Bringing high-tech to the Berlinale
The 63rd Berlin International Film Festival (www.berlinale.de/en) will dominate much of February’s film conversations. As we await word on the Golden Bear winner and other standout films, let’s look at the technology that enables those screenings.
For the tenth consecutive year, Barco is partnering with the Berlinale, bringing 19 d-cinema projectors to the festival, including the new and compact, fully integrated DP2K-10Sx, specially developed for smaller theatres. Ove Sander, technical manager of d-cinema, explains that last year, “about 15 to 20% [of the films] couldn’t be shown digitally, because the digital projectors were too big to fit in the projection booth.” While the first digital screening of the Berlinale did not take place until February 2004, Barco had been “successfully guiding them into the digital age,” noted Tim Sinnaeve, the company’s market director for d-cinema. “We are proud of our long-term partnership.”
“In spite of the many challenges that are typical of a film festival,” Dagmar Forelle, head of sponsorship at the Berlinale, concurred, “I see ten years of wonderful cooperation. A festival is so much more than just making films look good on screen. The organization is complex. Barco offers us great quality equipment and the best technical support. No doubt all these experiences also inspire them when they start working on a new product or upgrades for their projectors. It’s a win-win situation.”
Another winning component is the collaboration with Germany’s cinema experts (and Barco sub-licensor) Kinoton. “Comprehensive support from Kinoton and Barco will ensure a flawless digital movie experience” with systems being “sensitively adapted to conditions in each auditorium and configured to meet the festival’s special requirements,” the company promises. (Check out venues such as Friedrichstadt Palast, Haus der Berliner Festspiele, CinemaxX Potsdamer Platz and the EFM’s Martin Gropius building, using the link.)
A case in point, the 1,600-seat Berlinale Palast received a high-brightness 4K dual projection system to accommodate the XXL format of its 17.6 by eight-meter screen (58 by 26 feet). “The quality expectations and technical requirements of the Berlinale are enormous,” concluded Kinoton’s sales director, Harald Bergbauer, “and the scope and complexity of the challenge have increased even further since last year.”
Theatrical Continues to Drive Spending
“Theatrical is key driver of consumer spending growth worldwide” is the latest upbeat headline from our friends at IHS Screen Digest. The research and consulting company reports that worldwide consumer spending on movies increased by $1.3 billion in 2012 to a total $62.4 billion, following “tepid growth” during the two prior years and after declines across 2008 and 2009. Looking ahead, Screen Digest’s video analyst Tania Loeffler forecasts spending to continue to rise by 2 to 3% every year from 2013 to 2016.
“Consumers were tracked on their movie spending and consumption across 37 countries in five different global regions via four delivery platforms,” including the purchase and rental of both physical discs and digital retail, respectively, as well as pay-TV VOD. Movie theatres grew 7% from 2011 to reach $33.4 billion in 2012. Best of all, Loeffler’s research established that “across all five territories, consumers overwhelmingly demonstrated that the cinema experience remains the most desirable way to consume movies, with theatrical accounting for 53% of all movie transactions.”
2012 growth was generated by Asia-Pacific’s 25% share of worldwide movie spending, making this region the third largest after North America and Western Europe. Consumer spending on movies also increased significantly in Latin America (by 7%) and in Central and Eastern Europe (by 17%). North Americans remained “by far the biggest spenders on movies” at about $80 per capita per year, accounting for 41% of global movie spending.
Certainly not good for the business overall, spending on discs declined by 3% to $23.7 billion, with more to come and “rentals projected to overtake physical purchase as the second-largest generator of worldwide consumer spending on movies.” As for the reasons, “in contrast to theatrical…average pricing for physical purchase transactions has continuously fallen…along with the increased dominance of lower-value rental transactions.” This rental preference is already “translating into the digital space” (686 million VOD transactions and 174 million digital rentals vs. 52 million digital purchases), but consumers nonetheless spent a total of $4.9 billion, 7% of worldwide movie expenditures.
More detailed information and data is available in “Movies: Cross Platform Market Monitor” (www.screendigest.com/reports).
MEDIA Marks Training Anniversaries
Together with German and global art-house organizations, AG Kino Gilde (http://www.agkino.de) and CICAE (http://cicae.org/en), MEDIA Salles hosted a special reception during the Berlinale. On Feb. 9, the Milan, Italy-based cinema support agency (www.mediasalles.it) presented early statistics on 2012 cinema-going in Europe and plans for the tenth-anniversary edition of its “DigiTraining” course on “New Technologies for the European Cinemas of the Future,” booked for August 28 to Sept. 1 in Poland. Almost concurrently in Venice, Italy, CICAE will offer the equally celebratory ten-year edition of “Art Cinema = Action + Management,” the MEDIA training program for art-house managers.
Yorck Selects Ymagis
Berlin-based and operating Yorck Kinogruppe selected Ymagis Deutschland as digitization partner for 32 of the exhibitor’s screens. The agreement includes several locations that the group manages in Munich as well. Encompassing technical infrastructure from different manufacturers including Ymagis servers, Ymagis provides installation and integration, support and various financing options.
With 13 locations, all of which are true classics including one open-air cinema and the 50-year-old Kino International, the former GDR’s premier house, Yorck-Kino GmbH is the largest exhibitor in the German capital. In a short three years, Ymagis Deutschland signed 600 screens for VPF financing and management, of which more than 500 are already deployed. The company added technical services in September. Looking across Europe, Ymagis also has the leading share in France and Spain (1,100 and 700 screens), with more than 2,600 contracted overall, of which no less than 2,000 have already been converted.
dcinex Deploys Dolby Atmos
Pan-European d-cinema service provider dcinex announced the installation of five Dolby Atmos systems in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany and The Netherlands, where two are up and sounding. Eleven additional installations are currently being planned.
“The dcinex team has developed a tremendous know-how in the implementation of the system,” says Matthew Jones, general manager of dcinex Benelux (www.dcinex.com). “We can guide the cinemas through the entire design and installation process with a final result which simply astounds the audience.” That process includes a full sound audit “which aims to improve imperfections in sound perception within the cinema auditorium,” adds integration engineer Alexandre Bleus.
In related news, two new international films are being mixed and released in Dolby Atmos. Lost Place is a mystery thriller shot in Germany in 3D and Trance is a British crime thriller.