I’ve been thinking for some time now about how to issue a new press release regarding the same old boring story about the never-ending lawsuits taking place between RealD and Volfoni, being totally clear and transparent so that everyone understands my words and the situation without making it too technical or using patent jargon that no one is going to understand. I consider at this stage it is important the communication is clear and straight.
In November, the Digital Cinema Initiative posted two new draft documents towards a high dynamic range specification for cinema titled Direct View Display D-Cinema Addendum and High Dynamic Range D-Cinema Addendum. They represent a major improvement over DCI’s previous draft, which I wrote about last September [DCI Has Lost Its Way https://bit.ly/2Omcnoa]. In contrast, the new documents are well written, detailed, explanatory and responsive. But questions remain and cost matters, leaving plenty of room for improvement.
Keeping projectors and other cinema equipment up and running is a primary concern for exhibitors. If you own a Series 1 or an early Series 2 projector, you may already be facing significant cost of ownership issues, including more frequent breakdowns and longer downtimes. Even worse, manufacturers may no longer support your equipment — or may soon stop supporting it — making replacement parts expensive or even unavailable.
The way it’s supposed to work, a cinema should be able to acquire DCI Compliant equipment with the assurance that first release movies would not be withheld for reason of having the wrong gear. With the recent release of its DCI Memorandum Regarding Direct View Displays, it is no longer clear where DCI is heading.
My Breathing on Everest journey kicked off less than a year out of university when my friend and frequent collaborator Meredith Gaito came to me with an idea she knew most other people would call too ambitious or downright crazy. A year and a half later I have been to Nepal twice filming at the base camp of Mount Everest for what has become a deeply personal documentary.
Cinemas worldwide are preparing for what is now commonly called the second wave: a technology renewal where they will install next-generation digital projection equipment. However, the journey ahead poses different considerations and challenges compared to the film-to-digital conversion of the first wave. Before we forge ahead, it’s important that we consider the old adage: To know where we’re going, we need first to know where we’ve been. So let’s take a look.
[Editor’s Note: Mark Smith is the owner and director of photography for Oh Seven Films, the production company he started in 2001. In this exclusive guest column he talks about the documentaries he's made about the search for Amelia Earhart.]
Over the years, my company has been involved in productions that span the gamut, from creating ads and television programs to documentaries and indie feature films. Though there’s certainly a lot of variety in our work, we focus heavily on documentary projects. For example, for the past 17 years, I’ve been the documentarian for TIGHAR (The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery) on an ongoing project to discover what happened to pilot Amelia Earhart — work that has resulted in a couple of Discovery Channel programs.
The 50th anniversary of the launch of Star Trek is this September. Fifty years after William Shatner made his first captain’s log, the power of Star Trek is felt across generations. Just this summer, the thirteenth Star Trek movie was released and has grossed more than 231 million dollars to date. It’s pretty clear: Star Trek is here to stay.
While consumers are bombarded with a plethora of entertainment options via traditional and alternative distribution platforms, event cinema is a growing trend emerging at movie theaters worldwide. Also known as alternative content, event cinema utilizes movie theaters to broadcast live and prerecorded programming outside of typical Hollywood blockbusters. These unique events offer the opportunity for audiences to come together as a community to view fan-focused content, including sports, opera, musicals, ballet, concerts, TV specials, faith-centered events, red carpet premieres and much more.
Cinema immersive sound is upside down. Technology providers invest in intellectual property for immersive sound rendering engines, but they compete on the availability of content. Trading on content has been counterproductive to growth, contributing to a lackluster immersive sound installation count that is less than two percent of worldwide screens. Immersive sound has more moving parts to address than distribution, but the industry is fixated on a design from scratch, do-everything, distribution standard that’s two and a half years in the making and at least as many years from finding its way into cinemas. A deeper look shows that the key friction point of production for competing systems has been addressed. It’s time to put immersive sound right side up and grow the format.