HHI TimeLab showcases 'ultimate immersive experience'

Columns

Germany’s Kinoton was chosen to equip three key locations of the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival with “premium D-Cinema projection solutions,” including the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, and two venues with analog film projectors.

“The Berlinale’s standards of quality are very high,” company head Christoph Dobler asserted. “Its technical requirements are exceedingly demanding. The people in charge of the festival insist on perfect pictures and sound at the showings, fail-safe projection equipment and reliable technical support.”

While Kinoton assures state-of-the-art presentation today, 2020 3D Media invited festivalgoers to “live the ultimate immersive experience” of tomorrow. Funded by the European Commission and developed at Barcelona, Spain-based Media Centre d’Innovació, the result was showcased at Fraunhofer HHI’s TimeLab in Berlin on Feb. 13-14.

Eric Joris’ experimental short film was produced with the 2020 3D media system, using a “combination of 180-degree 2D video, depth-based 3D video, stereoscopic 3D video sequences and native 3D sound,” the organizers noted. In a four-year European-wide research project, 13 partners from industry and academia developed an “end-to-end system for producing, post-producing, distributing and exhibiting immersive audiovisual content.”

For capture, the system uses the 3D Trifocal Camera Rig, a collaborative development by Fraunhofer HHI and Technicolor, and Grass Valley’s Time of Flight cameras for depth estimation. Market-deployed post-production technologies include Doremi 3D image processors; 3D audio post-production tools developed by Barcelona Media and marketed by ImmSound; satellite distribution systems from Datasat Communications and projectors by Digital Projection. The video channel of the project can be accessed via http://vimeo.com/channels/project20203dmedia.

EFP Celebrates 15 Years
On Feb. 16, 1997, ten European promotion and export organizations joined forces during the Berlin International Film Festival “to demonstrate the wealth of films from various individual countries and to bring them onto the screen for audiences around the globe.” Fifteen years later, the European Film Promotion network unites 32 organizations representing 33 member countries and is still funded by its member organizations and the MEDIA Programme of the European Union.

“Regardless of cultural differences, we manage to cooperate easily,” assures Renate Rose, managing director since the EFP’s inception. “What we have in common is the love for film and the wish to share this love with audiences worldwide.” One of the first of many love fests was the introduction of up-and-coming “Shooting Stars” in 1998. Among the 16 “exciting young European actors” at the time were Rachel Weisz, Franka Potente and Melvil Poupaud. To meet their latest colleagues, check out the video at http://bit.ly/shoost12.

MEDIA Salles Surveys Digital
In collaboration with the European Audiovisual Observatory, the Milan, Italy-based cinema-support agency MEDIA Salles co-authored an expanded European Digital Cinema Report: Understanding digital cinema rollout. Its fully loaded 132 pages provide facts and figures from 35 European markets, with a dedicated chapter on the independent sector. As a sure sign of the complexities at hand, the report lists no less than 60 public-funding schemes for digitization on national, sub-national and pan-European levels. For further information, see http://bit.ly/edcreport11.

U.K. Reviews Film Policy
On behalf of the Film Distributors Association (FDA), Lord David Puttnam welcomed the U.K. government’s mid-January Film Policy Review as “an important and well-rounded report at what is a critical time for the film industry.” Calling 2011 a “high-water mark for British films” that included record-breaking releases and a wide range of titles in release, Puttnam also reminded policy makers about the risks involved. “There are no guarantees for distributors or the producers they are representing—hence the importance of a public film policy that emphasizes and examines the conditions needed to nurture and stimulate growth for film.”

Acknowledging that “the audience is clearly at the heart of the review,” he pointed to the importance of continued distribution of Lottery funding by the British Film Institute as well as “a series of bold new steps in embedding the role of film in education,” subsequently further developed by Kate O’Connor, chair of Film: 21st Century Literacy.

Puttnam also noted, “Digital offers new opportunities for filmmakers and their audiences, as well as a whole set of new challenges for the industry, [in particular] the fundamental issues for film distributors that arise…on breakout or limited releases, where the costs of keeping films on digital screens can be higher. If the audience for film is to grow and develop, it is important that there is sufficient flexibility in the digital value chain to maintain and develop the hugely diverse range of films that are brought to market—today and in future.”

Creative England Engages Film Culture
In its first round of Film Culture Fund Lottery awards since the agency’s launch in October 2011, Creative England invested almost £470,000 (US$740,000; €568,0000). The 39 “exciting and diverse range of film culture projects across the English regions” include community venues, festivals and archives. Our favorite cinema and programming schemes follow.

The Armadillo Youth Venue and Café is a new community cinema in South Gloucestershire “set up to extend the opportunity to view films to a wide range of people in Yate and surrounding rural areas.” “Flicks in the Sticks” makes that mission even clearer. Arts Alive received funding for a network of 95 rural village venues across Shropshire, Herefordshire and neighboring counties screening over 650 films across 2,000 square miles (5 180 sq. km). Similarly, “Movies on the Move” targets “a wide range of new audiences” by extending the mission of the Bath Film Festival to communities in the surrounding areas.

“It is a great reflection of the vitality of film in England that we received so many strong applications,” noted Creative England’s chief executive officer, Caroline Norbury. “While we had to make some tough decisions, I am confident we are backing the right spread of projects across the country with these awards, which will benefit each of these organizations and the audiences they serve.”

MacDonald Masters 3D Image
MasterImage 3D, “the fastest-growing 3D solutions provider in the world," appointed Adam MacDonald as sales manager for its digital-cinema division, furthering growth throughout Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Russia. After holding sales position with Panavision and Datasat Digital Entertainment, MacDonald will be based out of London’s legendary Pinewood Studios, reporting to MI3D general manager Brian Kercher.

Deluxe Expands D-Cinema
“To meet the demand of its theatrical distribution client base,” Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc. will spend £4 million (US$6.3 and €4.83 million) to expand capacities in its Soho, London-based facility by nearly 80%. Within a short six months, the new building will feature six new preview theatres for both film and digital formats alongside dedicated storage for Babel, Deluxe’s aptly named toolset for advanced 3D subtitling.

“Our digital-cinema volume has increased ten-fold since we began offering the services in Europe,” said Peter Wright, managing director for digital operations in Europe. Worldwide, Deluxe businesses have invested over £15 million (US$23.6 and €18.1 million) into their d-cinema offerings over the past five years.

E-mail your European news items for Andreas Fuchs to kevin.lally@filmjournal.com.