Advances in Picture and Sound
For more than a decade the opening weekend at the National Association of Broadcasters convention has meant another Digital Cinema Summit. Organized, then and now by the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (with help from others) the event has long been a must-attend event for hundreds of people. This year the event, which takes place April 14-15 in Room 222 of the Las Vegas Convention Center’s South Hall, has a new name – The Technology Summit on Cinema, which is actually a more accurate description of the presentations made there both in the past and later this month. And while the name may have changed, the presentations that SMPTE’s organizers have put together promise to once again offer a current and in-depth overview of where things stand in the evolving business and technology issues confronting the digital cinema transition.
The two-day summit will focus on a number of critical cinema topics, including high frame rate stereoscopic 3D production, the state of laser projection, content protection, 4K production updates, cinema sound advances, content accessibility, LED lighting, tools for independent 3D filmmaking, the impact of multi-screen viewing, and digital deployment and standards updates.
Chris McGurk, the chairman and CEO of Cinedigm, will address the breakthrough monetization opportunities for the entertainment industry created by the transformation of theatres from film to digital. McGurk’s keynote on is scheduled to take place at 1:45 p.m. on April 14th.
“The digital theatre transformation is a complete game changer – not just for the exhibition community, but for the entertainment industry as a whole – because no longer is there one tried-and-true way to approach business, nor one way to make profits,” says McGurk. “With the nimble and flexible programming options provided by digital cinema, we can now use theatres in new and unique ways. From programming theatre screens like TV channels and premiering recurring, relevant content - such as Kidtoons, our on-going kids matinee series - aimed at bringing niche customers to theatres in off-peak time periods, to creating unique primetime events - like our quarterly LIVE 3D UFC bouts - to offering independent films and documentaries to avid, under-served audiences, we have barely scraped the surface of the opportunities provided by digital cinema.”
A two-decade entertainment industry veteran, McGurk has held senior positions at MGM Studios, Overture Films, Anchor Bay Entertainment, Universal Studios, and Disney Studios. Today, he leads Cinedigm as it converts analog theaters into digital and networked entertainment centers – and as it partners with Hollywood movie studios, independent movie distributors, and exhibitors to distribute movies and alternative content in digital cinema format to audiences across the country.
“Chris understands not only the impact of the worldwide digital cinema conversion but the need to focus, now, on new and unique business models that exploit this digital ecosystem,” says Dr. Paul Hearty, the program chair for the summit and editorial vice president at SMPTE. “We are delighted to have him address attendees at this year’s Technology Summit on Cinema at the 2012 NAB Show.”
Here are the other presentations and speakers scheduled for the event:
Digital Cinema Deployment
The deployment of digital cinema technologies is expanding throughout the industry – and will only accelerate as provisions come due this year in Virtual Print Fee contracts that underwrite the cost of installing digital systems in exhibitor facilities. This session will provide an update on current and forecasted digital cinema deployment, as well as examination of the challenges and opportunities involved. Scheduled speakers: Chuck Goldwater, consultant/Cinedigm, Michael Karagosian, MKPE Consulting.
Brighter 3D images are the next big challenge in digital cinema projection– and one potential solution lies in laser illumination systems that can deliver lower operating costs, reduced power consumption compared to xenon lamps, longer life, and increased color gamut. Produced in association with the Laser Illuminated Projector Association, this session will take a deep, technical look at laser projection, some myths surrounding laser use, recent developments in laser projection that include the dramatic progress in mitigating one of its important challenges, despeckling, as well as the current U.S. and worldwide regulatory landscape relating to laser projectors and updates on recent activities within the IEC and other standards bodies. Scheduled speaker: SMPTE president Pete Ludé.
Cinema Sound Advances
The recent advances and ongoing standards work in cinema for exhibition promise to create an even more immersive experience for moviegoers and unlock greater creative possibilities for visionary moviemakers. This session will examine a novel approach for the packaging and playback of audio tracks for 3D and feature a presentation on audio processing for cinema applications. It will also review the progress of the SMPTE B-Chain Study Group and its work on acoustical measurement techniques for improved interchange and interoperability for the cinema. Scheduled speakers: moderator Dr. Sunil Bharitkar, CTO office, and panelists Brian Vessa, chair, SMPTE Theatre B-Chain Study Group; Brian Claypool, senior director strategic business development, Barco; Stuart Bowling, senior worldwide technology marketing manager, Dolby.
Higher Frame Rate Stereoscopic 3D
From James Cameron to Peter Jackson, high frame rate 3D production is drawing attention film studies and creative visionaries for its ability to create a more immersive audience experience – and to help pull movie goers into cinemaplexes. This session will explore some of the scientific, technical, and business issues related to high frame rate 3D, including content creation, production, conversion, subtitling, audience perception, and theatrical and post-theatrical distribution. SMPTE executive vice president Wendy Aylsworth will moderate a panel discussion and offer an advanced technology demonstration.
Enhanced Cinema – Second Screen and Beyond
The use of second screens such as PCs and iPads to control or complement a main screen viewing experience in the home is a growing phenomenon. However, there are a number of interesting use cases of how this approach is influencing the creation of content for the cinema as well. This session will examine innovative developments in this area and their impact from both a creative and technical perspective in a cinema context. Scheduled speakers: moderator Pat Griffis, SMPTE board member and panelists Sapth Sholingapuram, vice president, Deluxe, Robert Gekchyan, product manager, Technicolor, Peter Wilson, director, High Definition and Digital Cinema Ltd.
4K Production and Beyond
Today, 4K is the visual standard to which filmmakers, studios, and production companies aspire and a number of new and exciting efforts are underway as it matures. Yet there are also important, and nontrivial, questions about what lays beyond 4K. This session will review the maturity of 4K cinema cameras and commercial projectors and chart the movement of 4K resolutions and higher into the home. It will also address the practicalities of 8K and examine the progress of UHDTV among standards bodies and in Japan and feature simulated demonstrations of the difference between all these resolutions. A speaker has not been announced.
Tools for Independent Filmmaking
A new generation of emerging digital tools is creating a new wave of independent 3D movies – from documentaries and avant-garde experiments to dramatic and humorous narratives. This panel will explore the digital toolsets four independent filmmakers used for capture, post-production, and delivery of their stereoscopic motion pictures. It also will feature short 3D clips of their work. Scheduled speakers: moderator Ray Zone, a historian of stereoscopic cinema and a producer of independent 3D films and panelists independent 3D moviemakers Eric Kurland, Tom Koester and Perry Hoberman.
Alternative Content Distribution
From opera to games to sports, the industry is seeing cineplexes exhibit non-cinematographic content. One question looms: how does the business model work? This panel will provide an overview of the alternative-content market and the business models that might make them successful. Scheduled speakers: moderator SMPTE Fellow Mark Schubin, technology consultant, and panelists Elizabeth Scott, executive producer for Major League Baseball on the Oscar-nominated film Moneyball and the chief media and digital officer for the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; Barbara Mortensen, an industry veteran who negotiates directly with producers, distributors, and exhibitors to bring alternative content to cinema screens; Lenny Laxer, vice president, All-Mobile Video; Bob Fiorella, COO, Cinedigm Entertainment Group; and Patrick Leon, senior manager business development, Sony Digital Cinema Services.
Green Lighting on the Set
Advances in solid-state illumination technology are to the point that LED lighting is now practical for many television and motion picture applications – bringing with it reduced power consumption, reduced cooling requirements, and the opportunity for color adjustments without gels. But LED light emissions have fundamentally different chromaticity than the familiar tungsten and HMI luminaries in use today. This session will review the fundamentals of making white light with LEDs; why illumination with identical color temperature measurements can look very different to the eye, and even more different to a digital camera; and the relationship between trichromatic illumination and three-color camera sensors. It will also delve into why new emerging standards for measuring illumination quality will be important in the future. Scheduled speaker: Ryan Fletcher, Arri