Friday, February 19, 2010

DigiTraining Plus (Day Three)

I missed the morning visit to Bio Grand, Tikkurila, presented by Kimmo Lohman, Cinema Manager.

At the Flamingo Cinema, Vantaa, Ari "Jaska" Saarinen, Technical Supervisor and Manager (Finnkino) gave the presentation "D-Cinema, What Cinema Owners Don't Know Or Normally Forget To Think About", a brilliant no-nonsense all around survey highly appreciated by the experts present.

Jaska started with an eulogy to D-Cinema and a thrashing of 35 mm. According to him, 2K is enough for a 15 m screen, 4K for a screen over 15 m. His presentation was ultra-fast, with more information in the quick PowerPoints than was possible to digest. He stressed that besides resolution one must consider speed, contrast, and colour. It is important to acquire 2K equipment that can be upgraded to 4K.

Jaska stressed aspects such as DCI compatibility, the need to upgrade, spare part availability and price, support availability also on weekend. He strongly advised to buy the same model and size for all projectors. Projectors are not getting cheaper. He warned against silver screens because of the hot spot effect. He discussed the considerations of Xenon bulbs, ventilantion requirements, projection windows, soundproofing, electricity, higher cleanliness requirements.

Jaska discussed the four 3D systems of RealD, Dolby 3D, Master Image, and XPand. Finnkino uses XPand.

Jaska emphasized factors such as reliability, quality, warranty, training, correct installation, spare part availability, and automatical upgrading.

Jaska has developed for Finnkino a sound system of their own (AS2) with a non-perforated screen and Dolby reference level Vol 7. Front speakers are above the screen, and there are six subwoofers.

We saw three D-Cinema (2K) demonstrations at Flamingo:
1. Sherlock Holmes, opening, visually brilliant, I have no quarrel with this.
2. John Lasseter: Tokyo Mater (US 2008), great digital animation, colour intentionally anti-realistic.
3. Avatar, the attack on the life tree, experts present said they'd never seen it better expect in the special gala events with four projectors. My comment: this is a fantasy film with anti-realistic colour (the green is grayish, there is a lack of warm shades in the colour palette).

There is a trend in D-Cinemas that projectionists are going to be replaced with computer experts.

Back at the Finnish Film Foundation there was a symposium of digitalization providing a chance for a wider choice offered to cinema spectators (session on contents: films and alternative contents). - Erik Hamre (Emerging Pictures, Denmark) gave a rousing presentation of opera distribution in cinemas (live and canned). - Pilvi Burman (FS Film, Finland) predicted that the distributors will soon support digital releases only, and no 35 mm. She examined three experiences in 3D. Journey to the Center of the Earth was the nice learning experience, and the Finnish result was the best in the Nordic countries. Ice Age 3 was the most popular film of 2009. And finally Avatar, the turning-point in digital. - Fabrice Testa (Vice President Sales & Business Development, XDC) discussed VPF arrangements and alternative content (specific audiences, high ticket prices, optimizing off-peak times, additional revenue). He emphasized dynamism from the exhibitior, considering season tickets and memberships, accessing specific client groups, doing local marketing (flyers, posters, season catalogues, radio campaigns, trailers), event-like cinema experiences with introductions, Q & A, drinks afterwards. Revenue sharing 50% non-live, 35% live.

Fabrice Testa gave also a presentation on the role of integrators. XDC is the n:o 1 digital cinema company in Europe, a comprehensive European Networks Operations Center, an Integrated Full Service Company. Aiming to increase direct and indirect revenue, to reduce operational costs, requiring a specific business model, as it takes 10 years to collect VPF to cover the roll-out cost of D-Cinema.

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