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TOPIC: NATO digi cinema report

Re: NATO digi cinema report 08 May 2005 12:44 #11495

  • wimovieman
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Well Jacker5--I agree with what you said--and even though I try to keep problems with presentation down to a bare minimum, *stuff* happens---I do get the problem fixed and apologize up a storm---I just don't consider myself an "old gentleman" YET
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Re: NATO digi cinema report 09 May 2005 08:25 #11496

  • leeler
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So, let's all pretend that we can design the system as we think it would work best. What would that be like?

Hardware: some sort of physical medium (ie a DVD-type of disk) vs. a satellite download vs. an internet download vs. ????

Security: physical vs. encoded vs. ????

Cost: studio vs. exhibitor vs. shared vs. ????

I think once we have these questions answered they will bring to light many more questions and we can begin to develop a theoretical approach to getting this thing done that we can put forward to NATO or somebody who's willing to listen.

What say you?

"What a crazy business"
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Re: NATO digi cinema report 21 May 2005 12:29 #11497

  • RonOne50
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I agree the questions listed are the ones that need answering but the truth the first question about piracy is already a mute point there is no security in film at this time. A print can be copied by a drop off by the delivery person and has been. Our friendly deliver person drops off a print of “NEW MEGA RELEASE” in route threw Phoenix to his friend in a film lab. Then the delivery guy finishes his rout in Phoenix.

Meanwhile back at the lab, the friend is making a direct transfer and the print is ready to roll to the mini-plex in Way-out-Back, AZ, before our delivery guy is even done with his route in Phoenix.

Now once it reaches the mini-plex the projectionist builds it up. No one around when he checks the film so he gets his trusty digital recorder out and copies “NEW MEGA RELEASE” yet again during the check run and then there are two (yes two) copies of the same print ready to be copied further and distributed on the black market.

Think it doesn’t happen think again. Therefore, security because it is a new medium is a mute point, as none exist now anyway! It will neither be harder or easier than it already is to steal, no matter the concerns of the studio's. Next question.
Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
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Re: NATO digi cinema report 22 May 2005 20:57 #11498

  • leeler
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Here is NATO's position paper on DC. Do you think it'll work this way?
http://www.natoonline.org/DigitalResolution%2011-18-04.pdf

THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
OF THEATRE OWNERS
750 First St. N.E., Ste. 1130, Washington D.C. 20002
202-962-0054 Fax: 202-962-0370
RESOLUTION
The Board of Directors
November 18, 2004
Dana Point, California
Whereas, technology is being developed for motion pictures to be exhibited at movie
theatres in a digital format; and,
Whereas, from 1999 to the present, digital versions of motion pictures have been
exhibited to the public on an experimental basis; and,
Whereas, in March 2002, the major Hollywood studios formed a joint venture, “Digital
Cinema Initiatives (DCI),” to establish and document voluntary technical specifications
for an open architecture for digital cinema that ensures a uniform and high level of
technical performance, reliability and quality control, and to examine and facilitate the
development of business plans and strategies for the transition to digital cinema; and,
Whereas, DCI has sought and received the input of the National Association of Theatre
Owners (NATO), individual movie theatre companies, and other segments of the motion
picture industry in its process; and,
Whereas, DCI has shared its work on technical specifications with the Society of Motion
Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), an organization that is engaged in the
process of developing technical standards for digital cinema; and,
Whereas, on September 8, 2004, DCI announced both the completion of its overall
system requirements and specifications for digital cinema with the upcoming release of
Version 5.0 of the voluntary DCI Technical Specification, and the end of any significant
business planning activities by DCI staff; and,
Whereas, DCI staff later announced that Version 5.0 will not be the final DCI Technical
Specification, and no final technical specification has actually been released by DCI to
date; and,
Whereas, recent press reports have indicated that several different business models are
now being discussed by some of the major Hollywood studios; and,
Whereas, the members of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Theatre
Owners believe that planning for digital cinema is at a critical juncture; now, therefore,
in order to maintain competition and promote the interests of movie patrons,
THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
OF THEATRE OWNERS
750 First St. N.E., Ste. 1130, Washington D.C. 20002
202-962-0054 Fax: 202-962-0370
Be it Resolved, that the members of the Board of Directors of the National Association
of Theatre Owners do hereby describe some fundamental objectives regarding the
potential transition to digital cinema, including but not limited to the following:
With respect to quality, that
The large-scale introduction of digital cinema must significantly enhance the theatrical
experience and thus bring real benefits to theatre audiences; and that,
Digital cinema systems must provide a theatrical experience that is better than what can
be achieved today with a 35mm answer print; and that,
Digital cinema systems must provide quality levels superior to the quality levels available
in home entertainment systems; and that,
Movie studios and movie exhibitors should investigate a manner of “branding” the digital
cinema experience exclusively for theatrical exhibition; and that,
With respect to standards and competition, that
The components and technologies used must be based on open and global standards that
foster competition amongst multiple vendors of equipment and services and ensure that
content can be distributed and exhibited anywhere in the world; and that,
Each of the components of the system must be built around clearly defined standards that
ensure interoperability between different makes of equipment; and that,
The hardware used in the system must be easily upgraded at reasonable cost as advances
in technology are made; and that,
The hardware used in the system must meet reliability requirements that equal or exceed
the reliability of 35 mm film hardware; and that,
The digital cinema systems must permit a single inventory of content to be distributed
and exhibited on all equipment installations; and that,
With respect to security and operational control, that
Content decryption keys must be delivered for all auditoriums within an exhibition
complex for each movie; and that,
THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
OF THEATRE OWNERS
750 First St. N.E., Ste. 1130, Washington D.C. 20002
202-962-0054 Fax: 202-962-0370
The digital cinema system must support a policy of “No Dark Screen,” such that movies
will play in a non-repudiate manner unless the exhibitor attempts to play the movie in a
different exhibition complex, or outside the licensed play period (to include a reasonable
testing period); and that,
The delivery of movie security keys to a playback system must irrevocably enable the
playback of the movie for the duration of the engagement; and that,
The system must allow the exhibitor to have full discretion over the selection of
auditorium, schedules, and presentation of advertisements, trailers, features and other
content; and that,
Audit logs shall be owned and maintained by the exhibitor; and that,
With respect to financing, equipment selection, roll out and ownership, that
Because the installation of digital cinema equipment will result in significant savings to
motion picture studios and significant costs to motion picture theatres, the motion picture
studios should develop a universal financing plan pursuant to which the motion picture
studios will be responsible for paying all costs related to the purchase and installation of
digital cinema equipment as part of the initial roll-out, and operation, maintenance and
upgrades of the equipment to the extent that those costs exceed ordinary operation,
maintenance and upgrade costs of 35 mm film projectors; and that,
A universal financing plan must be supported by all major motion picture studios through
one financial entity or a consortium of financial entities, and that all other motion picture
studios willing to participate in the plan must be given the opportunity to do so; and that,
As part of their support for the universal financing plan, studios must commit to provide
digital content where digital cinema equipment is available; and that,
The financing plan must permit participation of all exhibitors and all movie complexes
and auditoriums, regardless of size or geographic location, within a reasonable time; and
that,
Exhibitors must be able to select the equipment to be installed and to own the equipment
at the end of the financing period; and that,
Exhibitors must be able to acquire playback equipment with confidence and knowledge
that all studios will authorize movie playback for the life of the equipment; and that,
THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION
OF THEATRE OWNERS
750 First St. N.E., Ste. 1130, Washington D.C. 20002
202-962-0054 Fax: 202-962-0370
Equipment manufacturers should provide exhibitors with costs analysis related to the
maintenance, upkeep, life expectancy and likely obsolescence of any equipment prior to
equipment selection; and that,
Complete digital cinema systems, based on specifications and standards, must be
installed and tested for a reasonable time in a beta market prior to the initiation of a widescale
roll-out; and that,
The roll-out sequence must ensure competitive fairness between all exhibitors and
distributors willing to participate, with a region-to-region or market-by-market roll-out to
be considered.
Approved by unanimous vote of the Board of Directors of the National Association of
Theatre Owners, November 18, 2004
Signed:
Jim Murray, Secretary
"What a crazy business"
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Re: NATO digi cinema report 28 May 2005 12:15 #11499

  • reelman
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An interesting article at: http://film.guardian.co.uk/features/featurepages/0,4120,1491793,00.html

Seems that even the Queen of England is going digital. Read on:

Victoria II's last outing

Scott Wright
Wednesday May 25, 2005

The reign of Victoria II is nearing an end. After 58 years of distinguished service, Victoria II, the projector at Buckingham Palace, is being retired. A relic from a bygone era, she recently suffered the indignity of having a missing part replaced with an old pen.

Victoria II, as staff christened her, arrived at Buckingham Palace in 1947. The projector was a wedding gift to the then Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh from the British Film Producers Association, the Cinematograph Exhibitors Association and the Kinematograph Renters Society. The Palace had no cinema but a suitable room was soon found for the equipment. "It would not be correct to call the room a cinema," explains a Palace spokesperson, "it is one of the state rooms which has a facility for watching audio-visual presentations - and films."

Early in Victoria's career the Lord Chamberlain used her to view and approve new releases. Latterly, she has been silently present at hundreds of media briefings. In 2002, the cinema provided a temporary base for "Operation Tay Bridge" - preparations for the Queen Mother's funeral. Despite her age and the Royals' recent indifference to her, Victoria remains resolutely active. The Royal Household Film Society, which holds regular screenings for staff and their guests, is now her chief employer. Films are carefully chosen for their suitability. The Palace's customary reticence prevents us from discovering which films have been shown, but they admit, somewhat predictably, that Gosford Park went down well.

Next month Victoria II will screen her final film - Clint Eastwood's Oscar-winning Million Dollar Baby. There are plans to refurbish the room and replace the projector. Victoria will be succeeded by a strapping DVD player. Arrangements are being finalised but this careworn old campaigner will likely spend her twilight years in a museum, happily restored to her pre-pen majesty.
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Re: NATO digi cinema report 28 May 2005 14:19 #11500

  • leeler
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I'd like to see what the new DVD player will look like after it has been in service for 55+ years. I bet you can't fix it with an old pen either.....
"What a crazy business"
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Re: NATO digi cinema report 29 May 2005 07:06 #11501

  • zedpha
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One thing I haven't missed since I started "lurking" at these forums is the passion that you guys have about cinema and with respect to this particular topic your projectors. Another thing I haven't missed is that DC will happen, whether you like it or not and as past experience has shown the purists never really do. That reluctance really needs to be embraced.

Don't get me wrong though, you need to take a good look at where the future is heading and decide to have a say. I think an Indie collective is a great idea and I'd happily be your first international member (proudly a NZ'er). As Leeler was trying to impress on everyone earlier a decision needs to be made collectively on what would be the best solution for indies. Then this needs to be measured against the studio's world view and where the two don't meet a compromise has to be reached. Of course it woudn't hurt to have a heavy hitter or two on board to add some extra weight. From what I've read of Cuban (limited though it is) it looks like a persuasive well thought out argument would do the trick. Not to mention that it certainly sounds like the guy would embrace an initiative to increase the number of DC enabled cinemas.

Yes, I said increase the number of DC enabled cinemas.

More DC cinemas means more DC films and that equals studio's ears/pocket books. Sure individually you only have a screen or three, but collectively you're a significant network and by taking the driving seat you get to lead rather than follow. To negotiate on a more equal footing rather than being dictated to once the multis have sorted themselves out. Think about it.

Digital didn't kill the radio star, just ask Howard Stern, so I don't think that it's going to do the same to cinema. (Remember the introduction of the VCR?) Do the customers really care if it's a Kodak or a Sony? DC or 35mm? Not really a fair question to be asked of projector-heads I know, but then they're the customers are the ones who hand over the money to fill the seats. They're the ones after the "experience" and they don't have the foggiest what you're using to show them the film. Much is made of showmanship on this site and that shouldn't change just because of the technology behind the presentation. It's a poor craftsman who blames his tools.

And since I've finally opened up to you friendly folk; on the matter of piracy, the studios are their own worse enemy. Wired had an article (www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.01/topsite.html) in their January edition about darknets, which went on to discuss how the best "teams" get their movies before they're even released (think editing) and the recent copy of Revenge ot the Sith made available for download would support this. As has been suggested time and again on this site each copy of the film, at every step of the process, needs to be identifiably tagged. But rather than riding in guns blazing the individual responsible needs to be caught red handed and not a blanket conviction sort. I'd hate to see anyone here hauled in front of a judge because of the actions of a trusted employee.

Anywho, I've pontificated enough and it's late. For one and all, this newbie thinks you all rock. Keep up the good work, I'm learning heaps!!!

I'm out, Zedpha...
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Re: NATO digi cinema report 27 Jul 2005 21:31 #11502

  • leeler
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It seems like some studios are gearing up......

http://movies.yahoo.com/mv/news/va/20050727/112252418200.html


Hollywood's major studios on Wednesday finalized technology standards for digital projection systems in a first step toward a global roll-out of networks that could revolutionize the way movies are shown.

Widespread installations of digital systems -- which promise audiences sharper pictures and film studios lower distribution costs -- are unlikely to occur until late 2006 or early 2007, industry officials said at a news conference here.

Business plans covering how to pay for large deployment are still being worked out between the studios and theater owners, and theater owners want to see systems tested on a wide scale before they commit to digital systems, officials said.

"This is an historic transition that is just beginning," said Bob Lambert, senior vice president of media technology and development at The Walt Disney Co. .

The new standards cover "2K" and "4K" resolution, which is a way to judge picture sharpness, and offer specifications for digital compression, copy protection and packaging.

For audiences, new digital cinema systems offer the same, crisp picture the 100th time a movie is projected as the first time. By contrast, filmstrips get scratched each time they run through a projector and picture quality suffers as a result.

Moreover, filmmakers are developing new three-dimensional technology for digital cinema that is expected to enhance action flicks, and the new digital networks allow live events like music concerts to be beamed into movie theaters, which could help boost theater revenues during slow periods.

For studios, digital cinema is expected to sharply lower film distribution costs because they will not have to ship film canisters to thousands of theaters. Instead, they will send digital files via satellite or high-speed cable.

But who pays for the transition remains a key sticking point. The cost to distribute a single film print can run from $1,000 to $1,200, whereas a digital file can be copied, protected against piracy and beamed around for $300.

Theater owners say studios will save so much on distribution that they should pay, but studios want theater owners to shoulder at least some of the costs.

Officials from Hollywood's six major studios all declined to comment on financial matters and business models.

John Fithian, who heads the U.S.-based National Association of Theater Owners, also declined to discuss business details. But he did say his members, who operate more than 26,000 movie screens globally, fully backed the setting of standards.

"We suffered chaos when digital sound systems were implemented," he said.

When theaters switched from analog to digital sound years ago, many technologies competed and several types of digital sound systems had to be installed in each theater, which was expensive for exhibitors and distributors.

Reuters/VNU

"What a crazy business"
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Re: NATO digi cinema report 30 Jul 2005 11:25 #11503

  • RonOne50
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I don't know that this has a lot to do with digital cinema but maybe it does. I am seeing a basic change in the business with my own personal longest down turn in business. We were forced to make decissions and it was very painful.

Well we just sold our theater to the owner of the shopping center where it is located. We took quite a loss on the whole deal but it was the best solution to our problems.

We had two locations, one was leased and top of the line theater, all stadium and nice wide isles and I had put the best in booth equipment in the place. It did very well to drawing from up to 65 miles away. It had been a somewhat cooperative design in that I provided the design and the landlord cut it down to suite him.

The lease was high much to high for a 12,500 city and we had 8 screens about 2 more than we really needed. The landlord had been trying for several years to get us to sell to him always at loss and we had resisted.

Our other location is a triple about two hours away and does quite well but not nearly as well in gross dollars as the nicer location. We own the other location and while it isn’t as nice in seating it has the best money can buy on the screen, in the booth and in sound. We had for years taken from its operating capital to make up the short fall in the other operation. We had even looked at selling the one we owned (well us and the bank) to make more cash for the cash flow at the other location.

In the end, the common sense was to take the loss and get out. We will save at lest 825,000 of lease over 5 years, this will also free up some stocks to be sold and I can make the theater we have better.

It hurts to let it go, we are hearing it from our former customers how much they will miss us and the kicker is that it will be closed until at least September. Several things are driving this. The new owner wants to put in a game room and he wants to change the top of the concession and rearrange the coke machines to fit one more line in the way to small an area of the concession stand. He won’t expand the concession or move it where you face it when you walk in the theater, which I feel is a mistake.

Another reason is that he is about to enter corn harvest and his main business is farming.

He has hired some ex-employees of ours to run the theater. He should realize that there are reasons they are ex-employees! It has been a rough three weeks but we have moved to new offices in this town and will now start to look at the other operation and in a year or so we will look for other locations to own! I don’t know that I will ever lease again but maybe all landlords are not the same.

I realize that persay this has nothing to do with DC but this industry is changing very fast now and between a lot of considerations we may have to make some painful choices.

RonOne50
Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
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Re: NATO digi cinema report 31 Jul 2005 15:24 #11504

  • rodeojack
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Sounds like a situation that you might ultimately be best off without. If the landlord wanted your place, negotiations for the next lease extention might have been pretty tough.

On ex-employees... you got that one right on the nose! When we opened our indoor, I think most of the employees that hadn't been absorbed into the former owners' other theatres (and a few that had) showed up at our door, looking for jobs, telling us how wonderful they were and how terrible their former employer was. We didn't hire a single one of them.
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Re: NATO digi cinema report 06 Aug 2005 13:33 #11505

  • RonOne50
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Thanks I agree with you at this point!

We are already looking around the state for another operation perhaps lease or lease purchase we will see.

Quentin: Of course a woman is going to kill me. I wouldn't have it any other way!
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Re: NATO digi cinema report 25 Aug 2005 11:39 #11506

  • leeler
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A really good article about DCI and a good, strong introduction to digital cinema

Here is part 1 http://www.boxofficeprophets.com/column/index.cfm?columnID=9121

And here is part 2 http://www.boxofficeprophets.com/column/index.cfm?columnID=9139
"What a crazy business"
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Re: NATO digi cinema report 25 Aug 2005 12:35 #11507

  • Mike
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Jacker lives in the Bronx I believe. I have no idea what the Bronx is like for theatres but I would say it is a rareified atmosphere with little in common for most of the theatre business.

Michael Hurley
Impresario
Michael Hurley
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Re: NATO digi cinema report 28 Aug 2005 08:59 #11508

  • leeler
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Mike,

I must be getting slow. What does your post above refer to?
"What a crazy business"
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Re: NATO digi cinema report 09 Dec 2005 21:51 #11509

  • leeler
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http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=industryNews&storyID=2005-12-02T072332Z_01_KRA226511_RTRIDST_0_INDUSTRY-FOX-DC.XML

TECHNOLOGY-BRED GROWTH

......Change is also expected to come soon in the oldest viewing venue of all -- the local movie theater -- with the advent of digital cinemas that let studios do away with shipping film reels and let theaters download entire films.

Digital cinema is expected to deliver crisper pictures and even three-dimensional movies that could lure viewers to watch concerts and sporting events on the big screen.

Quality aside, the move "affords a greater flexibility for us and for exhibitors to expand and contract releases" based on demand.

"If you look out five years there is virtually no place you would not be able to watch a film," Gianopulos said.

In fact, he said, Fox would be open to a deal with Apple Computer Inc's iTunes music and video service.

Reuters/VNU

"What a crazy business"
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