Since 1999 the committee has seen an increase in expertise in Digital Cinema. There are now 6 regular members with DCinema interest along with members who are involved with the equipment supply/integration, content, service, exhibition.
Some of the key members of the committee are Rich Phillips from Arts Alliance Media and Julian Pinn and Michael Denner from Dolby and Max bell from Bell Theatre Services.
The important thing for the committee is that they are able to understand the conversion issues looking at the reality versus the hype.
The committee aims to educate and inform projectionists through events, such as the “Digital Awareness Days”, and changing projectionist skill sets. Along with looking at the differences between the UK and Europe and the US.
The key advantages of digital cinema (‘d-cinema’ ) for local cinemas are: The distribution of films to cinemas is potentially much cheaper, quicker and easier. Individual cinemas will potentially be able to get the latest, high earning films at the same time as West End cinemas. It will be more economically viable to distribute minority interest films and to provide subtitled or dubbed versions
The picture and sound quality will always be as good as it was at the première. No scratches, jumps, dirt or flicker to disturb the viewing experience.
Local filmmakers, students and school pupils will be able to project their films to local audiences, quickly and inexpensively.
Localised advertising tailored to the particular audience will be possible.Additional smaller auditoria become viable and provide greater choice for local audiences. A local digital cinema – a digital mini-plex – may have one or two large auditoria (150 to 250 seats) and three or four very small ones (30 to 50 seats). There are now many examples of this type of cinema in the UK and the rest of Europe.
Non-film uses, especially the screening of live cultural events, are important additional revenue streams. In some locations local businesses and education organisations will use the facilities.
Many cinemas in the UK, Europe and North America are now offering live and recorded cultural and sporting events in cinemas, and reporting revenues 200% to 400% over regular film screenings.
In France 300 venues, often converted town halls, offer sports and cultural events under the banner ‘Vidéo Transmission Haute Resolution’.
For the provision of regular screenings, the technology is relatively easy to use and will impact on many aspects of the cinema operation and economics.
For example there are now a small number of commercial digital cinemas in the UK where front of house and technical staffing levels have been reduced to a minimum.
Subtitled performances for deaf audiences are increasingly popular. New systems using digital cinema projectors have overcome many of the previous problems with limited availability of prints with these subtitles.
The new approach involves projecting subtitles on to the screen and does not require a special copy of the film. The flexibility of this approach opens up the potential for multi language versions of films to suit a variety of local audiences. (ICO)
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