Cinema Technology Magazine - March 2019

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R E T N E T N O fr N OD BEWARE O T a m OF THESCENE EN ine c n E T r e M I d R oE C R m R e E th C g RI n pi a ME sh s i t ten S is D h c O n a

on c er t s bu k c blo

Who's trying ow to steal your data and how to stop them succeeding


Netflix & cinema A defining year

Could the streaming David Hancock on giant and exhibitors the dynamic changes be the best of friends? cinema will see in 2019

Studio IMAX: moves big thinking CT CT'sinterviews exclusive Andrew interview Cripps, 20th CenturyCTO Fox's with Brian Bonnick, advocate change at the PLFfor specialists

Planning The kingsfor of victory pop today's cinema How Joe & Seph's are developers arescience helping mixing a little to save street into thethe art high of popcorn

Produced in partnership with:

Thinking of a laser installation? Let Omnex put you in the picture.

mne +44 (0)161 477 7633

Design Cinema Differently. For supply, installation and maintenance of professional cinema technologies

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08 17

The latest from around the world of cinema exhibition Cinema Tech Community’s regular quarterly update


19 25 29 35 40 45

The new Odeon Luxe: a nod to heritage and modernity David Hancock on the year ahead for the cinema sector China: is the forecast still as sunny for exhibitors? Why venues are changing thanks to smaller projectors Cinema security: don’t let your data go walkabout… Peter Knight takes a look at Christie’s latest line-up

PRODUCTION EDITOR: ALASTAIR BALMAIN Motion Picture Solutions Ltd, Mission Hall, 9-11 North End Road, London W14 8ST T: +44 (0)20 3026 1368 E: ART DIRECTOR: DEAN CHILLMAID E:

54 60 66 70 72 76 78 82 84

IMAX’s CTO Brian Bonnick thinks big on projection The modern-day travelling cinema show is in town How Holovis brings theme park flair into the cinema

19 25

Are cinemas losing the 4K resolution revolution? Meet Joe & Seph’s, artisans with popcorn and flavour Mark Lyndon finds a 70mm rhapsody in Bohemia The blurred lines between boutique and hotel cinema You need insight, not just data, says Danny Jeremiah The ECA’s slate day: diverse content shows vitality

COMMISSIONING EDITOR: PETER KNIGHT E: ADVERTISING: BOB CAVANAGH Caixa Postal 2011, Vale da Telha, 8670-156 Aljezur, Portugal T: +351 282 997 050



Istanbul was the location for a new conference into

Emerging Cinema Markets. CT reports


The CTC awards celebrate some of the unsung heroes

in the business. And the winner is…

M: +351 962 415 172 E: SUBSCRIPTIONS Cinema Technology is mailed to IMIS Members. For subscription details and to read the magazine online, visit or e-mail

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They can imagine. They can feel. Together, let's make them see too. As we at Galalite celebrate 60 years of innovative cinema screen technologies, We pledge to share our proďŹ ts to aid the visually impaired and spread awareness about preventive blindness. Join our initiative for those who Imagine, See Visit to know more

In association with

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Modern cinema: immersive, frictionless… or both? We want our audiences to be taken out of this world when they watch the films in our theatres, but as Alastair Balmain argues, the cinema experience isn’t down to projection alone. T g gm m a gaagzai nz ei nf eo r f o c irn e 4 > 01 23 //1 189 T hh ee l leeaaddi ni n cm i nae m a i n d u s ti n r yd upsrt or y fep s sr ioof e n sasliso n>a lVs O> LV .O3L2. 3 N1 ON. O 1 .>

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E CRIM TER N E OT BEWARE NOD TO N a OF THESCENE EN em ToEdern cin IME R C R m ER the CR IM ht is shaping c ES n e e t on CE c t er t s NE u ofblockb se hi


c an fr


Who's trying ow to steal your data and how to stop them succeeding


Netflix & cinema A defining year

Could the streaming David Hancock on giant and exhibitors the dynamic changes be the best of friends? cinema will see in 2019


Studio IMAX: moves big thinking CT CT'sinterviews exclusive Andrew interview Cripps, 20th CenturyCTO Fox's with Brian Bonnick, advocate change at the PLFfor specialists

Produced in partnership with:

today's cinema How Joe & Seph's are developers arescience helping mixing a little to save street into thethe art high of popcorn

001_DEC18_COVER.indd 001_MAR19_COVER.indd 11

nyone involved in marketing in the

There’s another word that’s creeping into the cinema

the word “immersive” by now. It seems

marketeer’s lexicon: frictionless. It describes efforts to make

to be the only show in town when it

the overall cinemagoing smoother. Faster F&B service, imperceptible dynamic ad scheduling, better signage in

is nothing if it’s not immersive… While it is heavily used in our

the foyer and seamless algorithms that prompt genuinely

world, we all know what we’re driving at: an experience that

relevant future content to potential customers online, all

is captivating, enveloping, enthralling, engaging, and spell-

these lead the cinemagoer down a path of ease that

binding. Roget’s Thesaurus is a pretty handy reference tool,

ultimately winds up in the immersive auditorium. To quote

but I’m not sure that “immersive” is enough on its own.

Aleksandr Orlov, technology makes things simples.

When we talk about immersion, we’re only describing

On page 66 we look into the launch of a new company

one part of the cinema experience. And there’s that word

— Extended Cinema — whose aim is to transfer knowledge

again… “experience”. The cinema experience doesn’t have to

gained in the theme park world and transfer it to the movie

be improved solely by making it more immersive, though I

theatre. What’s most fascinating about the concept is the

acknowledge it is fundamental to draw the audience into

way in which they and others like them look at the whole

the story on screen.

consumer pipeline from initial audience interest through to

You don’t want to be distracted by the exit lights or poor quality projection. Sharp pictures, greater contrast and

20/11/2018 17:32 10:03 19/02/2019

entertainment experience an enjoyable and repeatable one.

cinema world is probably a little tired of

comes to things cinematic. Technology



delivery of the experience (in our case the movie), and the subsequent follow-up. Nothing is outside of their scope.

amazing audio all play an enormous part in making the

Whether it’s the poshest popcorn around (see page 72),

cinema experience better, but outside of the auditorium,

luxury hotels moving into the exhibitor sector (see pages 35

there are other technical elements at play, ranging from the

and 76) or the drama of a movie truck’s whistles and bangs

ease and speed of ticketing through to the environmental

as it transforms into a full cinema, the whole experience is

quality of the cinema. All these play their part in making the

about much more than the content that’s up on screen.

Writing in this issue of CT

Planning The kingsfor of victory pop


1 Martin Dew

2 David Hancock

3 Patrick von Sychowski

Formerly at Lucasfilm THX, on p.54, Martin interviews in-depth Brian Bonnick, CTO at PLF maestros, IMAX

Research director at IHS Markit, on p.25 David gives his view on the dynamic changes we face in 2019

Editor of Celluloid Junkie, on p.40, Patrick examines this issue’s cover feature: data security in cinemas

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e ve n t s


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g l o b a l t h e o f

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Flexound reveals first commercial install for Augmented Audio THE FIRST COMMERCIAL MOVIE theatre booster by

”Our technology is universal and can be used for a wide

Flexound Augmented Audio began delivering the feel of

range of seats. Low maintenance and a long life-span are a

sound to moviegoers in Finland last month. This world

given. We cover the whole audio range and the vibration

pioneer augmented audio cinema is located in Flexound’s

with only one Flexound module per seat”, says Flexound’s

home country of Finland, in Mäntyharju. The company’s

chief of cinema Mika Oesch. The company will be showing

patented technology combines high-quality surround

its products in Las Vegas at Cinemacon.

sound with physical vibration, and offers equal sound quality in every seat, irrespective of the seat’s location in the auditorium. The system is also designed to improve the clarity of dialogue and enables lower sound volumes in the

CJ 4DPLEX recently announced it has deployed

theatre. Augmented audio requires no wearable accessories.

its technology into its 600th 4DX cinema — the

”We give cinema operators a high value competitive

Kinepolis Diversia in Madrid, Spain, a 12-screen

advantage over in-home-entertainment. No remix or

multiplex, at Heron Leisure Centre Diversia. This is

recode work is needed. We are now working on several new

Kinepolis’s sixth 4DX theatre, with feedback in

cinema projects internationally, mainly in the Asian

Antwerp, Brussels, Madrid, Lomme and Valencia

countries, but are very happy that the first Flexound cinema

being highly positive. “Cinema is about experiencing

is in Finland.”, says Flexound’s CEO Mervi Heinaro.

emotions together and 4DX fits in perfectly with

FLEXOUND Augmented Audio™ has ready-to-exploit


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technology and business model. Results from extensive

experience-driven premium products,” said Eddy

testing at the pilot cinema prove that

Duquenne, CEO of Kinepolis. “Customer satisfaction

augmented audio increases audience

in our current 4DX locations is high.”

Flexound’s first install goes live


4DX hits its 600th location

immersion into the movie.


Tivoli’s boutique cinema format opens in the UK LONDON-BASED consultancy Run

“We’d work by Run For The Hills in

For The Hills — —

bar and restaurant design and wanted

recently unveiled the result of its

a specialist hospitality design partner

design work for Tivoli, a new breed of

to help us make Tivoli a destination in

boutique cinema opened this year in

its own right that also happens to be a

Bath, south-west UK. The studio has

boutique cinema,” explains Justin

created not only the brand’s visual

Ribbons, CEO of Tivoli Cinema. “We

identity but also the interiors of this

got to work with one design shop to

first debut location which showcases

create a seamless, new brand identity

stylish screening rooms as well as

and in-venue look”

high-end social and dining spaces.

Sony launches branded premium large-format theater system


Las Vegas

PITCHED AS A COMPETITOR TO IMAX, Dolby Cinema and theatre-branded PLF auditoriums, the first Sony Digital Cinema theatre is set to open at Galaxy Theatres in Las Vegas this spring. Sony laser projection with support for 4K and high dynamic range images, Dolby Atmos sound, and reclining seats are all part of the new Sony Digital Cinema offering, which together represent a substantial investment to equip an auditorium with





systems The first Sony Digital Cinema location, which is due to open its doors to audience members this spring is Galaxy Theatres’ Las Vegas Boulevard Mall venue. With a 70ft screen, Sony will be showcasing this venue to exhibitor partners during CinemaCon, from 1-4 April. The primary focus for the initial rollout is reportedly in the US, though the company plans to demonstrate

its way into the Sony Digital Cinema PLF line-up. Though

the setup extensively to international exhibitors. Speaking recently to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony head of cinema, Bob

the new PLF offering will be the company’s primary Cinema: a focus at CinemaCon, it is thought that Sony will later be new choice

Raposo explained that the company’s focus is on very large and

demonstrating a new 32ft LED cinema screen solution market

immersive screens. “Consumers recognize Sony as a premium

at the NAB show in Las Vegas the week after.

brand, and this will give consumers the confidence that this is a premium experience,” he is quoted as saying.

Sony Digital

in the PLF

In common with other PLF offerings that optimise content for playout on their screens — notably IMAX —

There has been much speculation surrounding Sony’s

Bob Raposo also confirmed that Sony is currently

positioning with regard to cinema LED screens. At launch, Sony

looking into options for specifically graded film versions

Digital Cinema will rollout with high-end laser projectors, but

to be shown in Sony Digital Cinema-branded theatres.

the firm has in development an LED solution which could find

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RB RosettaBridge™ RosettaBridge TMS acts as the intelligent, autonomous management system within the cinema; allowing you to build, schedule and control your playlists and content, while acting as the bridge to a multitude of external services such as content e-delivery, advertising, trailer exhibition, equipment health, TDL and KDM delivery. RosettaBridge is built in partnership with exhibitors and equipment vendors to create the perfect Theatre Management System.

RN RosettaNet™ RosettaNet eTMS centralises, simplifies and reduces your cinema operations by removing the need for task duplication across each site. Replacing your site based operation with a remote and singular estate level management function, for example, allows you to eliminate site based tasks like ShowPlayList creation. In RN build it once centrally for all your sites ensuring continuity of showing across your network and a single SPL build network wide. RosettaNet unlocks your efficiencies.



Hong Kong



EDCF launches its guide to laser The European Digital Cinema Forum (EDCF) has launched “The Buyers Guide to Laser Projection”, a free, impartial and accessible guide to the technology behind laser projection and the issues it can bring up in cinemas. Lamp-based projectors still account for the majority of machines in place in the market, but laser as an alternative light source is

GDC introduces its SR-1000 standalone IMB THE SR-1000 IS GDC’S newly introduced sixth-generation digital cinema media server that has been designed specifically to provide exhibitors with nearzero maintenance and ultra storage technology that enables playback of over 1,000 features when combined with the company’s Cinema Automation CA2.0. The SR-1000 can be seamlessly integrated with series 1, 2 and 3 projectors including models from Barco, Christie and NEC.

gaining ground and the Minimal total cost of ownership and support for cinema automation: GDC’s SR-1000

“GDC has been at the forefront of cinema technology development since the

economics are changing rapidly, making publication of the guide timely. The EDCF, in partnership with the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) drew up this Guide with the four main

advent of digital cinema,” explained a company spokesman, “By introducing first-

projector manufacturers

to-market solutions, GDC is recognized as a leader of integrated media block

(Barco, Christie, NEC and

(IMB) technology. The SR-1000’s innovative features enhance productivity and

Sony) and content is based

efficiency and offer minimal total cost of ownership.”

on questions provided by the

Email or visit

exhibitor members of UNIC. David Hancock (IHS Markit and EDCF president) and Matt

Vettri deploy India’s first Christie CP4325-RGB laser

Jahans (Harkness Screens and EDCF board member) are

CHRISTIE HAS announced that

its flagship auditorium. This is a

co-editors of the guide. They

Vettri Theatres has become the first

validation of Christie’s technological

explained “This guide is

cinema in India to be equipped with

leadership in the cinema market and

intended to help exhibitors

the manufacturer’s next-generation

the confidence that exhibitors have in

and others understand the

CP4325-RGB RealLaser projector in its

our direct-coupled RGB pure laser

basics of laser illuminated

flagship auditorium.

projector — it is DCI-compliant and

projection, and to bring the

Located in Chennai, Vettri Theatres

brings low cost of ownership and

industry up to a similar level of

is the most prominent cinema in the

unrivalled cinematic performance to

knowledge. It is structured in

city’s Chengalpet district with two

mainstream auditoriums.”

such a way that it answers

well-appointed auditoriums. The new

genuine questions and

CP4325-RGB has been installed in the

addresses some questions we

larger “Vettri” auditorium, which has a


capacity of 930 seats. Rajesh Patkar, deputy general

that Vettri Theatres has selected our CP4325-RGB RealLaser projector for

The guide is available at or directly by

manager of cinemas sales at Christie India, commented “We are delighted

don’t yet know the answer to.”

emailing A 930-seat capacity and laser projection: the Chennai Vettri

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NEC appoints Alain Chamaillard as sales lead


Cinionic partners CineEurope

Éclair makes key appointments

Cinionic has partnered with the Film Expo Group


to become official projection partner at CineEurope

services has appointed Marie-Laure

Alain Chamaillard, former

for the second year in a row. Projection equipment

Barrau to the newly created position

head of sales at Volfoni, has

in the CCIB auditorium will be supplied by Cinionic,

of sales director for its activities in

been appointed head of NEC

including the laser projectors for all studio product

France and Belgium. She is responsible

Display Solutions’ cinema

presentations and screenings.

for managing the sales teams across

vertical sales team as the

“We’re excited about the opportunity to partner

Eclair’s business divisions in both

company seeks to build on its

again with a technology giant like Cinionic. We are

countries. Meanwhile in Germany, the

strong industry pedigree.

confident this partnership will help development of

company has appointed Andreas

cinematic technologies to expand throughout the

Peltret as its country manager. He is

region,” said FilmExpo’s Andrew Sunshine.


Alain joins the team after eight years at 3D cinema technology experts Volfoni




“We are committed to bringing cutting-edge

content services including theatrical

where he was managing

technology and services that create exceptional

delivery, distribution, preservation and

director, EMEA. Before that,

experiences and look forward to supporting the

versioning and accessibility through

Alain also spent nine years at

film screenings during CineEurope,” commented

Berlin-based Éclair Studios.

Proyecson (now CinemaNext)

Wim Buyens, CEO of the new cinema joint venture.

as commercial director. Alain’s appointment comes at an exciting time for

Rod Archer joins AV specialist QSC

NEC’s cinema team. At CineEurope in June last year, the company showcased a range of technologies from

QSC HAS ANNOUNCED THE Rod Archer, heading up the cinema business unit at QSC

appointment of Rod Archer as product manager of its cinema business unit. In his new role, Rod

RB laser projectors for the

will be primarily responsible for

cinema itself through to

product strategy and execution

touch monitors, direct-view

for Q-SYS for Cinema, cinema

LED screens and large format

media server, control and the

displays for advertising and

accessibility product categories. “I’m thrilled to have Rod join

entertainment throughout

the cinema team,” said senior vice

the cinema venue.

president, Barry Ferrell, “Rod has

“Like NEC, I’m excited


about the future for cinema — in particular, how movie theatres are reinventing

Costa Mesa




product engineering

background and brings. He has a wealth of product development

themselves for the Netflix generation by putting digital

expertise, and has a demonstrated history of success — Rod will be instrumental

at the heart of the whole

in enhancing the cinema product category, as our technology offering becomes

experience,” commented

more complex.”

Alain, “NEC has an enviable

Speaking about his appointment, Rod explained “I am very excited to

product portfolio for creating

become a part of the QSC team. The have assembled an impressive team of

stunning impressions all the

talented people, and I am honoured to be able to help them continue their

way from the foyer to the

strong trajectory in the cinema equipment market.”

silver screen.”

Archer spent the past few years as an expert consultant for many leading companies in the cinema equipment and services sector and holds a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.

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take off for the smart projection era Let your imagination reach for the stars and start the countdown for lift-off. Discover how you can create memorable movie moments, empower your business performance to overcome gravity, and explore new horizons. Are you ready for the adventure? Be at the heart of the action at CinemaCon. Discover more on



Galalite celebrates 60 Years with #BeTheLite #BeTheLite

campaign #BeTheLite. As part of this

Harkness encourages cinemagoing to fight depression…

campaign, the company has pledged

Harkness Screens Group, the

to donate a share of its profit to aid the

leading screen technology



anniversary, the screen manufacturer Galalite has unveiled its marketing

company, has launched an

visually impaired and to help spread awareness about preventive blindness alongside the NGO Sightsavers.

initiative through its social

They can imagine. They can feel. Together, let's make them see too. As we at Galalite celebrate 60 years of innovative cinema screen technologies, We pledge to share our profits to aid the visually impaired and spread awareness about preventive blindness.

industry. We owe these 60 years of Join our initiative for those who Imagine, See Visit to know more

Having provided over 60 years of

innovation to our partners in growth,

unrivalled visual experiences, Galalite is

from our employees and clients, to our

now endeavouring to touch the lives

competitors, who make us want to be

of those who do not have the privilege

better.” Headquartered in Mumbai,

to see. Yusuf Galabhaiwala, director of

the heartland of the movie Industry in

To celebrate its 60 years in business, Galalite has pledged support to the NGO Sightsavers

In association with

media channels to encourage people in old age to increase trips to the cinema to guard against depression. The firm was prompted by a recent study published in the British

India, Galalite has emerged as one of

Journal of Psychiatry by Daisy

pride in the trust, respect, and position

the largest suppliers of screens to

Fancourt and Urszula

we’ve garnered in the cinema screen

exhibitors worldwide.

Tymoszuk, that highlighted

operations, said, “We at Galalite, take

how regular “cultural engagement” might help

Xenon has a new superhero: Ushio introduces Luminity USHIO, ONE OF THE biggest names

Ushio’s distinctive branding gets the message across for the Luminity series of lamps

lower the risk of developing depression in old age. The research concluded that people who visit museums, theatre and the cinema once a month or more are 48 per

in high-pressure xenon lamps has

cent less likely to develop

introduced the Luminity series, the

depression. Harkness Screens

result of a substantial R&D effort that

has invited its followers on

extends the lifespan of numerous

social media to post selfies

xenon lamps with additional working

whilst at the cinema with their

hours between 100-500 hours. In a

family and friends (over the

market under technological pressure,

age of 50), to stand a chance

Ushio wants to position Luminity (a

to win a £50 voucher for

contraction of lumen and infinity) as

leading UK cinemas.

“the superhero solution that helps

Speaking about the initiative,

theatre owners to optimise their

Hartkness Screen’s global

movie rendering quality and services”.

CEO, Mark Ashcroft said

The company has a long-standing

“Cinema has and is a part our

reputation in the market for its

culture and our society. There

innovation. To build on this, Ushio investigated the needs of its customer base.

is greater awareness of mental

Recognising that its existing xenon lamps had become a market favourite thanks

health issues and the role of

to their long-standing reliability in terms of withstanding high pressure in cinema

technology; this research

projectors, Ushio invested in developing an extended lamp lifetime.

points to the cinema

Koji Naito, managing executive officer of Ushio Inc, commented that “People

experience as a lever to assist

go to the movies to escape reality. Perfect rendition of the director’s vision is

people in staying physically

elementary and Luminity is the superhero that takes outstanding quality to the

and emotionally connected.”

next level. It’s testament to our commitment to match quality and profitability.”

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1 5

SOUND as good as it looks CUSTOM DESIGN acousticAL solutions FOR CINEMA Refurbishment and new install Highest sound efficiency

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Meets all fire safety requirements Camstage Ltd., Unit 8, Batford Mill Industrial Estate, Lower Luton Road, Harpenden, Herts AL5 5BZ, UK t: +44 (0) 1727 830151

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N E W S R E E L :



Technology’s place in movie-going experiences



partnership with the UKCA to deliver a range of sessions



covering various technology topics at the UKCA conference

associated with the auditorium, writes

in London. Being held at Vue Westfield, White City, on

CTC (Cinema Technology Community)

5-6 March, the subjects under discussion will range from

president Richard Mitchell, but today,

e-ticketing, digital signage and lobby

TRADITIONALLY, “technology”


technology plays a part in the entire

design right through to the premium

movie-going experience from the

Join our cause

moment the movie-goer makes a

The membership and

conscious decision to head to the

sponsorship scheme launched

are helping exhibitors to create true

cinema right through to the point at

at CineEurope enables CTC

differentiation and to generate their

which they leave the building after

to fund some of the exciting

additional box office revenue. Whilst

seeing a movie.

initiatives, research projects,

premium may, to some, mean better

training courses and events the

quality concessions, in-theatre dining,

enabler, can help cinema operators

organisation has planned over

reclining seats or even beds, it is

to drive big operational efficiencies,

the coming years. As a

important to remember that it is the

add incremental revenue and indeed

not-for-profit organisation,

auditorium technology that creates an

improve their overall profitability all

all of the money raised goes

enormous buzz amongst the movie-

whilst enhancing the movie-going

directly back into supporting

goers. This was highlighted in a recent

experience for the consumer.

the global cinema community

research paper published by National

and therefore creating a better

CineMedia, a US cinema advertising

experience for movie-goers

company. In a similar vein, this month

Technology, far from being just an

This March, CTC will be working in

CTC EXECUTIVE TEAM Richard Mitchell (President), Graham Lodge (Vice President), Denis Kelly (Secretary), Mike Bradbury, Sandie Caffelle, Michael Denner, Danny Jeremiah, Peter Knight, Sarah Lewthwaite, Adam MacDonald, James MacFarlane, Andre Mort, Mark Nice, David Norris, Ngozi Okali, Kevin Phelan, David Pope, Toni Purvis, Steve Rance, Jim Slater, Simon Tandy, Patrick von Sychowski, Paul Willmott.

CTC ADVISORY COUNCIL Tom Bert (Barco), Mark Christiansen (Paramount Pictures), Laurence Claydon (Consultant), Brian Claypool (Christie Digital), Theresa English (TK Architects), Nicolas Hamon (Kinepolis), Roland Jones (Vue International), Dominic Simmons (BFI), Russell Smith (Motion Picture Solutions), Debbie Stanford Kristiansen (Novo Cinemas), Alexey Vinokurov (RealD)

auditorium experiences. It is premium experiences that

around the

CTC will be publishing its new 40-page

world. Please

guide to premium cinema formats

join us today

providing an insight in to the various

by visiting

auditorium formats deployed around


the world.


Find out more about the UKCA’s


annual conference at uk/u kca-conference-2019 0 3 / 1 9


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A return to the golden age Peter Knight steps through the doors of the newly reopened Odeon Luxe Leicester Square and discovers a breath-taking refurbishment that marries technology and heritage.

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The imposing Screen 1, 13.35m wide and ready to screen the major blockbusters of the future

HE GOLDEN AGE OF CINEMA is back” — it’s a bold marketing claim for the reborn Odeon Leicester Square cinema. The site reopened to much fanfare in December 2018 after an 11 month multi-million pound refit, with the promise that the audience will receive the ultimate cinema experience. Whether you remember this flagship site of old or are yet to visit, you can certainly see where the money has been spent — it has been a root and branch transformation.

A door into a new world The first thing any visitor will notice now is that the cinema commissionaire has made a welcome return – yes, a real person on the door, dressed in hat and coat, to welcome every audience member to answer any questions, and to wish them good night as they leave. Such details matter. Speaking of details, many will remember Odeon clocks of old and their specific design. While it may not be a real one, in a nod to the past, there is now a projected version on the wall of the Art Deco-styled foyer. A nice touch and — in a further nod to the past — the doors to the auditoria have engraved into them titles of some of the 700 or so premieres of landmark films of the past that have taken place here over the years. Cinephiles welcome here, clearly.

In come the luxe recliners Step inside the première auditorium and one of the most obvious changes is that the seat count has shrunk from 1,200 to 800 to allow for luxe recliners that have been installed throughout. More than 350 of these are powered recliners that offer impressive legroom and tray tables. It’s a familiar strategy being adopted worldwide. Here it is well-executed — these are highly comfortable, in fact far too comfortable if the film you’re watching is a little slow. There are four more screens, with luxury seating for a further 153 cinemagoers in more intimate surroundings.

Art Deco references serve as a reminder of the site’s heritage

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A new face onto Leicester Square, a great view out for cinemagoers

Keeping with the Art Deco vibe, the cinema’s famous Compton organ that used to provide a musical backdrop in the era of silent movies still features on special occasions, such as at royal premieres when the national anthem is played. The organ has been on site since 1937, when Oscar Deutsch, Odeon’s founder, insisted the cinema had the largest, most impressive instrument in the UK. Nicknamed “The Duchess”, five keyboards control its 1,400 pipes, and it sits on a rising platform in the centre of the orchestra pit. You wouldn’t throw that kind of heritage out to make way for new technology, no matter how spectacular. Similar details have been retained in the form of the original safety curtain design complete with the famous “Flying Ladies figures”, restored to their former glory by its sides. The interior makeover transforms the cinema into a stunning entertainment venue. A bespoke lift and escalators improve access and enhance the contemporary design. The building’s famous heritage features have been restored and retained and a breath-taking mirror wall created for the digital age. As befits a proper West End venue, the opulent new Oscar’s Bar serves guests champagne and cocktails with views across the razzamatazz of Leicester Square, thanks to a bespoke new glass-enclosed balcony.

Uncompromising technology Often with refurbishments, technology in the background plays second fiddle and remains more or less the same. In the case of the Odeon Leicester Square, all-new projection equipment is as much a part of the experience as everything else. The OLS is the first public cinema in the UK to have a Dolby Cinema installed. This technology has featured in Cinema Technology previously, but it is the first time the public has been able to experience it in the heart of the West End. The Leicester Square site is the first of seven new

A West End icon

Dolby Cinemas Odeon will be opening in the UK. From a technological perspective, what you can’t see is as impressive as what you can. You can’t help but notice that low light reflectivity was the designers’ priority. Dark

Odeon Luxe, Leicester Square

tones are everywhere from the carpets to the ceiling, all of which ensure nothing interferes with images on screen. This isolation is extended to the wall behind Screen 1 separating the hotel next door from the auditorium.

Built on the site

Nothing’s getting through that to disturb the viewing, just

of the old

as you wouldn’t notice 10 miles of cable run in the ceiling


above to supply an array of 400 speakers that deliver ATMOS

theatre, Odeon

sound to every viewer. No fewer than 100 of these are

Leicester Square

behind the screen which is light by Christie dual laser projectors delivering the promise of a

first opened on 2 Novvember 1937.

Out with the old: luxury recliners for all customers

1,000,000:1 contrast ratio that is the hallmark of Dolby Vision. 0 3 / 1 9


2 1






“This site combines a fantastic mix of the classic picture palace with the audio and visual punch of today”

A souvenir worth keeping

the glitz of Oscar’s Bar and the impact of the projection, all

In the days of Cinerama, cinemagoers would receive a

make you feel that showmanship is back in town.

programme for films they attended. At more recent special

Odeon Luxe Leicester Square (as it is formally known) is

screenings such as “The Hateful 8” in 70mm there have

the flagship for AMC’s Odeon Cinemas Group. It really does

been programmes too, so it was pleasing to see, during the

feel as if the site has been reborn. It presents a fantastic mix

opening events, a souvenir programme that gave a history

of the classic picture palace combined with the, audio and

of the cinema, of Oscar Deutsch and an explanation of what

visual punch of the latest technology. The team at Odeon

Dolby Cinema brings to the show. Touches like this and the

should be congratulated for the enormous effort that has

commissionaire, the sparkle of refurbished Art Deco details,

gone into this stunning transformation.

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Screen 2







Screen 3







Screen 4







Screen 5








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3D system




Screen 2-5


Audio / Speakers

Screen 1

Screen Surface







Screen 1

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Projection Equipment 2 2

A centrepiece of the show — the Duchess in all her neon glory, ready to wow audiences once more

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©2018 QSC, LLC all rights reserved. QSC, Q-SYS and the QSC logo are registered trademarks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and other countries. Dolby and Dolby Atmos are registered trademarks of Dolby Laboratories. All other trademarks remain the property of their respective owners. 0942-2018

©2018 QSC, LLC all rights reserved. 0942-2018_BlazingFaxt_210x297mm.indd 1 QSC, Q-SYS and the QSC logo are registered trademarks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and other countries. Dolby and Dolby Atmos are registered trademarks of Dolby

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Cinema in 2019:

A defining year? More than ever before, the cinema industry is facing a year of fundamental change. David Hancock, research director at IHS Markit, explores the dynamics — from digital file sizes to consolidation.


inema is in a state of flux, as is

larger cinema groups and studios, although that movement

the role of film as an entertainment

may well be ‘No change here’. The debate has traditionally

medium. Cinema itself is not under

been between exhibitors and distributors, initially on the

threat — investment in technology,

exclusive theatrical window before VHS/DVD but the arrival

venues, design, service levels, analytics

of VOD and the growth of streaming services accelerated

and other things all push it forward as

the pressure on the industry to find a mutually acceptable

it competes with leisure options and other forms of content.

solution. The window has shortened naturally over time

High-end TV provides a compelling argument to stay at

anyway, as data from IHS Markit has shown.

home, but the number of films being released in cinemas is still rising in most countries, showing its worth as a value

A window into a film’s true value

creator at the beginning of the lifecycle for films. Within that

As I have argued before, with others, attempts to cut the

context, this year could prove to be a defining one for the

period of theatrical exclusivity unilaterally are not in the best

future direction of the cinema sector.

interests of maximising a film’s value, with cinema acting as

During 2019 we should see some movement on the

the best value creator for content. This message seems to be

issue of theatrical windows, which is in discussion amongst

getting through and discussions now seem to be softer in

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2 5


tone, even if there is a fundamental disconnect between the window’s existence and the public position of Netflix. The issue will not be resolved by unilateral action or imposition, but more by finding a path forward that benefits all parties.

Consolidation of the big hitters

Peeking through French windows… One possible trigger for movement on windows may be adjustments to the chronology that French authorities have just introduced — the result of

For larger exhibitors, one of the key themes in 2019 will be

much discussion there (and in Europe) about where to place streaming, as

consolidation. From 2016 to 2018, market share of the 10

well as the preservation of cinema’s position at the beginning of the chain.

largest cinema operators worldwide has increased from

New legislation in France keeps the theatrical window at four months

25% to 36%, mainly via acquisitions. This is not finished yet,

(shorter for films with low levels of admissions) and allows SVOD services

and while the sector is still relatively fragmented and will

to release films 17 months after theatrical release for operators that accept

never look the same as highly concentrated sectors such as

certain industry agreements and investment targets. It’s 30 or 36 months

aerospace, leading exhibitors could conceivably account for

if those aren’t accepted. This creates a benchmark for a wider industry

50% of screens within two years. Consolidation is driven by

debate, even if it is unlikely to have much bearing on what studios and

the need for exhibitors to save costs, for scale to drive volume

large circuits will end up doing.

deals on technology and other major costs areas. It also mitigates risk across several countries — a bad annual performance in one country will not necessarily drag a easier by cross-country groups, and branding of quality and

group’s financial results down. Marketing of your

concepts is an area in which cinema lags behind TV, for

technology such as PLF

example. Consolidation also leaves an opportunity for

and HDR is made far

25%-36% Market share for the 10 largest cinema operators globally increased 25-36% between 2016-18

smaller and independent circuits to carve out a niche, which is partly behind the move to boutique cinema in the UK and the US. Often this has been through film choice but points of difference will become wider and varied. This process of consolidation is affecting the dynamics of the sector (exhibitor/distributor relationship) as studios are faced with larger and more powerful exhibition entities in negotiations. It is counter-balanced to an extent by a similar process happening in studios. Disney acquiring Fox brings the number down to five (plus Lionsgate as a plausible sixth) and this may be the trigger for more of that this year. The studios as creative hubs are not under pressure in their role of producing global blockbusters; they are the only entities

$230m Experiential brand 4DX generated $230m in box office revenue in 2018

2 6


0 3 / 1 9

with the global distribution presence in the theatrical arena

home. Experiential technologies such as immersive motion

to achieve this effectively. However, their role as producers is

seating (D-Box) and 4D (mainly MX4D and 4DX), as well as

under threat more generally — especially from streaming

the multi-screen ScreenX, are being tested by exhibitors and

services pumping money into original programming,

with some success in a younger demographic. For example,

including films. Given these pressures, the strategic response

CJ 4DPLEX brand 4DX has just had its most successful year,

may also be to consolidate down to fewer entities.

ending 2018 with 475 locations and generating $230m in

Studios have had to adjust after the financial crash.

box office. As for ScreenX, a deal with Cineworld for 100

Financial backing changed and reduced, shrinking their

screens sealed a successful year in which multi-screen rival

slates, and the model began to creak. Market share in North

Escape shut down. This interest in experiential technology

America slid, but they have addressed this with fewer, bigger

will continue as more exhibitors test them out.

films that take more money. North America market share,

The range of technologies in the market (image, audio,

and globally, has risen steadily since 2013, driven by franchise

experiential) as well as linguistic versioning is putting some

films which accounted for three-fifths of the Top 50 films in

pressure on the distribution infrastructure that creates DCPs

2017, and two thirds of the box office revenue generated. I

and gets them to cinemas. File sizes are getting bigger, the

expect to see the continued dominance of this type of film;

number of versions required is ballooning to the point where

relatively simple to market by building on success over time.

500+ is not uncommon. This is as a direct result of new

Not forgetting the technology

technologies in the market, unquestionably a positive for the sector. To some extent, the industry self-regulates by

At an image level, HDR should make further progress this

adopting technologies that can be useful, but there’s a need

coming year, both branded HDR ventures, but also HDR-

to avoid obsolescent equipment and wasted investment,

capable projectors. Cinema lags behind TV in consumer

which is the reason why cinema has often gone down a

understanding of HDR as a concept (see “Investing in 4K,

standardisation route. There is a further conversation to be

page 70) and must be addressed in 2019. The expense of

had about the balance between standards and innovation

systems is probably a sticking point, either for laser-based

and the need to simplify workflows.

systems or LED. The latter is still restricted to Samsung’s offer which has widened out to new screen sizes.

Cinema has transformed from an analogue medium to a digital one. Technology, innovation, service and experience

Immersive sound is also on an upward curve, with 6,000

are firmly in the driving seat now. It is now a changed sector

systems in the market now, and that will continue especially

and one that needs to stay ahead of other digital media as

now audio standards (SMPTE ST 2098: 1, 2 and 5) for cinema

well as a refreshed leisure economy. All in all, I look forward

have been published. Continued take-up of object-based

to a busy year ahead in a revitalised cinema sector — and I

sound suggest it makes a difference to consumers and the

am sure there will be some surprises in store as well.

number of films receiving immersive mixes is rising steadily. Experience is the key word now: making the cinema experience more attractive and differentiated from the

David Hancock is Research Director, Cinema at IHS Markit and President of the European Digital Cinema Forum.

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The future of content delivery. Join us on the road ahead.

For exhibitor + distributor For e-content + live events Two networks forged together








Having fuelled demand for Hollywood film, IMAX and cinema equipment for years, China’s cinema market is entering a challenging phase. Patrick von Sychowski looks at the forecast in the east.


N 2018 CHINA’S cinema market grew

continues to outpace the overall box office, meaning that

to CNY60.65bn (£6.97bn) — that’s an

the per-screen average is declining to just CNY925,800

8.6% growth rate year-on-year (or


7.8% without the service fee), officially

decrease of 6.9%. There were 61,071 cinema screens in

dropping to single digit growth and

China at the end of 2018. Worryingly, average attendance

way down from 13.5% growth in

in a major city like Qingdao dropped 11% from 20 to 18

2017. Domestic films accounted for 62% of BO, up 45%

admissions. The biggest BO growth in 2018 came from

year-on-year, making authorities and domestic film studios

Tier Four and Five cities (14.11% and 15.48% respectively),

happy. Imported films were down -4.9%, though big hits

while Tier One cities grew just +4.30%. Screen growth is

such as “Venom” and “Aquaman” helped to rescue Q4.

still fastest in Tier One and Two cities, compared to Tier

Screen growth declined slightly less to 15.48% and






Three and Four (see charts). 0 3 / 1 9


2 9







(Scource: Yi En Consulting)

2018 Box Office growth

2018 Number of screens

Tier 1

Tier 2

Tier 3

Tier 4

Tier 5

Tier 1

Tier 2

Tier 3

Tier 4

Tier 5
















(in billion yuan)











+16.75% +13.68%

Dark clouds on the horizon?

lavish costume dramas such as “The Story of Yanxi Palace”.

Yet there were growing numbers pointing to trouble ahead,

Yet China’s audiences are also demonstrating increasingly

with China cinema closures accelerating. In 2017 that figure

sophisticated tastes, producing surprise hits like “Dying to

rose to 245, an increase of 131% compared to 2016. In the

Survive” (a Chinese “Dallas Buyers Club”) and “A Cool Fish”.

first three-quarters of 2018 alone, cinema closures reached

The top three hits accounted for 17% of the year’s full BO,

380, the highest in 17 years, representing a closure rate of

the Top 20 were 41%, yet of the top 50 film in 2018, only 12

3.8%. While BO growth is set to continue, with single digit

made a profit, six broke even and 32 made a loss.

numbers that would still be the envy of US and European

Producer Zhiyuan Zhang predicts that in 2019 China’s

markets, there is declining optimism about the future

BO will grow to just CNY65bn, a growth of just +6.18%,

prospects for the Chinese cinema industry. Looking ahead

mainly thanks to foreign hits such as “Avengers 4” while

this year, the refrain amongst domestic Chinese industry

domestic films’ takings will be flat. The top 12 films will

watchers is that “2019 may be the worst year in the past

account for half of the total 2019 BO, though it may also be

decade, but will be the best year in the next decade.”

the year that Chinese science fiction films arrive. There will

Authorities are cracking down on ticket subsidies and

be further industry consolidation within film production,

fraudulent efforts by distributors to increase the BO takings

distribution and exhibition. With the 70th anniversary of the

of films artificially (usually to boost share prices). This has a

founding of the People’s Republic of China, we can predict

knock-on effect in a maturing market, where consolidation

that there will also be a great deal of nationalism. All this

has left just two third-party ticketing operators. Meanwhile

against the backdrop of a slowdown in the wider Chinese

consumers are increasingly drawn to short-form videos and

economy and the threat of a trade war with the US.


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3 0

+19.2% +15.79%

Cinema closures in China rose to 245 in 2017, an increase of 131% on the previous year

Analysts believe the key to future

sense of cultural acquisition and happiness, promote

growth will be to increase the quality

continued prosperity of the film market, and provide solid

of domestic films produced, coupled

support for the realisation of film powers in order to

with better cinema membership

implement urban and rural development requirements. Let

schemes, technology and incentives

the development of Chinese film more benefit the broad

to attract regular visits. Customer ranking of Chinese films were up a little last year to a weighted average of 8.98 for the Top 10 films (up 0.04

80,000 Projected amount of cinema screens across China by the year 2020

masses of the people,” it reads. It envisions that, by 2020, there will be 80,000 cinema screens across China, more evenly spread and better matching levels of urbanisation and population distribution. Several funding, subsidy and

points), though the Top 30 average

grant schemes are proposed to enable this growth. The

of 8.74 was down 0.03 points.

number of county-level and township cinemas will have to


This year is also likely to see consolidation of China’s 48 official income less than CNY500m (£58M) cinema licences, many small- and

vision of a ‘balanced’ Chinese cinema market to be realised. A crackdown on piracy and box office fraud is also touted.

cinema operators. Of these, 26 had last year. With tougher anticipated

form the majority of future cinema growth in order for this

Box office for imported films in China dropped by 4.9% in 2018

The magic of milk tea… and more With single-figure box office growth the new normal in

medium-size operators are likely to

China, operators are looking at ancillary revenue streams.

sell out to the majors. There is also a push for diversification

This involves everything from setting up cinemas as logistics

of content in cinemas, rather than 50% of all screens in the

hubs for e-commerce deliveries to VR arcades and mini-

country playing the same Chinese or Hollywood blockbuster

karaoke booths in the lobby. Exhibitors like Wanda, Dadi,

in its opening week. The Year of the Pig is an opportunity

Jinyi and Hengdian Cinema are increasingly putting an

for China’s cinema industry to streamline and adapt better

emphasis on non-box office business for further growth.

for a future without break-neck speed growth.

Wanda alone grew its non-box office business by 118% in the first half of 2018 to CNY2.531bn (£291m). Jinyi Cinemas

Go central and west

is promoting massage chairs, jukeboxes, doll machines, VR

Despite the slowing box office, authorities are promoting

and more. Hengdian Cinemas has created a ‘Feng Teng’

acceleration of cinema building. In December last year,

high-end brand, promoting coffee and cocktail bars, VIP

China’s Film Bureau released “Opinions on Accelerating the

lounges, themed bars, Chinese and Western restaurants.

Construction of Cinemas to Promote the Prosperity and

Yet while US cinemas are increasingly promoting the in-

Development of the Film Market.” This edict, sent to all

theatre dining concept, popularised by chains such as

provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly

Alamo Draft House, Chinese cinemas are not able to follow

under the Central Government, as well as to private cinema

the path of offering hot food all the way to the luxury recliner

operators, seeks to “promote Chinese film to a new level in

for various reasons. The concept of branded coffee bars in

the new era,” as part of meeting “people’s growing needs for

cinemas has meanwhile been profitable for the likes of

a better life.” It notes an imbalance in cinema building, with

Cineworld and Odeon in Europe, partnering Starbucks and

central and western regions not keeping pace with more

Costa respectively. So Chinese are cinemas are looking to

populous coastal and northern areas.

tea as a rescue, specifically milk tea.

“Only by accelerating the construction of cinemas and

Since it was launched in 1996, milk tea has surpassed

greatly increasing the number of screens can we adapt to

coffee consumption fivefold in China. What is remarkable is

the new era and new requirements, enhance people’s

that this growth took place in the past 20 years, whereas


In 2018 the amount of closures reached 380 at a closure rate of 3.8% — its highest for 17 years

coffee has been in China for 130 years. Milk tea consumption is still growing. Milk tea (and its cousin Bubble tea) is usually produced with milk and added fruit powder and is increasingly an aspirational, affordable luxury item.

0 3 / 1 9


3 1






BOX OFFICE DECLINE % of each chain’s cinema sites that saw BO decline in 2017


An affordable luxury item increasingly seen in the cinema lobby, milk tea has outsold coffee fivefold in China since its launch in 1996.

China, which has resulted in different fortunes and outlooks. 80% of Wanda’s saw a decline in box office in 2017, compared to 63%, 70% and 65% for UME, Jinyi and Hengdian Cinemas. Wanda has expanded in parallel with Wanda Properties building malls, with its focus on Tier 1 and 2 cities meaning it’s been the leading exhibitor in China for the past 9 years. But major urban centres like







Shanghai and Beijing have reached multiplex saturation. From 2017, Wanda said it would focus increasingly on Tier 3,



4 and 5 cities. Yet Dadi started targeting the Tier 2-and-below market earlier, with its “urban encircling the city” strategy. This was

Most recently, Dadi Cinemas launched its ‘10-step fresh

helped by the acquisition of 76 cinemas and 531 screens

fruit tea drink’ as part of its “Movie+” strategic plan that pulls

belonging to Hong Kong’s Orange Sky Golden Harvest,

together catering, retail and internet to make it a lifestyle

primarily located in Tier 1 and 2 cities. At the end of 2018

destination. Ent Group observes that if IKEA can attract

Dadi had 1,094 theatres with a total 6,366 screens according

consumers just to buy a hot dog, so too can cinemas snare

to Yi En Consulting. In addition, Dadi has focused on

tea drinkers, even if they don’t plan on watching a film.

developing its own movie ticketing system and other core

Wanda vs. Dadi

3 2

technology relating to exhibition, as well as developing partnerships with small and medium sized cinema chains,

With the outlook for the sector toughening, the rivalry

through its sister company Viceta films, as well as large

between the two leading cinema operators, Wanda and

Chinese film studios. This means that Dadi indirectly is

Dadi, is likely to intensify. Last year, Wanda sold its Wanda

responsible for 30% of China’s total BO, on top of the

Cultural Management unit for its hotels and theme parks,

contributions of its own theatres.

including the Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis that was

Wanda had a total BO of CNY5bn (£575m) in the first

meant to rival Disneyland. Wanda also sold a 12.7% stake in

half of 2018, compared to CNY3.2bn (£368m) for Dadi. Yet

its film unit to Alibaba and state-owned Cultural Investment

no.1 Wanda only grew 15.8% YOY, compared to 37.7% for

Holdings Co, with proceeds from both sales used to pay

the no.2 Dadi, which is also below the average growth rate

down debt and double down on its cinema empire.

for China’s cinema market. As Wanda sells off non-core

Wanda remains the largest cinema operator both in

assets, Dadi is doubling down on its “Movie+” and “new

China and internationally, where it controls both AMC,

retail” strategy to win loyalty of consumers in smaller towns,

Hoyts and the Odeon Cinemas Group. Yet having incurred

its ‘secret weapon’ against Wanda. As “Mirror Times”

the disapproval of Chinese authorities for its debt-fuelled

observed in comparing the two slugging it out for

overseas expansion, Wanda and its Chairman Wang Jianlin

supremacy in the world’s largest cinema market by screen

are increasingly challenged at home by Dadi Cinemas, led

count, “The tide of the times is rolling forward, and only the

by its visionary General Manager Yu Xin (Donna Yu). Both

trenders can win the world.” Dadi seems confident that it

chains have adopted different approaches for expanding in

will lead that trend.


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cinema_technology_2018_Layout 1 30/07/2018 22:57 Page 1






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ling new forms a projectors are enab em cin of n tio ra ne i talks to the The latest ge trick von sychowsk pa . es nu ve ion ct oje of small-scale pr t what this means. major vendors abou bled ojection has ena Digital cinema pr in ues ven ing uality screen the creation of high-q for le ssib po have been im spaces that would er light s. Introduction of las tor 35mm film projec se can particular means the source projectors in ’t as intenance access isn be installed where ma nised ments have revolutio critical. These develop ening n-cinema venues, op both cinema and no ions tat sen pre g vin impro up new possibilities and ard nd sta on ed y have reli that would previousl s. tor jec pro a home cinem LCD or sophisticated rkets: en felt in several ma be has The impact xes; ple niu screens and mi post-production; bijo nd h-e such as hotels; hig in specialised venues e vat finally in so-called pri home theatres and se the cinemas). The last of cinemas (a.k.a. micro ema cin est larg ’s rld the wo is a major trend in

vate nt, China, where pri market by screen cou nds usa run into tens of tho cinema installations ber a Technology, Decem screens [see Cinem wn e traditionally not sho 2017]. While these hav nt, me uip eq e rad I-g ed DC first-run film or requir s thi e hav to as vate cinem there is a push for pri . ina Ch e tsid ou cept is tested capability as the con r fou the to ges, we talk On the following pa e that supply DCI-grad ers tur projector manufac t jus n y of venues other tha projectors to a variet 2K remembering that the cinemas. It is worth een, Onyx Cinema LED scr version of Samsung’s already with projectors, is which does away geles An Los in st-houses installed in two po also can yx On is (Eclair). (Roundabout) and Par a em cin all sm a screen in a work as a 2.5m cinem t. jec ob no only if money is auditorium — though

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n e w t e c h n R e O w G tR eE cS hS P

High-End Home Theatre

Hollywood’s A-list, Russian oligarchs and top football players can now have a high-end cinema with the same spec as your local multiplex. While access to first-run content depends on how well connected you are to distributors (Hollywood stars have the Bel Air Circuit), exclusive services from the likes of Bel Air Cinema and IMAX offer new releases. A more everyday option is to sign up to Netflix and Curzon On Demand for new films with an art-house flavour. For high-end home theatres, Barco Residential offers “a full range of dedicated high-end home theatre projectors, up to and including DCI-compliant and 6P RGB laser models,” says Barco’s senior member of the product management team Tom Bert. “These are delivered through a specialised channel of residential custom integrators,” which can range from general A/V installation companies to more specialist operators like Bel Air Cinema which offers a service for private clients both on land and sea ( The laser technology that is at the heart of these latest cinema projectors is also filtering down to more regular home cinema projectors, such as the NEC P502HL-2. Cinema




haven’t just found their way into luxury homes, reveals Oliver Pasch, sales director, digital cinema Europe. “Our standard





projectors are installed in private home cinemas belonging to high-networth individuals, with a number being installed on superyachts. With

“Some specialist operators like Bel Air Cinema offer a service for private clients on land and sea”

Smaller projection systems are a godsend for production facilities that need the technology

IMAX Private Theatre offers its products to an exclusive ultrahigh-net worth customer base

Jerry Bruckheimer (“Pirates of the Caribbean”) have installed Barco. “I’ve

time at a premium, these customers are looking for the

worked with Barco for 15 years, it’s my one and only

ultimate image quality during precious down time.”

projector,” said Bay, who selected Barco’s DP4K-23B ultra-

At the highest-end there is Sony’s collaboration with

bright 4K DLP® Alchemy Cinema projector, in his words,

IMAX on ultra-high home cinema. “IMAX Private Theatre

because, “It is simply the best.” But down the road in Bel Air



“Steven Spielberg has purchased two Christie TrueLaser

(customised to IMAX, non-DCI-compliant model) to provide

RGB projectors for his personal use,” reveals Christie’s senior

4K, high-contrast image quality for 2D and no compromise

product manager Brian Claypool. No doubt they compare

3D free from triple flash artefacts,” Pasch reveals. IMAX has

projectors when they visit each other’s homes.






two showrooms in the US, one in UAE, three in China and one which is under construction in India. That gives an indication of where the demand is. Unsurprisingly, A-list celebrities do

A Barco fan — Michael Bay’s own cinema is fitted with a high-end Alchemy 4K unit

not generally advertise their home

(“Transformers”) and the producer

Smaller units like NEC’s NC1201L laser projector offer quality and convenience in a compact package

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cinemas — unless selling multi-million dollar pads — but there are notable exceptions. Both director Michael Bay


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Post Production

Post houses have needed digital cinema projectors since the roll-out began in 1999, in order to grade, master and QC DCDMs and DCPs to the standards they will be shown in on the big screens. These no longer require their own projection room, but can now be located on small space in the back or even suspended from a box in the ceiling. “For post-production and review room facilities, Barco has long offered a dedicated model, based on the broader DCIcompliant portfolio,” says Tom Bert. “The current model is the DP4K-P and it has both custom hardware and software modules to serve the specific needs of this market.” These feature in installations such as Russia’s Mosfilm, which installed the 4K DP4K-P with the help of integrator Kinofilm. Emphasizing the history and relations Christie has had with Hollywood, Brian Claypool notes that “post-production facilities can be considered specialised screening rooms — and world-leading directors, including James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg own or use facilities with Christie projectors.” Recent Christie post-production installations include Canadore College Post Production Theatre in in North Bay, Ontario, which has both CP4220 Digital Cinema projector and Dolby-certified Christie Vive Audio sound system with 41 surround sound speakers delivering 70,000 watts for Dolby Artmos. In New Zealand, the Auckland postproduction house, Department of Post, recently installed Christie’s new CP4325-RGB by HOYTS Cinema Technology Group, which offer service and support to exhibition and post-production industries in Australian and New Zealand. According to Claypool, “Christie has more projectors installed in private screening rooms than any other cinema technology company. We also expect these systems to be some of the first to be replaced during a “refresh” cycle which we expect to be starting in the course of the next 24 months.”

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n R e O w G tR eE cS hS P

Boutique Cinemas & Hotels

For purists that despaired at single screens being sub-divided into cramped

Alain sees this as a major impact on the potential for

miniplexes, laser projection has enabled even smaller spaces to host first-

new cinema venues. “The introduction of these models has

run screens. Fortunately this doesn’t just mean repurposed “Screen 9” broom

already enabled exhibitors to open additional small screens

cupboards, but some innovative cinema concepts. In addition, it has seen a

in areas they never believed possible in the past.”

growth in high-end hotels with dedicated cinemas, often in the basement.

Luxury hotels increasingly see a dedicated cinema room as a USP, whether for special screenings for private

Arguably the first new cinema to take advantage of the architectural opportunities a new generation of small projectors offer was the Curzon Victoria [see CT, December 2018]. At the Curzon Bloomsbury (formerly The Renoir), designed by Takero Shimazaki Architects, four screens grew to six, including a dedicated screen for documentaries. More recently the Art Deco Everyman Crystal Palace opened in late 2018, with the two spaces under the former balcony served by NEC projectors mounted in ceiling boxes. NEC claims to offer two of the smallest DCI projectors: the NC1000 and NC1201L. Alain Chamaillard, head of cinema EMEA and CIS for NEC, says that “these models are suitable for very small screens where installation does not allow for air extraction. The longevity of the NC1201L Laser Phosphor system means the exhibitor only needs to access the projector for simple filter cleaning.” 3 8


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parties or for corporate hire. In London, hotels such as the Venues such as the Curzon Victoria are the first in a new wave of smaller sites that maximise the use of smaller projector

Courthouse, the Mayfair, the W London Leicester Square and the Soho Hotel regularly host industry screenings (see “A Boutique Desination, page 76). One Aldwych Hotel has gone further with its Film & Fizz and Live at One screenings open to hotel guests and the public, where £55 buys you a three-course meal and a film - with fizz. The Mondrian London at Sea Containers has partnered

“Luxury hotels increasingly see a dedicated cinema room as a USP, whether for private or corporate hire”

with Curzon for the Curzon Mondrian London, open to the public and guests at weekends. This trend is equally strong in emerging markets, with the Yashan International Resort Hotel in Ganzhou, selecting Christie solutions for its VIP Theater — the first in China to be fitted Christie Vive Audio.

Private and micro cinemas

Small cinemas: a market getting bigger?

In China, so-called private cinemas (a.k.a micro cinemas)

The market for small projectors will not overtake regular

are believed to have overtaken regular screens in number

cinema installations either in numbers or revenue any

with over 10,000 venues in operation. While some offer

time soon — but they are certainly becoming increasingly

low-end home-cinema, the high end is sophisticated

important niches for projector manufacturers.

and has the attention of major projector manufacturers. “The potential return is not measured by Christie in terms of Sony has gone after this market hard. “We identified the

revenue. It’s not a large market, but besides being a

rapid growth of micro cinemas in China, but also identified

prestigious market, it is also a knowledgeable one,” say

that smaller projectors in the market were limited to 2K,

Claypool about specialised screening rooms, particularly

HD-equivalent resolution at lower contrast,” notes Oliver

those of Hollywood talent. “So the more relations we have

Pasch, “So, we developed the SRX-R608 specifically to bring

with the studios and their creatives, the more feedback we

4K, ultra-high contrast image quality to the small screens

get into our product-development process, which translates

associated with micro cinema. We have concentrated our

to better products for mainstream exhibitors that can best

launch on China where the micro cinema market is the

present the stories that these creative luminaries weave.”

biggest and have just started shipping the first systems.”

Whether the experience is shared by a dozen or several

According to Pasch, “There are large opportunities for

hundred people, the ‘big screen’ experience is thus defined

micro cinema in China. We are assuming it is spreading to

by the quality of the sound and image presentation, rather

non-China market as well.” Already Emagine Entertainment

than the auditorium metrics. With new projectors opening

in Michigan, US, has set up a type of micro-cinema with a

up the opportunities for a new type of space, so it too

dozen seats where customers can pause the film, adjust the

creates the possibility of showing more varied types of

volume and more. Indeed, manufacturers such as

content and cultivating new audiences. Thinking small in

Cinemeccanica have also developed special solutions for

terms of technology can thus be a new way of thinking big

the micro-cinema market.

in terms of cinema.

Whether it’s a private home installation or a micro-cinema, smaller venues can be more lavish and more intimate

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HEIST (and other security issues) 4 0


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It’s easy to read headlines on cyber-security breaches and feel smug. It could never happen in your organisation… but as Patrick von Sychowski explains, our sector is susceptible. Take care, take action.

OVER-SOPHISTICATED CONS NETTING millions are the stuff of blockbusters, but last year Pathé Netherlands Cinemas itself became the victim of a €19m scam that additionally cost several senior executives their jobs. It also highlighted the number of risks and security threats that cinemas now face as they become increasingly connected, data-driven and increasingly reliant on online transactions. Understandably, few major companies want to discuss openly their security breaches or threats, which can range from a terrorist strike, cyber attack, e-ransom or so-called pwning, i.e. virtual pranks or vandalism. Cinemas are no different in this regard and, given that they carry out high volumes of electronic payment transactions while having to maintain large databases of customers and members, they are a particularly attractive target. A DCP may be hackproof (if such a thing is ever truly possible), but the cinemas in which they play and the people operating them are not. In early 2018, Pathé Netherlands was robbed of more than €19m on the back of nothing more than a few emails and a bit of inside knowledge. Far from being out of the ordinary, the only really unusual thing about this was that the scam

WORLDWIDE BREACHES It’s not possible to highlight all the cyber attacks made against cinemas — many never come to light — but here are some recent cases that hit the headlines:

Pathé France was a victim in 2017 when criminals sold pre-paid €10 cards on the black market for just €1. Sophisticated software identified the valid 12-digit codes on the cards;

In 2016 Ster-Kinekor became the largest South African company to be hacked, with 1.6m customers’ data including email, names, passwords, phone numbers and more exposed.

In September 2016, CJ CGV was one of several S.Korean firms to have their network disrupted. It is still unclear if it was a network disruption or a N.Korean attack.

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Couldn’t happen to us… became public knowledge and that two senior Dutch executives lost their jobs.

In November last year an email went out to the industry

Known as business email compromise (BEC) fraud, CEO impersonation fraud

from a well-known equipment manufacturer. It read:

or spearfishing (as opposed to random so-called “Nigerian prince” email scams),

“We regret to inform you that over the weekend, a

this type of crime has seen French

Malware infected several key [COMPANY] servers.

businesses (Pathé NL is itself owned by Pathé France) suffer an estimated loss of €465m since 2010, according to official figures. The details of the case illustrate the scammers credibility: Pathé NL’s head Dertje Meijer received an email in March last year purporting to be from the head of Pathé France.

“The typical hack doesn’t see a geek sat at a PC touchtyping frantically against the clock to beat the firewall”

[COMPANY’s] global IT infrastructure was shut down as soon as we became aware of the issue, and will remain shut down until further notice. We have engaged external consultants with expertise in Malware on a 24/7 basis to assist us, however we anticipate this will take several days to resolve.” In the end the malware attack took down the company’s

The email sender claimed to be in very secret negotiations to buy a cinema chain

servers for over a week. Staff had to reconstruct mailing

in the Gulf. Over several emails, Pathé NL was asked to transfer larger and larger

lists and use personal emails to conduct day-to-day

sums of money, but to keep the deal secret — supposedly through a KPMG

work. What matters less is which company it was, but

employee in Canada. While both Meijer and the CTO Slutter found this unusual,

that almost any company in the cinema industry, large

they complied and red flags also did not go off in Pathé’s head office in Paris.

or small, is vulnerable to this type of attack.

Both Meijer and Slutter were suspended from their jobs after the con was discovered, with Pathé France saying it had “lost faith” in them, despite the fact

A malware attack may not necessarily be a breach so

that they had not profited from, nor initiated the con. Both took Pathé to court

much as someone attaching a corrupted flash drive to

over their dismissal and at the time of writing Slutter had been partially vindicated, while Meijer’s case was still being reviewed. It is only because of these court cases that details of the scam became public knowledge. But it should serve as a warning to the industry that even smart

To get around this, attackers try to circumvent it via the

senior industry veterans can fall victim to these type of

phone or physically. Many people reading this in the UK will

scams. The message is clear — be on your guard.

have received a phone call from someone claiming to work

How to hack a company: hack the staff

for their bank or ‘BT Openreach’, saying there is a problem with their account/broadband and ask them to log in and

Contrary to popular culture, the typical cyber-attack doesn’t

confirm their details and carry out a transaction. Security

see a nefarious geek sat at a PC with flashing graphics

experts recommend hanging up and calling your bank/

touch-typing frantically against the clock in an attempt to

broadband provider yourself on their verified number.

penetrate a company’s firewall. It is easier to use what’s

Scammers try to stop this by injecting urgency into their

called ‘social engineering’, i.e. hack the people. At a basic

communication: “money is about to be stolen from your

level this involves sending an email with an attachment or a

account”, or “your broadband is about to be cut off.”

link that will allow unauthorised access to the recipient’s

An even more clever way is to scatter a bund of USB

computer or network. Sensible companies have scanners

memory sticks in the employee car park. These will typically

that block suspicious attachments and ban the use of

only have one file on them, called something tantalising like

personal accounts. Even Google now flags suspicious email.

“Employee Salary Spreadsheet”. Curiosity gets the better of

A small Canadian cinema in Hyland, Ontario, had its website hacked in December 2016 by a person or group that posted a rambling racist manifesto on it.

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The Polish municipal cinema in Bydgoszcz was an unlikely target of a hack attack purporting to be from ISIS (Islamic State), posting its logo on the website.

Hackers were said to be behind a hijacked outdoor screening in Argentina’s San Martin, where the comedy feature was replaced with an X-rated clip

The FBI was called in to investigate a cyber-attack against the Sundance Film Festival in 2017 that shut down its box office systems over the opening weekend.

the network or visiting a corrupted website (see “How to hack a company”, opposite).

Fostering discussions internally to ensure best practices. Implement those measures and you may go some way towards protecting yourself — but it’s not foolproof. At the foot of the page are listed a handful of

One observer familiar with the situation (who declined

known industry-related attacks that took place before 2018, but we are likely to

to be named) commented that, “Doing a full scan to

hear about even more such attacks in the future, due to a much discussed but

make certain the malware isn’t picked up across the

little understood four-letter acronym… GDPR.

infrastructure. Given how interconnected that network might be to outside facilities, I could see why they would want to remove the threat of it spreading externally.” So the company in question was not just trying to save its own network and database, but rightly seeking to save others from being inadvertent victims. Famously hard to detect viruses, malware and trojans, such as Stuxnet, are designed to infiltrate, self-propagate and cause damage, all the while being undetected. Cyber attackers typically go for the weakest link in any defence, which increases the chances of a breach the bigger and more complex a system is.

whoever finds it, they plug it in and will try to open it, not realising that it might be an .exe file. The malware is now inside the company network. Not as glamorous as George


network could take a while depending on the size of the

The amount French businesses are thought to have lost since 2010 to spearfishing

Clooney in a tuxedo, but more efficient.

Future Risks

GDPR? What’s that then...? While major companies have in the past tried to cover up attacks where possible, that changed on 25 May 2018 when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. While initiated by the European Union, it is not only applicable to EU countries, companies and databases, but to anyone whose database collects information about users and citizens in and from the EU. This is why post-Brexit Britain isn’t exempt and why some US online newspapers still geo-block access to their sites for readers from the EU. While GDPR was a large enough topic for its own article (Cinema Technology, March 2018), it means that all companies and institutions have to ensure data protection for the information they store about individuals and face large fines and compulsory disclosure if they have failed to prevent data theft. In theory this even extends to losing or leaving paper files with sensitive personal information lying around, but in most cases this will be in relation to a loss relating to a data or network breach. Cinemas and others also have to comply with how they


gather, store and use customer data, by ensuring greater transparency about what information is used for targeted

While there is no 100% fool-proof method to prevent cyber

marketing. Writing about GDPR for Movio’s blog in 2018,

attacks, most companies can take additional steps to

Sarah Lewthwaite noted that, “For those of us for whom

improve security. Bea Alonso, business development director for media logistics in the APAC region at the OTT media platform Ooyala recommends the following steps: Ensuring all network connections are secure; Initiating two-factor authentication; Performing regular network penetration testing; Consider digital rights management;

Pathé Netherlands became victim of a €19m email-based scam last year


customer data is a key element of our marketing strategy, this transparency should not be seen as a threat, but as an opportunity. It is an opportunity for us to build trust with customers and to strengthen our relationships with them.”

Call IT by all means, but call HR too Increasing sophistication of machine learning (‘artificial intelligence’) means that cyber criminals have access to

And who could forget the alleged North Korean hack of Sony Pictures in 2014 that led to a purge of senior execs, and red faces when internal emails became public. There were claims the hackers also accessed other studios’ content, threatening to leak it online unless a ransom was paid.

Ster-Kinekor customers in S.Africa who had personal details hacked in 2016

more and more advanced tools with which to target and penetrate even the most stringent defences that cinemas can mount. Often the weakest link in that chain of defence is a member of staff, meaning that while the IT department can do a lot to keep you safe, they will increasingly have to work with the HR team to ensure the only place crime ever pays is in heist movies on screen.

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Christie: A digital leader with heritage


Continuing his series of in-depth looks at major projector manufacturers, in Christie Peter Knight finds an established specialist that puts image quality and value of the experience at the heart of all its product lines

NLIKE SOME MORE recent digital technology manufacturers, Christie has its roots firmly in the days of film projection, 90 years back, in fact, to 1929 — barely two years after “The Jazz Singer” introduced the world to

the talkies. The firm has worked with cinema technology for the past 70 years, and made its name as a manufacturer of 35mm projectors, as well as lamp houses, lamp consoles and film player systems. Later, it began importing Japanesemade xenon bulbs before acquiring the digital projection business of Electrohome Limited, of Kitchener, Ontario in 1999. Roll on from 35mm days and today Christie is a global audiop and visual entity that offers solutions for business, entertainment and industry. Worldwide, Christie employs over 1,500 people and has installed no fewer than 65,000 projectors that have powered over 10million screenings. The company’s commitment to the film industry is seen through innovative solutions including 4K high-resolution projectors, immersive audio and the introduction of RGB laser projection, as well as its long-standing relationships as technology provider to major festivals, including Cannes.

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A look inside the product line

to as “pure laser”, as the acronym suggests RGB laser

Christie’s cinema projection offering is divided into two

technology uses distinct red, green and blue lasers to

distinct series: the CineLife Series — its more advanced line-

generate light.

up — and the Solaria Series. The Cinelife Series is primarily

Christie’s flagship CP4325-RGB pure laser cinema

composed of a trio of RGB laser projectors (more on this

projector, introduced last year, delivers a premium movie-

later), which feature its RealLaser™ technology. This RGB

going experience for mainstream theatres. Featuring

pure laser light source is engineered to take full advantage

CineLife™ electronics and RealLaser illumination, Christie

of the latest innovations in laser technology.

believes exhibitors can fill auditorium seats by attracting

The Solaria Series consists of DCI-compliant lamp-based DLP cinema projectors and it offers choice in frame rate,

audiences with the colourful and detailed images delivered by this compact, all-in-one DCI-compliant unit.

brightness and resolution. The aim is to deliver value with

“With its all-in-one direct-coupled RGB illumination

reliability and low total cost of ownership. Contained within

system, we think the Christie CP4235-RGB is the most

this range are the Christie CP2220 and CP2230, which were

advanced laser projector on the market,” explains Christie’s

designed to be fully upgradable to 4K technology via a fast,

Allan Fernandes, senior manager in the global cinema

cost-effective upgrade path.

product management division. “Using next generation, pure

A single-minded approach to laser






CP4325-RGB offers an authentic, immersive experience for

Whilst other manufacturers have pursued implementation

the mainstream market. It provides all the advantages of a

of laser phosphor technology, Christie has followed its own

high-performance laser projector in a compact form factor

path. The company’s perception is that laser phosphor does

that eliminates the need for sub-ambient external cooling,

not offer a significant enough advantage over traditional

while providing rich colours, higher contrast ratios and low

xenon illumination to warrant the upgrade. Consequently,

total cost of ownership.”

Christie has focused on its RGB laser technology, which has

Christie has recently introduced 2K versions of its RGB

seen the steady development, and subsequent rollout, of a

units — the CP2315 and CP2320 — which offer what it bills as

line-up of RealLaser cinema projectors, comprising the

the industry’s first affordable RGB pure laser projectors.

CP4325-RGB, CP2315-RGB and CP2320-RGB. Often referred

Recent high-profile purchasers of the RGB laser range

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The Christie Vive Audio range brings immersive sound technology within the scope of a wide range of exhibitor budgets

Christie: powering Dolby Cinema projection Dolby Cinema features the Dolby Vision projection system, which uses state-of-the-art optics and image processing to deliver high dynamic range (HDR) with enhanced colour technology. Praised by filmmakers and audiences alike for its astonishing contrast, high brightness, and a colour range that more closely matches what the human eye can see, this proprietary HDR technology uses two custom designed, high-frame-rate (HFR) capable Christie 4K laser projection heads that feature a highly customised and unique light path that can provide 6P RGB pictures to the Dolby Cinema brightness standard of 108 nits, (31.5fL).

The London Film Festival’s Embankment Gardens pop-up cinema — powered by Christie RGB-laser

include CGR Cinemas in France, where 200 CGR Classic auditoriums will be redeveloped for Christie RealLaser over the next two years. This followed initial success of RealLaser’s implementation as part of CGR’s hugely successful ICE (Immersive Cinema Experience) theatres. Indonesia’s the largest cinema chain, Cinema 21, has purchased 50 units of Christie’s





deployment in its new multiplexes across the country.

Backing the British Film Institute Christie has been a proud sponsor and supporter of the British Film Institute in London for some time. This support has extended in the past three years to the supply of equipment for the ‘pop-up’ cinema that the BFI erects in Embankment Gardens for the London Film Festival, last year powered by a Christie RGB laser projector. Filmgoers in the UK experienced Christie RealLaser for the first time at last October’s BFI Patron’s Gala showing of “Colette”. An independent British film starring Keira Knightley as the infamous French writer, this was the first of

been amazingly positive,” he explained, “For last October’s

several films screened at the popular Embankment Gardens

event, we decided to raise the bar, and — thanks to Christie

site using Christie laser projection.

— let our audiences experience the colours and high contrast

Last October’s festival was the third outing for the

ratios of laser projection. Our 16 metre-wide, matte white

unique, full-scale, 820-seat cinema in the surroundings of

screen, was the optimal film projection surface, and, as the

Victoria Embankment Gardens, complete with tiered

premier film festival on these islands, I’m delighted we were

cinema seating, black box lining with serge, plus a full box-

the first in the UK to showcase RealLaser.”

office area. A stone’s throw from the Thames and Leicester

Phil Lord, Christie cinema sales manager in EMEA, was

Square, the temporary cinema hosted strand galas and

pleased to be involved in the project: “It was no small task to

films seen at the site on Christie projection included “Sorry

assist the setup of a fully-functioning, 800-plus seat venue

to Bother You”, “Suspiria”, “Border”, “Beautiful Boy”, and “Wild

for such a prestigious organisation as the BFI. But the results

Rose”. Dominic Simmons, head of technical services at the

are always worth the effort, and I’m pleased that audiences

BFI, was keen for the festival to embrace technology trends

were able to experience our flagship technology. We are

currently transforming cinema viewing: “We’ve had more

determined to make the premium laser experience

than 60,000 filmgoers pass through the Embankment

affordable to mainstream exhibition,” notes Phil. “We have

Garden Cinema since 2016 and audience feedback has

proprietary technology that offers superior brightness and

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The Christie CP4325, part of the RealLaser line-up of projectors

The CP2315 — a 2K RGB laser offering that Christie contends is the affordable option for exhibitors

Series CP4230/4220 projectors powered almost all the festival venues. “TIFF has worked with Christie for nearly two decades, delivering a long-standing service of cinema higher contrast than conventional projectors. RealLaser can

excellence and innovation,” explained Diane Cappelletto,

show colours never seen before by the human eye.”

TIFF’s director of technical production services. “Their support for cinema experiences as delivered on large

On the global stage

screens across our festival venues is laudable and we value

Christie has maintained a strong commitment to other key

their partnership and collaboration.”

international festivals, supplying equipment as technology partner to other globally renowned institutions. At Cannes in 2018, the company supplied no fewer than 29 projectors from across its portfolio, including its leading, 4K lampbased model, the CP4230. Technical specification for the projection technology in the festival and market screening rooms was overseen by

In a further long-standing collaboration, the CP4230 Left, the new R&D facility Christie is establishing with Wanda; right, Christie partners with many major film festivals, such as Toronto IFF

projector was again in action at Shanghai International Film Festival, where it was deployed to screen both the opening and closing films. Christie also supplied a CP2215 cinema projector for the adjudication of films nominated for the prestigious Golden Goblet Award for Best Film. Also on show was Christie’s Vive Audio cinema audio solution.

the CST (Commission Supérieure Technique de l’Image et du Son). Francis Zee, a consultant on the technology side at Christie, commented that: “The technicians that make up CST are the cream of France’s cinema and broadcast industries and they have a huge task overseeing tech ops at Cannes. It’s always gratifying that things come together so well and it’s in no small measure thanks to the work CST have put in, especially around DCP/DCI over the years. They have high standards and so do we.” During last September in Toronto, Christie’s Solaria 4 8


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A View from the top Brian Claypool, VP of product mangement, global cinema Christie is seeing ongoing growth in our cinema products as customers add new installations and upgrade existing venues. We’re excited to by what the future holds and have been thrilled by the response to, and uptake of, our RGB laser projection systems. We’re committed to investing in R&D for cinema projection — at CinemaCon last year we announced our agreement with Wanda Film Holding to establish a joint R&D centre in the Wanda Studios’ site in Qingdao, China. Christie will exclusively operate the facility for advanced R&D of digital cinema projection systems to explore solutions that enhance the experience. This work includes customised RGB laser technology for Wanda and its affiliates, RGB laser retrofit solutions for xenon systems, solutions for Wanda’s PLF auditoriums, LED screens, service solutions for network operation centres, and testing of xenon vs competitive illumination technology.Projection, alongside leading audio technologies such as Dolby Atmos and Vive Audio, can enhance the viewing experience. In our view, LEDs do not enable these options better, now, than projection — it still has to evolve for cinema needs.

Not just pictures, sound too While most know Christie as a big name in projectors, it is one of the few major manufacturers to develop cinemaspecific audio products too. Launched in 2013, Christie Vive Audio completes the movie-going offering with audio to

- Outstanding sound reproduction to every seat in the cinema

complement its high-brightness, high-resolution displays. Vive Audio supports existing formats including Atmos and Auro, as well as 5.1 and 7.1. The range includes Class D amps, speakers, subwoofers, integrated media blocks and cinema processors. It’s an extensive line-up which means Christie is able to offer immersive solutions to suit a variety of

- High efficiency Isowave coaxial motor with exceptional linearity and directivity control - Coherent and well defined coverage

budgets and venues, from smaller theatres like the Parkway Cinema in Beverley, UK, to PLF venues in vast halls, such as the recently installed Cinecittà in Nuremberg, Germany. Christie has addressed disparity in audio quality in the auditorium via the use of ribbon driver line array technology,



and this forms the cornerstone of Vive Audio. Producing a focused linear sound, it delivers clarity and a smooth, even audio coverage wherever you are seated. It has been designed to increase the optimal listening area up to four times in comparison to conventional compression driver-

based audio systems.

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4 9


E V E N T S The first ever ECM conference, held last November in Istanbul, explored cinema’s growth in emerging markets. CT reports on a successful event.

ECM Istanbul: An emerging


OR THE KEEN observers in the cinema industry, the markets in Turkey, Africa, the

Balkans, Central Asia and the Middle East are at an exciting early stage in their development. They offer good opportunities for investors, studios, distributors, exhibitors and specialist supply chains that more established territories don’t — and the chance to deploy technologies with the benefit of experience gleaned elsewhere. Drawing together some of the key players in these regions to explore these factors was the driver behind the




Markets (ECM) Conference 2018, held in Istanbul in late November and organised by DCS Events. Delegates flew in from all points of the compass, including Australia, several African countries, Kazakhstan, India, the US and more locally from Europe and the Middle East and, of course, Turkey itself for an event designed to put the right people in the same room. 5 0


0 3 / 1 9


20m the annual admissions for approximately 800 screens in South Africa

Cinema Technology: seen in all the best places

success for all The perfect stage

Getting the right people in the right room — from all areas of the business

Quite apart from the large volume

and annual visits of 0.3 per head. Of

When writing about a conference, it’s

of visual data presented, there were

course there are a number of hurdles

pretty unusual to kick off with specific

also numerous images screened of

to growth, as was discussed in a

praise for the stage, but on this

cinemas of all sizes and styles from

range of panel sessions, but the

occasion it was genuinely noteworthy.

around the world, illustrating the

numbers alone illustrate the potential.

The whole backdrop of the main

seemingly endless possibilities that

hotel ballroom being used for the

are achievable when the imagination

Trends, opportunities

conference was a large LED screen,

is allowed to run free. The idea of a

One of the major themes for the

several metres wide and rising all the

cinema as more than just a place to

two-day conference was “trends and

way to the ceiling. This LED screen

watch a movie was a recurring theme:

opportunities”: all of the different

provided the perfect excuse for a

they are cultureplexes, destinations

sessions provided attendees with

number of presenters to go to town,

and a part of the wider community.

information specific to the various

playing with the additional display

geographic areas of the emerging

space and being able to illustrate

Africa’s growth potential

ideas and data in a more imaginative

One slide presented by Lucy Jones,

way or another. Constant in all the

way. And there was a lot of data and



presentations and panel sessions,

graphs. In fact, by the end of the first

showed the opportunities available in

however, were these three mantras:

day, there was a risk of data overload

markets such as Southern Africa.

“Know your audience”, “Local content”

from the vast amount presented.

Africa contributes <1% of world box

and ‘Location”. There were plenty of

Clearly many see real opportunities to

office currently but has 16% of the

bad examples raised to highlight

establish new screens in the territories

world’s population. Specifically, the

where these key tenets had not been

under discussion.

population of the UK and South

followed and the cinemas in question

Africa are approximately equivalent

had not proved to be the runaway

at around 60m, yet while the UK has

success its operators had hoped for.

The stage is set: critical to the event’s success was dissemination of relevant data on screen



170m annual admissions from 4,300

cinema markets, each unique in one

screens and an annual visit ratio of 2.6

Great to meet you…

per head, South Africa has just 20m

Both of the main conference days

admissions through 800 or so screens

started with breakfast discussion 0 3 / 1 9


5 1

e V v E e N n T t S s E

sessions which allowed for a more relaxed way to explore both the Turkish and African markets in more detail. With a round-table discussion featuring experts with a great deal of operating knowledge in these areas, alongside integrators and suppliers or manufacturers, the sessions provided in-depth





excellent networking opportunities. Though breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, the ECM conference allowed for plenty of networking





especially on a first-day coach tour organised by CT contributor Patrick von Sychowski which saw delegates visiting several cinemas in the major

<1% The amount Africa contributes to the global box office revenue

Meeting of minds, including far right, CT contributor David Wallace

Arturo Gullién, Comscore’s VP, EMEA and India takes the stage

found in other locations, including the UK. The public areas were bright and made use of a large amount of brick and a “steampunk” aesthetic. They made for a genuinely interesting alternative to the now commonplace multiplex style which looks decidedly unimaginative in comparison.

shopping centres in Istanbul. For many of the delegates this would have been a prime opportunity to see

What was on the agenda?

A part of the calendar Organising any event is a challenge,

the city outside of the inevitable taxi

African countries, Turkey and the Kingdom of Saudi

but organising a first-time conference

trips between the airport and hotels.

Arabia were all key elements of the programme. All

in a country that isn’t your home turf

This relaxed, unstructured networking

have different challenges, but cinema in all these

is always going to add an extra level

created a number of new relationships

territories have aspirations to develop and grow. It

of complexity, so DCS Events are to

that developed through the rest of

is clear that to deliver the opportunities for cinema

be applauded for achieving such a

the week — it was a great way to start

that are possible, all stakeholders need to work

successful three-day event.

the conference.

together in emerging markets. That stretches from

There is an ever-growing calendar

These 21st Century Shopping

the vision of a shopping centre or real estate

throughout the year for cinema

Centres tour, supported by Celluloid

developer; to studios and film licencees aiming

events, and, just as with the weekly

Junkie and SISAY, visited the amazing

to grow the market; financiers supporting the

releases, it gets harder and harder to

malls at VadiIstanbul and Istinye Park

investment; and operators of cinemas opening up

attend them all and distinguish one

where there was a showcase of the

in new markets. IT systems such as those supplied

from another. This conference has

CGV cinemas including their 4DX,

by Vista, Movio and Comscore will play a vital part

real potential to become a regular

IMAX, Tempur Cinema and Gold Class

in the development — more accurate, transparent

event — and an opportunity to meet

screens. These multiplex sites felt very

and trustworthy information is critical to enabling

people and businesses from the parts

different to the more typical cinemas

the opportunities to be realised fully.

that other events just don’t reach.

5 2


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5 3



Think big.

5 4


0 3 / 1 9

Having stunned audiences with vivid digital and analogue presentations of “Dunkirk” in 2017, and with a packed slate of offerings gracing their floor-toceiling screen venues in 2019, IMAX appears to be going from strength to strength. Brian Bonnick has acted as the IMAX’s CTO since 2011, having joined the firm in 1999, and is the mastermind behind a host of technologies, including the single projector ‘IMAX with Laser’ solution. Martin Dew caught up with him for Cinema Technology and quizzed him on evolution of IMAX technologies and even the current state-of-play on the legendary 15/70 film format…


First up — what does IMAX as a brand mean to you…

immediately think “IMAX” — and last

It boils down to providing the world’s most immersive

year the big-screen team introduced

experience, that means consumers go somewhere that,

IMAX DNA, a full ecosystem from

under normal circumstances, they would never be able to

content capture to presentation that

go. Our intention is to remain at the top of the food chain,

ensures its venues show 26% more

providing the best experience. I’ve worked for 12 companies

picture area than standard cinemas. This spearheaded a

over my career, and I’ve never worked for one where it

slate including “Black Panther” and “Mission Impossible:

doesn’t matter if you’re in the technical area, the film area, or

Fallout”. The company can rightfully lay claim to introducing

even finance; our employees have such a passion. I laugh

the first large screen venues of their type which spawned

because often when our employees go to see movies in

the modern frenzy for ‘premium large formats’. But who in

IMAX I’ll get a phone call from one of them saying, ‘I went

the IMAX development team in the 1970s could foresee that

and saw a movie, something wasn’t quite right, and I didn’t

its quirky special venue product would become a mainstay

think it was perfect.’ That type of love drives everybody to try

of the multiplex? Last year alone, the Ontario-based group

to excel every day.

secured deals to build over 200 of its single-projector ‘IMAX with Laser’ systems for exhibitors such as AMC and Pathé

Can you sum up what differentiates a modern IMAX

Gaumont, with Europe shaping up to be a key battleground.

screen from a standard multiplex?

Interviewed for CT, chief technology officer Brian Bonnick shares his thoughts on future success in the PLF world.

There are five areas that differentiate the IMAX experience. The obvious ones are the projection systems we employ, 0 3 / 1 9


5 5



which are all proprietary and custom-designed, as well as the sound systems. The next is the venue itself and the theatre geometry. IMAX is about putting you into an experience. To do that, we

The future of analogue 15/70

need to immerse you. Every IMAX theatre is a short-throw venue and the audience is sitting relatively close to the

Will there be more IMAX film 15/70 screens built?

screen. When we convert a normal theatre to IMAX, we go in,

What we’ve got now is certainly as much as we’ll get. We’ve got some that

remove their screen, put a new one in, wall-to-wall, floor-to-

have been mothballed and we’re seeing what we can do about bringing

ceiling, and we bring it closer to the audience. By bringing

them back into the marketplace. We’re not quite sure right now, because we

the screen forward, it’s the equivalent of putting in a new

haven’t been through the assessment, but we won’t be manufacturing

screen that, in other formats, would extend beyond the walls

more. It’s a 40-year-old legacy design. We can refurbish ones we’ve already

of the building. We have a patent on that concept —and

got, but we couldn’t build from scratch.

sometimes we remove the front row of seats too. The theatre is acoustically treated to IMAX standards, so

How do the IMAX laser systems compare to the analogue 15/70 system in

NC noise control and reverberation specifications have to be

terms of screen resolution and performance?

adhered to. One of the reasons we do that is because we

I actually prefer laser, but when we designed our laser system, we did so

want the audience to be able to go into any IMAX theatre

with the mindset of trying to approximate the visual experience you get

and have the same experience.

with film. There are subtleties in our laser system that, even down to some of

Then, obviously, there’s the choice of materials — dark

the types of glass we’ve used in the optics, reflect what a film-based system

materials, generally speaking — so that you’re not getting a

provides. Obviously, we don’t get the artifacts and dust on-screen. Where

lot of reflections. The screen we use in the theatre is a

films stand out is where they have been captured at 18,000 [horizontal]

custom-designed one that improves the reflection of

resolution. Our film system is capable of displaying that while obviously our

content to the viewer.

digital projectors are capable of 4K. Now, in our situation, when we use dual

The other part we deal with is at the front end. I always

projectors, we’re employing a technology that allows us to increase the

talk about the fact that IMAX is ‘cradle-to-grave’, and the

perceived resolution because we’ve got double the number of pixels. It’s not

cradle part is our filmmakers. We’ve been working with

quite 8K, but when you look at the technology we’re employing, it’s a lot

filmmakers for 40 years, including Chris Nolan, J. J. Abrams,

more than 4K. So, both have their advantages, and both can work side-by-

Michael Bay and the Russell brothers — all have embraced

side very well. Going forward, I think our GT laser, the one that does 1.43:1, is

IMAX. In combination with their skillsets and the use of IMAX

a lot more capable of fulfilling that gap.

technologies, such as our large format cameras, they are able to capture content in a way you normally can’t for any other venue. We’re able to support a 1.43 aspect ratio in these venues. Filmmakers are some of our biggest customers,

You’ve got control of the entire workflow process and

so with everything we’re designing, they’re sort of our acid

even the room in which the content is presented?

test. They’re more critical than any consumer will ever be.

What we don’t want to do is degrade the quality of what

Next in the process is our digital remastering technology,

they’re trying to convey. We try to provide an experience

and this is the method by which we can take content and

that’s lifelike, and that means you have to work with the

remove the grain, create a clean slate if we wish, or something

filmmaker. Sometimes he or she actually wants us to put

in between. We’re able to remove artifacts in an image, and

more film grain in, or they want it not quite as sharp as we

improve sharpness and overall quality.

can make it. There’s not a right or a wrong in the process. The next area is preserving the quality of the experience.

You mean the DMR (Digital Re-mastering) process?

It’s great when a tuner comes in and tunes your theatre

That’s correct. This is in conjunction with our projectors,

today. For the next two weeks it looks great, but what

when I talk ‘cradle-to-grave’ we’re controlling the cameras at

happens down the road? Obviously, we can’t keep an

the front end. We’re controlling the DMR process, again, with

engineer on site, so we have microphones located around

the filmmakers. And we have a sound system and projection

the theatre. Each morning they listen to specific test tones

system, each of which is designed to work with these other

and compare them to a reference design. They’re capable of

elements. We control the whole system. Each component is

making adjustments, should there be a variation. Acoustical

designed knowing what’s upstream of it, and we take full

performance of a loudspeaker varies with temperature and

advantage of it, even down to the cables we choose to use.

humidity — we’re able to ensure the sound is tuned perfectly.

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Similarly, we use a camera that looks at the screen every

How do the IMAX laser systems compare to the analogue 15/70 system in

morning to look at the brightness. If we’re using one of the

terms of screen resolution and performance?

dual projector systems, it ensures both are putting out the

I actually prefer laser, but when we designed our laser system, we did so with the

proper light level and are within a minute tolerance of each

mindset of trying to approximate the visual experience you get with film. There

other. In 3D, in a dual configuration, if your light levels are off

are subtleties in our laser system that, even down to some of the types of glass

a little, your brain picks up on it. Every morning the system

we’ve used in the optics, reflect what a film-based system provides. Obviously, we

calibrates itself. It gives us the ability to guarantee to the

don’t get the artifacts and dust on-screen. Where films stand out is where they

consumer that the system is working at peak performance.

have been captured at 18,000 [horizontal] resolution. Our film system is capable

If it’s not, we get an alert. We can log into the system, and we

of displaying that, while obviously our digital projectors are capable of 4K. Now, in

know exactly what buttons the operators pushed on the

our situation, when we use dual projectors, we’re employing

console. We’re at a point where 94% of all field issues are

a technology that allows us to increase perceived resolution

resolved remotely. It’s great to have a product that comes

because we’ve got double the number of pixels. It’s not

out of the gate working, but you’re going to get pixel drift

quite 8K, but when you look at the technology we employ,

and convergence issues on the systems.

it’s a lot more than 4K. So, both have advantages, and both

The design of the projectors is 25 years old, and everyone

can work side-by-side well. Going forward, I think our GT

in the marketplace, except for us, whether it be xenon, or

laser that does 1.43:1 is a lot more capable of filling that gap.

blue laser, or RGB laser, are all using the same fundamental optical design. That design, to be blunt, was never optimised

The Odeon Norwich and Odeon Kingston in the UK both

for cinema, until now, having implemented this new design

have smaller screens than are typical for IMAX. Are there

with our laser products. It’s a brand new piece of technology.

base criteria for screen size and seating?

So, all of these things are working together.

There’s a bit of misnomer in the industry that if the screen’s not big, it’s not IMAX. I acknowledge that when you walk

But you do still send techs out to each site?

into a theater and the screen is eight stories tall, your body

We do send techs out twice a year, and they do maintenance,

relative to the venue makes it feel bigger. It doesn’t matter

like changing filters, and a general validation. They’ll bring in

whether the screen is 40ft wide or 80ft wide, if it has the

the $10k colour meter and take readings. If it’s something

same field of view. We try to get into the largest auditorium

we can’t adjust remotely, they will go in at that point.

in the complex, but at some venues, if the largest auditorium

Typically they’re also providing training to the operators. The systems are easy to use, but the techs also get feedback. They tend to be our client representatives, because it’s important that we understand from exhibitor partners what’s working and what’s not working.

Control of the whole process from content capture through to the screen lets IMAX deliver the filmmaker’s vision

and the design of the venue precludes us from going into a larger one, we have to make do with what’s available. We work closely with the exhibitor to select sites that have good demographics to support it from a business level, but also try to optimise size, screen venue, acoustics and all the geometric issues that are of concern to us. In some cases it’s not an 80ft screen because they can’t support it. If it’s a marketplace where we can put a screen in and maintain that accentuated aspect ratio, the customer is still getting a wall-to-wall, fill-your-peripheral-vision experience. And the same optimised viewing angle, too? There are venues we turn down all the time, where we don’t believe we can achieve an optimized viewing angle. As an engineer, it’s less to me about the screen size, although we’re not going to go into a 30ft screen. Clearly, there are more technical parameters. We know from 40 years’ experience, that when you get a field of view less than ‘x’, you’ve started to detract from what we perceive as IMAX. It’s more to do with the geometry of the venue — how wide and how long. There’s also a misunderstanding among consumers in terms of the brand when a regular 2K or 4K film is shown

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in an IMAX screen. How do IMAX and exhibitors get the

So in that sense, they’re dealing with objects and

message across that a title is not necessarily optimised

metadata attached to specific effects…

and mastered for this specialised viewing environment?

Correct. And one of the drawbacks is that it will sound a little

This doesn’t happen often, but if they’re showing a film that

different from theatre to theatre. We’ve taken a different

is not issued by IMAX, a standard goes up on screen to say

approach in that we’ve got discrete channels, and a discrete

you are not watching an IMAX movie. There aren’t a lot of

sub, which are all full-range. We’re able to provide you with

titles that get shown that way — we have a pretty heavy slate

an extreme high dynamic range audio soundtrack. We

of films now. We’re putting out a movie roughly once every week-and-a-half on average. Last year we did about 60 films. Not every film gets processed the same way. It’s very dependent on how the filmmaker and his team made it. Some are almost engineers who understand content

Brian Bonnick, CTO at IMAX since 2011, is uncompromising in his approach to the image on screen

jokingly say you can literally hear a pin drop in the theatre, and you can hear a rocket ship taking off at 118 or 120dB without distortion. Our amplifiers are designed to work with our loudspeakers. Our loudspeakers employ a technology called PPS (proportional point source) sound. When you

capture technically and create a near-pristine piece of

look at the horns in any other theatre, they have symmetry

quality content out of the box. Others do not. So, the way we

to them. Ours have a weird-looking shape to them, and that

apply our technologies is specific to every film. In conjunction

shape is designed for the theatre it’s going into. What it

with a filmmaker, we determine ‘What does this film need?’,

allows us to do is emit more acoustical energy to the seats

recognising that we’ve got a projection and sound system

that are further away, versus the ones that are closer. The

that exceeds anything else. As an example, just about every

sound dissipates as it’s moving to the seats further away. So,

filmmaker, when their soundtrack comes through, can have

though we’re sending a much higher energy level, by the

it remastered. Our system can go an octave lower than any

time it gets to those seats, it’s at the same energy level as the

other. It’s the difference of being at a rock concert where you

closer seats. It allows us to create an extremely large sweet

can feel your chest beating, versus hearing that rock concert

spot in the theatre. You can sit just about anywhere in the

with a nice sound system. Your body’s not feeling it.

theatre, and acoustically you’re going to get the same thing.

We can take the same content someone else has got, and it’s going to look better on our system — we know how

Are you using focused dispersion characteristics in the

to manage convergence, brightness, and pixel alignment.

speakers to achieve that?

These are subtle, technical things, but when they start to go

We do that and other stuff on top. We’re able to image

awry, the quality on the screen is not as good. Our lenses are

sound. If you think of us having 12 loudspeakers, and you

custom — we don’t use ones that anyone else in the industry

draw a line from every speaker to every other one, you create

uses. Our cost factors more than theirs, and we use the most

a ‘sphere’ around the seating deck. We can originate the pin-

expensive flint glass. The bottom line is that the quality of

point source of a sound to anywhere within that sphere

the sharpness coming out of the IMAX system, with the

through the loudspeaker system.

same identical content you would show elsewhere, is higher. You’re using 12-channel audio, as opposed to 6 or 9, as standard now for IMAX installations? Yes, it’s not to compete with others that offer 60 channels and so on. It really has merit in our largest venues where

Everyone’s talking about object-oriented sound and all The new IMAX with Laser projector use Barco laser modules built to the IMAX spec

these special effects. That’s fine for a special effects movie where sounds are not real. You can’t do them wrong because there’s no reference to base them on. But when, for example, you show a quality film like “Dunkirk”, our human brains know what a plane should sound like, we know what a

room volume is extremely large. We’ve added two additional speakers on the side

bomb going off should sound like, and we have a perception

walls, and four additional loudspeakers in the ceiling. In a lot of these systems with

of what the reality of that is. In order to reproduce that, every

multiple loudspeakers, there are a couple of issues. They do a good job of giving a

loudspeaker has to be tuned the same as the next. Others

point source, or with sound coming from multiple locations in the theatre. The

use tuning systems that will have, say, 31 bands of tuning,

drawback is that you can’t spend a ton of money on the loudspeakers because

plus some parametric bands too, but that’s fundamentally

you’ve got anything from 20 to 60 of them — and people are running a business.

it. I’ve got 31 adjustments I can make, and it’s way off the

Yes, you can place a sound at a certain point, but the sheer cadence and the

mark. In our system, we employ computer algorithms, and

quality of that sound — the realistic aspects of it — just aren’t going to be there.

use a physical tuner, so we don’t just rely on the computer.

The other problem they have is they make one soundtrack and rely on a

We rely on human ears, the old-fashioned way, but we take

computer to remix it, based on the number of speakers in the theatre. So, if I have

thousands and thousands of readings from all of these

an object-oriented sound system with 20 loudspeakers versus 60, the processor

loudspeakers from 20 different spots within the theatre.

has to figure out how to restructure that sound. It does a good job, but it’s different. 5 8


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What we’re doing is balancing the sound, managing

bass nodes, and other negative things that can happen in the sound system effectively. The computer system stores all this information, and we can make adjustments any time we want. If we were to do that kind of adjustment manually, we’d be onsite for weeks. These are loudspeakers specifically designed for an IMAX short-throw venue where we want to provide the loudest sound when it happens. We generally don’t play it super loud. Our amplifiers have well over 25,000W of power. Typically, our amplifiers are running at 100–200W. The point is, I’ve got so much darned headroom that when that airplane starts shooting or that bomb blows up, I don’t have any distortion to worry about. If it doesn’t sound real, you’re losing that feeling of being there. When a studio wants sequences in 15/70 (1.43), jumping up from 2.39:1, they obviously budget for that, and decide on it in pre-production. How does that proces play out? We’ve developed trust with filmmakers, which is important. The film is their baby and they don’t want it touched in any way without their say-so. They come to us in advance saying

lasers put out. You have stray light, so what happens is that

they want to do a film, they want to do it in IMAX, and they

there is this piece of glass, and the chips all start to expand

want to do something different. We figure out creatively

and contract. That can lead to misalignment due to heat on

what it is they want. Some have particular shots they want,

the chips. On screen, you get pixel misalignment, you get

some have entire scenes, some have a hell of a lot of the

convergence issues where you may see fine magenta or

movie they want to do. They usually want to take advantage

green line, depending on the leading or lagging edge.

of the IMAX aspect ratio, the sharpness of the projectors,

The other problem you have is that you’ve got all this

and the higher resolution. Even though you might have a 4K

light coming into the prism, and stray light is bouncing

projector, we employ a technology known as oversampling,

around, grossly affecting contrast. With typical systems, the

so if you capture your content at higher resolution, even

average guy’s getting somewhere between 1,800 to 2,000:1

though you’re still limited in your playback, there are things

contrast. Also, because you’ve got so much glass, it affects

you can do to enhance that 4K playback content to make it

sharpness, so you’ve got three Achilles’ heel problems.

look like it’s a lot higher resolution.

We spent over $60m developing our laser solution. We threw away the prism, we have these chips mounted about

Your partner is Barco with its stacked projectors in your

a foot apart from each other — so there’s no stray light — and

digital IMAX screens, but are you using Barco laser too

our contrast levels more than double IMAX film. Even in our

for the new single-projector ‘IMAX with Laser’ system?

lenses, we’ve removed glass, and get this unbelievably sharp

Consider Barco a supplier. With our laser systems, we have

image. Our projectors have humidification and temperature

sub-contracted to them to build laser modules. Everything

management systems to maintain a constant level. The

else in the system I design. I put their laser modules into our

chips are mounted to an open air frame, so can be cooled from front and back,

system. I talked earlier about our projectors having a 25-plus-

and maintain a constant temperature. The frame is made of a material called

year history of using an optical prism to which the chips are

invar, one of the most thermally stable materials on the planet.

mounted. Whether they are DMDs or LC chips, it doesn’t

Now we have an environment with no stray light, chips mounted far apart, no

matter. Every projector typically has — if it’s not a colour

glass, so my sharpness is better, and I’m maintaining a thermal equilibrium, I don’t

wheel — three chips mounted onto a prism. Light bounces

have pixel drift and I don’t have convergence issues. I have a pristine image on-

into that prism, goes through a red, green and blue filter to

screen that I can’t get through other means. Barco is absolutely a partner of ours,

each of the three chips. The chips are all aligned on this

designing the light source that feeds our GT laser. They design it to our specification.

prism, so if I turn pixel ‘number one’ on, they all direct pixel

If I need a widget and if I can find what I want in the open market, I’ll buy it — I’m

‘one’ out of the lens, and they have to be superimposed on

not going to design it. If I can’t find it, it’ll have to be designed. If someone has

each other — that’s what the prism does. The problem is that

more expertise than me, I farm it out. If I have more, I do it myself. We’ll use

it was never truly designed to handle the power level that

anybody’s technology if it’s the best as we want the best experience.

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The modern-day travelling cinema show Peter Knight hits the road and investigates the modern-day showmen and women of cinema who carry on the traditions of the early pioneers of mobile screens.

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existence. Using three 35mm projectors synced together to

live in a remote location with a tiny

create a massive 120-degree screen, with 6 channels of

population but still want to present

sound, in 1956 it was ground-breaking. What many may not

the latest movie releases on the big

realise was that there was also a travelling version that went

screen? What if your festival doesn’t

around Europe. The only (really major) problem was that it

have sufficient space to show all the

required multiple vehicles and multiple staff to set it up and

content in your existing cinema? Or you want to promote

take it down. In fact it ended up requiring something in the

your movie, your brand or your products and you want to go

order of 40 vehicles. No small logistical feat. The first version

to the audience, rather than have them come to you?

was set up at the International Horticultural Exhibition (IGA)

The answer, of course, is a travelling mobile cinema.

in Hamburg, Germany. Originally housed inside a massive

Before we get stuck in, a note on definitions. While there is

tent, it accommodated around 1,000 seats initially, and

always an overlap between the definition of different types

showed “Windjammer” twice daily on a 29 x 11m screen.

of cinema, including pop-ups and outdoor screenings, in

Later there was a 3,000 seat version with a 30m-wide screen

this context the modern-day travelling cinema show is taken to be either a cinema that is completely portable (i.e. the kit turns up and it becomes a cinema) or is one that is regularly scheduled to appear outdoors thanks to the environment it operates in (i.e. warmer countries where the climate permits outdoor screenings).

erected inside a huge “Balloon Theatre”

“Some of the early travelling show people went on to become some of the first filmmakers in the industry”

(an inflatable auditorium).

Catch a film with Audrey Of all mobile cinemas, Audrey is one of the most famous — and she has been around for over 50 years. In 1964, paid for by The Ministry of Technology and operated by PERA (the Production

Travelling mobile cinemas have been around as long as

Engineering Research Association, seven custom mobile

the art form itself. The first to exploit the potential of moving

cinema bus units were built to tour the country, promoting

pictures after they were demonstrated to the public were

modern production techniques to British industry. The

often the showpeople at the fun fairs. They were the ones

surviving vehicle, Audrey, is different to the modern mobile

that created the travelling bioscope shows that would travel from town to town presenting the latest flicks to the public who found wonder in these awe-inspiring technologies. Later, some of these same showpeople would go on to

Inside a modern mobile cinema

be the earliest filmmakers. Initially these shows would simply see a tent erected with a hand-cranked projector

More than 100 years after the first

an audience of 80 to 100 (depending

installed in the back and benches up front for the audience

travelling bioscope shows, there

on the model) with all the same

to sit on. Soon the showpeople tried to outdo each other

are still a few travelling showpeople

equipment as in a cinema, all in a

until they ended up creating the more famous bioscope

left, albeit they use lorries, buses or

couple of hours. Hydraulics, steel

shows, with grand exteriors, stages, musical organs and

other commercial vehicles instead

cables and rams move the sides,

traction engines to power and transport the rigs. In fact,

of traction engines to haul kit.

roof and floor in and out. The same

these were some of the earliest venues to use electricity.

These cinemas are more or less

principles are used in vehicles such

While static cinemas really took root in the post-

self-contained, coming with all the

as broadcast trucks, notably for

Edwardian era, the travelling cinema continues to play an

seating, heating and projection

Formula 1. Within a short period a

important part in cinema-going today. Indeed, they formed

equipment included. Some of the

lorry can transform into a fully

a fundamental element of both the WWI and WWII in terms

larger articulated lorries have their


of providing information, propaganda and, of course, vital

own generators included, but the

surround sound, DCP-compliant

entertainment to the troops, a role still performed today.

real magic is in the way that the

projector, a/c and heating. There is

Beyond the early days of the bioscope shows, there

trailers open and close. They can go

even a box office space available

were other travelling cinema shows that existed on such a

from being a standard articulated

onboard that doubles as the door

grand scale that their like has rarely been seen again since.

trailer to one that accommodates

to the projection room.




As projection enthusiasts know, back in the 1950s Cinerama was one of the first premium large formats to come into

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Mobile Cinema around the globe

USA: a bigger market altogether In the US, everything is that much bigger — from a practical perspective this includes roads. Here cinema lorries can be made from larger units, complete with refreshment space and built-in toilets. With operations in Florida, Brazil and Mexico, Cinetransformer provides a 91-seat option with a 14ft 3D-capable screen.

UK & Ireland: A BAFTA-award winning service to rural communities

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A number of different companies have built mobile cinemas

cinema is staffed by two operators working a two-week rotation

over the years, but one of the main players is Toutenkamion,

who manage everything with the support of a locally sourced

from France. Their range includes 80- and 100-seat vehicles, four

usher. As a mark of the Screen Machine’s significance, last month

of which are in operation in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

BAFTA honoured Iain MacColl, its senior operator and driver for

The Scottish Screen Machine (pictured, top) is perhaps the

the past 21 years, with its inaugural “For the Love of Film award.

most widely known. It runs throughout the year and is in its

Other modern-day travelling shows built by Toutenkamion

21st year of operation, with 2018 having been its most successful

are The Movie Machine, operated by SSVC, Forces Cinema, The

to date. Touring to more than 40 communities in the Highlands

Incredible Moving Cinema (CineTruck), owned and operated by

and Islands, it spends up to four days in each location, taking 10-

Lyn Goleby and Road House, owned and operated by Element

12 weeks to complete one full tour. Screen Machine is funded by

Pictures Ireland. These three tend to operate on a more part-

Creative Scotland and Highlands and Islands Enterprise and is

time basis. Now digital, all started their lives operating with

supported by the ferry company, Caledonian MacBrayne. The

35mm Cinemeccanica Victoria 5 projectors installed in them.


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France: as seen at Cannes The travelling cinemas is anything but a UK-centric phenomenon. In France, the very newest Cinemobile started work on 29 September last year in Orleans, near Paris, serving the Centre-Val de Loire region. It continues a tradition of mobile theatre in the area that has existed for more than 35 years and serves an area of 46 rural communities, generating over 55,000 admissions per year. As a traveling cinema, the Cinémobile is part of France’s National Association of Traveling Cinemas, ANCI. This association helps co-ordinate the network of itinerant circuits. Mobile cinemas make nearly a million admissions every year in France, in often isolated or remote areas. Those in the film business may well also have seen these lorries in service at the MIPCOM Exhibition in Cannes. MIPCOM is a leading market for multi-platform audiovisual content, targeting the creators, producers, buyers and financiers who flock to the Promenade de la Croissette each October.

Thailand: an educational remit Toutenkamion has also provided a Cinemobile to Thailand, the first of its kind in Asia, that is operated by the national film archive with the support of the Ministry

Macedonia: origins of FilmAid

of Culture. Though Thailand is well-served by cinemas, they tend to be in main provincial towns. With distances between villages and towns often

The origins of the outreach charity Film Aid are rooted

100km or more, rural people rarely bother to see a film

in the Kosovo conflict in the Balkans. Back in 1999,

on the big screen. The vehicle, which seats 100, features

independent producer Caroline Baron tuned into a

Dolby 7.1 and can screen 2D and 3D. It was shipped to

radio story covering the crisis. The report explained how

Bangkok late last year and started running last month,

key necessities — food, medicine, shelter —were handled

after HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn bestowed it

by humanitarian aid agencies, but major unresolved

with the name “Chalerm Tasana”.

problems facing hundreds of thousands of Kosovar

Chalerm Tasana operates with an educational remit

refugees were boredom and hopelessness. As Caroline

and such community outreach is mirrored in the work

explained, “I had an idea; I would rally the entertainment

of FilmAid (see panel, left) a charity with perhaps the

industry to bring films to the camps. We would hold

largest global audience for its mobile cinemas.

outdoor screenings and feed the soul while providing

Recognising that communities in crisis are crying out

life-saving messages on the big screen.” Within 48hrs,

for information and empowerment, FilmAid provides

the film industry had responded and the success of the

these to millions suffering the effects of war, poverty,

initial project in Macedonia prompted the International

displacement, and disaster. Projects the charity has

Rescue Committee (IRC) and UNHCR to invite FilmAid

operated have reached communities in places as far

to extend and expand its activities globally.

apart as Kenya, Jordan, Uganda, Tanzania and Colombia.

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“We don’t need roads where we’re going…” The floating Barge Fiodra; and, in the US, mobile cinema as a marketing tool (left)

A fully hands-on experience...? “For the past two years, writes Peter Knight, I have been lucky to be involved with two mobile cinemas cinemas mentioned, because it is

operating in the UK. It allows me to see a range of

actually a specially built Bedford bus.

interesting places in a role that combines hands-on

The original seven vehicles, complete

practicality and self-sufficiency. You end up as front of

with trailers, visited factories acting as

house manager, alongside being responsible for the

training rooms, equipped with 16mm

technical setup and breakdown of the cinema.

projectors. In 1974, the Government

Wherever the cinema arrives there is always an

sold these off and now Audrey is the

astonished reaction, and often slight panic as people

sole survivor, travelling around and

realise just how big an articulated lorry is! You also

showing archive footage. Despite her

have to explain that this is indeed a proper cinema. There is showmanship in making a whole venue

retro roots, Audrey has kept up with

appear at a push of a button, but there are moving

the modern world. She no longer uses film projection, and instead, like the vast majority of the industry, made the digital switchover. A similar concept, Movie Mobil started in 2014 and is converted from a singledecker London bus. It uses standard bus seating (recovered) for an auditorium with a projector and pull-down screen at the front. MovieMobil is designed to make the cinema more

Audrey, the archetypal travelling cinema — one of seven made for the UK government in the 1960s

mechanical parts that can be up to two decades old. These sometimes need to be coaxed into operation. Fortunately, head engineer at Toutenkamion, Francis Durand, knows each of his machines in detail, and is happy to answer queries — often that mean a detailed technical call whilst lying under the back of the trailer.

accessible and affordable to young people, particularly in

Once the cinema is set up, the operation is no

disadvantaged communities, offering a mobile cinema

different to a normal booth, though from a projection

experience that visits schools and colleges,

point of view, mobile internet is still a challenge,

housing estates and community centres.

meaning hard drives are really the order of the day

No wheels on my wagon…

given the rural locations these cinemas often visit.

Not every mobile cinema is road-based. Launched in 2018, the Barge Fiodra — a wide-beam barge built in Poland — is a

The future is mobile?

fully off-grid 20 seat micro-cinema that

As with projection kit in booths and auditoria, there are

operates on the UK’s southern waterways.

often huge challenges in fitting complicated equipment

The Fiodra’s projector, sound and safety

into small spaces that travel about. The way that the trailers

systems are powered by batteries charged

mechanically work continues to improve, new versions

by solar panels, with heating from a wood-

outperform the old and, of course, the use of LED screens

burning stove! Locations vary from new

presents a considerable potential advantage. In this modern

developments to pubs and wharfs and the

age where we all feel we know what “cinema” means, it is



sometimes difficult to get a ‘wow’ from the audience. All of

canal-related films. Screenings include a

these travelling cinemas, without question create that wow,

pre-show talk on the film and its relation

from the moment they turn up on site, to the excitement of

to canal history — and staying for a post-

children when they reach the top step and walk completely

show chat and drink is actively encouraged!

out of their environment into a proper cinema auditorium.

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rie n

o i t



e m t o o c l th e e

u l c e r evo

Driven by changes in retail and leisure-time expectations, entertainment specialist Holovis has launched a new company, Extended Cinema, to transform the film experience. Peter Knight explores the future 6 6


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For Holovis, making 4D effects credible and sympathetic to the content is critical

The experience starts before you even get to the main event — in this case in the queuing areas

Cinema Technology interviews Holovis CEO Stuart Hetherington to uncover how a company with a successful background in theme park experiences can transform the moviegoers’ experience with Extended Cinema. Extended Cinema: what’s the vision?

brand partnership and sponsorship opportunities, as

We’ve launched Extended Cinema with a specific focus

well as giving insight for targeted marketing. Cinemas

on refreshing cinema’s destination offerings. For more

need to offer more when guests arrive, with areas like

than 15 years, Holovis has been doing this in the wider

the lobby being prime locations for family entertainment.

entertainment space: we create multisensory, immersive and interactive experiences that take audiences on

You mention the lobby, how would you reimagine it?

transformative journeys. We are applying our technology

It’s the first place guests see and can be a hub of social

design expertise to the cinema market to create a new

activity with increased dwell time and more spend per

out-of-home, location-based entertainment category.

head and monetisation opportunities. Experiences that

We use interactive technologies to put guests in control,

can be shared as a group are critical. Our karaoke booth,

whilst driving additional revenue streams for exhibitors.

for example, allows guests to sing together and record a

Holovis is prolific in the theme park and wider

video accompanied by a virtual backing band. There is

entertainment sector where we develop story-driven

the option to share this online, of course, increasing the

attractions — media- and motion-based experiences

venue’s reach. The booth takes up a small footprint and

such as immersive tunnels, dark rides and 4D theatres

has multiple uses, doubling as a green-screen studio.

— but we have expanded to park-wide adventures driven

Our solutions are scalable and configured for the

by frictionless tracking technologies invisible to guests.

needs of the market. The team can provide a turnkey

That basically means experiences happen as if by magic.

solution, from media and content creation through to

The most notable recent change in what we deliver

software configuration and engineering design and

is the way narratives play out. Engagement is key. The

delivery, all in a way that means operators can add new

experience no longer starts when you arrive at the door,

content, whilst obtaining real-time performance data.

but long before that at home, the minute you book a ticket. Queuing, too, is now an integrated part of the

And 4D theatres… Just a gimmick?

experience, with immersive technologies engaging you

Some see 4D as a gimmick — but our aim is to take the

and building anticipation before the ride itself. We call

4D experience to a true multi-sensory event that exceeds

this the Extended Experience. You can discover hidden

expectations. This includes addressing challenges in the

narratives, extend your interaction with the theme park

motion profile. Films are rarely shot in a first-person

and tailor your adventure based on the path you choose.

narrative, so what should the motion follow? Often the experience can go a bit off-piste, with seats moving in

How is this applicable to the cinema world?

directions that actually take some of the audience away

Cinemas need to follow the theme park model and

from the action. Thanks to our background, we hope to

connect more with the audience before, during and

improve the motion profiling, working with the studios

after the main event, and they need to increase their understanding of what guests do in the space when they get there. Understanding this will create additional

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at an earlier stage to ensure it fits the action, rather than having motion for motion’s sake. We are also advancing


the SFX technology to include sensory elements that



really make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up,


not just splashing people in the face whenever there is water on the screen. Audio is often overlooked in an experience — that’s criminal as it is such an important

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element of true sensory immersion. We’ll be installing Holovis Hifiniti audio in seat headrests to surround guests in the sound. These changes will connect the drama of the film to the motion and effects experienced

Are you sitting comfortably?

by the audience in a more realistic, synchronised way. Since the launch of 4D, seat technology and SFXs within them haven’t

How do you measure the impact these changes have?

changed much — this is remarkable given how much the components in

Big Data and AI are the buzzwords but in reality they’re

them have evolved. Extended Cinema’s seat designs for its HXC branded

useless unless you actually have the right scalable data.

4D cinemas aim for a true multisensory adventure and the company is

You can’t learn from datasets unless they are significant

addressing the challenge of the motion profile, creating an advanced

and you understand what you can achieve with them.

motion profile that embodies the film, rather than alluding to it

Both Holovis and Extended Cinema are launching a specific range of products that are experience-driven,

1 Adjustable footrest

harnessing the data and analytics that we are collecting

2 Moveable armrests

for mass venue environments. A lot of our work is around

3 Ergonomic seat profiling for the best SFX experience

how we collect that data compliantly, how we manage it from a security point of view and how we do that in a way that doesn’t affect the guest in a negative way.

4 Ripple and poke 5 In-seat transducers, airbags and vibration technology 6 In-seat neck stimulators

And who’s at the helm of Extended Cinema? We’ve recruited Heather Blair as our VP. Her career spans three decades in the entertainment industry, holding senior positions in publishing, sales and marketing. She

7 Holovis Hi-Finity in-seat stereo Audio 8 Wipeclean material for faster show turnarounds 9 3D DF Motion: pitch, yaw, roll and sway

knows the market well — prior to joining Holovis, Heather focused on developing opportunities in the interactive technology and motion theatre market, working with studios to procure titles to be programmed for 4D, then with chains to bring them to life as a premium offering. Hayley Kenney’s our business development engineer. She been working at Holovis for over three years and is running the product design and development side of things, drawing on the expertise of the Holovis team. Importantly, we don’t divisionalise our workforce. We have one generic team — be it our designers, our install engineers, our creative team, we don’t divide them up. We are excited about the venture. Heather’s passion for cinema is infectious and her creativity knows no bounds. We’re confident this will be a great partnership.

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Experiential design on fire Even the most iconic of theme park attractions, the rollercoaster, has had an experiential makeover. Wicker Man at Alton Towers launched in 2018 and is the UK’s most immersive coaster, combining technology and storytelling in new ways. Holovis technology puts guests at the heart of the narrative as soon as they enter the queue. A dynamic soundscape is specially designed to evolve at the pace of the queue flow. This tells the story through subtle audio changes, narrative voiceover and key messaging, so no matter how long or short the queue, the narrative is communicated with guests, helping to build the drama.

What’s hiding in your data? A key element in enhancing guest experiences is personalisation. Using invisible frictionless tracking technologies,





behaviour can be devised to understand better how they move around the cinema, engage with marketing and advertising content and make purchase decisions. This can be extended to the theatre itself to measure physical, emotional and intellectual responses to advertising and throughout the





can enrich the experience and



retention. Operators can integrate their traditional customer



this customer behaviour sensing, sharing it with brands and advertisers to tailor content and inform

Making guests the star of their own show

campaigns, ensuring they really hit the mark.

“Justice League: A Call For Heroes” is a new walk-through attraction that has broken the mould for the Madame Tussauds’ brand in Orlando and Sydney. For the first time, guests star in the attraction alongside the wax superheroes, bringing their powers to life through interactive sequences using combinations of projection mapping, enhanced audio and SFX. These include Wonder Woman; where guests strike her iconic pose alongside her to activate her power gauntlets and create an explosion; Superman, where guests need to use his strength to lift a helicopter alongside a dynamic, articulated Madame Tussauds figure; and Batman, where guests must fire a Bat Signal to reveal the formidable figure through billowing smoke and wind. Holovis has been responsible for the technology in the attraction and focused on keeping it imperceptible. To make it as natural as possible for guests to interact with the superheroes, the company ensured all motion-based tasks were things guests are naturally compelled to do, such as strike Wonder Woman’s pose or grab Aquaman’s trident.

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4 K

Investing in 4K today to stay relevant tomorrow 4K television, 4K phones, 4K streaming… the buying public is pretty familiar with the concept of increased resolution. Enrico Ferrari, regional sales head South and East Europe at Sony Digital Cinema 4K, explains why the cinema industry now needs to outpace technological evolution to retain its “ultimate viewing experience” reputation.



that ushered in this new era were a mix of oddities —

films in the late 1890s, through to the

including 1998’s “The Last Broadcast”, a “Blair Witch”-esque

introduction of colour film, digital

found-footage horror flick. A year later though, “Star Wars

projectors and 3D technologies, our

Episode I: The Phantom Menace” was shown on a DLP

sector has often been ahead of the

projector and the technology was quickly seen as the future.

curve. In fact, compared to television

broadcasters, the cinema industry had a near two-decade

Refining and defining 4K

lead on providing colour content to viewers. More recently,

As one technology enters the market,

we’ve been slower in transitioning from analogue to digital,

its replacement is hot on its heels. In

while innovations in consumer technologies accelerated. If

this respect, 4K projection made its

cinemas wish to retain a reputation as the home of the

first commercial debut in 2003, just as

ultimate viewing experience — against competition from

cinemas were starting to convert to

streaming services and UHD smart TVs — returning the focus

the first wave of 2K projectors. Eight

to new technological innovations is essential.

years on and 4K entered the cinema

Dawning of a digital age

“We’re living in the age of 4K. Adoption in the home ent market has been rapid — today 4K is commonplace”

market with force — and began to appear in home televisions at a similar time. Cinema had comfortably led television on

In the second half of the 20th century the film industry

almost all advances in image quality previously, but as the

faced the challenge of determining how to streamline film

4K era dawned, that gap was closing dramatically.

distribution while maintaining — and boosting — the quality

Despite the advent of 8K, today we’re living in the age of

of the images it could project. It was not until the 1990s,

4K. Adoption in the home entertainment market has

when the first Digital Light Processing (DLP) projector was

accelerated (in some cases faster than the move from

publicly demonstrated, that the industry began to move

standard definition to high definition) to the extent that 4K

into the digital age. When, in 1998 the first feature films were

is now a staple of the modern consumer’s technological

entirely shot, edited and distributed digitally in cinemas in

arsenal. Today, 4K resolution is commonplace in consumer

the US, the technology was by no means mainstream. Films

televisions, in games consoles, and even in our smartphones.

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cinematic innovation and consumer demand. By arming

Selling the benefits of 4K

themselves with 4K, HDR-capable projection technologies, exhibitors will be set for years ahead. With many operators coming to the end of VPF deals made at the start of the digital transition, the timing is right, too. There are options to

A 4K image on a cinema screen contains 4096 × 2160

suit any theatre’s needs — whether that’s a super-size 26m

pixels. That level of detail means pixilation is a thing of

screen or a more intimate and cosy local art-house site.

the past. Audiences can see the difference — especially

As cinema operators will appreciate, laser projectors are

when combined with technology such as HDR. Polling

currently leading the Premium Large Format market for 4K

conducted by Sony suggests that 81% of viewers

thanks to improved contrast ratios (such as on the Sony SRX-

prioritise 4K screenings over other formats (Sony

R815DS which has a contrast ratio of 10,000:1), brightness

audience poll, Nov-Dec 2017). But not all 4K screens are

levels and HDR abilities. Such dual-projector set-ups are the

created equal, however. While the 4K image on a cinema

leading solution for the biggest PLF screens in large cinemas

screen and a television screen may have a similar

looking to wow. But smaller cinemas don’t need to feel

(though not identical) number of pixels, that doesn’t

short-changed. Lamp projectors offer reliable operation,

mean equivalent detail — cinema servers use a higher

simple maintenance and low running costs and are able to

bandwidth. For example, a Blu-ray film might be

deliver true 4K images on a smaller scale. Such systems

encoded at 48Mbit/s while digital cinema can be

provide lower cost light sources and easy lamp replacement.

encoded at 10x that, at 500Mbit/s. Cinema has greater

Models such as Sony’s SRX-R515P use six High Pressure

detail in each pixel per frame — making for a more

Mercury (HPM) lamps that provide fantastic brightness as

impressive image, a point not always conveyed to

well as peace of mind: if one lamp goes the system operates

audiences by the simple addition of a “4K” tag.

with the remaining lamps, reducing the risk of lost shows.

Image quality aside, 4K offers greater flexibility and



Projected number of homes worldwide that will have access to 4K by 2020

Sony’s SRX-R815DS’s contrast ratio

revenue opportunities especially when you add content

What comes after 4K… 8K?

including 4K live for theatre, music, sport, opera and

It would be naïve to think that 4K marks the end of the

gaming. Today’s raft of 4K projectors are energy-efficient

journey into improving the movie magic. Laser projection

and reliable and higher-end PLF dual projectors (such as

will continue to grow in popularity, and screen technology is

those supported by Sony’s FINITY branding) come with

evolving. Down the line we will see increasing diversification

marketing materials to help educate audiences.

of the projection systems used in the cinema — Crystal LED, for example, provides incredible colour reproduction, and near 180-degree viewing angles. As the PLF sector grows, new forms of screen technology such as this will become a

Research from IHS Markit’s 4K household forecast

further option for those looking to offer the largest, most

expects the number of households with a 4K TV to grow to

immersive system. And in the future, such screens will be

335 million in 2020. In the UK, around one in five households

able to scale to resolutions beyond today’s 4K systems.

is thought to own a 4K television — a figure that is growing

Beyond the image, we can expect to see experimentation

rapidly. As appetite for 4K on the small screen gathers pace,

with other technologies such as peripheral screens to the sie

and with more titles captured, distributed and promoted in

of the main screen, and 4D experiences. These provide a

this format, it is now for cinemas to capitalise on demand for

twist on the classic cinema experience, but the defining

4K on the big screen, too. Many exhibitors have been treating

factor for the future of cinema will remain the improvements

audiences to the best 4K pictures for a number of years,

in image. Ultimately, one of the most rewarding reasons to

nevertheless currently only around one-third of cinemas in

work in the industry is to be a part of its evolution. Cinema

the UK is 4K capable. To keep the crown as the ultimate

itself has been the home of innovation in imagery since the

movie-watching destination, cinemas should not ignore the

moving image sector began — it would be a shame if it loses

power of 4K in future-proofing their business.

the title to television. To avoid this, theatres must not lose

The theatre owner’s guide to 4K today

sight of the importance of remaining at the cutting-edge. We know that the next era of film-making, distribution and

With the impending introduction of 5G streaming and rising

viewing will be more competitive but also more exciting,

internet speeds, as well as major leaps forward in large-scale

than ever before. Theatre owners should channel the spirit

4K broadcasting, 4K resolution and High Dynamic Range

of technological innovation of the past to remain pioneers at

technology, image quality is set to define the next era of

the forefront of the cinematic revolution in the future.

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7 1


Elevating popcorn to an artform For Adam Sopher and his family, popcorn is a serious business — and their Joe & Seph products are having a radical impact in the F&B stands, too. Words: Melissa Cogavin

Fact File


N THE UK, IT’S EASY to forget that

captured the popcorn zeitgeist and what the cinema

developments in cuisine over the past

business can learn from his experiences.

two decades have been little short of

With the sage words of Donald Rumsfeld ringing in my

seismic. London is now a world-class

ears, I asked Adam to clarify the known knowns, and the

destination for the most discerning of

known unknowns about his journey with popcorn. Initially, I

foodies, littered, as it is, with top chefs

was interested to hear about the personal and technical

and director,

and Michelin stars. One might reasonably assume that the

journey that led from that first breakthrough inexorably to

Joe & Seph’s

trickle-down effect of satisfying this burgeoning appetite

the creation of astonishing flavours like Gin & Tonic popcorn.

Adam Sopher, co-founder

for upmarket nourishment might have influenced cinemas

“We pop them using hot air,” Adam explained

Founded by his

in a similar way. Certainly we are seeing in-cinema dining as

profoundly, adding that popcorn is most often fried in hot

father in 2010,

a regular occurrence in many auditoria, specially adapted to

oil, and that hot air process leaves no taint of oil in the

Adam joined Joe

include side tables for your antipasti and pizza and bottle

product. Why reinvent the wheel, I wondered? “The reason

& Seph’s early on

holders for your chilled prosecco, unthinkable a decade

this works is that inside the kernel is a bit of moisture. If you

in 2011 — the

ago. Though the challenges of eating in the dark, with your

blast the kernel with enough hot air it pops by itself; there’s

company now

fingers, in reclining seats means there are limitations to the

no oil or butter in the product which is a lot healthier.” Is this

offers more than

chef’s creativity, standards have been set and expectations

a patented process that Joe & Seph’s invented? “Not our

50 flavours and

higher than ever. The customer expects to be well fed now.

invention, but it’s a process used a lot in the US. In the UK,

has won more than 40 Great

Poshing up the pick’n’mix?

Taste awards.

Despite pizza and antipasti offerings in boutique cinemas, we haven’t seen a revolution to the same extent in the traditional offerings in the multiplex; nachos, hotdogs, pick ‘n’ mix remain the staples devoured every weekend. It is perhaps a matter of time before Rollover is forced to produce a vegan

it’s cheaper and easier to fry it first, then spray with water, which contains seasoning. We weren’t

“Joe & Seph’s has tapped into the same market event cinema identified — the affluent middle class on a night out”

hot dog, such are the times we live in.


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with air popping, is that you get much bigger pieces of corn. No bits come off which is what tends to happen in the frying process, so there is less wastage. “Cheese is the base of all our flavours, which is turned to either a liquid or caramel. Nobody else is doing

that and it means that you get a totally different taste to

Popcorn, however, has experienced something of a

other popcorn. All of this is done because we want to make

renaissance and the appetite for this simple — and ancient

it more of a premium product, more interesting, and we do

— snack (remnants of popped corn have been found in

that by introducing a constantly evolving variety of flavours.”

Mexico dating to 3600BC) seems larger than ever. The snack

7 2

keen on that method, and the bonus

boomed during the Great Depression and was reinvented

The magic lightbulb moment…

during the Great Recession of the 2000s. One big success

How did the family’s pursuit of popcorn perfection come

story in this area is Joe & Seph’s, a family-run company

about? Lightbulb moments like these are once in a lifetime.

based in West London. I met with Adam Sopher, co-founder

“We are known as these popcorn aficionados now, but

and director to understand how his family has so effectively

before this happened Dad ran an electrical wholesale

business and I used to work in the head office of electrical retailers Dixons. We all love food in our family. Dad was travelling to an exhibition in the US and brought back some American popcorn with him and we all loved it. It was nothing special, cheese or caramel flavour, but the quality was so much better, it was handmade, delicious. He

Key to the brand’s success has been its premium positioning in a market previously measured by the bucketload

brought more and more back every time he went back to the US. The fifth year he brought back his entire 23kg luggage allowance of popcorn.” That was 15 years ago when the popcorn market in the UK was — forgive the pun — stale. “We looked around” Adam continued, “and nobody was doing anything like what we had seen in the US, so when Dad retired, we just went for it.” Fast forward to 2019 and Joe & Seph’s has received 41 Great Taste Awards, the foodie equivalent of the Oscars, so

cinema and the many other new F&B offerings that are now

it is fair to say that Adam and his family have reinvented

available. It has transformed cinemas and the whole

popcorn in the UK to extraordinary acclaim — and it’s

experience, which badly needed some attention. Popcorn

remained a family business. “Dad does production and

is big business these days, but there are few real competitors

finance, I’m responsible for sales, Mum does operations and

in the cinema space. What sets Joe & Seph’s apart? As is

payroll and my brother handles the export business.”

almost always the case with a success story, it comes down

Buying-in to affordable indulgence

to perfect timing. Adam agreed, “When we launched the company, affordable indulgence was key. We were living in

Joe & Seph’s has tapped into the same market that event

a recession environment, cinema was a treat at that time,

cinema identified about 13 years ago; the affluent middle

popcorn like ours is a treat.” It’s well-known that despite the

classes who have money to spend on a night out at the

worst recession in 80 years, cinema attendance in the UK

The secret’s in the flavour — and in the case of Joe & Seph’s that could be just about anything you can think of. Caramel macchiato and whisky popcorn, anyone?

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7 3


Adam on... the theory behind the flavour As a technology title, readers may

sugar and for the daring, salt-and-

expect projectors deconstructed

sugar flavours, Joe & Seph’s has

and examined, but perhaps not the

reinvented the snack completely.

inner workings of popcorn. What of

How do they come up with all these

the methodology behind flavour?

flavours? Adam laughed. “Usually it

the cinema market, Adam explained,

“This is called ‘food sequencing’

starts with Dad rummaging in the

but there has been a positioning war with other popcorn

and basically there are a few bits to

kitchen at home at 3am. We come

suppliers, who occupy the retail market, the kind of popcorn

this,” said Adam, “People don’t like

in at a more sensible hour and find

to have with your lunch, for example.

remained constant; people may not have been booking holidays but they still went to the movies. They have no real competitors in

A family affair — the driving forces behind the Joe & Seph’s popcorn

eating food and getting everything

samples on our desks. The flavours

“Our space is different. It’s not easy, it’s difficult to make

at the same time. We want flavours

to start with were all down to his

the product the way we make it,” Adam went on. “We’ve

one by one. For example, caramel,

palate. More recently we have got

done a lot of work with cinemas on this. We have produced

pepper and chili flavour popcorn

to a point where people are offering

a lot of data analysis and our findings demonstrate to

contains those three but you get

their products for us to try. Marmite

cinemas that they will make extra revenue on special items

them in the order of caramel first,

flavour is divisive, of course, but it’s

like luxury popcorn.“

then pepper, and finally chili. How

going down well. We’ve also just

it’s done is a trade secret I’m afraid,

created the world’s first alcoholic

but it’s less about the equipment

popcorn for a bar in London which

Joe & Seph’s enterprising instincts don’t stop at a rainbow of

and more about the timings, the

wanted us to do something fun for

flavours, they also offer advent calendars, dipping sauces,

processes and the temperatures.”

the summer. It’s a gin bar and they

Marketing support, too

subscription services, online ordering, export to 18 territories

The flavour choice has grown to

asked if we could make it work in

and so on. I admitted to Adam I couldn’t think of another

a mouth-watering number: Pina

popcorn. Dad found a bottle of gin

company that has diversified so well given the static nature

Colada, Cheese on Toast, Truffle Oil

in the kitchen and spent the

of popcorn as a product. What’s next on the horizon?

and Orange Marmalade being just

afternoon working on it.” Is there a

Adam wouldn’t be drawn on specifics but he hinted

a few. How is the selection made for

strategy to it? “We do a lot of shows

that 2019 contained new products, new flavours and lots of

cinemas? Is it based on a few key

and we sample food at exhibitions,

new initiatives. “It’s really exciting and we will continue to

flavours? “We tend to offer some

that’s a good way to test the market.

grow our brand into other spaces.”

best sellers that we know will do

We’ve done focus groups too, but

For Adam and his hard-working family, their kernel of

well,” exlained Adam, “and we will

the thing that really influences a

an idea really has exploded into a booming popcorn

work with exhibitors over time to

flavour is whether people will part

empire, with a multitude of flavours appealing to everybody,

expand the selection.” From salt,

with money for it.”

coming from a business emulated by nobody, and all in a cinema near you. 7 4


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A cinematic rhapsody

in Bohemia

Featured in the September 2018 issue, the Centrum Panorama in the Czech Republic, is a temple to the big screen. Mark Lyndon MBKS interviews Pavel Nejtek, the driving force behind its renaissance.



I was at primary school — I still own it to this day. Having

heart of Bohemia is where you will

completed my basic education, I continued by specialising

find Pavel Nejtek. Dubbed locally the

in electronics and focussing on cinema technology. When I

“The Magnificent Showman”, he is the

was 20 years old, I began my collection of examples of

mastermind behind a cinema that

cinema technology. Parts of this collection are housed in the

champions giant screen 70mm film

Centrum Panorama building. Although that was my passion,

exhibition. Interviewed through his interpreter, Martin

my main job was in Czech television as an engineer of film

Sinkmajer, Mr Nejtek explains how his passion for the big

production. My dedication to cinema technology never

screen and its cultural heritage have developed over the

wavered though and I kept up my contacts in the area.

years. His model is a lesson for exhibitors around the world.

The 550-seat auditorium sees 70mm fans flocking to catch classics up on screen once more

In the 1990s, I relaunched my father’s company and began producing neon advertising. This happened when he

Mark Lyndon: This complex would not be here without the

was still present to witness the company’s renaissance — I

backing of your successful business, which pioneered neon

was obliged to suspend my passion for cinema technology

light advertising in Europe. How did that company begin?

in order to rebuild the neon business. At the end of the last,

Pavel Nejtek: My father established the neon lighting

and the beginning of this century, I was sorely missing my

advertising business in 1936. We don’t know exactly how

first love though, so I made a life-changing decision and

many companies were involved in neon lighting at that time

started thinking seriously about renewing my interest.

but my father was certainly one of the pioneers in the sector.

At that time, I came across this extraordinary building that housed an original cinema. The building fitted perfectly

ML: That developed into a company which subsequently

with my philosophy and my next plan — to restore it to its

took over the Centrum Panorama building in Varnsdorf, on

former glory. Originally, it was a 70mm panoramic film

the Czech/German border. What was the sequence of events

theatre with capacity for 550 seats, and it first opened in

that led to its acquisition and restoration from dereliction?

1971. When I found it, it was in bad shape and had a leaking

PN: Since my childhood, cinematography and cinema

roof with water seeping into the building. Although it was

technology fascinated me. I owned my first projector when

derelict, I decided to buy it and take on a full restoration. I

7 6


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screenings since 2008, but there was a further issue — I decided to open a fully licensed restaurant in the complex and applying for a licence was not easy. It was clear from the start that operating a cinema alone would not make it a going concern. It had to be a cinema plus restaurant to be viable. The restaurant subsidises the cinema, which attracts clientele. A cinema alone couldn’t make a profit here. The year 2010 was a great one — transfer of ownership was completed and we acquired the second part of the existing complex, originally a hotel with a dance hall. The restaurant had not been an original part of the complex but it now occupies the original foyer of the cinema. The area above that was the hotel and ballroom. To begin with, the building was in such a state we had to construct an all-new roof — and wait for better times to continue the restoration. ML: You clearly see this as a cultural site to be preserved? PN: Exactly. The Centrum Panorama is still undergoing renovation and as part of that development, we have recently installed an impressive screen from Harkness. Now visitors will see panoramic films on a 135m2 curved screen which has a chord, or depth, of 1.8m. Before that we updated the optical system of our projectors featuring an upgraded high-fidelity cinema sound system, especially for magnetic sources of sound. This allowed for interoperability between contacted the owner, with a determination to preserve the 70mm technology and heritage it featured and to save the site from bankruptcy and destruction. I proposed that the entire complex and the equipment it contained should be

With a collection to outclass the Cinematheque Francaise, the cinema is a magnet for lovers of all things film

original and new digital cinema projectors. ML: And you have a world-class collection of rare and vintage projectors that outclasses the Cinematheque Francaise, too? PN: We do. The next step in our development philosophy

transferred to my ownership. Adapting and adopting my

will be to install an outdoor cinema for the summer season

experience in the neon business and having analysed and

on newly acquired land adjoining this site. Ideally, we would

assessed the installation, I formulated a business plan and

hope to feature 70mm projection for our outdoor shows.

drew up a budget for a complete restoration and the whole

enterprise was supported by the Elektroneon company.

ML: So, a lot in the offing. What hopes for the future?

I was deeply into in neon signs at the time and one of my

PN: There is space here to develop a museum of cinema

most important clients was Tesco supermarkets in Great

technology and to revive one of the functions of this building

Britain. I had won an exclusive contract with them and I fought hard to manage the neon business at the same time as supervising the restoration of the cinema. It finally opened under the aegis of Elektroneon, but initially kept its original name of Cinema Panorama. To emphasize added services

Bohemia’s greatest showman Pavel Nejtek, whose passion has seen Centrum Panorama thrive once more

as a hotel. It is a longer-term aspiration — finance is never easy. The original intention was to establish financial stability and a foundation for a viable enterprise — but bear in mind none of this would be possible if the key purpose had been anything other than conservation of an important cinema.

such as a pizzeria and a restaurant, the current name was adopted: “Centrum Panorama”. The paramount factor in the decision to acquire the Centrum Panorama was a strong desire and curatorial ambition to revive and celebrate 70mm film technology. Because of the enormous structural problems of this building, we were obliged to postpone the project, but I was determined from the outset to achieve the goal and to see the project through. The cinema has been open since 2005, with 70mm

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7 7


The hotel cinema:

A boutique destination


F EVER THERE WAS A demonstration

old court houses into hotels — one in London’s West End,

of how the exhibition, hospitality and

Marlborough Street, the other in Old Street, Shoreditch.

catering industries are blending, then

Both have superb cinemas, with Old Street Courthouse

it would be the arrival of cinemas in

Hotel having one of the biggest private cinemas in London.

hotels. Examples, such as Curzons,

The screening room has stadium seating for an audience of

Everymans and boutique cinemas,

196 and is equipped with professional 35mm and video/

are often situated in town and city centres which have a

digital projection systems. It can accommodate recorded

different footfall dynamic to the out of town multiplex.

formats ranging from almost all video formats to current or

A cinema with full professional projection, sound and

pre-release 35mm. Dolby 7.1 incorporating JBL surround

audio visual facilities is an asset for any well-located hotel. It

speakers and high-powered Crown stage units provide the

can raise income for the hotel in business meeting, events,

sound system, with full “surround EX” capability. Reception

conference and private hire income streams and is an

facilities are in place for live or recorded events, and obviously

added attraction for residents, driving up income from

there is video conferencing available.

guests staying and dining in. Hotel cinema also provides the

Across the Atlantic, Firmdale’s New York hotel, the

prospect of income from non-residents who use the bar and

Whitby, similarly has a professional-grade cinema that seats

restaurant facilities. Many hotels offer a meal, a drink and a

130 in a 302m2 space and with a screen size of 9x3.5m. On

movie in an attractively priced package. In an era when the

the vision side it uses a Christie CP4220 DLP 4K DCinema

consumer is interested in spending on experiences rather

Projector with a Dolby DSS200 digital cinema server and

than things, a visit to a smart hotel with a luxurious cinema

Xpand 3D cinema system. Sound is delivered by a Dolby

is undoubtedly an intriguing option.

Atmos cinema processor CP850, QSC audio amplifiers, JBL

International growth in hotel cinemas

speakers and JBL subwoofers. Again, additional conferencing facilities involve multi-format video playback, microphone

The Charlotte Street hotel, one of the Firmdale group’s luxury destinations with a screening room

Patrick von Sychowski investigates the trend on p38, but there are two hotel groups in particular that have pioneered this shift, Courthouse Hotels and Firmdale Hotels. Madeleine Phillips, at the Firmdale Group, told me that the group does not have a centralised policy for programming, pricing and promotion of its cinema activities. The hospitality teams in each hotel has complete autonomy in how they program, price and promote. Effectively each hotel runs its own independent boutique cinema — which does not follow the more centralised approach of many chains. As the name suggest, Courthouse has converted two 7 8


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Savoy Systems

In the last issue, Mark Trompeteler, asked to what extent parts of cinema exhibition have actually made the move across to being an element of the hospitality and catering industries. In a follow-up, he flips that on its head on uncovers how many hospitality and catering establishments are now installing cinemas of their own with a view to offering the public a night out, and an experience in direct competition with that you can find in the cinema.

Cinema Box Office Software Specialists for Independents 100+ Independent venues in the UK are using our software, Oscar We’re based in the UK, and so is our 24/7 telephone support

sound mixing and video conferencing and live streaming. Many readers will be aware of South London’s Future Projections, fully integrated designers, installers, suppliers

We’ve been supporting independent cinemas for over 10 years

and service providers who offer a turnkey cinema service. They have project managed and installed facilities for both Courthouse and Firmdale and they provide service support.

Mobile-responsive online booking ensures you don’t miss out on customers

A sense of occasion, but which industry? Much has been written about event cinema, rooftop cinema,

Choose between Cloud-based or Server on-site, with access from anywhere

live orchestrated cinema and so on. All are connected to the fundamental concept of boutique cinema and fine food, mass chain luxury cinema and hotel cinema. What do they all strive to do? They all drive at one goal — to give the guest

20 million tickets sold, and counting

a sense of occasion beyond the run-of-the mill. When all their resources are biased very significantly towards the components of the night out rather than the presentation of the film itself, then surely we can say that parts of exhibition are moving definitely to the hospitality and catering sectors.

A good night’s sleep? Many regenerated urban areas make the appeal of a cinema in a centrally located hotel attractive. Hotel cinemas are almost always open to residents and non-residents alike. Such hotel cinemas offer an excellent auditorium but with levels of dining and service that exceed the majority of cinemas. A hotel offers a good night’s sleep too — even the most comfortable of recliners




match that!




Call us on +44 (0)115 714 1486 0 9 / 1 8 > 7 9


A W A R D S Hosted by film-critic Mark Kermode, the “last projectionist standing”, Dave Norris, and actor Jason Isaacs, the CTC 2018 awards recognised those that drive excellence in movie-going. Photos by Julie Edwards

The CTC Awards 2018





Dave Hodgkinson receives his award Critic and actor centre stage, below


many and the perceived threat of VOD, the past year was an astonishing one for cinema in terms of box office

Screen of the Year Nordisk Colosseum Oslo

admissions and revenue and, despite

industry-wide consolidation, the movie business continues

CTC’s 2018 screen of the year

to innovate, aiming for an immersive experience with

has brought the magic of the

technology at its heart,” explained Richard Mitchell, the

movies to filmgoers in Norway

president of CTC (Cinema Technology

for almost 100 years. Inside a

Community), at the independent notfor-profit trade organisation’s annual

Technology of the Year

awards, hostd at Universal’s London

Barco/Cinionic Light Steering Projection

headquarters last December. “Our awards recognise organisations and individuals that create outstanding experiences which put movie-goers to the fore,” added Richard, “and on behalf of our directors, governors, advisory council and members, we congratulate our award recipients.”

40m diameter dome with a 28m-high roof, is Scandinavia’s largest single auditorium. The Colosseum has evolved since

Technology continues to flow in to the cinema

it opened in 1921 and in 2016

space and over the past two years, we have seen

owners Nordisk refurbished

the slow but steady adoption and to some degree,

the entire space, from wall

acceptance from within of LED screen technology.

coverings and seats to Barco

Some were very quick to proclaim the death of

Flagship RGB Laser Projection

projection, however, in 2018 one technology made

and a RealD Ultimate screen,

the industry stop and think about whether there

it is one of the most eye-

may well be a new take on one of the most magical





elements of the movie experience — the projected image. Despite not yet being available

world. And Nordisk know how

commercially, Cinionic’s Light Steering Projection has already gained much recognition

to wow audiences: a unique

including recently receiving the Advanced Imaging Society’s prestigious Lumière award.

pre-show sees 12 phosphor

Cinionic’s prototype light steering projection technology works by taking light from darker

laser projectors displaying a

areas on the screen and repurposing the light to brighter areas increasing contrast and thus

three-minute light and sound

creating a form of HDR. This exciting new technology is one to watch in 2019.

show on to the domed roof.

8 0


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Jason Isaacs outlined his belief in the significance of the big screen

Compere Patrick von Sychowski kept it lively

Cinema Team of the Year

Outstanding Achievement Award

Watershed Bristol

David Williams

The recipients of the CTC’s 2018 team of the year is

In cinema circles, the words ‘dynasty’ and ‘Williams’ go hand in hand.

dedicated to providing an incredible experience

Before David was born, his father and grandfather, with the Chapman

from the moment the movie-goer enters. A

family, bought the Capitol Theatre St Austell in 1945. Some 20 years later,

welcoming destination for cultural, creative, social

in 1966, David joined WTW Cinemas straight from school, as a trainee

and business visitors alike, the Watershed team has

projectionist. He rose to managing director. When he joined, WTW had

worked tirelessly to create engaging, vibrant and

cinemas in St Austell and Padstow, with The Regal in Wadebridge

welcoming spaces that are accessible to all and a

coming soon after. Under his management, the company acquired sites

cinema space where technical excellence in movie

around the south-west. David’s knowledge of the area and understanding

presentation is shown at all times.

of what his customers want led to long-term success, with many ‘firsts’ for Cornwall including the first triple screen in 1981 and the first fivescreen in 1991. The current portfolio includes The Lighthouse in Newquay,

Lifetime Achievement Award

the Plaza in Truro, The White River in St Austell and The Regal in

David Hodgkinson (Universal Pictures International)

Wadebridge. WTW acquired the closed Plaza in Truro in 1997 from the receivers and rebuilt it as a

The CTC presented its 2018 lifetime achievement award to one of the industry’s unsung

four-screen. David’s sons Mark

heroes: David Hodgkinson. Dave started in the film world in 1980 as a runner for Edit 142

and Robert both play major roles

and, nearly 30 years later, had risen to the role of head of international tech ops, at Universal

in the business. In the 2013 New

Pictures International, a position he still holds as senior VP for theatrical operations. He is

Years Honours list David was

also the man behind the annual Universal golf day which raises thousands for children’s

awarded an MBE for his services

charities. Known for his no-nonsense approach, this attitude has won the respect of the many directors, producers, editors and post-production teams he has worked with.

to cinema-going in Cornwall.

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8 1



Don’t just gather your data in...

After the data harvest? Insight. Danny Jeremiah, the head of cinema products at Arts Alliance Media, argues that, with data, harvesting it is fine, but the real goal is to refine it and extract its value.

Insights like that are worth more than raw data, in the same way gold is worth more than the gravel it came from. The conclusion is clear: don’t sell the data, sell the insights. There is a circular problem: your data is only as valuable

PINION ARTICLES BY the dozen have

as the insight it provides, but the quality of your insight

been written, mine included, extolling

depends on the quality of the data. So how do you improve

the virtue of big data to the cinema

the data and increase the value of the insight? In some cases,

industry. We argued that cinemas

it might mean combining data sources with other parties for

were in a prime position to gather

more meaningful analysis, in exchange for mutual benefit. In

customer data, and that building

others, it might mean conducting analysis internally so you

audience profiles would offer new and improved revenue opportunities, as well as operational efficiencies. Exhibitors around the world have taken encouraging

Exhibitors and studios

By now, exhibitors should know who is in their cinema, what

and investing in data visualisation technology to try to tap

they’re seeing, what they’re buying, and what they might be

into this valuable resource. The cinema industry has heeded

interested in coming back to see. Beyond that, all exhibitors

the lessons about the necessity of gathering data taught, if

should understand why they should gather this data. For

not by the writers of spirited op-eds, then by other businesses.

example, they could use it to optimise schedules to attract

What we haven’t argued as effectively is that data is only raw

families in the day, and students on a Thursday night. They

material that needs refining before cinemas and industry

could tweak pricing to maximise revenue at peak times, or

partners can extract its real value.

invest in new technology or amenities that perform well with

The allure of data isn’t in hoarding the largest database. It

their key demographics elsewhere. Data analysis informs

has always been about what insights you can extract and

these business decisions and improves the likelihood they

apply to gain an advantage. While raw data can tell you how

will succeed, but the resulting improvements are self-

many people bought tickets to a screening, analysis might

contained. Exhibition is only one part of cinema’s ecosystem,

reveal some sites attract a disproportionate number of

and though there are clear behavioural changes exhibitors

students, but only one of them is convincing them to spend

can make based on their own data, its scope is limited.


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of those at the opening weekend of “The Grinch” were 18-24, partly down to localised marketing

can start selling insights directly rather than the data itself.

steps, setting up loyalty schemes and subscription models,

8 2




money on concessions. What’s different about that site?

In 2018, the global spend on programmatic ads rose by 46% to $84billion — yet ad buying for cinema is mostly manual

Boosting box office Now compare that to what can be achieved when exhibitors pool data and share it with studios. In December at CineAsia, Kurt Rieder, executive VP of theatrical distribution at 20th

Why share your trailer data...?

Century Fox used his “state of the industry” address to provide examples of just that. He described how insights his studio

As a rule, outside North America, exhibitors don’t tend to share details of

gained from data exhibitors shared with them allowed him

which trailers they play before which films. In the past, resistance was

to produce bespoke marketing campaigns for them. He

probably linked to manual efforts required, though there are stories of

acknowledged there was little appetite to purchase that

studio staff attending screenings with notepads. Today, however, this

data, but that the marketing plans represented something

shouldn’t be a concern. There are solutions that pull logs and playback

altogether more valuable — a competitive advantage for the

reports in near real-time via reliable APIs. It’s reasonable to think, “it’s my

exhibitors that took part, and a boost in box office takings.

information — if they want it they can pay for it”, but that discounts the

Imagine if every movie had a marketing strategy as

value of the mutual benefits of sharing the information. Sharing that 35-50

tailored as “The Grinch”, which faced challenges as both a

year old women made up 30% of the people that registered their interest in

Christmas movie released in November and an animated

an upcoming feature after seeing the trailer gives studios a huge advantage

remake, and yet grossed over $506m worldwide. Some 18%

in positioning the rest of their marketing efforts. The goal here is to

of ticket buyers on opening weekend were in the coveted

encourage an overall increase in cinema visitors, and coaxing them away

18-24 bracket. This success was attributed in no small part to

from alternative ways of spending their time and money. Ultimately, sharing

hyper-localised marketing, which saw the Grinch character

data benefits the industry as a whole, not just one party.

make relatable snarky comments on billboards worldwide.

Exhibitors and advertisers

“There are media plans out there with no TV on them, so

Big brands are tending towards automated solutions that

there’s pressure to take some of that money back from the

give flexibility and control over who sees their ads. The speed

alternative online channels that money is going toward.”

and accuracy with which they can place ads in front of target

As digital organisations, cinemas could be exploring the

audiences, and get feedback from them using programmatic

ability to offer programmatic ad inventory by collaborating

technology, is unmatched by any other type of advertising.

with screen advertising companies or software providers.

Accessing eyeballs is big business, with many online ads

This wouldn’t be a simple transaction between exhibitors

being bid on automatically up to the millisecond before they

with data and advertisers who want it, but a collaboration to

load in front of the consumer. The economics are simple; the

increase ad revenue and performance. Growing evidence

value of that ad inventory is being pushed higher and higher

shows consumers prefer to see relevant ads. Not only will you

because brands are increasing demand for efficient, targeted

raise the value of your screen-time, and build relationships

ad opportunities. In 2018, global spend on programmatic

with advertisers, you improve your customer experience.

advertising rose by 46% to $84.09 billion, yet the majority of

Data has always been part of our world, the difference is

ad buying for cinema is still handled manually. While that is

that automated solutions can now aggregate, analyse, and

so, exhibitors won’t see any of that money. The TV sector is

distribute it in ways that improve its quality, produce more

facing the same problem — and it’s hitting their bottom line.

valuable insights, and deliver real benefits. It’s time exhibitors

Speaking to “Digiday” last year, Graeme Hutcheson,

moved away from looking at data as primarily something

director of digital and Sky AdSmart at Sky, revealed the

they can sell, and start thinking about how they can create

thinking behind its strategy to introduce programmatic ads

actionable insights for themselves, and for the whole

to its streaming services and, eventually, live TV offerings.

industry. That’s where they’ll strike gold.

“Accessing eyeballs is big business, with many online ads being bid on up to the millisecond before they load”

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8 3



Event cinema that pushes boundaries Music, e-sports and art were all on show at the Event Cinema Association’s recent slate day. Grainne Peat notes how such diverse content is gaining traction.



happy winners. The full results list can be found below.

content available in the event cinema

This was the first ECA event under my leadership, and

sector, the ECA drew colleagues from

the level of attendance and enthusiasm on the day was



encouraging. It was a great opportunity to demonstrate the

Leicester Square, in mid-January to




new vision of the ECA and provided the perfect forum to

experience slate presentations from numerous distributors.

announce new board appointments: Trafalgar Releasing’s

These gave an idea of what we can look forward to

Marc Allenby and former UNIC CEO, Jan Runge — and to

throughout 2019, alongside a number of data insight

expand on our plans for the association’s annual conference.

presentations from Comscore, Powster, Showtime Analytics

Brussels is where we will be for the 2019 ECA conference

and Screen Moguls all focusing on more effective marketing

this in September. The ECA is keen to share best practice,

for event cinema. Insight discussions added an extra level to

trends and constraints with all professionals who support

the event. The collation and sharing of data around this

event cinema. Topics for discussion are already emerging

sector has never been as extensive as it is currently, and

around marketing, increasing F&B spend, ticketing, gaming

these presentations clearly demonstrated how well event

and content delivery. We’ve identified some case studies to

cinema is performing and how we (exhibitors, content

track across 2019 that we can present at the conference..

providers and vendors) can use that to profile and market to audiences better.

Box office on the up

ECA Box Office Awards Highest Performing Opera Title of 2018: Carmen: Royal Opera House — Trafalgar Releasing & More2Screen

There was certainly a great deal to celebrate and enjoy over

Highest Performing Theatre Title of 2018: King & I: Live

the course of the day. Last year was an incredibly successful

From The London Palladium – Trafalgar Releasing

and interesting one for event cinema and we can take a lot

Highest Performing Ballet Title of 2018: Swan Lake: Royal

of learnings from the past year to help grow the potential of

Opera House — Trafalgar Releasing & More2Screen

our sector. Box office figures for 2018 in UK and Ireland, for

Highest Performing Music Title of 2018: Burn The Stage the

example, finished at £41.5 million, up 19% from 2017.

Movie – Trafalgar Releasing

The day concluded with the ECA Box Office Awards,

Highly Commended Event of 2018: Cliff Richard Live: 60th

sponsored by Encompass, recognising the success of the

Anniversary Tour – CinemaLive

biggest global titles of 2018. Trafalgar Releasing, CinemaLive,

Highly Commended Event of 2018: Everybody’s Talking

More2Screen and the Royal Opera House all went away

About Jamie – More2Screen

8 4


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To all those who have, or had, some interest in projected moving images, past and present. Perhaps you’re 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 either of the following addresses. e-mail: The Projected Picture Trust, Dean Clough Mills, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX3 5AX

Index to Advertisers Arts Alliance Media


Harkness Screens


Big Cine Expo


The Jack Roe Companies








Motion Picture Solutions








Projected Picture Trust






Future Projections


QSC Cinema


Galalite Screens


Savoy Systems




Sound Associates




Strong MDI






Harkness Screens


Ushio EMEA

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5 3

o p i n i o n Can I steal three minutes of your time? Should we be worried that film-viewers of the future are turning into undiscerning, content-ambivalent goldfish? CT’s Alastair Balmain gives the cat video a good kicking


hat are you watching? “YouTube.”

minutes per session. For some context, the major Studios

“Yes, but what are you watching…?”

release roughly 120 films a year — by my maths that equates

That’s a pretty regular dialogue in our

to less than 30 seconds’ worth of annual YouTube content

house between me and my two pre-

uploads. And while they are there, YouTube’s figures state

teen sons, and I’m far from unique in

that the men are primarily watching football or strategy

getting frustrated at seeing children huddled for warmth

games, while the women primarily watch beauty videos. To

around a tiny screen, but this isn’t an article about what lurks

me, that information is depressing both for the nature of the

in the dark corners of the internet. As baffling as some of the

content and from a gender stereotyping perspective.

things they watch may be, “Rugby’s stupidest brain fades”, “How to draw BB8” and “The Top 7 never before seen Britain’s

Yeah, but at least it’s not Netflix, right?

Got Talent’s most shocking moments” don’t cause me very

Apologies for dropping the N-bomb, but in pitching itself

sleepless nights. Given that the boys knockabout outdoors

deliberately in pursuit of high-quality content, most rational

as all 7 and 11 year olds should, nor is this a standard-format

people now recognise that Netflix is potentially one of the

whinge about excessive screen time. No, from a cinema

cinema’s strongest allies, encouraging as it does a high

perspective, I look at their screen habits (and those of every

degree of respect for the story-telling formats we revere. As

age group with internet access) and my immediate thought

a fan of digital photography using adapted old manual

is that short-form content is having a bit of moment…

lenses, I’m currently obsessed by the anamorphic quality of

Have we, as a sector, focused so hard on the dominance

the lenses, the framing and the colour grading on “Narcos

of streaming services in the Home Ent world that we have

Mexico”. It may be one of Netflix’s series rather than a feature,

taken our eye off the ball when it comes to a potential threat

but it is nevertheless a work of artistic integrity that merits a

to cinema’s popularity — namely a growing obsession with

big screen outing. I’m not certain the same could be said of

unscripted amateur content and lamentable production

the standout 17-second YouTube hit, “Surprised Kitty”. To

values? If we can get our kicks in three minutes from a low-

date, that’s been watched 79m times (For the purposes of

quality, inappropriately ad-infested how-to video, is there

research, that number includes me. I can only say sorry.)

still space in our lives for feature-length material edited by an actual editor, with high-quality projection and sound?

So what does this all mean for exhibitors? In short, I believe we’ll have an increasingly hard job to do educating

Four hundred hours of content is uploaded to YouTube

audiences about the quality and value of the feature-length

every minute, for the benefit of 1.9billion regular monthly

narrative in the future. If someone could squeeze all that into

users who stick around on average for no more than 40

a three-minute format, perhaps that would be best.

8 6


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