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TECHNOLOGY AND CINEMA CITY


Cinema City 2004 – decide to adapt by changing… AUDIENCE •Change content/ programming – Show blockbusters/ mainstream films ‘with a twist’ (e.g. SATC2 cocktail night) – Use revenue from blockbusters to support exhibition of niche films (e.g. East Anglian Film Archive)

•Widen audience – Cater for niche groups

•Retain: specialist films; education and niche groups; Premium ‘audience experience’

OWNERSHIP •Change focus (profit and sustainability) •Change ownership to support the work – Become part of PictureHouse

TECHNOLOGY •Refurbish and modernise – 3 screens – Digital – (Later) 3D


DIGITAL SCREENS


Films used to be projected in cinemas like this‌


Now it’s digital, on a hard drive, and projected like this


Film Reel Projection • Films arrive on 4-6 large film reels, stored on the metal ‘cakestand’ • Film is fed through the projector • Hairs/ dust/ dirt damage the quality of the film • Quality degrades with each playback and with time • Each print costs ~£2000


Digital Film Projection • Film arrives on handsized hard drive which is uploaded to projector • Digital film files are encoded to stop piracy • Quality never degrades • Hard drives can be returned to distributors for re-use • Each hard drive costs ~£50


Hollywood Cinema goes Digital

• Watch this http://www.mustardtv.co.uk/browse/hollywood-history-n


Benefits of digital technology • • • •

Choice – more ‘product’ and the ability to match it to customer demand Quality – better sound and image, no deterioration of the print Alternative content – cinemas diversifying through live concerts, sport Spectacle – higher resolution, new 3D technologies (Avatar)


Digital Distribution/ Digital Screens: Key facts

Why did Cinema City invest in digital projection? •

Digital technology reduces distribution costs – –

One film print costs the distributor ~£2,000. One digital ‘print’ (burnt to an encrypted hardrive) costs ~£50

An arthouse/ specialist film (e.g. Submarine) will usually have 20-40 prints; a mainstream ‘saturation’ blanket release (e.g. Avatar) will have 400+ prints. These prints are paid for by the distributor, but the charges are passed on to the cinemas. –

Because it is so much cheaper, digital distribution means lower budget films can afford wider releases

Digital does not degrade in quality (it can not pick up scratches or hairs, or be damaged by light or other environmental factors) – – –

Digital has higher sound quality Digital has higher picture quality Digital is lighter/ easier to transport and smaller/ easier to store

A digital projector can be used to show ‘alternative content’ such as live satellite streams of concerts/ theatre/ ballet/ opera/ sports/ other events such as director’s Q&As from other cinemas; gaming through the cinema screen; etc –

Alternative content provided 0.2% of cinema revenues in 2006; in 2011 it provided 12.7% of all cinema revenue. This is even higher at Cinema City.

Chain cinemas have invested heavily in the equipment needed to use digital distribution. This has cut the costs at these cinemas. Cinema City converted to 3 digital screens in December 2009


Cinema City • In 2004 – one screen; film projection (no digital) • Refurbished – 2009, 3 digital screens


Cinema City and the Digital Screen Network • Digital Screen Network gave money to cinemas to buy digital projectors • Funded by British Government and European Union

• In return, the cinemas MUST show a quota of ‘specialist films’ to retain funding for the projection equipment: – Foreign language with subtitles – Documentaries – Archive/classic films – A film which is of a difficultto-categorise genre, or has a complex hook or USP – An innovative film (has an innovative cinematic style)


Digital distribution - Implications 1. How might digital distribution benefit independent/ low budget films, producers and distributors? (e.g. Warp) 2. How do digital projectors open up opportunities for alternative content/ diversification/ the exhibition of different media? 3. How do digital projectors enhance audience experience?


ALTERNATIVE CONTENT


What else can you do with a digital projector that you can’t do with a film projector?


Alternative Content


Digital Distribution/ Screens Summary • Digital distribution supports/ enhances the independent film industry/ low budget film industry. • Digital distribution enhances customer choice and experience • The proliferation of digital distribution reflects how the film industry is adapting to find new models in order to survive. • Digital distribution was a threat because of piracy, but now it is becoming an opportunity and is enhancing the film industry. • Digital distribution is enhancing opportunities for creativity, film-making and a wider variety of films.


3D


3D Cinema in the UK

There is a huge jump here. What encouraged cinemas to invest in 3D at this time? (Clue: what films were released?)

How much has 3D increased in 6 years?

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3D Cinema: Key Facts Why did Cinema City invest in 3D? •

In 2009, 3D films accounted for 16% of all UK box office revenues (£176 million). Cinema City earned £0 from 3D films. • In Norwich, Vue and Odeon both have 3D screens. Hollywood Cinema does not. • Older blockbuster films are now being ‘remastered’ in 3D for re-release

• •

A 3D projector costs £50k-70k Toy Story 3 took £166m in the UK. Toy Story 3 quickly went to near the top of the chart of Cinema City’s highest earners of all time Some say 3D is the future of cinema Others say it is a novelty and a gimmick. Others say it complements and goes alongside 2D but will never replace it, but it offers audiences something different.


Technology & Marketing


Technology & Marketing • Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, direct email – Creates a direct and local connection with the audience – Audience can: • tweet reviews • take part in competitions for tickets • get info on up-coming releases • discuss films • request screenings


How does Cinema City adapt to compete and also to cater for specific audiences? •Institutional structure and ownership (Picturehouse> CityScreen> Cineworld) •Alternative Content •Programming/ Films shown •Cinema “Experience” •Niche groups •Outreach/ beyond film •Investment in technology (digital; 3D; Marketing Technology)

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