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News Archive - UK

Boris Johnson urged to block plan to turn Kensington Odeon into luxury flats – London – News – London Evening Standard

Campaigners opposed to plans to turn one of London’s oldest cinemas into flats today called on Boris Johnson to block the proposal after it was approved by councillors.

Source: Boris Johnson urged to block plan to turn Kensington Odeon into luxury flats – London – News – London Evening Standard

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Created on July 28th, 2015. Last updated on July 28th, 2015.

Sony Digital Cinema @ CineEurope 2015



David McIntosh High ResInterview with David McIntosh, Vice President, Sony Digital Cinema 4K Solutions for Europe and the Americas.


When I say ‘interview’, it was definitely more of a chat and a catchup with where Sony Digital Cinema were, having last spoken to David about 18 months ago and what should have been just a 30 minute slot, turned into nearer 60 minutes. I’d therefore like to thank David for his time. Below is a summary of some of the topics we talked about.


As I had seen the demonstration of the SRX-R515DS the day before we started by talking about that in a bit more detail. You can see more details about that later in this article.


We then turned our attention to the fact that all the other manufacturers were talking extensively about laser projectors. David suggested that it was something that was being worked on by Sony, but that they focus on quality so will only release something when it is right.  He reminded me that Sony Digital Cinema is founded on what is best for the cinema and the cinema owner, which is why they have over 18,000 installations worldwide.


Something I had not realised was that Sony were the only manufacture who also a VPF provider as well, which gave them experience of banking and will allow them to create a new finance package based on an operating cost basis. Although, since the interview I have seen that Barco are now going to offer a financing deal as well.


As our conversation meandered through different topics, including the Event Cinema partnership with Vue and National Theatre Live, which is discussed in more detail below, I asked about the development of their accessibility glasses. Back in 2013 I saw a demonstration of the Sony Entertainment Access Glasses,

which are designed to allow films to be accessible to all, by providing an individual with a set of glasses which projects the subtitles onto the screen, without the whole auditorium needing to see them. Back in 2013 I was pretty impressed with the glasses but they were not perfect, so I was interested to hear that you were no longer able to purchase the 2013 version. Sony has decided to discontinue the sale of its Entertainment Access Glasses in Europe (continuing to supply in America) whilst they return to look at a more robust and commercially viable mark 2. Accessibility in the cinema is a hot topic at the moment, especially in America.


But David says that cinema is just fundamentally the tradition of storytelling around the camp fire being continued in a new way.


National Theatre Live & Vue Partnership

ntlivelogovuelogoThe previous day Sony had announced that their partnership with the National Theatre Live and Vue Entertainment would mean that The Beaux Stratagem and Hamlet were the next two productions to get the 4K treatment, along with the world’s first live 4K transmission to multiple cinemas.


The Beaux Stratagem would be shot and screened exclusively by Vue in Sony 4K using the Sony’s F55 4K camera and delivered as part of an encore screening to the cinemas as a 4K DCP.


While Hamlet will be the world’s first multi-site live 4K transmission on 15th October from the Barbican to selected Vue cinemas around the UK. It will be the first time that any theatrical production has been delivered live to multiple locations simultaneously for 4K projection. There was a broadcast in 2014 of War Horse in 4K but that was just to a single cinema. You can read more about that here. “This eagerly-awaited production of Hamlet has been the fastest-selling show in London theatre’s history”, says Emma Keith. “It’s wonderful that we have the opportunity to future-proof Hamlet in 4K, giving the widest possible audience a chance to experience this landmark production – both live and after the event.”


You can read the full press release here.


image007Back at the end of March 2015, I was lucky enough to see the first presentation in the partnership between the National Theatre Live, Vue and Sony when they presented the play ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’ in 4K at the Vue Cinema Piccadilly.


It was a real pleasure to watch the play, and the depth of field, and representation of the vivid colours made the production really immersive. I didn’t completely forget that I was in a cinema auditorium watching something on a screen rather than actually at the theatre, but that is only because part of my mind was always thinking about the technical aspects of what was going on. And I know there were lots of moments when I did completely forget about it. You can see a trailer for the production here:


I also watched War Horse which was transmitted and projected in 4K in 2014. The image and the way War Horse_Curzonthat the play was shot was definitely an improvement from War Horse and it was obvious that people were learning what the techniques to create the best possible experience.


What was however interesting, and something I was able to talk to David about was that I happened to be sitting next to the sound designer for the show. At one point an aeroplane is meant to fly over the heads of audience. The sound designer was upset because it was not as loud or as deafening as it is in the theatre. This led to a more general discussion where there was an obvious knowledge gap between the sound designers in the theatre and their understanding of the way sound in cinema and event cinema worked and conversely the sound engineers in event cinema and their understanding of theatre and what key effects may mean to the meaning of the whole show.


Our discussion about the partnership and enthusiasm with the National Theatre Live and Vue lead me on to observe that Sony is fairly unique that it has the ability to produce the end to end workflow for this sort of thing as it produces the cameras, broadcast kit and the display equipment in a way that none of the other manufactures can or do.


David explained that they really did want to get the in cinema experience as close to the in theatre experience. With the ‘Live’ transmission of the experience feeling like you are being there. David noted that there had been a member of the audience who was heard to say that “It had transformed his life” watching live events in their local cinema, because it had become a social experience for them, where they met up with friends.


This autumn’s presentations build on the success in March of Behind the Beautiful Forevers – the first NT Live production covered by the agreement that was recorded and screened exclusively to Vue customers in Sony 4K.



Contrast Test

Contrast ratio makes a huge difference to the way in which we see images on screen and in many ways can be more important than the overall brightness and resolution of an image. So from sun-drenched landscapes to action-packed adventure sequences in inky blackness spaces the better the contrast ratio the more detail which will be available to see. We already know that just making an image brighter won’t help.


Sony were doing demonstrations of the importance of contrast ratios. During the demonstration Sony showed the same content from the same player (a BluRay in this case), one used a standard DLP projector and the other used a Sony projector that had a higher contrast ratio. Throughout the demonstration it was easy to see that one image provided much more detail in the darkest scenes. This was of course the projector which had the higher contrast ratio and was the Sony projector. It is very easy to see why a higher contrast ratio projector will provide a better overall image. Sony’s R500 series 4K digital cinema projectors offer an industry-leading contrast ratio of up to 8000:1 and you can see a demonstration via the Sony website here.


Dual Projectors


Sony were showing up their dual stack SRX-R515DS setup. The SRX-R515DS combines two of the Sony SRX-R515 4K projectors to deliver a combined output of 30,000 lumens and are designed for 2D presentations on screens up to 19.5m or 23m on 3D screens.


The dual setup conforms to the DCI specification and the dual projectors can either be operated side-by-side or stacked vertically depending on the projection room requirements. As part of the package there is an auto alignment system that can be configured to also run from within a playlist, allowing the projectors to function as a single unit.


The use of two SRX-R515 projectors means that there are all the same specifications as the single projector, it is just that with the dual system, there is only one server and one projector is essentially just the lamp and projector head.


The projectors use the familiar High Pressure Mercury (HPM) multi-lamp arrays (6 per projector) which provide the advantage that even if one of the lamps go, the show is not lost. If one lamp fails during a show, the presentation continues uninterrupted with a slightly reduced brightness, but without impacting the audience’s enjoyment of the show. Being HPM the replacement of the lamp is via cartridges which can be achieved between screenings quickly and without any need for special protective clothing. Also the overall use of electricity is lower than using the equivalent Xenon lamp for the projectors.


The XCT-S10 cinema server and XCT-M10 integrated media bock support Dolby Atmos and also have USB 3.0 to allow for faster transfer speeds.


Sony were really pushing the cost of ownership, even with having two projectors per screen, they believe that it is lower than their competitors because of the use of the HPM lamps which can last for up to 5000 hours. The projector knows the status of each of the individual lamps and each one is under individual warranty.


Unfortunately the projectors still require a manual change to happen between 2D and 3D lens. It has got much quicker compared to the other projectors as now it is a simple two second push of moving the relevant lens over the front of the projector, and this is something which could really be motorised fairly easily.


I watched this demonstration twice from different aspects – there was definitely a moment while watching the 3D trailers where it felt like the entire auditorium was moving with the picture, like you might experience on a ride, something which I have only experienced twice.


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Created on July 27th, 2015. Last updated on July 26th, 2015.

New cinema comes to Liverpool in the back of a lorry – Liverpool Echo

Roll up, roll up! Picturehouse puts the show on the road – literally.

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Created on July 27th, 2015. Last updated on July 27th, 2015.

VIDEO: Sheffield picture house revived with film festival – The Star

Forty years ago this month, the projectors rolled at the Abbeydale Picture House for the final time. In the intervening years the majestic domed building has had an afterlife as a climbing centre and, slightly less nobly, an office furniture warehouse – but now the silver screen is finally making a comeback at the grand venue.

Source: VIDEO: Sheffield picture house revived with film festival – The Star

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Created on July 27th, 2015. Last updated on July 27th, 2015.

Motion Picture Solutions Launches JukeBox

During CineEurope 2015 Motion Picture Solutions (MPS) launched their JukeBox product. As the name may suggest it is an online catalogue which is designed to allow the cinema exhibitor easy access to a back archive of older DCP content from a number of the different distributors or studios.  The website describes it: “JukeBox is a library of content for the cinema exhibitor – from current releases to back catalogue titles and event cinema encores. JukeBox gives your cinema complete flexibility in choice of content.
Each of the content distributors have their own separate catalogue which they can control and upload material as they wish. As a exhibitor they can view the catalogue and put a booking request in, which is either approved or rejected by the rights owner. If the request is approved then the delivery of the content is then scheduled. If it is a film which is available via MPS then it will be delivered, along with the KDM, via LANSat where possible, making the whole process a seamless end to end process.
In the backend of the system there is full on-demand reporting available which shows all the bookings along with the dates and locations that a film maybe showing at and the status of the booking requests.
This video demonstrates the process.

JukeBox introduction from Motion Picture Solutions on Vimeo.

JukeBox from Motion Picture Solutions (MPS) is the total catalogue for cinema content.
Experience it today at

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Created on July 24th, 2015. Last updated on July 23rd, 2015.

CineEurope 2015 General

CineEurope is the big cinema conference for Europe, held in Barcelona each June. There is a real mixture of people and companies represented at the event. I have written four articles about CineEurope, one each for Sony, Barco and JukeBox along with this more general overview and highlights of what I saw.
There were a number of key themes which came across in the seminars, the importance of Event Cinema content to cinemas, the importance of PLF (Premium Large Format, such as Imax) and finally the importance of the ‘Experience Economy’. All of these themes can be summed as being about high end cinemas, which are more than just multiplex auditorium and do more than just sell standard coke and popcorn. This is about appealing to a wider audience and also increasing the per head spend.
The above themes can be seen just a small selection of the seminars which took place over the whole of the CineEurope event. These are just three of those, that I attended:
Coca-Cola Seminar: Growth in the Experience Economy: This seminar was presented by Presented by Corinne Thibaut, International Director, Cinema & Leisure, The Cola-Cola Company & Enrique Burgos, Digital Manager, The Coca-Cola Company and was an interesting look at how the cinema fits into the new ‘experience economy’, be it one off events or just making the whole experience of going to the cinema more interesting, but not simply adding a glass or wine to an entrance fee. There was a very similar take on this topic with the Cinemas’ Position in the Experience Economy The Move to Premium, Driven by Innovation  seminar which looked at “Experiences”. Finally the third session I attended was Cinema Retail – Tips and Tricks for Revenue Growth: This session was presented by Matthew Ezra, General Manager Premium  F&B, Hotys Cinema Australia who went through how he had borrowed from other forms of retail to enhance the quality of the Food and Beverage offerings that were provided in the Hoyts cinemas in Australia, including adopting the MacDonalds system of being server at the till by one member of staff and then collecting from elsewhere.
CineCarz, are a company which will allow to put a message onto the big screen in an automated way. The idea is “a dedicated fun message of approximately 30 seconds from one customer to another both in the audience. It runs for approximately 30 seconds during the pre show. it is a DCP package that is delivered directly to your servers and projectors.” The idea is that you can wish someone a happy birthday or smilier, by filling in the template details via the website and then that is automatically created as a DCP and sent to the TMS. CineCardz have been working with Arts Alliance Media. According to the advertising the price is ‘Free’ to the exhibitor, but with a ‘expected’ revenue of €3,000 per year per screen.
Seats – there seemed to be more seat manufacturers on the trade floor than anything else. The variety of design of a cinema seat was immense, there were easily a hundred different designs for you to consider, if not more.
Laser – it was all about laser again this year. Manufactures had all improved their products and were offering a variety of different projectors or retro fit kits to allow cinemas to go to laser, selling the reduced cost of ownership as one of the main benefits.

cinedigitalmanagerlogocinedigital Manager
: As you wonder around the trade floor at CineEurope you often dismiss some of the stands as ‘just another’ x y or z. I nearly did the same with the cinedigital Manager stand, thinking that it was just another remote management TMS application, but I am glad that I stopped and experienced a demonstration of the system that they were working on.
On the surface cinedigital manager is indeed another management piece of software, but I think that it has a lot of clever features and integration which helps make it more interesting than some of the other competitors on the market. The idea is that you are able to manage all aspects of your cinema or cinema circuit from within one interface, as the application integrates with different aspects of the theatre. You are able to do the usual things such as create playlists and schedule them, along with the scheduling of any of the display systems which maybe in place for promotional material. You are also able to access the servers and projectors directly for each of the screens. There is a facility to include a link into a CCTV camera so that auditorium or other areas of the cinema can be monitored via the software. There is some thought included around managing the actual DCP content and KDM management.
However, one of the aspects which made this product different from other similar ones, is the ability to create and schedule non-sync playlists for use in the auditoriums. A clever use of a Raspberry Pi connected into the auditorium sound processor allows for appropriate non-sync to play before each show and to change depending on the exact content which is happening at any one time. The other clever design with this application is the coded caption system, which allows customers to use their mobile phones to view the subtitles of a film via a combination of the original subtitles on the DCP and a wifi hotspot.
Another useful aspect is that the software also allows for basic DCP content to be created. Aimed mainly at just creating simple pre-show ads, it is a simple case of uploading the images, selecting some basic options and then overnight while the system is quite a DCP is created and even added to the appropriate playlist if so required.
Unfortunately the website doesn’t do the product justice and does not provide as much additional information as one would wish for, however, it possible to download a two screen version of the software from the website along with the manual.
See Also:
Celluloid Junkie
CineEurope News Stories
CineEurope 2014 article
Peach Cinema Blog
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Created on July 23rd, 2015. Last updated on July 23rd, 2015.

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