipment restoration, the Trust provides help and assistance to non-commercial community cinemas and museums exhibiting film related artefacts. The National Museum of Cinema Technology has perhaps, the largest collection of all types of film equipment in the U.K. The Data Archive within the museum holds over 3,000 items including technical manuals, film related documents, press cuttings etc. Membership of the P.P.T. will give you access to these amenities as well as the collections within the Trust’s regions. JOIN US TODAY by contacting us on the following email or by post direct to the address above. Email: Web: JUNE 2016 | CINEMA TECHNOLOGY






The print world was slow to appreciate its own virtues. Cinema shouldn’t do the same

Alastair Balmain communications Director, MPS

The End? I READ ON THE INTERNET recently that print’s dead. Magazines and papers failed to adapt to the new digital world — the lean-back entertainment experience of a periodical such as this is an anachronistic relic of pre-tablet times. As fascinating as the blog was, I hurried back to writing this article as the printers were getting anxious. What has this to do with cinema? Well, 18 months ago, I made a transition into the film world after just under 20 years in publishing — and occasionally I see exactly the same complacency and fatalism that the digital revolution struck in the heart of publishing in some parts of the film world. Ever since the youthful, cocksure digital era blasted onto the scene, the publishing industry has been held up as the dinosaur that failed to adapt. We all agree it’s a shame, but magazines and newspapers simply can’t cope in the modern world and should be taken to the vet’s. Many contend that cinema is in the same pickle. When I can click on Netflix (or Sean Parker’s Screening Room) and satisfy my desire to watch a film whenever and wherever I like, for little or no money, what’s the point in a retro 20th century big screen experience?

The fightback begins, a little late

Look at the latest ABC figures (the audited circulation figures for UK publications), however, and you can spot a fightback in the sea of declining print sales. Only 13% of audited print titles recorded a circulation increase last year, but within that number is a raft of paid-for publications that notably buck the trend, embracing the format they embody as well as the digital environment they compete in. Cosmopolitan was up a whopping 57% last year. The Spectator? Up 31%, New Statesman? Up 14%. The Economist and Private Eye? Both up 5%. Those impressive figures confound the accepted wisdom. It’s no coincidence that each of them has strong brand heritage and an authority on which they can draw in print and online. But there are also growing titles that largely disregard the online noise — titles such as Octane, Gardens Illustrated, Escapism, even the BFI’s own magazine Sight & Sound. You can download all these to your iPad, but “digital” isn’t their raison d’être. These titles are about turning the page, curating authoritative content and, significantly, making a virtue of — and charging for — the magazine experience.



The cinema business should learn from this. There’s no shortage of bemused publishers who launched the lifeboats right after they launched a hastily constructed app or website. In reality, they should have been stoking the boilers and focusing their energy on core content, audiences — and the medium itself. So it is with cinema.

Hungy for popcorn and films?

We all know that last year’s slate of releases led to record box office figures worldwide. It’s perfectly apparent that the public’s desire to attend the cinema still exists. Far from being a threat to the old order, the highly diverse availability of digital filmed entertainment content on screens of all sizes enhances the appetite for cinema attendance. Enthusiasm for story-telling whether in the auditorium, in the home or at the bus stop, is seemingly insatiable.UK cinema admissions have wavered between 155 million and 175 million per annum for the past 15 years — they haven’t fallen off the same cliff as many magazines.

The medium is still the message

Back in 2014, Quentin Tarantino declared “Cinema is dead.” Well, yes, 35mm film is no longer widely used in cinemas, but hot lead is a pretty rare sight in the print world. Technology advances, hence this magazine exists, yet the collective experience of cinema attendance is still very much alive. To continue to flourish, the cinema industry needs to consider that Marshall McLuhan’s declaration that “the medium is the message” is more valid in today’s multichannel world than it was when he coined the phrase back in the 1960s. Cinema as a medium needs to work to retain its allure. We don’t just read a magazine because we want to keep up with a specialist interest, we don’t simply go to the cinema solely because we want to watch a film. We choose to visit a cinema, choose to read a magazine, because the medium itself entertains us in an entirely unique way. If we fail to respect the medium, and fail to give audiences the very particular collective social experience that they seek, then digital evangelists will have every justification for saying in a few years’ time (and with a certain smug satisfaction) that “The internet killed print — just as Netflix killed cinema.”

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