Cinema Technology Magazine - September 2018

Page 1 The leading magazine for cinema industry professionals > VOL.31





ECONOMY? Can cinemas take the lead?

"Unlimited" film CT investigates the rise and rise of ticket subscription models

Audio to move you Will a new immersive technology from Finland shake up cinema sound?

Up in the clouds

Why shifting processing power online is cinema's next (techno)logical leap

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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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C O N T E N T S C I N E M A T E C H N O L O G Y > VO L . 3 1 N O . 3 > 0 9 / 1 8


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The latest from around the world of cinema exhibition The Cinema Tech Committee update and news from IMIS


21 26 30 34 37 53

All you can eat movies: the rise of ticket subscriptions Why US box office is still the beating heart of cinema The final plastic straw: how sustainable is our business? Economic sense and ecosense: how they marry up Is your cinema’s head in the clouds? It should be… How production technology impacts the exhibitor

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:

58 64 68 73 76 80 82 84 86

Flexound: immersive audio technology to move you Meet Michael Ford, the BFI IMAX’s projection supremo CT examines what it is that sets a Sony projector apart


Scalarama! A month-long celebration of the cinema How the luxury world of hospitality changes cinema DigiCine: gifting new life to older series one projectors Seeking a truly epic 70mm experience? Go to Varnsdorf The ECA’s new MD on her plans for the association Why cinemas should lead the environmental charge

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



CineEurope review: Patrick von Sychowski’s six-page

special on the buzz from Barcelona


How a new industry event in Istanbul looks poised to

open doors onto emerging markets

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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Audiences love cinema. But how much, exactly? The leading magazine for cinema industry professionals > VOL.31

Is it cut-price tickets or luxury seats that are the way forward for cinema? Actually, preserving the cinematic difference is the key. Alastair Balmain offers Cinema Technology’s view



CT investigates the rise and rise of ticket subscription models

Audio to move you Will a new immersive technology from Finland shake up cinema sound?

Up in the clouds

Produced in partnership with:

Why shifting processing power online is cinema's next (techno)logical leap

001_SEPT18_COVER.indd 1

09/08/2018 10:34

nyone with a passing interest in the

The proliferation of subscription models to help address

workings of the world’s stock markets

the concern over low occupancy rates is clear, but, as Mark

will be aware of the rising significance of

Trompeteler explains on page 76, there is another way —

the Volatility Index, otherwise known

increase the perceived overall value of the offer. In other

as the “investor fear gauge”. Market

words, make cinema less commonplace and more of an

fluctuation is driven by confidence (or lack of it) in publicly

occasion. Over the course of the past 10-15 years, exhibitors

listed stock. For Helios and Matheson, the parent of the US-

have twigged that customer expectations of the level of

based cinema ticketing enterprise MoviePass, it doesn’t get

experience they demand in return for their leisure spend

more volatile, with a stock price that, at the time of going to

are now far greater than they once were.

press, had sloughed off no less than 99.7% of its late July

Where does cinema technology sit in this? Well, a glance

value. Confidence in the MoviePass business model is, it

through the news pages demonstrates that it is improved

seems, lacking. If the future of MoviePass looks bleak, its

presentation standards that are driving our industry —

impact on the industry may prove to be more permanent.

whether it’s the installation of premium ScreenX and Dolby

As you can see from Patrick von Sychowski’s article on

Cinema locations or laser projection. The results of

subscription models, on page 21, MoviePass is not the only

independent consumer research conducted recently on

show in town when it comes to luring the audience in with

behalf of Harkness Screens is particularly relevant — of 1,000

tempting offers. It begs the question — how much do

US moviegoers surveyed, 88% suggested image quality is

audiences value the cinema offer? The most recent

extremely important both in their decision to visit the

MoviePass subscription offer is $9.95 to watch three movies

cinema and also to their enjoyment of the movie.

a month. Putting aside the sustainability of the business

What does that tell us? Cinema is a leisure activity that

model, that’s highly attractive to consumers, given the

people cherish, but above all, while it remains something

average ticket price is $8.97 in the US. There is a problem

you can’t get at home, they value the cinematic difference.

though — to some it may seem like selling ourselves short.

Enjoy this issue!

Writing in this issue of CT


ECONOMY? Can cinemas take the lead?

"Unlimited" film






1 Martin Dew

2 Saul Mahoney

3 Bryan Cook

Formerly at Lucasfilm THX and NEC in the US, on p.59, Martin listens to new audio technology

Director of business development at Sundog Media Toolkit, Saul writes on p.37 about cinema’s shift to the cloud

COO of IMIS, Bryan explores the proliferation of technology and its impact on exhibitors on p.53.

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i n d u s t r y

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g l o b a l t h e o f

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Dolby eyes EMEA expansion DOLBY HAS ANNOUNCED THE deployment of its Dolby

In Kuwait, Dolby and the Kuwait

Cinema experience into a number of EMEA territories,

National Cinema Company (KNCC)

beginning with an agreement for the first deployment of

have agreed a three-screen plan for

Dolby Cinema in the UK with Odeon Cinemas Group. The

the first deployments of Dolby Cinema in the Gulf state. The

Odeon rollout will see seven Dolby Cinema sites open

first site, at the 360 Mall in Kuwait City is expected to open

nationwide over the next few years. Additionally, Odeon

later in 2018 operating under the Cinescape brand. Dolby’s

Cinemas Group has confirmed that it will be using

EMEA expansion plans add to more than 100 Dolby Cinema

Dolby servers, processors, and speakers in the future for all

installations at AMC locations in the US, as well as over 150

of its European entities.

sites open globally.

Additionally, Dolby has entered into an agreement with





Dolby Cinema is rolling out across the EMEA region




Kinopolis to bring the first-ever Dolby Cinema to Germany.

Laboratories, is positive about the growth: “Now, as we map

The site is expected to open later this year at the Mathäser

our expansion in the United Kingdom and Germany, we’re

Palast in Munich. Across the border in France, Dolby will be

bringing the total cinema experience to even more movie-

expanding its Dolby Cinema portfolio with Les Cinémas

going fans across Europe and the Middle East.”

Gaumont Pathé in Marseille at La Joliette.


UNIC’s annual report celebrates the growth of European cinema THE INTERNATIONAL UNION of

2017 — a very good year for European cinema, according to UNIC





Cinemas (UNIC), the European cinema

sector’s important position within the

trade grouping, has launched its

global cinema industry. According

annual report, examining key cinema

to UNIC, the above figures reflect the

trends within the 37 territories that it

significant and continuous investment

represents, accounting for 1.34 billion

being made in the cinema “offer” in

admissions and €8.6 billion in box

terms of innovation both in theatres

office revenues in 2017 — a quarter of

and audience engagement. UNIC’s

the global theatrical market for films.

report identifies the cinema-going

In 2017, total admissions across

experience as becoming ever-more

the region increased by 2.5 per cent

focused on a multitude of preferences.

on the previous year, complemented

The 2018 Annual Report is now

by an increase of 1.7 per cent in box

available online — view it at:

office revenue, confirming the value of

Grainne Peat to head Event Cinema Association

Cinionic’s Barco laser powers first cinema to open in Saudi



(ECA) has appointed Grainne Peat, former policy executive at the UK Cinema Association, to the role of managing director.

AMC ENTERTAINMENT has chosen Barco projection by

The ECA, established in 2012, is

Cinionic for the first cinema to

now an internationally recognised

open in Saudi Arabia, following

brand and the primary trade body

a 35-year ban on the art form in

for the Alternative Content sector.

the kingdom.

Grainne has considerable industry

Cinionic has installed its

experience, gained from her time

Barco projector at the AMC

spent at the UKCA, where she was

Cinema Riyadh multiplex — it

instrumental in driving a range of

promises to bring high-quality

policy issues, most notably in the

cinema to moviegoers. The

areas of disability and access. With

resurgence of the exhibition

support and resourcing from the

be pivotal in meeting the ECA’s

industry results from social


objectives, ultimately to promote the former policy

Board, Grainne will

Event Cinema sector.

reforms promoted by Crown

“I am excited to be leading the

Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

ECA as it moves forward at pace,”

The majority of the 32 million residents of the country are



commented Grainne, “The association





to partner with Cinionic to bring

supports a culturally significant sector

audience that is hungry for



that is diverse, genuinely innovative,

movies and similar cultural

experience to a new generation of

and, frequently, at the technical

experiences. AMC has plans to

moviegoers in Saudi Arabia,” said

leading edge of cinema exhibition. I

open 40 theatres comprising

Jason Cole, Vice President, Mergers

want to ensure event cinema is a

300 screens, across 15 cities

& Acquisitions and International

sustained and profitable element of

over the next five years.

Development at AMC.

the cinema-going experience.”




“As a long-time customer of



Grainne Peat, exec at the UKCA, the new MD of the ECA

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AAM and Deluxe Technicolor launch auto-KDM service Arts Alliance Media and Deluxe Technicolor Digital Cinema have launched a new automated KDM management service — a step towards fully automated cinema management. With AAM’s solution, KDMs can be generated and delivered through the cloud directly from distributor booking

Motion Picture Solutions acquires Omnex LEADING FILM SERVICES company Motion Picture Solutions has announced the acquisition of Omnex, one of the UK’s foremost suppliers of cinema projection

systems to a cinema’s trusted A new home for the Omnex team — now part of the MPS stable

device playout equipment with confirmed proof of delivery. All customers of

systems, servicing and maintenance. The acquisition further strengthens MPS’s

AAM’s Screenwriter Theatre

established reputation in the specialist exhibition engineering field.

Management System (TMS)

Omnex’s new managing director Simon Tandy takes over from founder Jed

will be invited to sign up for

Atherton, who started the company back in 1987. “MPS’s commitment to quality

the service free of charge.

and experience in world-class venues aligns well with Omnex’s skillset,” explained technologies gives Omnex’s engineers access to an unrivalled knowledge base.

EDCF announces its new board

Affordable access to the best technologies will, we hope, deliver the standard of

In its recent elections, the

service the wider exhibition community deserves.”

European Digital Cinema

Simon, “and, significantly, MPS’s practical familiarity with cutting-edge projection

Forum selected several new board members. Members voted the following onto

Merlin Cinemas — one of the 1000 Companies to Inspire Britain MERLIN


the board: Angelo d’Alessio – Venice Film Festival, Italy; Oleg Berezin – Neva Film,



that “these dynamic companies are

Russia; Tom Bert – Barco,



the backbone of our economy, playing

Belgium; Tammo Buhren

Exchange Group’s (LSEG) annual ‘1000

an important role in the UK’s ability to

– ZweiB, Germany; David

Companies to Inspire Britain’ report as

innovate, export and grow.”

Hancock – IHS Markit, UK;

one of the the UK’s fastest-growing

Dave Hodgkinson – Universal




and most dynamic small and medium

Studios, UK; Cathy Huis

sized businesses. Last year’s report

in t’veld Esser – Gofilex,

included the Everyman Cinema group

Netherlands; Matt Jahans –

and the film services company Motion

Harkness Screens, UK; Julian

Picture Solutions.

Pinn – Julian Pinn Ltd., UK;

To be included in the LSEG’s list,

Jan Runge – ICTA, Germany;

businesses need to show consistent revenue growth over a minimum of three years, and they must also be significantly outperforming their industry peers. Nikhil Rathi, the CEO of

Patrick von Sychowski – In the best of company — Merlin Cinemas’ performance has been recognised

Celluloid Junkie, UK; Jack Watts – Deluxe Technicolor.

London Stock Exchange Plc explained

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Harkness Screens’ research highlights presentation quality Galalite to incorporate LensRay in all of its new screens

SCREEN TECHNOLOGY COMPANY Harkness Screens has announced results of in-depth consumer research conducted by National CineMedia into presentation quality, auditorium technology and the influences these have on choices moviegoers make when visiting cinemas. Carried out during March and April, with more than 1,000 responses from moviegoers across the US, the research highlights the

Galalite, India’s leading

need for exhibitors to scrutinise presentation quality and consider the detrimental impact of sub-

cinema screen technology

standard presentation. “Whilst it is clear from this research that moviegoers overwhelmingly prefer the

company, has announced

cinema to watching movies at home, it is essential exhibitors focus on getting the most out of existing

that all its future screens

equipment, monitor presentation performance and consider upgrade and replacement programs for

will be equipped with

all items, including screens, to ensure they differentiate their experience from home entertainment,”

LensRay, its visual noise

explains Richard Mitchell, VP global marketing at Harkness.

reduction technology.

The research suggests that technology is key to the

LensRay technology uses

experience: more than two thirds of respondents claimed

a concept similar to a

that presentation technology had a strong bearing on

MicroLens Array to reduce

their decision as to which cinema to visit.

noise. When the coherence

area on the microlens-array surface is smaller than the microlens footprint, there is no interference between the fields emitted by the different microlenses so less

Cineworld to launch 100 new ScreenX locations CJ 4DPLEX HAS ANNOUNCED a


major partnership with the Cineworld

visual noise is perceptible,

Group to open no fewer than 100

resulting in sharper, brighter

ScreenX locations at its theatres in the


next few years. The agreement marks a milestone for both companies, and

Global Cinema Federation releases new position papers

will include installation of the Korean company’s multi-projection cinematic system in 10 different territories: the US, Israel, the UK and seven further

The Global Cinema Federation (GCF) this summer released five position papers on key areas of interest to cinema operators. The topics

European countries. Wrapping around the audience, the ScreenX concept puts cinemagoers in the action

This partnership heralds a major expansion for ScreenX, which is an immersive, 270-degree panoramic film-viewing experience that extends the screen along the auditorium walls, allowing for more creative possibilities. “Our relationship with CJ 4DPLEX goes beyond accelerating the installation

include theatrical exclusivity,

of new 4DX and ScreenX locations around the world, to a shared vision of the

international trade and

future of immersive cinema,” explained Mooky Greidinger, CEO of the Cineworld

investment, movie theft,

Group, adding “We are committed to maintaining a premium moviegoing

music rights and accessibility.

environment at all of our locations in all regions, and the adoption of the most

These papers will help guide

innovative cinema technologies is key to bringing our customers the best

the federation in its advocacy

experience possible.”

and education activities.

In the past year, the number of ScreenX auditoria has increased exponentially.

All the position papers are

With additional screens expected to open up across China, Japan, Korea,

available to download from

Southeast Asia, France, Switzerland, Turkey, Middle East and LatAm, the company

the GCF website at www.

expect to have installed more than 200 screens by the end of 2018 — more than

30% growth compared to 2017.

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Truthful sound, from production to premiere

The all new 200 Series ScreenArrayTM Loudspeakers combine JBL’s latest technological advances with a compact footprint and accessible price point, making it easy to upgrade the sonic experience in your small or mid-sized cinema. Featuring patented Dual Dissimilar Array and Acoustic Aperture Technology, the JBL 200 series provides remarkably uniform coverage and smooth, accurate sound reproduction for every member of your audience. And since the 200 Series uses the same technology trusted by top Hollywood movie studios, your audience will enjoy a more immersive, authentic experience from every seat in the house—just like the creators intended. Learn more at

©2018 HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Features, specifications and appearance.are subject to change without notice.



Christie: a decade of collaboration with the Shanghai IFF

experiences, is marking a decade of

UniqueX — a new brand for cinema operations


Launched earlier this summer,

CHRISTIE, A LEADER IN the delivery of


visual with





International Film Festival (SIFF) as its

UniqueX is a new brand that

exclusive projection partner.

combines intelligent software

“This is the tenth consecutive year that Christie has partnered with one of

solutions for cinema


operations and products designed to increase

the largest and most prestigious film festivals in Asia,” explained Lin Yu, VP, Cinema Sales for Christie in Asia,

combination of ‘art and technology’.” This year, the 4K resolution lampChristie



“The perfect combination of art and technology” — Christie’s partnership is now a decade strong

admissions. The first of the UniqueX products to launch is

adding, “It is an honour for us to be


associated with the SIFF, supplying

which has a strong reputation for

our projectors to screen feature films

high-performance and dependability,

from around the world that can

was deployed to screen both the

It offers the functionality of

be distinguished by their artistic

opening and closing films at SIFF.

the widest-selling point of sale

excellence. For Christie, it is a perfect

systems, at a lower price level

the Rosetta POS point of sale system, now available in UK, Finland, Denmark and Spain.

of independent solutions. In July, UniqueX announced the

CinemaNext opens its new state-of-the-art premises Europe

CTC launches new member and sponsor programme THE



as CEO — his role is to direct the international expansion of UniqueX’s portfolio of software solutions and services. The former MD of

Committee has launched a member

RealD in EMEA, he will start in

and sponsorship scheme, with prices

his position on 1 October.

starting from just £50 per year for Sustaining Members, The programme

Melissa Cogavin joins Strike Media

is designed to be accessible to all,

Marketing agency Strike

from individuals to big conglomerates,

Media has appointed former

giving access to events and resources.

Event Cinema Association MD

Individuals, rising to £1,500 per year for

CINEMANEXT, THE specialist in exhibitor services

appointment of Roger Harris

Melissa Cogavin in a new

has opened new facilities in Liège-Barchon, Paris-

“The scheme enables CTC to fund

Asnières-sur-Seine and Düsseldorf. These new units

exciting initiatives, research projects,

position as a consultant. Her

will support the growth of CinemaNext and its

training and events we have planned,”

role will be to grow the profile

subsidiaries across Europe, North America, Africa,


of the company’s event

Middle East and Central Asia.




Associates), VP and finance director of

cinema campaigns as well as

CinemaNext’s main hub in Liège-Barchon (Parc

CTC. “As a not-for-profit organisation,

working on the expansion of

Artisanal, above) features a 2,400m² two-storey

all of money raised goes back into

social film app MyFilmClub.

building including 1,400m² dedicated to supply chain


Melissa recently stepped

logistics. The facility boasts on-site technology

community and the creation of a

down from the ECA, which

platforms including a customer service department

better experience for moviegoers. The

she founded. Melissa’s

(NOC) and projection system tests lab as well as a

sign-up process is affordable and

background in theatrical

showroom for cinema seating. The Liège-Barchon

simple and we are keen for members

distribution at Disney and

offices also house Éclair’s Benelux team, which

and sponsors to join us and help drive

Paramount give her a rich

provides colour-grading and DCP mastering services.

technological advancement”

industry knowledge.




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splendidly unexpected We are Cinionic. We listen to exhibitors and moviegoers alike to continuously transform the moviegoing experience from good to better and better to best. From visualization solutions to comprehensive service care to flexible and affordable financing, we exist to provide you with peace of mind and your moviegoers with a new level of expectations when it comes to a “WOW� experience. Welcome to Cinionic. Welcome to WOW.


N E W S R E E L :



Supporting the industry Here’s a brief list of the key recent activities of CTC: Delivered Cinema Presentation Best Practices training course to over 25 delegates in the UK. Now more than 350 cinema professionals have been on this course. Ran a successful event

CTC: driving better outcomes from cinema technology IN 2017, WE set about a process of renewing the CTC, to support better the global cinema industry, writes CTC president Richard Mitchell. With the support and encouragement of our colleagues and

looking at the production workflow of content from camera to screen in conjunction with IMIS.

friends at IMIS, we launched as a not-for-profit organisation focused on technology in cinema, with a vision to look at technology not just in the auditorium but in the entire movie-going experience.

Supported BigCineExpo

To support this widened remit, we recently bolstered our executive team with some of the best and

in India as the trade

brightest talents in global cinema, including Sarah

association partner to help

Lewthwaite (Movio), Sandie Caffelle (Jack Roe), Patrick von

provide education and

Sychowski (Celluloid Junkie), James MacFarlane (20th

Join our cause

Century Fox) and Danny Jeremiah (Arts Alliance Media), to

Our membership and

help us gain expertise in areas such as retail, consumer

sponsorship scheme enables

Released interim report on

engagement and content delivery. Alongside these

CTC to fund some of the

research to identify the

appointments, we also announced a new 15-person non-

exciting initiatives, research

causes of 3D Ghosting.

executive Advisory Council (listed below) which brings an

projects, training courses and

additional wealth of knowledge and experience from some

events we have planned. As a

Finalising an independent

of the most respected in our industry.

not-for-profit organisation, all

“Exhibitors Guide to

the money raised goes into

Premium Formats”,

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)

guidance on technology.

supporting the

including differentiation,

global cinema

cost of implementation, and


typical ticket prices.

To join, visit


Finalising an update to the


CTC Digital Cinema


Projection Handbook.

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Getting ahead is easier with the right technology The right Theatre Management System will do more than give you complete control and visibility over your screens, it will give you the freedom to focus on your audience. Turn your cinema’s day-to-day operations into something that happens in the background, and get back to driving innovation across your business. Arts Alliance Media provides the world’s leading TMS, helping over 40,000 screens automate their processes behind-the-scenes and deliver better experiences for audiences on six continents. Discover what you’re missing at

@ArtsAllianceM ArtsAllianceMedia

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I M I s

U P D A t e

VR/AR/XR and Post-production communities launch August wAs the officiAl launch of our Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Extended Reality (VR/AR/XR) Community, writes IMIS COO Bryan Cook. This group will focus on all of the technology, storytelling, and developments related to creating virtual worlds. September is the launch of our PostProduction Community. We will be launching even more communities and we’d invite you to join IMIS to become a member of as many of our communities as you would like! We believe it is important for a screenwriter to sit next to a producer, to sit next to a cinema technician, to sit next to a VFX artist, etc. to understand the various parts of the production workflow. By doing this, we believe, we can grow our knowledge, make new friends and colleagues, and continue to innovate this industry.

Our IMIS Communities are off with a bang!

Don’t miss the Widescreen Weekend!

In June, we launched our iMis screenwriting community with three events. let’s face it, everyone

the 22nd widescreen Weekend

can improve the way they deliver a message to a

will take place from 11 - 14 October

potential buyer or convey a story. At ‘Perfecting the

2018 at the UK’s National Science and

Pitch’, industry guest christina Morelli, expelled

Media Museum, Bradford. Since its

some do’s and don’ts for screenwriters to deliver the

inception in 1993, the Widescreen

perfect elevator pitch. we had a terrific turnout of

Weekend has celebrated large screen

over 70 people coming to our screenwriting

formats and milestones in cinema.

community launch party, too. our last big event

The festival features glorious 70mm

was ‘secret Agent: how to get an Agent as a

screenings, cult classic movies, new Cinerama restorations and great guests, as

screenwriter’ which featured leah Middleton, film,

well as fantastic projection facilities in the Pictureville cinema.

tV and literary agent on how writers can get

representation — the event spilled into the hallway! we’re developing a line-up for more events. Visit:

The IMIS (International Moving Image Society) powered by the BKSTS aims to inspire, educate, train and connect all members of the media industry, whether at entry or professional level, around the world. The Society works to maintain standards and to encourage the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of moving image and associated technologies, in the UK and throughout the world. The Society is independent of all governments and commercial organisations. The Society gratefully acknowledges the support of the following companies and organisations: ARRI • British Film Institute • Boxer Systems • Christie • Harkness Screens • LB Group • London Film Museum • Marshall Electronics • Molinare • MPC • Pinewood Studios • Snell Advanced Media • Sohonet • StreamVuTV • Tradefair For membership inquiries, write to: Roland Brown, President, IMIS, Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Bucks SL0 0NH, UK; or email:

IMIS accreditation showcase In July, we held our annual accreditation event at the BFI NFT3 with

students, members and industry guests to see the work of students on IMIS accredited courses. Our quarterly networking and screening event focused on LGBT Shorts with a variety of films with LGBT themes. The last event of July was ‘Money, Money, Money: Financing and Distributing Your Feature Film’ with Emmy and BAFTA-winning producer/director Peter Nicholson. The event focused on alternative ways to raise money to bring a feature film to the big screen.

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All you can eat movies The rise of the cinema subscription model For years, exhibitors have offered enticements to lure in customers. Patrick von Sychowski considers the latest “unlimited” offers and wonders which will gain traction.


HEN MOVIEPASS RECENTLY reduced its monthly ‘unlimited’ cinema offer in the US from $39.99 to $9.95, it had no idea of the interest it would unleash in terms of uptake and also the focus it would place on nonstandard ticket schemes. Schemes to boost cinemagoing frequency have been around for years, but growth

of subscription services like Spotify and Netflix, and smartphone commerce, means there are more ways than ever to enjoy cinema. We look at what’s on offer.

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‘Unlimited’ Subscription Schemes - Cinema-own

France France, the birthplace of cinema, is arguably also the birthplace of the “carte illimitée” that is offered by both UGC-MK2 and Gaumont Pathé. The first of these, UGC Illimitée, celebrates its 18th anniversary this year, having launched in 2000 before most homes had internet or smartphones. As well as giving access to more than 1,000 films released annually across its cinemas, its Premium Club also offers special members’ benefits such as exclusive events and preview screenings.

Cinema Subscription Model Initiatives include:

Gaumont Pathé soon retaliated by launching Le Pass Solo, which has typically been €1 or so cheaper, but, like UGC, requires a 12-month subscription and a €30 joining fee, to prevent people cancelling and rejoining. Both offer access to affiliated independent

Cinemark MovieClub AMC

cinemas, most notably Paris’ arthouse MK2 circuit for UGC. France’s third chain, CGR, does not offer ‘illimitée’ but instead bulk discount cards. Gaumont Pathé provoked a backlash when it changed the pricing tiers of its CinéPass in 2017, offering the Duo for couples and add-on payments for IMAX and 3D (which were previously included). The company defended its move saying it was offering greater choice.


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Cinemark became the first US exhibitor to

validate our thinking.” As Celluloid Junkie’s

launch an in-house ‘unlimited’ offering last

J. Sperling Reich notes, “Cinemark’s MovieClub

November, partly in response to MoviePass.

initiative is focused on driving incremental

However, its Movie Club deliberately set out to

movie attendance,” rather than competing

Cinemark Movie Club - $8.99/

differentiate itself by offering just one film per

with MoviePass’ all-you-can-eat offer.

month - 1 free film - 20% off concessions - regular 2D only

month at $8.99, but with 20% off concessions,

Having vocally denounced MoviePass, AMC

no booking fees, advance seat reservation,

caused a splash when it launched its Stubs

AMC Stubs A-List - $19.95/

no tie-in, the ability to ‘roll over’ unused tickets

A-List premium tier offering this summer. For

month - 3 films per week -

and the ability to buy a ticket for a companion

$19.95/month users get 3 tickets/week for any

further perks - all screenings

at just $8.99. By May it had 230,000 members.

screening (including premium screens), as well

Alamo Season Pass - $??/

Cinemark’s CEO, Mark Zoradi, explained,

as the ability to pre-book and reserve seating.

month - “unlimited movies”

“We considered these different designs, took

“Today AMC is giving consumers a choice and

MoviePass - $9.95/month - 1

the best aspects from each, applied it to the

providing anybody else trying to sell movie

film/day - regular 2D only

exhibition industry and configured multiple

tickets a determined competitor,” said AMC’s

(more coming)

concepts we felt possessed the greatest ability

CEO Adam Aron in not-so-subtle dig at

Sinemia - $9.99/month* - 2

to generate the broadest consumer appeal

MoviePass. “The MoviePass Effect has made its

films/month - can be used for

and grow attendance and profits. We then

mark. The model is here to stay,” retorted

“premium” (*various tiers)

conducted consumer research to guide and

MoviePass’ CEO Mitch Lowe.


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Cinema Subscription Model Initiatives include:

UK When Blackstone acquired UGC’s UK operation in December 2004 and merged it with Cine-UK to form Cineworld in 2005 there were questions

Cineworld Unlimited and Odeon UK Limitless

about whether it would continue UGC’s ‘Unlimited’ scheme. In the end it stayed and, by 2007, had 185,000 subscribers. Cineworld expanded the Unlimited Card to Poland in 2015, where it is said to “perform strongly” and it is thought that it will launch it for its newly acquired Regal cinemas in the US within the next 12 months. Cineworld no longer reveals how many subscribers it has, but Casey Cohen, head of marketing told CT that, “Cineworld’s Unlimited scheme is great value, offering customers unlimited cinema trips and film viewing for £17.90 per month (or £20.40 for London West End cinemas). The Unlimited card also unlocks a world of benefits, including discounts on snacks and drinks, discounts at restaurant partners, free months when you recommend friends, and access to advance screenings.” Odeon UK followed Cineworld’s lead offering its patrons to watch “all the films you want as often as you like, for one monthly fee” in both the UK and Germany. Commenting on the scheme to CT, Odeon’s chief commercial officer, David Anderson, said “We’ve been very pleased with the success of Limitless in the UK and Ireland, and Unlimited in Germany. Guests easily recognise the benefits of these subscription services, and

Gaumont Pathé UGC CGR

we see a great future for them.” Odeon has not commented about whether it will roll out the service across its 14 European territories. For £17.99/£19.99 a month (exc/inc Central London), Odeon’s Limitless

Cinema Subscription Model Initiatives include:

now also offers 10% off F&B purchases, and exclusive access to member preview screenings. “These are proving popular,” says Anderson, “Preview screenings launched in June with “Ocean’s 8”, and “Whitney” will be next.” Anderson observes that “Limitless and Unlimited have broad appeal across our demographic segments, which is encouraging, particularly with teens, students and young people. The number of guests who are using their subscription memberships to explore new titles and genres continues to rise, which we believe is a great positive for us all.” While Vue does not offer any ‘unlimited’ schemes in the UK, its Polish Multikino subsidiary has previously offered its Multikino All Inclusive ticket in 2015 that allowed patrons to see as many films and eat as much concessions as they wanted in a single day. There was also a Multikino Unlimited for subscribers to the NC+ pay-TV service, though this is no

Members signed up in 6 months for Cinemark’s MovieClub, which offers 20% off consessions and one film/month for $8.99

longer active. It should be noted that Vue has instead of an Unlimited card focused on cutting prices across its UK multiplexes to as little as £4.99 for regional sites, £5.99 for outer London and larger cities and £6.99

10% UK’s Cineworld epanded its Unlimited Card to Poland in 2015

UK ‘s Limitless also offer 10% off F&B purchases as well as exclusive member preview access

for Central London (excluding the West End). Curzon offers its ‘Cult’ membership, where £350 per year gives you “free entry to all films” at its cinemas, as well as other benefits, while the cost for “Cult Local” is £200 in places such as Oxford and Sheffield. One of the few other arthouse chains that offers it is Berlin’s Yorck Kino, whose Kinoabo is priced at €18.90 per month (12 months minimum) or €129 for six months or €229 for one year pre-paid.

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‘Unlimited’ Subscription Schemes - Third Party


Discount Days

With cinema being a weekend driven business, exhibitors have long discounted mid-week shows. Examples are Vue’s £4.99 Monday (instead of £5.99) and AMC’s $5 Tuesday. The practice was criticised at this year’s CinemaCon by studio representatives who felt it was proliferating to the point where such extensive discounting devalued the cinema experience.


amount of members in millions MoviePass are looking to grow to in the short term


2-for-1 Schemes

Selling two tickets for the price of one has been offered ad-hoc for decades — Vue

MoviePass received little traction when it charged $39.99/month to watch a movie a day. Acquired by Helios + Matheson Analytics, it dropped to $9.95 in Autumn 2017 and that changed. It has generated countless column inches, grown to over 3 million subscribers, been lambasted by AMC and had

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Year when UK cinemas’ mobile network collaboration Orange Wednesdays launched

previously offered a 2-for-1 card




discontinued it after 2008. The concept had great success in





Wednesday, launched in the

questions raised about its viability as H+M’s share

2003 to subscribers to the

price dropped from $38.86 in 2017 to penny stock

Orange and EE mobile phone

status in recent weeks. It is now looking to raise

networks. The concept was

$1.2billion and grow to 20million members but has

copied elsewhere, such as by

changed its offer several times, fuelling speculation

Norway’s ChessTirsdag 2for1.

about its demise, recently announcing it would

When EE pulled the plug in

introduce ‘surge’ pricing at weekends, as well as a

February 2014. the UK Cinema

bring-a-friend option and premium screen options.

Association soon found a new

In the UK, newcomer cPass tried to launch a

sponsor in comparethemarket.

MoviePass copy-cat, but appears to have gone quiet.

com, and re-launched it as

More worrying for MoviePass, upmarket chain Alamo

Meerkat Movies, now available

Drafthouse began testing a subscription service in its

on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Yonkers, NY cinemas this August. Whether MoviePass says

can raise cash until it breaks even is an open question,

it is gaining valuable insights

but the model has been firmly established. Sinemai

about customers.

offers cinema subscriptions in the US, Canada,

In the US, Buy 1, Get 1 Free

Australia, UK and Turkey. Unlike MoviePass it is not

has been offered for certain

‘unlimited’ but has monthly tiers starting at $4.99,

films and times by Fandango,

depending on one, two or three tickets per month,

AtomTickets and MovieTickets.

standard or premium screens and with a family plan

com platforms. Such offers are

option too. Sinemai stresses its pricing model is

sometimes linked to banks,

sustainable and its app offers a litany of movie-

with AmEx in Hong Kong

centric perks, such as Uber integration and exclusive

offering Buy-1-Get-1-Free ticket

discounts. However, some users claim their Sinemia

offer for 3D and 2D movie

card was blocked by certain UK cinema chains.



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Bulk, Discount and Money Back Offers

Bulk ticket offers are either sold by cinemas themselves, most often in the form of corporate packages, but in some cases also by third parties, such as GroupOn. These bulk offers to consumers are typically packaged as either gift vouchers or pre-paid cards with cheaper per-visit tickets. France’s CGR promotes its bulk discount cards — rather than offering an ‘unlimited’ card — with five shows for €6.70, 10 for €6.20 or 15 for €5.70 each. (see graphic). In August of last year 24 independent cinemas in Paris launched a joint pre-pay card to compete with

offer ticket bundles to the large cinema chain. A recent

the ‘unlimited’ cards from multiplexes. The Cine Carte

promotion offered five Odeon tickets for £25, though

CIP offers savings of up to 50% with a five ticket card for

this not only excluded 3D, iSense and IMAX but also

€30 being valid six months or a nine admissions €48

some recent Hollywood and Bollywood titles (“Ocean’s

valid nine months.

8”, “Jurassic World 2”, “Race 3”, etc.). In the US GroupOn Card

offers deals such as $10 for a $20 Regal Cinemas eGift

membership, Odeon UK offers an e-voucher program

Card. claims to have saved US customers

launched by Opia in 2015. Opia says that “The e-voucher

over $8m on discounted combo ticket and concessions

program enables businesses to incentivise employees

deals. In the UK there are cash-back offers from sites

and clients with codes that can be redeemed online for

such as TopCashBack and Quidco. Similarly reward

cinema bookings.”

points earned in store can be redeemed for tickets with







Online discount sites such as GroupOn also tend to


Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programmes have been common for years, but are increasingly

some chains from Nectar and Tesco Clubcard.


he number of schemes for watching films in cinemas can sometimes seem bewildering. However, this is deliberately so, as cinemas try to think of different ways of segmenting audiences and

relevant because of the ability to collect customer data and more targeted

targeting each group with an offer that will persuade her,

offers. Cineworld’s Regal doesn’t have ‘unlimited’ schemes, instead offering

him or them to go more frequently. It is no secret that

Regal Crown Club loyalty program, which, similarly to airlines, offers

distributors are not keen on most discounts and flat-fee

different tiers depending on visits: Emerald (6+ visits), Ruby (10+ visits) and

schemes that encourage increased viewing, seeing it as a

Diamond (20+ visits), but you have to spend $150 to get a single ‘free’ ticket.

not-so-covert attempt by cinemas to get patrons to come

Points can be traded for concessions, seat upgrades and more. There can

and buy more concessions.

be different tiers, such as AMC Stubs Insider, which is free, while AMC Stubs

Yet there is a growing recognition that the proliferation

Premiere is $15/year. Where memberships cost money outside the US, it

of ‘all-you-can-eat’ online media consumption (Netflix,

typically includes a number of free tickets, such as Picturehouse, which

Amazon Prime Video, Spotify, etc.) has created an appetite

offers Regional (£50), London (£60) and Central London (£85) membership.

amongst consumers for flat monthly fee that allows them to see as many films as they like in physical locations, as well as on their devices. Getting young people away from

$150 Spend with the Regal Crown Club and you qualify for a single free ticket…

their devices and into cinemas by fostering affordable regular cinema visits is something that both exhibitors and studios see the value in. The future will see more customised options in every market, making consumers the biggest winners of this trend.

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USA: The bedrock of global cinema growth Often our industry seems so driven by the pursuit of novelty, emerging territories, new audiences and golden opportunities that it’s easy to overlook established markets — none moreso than the US. David Hancock scrutinises the Domestic box office.


Words: David Hancock/IHS Markit


two-thirds of the revenues earned in cinemas every year.

on emerging markets and driving

There are more than 7,000 films produced globally every

new growth for rights holders and

year and yet the world’s cinemas rely on a handful of US

exhibitors alike, it is, nevertheless,

films to draw in visitors and make money. Most domestic-

worth remembering that one market

produced films do not cross cultures like American films.

has been the global underpinning of

In the USA, tentpole movies often make close to as much

the cinema business for decades: the USA. The US market

in their home territory as they do worldwide.

may have diminished in its overall contribution to the

The number of films released in US cinemas is growing

global box office, but that doesn’t make it less important to

steadily every year (777 in 2017 compared to 638 in 2008)

the health of the sector and the viability of the investment

and yet the studios which are shrinking down their output

that is happening in new technologies, new infrastructure

to focus on these bigger films with greater marketing

and other service-related elements by cinemas.

budgets are also increasing their market share. They are all

The data sources often address the North American

operating within larger media entities, and while their

market (USA plus Canada), but I have separated them out

output is significant in driving revenues across these

later where possible. North America registered a gross box

groups, they themselves are relatively small parts of them.

office of $11.1bn in 2017, down slightly on 2017 but similar

The studios are also faced with larger, consolidated

to 2015 and higher than any previous years before that.

exhibitors. Although the media and

Growth is relatively limited as befits a mature market and

consumption landscape is changing

box office movement is usually driven by the performance

around them, they have proved to be

of the films at the top of the market. Having said that, the

relatively successful at adapting to a

market is mature and stable, total box office revenue in

‘Netflix and mobile’ world so far —

North America reached $6.18bn in H1 2018, a 9.6% increase

certainly within the cinema space,

on the same total in 2017. The first six months is the largest

bringing their market share back up

on record (in revenue terms) and the first time box office

to above 80% consistently.

for the first half of the year has exceeded $6 billion. In fact,


in revenue terms, total takings for the first six months of 2018 actually exceeded total annual box office generated some 20 years previously ($5.8bn in 1997).

Hollywood — still home to the stars North America represented 28% of global box office in

“Though the media landscape is changing around them, studios are relatively successful at adapting”


North America had 28% of global box office share in 2017

2017. This is down from 44% back at the beginning of this century. However, the USA remains the single largest box office market and is home to the studios, the entities that made the US the home of the film industry. As an industry, we must not forget or take for granted that it is US films that drive the global box office, earning 2 6


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films were released in US cinemas in 2017 compared to 638 in 2008


12-17 year olds will see around 3.8 3D movies a year

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The value of screen density Until the rise of Chinese screens, the USA had been the largest market by screens for years. Though this changed in November 2016, the USA still generates more box office than China despite having fewer screens. In 2017, there















M A R K E T S H A R E P E R C E N TA G E S 90%

were 40,246 US screens including 595 drive-ins, whereas China went past 50,000 at this point. Screen density per head is also higher in the US than in other markets: 123.9 screens for every 1million people in the USA and a lower 84.8 in Canada. China sits at 36 screens and the UK at 65.1, as a point of comparison. The USA is a land of moviegoers. Despite this long-term stability of the world’s most important market, there are some less positive signs that need to addressed. The most evident indicator is the long-


term decline in the average number of cinema visits per head: at its peak, the cinema drew an average of 5.1 visits per head per annum in 2002, only exceeded by Iceland at


5.7. This has come down to 3.5 in the USA since that year, although Iceland’s has also come down to 4.1. The UK has declined from 3 in 2002 to 2.5 in 2017, a less pronounced


drop but a drop nonetheless. Overall, mature Western markets have all experienced a reduction in visits per head, even though population growth and ticket price increases

0% 2008




Big 6 Studios








have often maintained overall admissions volume and box office at consistent levels. Even with that decline, data from trade body NATO shows that threequarters of the

Rest of market

North American population went to the cinema at least once in 2017, proving it remains popular. Despite concerns



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1 , 2 1 6 ,7 4 5

1 ,1 4 5 ,7 0 0

over younger audiences drifting away, the highest per

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U S C I N E M A A D M I S S I O N S ( ‘ 0 0 0 s)

capita attendance was the 12-17 year old age group, who








Frequent moviegoers (who see at least one film a

3.8x/ head

3.9x/ head

3.8x/ head

3.6x/ head

3.8x/ head

3.8x/ head

3.5x/ head










(in billion US $)

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see 4.9 films annually. Comparisons with previous years cannot be made due to a methodology change by NATO in its annual report (now called the THEME report), but the trend in this age group seemed to be slowly downwards as it was with the 18-24 age group. month) make up 12% of the population and 49% of the tickets sold. The issue would seem to be getting the less






(for every million in selected nations)

frequent moviegoers re-engaged with cinema. Amongst the categories of people that underperform at the US cinema compared to the population as a whole is the Caucasian/white population, which makes up 61% of the population and 55% of tickets sold. The 60+ age group could also be better served and more active cinema patrons, as could, to a lesser extent, the 50-59 age group. Building up the cinema as a high-quality entertainment option is one of the reasons behind new investments, with high comfort levels and new technology driving up quality standards to the same level or above the plethora of devices that operate on the move or in the home. New technologies being installed, such as 4D, immersive motion seating and multi-format ScreenX, are more likely to attract younger customers, who enjoy these more than their older compatriots. Whereas a 12-17 year old will see an average of 3.8 3D or Large Format movies a year, the equivalent figure is 2.9 for the 50-59 age group. There is also a link between frequent moviegoing and the cinema, with frequent moviegoers more likely to own technology, which undermines the argument often put forward that other technology competes with cinema. In 2017, in the USA, 30% of frequent cinemagoers own six key technology products compared to 18% for the total adult population. This suggests there is a



between a love for the cinema and the use of technology such as video games, tablets and, of

“Building up the cinema as a highquality option is one of the reasons behind investments in comfort and tech”

course, smartphones. This has long been the case, as was seen with the symbiotic link held between VHS and subsequently DVD buying and cinema-going.

Still cinema’s strongest market The cinema as a leisure industry is one of the oldest we have, certainly one that relied on invention to create it. In a crowded market for leisure and filling time (and spending money), it is a testament to the cinema’s unique nature that it still exists and the hard work, innovation and intelligence that goes into making, distributing and exhibiting films in this single static space are the main reasons that it is still thriving globally. The USA has stood as the industry’s leader for the past century, and still remains the bedrock on which this global growth is possible. As an industry, we must hope that this continues well into the future as there is no-one yet to replace it.



The Final (Plastic) Straw

In common with the wider retail industry, cinemas are under fire over a lack of environmental sustainability. Patrick von Sychowski presents a special focus on exhibitors’ work to do the right thing Words: Patrick von Sychowski

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straws-obselete) had 212,940 signatures. It’s not the first

arrived in the inboxes of UK’s senior

time campaigners have targetted cinemas, whether over

cinema managers and thousands of

calories in concessions or the Living Wage, but this time it

others. It began: “Big businesses are

was part of a groundswell that has forced big brands into

pumping plastic into our oceans

adopting more sustainable products and practices, often

and landfill. Here in the UK, plastic

with a speed that has taken seasoned observers by surprise.

straws are one of our worst pollution problems. And big

Can cinemas follow the likes of Pret-A-Manger and

cinema chains like Cineworld, Odeon and Vue, who use

McDonalds when it comes to becoming part of the circular

thousands every day, are some of the biggest culprits.”

economy and reduce, re-use and recycle more? While

It went on to explain how the campaign by 38 Degrees

straws have become somewhat totemic, comprehensive

would put pressure on these chains to replace plastic straws

action has to happen on a number of levels on both the

with paper ones. At the time of writing the campaign

consumer-facing packaging front and behind-the-scenes


use of electricity and more.


100 % of water Coca Cola aim to replenish by 2020

200k have signed a petition to ban plastic straws from UK cinema chains

Food & Films

Cinemas are part of the food and beverage (F&B) retail

encouraging recycling with the placement of three ‘Be A

industry and, as such, have to be part of changes underway

Star’ recycling stations.”

everywhere form cafés to fast food franchises. The good

Observing that cinemas won’t be immune from the

news is that efforts are underway. Asked about it by CT

consumer forces pushing the rest of the F&B industry,

magazine, UK Cinema Association’s CEO Phil Clapp noted

Girling says that “customers have growing expectations

that “The last year in particular has seen a great deal of

about food and packaging waste and everyone should be

activity amongst UK operators of all sizes to see what more

playing a part.” The message is also that there are greater

might be done to reduce the use of plastics (including but

financial savings in preventing waste in the first instance

also beyond the straws issue), increase the amount of

than recycling waste produced.

recyclable material used and indeed to increase the amount of recycling.” He observed that “this has come about as much from a desire amongst these businesses to ‘do the right thing’ as it has from outside pressure.” Efforts to demonstrate sustainable programmes to the


Re-use & Retain

industry were visible on the Coca-Cola stand at CineEurope

While brands such as Pret-A-Manger have launched re-usable coffee

in June. The Coca-Cola Company has been championing

cup initiatives, it is harder for cinemas to do the same. Sodas are

green initiatives across its business, such as its goal to

fundamentally different to coffee — while there are collectible cups and

replenish 100 per cent of the water it uses in its global sales

popcorn buckets, it is rare for customers to bring these back on future

volume back to communities by 2020. Coke now wants to

visits and there are hygiene issues involved. Nevertheless, Cinemark

help cinemas be more sustainable, through initiatives such

Argentina launched a re-usable popcorn bucket in 2017 linked to a

as non-plastic straw replacements and selling drinks in PET

smart customer retention program offering discounts on re-fills.

bottles that are more easily recycled than cups. “Industry commitment towards the Circular Economy can be demonstrated through collaboration across a range of initiatives,” says Sarah Girling, co-founder of consultancy

The Technology View: Loreto Boitano, Concessions Manager at Cinemark

Blue Stocking Partnership (BSPL), which has worked with Coke, Odeon, McDonalds and others on a number of retail

“Our former popcorn packaging was made from cardboard and could

projects. She notes that “At CineEurope, Blue Stocking

not be reused, so we looked for a more sustainable alternative. Our new

brought to life show sponsor Coca-Cola’s sustainable

bucket needed to add value to customers. Our supplier Fosko proposed

packaging programmes through the use of marine

an IML bucket with peelable IML labels in response. It’s proving a hit

biodegradable straws; offering smartwater in PlantBottle

both for immediate sales results and long-term customer retention.”

packaging containing renewable and recycled plastic while

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Cinema Initiatives and reducing plastic and paper consumption. To promote

The Technology View: Kathryn Pritchard, Group Chief People Officer - Odeon Cinemas

more mindful plastic use, we have removed plastic straws from open display and are taking part in an initiative to remove plastic cutlery and straws from display at Starbucks concessions. Plastic straws are only provided to customers

“We’re working on a range of initiatives to reduce our energy

making drink orders or on request which has already led to

consumption, and our use of plastic and other materials that cannot

a significant reduction in straw consumption while we

be recycled or composted,” says Odeon’s Kathryn Pritchard, pointing

search for more sustainable alternatives.”

out that the size of Odeon’s operation across Europe makes changing

In benchmarking exhibitors’ efforts remember that

supply chain a major logistical operation: “We’re working with our

cinema is (relatively) a small industry, when compared to

partners to create a more sustainable retail supply chain. This has to

high-street fast food, take-away and coffee operations. “We

be an end-to-end process involving procurement, operations, and

don’t have high enough volumes for our current supplier to

waste disposal. One priority is to reduce the amount of plastic in our

justify manufacturing biodegradable or recyclable paper

retail system: identifying, sourcing and using more packaging that

tubs and cups,” explains Empire’s MacDonald. “We want the

comes from recycled, renewable or certified sources. We’re currently

change but need larger volumes that would come should

evaluating a number of paper or compostable alternatives and will

Cineworld, Odeon or Vue all decide to switch.”

announce an update on straws and other packaging products this

Ultimately cinemas have to find sourcing, recycling and

summer — we expect a rapid roll-out of suitable alternatives.”

waste management solutions that are sustainable from

Odeon currently has two active trials underway: for paper straws in

both an environmental and a cost perspective. “Given the

the UK, and for compostable nacho trays in Germany.

complexities of the sector and relationships with suppliers, change won’t be overnight, but we’re confident the current direction of travel can be supported and accelerated by a

All chains contacted by CT magazine had implemented or

coherent industry-wide approach,” UKCA’s Phil Clapp notes.

were working on sustainability initiatives. Below is an

He also affirmed that “The UKCA has begun taking initial

overview of some of these efforts. Everyman’s head of

steps on the formulation of an industry-wide strategy in this

marketing Hoss Ghonouie pointed out that, “we’re on board

regard and is currently working with members of all sizes to

with recyclable paper straws and (as far as I know) are also

identify good and promising practice.”

the only cinema to use glassware only and no plastic cups across our estate — meaning no plastic and they last a lot longer.” With Everyman refurbishing old sites into boutique cinemas, the company makes “the best of existing buildings rather than going down the industrial estate route.”


What Can Cinemas Do?

Merlin Cinemas was “one of the first to use paper

Exhibitors can tap into learnings from the wider F&B industry, such as

popcorn bags instead of plastic-lined tubs and boxes.” It

the Sustainable Restaurant Association (, which has launched

announced on Facebook in April that “Plastic straws are

a guide to going plastic-free. The SRA recommends a five-step plan as a

being replaced with a biodegradable type, whilst as much

starter for those serious about reducing reliance on single-use plastic:

take-away packaging as possible, is being changed to a

Complete a plastic audit — a thorough assessment of what you use

card product.” It is also installing separate bins for recycling.

Identify what’s essential

Empire Cinemas’ F&B director Gordon MacDonald told CT: “We have started to review the packaging we use to

Set reduction targets Ask suppliers for packaging specs

improve our sustainability,” but he admits, “It’s a frustratingly

Get your waste contractor to detail what they can and can’t recycle.

slow process!” Empire will have switched to paper straws by

Another resource is the Waste and Resources Action Programme (wrap.

October and recyclable coffee cups by August. Hot dog and, which “works with governments, businesses and communities

nacho trays were switched to paper several years ago.

to deliver practical solutions to improve resource efficiency.”

Cineworld’s spokesperson said that the company “is always looking for ways to improve sustainability across all

Informing patrons is also key — ultimately the consumers have to become active participants in any sustainability initiative.

areas of our business, including promoting energy efficiency 3 2


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How green is your projector? While much of the focus on cinemas’ sustainability efforts are at the consumer end, an equally important aspect is behind the scenes, mostly relating to energy consumption, as Patrick von Sychowski explains.

W H E R E T H E WAT T S G O I N A L A S E R U N I T: 1














3 4


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% of light drop for Barco’s RGB laser projector


% of reduced electricity in the last 3 years for Cineasa

HE CINEMA INDUSTRY took its first big step towards

practices and share them across our 14 countries.” Odeon

becoming greener when it went digital. This has done

has a major Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy

away with the production of thousands of 35mm film reels

across all of its 14 territories, “targeting three important

weekly, with the associated chemicals and waste created

promises: to become more inclusive through ‘Our Incredible

from lab processing. Whether DCPs are sent on hard drive

Differences’ programme, to reduce our carbon footprint,

or transmitted electronically, the energy used is less than

and to contribute more in our communities.” Odeon and its

that of multiple film canisters on delivery trucks and planes.

parent AMC are already seeing results of this strategy, as

Finally, disposing of old films no longer means dumping

Pritchard revealed exclusively to CT Magazine:

reels in landfills, but simply re-using existing hard drives.

“We’ve seen good initial success on energy consumption.

The next step for cinemas will be a switch from lamp-

The best recent examples have been our team in Cinesa,

based projectors to laser light sources, according to

who reduced electricity consumption by nearly 14% in the

Cinionic’s Tom Bert and Goran Stojmenovik. According to

past 3 years; our team in UCI Italy who cut energy costs by

them there are two quantifiable benefits:

€1.4m in the past 3 years; and the SF Kino team in Sweden who cut consumption by nearly 7% from 2016 to 2017.

Higher optical efficiency

“In the UK, we’re pleased to have been re-accredited

A mind-blowing 700GWh is consumed every year by

with the Carbon Trust Standard for Carbon, thanks to a

European cinema projectors. Yes, that is Giga Watt hours. If

14.8% reduction in our CO2 footprint from April 2015 to

we were to replace every lamp-based cinema projector

March 2017. We were first awarded the standard in 2010.

with its equivalent laser-illuminated version, Cinionic

We’ve held it ever since.” Pritchard stresses there are no

estimates this number would drop by 150GWh (the

grounds for complacency. “We’ve actively invested in new

equivalent production of a small nuclear power plant in

equipment such as new a/c units and LED lighting across

one month). To do the same for the worldwide cinema

the estate, and use renewable energy where possible.”

market, results would be between 3 to 5 times higher.

A reduction in lamp swaps & transport

Cineworld is looking at how it can reduce energy and paper consumption. “We encourage energy saving at all our cinemas and have switched to more efficient LED lights in

Based on an analysis of the European cinema market,

our new cinemas and refurbs,” a spokesperson told CT

Cinionic found that 150,000 traditional lamps are being

magazine. “We have also introduced a voltage optimisation

swapped and sent around on an annual basis. That’s

technology which helps to eliminate wasteful electricity

around 100 trucks filled with lamps driving around Europe,

from electrical appliances at a number of our sites. Our

every year. Barco’s flagship RGB laser projector runs up to

extensive refurbishment programme has been carried out

30,000 hours with an expected light drop of only 20% — replacing every lamp-based cinema projector with a laser projector of similar efficiency would avoid more than 1 million lamp


swaps in Europe. Extrapolating on a

SCREEN LUMENS 56,000 lm Or 5.77Lm/W in a typical Barco DP4K-60L laser projector

5 times higher. Swapping to laser

worldwide basis yields a number 3 to could also help eliminate hazardous waste — xenon lamps contain

with sustainability in mind. We have

“A mind-blowing 700GWh of power is used by Europe’s cinema projectors yes, that figure is 750,000,000,000Wh”




screens and digital posters in our foyers to reduce paper waste.” In




house chain Yorck Group has gone green by sourcing all of its electricity from renewable sources; paying a ‘green offset tax’ on 90% of its printed

a certain amount of

material; switching all its lighting to energy-saving LED; and

radioactive material — and lead to additional energy

participating in the Green Cinema Sustainability Initiative of

savings (lower air conditioning costs, for example). The next

the AG KINO “with the goal of a significantly more

generation of direct view displays, such as Samsung’s Onyx

sustainable business.” For cinemas looking to reduce their

Cinema LED, promise further energy savings.

carbon footprint, showcased its Virtual Energy

Practical steps already being taken

Management System at this year’s CineEurope, which it says can offer 20%-40% energy savings for cinemas. As well

Cinemas across Europe are already embracing these and

as saving the environment they also provide budget savings.

other initiatives. Kathryn Pritchard, group chief people

Green may be the costliest, most challenging colour to

officer at The Odeon Group sees major benefits in learning

achieve for RGB lasers, but going green behind the scenes

from each other. “We’re fortunate that we can find the best

seems to be both easier and a cost-saving for cinemas!

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3 5

mne Looking for an engineering team with polish? Then call Omnex for your cinema supply, install, maintenance and repair requirements. We’re raising the standards of presentation.

+44 (0)161 477 7633



Cinema’s head is in the cloud Shifting our processing power to the internet is the next natural step in cinema’s technological revolution. Saul Mahoney from online production specialists Sundog Media Toolkit, explains the direction of travel. Words: Saul Mahoney


HE MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY has spent the best part of the past 20 years transitioning from an analogue to an almost entirely digital workflow. This digitisation could be defined as complete, given that there are now

many well-known examples where content travels ‘glass to glass’, that is camera lens to projector lens, in a purely digital environment. This area is still growing, predominantly in Europe and the US, and it is far from global given current levels of network delivery solutions deployed. The digital transformation has enabled innovation and has generated a healthy landscape where technology is flourishing — but it has also brought with it a version explosion; namely the ability for distributors and exhibitors to exploit content in any language in a growing number of formats. Typically a ‘blockbuster’ will require a minimum of 300 individual versions of the same film, all to be created, mastered and distributed in a short space of time. This

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3 7










Ideally, original content moves to the cloud only once. All work from that point onwards is via web interfaces and proxies

It’s vital to consider security measures in use as this is where the hacker’s attack surface is at its greatest.

CONTENT GENERATION Most traditional content generation — such as shooting a movie — does not change as a result of an end to end workflow, the challenge is data movement from set to cloud. Note that in the user-generated content world, this is avaliable and immediate. This can be a powerful tool.


rising level of complexity and volume

brings DCP versioning and mastering to the growing

of content across the cinema platform

party of solutions hosted in the cloud.

has, up to now, been handled in a fairly linear fashion by a mixture of

Adaptable to suit the scale required

traditional, well-known stakeholders,

Cloud computing is useful for a number of reasons,

and new entrants to the industry.

primarily, it is the ability to ramp up scale as demand

More and more companies are

requires. This solution is a no-brainer for an industry such as

turning to cloud-based solutions in

ours, where the product is essentially a time-honoured

order to facilitate this rapid expansion

creation of large amounts of data which needs to be

of content complexity, and “the cloud”

processed and then delivered. Secondary to this is speed; if

is now an often-raised subject in the

more machines can be harnessed to achieve scale then

technology circles of the industry. So

more machines can also be utilised to speed up a workflow.

what is this “Cloud” of which we speak?

An example of this is Sundog Media Toolkit’s DCP Engine which can perform the task of wrapping a new DCP in a

Nebular networking…

substantially reduced timeframe, compared to on-premise

Quite simply, cloud computing is a

machines, yet it doesn’t stop there, because any versioning

network of remote servers hosted on

job can be run hundreds of times simultaneously, with

the internet. These servers are held,

negligible loss of time overall. In other words, cloud services

typically, in secure data centres—

allow the production pipeline to expand when the demand

warehouses with huge banks of

for all the exotic flavours in the version explosion is there,

machines blipping and whirring away,

rather than having to extend a deadline or farm out work

doing what they are designed to do.

due to capacity issues.

The use of cloud platforms in the

Cloud computing is an efficient resource and the costs

motion picture industry is in its relative

associated reflect this. When companies migrate to cloud

infancy, though there are a few well-established uses

computing and storage, capital expenditure budgets can



be reduced significantly, with an on-demand op-ex model.

distributing content to cinemas, such as those from Gofilex

When we look at cinema and its growing relationship





and UniqueX. Both utilise data centres and cloud services. In the film and television industry adoption is, however, growing

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In an end to end cloud environment facilities don’t go away creative teams still need somewhere to work. However they become more flexible and, with appropriate controls, individuals can work from the office, home or the beach with equal ease.





with the cloud, we can see some highly compelling cases for further enterprise and collaboration. The overall


adoption in the post-production and mastering worlds will

applications hitting cloud services such as Aspera and

see timelines shrink, content delivered quickly, dynamically

Signiant which offer fast and secure file delivery; cut in

— that is, with a higher level of accuracy than currently

BeBop and Aframe with professional editing platforms;

exists, and, potentially, on demand. Metadata will provide

GrayMeta uses AI and machine learning to extract and

more intelligence on content — or in content — which in

create metadata; Foundry (Nuke) with powerful VFX

turn will allow more automation, localised advertising,

rendering, and our own Sundog Media Toolkit which

‘augmented reality’ and marketing opportunities.





For high-end content, it is likely that some processes will still require local specialised equipment. For instance, UHD HDR (4K high dynamic range television) is a required deliverable for many broadcasters and streaming networks. The colour process requires high dynamic range and specialised grading consoles for accurate results. Thus, high bandwidth connectivity or a synchronised workflow is required

VERSIONING Sometimes the uncompressed content needs to move back to a facility. It may be unavoidable for a number of processes but cloud bounce (constantly moving data up and down for different tasks) is to be avoided!


Opportunities & challenges of adoption

scale operation, one or more 10gigabit

The first and most obvious opportunity of cloud is the

pipes are now typical. With the ability

apparent “infinite scale” of resource available, and that can

of cloud to scale on demand, some

equate to infinite speed. Of course the reality is that neither

media specialist telecoms providers

is infinite, but the amount of resource available in public

now offer features which can make

cloud far exceeds the amount available to any single

cloud services a much more attractive

organisation, so it offers the opportunity to take processing

proposition. Features such as “burst”

of data from weeks and days to hours and minutes.




bandwidth, direct connect (dedicated

environment as team members across territories can easily

bandwidth into a particular public

work together on projects, and the required connectivity is

cloud), and layered services such as

easily handled by the data centre. The tools required will be


a factor here, but most cloud native services support


multiple users working on the same content or project

features of connectivity offerings.





Another advantage of the data centres global reach

scale move to the cloud (for instance a

and connectivity is that file delivery becomes easier and no

content archive) the idea of shifting an

longer ties up the bandwidth of your facility. Delivering to

entire repository of content could be

multiple parties is more efficient and if the requirement is

daunting, even with huge connectivity.

to deliver the same files to high volumes of customers, most

However this can actually be handled

public cloud operators also operate content delivery

by utilising physical migration services.

networks (CDN) which automatically improve file delivery

This involves putting the data onto

hubs which service high demand in a region.




services such as the BBC iPlayer and Netflix are able to cope with high local demand or peaks in a given territory. Despite the advantage of file delivery, connectivity will still likely be a challenge to adoption of cloud

“Collaboration is easier in a public cloud environment as teams across territories can easily work together”



In the case of a one-time large




simultaneously. Look at Google Sheets as a simple example.

by moving copies of the files to local



Collaboration becomes far easier in a public cloud




CLOUD DISTRIBUTION A major advantage of the cloud is realised at the distribution stage where content can be hosted and delivered to the end customer entirely via cloud and content delivery networks. This also opens up the possibility of live libraries which can release the value in content archives. Cloud encoding can deliver the correct file format to cinema (or home) as it is ordered, potentially even mastering on demand using the archive file as the source.

hard drive arrays and physically shipping them to the data centre. Off the shelf services such as Amazon’s Snowball and Avalanche are able to handle migrations running into exabytes of data (an exabytre is 1018bytes — a big number). At the low cost end, a few hundred dollars will

services — you still need to move your data into the cloud in

move up to 80 terabytes in a “Snowball” while you can move

the first place. The cost of broadband connectivity is falling

up to 100 Petabytes at a time in a “Snowmobile”.

constantly, but in the case of working with content in the cloud, enterprise class connectivity is a must. At the small

A changing financial model

operation end, 1 gigabit will typically suffice, but for a larger

Cost saving is an interesting part of the equation. At first

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3 9



glance, a cloud service can appear to be very low cost

far too complex to take a single point approach to security,

overall compared to an equivalent fully managed service.

and it is impossible to guess what vulnerabilities or attack

However moving to the cloud will typically change the

vectors may present themselves over time. In this case it is

nature of an operation and that point has to be accounted

essential to be diligent in your choice of service provider.

for. Most major cloud providers now offer “TCO” (Total Cost

You must ask if they are certified by any industry bodies,

of Ownership) calculators to help work this out. A simple

whether their security is well-documented, whether they

example would be to bring a service in-house that was

undergo regular independent testing and attack, and

previously entirely outsourced. There is no capital cost on

whether they have passed any major security audits. In the

the service itself, the cloud cost here is all operational cost

end, the required vendor security level of any organisation is

which should typically be in the region of 10-20% of the

going to reflect their own stance on security, but bear in

legacy service cost. You may now need to staff up to run the

mind that in the connected world, security is more than just

service in-house, you will almost certainly need to upskill

protecting content, but protecting internal systems,

existing workforce or bring in new expertise. You may need

business continuity and customer and personal data. The

to increase your connectivity (see later in this section) and

cloud can be just as secure as owned infrastructure, and in

buy in additional cloud-based supporting systems (eg file

most cases far more secure, but ensure the applications you

transfer, asset management, missing service pieces etc.). So

choose don’t compromise that.

it is not unusual when this and other factors are all

Can the cinema industry avoid the cloud? Not really.

accounted for that what looked, at face value, to be an 80-

We’re heading in this direction for a reason; it is the only

90% saving actually reduces to 30-40% of hard savings. This

sustainable solution and will be ubiquitous soon, but the

doesn’t attribute value to the operational agility and

challenges for anyone heading to the cloud in the near

resilience that the cloud service may bring. Nevertheless,

future are not trivial and should not be underestimated.

30% is typical of TCO cost savings in cloud migration seen across all industries. If you already run in-house services using owned infrastructure, moving to an operational expenditure model will change the nature of your accounting and this can

The different types of cloud deployment

sometimes be a challenging transition. Furthermore, there is an expectation with owned infrastructure to squeeze as much lifetime out of the hardware as possible, often well

There are three main types of cloud

to carry a hard drive around with

beyond the accounting write-off period. In this case, cloud


us that contains a lifetime of

migration is more likely to happen piecemeal as equipment

Amazon Web Services, Microsoft

reaches end-of-life or is no longer supported. This has the

Azure, Google etc) operates globally

upside of a gentle transition (avoiding operational shock)

with public access to tools and

Cloud services are used in familiar

but has the downside of supporting two models, potentially

services provided by the operator.


over a number of years. This transition is much easier to

Private (local) cloud are bespoke

Facebook and LinkedIn. This is

undertake when moving from a wholly outsourced service

builds i.e not open to public use,

where cloud is not just used for

to in-house cloud backed service. The net result is the same

and can be costly to set up and

storage but also processing. Further

though — the cloud allows the infrastructure cost to vary

maintain. Finally the hybrid cloud

examples are Dropbox and Google

with the peaks and troughs of demand. Being able to scale

offers a bridge between the private

Drive for storage and file sharing;

instantly when busy and minimise cost when quiet has

and the public and can be a good

Google Docs and LibreOffice for

enormous intrinsic value to any business.

model for businesses not wanting

work collaboration on documents, ;

to jump in at the deep end.

Tumblr and Instagram for photo

As safe as houses?




photography and music archives.




editing and sharing; and YouTube

Security is a major factor when taking the decision to move

The cloud is probably best known

for video storage and publishing.

into the cloud, since it is widely accepted that the physical

as a data storage provider, most

The list of use-cases illustrates the

infrastructure of large public cloud providers is far more

telco’s offer some cloud storage to

extent to which the cloud is already

secure than most operations — even many governments —

consumers so that we don’t all have

embedded in everyday life.

can reasonably afford to achieve. The fact remains, however, that the services within are in a “public” environment, and so the attack surface is naturally large. This is an area that is 4 0


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Cinema subtitling in the UK – a new way forward

1in 6

16% (11m) of the UK population have some form of hearing loss

The UK Cinema Association and Action on Hearing Loss are excited to launch this new challenge fund to help catalyse innovation in technology that will allow people with hearing loss to have a more inclusive cinema experience.

Help us find a solution that: Allows deaf and hearing-impaired people to have an integrated cinema experience with the wider public; Is easy to use for both the cinema and audience member; Is financially viable for venues to install and use; and Is compatible with existing cinema infrastructure and technology.


of the cinema-going audience are disabled


• •

The closing date for applications is Friday 28 September 2018.

cinema visits from disabled customers to UK cinemas per year

To find out more and to apply go to: technologychallengefund or email

cinema_technology_2018_Layout 1 30/07/2018 22:57 Page 1 TCF-Half A4 landscape advert-02.indd 1





03/08/2018 15:53


E V E N T S Patrick von Sychowski reports from Barcelona at CineEurope 2018

CineEurope 2018 Review




in the calendar just seven weeks after CinemaCon in 2018 and many

people wondered if there would be enough to set the two apart in terms of





conversations. In the end any fears were










eighth it


is with

year a


strong its


character — European, Hollywood and global. It was also a show with a focus on diversity, in many forms, but facing increasing industry consolidation and potential disruptors. A confident UNIC president Phil Words: Patrick von Sychowski

Clapp opened the show pointing to growth in 2017 and a strong start to 2018, which “confirms the cinemagoing public recognise the massive

We will, we will rock you! Fox put on a glitzy show for “Bohemian Rhapsody”

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4 3


levels of investment that European

Too big for the trade show?

operators are making in all aspects of

The trade show floor was its largest ever for

the big screen experience.” He pointed

CineEurope, though sentiments differed about

to the strength content diversity and

whether traffic and footfall was up or down this

local films brought to the industry and

year. Some of this might be related to parallel



events, but also because of many of the largest

recently published by the Global

companies having relocated and taken up home in

Cinema Federation, before ending

the meeting rooms on levels 1 and 2. Companies

with a dig at “unsustainable business

like GDC, Harman/Samsung and D-Box that might

practices of so-called ‘disruptors.’”

otherwise also have been found in the great hall



The case for Euro content

were instead exclusively tucked away in the corridors above it.

The show opened with a look at the business case for European content, supported by Creative Europe MEDIA, followed by a high-calibre executive round table that included exhibitors Cineworld’s Mooky Greidinger (“Mooky speaks!” attendees marvelled), CJ CGV’s Bret Kim and Vue’s Tim Richards, as well as Fox’s chairman and CEO Stacey Snider and IMAX’s JL Pomeroy. It





communication, data, but above all the need to remind audiences how great cinema is. Greidinger urged the industry to think how to get customers to “stay for three-four hours” at a time. Having consolidated its Regal acquisition, Cineworld put its money where its mouth was, announcing plans to launch 100 ScreenX locations across US, UK, Europe and Israel. It had

Much activity centred around the “Bohemian Rhapsody” lounge in the foyer, away from the trade show floor

Linen’s the in thing: this article’s author (on the left) caught up with the director Paul Feig (on the right — or is it vice versa?)

4 4


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previously committed to 4DX equally

in hosting the Coke Seminar, which

strongly, with the immersive seating

this year looked at issues around

company hitting 10m visits in just five

staffing. Vue’s Dee Vassili and Kan

months in 2018. ScreenX also saw

Dosanjh provided a forensic analysis



of how it has turned HR improvements

Disney/Marvel’s “Ant-man and the

into a competitive advantage, while

Wasp” out this month, and new sales

Satalia’s Adam West thrilled and awed

of the three-screen format to UAE

audiences explaining the company’s

(Reel Cinema) and Kuwait (KNCC),

radical transparency: all expenses

with 142 installations worldwide to-

open to scrutiny by everyone and

date. Not to be forgotten, Dolby

company-wide votes on pay increases.

announced deals with Kinopolis and

The CineEurope focus sessions on

Odeon to bring its PLF to Germany

the trade show floor benefitted from

and the UK. But Cineworld dominated

not actually being on the trade show

the announcements, expanding its

floor but in a walled-off room next to

IMAX footprint to 40 in Europe, and

it. Here there were seminars on new

announcing 50 Dolby Atmos installs.

developments in screen advertising,



A focus on staffing

where Burger King’s “hijack’ tie-in promotion with the “It” movie got the

It was the first CineEurope in years

biggest laugh (‘The Moral: Never Trust

without official sponsor Coca-Cola’s

a Clown’). Event cinema made its

Corinne Thibaut present, but Oliver


Delaney very ably assumed her duties

CineEurope fold, marked by a panel





A Cinionic reception saw delegates bask in the evening sun

Euroseating, Ferco, Figueras, Leadcom, Usit, VIP and more. Popcorn vendors and flavours proliferated, including addictive cheese ones (notably Joe’s Gourmet Food, situated dangerously close to Cinema Technology’s stand). Re-branded Unique X’s cute robot stole the show — even with its faulty “AI” that kept mistaking women for men and compounding the insult by adding decades to their guessed age. There was a growing number of specialised Chinese vendors. (Did you visit Qingdao Boss Flame Retardant Textile Materials Co. Ltd. stand 129?). Encouragingly, there were also new companies coming to CineEurope for the first time to showcase their innovation, such as Polish energy efficiency experts Vems or the Finnish augmented audio company Flexound. As always, it was impossible to visit most of the companies with stands, let alone do them justice here in print. supported by the ECA and Cineplace. Signs pointed to the field growing beyond the ‘high arts’ of opera, theatre and museums, to e-sports, music, football and more. Last of all, the ‘Wonder Women’ panel stressed the importance of diversity in an industry driven by female consumers.

7 Fast turnaround: CineEurope was just 7 weeks after CinemaCon this year

Technology and a Coke

Data showed the Freestyle section was more popular than the Fuze Tea

And in projection news…

stand, but the bar proved the runaway

As in Las Vegas, other projector and

hit, serving over 1,000 drinks, including


gin and tonics as early as 10am.


makers in





In the trade show, many vendors

Christie debuted what it called the

were present from Cretors and PCO to

“Cinema Industry’s First Affordable

Osram and Golden Link. Seating was

RGB Pure Laser Projector”, with the the

as big as ever, with an emphasis on

2K version of Christie’s

luxury from Encore, Euro Group,

RealLaser™ cinema projectors, the



family of

As before, the Coca-Cola stand was the centrepiece of the trade show, proving as popular as ever for both beverage refreshment and meeting point. Once again the Blue Stocking Partnership (BSPL) worked to bring it together, as well as manning the Coke and








and software from Cinionic tracked over 6,000 visits to the stand over the 2.5 days of the trade show, as well as identifying hot-spots and dwell-time.

100 Cineworld plans to launch 100 ScreenX locations across the US and UK

Cineworld announced plans to expand IMAX to 40 venues in Europe...

...while also announcing plans to undertake 50 Dolby Atmos installs.

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4 5


CP2315-RGB pure laser projector. Also emphasising value, NEC showcased its NC3541L 4K RB laser projector, which it said takes advantage of both laser





technologies. Sony showcased its HDR-ready phosphor laser projector, the SRX-R815. Samsung did not bring its Cinema LED screen, but had a presence as sponsors, delegates and in meetings. Thirteen of its Onyx screens and Harman audio solutions have been installed worldwide, with Switzerland, Austria and Germany the first three territories in Europe.

Market moves aplenty Intersecting the trends of China and consolidation,



fronted the CineEurope arrival of Luxin-Rio (pronounced “loo-SHIN rio”) that brought together Arts Alliance Media (software), Volfoni (3D) and MediaMation Vista


(immersive its




dominated the software/data, with the new MovieXchange (MX) platform, Powster enabling studio ticket sales on their websites, a deal with Les Cinemas Pathé Gaumont, Cinema Intelligence signing Nordisk, Vista powering Saudi cinemas and George Eyles





Meanwhile Smart Pricer confirmed

partnership of MPS and Gofilex. The

Cinionic settles in

only server maker on the trade show floor was Qube with its Qube Wire,

that UCI Germany would be the first

Having rushed to unveil its new name at

while GDC and Dolby had their

chain to roll out dynamic pricing to all

CinemaCon, Cinionic had visibly relaxed into its

meeting rooms out of sight. And

of its sites. Jack Roe had its TaPoS,

new corporate identity by CineEurope. The


POSitive had the Cinema Assistant

company wrapped up the show with a bang by

Telepresence be 100% successful in

App, ticket. international (TI) had

announcing a deal to equip all Kinepolis screens in

the future, we would all be sipping

Dolphin, while Compeso offered up

both Europe and Canada with 100% laser

Cava virtually at home rather than

the Retail Orders & Concessions ATM.

projectors from Barco, renewing over 300 screens

having to travel to Barcelona to meet industry contacts in person.




Having recently opened its first

by 2021. Barco and Kinepolis previously launched

Sphera PLF screen in Greece, the

Europe’s first all-laser multiplex in Breda two years

Ymagis Group brought Eclair Game,

earlier. As CineEurope’s Official Technology Partner,

Studio slate presentations

Eclair Play, Eclair Color and of course



There were presentations from 11

Cinema Next sales teams and product

including augmented reality in the lobby for multi-

distributors, six by the Hollywood

demos out in force. The issue of SMPTE

player gaming (in partnership with AMD) or the

majors, two by mini-majors Lionsgate

DCPs was raised several times, though

dedicated VR booth on the Coke stand. Barco’s

and STX, as well as three by European


Flagship laser also powered the CCIB Auditorium’s


big screen, with a Clarus XC screen by Harkness.

One, and Unifrance with Creative





commoditised, as witnessed by the 4 6


0 9 / 1 8








Paramount’s Mark Viane during his “biggest plunge since reading the ‘Monster Truck’ box office figures”

2.5 % admissions growth across UNIC territories,

300 Kinepolis are renewing over 300 screens by 2021 in Europe and Canada

13 of Samsung’s Onyx screens and Harman audio solutions have been installed world wide: Switzerland, Austria and Germany being the first three territories in Europe.

Story 4”, Universal’s “First Man”, Sony’s

Yet the biggest focus of all was on

“Venom” and the opening footage of

Twentieth Century Fox, not because

WB’s “A Star is Born” amongst others.

they dazzled with clips from the

The European studios helped balance

Queen and Freddie Mercury biopic

the big screen diet, though it is no

“Bohemian Rhapsody”, with Brian May

small irony that two of the biggest

and Roger Taylor making a walk on to

‘British’ hits this past year, namely

the stage. Nor because Jon Landau

“Paddington 2” and “The Guernsey

teased more “Avatar” details and

Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”


came from France’s Studiocanal.

footage. But with AT&T’s take-over of





With all Studios having had a

Time Warner approved in the week of

mostly good year (don’t mention

the show and Disney later improving

“Solo”), even Paramount’s Mark Viane

its offer over that of Comcast, the

felt confident enough to joke that his

merger of Fox into Disney increasingly

‘Mission: Impossible’-style cable drop

looked a done deal. Andrew Cripps

entry on stage was his biggest plunge

and Kieran Breen got laughs in their

since reading BO figures for “Monster

intro video where they wondered

Truck”. There were the customary star

whether to pack Mickey Mouse ears or

video messages (“Hello CineEurope,

a Comcast t-shirt in their CineEurope

sorry I can’t be there,”) and a smattering

suitcase. “Too soon?” deadpanned

Europe MEDIA. Unlike CinemaCon

of stars and directors on stage, such as


there was even time for feature films;

Andy Serkis, trying to drum up interest


WB’s “Tag”, Disney/Pixar’s “Incredibles

for his non-Disney take on Kipling’s

If Fox is gone next year, its

2” and Lionsgate’s “A Simple Plan”. The

“The Jungle Book” in the dark “Mowgli”.

showmen and women will be missed.





last presented by the film’s impeccably dressed director Paul Feig, who even stayed to watch the film, “because you can’t trust a chef who doesn’t eat his own food,” he quipped. While there was a lot of repetition of the Hollywood studio slates from CinemaCon, there were enough new films or details added to satisfy even those sitting through it a second time in less than two months: Disney’s “Toy

UNIC’s Phil Clapp took aim at “unsustainable” industry disruptors

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4 7


Delegates packed in for the slates

Awards & Honours




vendors was a success, John F. Allen covered all current issues in cinema

CineEurope’s tributes started early with the

A successful outing


honouring of outgoing EDCF stalwarts Dave Monk

Few attendees at CineEurope 2018

Christiansen gave great insight into

and John Graham during the UNIC reception.

realised that this year’s earlier show


Instrumental in keeping the EDCF going for almost

slotted between the 38th Congress of

Hollywood films.

two decades, the current president David Hancock

SEMFYC, with seminars on “Insomnia

The highlight was the Gen Z panel

acknowledged the industry’s debt to them.

treatment in the context of benzo-

on the mindset of teens. They seemed



baffled by the notion of owning

Disney’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” was the

workshop (Fun)” and the 20th World

movies on physical media: “Like DVDs?

Comscore European BO Achievement winner,

Congress on Gastro-intestinal Cancer.

Laptops don’t have slots for those any

making Disney’s Tony Chambers both Emcee and

Luckily CineEurope 2018 proved that

more.” Asked by GDC’s Tony Adamson’s

honoree, the former alongside Odeon Group’s Juan

European and global cinema is in rude

if a cinema-on-demand service such

Antonio Gomez. Jean-Pierre Decrette of Gaumont-

health. Even sunny weather (which

as GoGoCinema would appeal, the 19-

Pathe got the UNIC Award of Achievement. Karo’s

exhibitors hate) and the World Cup

year old on stage exhaled, “Ooooh,

Olga Zinyakova was Exhibitor of the Year in a timely

(when studios shy away from releasing

that would be coooool.”

award as Russia has just become Europe’s biggest

films) could not dampen enthusiasm.

cinema territory by tickets sold. Lionsgate’s Patrick









On Tuesday ICTA held seminars on issues





Wachsberger was Distributor of the Year, singled

The ICTA seminar series

out for his multi-lingual skills in the tribute video.

As before, CineEurope was preceded

as designing the theatre of tomorrow.

analytics, gaming and esports as well

by the ICTA Seminar Series which

The panels’ contributors were superb,

There was also the inaugural CineEurope Gold

kicked off on the Sunday in the Cinesa

though one audience member (yours

Awards for seven men and women from across

Diagonal Mar — a record 170 registered

truly) complained of a lack of diversity.

Europe and the industry, both exhibitors and

to attend. UNIC’s Guillaume Branders

Of the 16 panelists that afternoon, just

vendors, that had distinguished themselves in

gave both a European Industry Update

one was female. Eventually a tweet in

their careers. Saudi director Haifaa Al Mansour was

and chaired the executive round table












on key tech issues. He pointed to both

“We’re committed to making sure that

Recognition” award at CineEurope and spoke

growth of +1.7% in BO and +2.5%


about the importance of cinemas opening in her

admissions across UNIC territories, as

#5050by2020.” The Wednesday panel

native Saudi Arabia. After that CineEurope broke

well as “exciting changes” through the

on direct view displays lasted just 30

up early and those that had not already left to

experience of new formats.


watch the World Cup kick off from home mingled on the CCIB terrace. 4 8

The Grinch added some levity


0 9 / 1 8

The short, sharp format of threeminute














particularly deep, even with Dave Monk providing many of the answers!



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Building cinemas at the crossroads of Europe & Asia To be held in Turkey this November, the inaugural #ECMIstanbul conference will examine opportunities in nascent cinema markets. Event organiser Rob Arthur, from The Big Picture, explores the potential



office by $2.5bn at a modest average ticket price. That

of Turkey, Central Asia, the Middle

level of growth will ineivtably take time, expertise and an

East, Balkans and North Africa are at

appreciation by all involved — exhibitors, distributors and

an early stage in their development,

trade supply chains — that there will be challenges.

but in combination offer a significant opportunity for investors, studios,

distributors, exhibitors and their specialist supply chains.

in the market area. Turkish, Kazak and Arabic filmmakers

inaugural Emerging Cinema Markets Conference, to be

amongst others are finding new audiences and their local

held this November in Istanbul. Some 650 million people

content adds to the impact of international studio and

live in the target markets, but there are just 170 million

Hollywood offers. Learning and development and the

cinema ticket sales officially recorded per annum. GDP in

ability to deliver great customer service in new markets is

the area is $5,200bn with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, UAE,

required; as is the ability to utilise the technical equipment

Egypt and Israel being among the biggest markets.

purchased to the best of its ability — there’s little point in

per annum, there is scope to grow capacity by more than 10,000 screens; admissions by half a billion and gross box

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There are significant cultural and commercial challenges

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spending capital without also delivering the best picture and sound in the best seats each and every day. We are excited about the potential of this conference

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DCS Events with The Big Picture will be hosting an Emerging Cinema Markets Conference on 20-22 November at the Swissôtel The Bosphorus, Istanbul.

What’s on the agenda?

Delegate tickets are available, costing €995 with a discounted

21st Century shopping centre and cinema tour for

price of €795 for members of recognised industry trade bodies. An ‘Early Bird’

delegates to see several outstanding cinemas within

rate of €795 is currently on offer. Full details for purchasing tickets and booking rooms at the Swissotel at a special rates are also on the website. A host of sponsorship opportunities are available. For more details, contact

signature designed shopping centres in Istanbul. A workshop from the British Chamber of Commerce Turkey to explain to delegates how to do business in and for more information visit

the conference regions and support opportunities.

to support the growth of cinema. It gives exhibitors,

Opportunities – outlining the market in more detail

Speeches and panel sessions from industry leaders Emerging Cinema Markets Overview with Trends and

suppliers and content providers from the region a chance

21st Century Retail Centres – the key location for

to join together at #ecmistanbul and discuss developments,

cinemas in emerging markets: what do they offer

technical challenges and innovations that are central to

and how does the cinema interact?

the industry today, as well as a chance to look ahead to the

Specialist architects, technical suppliers & operators.

future. Our hope is that as many as possible will sign up to

Cinema technology – data, projection, seats, sound

attend an informative event — one that also offers a unique

and screen offers are the key ingredients to delivering

chance to network with industry experts and professionals.

a world class cinema. How can these be best used to

Significantly, the conference has the backing of the British

deliver outstanding experiences.

Chamber of Commerce Turkey (BCCT). Emrah Oz, CEO of

Cinema Food & Drinks - a sector that delivers

the BCCT explained that “as the partner of choice for British

sustainable cinema in all markets, and cinemas need

business in Turkey, BCCT is delighted to support this event.

to deliver a broader mix of food and drinks than ever.

It will allow participants from Turkey and the UK to enhance their network in an industry

Growth Opportunities including Screen Advertising and Event Cinema.

gaining in strength both in Turkey

The Big Picture Focus on Saudi Arabia: Vision 2030 is

and the surrounding region — our

a session dedicated to the re-emergence of Saudi

hope is that it will help them identify

Arabia as a cinema market.





opportunities in this area.”

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y r e v y d o b s t n a w r e v e . . . g n i h t technology

ema ns for cin a e m e c undan l overab a ic g lo o techn on what k o o C n O Brya IMIS CO new iece of . Each p e c n e ri ing e p new sav y the ex d as the e compan c ld a ra ue e often h f new ay be tr ence o nology is e this m rg h il e c h te m W n e . ed on a makers stant . With for film a con t is view industry n e e c is lm m fi ra e p g e r r lo o th he tell w deve ped for cussion ways to each ne y develo ttle dis w g li n e e lo n h o is s n w e h tec there at new , for also com ffect th al reality al basis, hnology individu ripple e ries. Virtu o e st new tec th e g c s effect n n in it experie interest eline or ration o ry d e ip a n d p n a si o n re e ti v o ti a c a st creati n the en ave en. nger just gy has o w we h big scre , is no lo y to the nt — no technolo e e rn m u instance n d o jo n ir e env l audio a lly on th -degree ositiona holistica in a 360 to cking, p , ra w -t e fe c a king, fa name eye-trac st to back ju d e fe haptic

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Camera Acquisition become forward-thinking and require 4K as a minimum.

The film industry has a historical preference for Super

Some sensors can record 8K and are used frequently in

35mm as the medium of choice for capturing and exhibiting

VFX-heavy films such as “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”

films. The 65mm film and 70mm IMAX cameras, while

(2017). Productions may take advantage of the higher

used periodically, have never been the gold standard for

resolution cameras to allow reframing of images in post,

filmmakers. As digital cinema cameras have become more

remove shakiness induced from operating in high-action

prevalent in recent years, sensor sizes have typically retained

scenes, or to assist with visual effects shots. Of course, with

the Super 35 standard. In recent years, however, sensors

4K images comes 4x the amount of data than an HD

sizes have begun to surpass Super 35. RED Digital Cinema’s

recording and 8K being 16x the data of HD. While the

Weapon Dragon was one of the first to be larger than Super

quantity of footage is substantial, releasing a film with

35. This was followed by RED’s Monstro VistaVision which is

higher resolutions means more storage of files as well as

nearly twice the size of Super 35. Other manufacturers have

longer times to download films from distributors.

followed suit. In 2014, ARRI announced the return to 65mm

Cameras have become able to record incredibly high

with the Alexa 65 camera which was exemplified best in

frame rates (HFR) in recent years — the Phantom Flex4K can

Alejandro Iñárritu’s “The Revenant” (2015) which won the

capture a staggering 1,000fps in full 4K. Recording in HFR

Academy Award for Best Cinematography. ARRI’s new

has been helpful in slowing down time to give effects

Alexa LF (Large Format) camera features a full-frame sensor

similar to the ‘bullet time’ in “The Matrix” (1999). However,

— again twice the size of Super 35.

Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit” (48fps), Ang Lee’s “Billy Lynn’s

The other recent trend is a shift to higher resolution. In

Long Halftime Walk” (120fps) and the upcoming James

2008, affordable professional 4K cameras began to become

Cameron’s “Avatar” sequels (120fps) were or are all captured

available and, during the past decade, more and more

with the intention of a release in HFR. While many current

manufacturers have continued this trend.

While early

HFR projectors were able to support “The Hobbit” and even

adopters were able to record ultra-high definition footage,

60fps, special systems will be needed for exhibition at

many productions have opted to edit, manipulate, and

120fps for the ones around the corner.

distribute these films in 2K; the reasoning behind this is

High dynamic range (HDR) is the ability to capture more

severalfold: 1) there was a lack of monitors or projectors that

stops of latitude of what is seen, or in simpler terms, to be

supported 4K; 2) the sales or development of 4K consumer TVs had been lacklustre; 3) 4K images downsampled to 2K resolution look better compared to 2K images. As the adoption rate of the technology down the pipeline has become more common, the post-production to get it to that level has occurred. Some platforms have

Effects-driven film-making brings with it a host of technological challenges — for exhibitors, too

able to see more difference between the lights and darks a camera can record before losing detail at either end. In standard dynamic range, cinematographers may have had to choose to sacrifice capturing a blue sky in favour of exposing an actors face that is in the shade; this often led to overexposed or blown out (white) skies. HDR can assist in some situations for capturing the detail of an actor’s face


The Phantom Flex4K can capture a stunning 1,000 frames per second in full 4K — giving the ability to capture “bullet-time” shots as in “The Matrix”

2008 Affordable professional 4K cameras have been with us for more than a decade

5 4


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Capturing major action scenes in only one take requires multiple cameras — and multiple dollars

and the sky in this example. While cameras have been capable of capturing higher dynamic range (HDR) for years, the ability to see these images on the big screen has not been possible until recently. Because time and resources may be limited on set, some cinematographers have been able to take advantage of this one-sided relationship by choosing to sacrifice a perfectly lit shot knowing they can adjust the final image in post with sufficient range to correct any exposure issue. However, as HDR in cinema becomes more mainstream, cinematographers will have to light their sets more carefully with controlled lighting rather

resources of the production are

than being able to rely on a colourist’s ability to manipulate


their footage. More veteran cinematographers who have always lit with light meters might soon have an advantage on those reliant on technology to fix their images.


Logistics with Technology

The Vision Comes Together





needed. Dealing with these multiple cameras, units, and a plethora of technology that comes with them only multiplies the ramifications

Some of the decisions on what

down the line. The quantity of

technology will be used can be

data throughout the workflow is

Not only is the variety and selection of technology

credited to artistic vision while

often hundreds of terabytes and

something that has to be carefully considered, but also the

others choices may simply be made

nearing petabytes. No wonder the

quantity of the technology.

as a desire to break from the norm

relatively new positions of Digital

If a production decides to capture 3D on-set rather than

and experiment. In either case,

Imaging Technician (DIT) and Data

convert to 3D in post, the number of cameras has to be

filmmakers need to consider the

Wrangler were created to address

doubled in order to achieve this effect (see June’s CT Mag

entire pipeline to exhibition in

collecting, logging, and managing

on Light Field Cinematography on how this could change.)

order to take advantage of the

all this information.

It becomes incredibly important that 3D camera systems

technology and effort that has

are calibrated and additions to the regular camera crew like

gone into making the film.


convergence pullers are involved in maintaining the settings throughout different scenarios on set. Any tiny error that is

Trends in Filmmaking

made can lead to the budget being redirected to correcting

Technology itself may not be an issue, but how the

a problem before it hits the cinema.

technology is used could be. Normally everyone

Cinematographers often choose to use multiple

assumes that new developments are universally better

cameras to ensure that scenes are seamless from cut-to-cut

for filmmaking, however this is not necessarily the case

or to ensure that intense action scenes reliant on timing are

when they are combined. Sensor sizes are becoming

captured just once. Setting up special effects explosions

larger, sensors can record higher resolution images,

with actors can be dangerous and, of course, might not look

lenses are becoming more efficient combined with

the same each take. “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015) used an

shooting in low-light scenarios, all lend themselves to

astonishing 30 cameras for some sequences to capture in-

shallower depth of field, which translates to a far more

camera effects rather than rely on visual effects. Similarly,

difficult job for the focus puller to obtain sharp focus.

productions will split into multiple ‘units’ to assist capturing

Tiny deviations of focus may not be noticeable on your

multiple locations simultaneously.

home television, but when projected at 30 to 90 feet,

In doing so, the

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5 5



Tiny deviations of focus may not be noticeable on your home television, but when projected at 30 to 90 feet, the smallest error can make the whole shot feel out of focus.

the smallest error can make the whole shot feel out of

at a particular time and you risk excluding the cinema to

focus. This can be off-putting to an audience member and

new developments on the horizon. If cinemas had been

can bring them out of their experience. This is just one way

early adopters and upgraded to 4K projectors, for instance,

in which the sum of the parts can have implications on the

they might miss out on HDR. The same goes for HFR and so

cinemagoer’s experience.

on. A never-ending cycle of upgrading is not economical

With the development of all of this new technology, it is

when considered in terms of ROI.

now even more important that the producer, director,

Although major studios are responsible for distributing

production supervisor, post-production supervisor, and unit

films, smaller production companies are usually the ones

production manager be thoroughly informed about the

that create them. These production companies often rent

new tools available, they hire experts in their craft, and

cameras and related equipment from rental houses instead

understand the impact that their choices have throughout

of outright purchasing as costs can be exceptionally high.

the entire workflow — all the way to the big screen.

This minimises the risk of equipment becoming obsolete


Cinema exhibition’s impact on production

Sometimes the technology developed for exhibition and video games can alter the ways filmmakers tell stories as well. CtrlMovie’s “Late Shift” (2016) takes video games and feature films and merges them together. “Late Shift” allows cinema audiences to participate in a story and vote on

5 6

Production companies have the luxury of renting cameras and related equipment instead of outright purchasing — an option not always open to exhibitors

“Pay attention to the development of technology in the production world to anticipate what is coming next”

quickly as well — cinemas do not have this luxury of renting the newest or committing to an upgrade as frequently. A





decision on what to upgrade to. It’s incredibly difficult to predict which of the, latest developments is going to lead

decisions for the protagonist to take — akin to the ‘choose

to customers experiencing cinema in a genuinely different

your own adventure’ books. The film features an assortment

way. What will drive interest and ultimately sales?

of choices along the way with seven possible endings. This

conundrum, of course, is that there has to be committed

style and choice of platform has ramifications back towards

content that supports the new technology before it can

the production itself — a web of different scenes and

become mainstream. Barco’s Escape, for example, was a

endings must be written, recorded, and edited for the

terrific development towards a multi-screen, panoramic

various scenarios. It doesn’t take much to imagine how

experience but it suffered from a lack of content to support

much more has to go into a project like this to see it to the

its adoption. The best clue you have an the upgrade path is

end. The point is that technology works both ways.

to pay careful attention to the developments of production


technology and identify patterns from content developers

Cinema upgrades


to anticipate what is coming next. Let us not forget that despite all the technical advancements, the quality of the final film is dependent

The difficult question for cinema exhibitors has been when

upon a number of factors: great vision, great teamwork,

they should upgrade to new sound and audio kit. Upgrading

and most importantly a great story.


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Audio that moves you Finnish entrepreneurs Flexound Augmented Audio have developed an economical in-seat multisensory sound solution that might shake up your audience and your business. Martin Dew talks to CEO Mervi Heinaro and chief of cinema Mika Oesch about Flexound’s genesis and its patented technologies.


OME OF THE MOST RECENT cinema vernacular revolves around buzzwords such as ‘experiential’, ‘high-impact’ and ‘interactive’. If the upward trend for adoption of PLF auditoriums, immersive audio, HDR projection and

The Flexound EVE system promises immersive audio in cinemas, but, importantly, no new audio mix is required

patented Elastic Vibrating Element (EVE) is the “single source” audio module in each seat back which does the heavy-lifting. If reaction from studio execs at CineEurope in June is testament to the product’s viability, the future may well be bright for this interactive, yet passive, technology. Mervi Heinaro, CEO and co-founder of the new

in-lobby attractions is anything to go by, it won’t just be the

company, is rightly enthusiastic about the venture, and tells

punters needing seatbelts for the upcoming ride. With

CT the key component is that “There’s no re-programming

cinema exhibitors on the lookout for value-add propositions

needed for any films or content.” It is not a competing, but

in this post-digital rollout era, together with their quest for a

a complementary technology. “It doesn’t matter whether

larger slice of the leisure dollar pie, it’s no surprise that SMEs

it’s Auro, DTS, Atmos, mono, stereo or 5.1 playing in the

like Finnish-born Flexound Augmented Audio have started

auditorium, it’s compatible with all of these,” she says. The

to raise their heads above their seat backs.

Flexound EVE module in each seat is capable of outputting

Flexound Augmented Audio is an in-seat audio

a full audible range of 15–20kHz, capitalses on being able to

experience for cinema audiences. It doubles down on both

deliver equal sound quality at each seat location, and even

the external soundscape created in the cinema auditorium

plugs into the cinema processor via a DSP board to receive

itself, as well as the localized sound and vibration envelope

its signal. Furthermore, the ease of integration and potential

generated at the individual seat level. An embedded and

to retro-fit older seating — as well as co-develop with any

0 9 / 1 8


5 9


new seating manufacturer — make the economies of scale

The EVE module itself is two-channel stereo but

of the technology “extremely attractive,” according to Mervi.

because the mix is handled by the proprietary Flexound

The company confidently states in its PR messaging

DSP board connected to the cinema processor, any format,

that moviegoers are prepared to pay a premium in cinemas

“even Atmos and immersive systems,” is compatible. Mervi

using their revolutionary technology, that dialogue clarity is

is adamant that one of the overarching upsells with

improved, and the augmentation of vibration — instead of

Flexound is the equal and high sound quality available from

brute force subwoofer-produced bass — makes for a more pleasant, balanced listening experience. This latter claim might be a strong sway to chains that have had to field

Part of a specialist team, Mika Oesch, chief of cinema at Flexound

every seat with it installed. “It doesn’t matter if you are in the corner, in the back row, in the front row, currently — even with the best sound systems — it will only be some select

complaints from customers enduring tinnitus-inducing

seats that experience a perfect soundstage. With our

sound pressure levels at the local multiplex.

solution, you can avoid this restriction because the sound is close, as well as having the combination of, and perfect

Flexing their muscles

synchrony with, current sound systems. When filmmakers

Flexound started in January 2015 after acoustics whizz

decide an aeroplane flies over you or a train comes from the

Jukka Linjama, formerly of Nokia, developed a module

left, all of the binaural or immersive sounds come from the

which combines audio and soundwave vibration from the

correct direction, and that’s the beauty, In each seat, even if

same source. His wife, Mirja, had also been working with

you are sitting in the far left of the auditorium, you will still


get the sound coming from the correct place.”


autistic children

Both Mervi and Mika go to some lengths to explain that

for the previous

in no way does the system compete with the wider audio

25 years, during

mix being delivered in the auditorium. Flexound is time-

which she tested

aligned, so it will match the external soundscape. “We want

combining music

to respect the original sound design,” says Mika. “We don’t

and vibration as

want to create a circus or a gadget that takes the viewer out

a form of therapy,

of the story. Our system is transparent, even though sound



comes from the headrest.” Mervi also believes the system is

Jukka’s formation

truly immersive, and that the focus for the audience will be

of a template for

the movie. “The idea is that you don’t pay attention; of

the new tech. It wasn’t long before the small team decided this was “…a technology that fits perfectly into the cinema world, and now here we are three and a half years later.”

Testing out the system at the company’s stand at CineEurope

course, there may be some moments when you say ‘Wow! I’m feeling something’ but the focus should not be ‘I’m

The company also began to examine other vertical business channels and has started selling a vibrating audio pillow for the home, known as Humu, which is sold under an OEM deal with The Sharper Image in the US, and should find its way its way to online retail platforms shortly. A more comprehensive and wider worldwide distribution network for Humu is in process, while Flexound’s professional system itself may eventually appear in museums, live theatre and concert arenas. The focus for the moment is cinema, and CineEurope 2018 marked the official launch. As for the architecture and moving parts of the Flexound cinema system, chief of cinema Mika Oesch stresses the importance that the EVE module will “even go below 20Hz” and into the range where “you don’t hear it, but you can feel it.” He explains that “we split the signal from the existing sound processor and feed all the channels to our DSP, and there we mix the sound for our chairs”. Because the system is passive and the power consumption low, it is possible to “use quite thin speaker cables” to connect each seat. 6 0


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The EVE system is suitable for installation in all types of seating

“The focus should not be ‘I’m hearing something from my seat’, it has to be ‘I’m in the story!’”

hearing something from my seat.’ The focus has to be ‘I’m in the story.’ It has to support the story, and be very natural, and that’s one of its beauties”

Flexound’s Humu is a consumerfocused audio product

The Flexound team has been visiting several speaker

in Beijing where it has been monitoring and analysing

manufacturers over the past couple of years, many of whom

audience reactions. That location has been compiling

have asked “‘How the hell did you come up with this?’,” says

reports with measurements based on physiological

Mervi. She says the company has six patent categories tied

changes between ‘off’ and ‘on’ modes of the system. It is

up in the various business channels and in a number of

due to the comparatively short history of the company’s

international markets, most of which are pending. However,

cinema offering and its lack of geographical proximity to

the EVE core technology has been granted patents in both

Hollywood that Mervi says the company has not had a

Finland and the USA. Mervi believes this is nothing short of

chance to get official endorsements from the creative

a breakthrough for this unique multi-sensory product class.

community yet. That’s not to say that they haven’t been

The real-world testbed

forthcoming. Anecdotally, she confirms that the Californian studio executives and filmmakers who have experienced

The company only began working secretly on a theatrical

the system so far have been “ecstatic” and that sound

version of this augmented audio solution in September last

designers in Finland “go nuts about it.”

year and deployed a real-world testbed cinema auditorium

The EVE module can be integrated into a number of 0 9 / 1 8


6 1


On the EVE of greatness Much discourse in exhibition circles revolves around the need for a prescient response to the habits of a youth demographic distracted




media and entertainment. Cinema must remain flexible and agile in this climate if it product categories and a licensing business model will

and commissioning too, and that the

is to maximise profits and

apply to many of its customers as in, for example, the case

Flexound offering is more streamlined

deliver an experience the

of automotive. In scenarios where the core components are

than competitors’ models. “Obviously

public simply can’t get at

provided by Flexound, the augmented audio module

there’s an investment needed to

home or on the move. If

becomes a “branded ingredient, almost like ‘Intel Inside’ on

install the equipment and commission

products such as the EVE

a computer.” As far as cinema is concerned, Flexound must

it, but it is more straightforward than

augmented audio module

become the full system provider because both integrators

the scenario presented by comparable

can be commoditised and

and seating companies are key to delivery of the solution.

technologies,” says Mervi. Flexound is


“A lot of seating companies felt they need to talk to us

open to how the sales process is

downtime, without the need

since our launch,” says Mervi, “and major integrators have

realised, whether the company sells

for vast capital expenditure,

approached us.” And, of course, the company is excited that

the system directly, or via the seating

then Flexound might be onto

it is being taken seriously. Mervi and Mika have no illusions

company. “We are not looking to give


about Flexound’s strategic requirement to become not only

exclusivity to any seating companies,

the component providers, but the integration trainers as

but would rather work with exhibitors

well. Seating companies are looking to add sound systems

and their chosen seating suppliers.”

to their portfolios and Flexound’s team are confident they will be at the leading edge of that drive.

Is seating driving the cinema business?

Mervi and Mika are highly tuned to the requirement of refurbishment. They know that a given auditorium or complex will present a different challenge each time, but the company is currently examining models that project

in previous years too, in tandem with a concerted effort by

mean downtime in a standard 200-seat auditorium. If a

exhibitors to charge their employees with delivering a more

refurbishment only entails changing out the auditorium’s

customer-centric approach from point of entry to point of

back-rests, maximum downtime should peak at 48 hours,

exit. “Several industry notices recently have suggested that

with work conducted overnight. This includes integration

it’s actually seating now driving some of the business in

and cabling, time-alignment setup and commissioning.

immersive sound systems. We combine both,” says Mervi.

With several exhibitors now opting to install a limited number of interactive seating units in, for example, a PLF

Cost efficiency also lies at the heart of Flexound’s vision.

auditorium, Flexound makes clear that it will factor this

Mervi declares several times in conversation that there is no

trend into its marketing message too. Mervi adds that “you

need for a tailored programme software, nor special audio

don’t lose any of the total number of seats with our system,

format, and these advantages leverage the simple fact that

which is another cost efficiency. Flexound should fit into a

at no point in the production chain do you “have to redo the

normal chair.” The EVE module should also only use “ten

films.” She believes these cost savings extend to installation

percent of the energy of some of our competitors’ systems.”

6 2


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their customers to minimise downtime during a Flexound

The comfort of cinema seating is holding more equity than

cinema. But, obviously, there has also been the rise of


cinema_technology_2018_Layout 1 30/07/2018 22:57 Page 2









internet ticketing .com

by jack roe




Meeting the BFI’s greatest showman CT climbs the stairs at the BFI IMAX in London to meet Michael Ford, chief projectionist and careful steward of an award-winning projection team. Words: Melissa Cogavin



influencers. “Steven Cronin trained me. He’s still in the

shadowing his own mum who was

business in Malta, and he’d tell me stories about Phil Crawley

projectionist at the Swiss Centre and

and his friend Michael who used to be at Marble Arch. I

the Cameo Charing Cross Road and,

used to go to these cinemas, look at them and think, wow,

before that, the Gaumont Haymaket

these are like real legends, I’m in the presence of greatness!”

before it became Odeon Haymarket

How did they influence you? “Presentation. 100%. Make


in the 1950s. A lifelong Southend resident, he has been with

the music timed, not faded out. Go the extra mile.” I’d heard


Odeon as a projectionist for 40 years, with the last five at the

that in particular Michael worked hard to set the auditorium

IMAX, London

IMAX in Waterloo. Michael is known for many things, but I

lighting to match the colour theme on the screen, a nice

was told to expect a decent cup of tea before anything else.

touch that makes the IMAX truly stand out. “We are very

He didn’t disappoint.

lucky as we have a DMX lighting system in RGB so for

Fact File Michael Ford, Chief

Michael has been




with Odeon as a

I was curious to know about his background and his

“Jurassic World” we would create a green-and-blue scheme

projectionist for

influences. So your passion comes from your mum? “Well

to look like the Earth, and then for something like a desert scene we would light it in orange and so on.”

over 40 years,

yes,” he says, “but I think it’s because she brought me up on

including five as

her own. Sometimes she couldn’t get a babysitter, so I’d go

True cinephiles say exhibition is about showmanship,

chief projectionist

to work with her and sit in the back of the cinema and get

and presentation is an integral part of that. I wanted to

at the prestigious

told, don’t make a sound!” What an amazing time to be at

know if Michael felt that has changed over the years if at all,


the movies, I note. “Not really — I saw a lot of terrible films!”

and what he still insists on. “You’ve got to get the basics

Modest to a fault, Michael can’t really pin down one particularly fond memory over another during his long career, and he tells me part of his passion for the industry is that “you never know what’s going to happen next.” He admits there are so many good times, it’s difficult to say. What a lovely tribute to the industry, I tell him,

right first. First it’s the sound in the

“You’ve got to get the basics right first. First it’s the sound. Before every show I go down and check. Temperature, too”

that you can’t isolate any one moment. I was expecting him

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auditorium, before every show I go down and check it. IMAX is supposed to be self-calibrating audio-wise but you want to go down there and check it yourself. Temperature — I go and check it, is it too warm? It’s all very well looking at a thermometer, but there’s nothing like testing it yourself.”

to get starry eyed about the time he bought Sean Connery

On the modern audio assault

a pint but no, he’s not impressed by that kind of thing.

Michael’s walkie-talkie crackled; while he was attending to

As the kettle boils, Michael tells me more about his

something in the booth I wondered if he found volume an

background. “I worked mainly at the Odeon Southend and

issue. Seven is supposed to be the reference point but

then for 19 years at the Odeon Elmer Approach which was

,latterly, for the past 7-10 years it’s been so much louder. Or

like an old theatre. For the past five years I’ve been

maybe it’s just CT’s ears that are older…

commuting to the BFI IMAX.” How long does that take? “On

“Oh yes. With “Dunkirk”, again

a good day, an hour and a half. On a bad day, up to 3 hours…”

that would have been calibrated to

I was curious to know about Michael’s mentors and

reference, but we had to run it 2db

Michael has headed BFI’s IMAX team in Waterloo for over five years

above reference and it was painfully, painfully loud. Those were the director’s wishes.” I suppose WWII was painfully, painfully loud at times; perhaps that was the idea. Do you find that people complain? “They do, but if it’s what the director wants — and it’s Christopher Nolan as well — they

The auditorium at the Odeon Elmer Approach, where Michael worked for 19 years and, right, inside the projection room

have to kind of put up with it.“ What have you learned about projection that you think transcends changes in technology? “It’s the desire to put on

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6 5


“With digital there is too much to play with. There are no limitations, unlike with chemical. Less is more.” a good show. Some people say ‘it’s digital now, it’s not like a

time. Then it was a see-saw and more digital content came

proper cinema’, but that’s just technology. You’ve still got to

through. “Avatar” changed it all. We had a second machine

put on a proper show. They audience should be oblivious to

installed for it, then the next year another two. At the time it

you. That’s what you’re after. You’re not doing a good job

didn’t seem as good as film but it really caught up.”

when they start noticing you. Sometimes someone will point out the projectionist and everyone is like ‘Really?!!’

We agreed the skill of chemical development has been lost and is now a specialist area. “Chris Nolan said it’s a lot

“We encourage school tours here. It’s like an Aladdin’s

easier to colour time a film rather than digital because you

cave. We have a wonderful job and it wouldn’t be fair to not

sit with a guy and they grade it for you. With digital there is

share that. You also want to inspire the next generation of

too much to play with. There are no limitations with digital,

projectionists — it is a bit of a dying art. Filmmakers come up

unlike with chemical. You wonder if the quality actually

sometimes and they don’t know anything about projection.

suffers because you have too much choice. Less is more.“

They know their side but they don’t know this one.” I ask Michael if he feels that filmmakers should have

An award-winning team

that understanding of projection — even if it’s digital? It’s

I congratulate Michael on winning Cinema Team of the Year

more important with 35mm filmmaking than digital, he

in 2017 — it’s great news. I wondered what makes his team

feels. I was curious to know if he shared the same resistance

special and what sets his cinema apart? “Well I am lucky I

that a lot of people had towards digital in the early 2000s.

have the team I have. They are all brilliant. I feel blessed that

“I remember going to digital demos thinking ‘it’s not as

they are so good and it’s them that make the show. I mean,

good as film’ and ‘ooh the blacks aren’t as good and grey

I just make the tea!” Modesty aside, I’m sure there’s more to

scales aren’t as good’, but then we had our first machine in

it than that. What’s your leadership style? “I try to give them

Southend installed in about 2006; part of the Arts Alliance

as much training as possible. I want to leave something

roll-out, We ran one film and then four months of nothing.

behind, so encourage them to be the best they can be. To

We were still running 35mm alongside digital for some

do that you’ve got to give them the tools for the job and

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For Michael, handling film may be a niche market, but it sits well alongside digital

responsibility. It doesn’t always work out, but that’s how they learn. If you inspire them they learn. Then they’ll go on and do so much more, inspire others, teach others. Give them the confidence to do it on their own. You have to be serious, you have to have a certain way of doing things, but you can still try and make it fun.”

Starting from scratch? In Saudi Arabia has relaxed censorship regulations and cinema is enjoying something of a boom. I wondered what advice Michael would give to an operator starting from scratch there? “Be varied with the programme, because there will be such a mix of things you could show. I was in a cinema in Malta recently — to get out of the heat — and once I bought my ticket, the woman picked up the phone and had a word with someone. I walked in, the show

Michael, centre, with his team receiving the honours at last year’s CTC awards

screen displays instead of cinema screens. No need for projection anymore, it’s basically just a massive telly!” “I’m unsure about that,” he went on. “I have a vision of a giant TV and a BluRay player round the back. I don’t know.

started and I was the only one there.” It makes you wonder

It’ll be interesting to see, but the £250k cost for a small

how cinemas stay in business. We face down doomsayers

screen means it won’t happen any time soon.” It makes you

every 10-15 years but cinema has always endured.

feel sorry for exhibitors having to cough up every few years

Does the rise of smartphones, online streaming and so

for yet more kit, I say. “That’s right. When we were on film,

on worry Michael? “Back when I started they said, ‘Oh, you’ll

the actual film stock got better and changed, but whatever

only have the job for about a year, video will kill us off…’, and

came out we just bolted onto the projector we already had.

in the end video did us a favour. People could record stuff

When we went digital we stepped onto this travelator that

while they went to the cinema. There’s always a view that

is just getting faster and faster.”

cinema is going to die but it always reinvents itself. There’s no reason why film and digital can’t live together, but film as

Well, it’s not like the Met…

a medium will become a very niche market. Something

I wondered about Michael’s view on event cinema. “The

new will always come along — you’ve got laser now and flat

opera is interesting. We used to do the Met here. And we had a letter from someone and they said something about the acoustics in the auditorium not being the same as the Met — the cinema is designed to be dead, isn’t it? — so for about six months we’d do acoustic readings, to get a profile With the biggest screen in the UK, watching films at BFI IMAX really is an experience

programmed into the sound processors that gave us the reverberation, then we did a blind test. The majority of the audience preferred it over the standard set up. So there is a special set up for opera now thanks to one letter.” Lastly I wanted to know, if Michael could bring anything back from his time as a projectionist, what would it be? Could be a Steenbeck, could be Barry Norman, anything he liked. Michael considers this. “I’d bring back the old Odeon at Southend. When they were knocking it down I asked them for a brick. The first guy told me to get lost. The second guy I asked said ‘which do you want?’, so I got one. When Jurassic Park technology becomes readily available I’ll clone that brick and bring back the Odeon Southend.”

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Sony: From lasers and LED to FINITY & beyond In the first of series of articles that takes an in-depth look into the major projector manufacturers and their product line-up, Peter Knight explores the points of differentiation that set Sony Digital Cinema apart. Words: Peter Knight



film studios in the business. The wider interests of the

Digital Cinema has seen significant

corporation make Sony Digital Cinema different to other

success in the exhibition arena. The

projector manufacturers — it has a hand in everything from

company is able to draw on its unique

lenses to screens as well as content creation and distribution.

skills in digital imaging, presentation technologies and, of course, filmed

Introducing the SRX-R815P laser

entertainment. Notably, it was Sony that introduced the

For a long time, while other manufacturers were releasing

first commercially available 4K Digital Cinema projector

laser products, Sony was notable in not having one on the

back in 2011, delivering engaging cinematic experiences to

market. Instead the company was working busily away in

audiences worldwide. Since then, the projection portfolio

the background on the release of its SRX-R815P projector

has expanded into a family of reliable, high-contrast 4K

— launched a year ago — the company’s first all-new

solutions that offer leading image quality on any size screen

projector in nearly four years.

from auditoria with less than 10m screens, all the way up to Premium Large Format 24m+ spaces.

Like the other projectors in the SRX-R800 series, the SRX-R815P is an HDR-ready 4K laser projection system for

Sony Digital Cinema is a part of Japan’s ubiquitous Sony

digital cinema applications that caters for both 2D and 3D

Corporation headquartered in Konan, Toyko, which last year

screenings. The SRX-R815P can deliver its 4K image with a

ranked 105th in the Fortune Global 500. The wider

contrast ratio of 10,000:1, combined with a brightness of

corporation includes a diverse range of businesses that

15,000 lumens. This allows for stunning presentation of

focus on both consumer and professional electronics,

standard cinema content as well as enabling High Dynamic

gaming, entertainment and financial services. As cinema

Range (HDR) projection on suitably sized screens. The laser

professionals know well, Sony also runs one of the largest

light source effectively eliminates the need for lamp

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Sony’s Crystal LED display offers a hint of the future for image-making in our cinemas

LCOS: a point of differentiation replacement and the SRX-R815P can also be dual-stacked

Unlike other manufacturers, from the start Sony utilised an LCD rather

in the same way as the SRX-R515 to allow presentations on

than a DLP-derived technology to produce images on screen. Their

larger screen sizes. An integrated media block comes with

LCOS (Liquid crystal on silicon) technology promises one of the highest

a USB 3.0 connection, meaning high transfer speeds, and

contrast ratios in the industry at 10,000:1 and an advanced 3D system.

its storage capacity ranges from 4-8TB.

The SXRD panels include only the liquid crystal — polarisation is handled

“While the European adoption of laser and availability of

by external polarised beam splitters (PBS). Before light reaches the

4K content has continued to gain pace, there is a reality that

SXRD panel, it reflects off the corresponding pre-PBS. This pre-polarised

not all lasers are created equally,” explains Oliver Pasch,

light passes through the SXRD liquid crystal where it is aligned as the

European sales director, Sony Digital Cinema 4K, “Our HDR-

image requires and reflected back out. If the SXRD pixel has rotated

ready 4K laser phosphor projectors offer an industry-

the light, it then is not aligned with the post-PBS polarisation and is

leading contrast ratio at all brightness levels, so there is no

allowed to pass. If incoming light has not been rotated, then it is

compromise for enhanced contrast ratio only at lower

reflected by the post-PBS back into the source light path. It may not be

brightness levels, as well as efficient, lamp-free operation

seen by everyone, but there is a different sort of image as a result.

with more than 35,000 hours of high-performance use.

Sony also took a different approach to the light source, using an

Offering true 4K images with generous brightness levels, it

array of mercury lamps rather than traditional xenon. With up to six in

combines outstanding, crisp images with the quality,

each array, a show can run even when one lamp has failed. Another

reliability and low-maintenance of laser.”

advantage is ease of maintenance — no special equipment or training is

Appetite for — and the momentum behind — Sony’s laser offering is growing in Europe. In Germany, Cinecitta

needed to make a lamp changeover. It’s no harder than changing the toner in a photocopier.

Nürnberg, one of the country’s largest and most technically advanced multiplexes, has invested in two SRX-R815DS

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6 9


projection systems, while dual 4K 4Klaser laser projection systems, Cineplex Münster has installed a single while Cineplex Münster has installed a SRX-815DS system. CineSpace has single SRX-815DS system. CineSpace also also selected Sony’sSony’s phosphor laser selected has phosphor projector for its luxurious laser projector for its Waterfront luxurious

outset From the outset Sony opted opted to use Sony its LCD, rather rather than its thanusual the usual the DLP-derived DLP-derived sensor technology technology sensor

months,” explains Kevin Markwick, owner of The Picture House Uckfield, “and increased appetite among consumers House Uckfield, increased consumers for native, lifelike“and 4K content hasappetite mirroredamong this, Being able to for native, lifelike 4K content mirrored this, Being able to provide high-contrast, 4K ishas a real differentiator. Theatrea real differentiator. provide high-contrast, 4K isdiscerning Theatregoers are becoming more and well-educated discerning and well-educated goers are becoming now when it comes tomore fundamental questions of brightness

complex incomplex InBremen. France, Inmultiplex operator Waterfront France, multiplex

now when it comes toscreen, fundamental questions brightness and resolution on the and with our newofsystems our

operator Cinéplanet installedfirst France’s first SRX-R815DS Cinéplanet installed France’s SRX-R815DS last April.last

and onthe thetrue screen, and our new systems our goalresolution is to unlock power ofwith visual fidelity and quality


goal to unlock the true power of visual fidelity and quality in theiscinematic experience.”

To FINITY… and beyond Also FINITY… new in the Sony To andfirmament beyondis Finity, the company’s

in the cinematic experience.”

Also new solution in the Sony firmament is Finity, the company’s complete for Premium Large Format (PLF) screens

Ready for the LED revolution… As was discussed the June 2018 edition Ready for theinLED revolution…

complete Premium Large Format (PLF) screens from 12msolution up to for 23m. Combining high-brightness 4K

As was discussed in the June 2018 edition of at Cinema Technology, Sony demonstrated an LED screen both

The new SRX-815P laser projectors projectors laser can be dualstacked to to satisfy satisfy stacked even the most demanding tasks tasks demanding

Whether it’s it’s LED, LED, Whether lamp or laserimaging, based imaging, Sony’s solutions Sony’s solutions meet a wide range of use cases cases

of Cinema

from 12mwith up powerful to Combining high-brightness 4K projectors branding, Finity delivers projectors with powerful in-cinema Finity delivers an unforgettable big-screen moviebranding, experience — and the an unforgettable experience — and promise of greaterbig-screen profits formovie theatre owners. Part of the promise greater foroftheatre owners. Part ofboth the rationale of behind theprofits launch Finity was to provide rationale behind the launch of Finity was toabout provide cinema and audience with clear messaging theboth PLF

Looking back, Looking back, projecting projecting forwards forwards Oliver Pasch, European sales sales director, director, Sony Digital Cinema 4k 4k

cinema and Finity audience with clear messaging thefor PLF format. The brand tells audiences theyabout are set a format. The Finity brand tells audiences they areability set forto a superior experience, boosting the exhibitor’s

“Since launching our PLF solution, Finity, a highlight of the past year has

superior experience, the exhibitor’s unlock potential profitsboosting from super-sized screens. ability to

been the first wave of European customers committed to this —

unlock potential profits from super-sized screens.

including Vue International which confirmed 19 Finity screens for its

Upgrades for the next generation The replacement projector market has, in Upgrades forcinema the next generation

German operations, CinemaxX, and Vue Entertainment in the UK, Oliver

whose flagship West End venue underwent a multi-million-pound

The replacement has, in Oliver Pasch’s view, truly cinema started —projector he notesmarket that the company is

Finity technology in its refurbishment, reopening reopeningwith withDolby DolbyAtmos Atmosand and Finity technology in

notes that the to company is Pasch’s truly started — he seeing aview, lot of interest in its products thanks the right

twotwo largest screens. Most recently Iceland’sIceland’s leading operator, Most recently leading SamFILM, operator, its largest screens.

seeing a lot of interest productsease thanks to the right combination of total costinofits ownership, of maintenance

invested ininvested a Finity system for system its biggest screen. SamFILM, in a Finity for its biggest screen.

combination of total cost of ownership, ease ofon maintenance and image quality that the audience will see screen.

“I joined Sony last year at an exciting time for cinema technologies.

andOne image quality thatfrom the audience will see on screen. such example smaller independent operators

That future lies in our Crystal LED Display system, currently going through

such example from smaller whoOne want to put the best image onindependent their screens operators in the UK

Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) specification. It is a prime example of the

who want to putHouse, the bestUckfield, image onwhere their screens in the UK is The Picture three of Sony’s

feats of engineering Sony is capable of. We wowed audiences at

is The Picture House, Uckfield,aging whereDLP three of Sony’s products are set to replace systems. At

CinemaCon in April with projector-free presentation — the screen has a

At products setSony to replace aging DLPto systems. CineEuropeare 2018, announced a sale this historic,

contrast ratio of more than 1,000,000:1, with incredible clarity and colour,

CineEurope Sony announced a its sale to this historic, independent2018, venue, which celebrated 100th anniversary

and a viewing angle of nearly 180 degrees. Seeing the reaction was a

independent venue,House which Uckfield celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. The Picture is upgrading to new 4K

highlight of the show. This was Sony’s own technology, not to be confused

in 2016. The Picture House Uckfield is upgrading to new 4K capable systems from Sony’s SRX-R510 series. The buying

with regular surface-mounted devices — it’s a different technology giving

capable from influenced Sony’s SRX-R510 series. The buying decision systems was strongly by increased consumer

a completely different experience. Every cinema is unique, however, and

decision wasgreater strongly influenced by increased demand for contrast and visual fidelity. consumer

our mission is to provide each with the tools to offer audiences the best

demand for greater contrast and visual “I’ve seen a growing number of 4Kfidelity. releases in recent

experience, be that LED-, lamplamp- or or laser-based laser-based projection.” projection.”

“I’ve seen a growing of owner 4K releases recent months,” explains Kevin number Markwick, of Thein Picture 7 0


0 9 / 1 8

Before light light hits hits Before panel, the SXRD panel, off aa it is reflected reflected off corresponding corresponding polarised beam beam polarised splitter in in the the unit unit splitter

Technology, CinemaCon and SonyCineEurope demonstrated in 2017 an to LED gain screen a view at on both its

discussed various differences and projectors the have compared to others

its CinemaCon technology. Sony and CineEurope is the only in projector 2017 tomanufacturer gain a view onthat

similarities Sony’s Sometimes projectors these have on the market.

technology. has publicly Sony demonstrated is the only anprojector LED screen, manufacturer and the second that

compared on the market. differences to canothers be business-oriented,

has general publicly manufacturer demonstrated to showcase an LED screen, a cinema and solution. the second This

Sometimes these differences be sometimes technological, butcan Sony’s

general gives it both manufacturer the abilitytotoshowcase manage aitscinema own projector solution.sales This

business-oriented, approach is always about sometimes giving the

gives whilstitstill both having the ability a product to manage ready should its ownmarket projector appetite sales

technological, Sony’s approach is always about giving customer mostbut suitable option.

whilst changestill sufficiently having a for product it to become ready should sensible market to rollout appetite an

the During customer suitable themost session, I was option. able to ingest content through

change LED cinema sufficiently solution. for it to become sensible to rollout an

content the some Sony interface was interface able to ingest the ISony and have a gothrough at building playlists.

LED cinema solution.

go atto building some playlists. Later, I was able to and a able Later,have I was align two of the stacked R515 projectors

Not just xenon vs laser When just muchxenon of the conversation Not vs laserconcerns laser projectors

align the stacked R515 projectors using the using two the of auto-alignment device. This adjusts bothautothe

laser When much of the and LED screens, it isconversation important to concerns remember the projectors viability of

and to period create aofsingle It only took a short only effectively took a short time, image. and can be scheduled to

viability and screens, it is important remember the of olderLED xenon and mercury lamp to technologies. Sony has only

period of time, andwhen can be run run automatically thescheduled theatre is to not in automatically use, allowing

technologies. has only older xenonmercury and mercury ever used lampslamp in its projectors. Sony This provides

when the check. theatre is not in use, allowing for a daily check. for a daily

The screening The screening set-up at Sony’s set-up at Sony’s UK UK headquarters headquarters allows a range of allows a range of products to be products to be fully tested fully tested in-house

alignment device.and Thiseffectively adjusts both the projectors simply projectors simply to create a single image. It

This ever used mercury lamps its projectors. provides advantages in operation (noin complicated safety equipment

On any projector, I have always felt that the biggest

advantages in operation (no complicated equipment is required while changing them), allowssafety for redundancy

challenge is with the software interface. These often feel

is required while changing redundancy (more than one lamp can failthem), duringallows a show,for but the image

“practical” rather than user-friendly. Variation in some of the

(more than lampand canpredicted fail duringcost a show, but the image will stay on one screen), of ownership as a

naming conventions doesn’t help matters. On many

on screen), will stay and predicted cost of ownership result is also lower. No-one buys a projector wedded as to a

systems, details relating to the way the projector carries out

result is alsoBuyers lower. consider No-one buys projector wedded to a light source. cost, amaintenance and image

lens changes are “macros”, but Sony, in its wisdom, refers to

light source. Buyers consider maintenance quality — hence Sony’s range cost, addresses multipleand use image cases.

them as “functions”. I found that several of Sony’s interface

quality — hence Sony’s range addresses multiple use cases.

screens could perhaps be made more versatile with an

Hands on Opportunity Hands I was ableon to Opportunity spend a day with

extra button to add functionality, rather than requiring the Mark Clowes, strategic

user to swap back to a different screen to make an

Iproduct was able to spend a day with Mark Clowes, strategic manager, digital cinema, at Sony’s UK offices in

adjustment. Overall, my impression was that the Sony

manager, product cinema, at Sony’s offices in Basingstoke where Idigital was able to investigate allUK its projectors

software is perfect for the majority of locations in which the

Basingstoke was able to investigate all its aprojectors had to offer.where Mark I spent time going through detailed

projectors are based, namely those cinemas where

had to offer.asMark spent timetechnology going through a the detailed explanation to how the LCD used in Sony

standard ads, trailers and feature programmes run everyday.

explanation as to how the LCD technology usedthis in the Sony projectors differs to DLP chips. He followed with an

Complex shows are more of a challenge to put together

an projectors DLP chips. Heprojector followed interface. this with We overview ofdiffers every to function on the

and manage, but this is easily overcome using Sony’s own

overview every function on the projector interface. We discussedofthe various differences and similarities Sony’s

TMS which handles playlist construction construction well. well.

in association with

to host

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A month of cinema heaven!

Scalarama — a festival of cinema across the 30 days of September takes over auditoria and film clubs across the UK every year. Michael Pierce explains the dream to fill the land with cinemas

tribute to the Scala Cinema (hence the name), a legendary cinema most memorable for its Kings

Scalarama is an “open-source” festival. So join in

Cross location in the capital. The Scala had a real sense of identity, a swagger


and a style that has outlived its closure in 1993. It had

cinema heaven that takes over the UK

such a wide programming range, a real dynamic

every September. It’s an opportunity for

approach to the design of its publicity and also cats,

cinemas and film clubs to work together

and its legacy is still felt today, especially for the

to show the movies they love and

numerous British filmmakers, such as Christopher

encourage others to get involved in

Nolan, Peter Strickland and Carol Morley who counted

screening films. Across the 30 days of

it as a vital part of their film education. That original

September, venues of all shapes and

tribute season in 2011 was conceived as a way also to

sizes are united in a celebration of why we think showing

showcase the range of film clubs across London which

films on a big screen with an audience is the best way to

in some way kept that Scala flame burning. People

enjoy a film, and also that cinema can really start new

were free to choose whatever films they wanted to

conversations, transform areas and bring like-minded

screen, some keeping in the Scala tradition and doing

people together. Anyone can put on a Scalarama screening

double bills and all-nighters, whilst others thought

and there’s no cost for submitting events to the season —

about what the Scala might have shown if it was still

the motto is Fill the Land with Cinemas!

around. The range was so wild and widespread, that it

Scalarama is now in its eighth year after kicking off in London back in August 2011. That initial edition began as a

felt like an innovative way to make cinema exciting and accessible to a new generation.

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The goal of Scalarama is to celebrate film-watching as a communal activity

The ambitions just got bigger After a successful summer in 2011, the organisers thought that was it. But film fans from across the UK such as Manchester, Bristol and Nottingham had come to London for the events and wanted to know if it was happening again and if organisers would tour films around the country. The tribute was conceived as an open source format that could take place anywhere, so the most important thing was for people to do it at the same time, the next year Scala Beyond was born and the tradition was started with over 30 different cities and towns taking part. In 2013, the name Scalarama was coined and the whole month of September chosen as an easy way to avoid having to choose beginning and end dates. Since then Scalarama has evolved to include as many cinemas as possible and to keep it fresh each year. From the beginning, Scalarama has been inclusive to a wide range of exhibitors and is not snobby about venue or projection format. The initial season started as an idea by Philip Foxwood who was running the Roxy Bar and Screen in London’s Borough, a bar with a huge cinema screen and high-spec digital projector in the back, with plush seating and red velvet curtains. He wanted an idea for a programme that would take place across the quieter months of summer when there were no big sporting events or major independent film releases that would usually make up the screening schedule. Andy Kimpton-Nye, a fan of the space, mentioned that a previous season had reminded him of the

In the first year, Phil recruited me. I co-founded the

Scala Cinema in its range of programming, so the idea stuck.

Midnight Movie events at Curzon Soho and produced the

A tribute to the cinema was planned. Successfully acquiring

first season. I’ve since moved into directing the shape and

funding from Film London, Phil’s idea

ambition of the season, alongside various coordinators in

was to invite film clubs to the Roxy to

cities such as Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool and Brighton, who

screen what they like, or do screenings

work in organising local activity and create meet-ups for

in other venues and have a London

exhibitors to share ideas and plan together. From that first

wide “fringe” style festival, like the

fringe festival, Scalarama has transformed into a wide-

Edinburgh Fringe but for cinema. That

reaching initiative that makes cinema exciting and

first year saw events from Cigarette

adventurous for audiences. People try new genres or venues

Burns Cinema, the Cinema Museum,

and hopefully discover the spark that ignites a passion.

“Scalarama is not snobby about venue or projection format. We’ve even shown films in cemeteries”

Filmbar70, Rio Cinema, Passengerfilms, ICA and the Prince

Over the years, highlights of Scalarama include a UK tour

Charles Cinema to name only a few. Screenings ranged from

of the Hungarian 7-hour arthouse smash “Satantango” on

DVD screenings in pubs to full 35mm double bills in picture

35mm (which translates to 36 reels of film!), a reproduction

palaces. There were even screenings on boats, in cemeteries,

of John Waters’ scratch-n-sniff Odorama cards for a new

under motorways and in garden sheds.

digital re-release of “Polyester” and a partnership with

Scalarama — it’s about amplification

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Directed by Women encouraging screenings of films made by women throughout the month. Over 700 different

Since then, that energy has multiplied and Scalarama has

exhibitors have shown films during Scalarama and an

seen new clubs start up in September, using the season as a

increasing number of distributors (such as BFI, Dogwoof,

platform to amplify their activity and connect with similar

Altitude and Second Run DVD) have started to offer

organisations. One aim is to build a collaborative environment

discounts on back catalogues in September. Formats range

in exhibition and move away from a competitive atmosphere

from DCPs, Blu-rays, DVDs, 35mm and 16mm. Even VHS has

that can sneak in when the film community feels threatened.

made a comeback, at the annual VHS Trashfest in Scotland.


Scalarama doesn’t exist in antithesis to YouTube, Netflix and the other ways people discover films now. Instead, it asks how we can make film-watching communal. That’s why Home Cinema Day was created for the last Sunday of September. It’s a way for friends and family to connect over cinema in the comfort of their home. They share discoveries on social media as a way of showcasing a range of films and make others appreciate that choosing films isn’t simple! This year, Scalarama returns to its roots and celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Scala Cinema. Jane Giles, former manager of the cinema, has dug into the archive and with FAB Press, will release a massive book with all of the amazing iconic programmes. Even with today’s digital design tools, the original three-colour screen printed posters are feats of eye-popping artistry that haven’t been bettered. And that’s the great thing about Scalarama and cinema in general. If you respect the history, film is a combination of analogue and digital and can be the best of both worlds, and an ambition of Scalarama is to make a time and place where celluloid can be shown off, much like how Record Store Day now prizes itself on exclusive vinyl releases.












A crowd-funded future? There are some challenges, especially around funding. A lot of it is down to


A film map from an early edition of the film festival

volunteers and people putting their own money in, however, Scalarama has been supported by the BFI and the Film






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Audience Network, and hopes to move towards local

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crowdfunding so that people can connect to what’s going on in their area. Scalarama produces a newspaper with



articles about film, participants and themes which brings in some advertising revenue. Our website has a listings service for events and in future this will expand to include advice on putting on screenings, as well as a rights database which can be tricky to navigate for people starting off in cinema. Reflecting on technology, it is clear the digital realm and

For more information

the internet have allowed events of this type to flourish — from discovering cinemas and film clubs on social media, to

For information on Scalarama, visit The event runs

being able to afford a decent projector and setting up in

from 1-30 September. This year’s themes include a look back at 1968, a

remote locations. Organisations such as the BFI, Cinema For

retrospective of Agnes Varda’s films as part of the Directed by Women

All and the Independent Cinema Office have created a

celebrations and National Lottery Cinema Day on 30 September. Event

collaborative and progressive community of cinemas that is

submissions stay open throughout, but if you’d like to put on an event next

leading the way globally. When technology makes it easier

year, follow @Scalarama or email for details.

to watch films at home, it still does not beat the personal

Fill the Land with Cinemas and May a Million Movies Bloom!

choice of a curator or programmer who can also introduce the film, tell some anecdotes and recommend other films.

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Goodbye cinema... ...hello hospitality & catering Mark Trompeteler questions the extent the exhibition industry is moving away from being part of the traditional film industry towards being part of the hospitality business

NCE YOU HAVE SIPPED your Martini in Tinseltown’s oldest restaurant — the Musso & Frank Grill on Hollywood Boulevard — take a look at the wall at the back. Hung up there you will see a 1926 menu extolling the virtue of crossing





Egyptian Cinema to watch a film. It’s point to reflect on — as a relatively older cinemagoer I can still remember from childhood elegant cinema tea rooms and restaurants that existed in the 1950s in grand cinemas built back in the 1930s. Cinemagoing, drinking and dining have been closely associated since the beginning of the movies. There was a period when cinemas were converting to multi-screen 7 6


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Airline Cinema? venues that eating and drinking took a less important role

Cinemas have adopted strategies

now can be venues: a racetrack, a

but today it seems, more than ever, that cinemas and

employed by the airline industry to

concert hall, a theatre, a boxing

hospitality and catering are inextricably linked.

maximise income in a given space.

ring… and a restaurant.

The foresight of Daniel Broch

By stratifying the classes of seating

No-one in exhibition is unaware

and comfort, and increasingly by

of the imperative to maximise the

Ten years ago I met and interviewed Daniel Broch, then

pricing dynamically according to

food and beverage spend. This is

CEO of Everyman. Daniel originally bought a run-down,

demand, cinemas can maximise

ironic given that new-build venues

slightly exclusive but failing “art house” site, the Everyman

income. The different levels of

take into account locations not

Cinema Hampstead. He turned it into a profitable non-

hospitality and catering provision

only high footfall and transport

exclusive boutique cinema that provided a new experience

are fast-becoming an integral part

availability, but also the immediate

in an affluent part of London. In 2009, the Everyman Group

of the offering.

proximity of actual or proposed

consisted of eight cinemas with 13 screens. Several of his

The changed nature of modern

statements to me at the time remain in my memory: “I have

cinemas is underlined by a “This is


a background in property, but foremost I think of Everyman

not a cinema” short visual promo

Zeffirelli’s, Everyman and Curzon’s

as a hospitality company”; “It is basically for people who

screened recently in Vue Cinema’s

focus on luxury have collectively

want to go out, in the easiest way possible, have a nice time

auditoria to promote event cinema

bolstered the move towards better

and go home. That is the base requirement that at a day-to-

screeenings. programme. Cinemas

on-site hospitality and catering.

catering and drinks establishments. cinemas



day trade level we deal with”; and “What we try and do is put all the component parts together to give an experience that the customers can connect with and see value in. That is what we do as a company”

Today’s Everyman

company reported a compound annual growth rate in its revenues of 37 per cent between 2013 and 2016, earning it a spot in this year’s FT 1000 list.” The Financial Times feature

A decade on and under a new CEO, Crispin Lilly, the

quoted Everyman’s CEO as stating; “First and foremost, we

Everyman Group has 22 cinemas and 69 screens, and is a

are about doing cinema really, really well, and about getting

publicly listed company. The formula of refurbishing city

people to fall in love with our venues, Value for money is

centre venues, reducing the amount of seats and replacing

important. Value for time is actually even more important.”

them with fewer luxury versions, adding much-improved drinks, snacks and dining, has led to higher occupancy and

Odeon Gallery and Lounge

takings. The brand is about luxury, hospitality and catering

The boutique cinema share of the UK box office is tiny

and giving patrons the feel of a high-end experience: a

compared to the bigger chains. Despite the niche aspect of

central value of the hospitality industry.

Everyman and those like it, their luxury approach is reflected

Going to an Everyman is not inexpensive. At Hampstead,

in developments elsewhere. Odeon recently has been

a standard ticket costs £16.90 with the signature Everyman

offering a “Gallery” class of experience based around an

armchairs and sofas costing £19.90 each. This is the base

improved catering model. Its impressive “Lounge” class is

expenditure per person. Add drinks and food on top, and

currently available only at Whiteleys, Bayswater, London,

you can see why the luxury and hospitality approach is

and is strictly for over-18s only.

attractive to exhibitors. The “Financial Times” reported in

Odeon “Gallery” has been available at Cardiff, Greenwich,

April that Everyman was charging more than double the

Liverpool One, Metrocentre, Milton Keynes, and Norwich.

average entry price across the UK last year, according to

For an upgraded ticket price customers enjoy extra-wide

data from the UK Cinema Association. The article went on

seats, added leg room, unlimited popcorn, nachos and soft

to state: “Despite the expense, Everyman’s audiences have

drinks and, of course, a prime viewing position in an

swelled. They climbed almost a third in 2017 alone, from

exclusive area of the auditorium. “Gallery” ticket holders can

just shy of 1.7m in 2016 to more than 2.2m. That represented

also enjoy a drink in the private bar before the film (some

a slowdown from the previous year, when Everyman

Odeons allow you to take alcohol into the screen with

boasted annual admissions growth of 40 per cent. The

you). The “Gallery” is also usually only open to over 18s.

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The Odeon “Lounge” concept is advertised as “Fine Food and Film” in the most exclusive and luxurious of settings. It combines a private bar area serving food and drinks, with a small, intimate screen where you can order food delivered straight to your seat. Customers can choose to eat in the

“The Odeon ‘Lounge’ concept is sold as ‘Fine Food and Film’ in the most exlusive and luxurious setting”

bar or in the auditorium — discreetly delivered to your seat, whether during the trailers or halfway through the film. Waiting staff are on call throughout at the press of a button on the armrest — more airline cinema. Each table has a layer of soundproof material to ensure minimal noise is made as

house an IMAX complete with the newly launched recliners. Following a three-month refurbishment, Odeon Putney re-opened as Odeon “Luxe” Putney in December, complete with 333 recliners across all three upgraded screens. The cinema features a new Oscar’s Bar serving alcoholic drinks, in addition to a re-vamped on-site Costa coffee bar. The “Luxe” developments are not exclusively focused on London. Birmingham’s Broadway Plaza has become the Midlands’ first (and the UK’s largest) fully reclining Odeon

Are you sitting comfortably? The Everyman chain has lead the charge in making cinemas luxurious

“Luxe” cinema.

Complete with 1,264 brand-new seats

across 12 screens, it has an iSense screen with 4K projection. Susan Harrison, general manager at the site stated “The experience we now offer guests, with handmade recliners,

food is delivered. Every detail has been considered; even

triple the legroom and a new range of

the plates are black to minimise distractions.

food and drink options, means our cinema is going to be at the forefront

Odeon Luxe

of entertainment for years to come.”

Based on their experience with “Gallery” and “Lounge”,

Odeon is rolling out its “Luxe” brand, too. December 2017

The lifestyle choice

saw the launch of London’s first fully reclining Odeon Luxe

One would expect a listings magazine

cinemas with Odeon Putney, Odeon Panton Street and

such as “Time Out” to include surveys

Odeon Swiss Cottage in London all featuring luxury recliners

on the six or 10 best cinemas in a city

with retractable tables and Dolby 7.1 surround sound

to go to for a meal, a drink and a

throughout the auditoria. Odeon Panton Street was re-

movie, which it does. You realise

launched as Odeon Luxe Haymarket and the New Year saw

however the significance of hospitality

Odeon Luxe Swiss Cottage become London’s first Odeon to

and catering to cinema venues when

2.2m Everyman’s audiences climbed almost a third in 2017, from just shy of 1.7m in 2016 to more than 2.2m last year.

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Number of recliners Odeon Luxe Putney has installed across all three of its upgraded screens





“Vogue” start to include such features in their magazine. When that happens, you know the luxury experience has well and truly arrived! In the next issue Mark flips the subject on its head to explore how hospitality and catering businesses are installing cinemas to offer an experience in competition with cinemas.





Breathing new life

into series 1 projectors Some exhibitors don’t want to ride the upgrade rollercoaster… For those who want to prolong the life of older digital equipment, DigiCine offer a solution. Peter Knight examines its retro-fit media player. Words: Peter Knight


HERE ARE AN ESTIMATED 17,000 or more series 1 projectors in use around the world. With cinema constantly progressing, new immersive sound options, the entry of laser projectors, and now LED technology hitting the

DigiCine’s retro-fit IMB opens up the latest cinema technologies to earlier series 1 projectors

feature-rich solution. With hot-swappable hard drives to allow for a quick change should one in the Raid fail, this new lease of life for series 1 kit gives exhibitors an alternative to the projector manufacturers’ replacement strategy.

Who are DigiCine?

market, what do you do if you’ve invested in digital

From California, DigiCine is a combination of a technology

equipment which is, in practical and economic terms, still

and business solutions company. It offers a digital cinema

viable for years to come? Do you want to wave goodbye to

server that has been designed to work specifically with

series 1 projectors that still give good service in your cinema?

both Series 1 and 2 projectors from Barco, Christie and NEC.

To address this problem and provide longevity to earlier

Digital Cinema Systems Corporation (DigiCine) was

digital projectors, the DigiCine series 1 solution is designed

formed in August 2008 by Bill Elswick, former CTO at Avica

to replace early media players with a new DCI-compliant

Technology and chief technologist for digital cinema at DTS

THE BRASS TACKS DigiCine Series 1 media players retail prices start at $8,999 — prices can vary dependant on configuration and volume discounts. Included within the price is the first years’ warranty and support. Annual support and warranty is based on 10% of the purchase price for each future year. The support and warranty not only provide cover in the event of any hardware-related issues, telephony and remote diagnostic support, but future software updates including functionality enhancements.

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“The series 1 projectors are extremely reliable,” notes Karl Anderson, “and, in some cases, we’ve heard of them outlasting series 2 projectors. The primary issue is with the original media player where replacements are limited, component spares are becoming obsolete and the functionality of the software hasn’t kept pace with technology changes.”

Inc. International investors acquired DigiCine in 2015 to

Karl Anderson, DigiCine’s CEO, says that their goal is to

transition it from a software development “skunk works”

breathe new life into projectors. At CinemaCon in April they

into a commercially viable entity selling its media players.

demonstrated by using an old series 1 projector — and the

Bill remains involved with DigiCine as technical architect.

company received favourable comments from Hollywood

The intellectual property used in the DigiCine media

studio staff about the quality of the image it was producing.

player has taken the best part of a decade to assemble.

“We are DCI compliant for series 1 and 2,” says Karl,

There are three core components to the solution, the

adding, “The Hollywood position, as mentioned to me by

integrated media block (IMB), the server and the SMS

several executives at CinemaCon, is that anything that helps

software. The IMB was originally designed by MikroM, based

exhibitors maintain DCI compliance, move forward with

in Berlin, which came to market around 2011. There have

SMPTE DCP, and helps the smaller exhibitors remain viable

been several enhancements not only to the PCB, but to the

has Hollywood’s support.” As in Jurassic World, life finds a

firmware over time. The most notable of these was an

way. It could just be that the DigiCine media player

upgrade required for deployment with series 1 projectors.

is exactly the thing to keep those series 1 “dinosaurs”

DigiCine funded the development by MikroM of the IMB

trucking along.

DigiCine’s 2RU and 1RU server units, and below, the Digital Cinema Sleeve that offers portability to series 2 projectors

and now owns the intellectual property for the IMB. The DigiCine development team built the SMS software on a Windows operating system with the intention that it could be used in conjunction with a range of vendors’

Empire’s experience

hardware. The first DigiCine media players were installed with series 2 projectors in 2013/4, with the code being

The Empire chain’s business model

servers with 10tb of storage and

adjusted to address the series 1 projector ‘retro fit’ market,

is to show feature films for a longer

Windows Server 2008r2, but has

eventually gaining CTP accreditation in June 2017. The

duration than many competitors —

recently upgraded to SuperMicro

DigiCine media player is now in use in units across Europe,

as a result there is a need for a high-

Windows 10 servers with 20tb

North America and the Far East.

capacity media player that allows

of hot-swappable Raid 5 media

for a greater retention of content,

storage. DigiCine’s media players

The secret’s up DigiCine’s sleeve…

thereby reducing the need to

are now the default standard

The DigiCine Digital Cinema System Sleeve is a managed

undertake regular housekeeping.

media player solution for Empire,

enclosure that houses a series 2-capable IMB for use with a

Empire elected to use Dell T420

with more being introduced.

series 1 projector. The Cinema Sleeve allows the IMB to be seated in an external enclosure and communicates with the series 1 projector using DCI-compliant methodology. The DigiCine Series 1 Cinema Sleeve uses the full functionality of the system and is only limited by the inherent capabilities of the projector. This means that nonimage digital cinema upgrades in audio, subtitling, metadata, DCP support and other operations are fully supported as a result. Later on when the time comes to upgrade a series 1 projector to a series 2, it is possible simply to remove the IMB from the sleeve and install it into the series 2 projector using an upgrade kit which includes the projector-specific assembly.

“Some big exhibitors retained a stock of media players, but smaller ones haven’t. Projector companies sell new units and see the failure rate of early media players as motivation to exhibitors to replace an otherwise working projector.”

“Costs of a new projector are $25k+ for a series 2 unit and it may still need a new media player. Digital cinema evolves and we believe there are benefits in being able to defer a projector decision by simply replacing the media player.”

“Spending less than $10k now defers an expensive decision on a projector for maybe five years; allows you to take advantage of advances in technology (such as Atmos) and subtitling; enhances the moviegoers’ experience and reduces the cost of engineering call outs. Our media player enhances the value of series 1 projectors, rather than their having zero value.”

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70mm Weekend 2018 The 70mm Weekend in Varnsdorf saw a range of classics on screen once more. Johan C.M. Wolthuis, from International 70mm Publishers, and Jan-Hein Bal, from EYE Filmmuseum, reflect on the event.


Words: Johan CM Wolthuis & Jan-Hein Bal


different speakers, with five original speakers from 1971

border with Germany, lying under the

behind the screen and eight new JBL speakers — these

Lussatian Mountains is the small city

were used during the cinema’s “70mm Weekend” held in

of Varnsdorf, where a classical cinema

May this year. The set-up should give you an indication that

— the Centrum Panorama — features a

this was an excellent place for the 70mm Weekend 2018

curved screen of 18.4 x 7.9 metres. The

(the second time the festival has been held in the Czech

depth of the curvature is 1.8m and the stadium-seated

Republic — previously at Krnov). From 17-20 May, a unique

auditorium can accommodate 550. In the projection booth

program of old and new films was screened in co-operation

are all the necessary digital projectors (Christie) and sound

with the Prague Film Archive, DEFA-Stiftung and the Kino

processors required to run a major show, but the cinema

Museum Berlin, who provided most of the 70mm copies.

also has all its traditional projection technology (16mm, 35mm and 70mm), all kept in excellent working condition. The cinema is proud of its two Meopta UM 70/35mm

Reflecting growing interest in 70mm screenings, this was the fourth time the 70mm Weekend has been run — this

screen classic 70mm films with six-channel magnetic

year’s program started with “War and Peace, part I - Andrej

sound and newer 70mm prints with Datasat timecodes.

Bolkonskij” and (a much better print of) “War and Peace,

There is noise suppression for audio recordings without

part II - Natasha Rostova” (1965), German-dubbed prints

Dolby and Dolby A and Dolby SR and other audio systems

from the Kino Museum in Berlin, followed by “Gettysburg”

for 70mm were installed, to support low bass frequencies in

(1993), a 70mm print from the Bradford Media Museum.

On the walls of the auditorium, there are a total of 28 8 2


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The authors, Johan Wolthuis and Jan-Hein Bal; below, from London, Mark Lyndon and Margaret Weedon

Once more in the Czech Republic

projectors, built in its home country in the 1970s. They can

a particular track or to recreate stereo sound effects.

The large 18.4 x 7.9m curved screen of the Varndorf Centrum Panorama cinema: an impressive

The second day saw the screening of an abridged English-dubbed film called “Old Shatterhand”, a German,

project to promote the city of Varnsdorf. At that time the city had a population of around 35,000 and was known for its textile factories. From the outset, it was installed for 70mm projection with the Meopta UM 70/35mm projectors, however it closed in 1991 as a result of the closure of many factories. The number of inhabitants reduced by nearly 50 per cent. The cinema and the next door hotel fell into ruins. Fortunately, in 2000, Pavel Nejtek, owner of a neon lighting factory in Prague, bought the complex. Being a cinema enthusiast, he started to rebuild and finally — after five years — in 2005 reopened. The exterior still needs much renovation, but the interior is beautifully restored. In the same building, he opened two restaurants and in the lobby is an exhibition of equipment including a Czech Meopta UM 70/35, Dutch Philips DP75, Russian KH17/ 35mm. During the weekend, many movies were introduced by Mr Nejtek himself in Czech and in English by Jean-Pierre Gutzeit from the Berlin Kino Museum and Martin Šinkmajer, project manager. Tom Ackerman from Austria provided German commentary. The Russian movie “War and Peace”

Varnsdorf French, Italian, Yugoslav co-production from 1964 originally filmed with German Super Panorama MCS 70 cameras. This was followed by the almost-obligatory (German dubbed) “2001: A Space Odyssey” from 1968, filmed in Super Panavison 70; a brand new 70mm print of “Murder on

was introduced by Jan-Hein Bal from the Amsterdam EYE Filmmuseum. The staff did a fantastic job projecting everything reel by reel, without non-rewind equipment. They had to overcome a number of technical difficulties, including a print of “Gettysburg” which was often out of The saviour of the Centrum Panorama: cinema owner Pavel Nejtek next to a Meopta 70/35 projector

focus because of vinegar problems (decay of film material). Before and after projection this print was stored in refrigerator boxes!

Part of a wider cinematic celebration The majority of the festival was financed by the Ústí nad

the Orient Express” and a German-dubbed blow-up from

Labem region, the city of Varnsdorf itself and finally by the

1968: “Guns for San Sebastian (La Bataille de San Sebastian)”.

Neisse Film Festival — the 70mm weekend took place in the

Followed by a German dubbed blow-up from 1968: “The

context of the 15th Neisse Film Festival, organised in 10

Shoes of the Fisherman” (the third movie with Anthony

locations on the German-Polish-Czech border triangle from

Quinn), a blow-up of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”

15-20 May. Jean-Pierre Gutzeit should be complemented

(1977); “Lawrence of Arabia”, David Lean’s famous movie

on bringing in eight 70mm movies, most in fair condition.

from 1962 filmed in Super Panavision 70, Samuel Bronston’s

The philosophy of the organisation is to show movies that

“Circus World” (1964) in Super Technirama 70. The last movie

are rarely presented. During the festival the cinema’s

was a blow-up from 1968 — “Finian’s Rainbow”. Though

restaurants were often crowded with local visitors.

many of the prints were to a certain extent faded, “Lawrence

The quiet city of Varnsdorf is awaiting a repaired railway

of Arabia” was in excellent condition. Prints were English or

connection and sadly has a number of closed — but

dubbed in German and subtitled with a beamer in Czech.

beautiful — churches and factories, though it does feature a

The weekend saw cinephiles from around the world

number of lovely restored buildings that give a hint at the

flock to Varnsdorf, including visitors, from Austria, Germany,

city’s future. It lies near the city of Dresden — itself well worth

the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. “Murder on the

a visit, with beautiful churches and other historic buildings

Orient Express” in particular drew a good crowd. There also

rebuilt after the bombardment it experienced in February

was an interesting short History of the Cinema in Varnsdorf.

1945. And last but not least, the beautiful Rundkino, built in

A phoenix rising from the ashes… Some history of this unique cinema: it opened in 1971 as a

1972, with 898 seats, is one of the largest 70mm cinemas in the former German Democratic Republic — it still functions today in Dresden as a large digital cinema. 0 9 / 1 8


8 3



Staying ahead of the event cinema game What’s in store for the Event Cinema Association? The newly appointed managing director, Grainne Peat outlines the future vision and priorities of the Association.



the status of the sector worldwide.

much to offer — and an increasingly

This worldwide presence is certainly one the association

diverse range of content is testament

will continue to harness and grow. The ECA will establish a



programme of keys events designed to give the association

cinematic experiences to a diverse and




a structured and global outlook. The association will also

growing cinema audience. Once again, box office takings

look at how it can refresh the annual conference and seek

in 2018 for event cinema are strong and stable, with solid

opportunities to work more collaboratively with colleagues

takings for “An American in Paris”, “NT Live: Cat on a Hot Tin

from across the industry, including working more closely

Roof”, “Muse: World Drones Tour” and, more recently, “André

with the UKCA, UNIC and NATO.

Rieu in Maastricht”. The latter of these is now currently the

Vitally important is to stay informed about global

highest grossing event cinema title of 2018, having taken

market opportunities — there is so much to be learnt from

over £1.5million in UK box office. It’s a vibrant sector. The

sharing experiences from other territories. It’s time to start

Event Cinema Association (ECA) is keen to stay ahead of the

exploring fresh conversations around event cinema and it is

trends and to push the boundaries on what can be achieved.

essential to build and present the business case for the

The ECA was welcomed back to CineEurope with our

sector. The ECA will start collecting global data and case

biggest presence ever. This included a dedicated Event

studies to showcase and champion the growth of this

Cinema Focus Session, as well as several targeted member

category in terms of box office and availability, and also to

seminars. On the trade show floor, the Event Cinema Focus

help identify and inform future opportunities. A key aim will

Session ‘Jump-Starting Event Cinema’, featured a panel of

be to strengthen communications and marketing of the

knowledgeable industry figures, including Josep Maria

category. The ECA wants to build better engagement with

Farras (FC Barcelona), Katrin Mathe (CGR Events), Simon

cinema operators and distributors and also to have stronger

Rees (Cineplace), Miguel Rivera (Cinepolis Group) and

front-facing public engagement with audiences.

Gabriel Swartland (Movio). Moderated by Celluloid Junkie’s

There is so much potential for the association and I join

Patrick von Sychowski, the panel looked beyond the arts to

at a challenging time. The ECA will host its annual slate day

examine next steps to grow the event cinema industry, as

in November, which will be the perfect opportunity to get a

well as how technology and brand partners may help

glimpse of some of the exciting content to hit screens in

engage new customer groups. The session was introduced

2019 and to learn more about the ECA’s future plans. I am

by ECA board member and VP of event cinema at Cineplex

keen to meet members and event cinema advocates as I

Entertainment, Brad LaDouceur with a keynote speech on

can. Email me at

8 4


0 9 / 1 8

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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 18









Powell Cinema Engineers




Projected Picture Trust




QSC Cinema


DCS Event






Sound Associates


Future Projections


Sony Digital Cinema


Galalite Screens


Strong MDI




UK Cinema Association


Harkness Screens


Ushio EMEA


Harkness Screens




The Jack Roe Companies




JBL Professional Audio






Ymagis Group


Motion Picture Solutions


Arts Alliance Media

o p i n i o n “The future of all life now depends on us” The cinema industry isn’t alone in impacting on the environment, but we’re in a privileged position to drive change, argues CT production editor Alastair Balmain


ell it’s a pretty stark headline,

deliveries, lighting and lamps, transport connections to

but those words actually belong to

venues, construction materials, posters, water use — what in

Sir David Attenborough — and if you

our world wouldn’t benefit from thoughtful technological

haven’t seen the final episode of his

solutions to help reduce our impact?

“Blue Planet II” series, do watch it. The

Soon after the plastic straw hullabaloo, Starbucks

footage of marine life is staggering, but the scenes of man-

proudly announced a new range of strawless plastic lids.

made waste and pollutants choking our oceans are decidely

Though it sounds like robbing plastic Peter to pay plastic

sobering. Thanks to that documentary, our blinkers have

Paul, given the recyclable nature of the new lid’s materials,

been removed and, rather belatedly, the world can now see

it is arguably a step forward. More impressive is Starbuck’s

why a plastic drinking straw is the devil’s own utensil.

$10million investment in the NextGen Cup Challenge,

As a consequence, corporations are eager to show how

which seeks to develop a fully recyclable and compostable

responsible they are. Disney, for example, has commendably

hot cup — but this is a topic that really shouldn’t be driven by

announced plans to eliminate single-use plastic straws and

PR positivity. Fluff it up, call it corporate social responsibility if

stirrers at all its owned and operated locations by the

you like, but this is a simple case of doing the right thing.

middle of next year. That’s encouraging for Nemo, but the

As a species, we’re addicted to consumption, but if a

issue goes further — and our industry can lead on this. On

trip to our venues is as influential as we tell everyone it is,

pages 30-35, we explore some of the ways in which it does.

especially to younger visitors, then we must be demonstrably

There are myriad commercial, financial and logistical

responsible about buckets, straws, cups and wrappers. At

reasons with which we can defend the use of packaging in

CineEurope in June, Coca-Cola showcased its reduce, re-

the F&B sector, but we must acknowledge that to sustain

use, recycle campaigns. This, and initiatives like them, are a

our businesses, the concessions stands alone generate a

huge start. Cinema’s place should be in the vanguard of the

sizeable amount of waste. Do we as an industry care

circular economy, not facilitating a throwaway culture. For

sufficiently about the resources we use, or is this merely the

every customer who jettisons a non-recyclable plastic-lined

collateral damage of our business? And what has this got to

cup three foot from a bin, there’s five more who’d happily

do with cinema technology…? Well, if ever there was a case

choose to drink from a re-useable, returnable, recyclable

for the application of inspiring technological solutions, the

glass or cup — if only they were encouraged to do so.

reduction of our impact on the environment is clearly it.

If you believe the object of this column is to make our

To labour a slightly heavy-handed metaphor, plastic

industry feel immensely guilty, you’re wrong. It’s a reminder

straws are the tip of the iceberg. Air conditioning, hard drive

that cinemas are in a prime position to help effect change.

8 6


0 9 / 1 8

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