It’s an understatement to call Cooke Optics’ chairman and owner Les Zellan a digital cinema pioneer. In 2000 when he first introduced the idea of metadata technology in lens manufacturing, only a small number of people believed that digital cinema technology would ever truly replace film as Hollywood’s production medium of choice. At the time, the American Society of Cinematographers was actively campaigning against the idea of replacing film projectors with what were derisively called video projectors. Much has changed, of course, but Zellan still talks in the wary manner of pioneers who understand that, even though they’ve overcome some challenges, there are still more to face.
The Big Picture
Iris, Archimedia’s suite of software applications designed to speed file workflow, can now play Interoperable Master Format complex files. These files are rapidly becoming a preferred format for motion pictures because they dramatically reduce the number of file versions film studios need to send out. Archimedia CEO Mark Gray said, “We are proud to introduce an upgrade to Iris that makes it the world’s first software media player for IMF complex files. Now that IMF is gaining traction in the OTT and video on demand television markets its use is sure to increase.”
M-Go has unveiled a new monthly campaign called Movies that Matter. DreamWorks Animation and Technicolor created the video on demand service to reinforce their commitment to socially relevant films. The campaign will highlight a new film every month, beginning with the debut of the documentary film Imba Means Sing.
Ymagis Group has opened a new, state-of-the-art Dolby Atmos screening room at its Soho offices in central London to serve the UK film industry. Featuring nine luxury seats in a private environment, this new screening facility is acoustically isolated and ideal for quality-control and VIP screenings, daily rushes, color-grading, mastering and corporate activities.
The popular T-Rex Café at Disney Springs, formerly Downtown Disney Marketplace, at Lake Buena Vista, Florida is a monster-sized, Palaeozoic-themed restaurant that bills itself as a Prehistoric Family Adventure. The execution of the theme is extensive and spectacular, and certainly includes enough pre-historic atmosphere to stir the imaginations of dinosaur enthusiasts of all ages. Highlights include a vast and impressive crystal cave that constantly sweeps through a range of intense backlit colors and thickets of cretaceous jungle foliage around smoke-emitting tar pits. All of this provides a backdrop for the stars of the show, the cast of 23 fully-articulated animatronic prehistoric creatures that include such usual dinosaur suspects as tyrannosaurus rex, apatosaurus, triceratops, mastodons, and a woolly mammoth family, together with pteronodons and an 11-metre giant octopus suspended over the bar and the heads of the diners.
Meyer Sound has introduced Amie, the first studio monitor from the company in more than two decades. Developed to meet the demanding needs of Skywalker Sound, Amie brings a level of clarity professionals can trust, making it ideal for critical production environments where accurate translation to larger systems is imperative. Amie made its debut at the Sound for Film event on September 26 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California.
While Hollywood feature films continue to be the main revenue source for exhibitors, digital cinema technology has opened the doors to advertising revenue both in preshows on the big screen and, increasingly, on digital displays in the lobby. Katy Loria, chief revenue officer, Screenvision, is optimistic about the future for both advertising options.
Kymberli Frueh, vice president, programming of Fathom Events, is passionate about her work. In her decade with the event cinema company she has seen the business experience steady growth and is proud of the revenue she’s added to the bottom line. But, she said, there are other positives. “It’s not just about the ticket sales,” said Frueh. “Look at what kind of audiences we’re bringing back to the theatre. These are people who haven’t been inside a movie theatre in years.”
Two years ago this month, a new organization – the Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition – launched what was then billed as “the industry’s first-ever digital theatrical delivery service.” With the launch, DCDC began servicing its founding companies by transporting feature films and other content via satellite across the United States. That DCDC was not the first to do this was beside the point. DCDC had the backing and the blessing of those founding members: Warner Bros. Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark Theatres and AMC Theatres. Today, DCDC has a virtual lock on its market, but questions remain regarding its long-range potential.
Last Friday, September 25th, digital cinema history was made and the course of cinema advertising and marketing changed forever, with the release of a 60-second commercial promoting the United Nations’ Global Goals initiative. The upbeat ad, titled #WeHaveAPlan, was animated by Aardman Animations, directed by Sir John Hegarty and narrated by Liam Neeson and Michelle Rodriguez with music from Peter Gabriel. The ad was mixed in Dolby 5.1 and Dolby Atmos immersive sound technology, and mastered and distributed to more than 30 countries in all cinema formats by Unique Digital. It was the first global cinema ad ever distributed and was done on behalf of SAWA the Global Cinema Advertising Association. In the U.S the ad will run on the networks of Cinema Advertising Council members National CineMedia, Screenvision and Spotlight Cinema. The ad premiered in New York’s 42nd Street AMC Empire prior to its worldwide exhibition and will continue running around the world for a year.