NATO Calls for Release of Premium Video on Demand Data

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Fri, 05/13/2011 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

The National Association of Theatre Owners has called on the movie studios participating in the early-to-the-home premium video on demand experiment to release sales figures for the movies that have been offered on the platform.
The controversy around the shortened theatrical window involved in the early premium VOD offering has drawn intense interest in Hollywood the trade and business press and Wall Street. But has the early VOD offering drawn the interest of the consumer?
“What’s an experiment without data?” asked NATO president and CEO John Fithian. “Every weekend—usually before the weekend is over—the performance of movies at the U.S. box office is reported around the world. Studio executives are working the phones touting the stellar box office for hit movies and explaining the underperformance of the flops. When it comes to premium VOD—crickets.”
  The movies released so far include Just Go With it (Sony) Cedar Rapids (Fox) and Hall Pass (Warner Bros.).  The Adjustment Bureau (Universal) is scheduled for release this week. The movies are being released through DirecTV’s Home Premiere at a price of $29.99 roughly 60 days after their theatrical debuts.
 Time Warner chairman Jeff Bewkes and CBS president and CEO Les Moonves offered some unsolicited advice for theater owners at the Jefferies 2011 Global Technology Internet Media & Telecommunications Conference Wednesday morning. 
According to published reports “There has been too much excitement about this ” Bewkes said about premium VOD in highlighting that exhibitors and studios share the same interests. Discussing exhibitors he emphasized once again that “nobody in the movie business wants them to be at risk ” and suggested that studios and theaters have aligned interests in making content accessible in legal and high-quality ways to combat piracy according to the Hollywood Reporter. 

 Moonves said “I know theater owners are scared ” noting that all companies in media have had to adapt to new technology. “They are going to have to change a bit to prevent a crisis ” according to Variety.

 Forgive us if we decline to take business lessons from the end of the industry that enabled the erosion of value in the home market said Fithian.  “The creation of $1.99 kiosk rentals and $7.99 monthly subscriptions have undercut the sell-through model in the home—not theatrical release windows.
  “Let me offer some advice in return from the end of the business that has grown more than 25 percent globally over the last five years ” Fithian continued. “Your problem is in the home window: fix it there. You will not create extra revenue by introducing in the theatrical window the same self-cannibalizing channel confusion that has decimated the home market.”
  On the issue of movie theft Fithian added “Combat piracy by charging $30 for a rental? Really?  You can't compete with free.  Early VOD release will only exacerbate theft by giving the pirates a pristine digital copy of the movie much earlier than they have with DVDs.”
“Theater owners around the globe are indeed concerned.  So are many leading movie directors and producers who care about the theatrical experience. Studio bosses should spend more time talking to their partners about models that might work instead of asking us to calm down.” ,2415
Petrol Bags Introduces DigiSuite DSLR Camera Case,2011-05-14, New from Petrol Bags is the DigiSuite DSLR camera case. The front lid of this semi-hard suitcase-style carrier unzips quickly to reveal a central compartment contoured to comfortably fit up to two DSLR cameras with lenses attached. Detachable internal dividers help secure contents and create pockets for storing a matte box camera plate follow focus camera light viewfinder and cables. With the dividers removed the DigiSuite can serve as a regular suitcase. On the lid’s interior a padded pouch can hold a personal computer with up to a 17-inch screen. Contents are surrounded and cushioned by soft padded red fabric. Twin brackets on the bottom of the DigiSuite allow for quick connection of Petrol’s Snaplock wheel and trolley system. The exterior features a plastic exchangeable logo frame for personal branding. Additional features include cold-molded laminate panels for extra protection auxiliary zippered storage pouches for personal accessories exterior front pocket top and side carrying handles and dual-directional easy glide zippers.  Construction is of black 900D and ballistic nylon fabrics. Petrol Bags ,2417
Qube Launches Online Xport Store,2011-05-14,Qube Cinema has launched an online web store where filmmakers post houses and pre-show content creators can purchase the new QubeMaster Xport Final Cut Studio plug-in. The system enables users to output DCI-compliant Digital Cinema Package masters directly from the Final Cut Compressor. QubeMaster Xport is available in four versions. The QubeMaster Xport 2K retails for $799. QubeMaster Xport 3D and QubeMaster Xport 4K are available for $1 798 each. Users who need both stereo 3D and 4K mastering can opt for QubeMaster Xport 4K and 3D at $2 797. Individual modules can be added after the initial purchase for $999 per module. A fully functioning watermarked demo is also available for download allowing users to test out the software. QubeMaster Xport enables Final Cut Pro users to save pre-defined settings as Compressor Droplets and simply drag-and-drop files to create DCI-compliant masters. All of the file formats supported in Final Cut Studio can be output to 2K and 4K and the software can handle XYZ color space conversions or apply custom 3D LUTs to source files while encoding. “With major film festivals like Cannes and Venice now endorsing DCPs as their preferred delivery format we’re seeing a surge of interest from independent filmmakers looking for better ways to master and deliver their films ” says Eric Bergez director of sales and marketing at Qube Cinema. “This new website gives them access to all the tools they need for generating DCP masters without the expense and complication of going to a major facility.”   Bergez pointed out that QubeMaster Xport also opens the door to the growing digital cinema market for boutique post houses and pre-show content creators. It's about putting distribution capabilities into the hands of those who create the content he says. In June Qube Cinema will launch a new KDM key generation service which will allow QubeMaster Xport users to add secure exhibitor keys to their DCPs. Qube Cinema Web Store ,2418
Regal Expands Access in Theatres,2011-05-14,Regal Entertainment Group has announced plans to equip all digital cinema locations with personal captioning and descriptive video technologies. For years Regal has actively worked with various technology companies and film distributors to create opportunities to increase theatre access for deaf hard of hearing and blind moviegoers. The advent of digital cinema technology offers new opportunities to increase access at all digitally equipped theatres and Regal expects to have practically all of its theatres converted to digital cinema by the end of 2012. In conjunction with its digital cinema rollout Regal has developed a strategy to also rollout these adaptive technologies for widespread consumer use over the next 12 to 18 months. In addition Regal has partnered with Captionfish which is the internet's leading captioned movies search engine that finds open captioned Rear Window captioned foreign/subtitled and descriptively-narrated movies showing at theatres across the United States. “Regal once again has bolstered their commitment to providing movies that are accessible to people with hearing and vision loss. Regal was the first to provide a comprehensive website advertised show times theatre manager training program and free screenings to deaf and hard of hearing children. Regal has always been a strong advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing and remains the most committed exhibitor in the U.S. to support captioned programming and providing the deaf and hard of hearing community access to feature films. This announcement demonstrates their continuing leadership in accessible entertainment ” says Nanci Linke Ellis of Partner Brendan Gramer says “We are thrilled that they have chosen to partner with Captionfish as a resource for disseminating accessible showtimes.” “After years of working to ensure that personal captioning solutions would be available through digital cinema as well as meet the needs and expectations of the deaf hard of hearing and blind we are pleased to begin efforts now to offer this access at theatres converted to the all-digital format ” saysRandy Smith Regal Entertainment Group chief administrative officer & counsel. “Regal is now ordering and depending on product availability will be installing these new technologies at our fully digitized locations. Our intentions are to offer captioning and descriptive video for every film that comes with such content at all show times at every theatre equipped and to be equipped with digital cinema systems over the next 12 to 18 months. By the end of 2012 almost every Regal location nationwide will be fully equipped with digital cinema systems and be further equipped to provide closed captions and descriptive video for our deaf hard of hearing and blind guests.” Regal Entertainment Group ,2419
Sachtler Unveils FSB Family of Camera Heads,2011-05-14,Sachtler has introduced the FSB family a product line designed to provide a suitable head for every HDV camera as well as for DSLR cameras with video function. All FSB heads work with Sachtler Speedbalance technology that enables a fast and target-oriented counterbalance. Based on the construction principles of other classic Sachtler heads the FSB line offers no-compromise vibration damping which is extremely subtle and finely graded in comparison to other manufacturers in the same payload range. The FSB 4 fluid head is the smallest of the FSB line with a payload range of 0 to 9 pounds and is ideal for HDV camera users. Three horizontal and three vertical grades of drag as well as a dependable five-step counterbalance system guarantees the camera operator optimal handling. The FSB 4 has an integrated flat-based fitting and fits tripods with 75mm bowls. The exceptionally long sliding range (4.7 inches to 120 mm) of the Sachtler Snap & Go sideload mechanism and the 10-step counterbalance give the FSB 6 fluid head a special edge. Thus quick and smooth counterbalance is also possible with a payload range of (two to 13 pounds). The FSB 6 is ideal for using cameras that are equipped with accessories and is also alternatively offered with the Touch & Go camera plate. In addition it has three horizontal and three vertical grades of drag plus 0. With a payload range of 2 – 20 pounds the FSB 8 fluid head is versatile. It has a 10-step counterbalance as well as five horizontal and vertical grades of drag plus 0. It works with the tried and tested Sachtler features like Speedbalance and the self-illuminating Touch Bubble. The sideload technology that extends the sliding range of the camera is also practical. As with the FSB 6 the head is alternatively offered with the Touch & Go Plate. The FSB 6 T and FSB 8 T have parking positions for spare camera screws. Sachtler ,2420
Schneider Optics Introduces Protective Covers for 3D Beam Splitters,2011-05-14,Schneider Optic’s has introduced 3D Windows that are made of anti-reflective water-white glass to protect valuable 3D beam splitters which are susceptible to damage from flying debris and are difficult to clean without damaging. Schneider Optics offers a full line of optical glass anti-reflection coated windows in stock and custom sizes to provide low-cost protection. These protective windows can be used with long focal length lenses without reducing resolution and are easily cleaned. Schneider also produces economical Optical Grade Polycarbonate windows that can be used when durability and protection is the foremost concern. Schneider Optics ,2421
Sony Digital Cinema 4K Projection Systems First to Achieve Full DCI Compliance ,2011-05-14, On Tuesday April 26th Sony Corporation and Showcase Cinemas Cardiff successfully performed the first commercial screening in Europe on a fully-DCI compliant projection system.
 In March Sony Corporation announced that its Digital Cinema 4K projection systems were the first to successfully complete the full range of compliance tests for specifications required by Digital Cinema Initiatives. Sony was accredited under the DCI specification for its integrated projection systems. 
“It is with great pleasure that we announce that Sony Digital Cinema 4K has once again taken the lead in this industry ” says David McIntosh head of digital cinema at Sony Europe. “We were the first to launch a 4K resolution projector with 4 times the resolution of a 2K projector. We were the first to launch the easy on the eye 3D solution with our partner RealD. We were the first to pass the high standard DCI Compliance Security design projection system. Now we have successfully screened fully DCI-Compliant content at our exhibitor partner Showcase Cinemas in Cardiff - the first such screening in Europe.”
 Sony is currently the only projection manufacturer that offers a fully DCI-Compliant projection system which consists of a 4K resolution projector and a media block.
In the UK Apollo Showcase and VUE Cinemas have signed up for Sony Digital Cinema 4K projection systems meaning over 1000 screens will be capable of screening in DCI-Compliant 4K resolution once the roll-out is complete. Globally Sony has a committed base of over 13 000 4K projection systems from leading exhibitors. ,2422
Venture 3D Converted Screen Gems’ Vampire Thriller Priest ,2011-05-14,Venture 3D says that it converted the majority of Screen Gems’ vampire thriller and Korean comics adaptation Priest into stereoscopic 3D. Directed by Scott Stewart (Legion) Priest stars Paul Bettany (Iron Man 2) as the undead protagonist as well as Maggie Q (Nikita) as the Priestess and Cam Gigandet (Easy A Burlesque) as the Wasteland Sheriff.      Founded by three entertainment industry veterans and established to convert new films as well as library films TV programming documentaries and commercials into 3D Venture 3D’s proprietary worldwide patented software-based technology enables the company to deliver superior quality 3D conversion while significantly reducing the time and cost involved.   “With the increasing demand for 3D in the marketplace high-quality 3D conversion is an absolute necessity. We are truly excited that Screen Gems selected us to convert the majority of Priest giving us the opportunity to deliver moviegoers the 3D-viewing experience they demand ” says Todd Cogan senior vice president of Venture 3D. “We’re confident the creativity of Screen Gems combined with our cutting-edge technology will raise the bar for 3D post-conversion and help Priest lead the 3D box office.”   Priest is Venture 3D’s latest 3D conversion in a list of Hollywood blockbusters including Sony Pictures’ The Green Hornet 20th Century Fox and Walden Media’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader as well as the 2010 FIFA World Cup 3D trailer. Recent projects include 3D conversion work for Warner Bros. and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Shanghai.   Venture 3D ,2425
XDC Reaches Thousand-Screen Plateau in Europe,2011-05-14,XDC says it has deployed the 1000th digital screen contracted within its European VPF studio agreements. That installation is the Rio Cinema in Dalston London UK a member of the Digital Funding Partnership. This marks the first installation under the DFP/XDC deployment agreement. Serge Plasch XDC CEO says We are very excited to have reached this important step and especially with the Rio Cinema being a member of the DFP which we are very proud to be working with it's a double celebration. Christian De Stoop XDC's international sales and contracting manager says One thousand screens is an important milestone for XDC. Over the last two years our installation base has seen considerable growth. We now have screens in almost every country of Europe. We are truly a European company.  XDC has further established its leadership position with this milestone and the trend continues. We are currently experiencing our busiest time with exhibitors signing to the VPF model. Charles Rubinstein general manager of The Rio Cinema says We are impressed with the speed that XDC supplied and installed the system through Sound Associates. We had a deadline of 1st May and fortunately the DFP and XDC were able to arrange our installation to meet this. We are all highly delighted and relieved. Steve Perrin CEO DFP says Congratulations to XDC on their 1000th installation. I am especially pleased that it is the Rio cinema that achieved this milestone for XDC. It really emphasises what the DFP is all about when we can help our traditional independently owned cinemas like this. We are all looking forward to the main phase of our roll out in the very near future.” XDC International