JVC Joins the 4K Projection Club

"If you've been tuned into Digital Cinema Projection for the past couple of years, you'd know that when it comes to 4K projection (4Kx2K image), sony's SXRD series was pretty much the only game in town. DLP is limited to 2K and most of the projectors out there (Christie, Barco, NEC) are all 2K projectors.

A downside of Sony's projector is that although it is as hefty as a small car it only has a 2000:1 contrast ratio (measured less than that calibrated). Its rated aggresively for 40ft screens which is not nearly big enough for true cinema applications.

That was true until JVC announced their 1.27-inch 4Kx2K D-ILA (Direct-drive Image Light Amplifier) chip at InfoComm 2007. The chip can produce a 4096x2400 pixel image with a 20,000:1 contrast ratio. That's nearly 10x the contrast ratio of the Sony behemoth.

Major Specifications:
Device size: 1.27-inch diagonal
Number of pixels: 4096 x 2400
Pixel pitch: 6.8 µm
Gap between pixels: 0.25 µm
Aperture ratio: 93%
Device contrast ratio: 20,000:1
Response time (tr+tf): 4.5 ms

The DLA-SH4K, which packs the 4k D-ILA chip, touts a 4,096 x 2,400 resolution, 10,000:1 contrast ratio, 3,500 lumens, a dual-link DVI input, multiscreen mode, an Ethernet port for remote operation and RS-232 / USB connectors. It measures 660 x 827 x 340 mm and is slated for launch in the first half of 2008."

Source: Digital Cinema Buyers Guide

Thomson Signs Agreements with Three North American Exhibitors to Provide Digital Cinema Projection Systems

"Thomson, through its Technicolor Digital Cinema business, has signed agreements with Clearview Cinemas, iPic Entertainment and Cinemaworld to install digital projection systems as part of its North American digital cinema equipment deployment.

Clearview Cinemas is a Chatham, New Jersey-based exhibitor that operates 50 theatres with 254 screens, 246 of which are in the New York DMA, the country’s largest metropolitan market. Clearview also owns and operates New York City’s legendary Ziegfeld Theatre, one of the country’s most famous movie palaces and the location of countless movie premieres and red-carpet events.

IPic Entertainment, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is a new company founded by Hamid Hashemi, former president and CEO of Muvico Theatres. With its first location set to open in the Milwaukee suburb of Glendale, Wisconsin on December 7, iPic’s innovative entertainment complexes will include luxury movie theatres, an upscale bowling venue, a restaurant and bar, and an auditorium for live events. iPic has additional locations currently under development in Texas, Illinois, Ohio, California and Florida.

"Digital Cinema is the future of movie exhibition, and we are excited to be on the cutting-edge working with Technicolor so that our guests can experience movies with the highest quality image and sound possible,” said Hamid Hashemi, president and CEO of IPic Entertainment. “We’re also excited about the innovative new programming options that this technology enables, such as 3-D and live events."

Vero Beach, Florida-based Cinemaworld operates 32 state-of-the-art, all-stadium screens in Florida and Rhode Island, and plans to expand into two new markets beginning in early 2008. Cinemaworld’s West Melborne, Florida site has been a test bed for Technicolor’s prototype digital systems since 2002.

Each theatre installation will feature Technicolor’s fully integrated networked systems, which include a satellite system for content delivery and the Technicolor Theatre Management System. The Technicolor Theatre Management System is a software solution that enables exhibitors to control theatre automation and manage all content such as trailers, advertisements, and features with simple drop and drag technology. The digital cinema systems will be supported by Technicolor’s maintenance services with 24/7 remote monitoring to ensure system health.

Technicolor Digital Cinema has installed digital cinema systems with several prominent exhibitors in North America and Europe including ArcLight Cinema Company, Mann Theatres, National Amusements, Wehrenberg Theatres, Zyacorp’s Cinemagic Stadium Theatres, and Kinepolis Group in Belgium.

Thomson intends to complete the first phase rollout of digital projection systems in up to 5,000 screens over the next three to four years, with 15,000 screens in the United States and Canada over the next 10 years.

All hardware and software placed in each site will conform to industry-standard specifications published by Digital Cinema Initiatives LLC (DCI). Furthermore, the Technicolor Digital Cinema plan is technology agnostic, enabling both exhibitors and studios to benefit from the best available technology, including both 2K and 4K projection.

As previously announced, Thomson has signed digital cinema equipment usage agreements with DreamWorks SKG, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. to support its plans for the distribution of digital cinema content and systems throughout North America. Under the separate, long-term accords, each of these studios has agreed to distribute content digitally throughout the United States and Canada, and pay a virtual print fee to Thomson for screens equipped with Technicolor Digital Cinema systems, which began in late 2006."

Source: DCinemaToday

SENSIO Signs a First Contract for the Integration of its Technology into a 3D TV Designed by Kerner Optical R&D

"SENSIO Technologies, the inventor of the SENSIO 3D technology, announces that its technology will be integrated for the very first time into a 3D television intended for the consumer market. “We are extremely pleased with this milestone agreement we just reached with Kerner Optical Research and Development (“KORD”). The signature of this first contract falls within the timeline we had set and is the result of our efforts aimed at integrating our technology into a mass consumption device”, explains Nicholas Routhier, President and CEO.

This recently entered into agreement will allow KORD to integrate the SENSIO 3D technology into the new LCD HD SpectronIQ television, as well as the JVC 2D to 3D real-time conversion technology, for which SENSIO obtained a license in October 2006. The new television is currently being developed as per a contract between KORD and SpectronIQ. This agreement follows the Letter of Intent announced last June, which expressed KORD’s interest for the SENSIO 3D technology.

This first commercial success will generate recurring incomes for SENSIO, as the contract provides for a base amount, as well as royalties on every unit sold."

Source: SENSIO

Disney Brings 3-D Thunder to 'Bolt'

"Disney Feature Animation's "Bolt" -- previously titled "American Dog" -- will be released in digital 3-D when it opens Nov. 26, 2008.

"We are going to have fun family 3-D at Thanksgiving," Disney president of domestic distribution Chuck Viane said. "We absolutely believe in the whole concept of 3-D and the enhancement that it brings in the ability to separate us from any of the other mediums."

"Bolt" is the latest digital 3-D announcement from Disney, which has been a pioneer of the format. The company's digital 3-D releases have included "Chicken Little," "Meet the Robinsons" and "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas."

Burton also recently signed a two-picture deal with Disney through which he will direct and produce 3-D features of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" and Burton's short "Frankenweenie." Disney next releases in 3-D the "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour," which will play in theaters Feb. 1-7.

The "Hannah Montana" release should be available on about 700 screens. "By the time we get to 'Bolt,' I think you may be looking at somewhere between 1,200 and 1,500 potential 3-D screens (domestically)," Viane said. "That would be terrific."

John Travolta and Susie Essman lead the voice cast of "Bolt," the story of a TV star dog named Bolt (Travolta) who is accidentally shipped from his Hollywood soundstage to New York, where he begins a cross-country journey through the real world. Chris Williams directs."

By Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter

Who Shows the Best View of 3D 'Beowulf'?

"The race for the best 3D movie projection technology began in earnest last week with the release of Beowulf, and I'm here to judge the first lap.

Beowulf, which recounts the Anglo-Saxon adventures of a Swedish prince of that name, is the first wide release of a 3D movie, showing on hundreds of screens in 3D. And for the first time, viewers had the choice not only of watching with Imax 3D and Real D projection technology, but also newcomer Dolby 3D.

Based on watching the movie start to finish three times, the 3D winner is Dolby 3D--and not just by a nose.

Dolby's technology gave a sharp image that showed every beard bristle, the colors were relatively rich, flicker from moving objects was nonexistent, but most significantly, the sense of depth was strong. Even the subtle differences between a character's facial features were perceptible, and group shots with a host of characters showed as true depth, not as a number of gradually more distant two-dimensional layers. I was truly impressed.

Before I go further, a qualifier. Three viewings of this movie was a lot to endure, given the comic-book-grade plot and cardboard characters, but it's not much as statistical samples go to judge projection technology.

It's hard to say how much of my experience was based on the underlying merits of the technology and how much on the particulars of the theater and viewing. But the Dolby 3D experience was significantly better enough that I'm comfortable awarding it the crown.

Compare and contrast
All three 3D technologies were compelling, but none was perfect.

My first viewing was with Imax 3D, which was displayed on the company's famously large screens.

Of the three, Imax 3D was the most in-your-face experience of 3D effects, with swords, castle spires and spear points jutting sharply out of the screen. The company deliberately adjusts movie perspective to achieve this effect.

"When you experience 3D with us, you experience the 3D at the bridge of your nose. It is an immersive, full-contact experience," said Greg Foster, Imax's chairman and president of filmed entertainment. And he's right.

However, I was distracted many times during the movie by "ghosting," in which some of the light intended for the right eye leaks into the left and vice-versa. In high-contrast moments, such as a brightly glowing, gold drinking horn held against a dark cave wall, the result is dim secondary copies of elements of the scene.

More disappointing, though, was my befuddled perception of some high-motion 3D scenes. I often found it hard to track objects and people during fight scenes with rapidly moving objects and a whirling camera perspective, for example.

So when I went to my second viewing, in Real D, I was favorably impressed. It wasn't as crisply focused or immersive as Imax 3D, but there wasn't as much ghosting, and I had much better luck keeping track of the fast-moving scenes. For example, in one early scene where King Hrothgar flings gold coins at his subjects, I actually saw coins rather than distracting gold flashes.

Instead of occupying most of my field of vision, the action seemed to take place in a box on a stage in front of the audience. And most of the action was "behind" the front of the screen.

The Real D audience seemed more wowed than Imax 3D viewers. Despite the more understated 3D, I observed a lot more flinching and startled gasping among audience members than in the Imax show.

Dolby 3D, though, beat out Real D for clarity, color, and coherent 3D. I was looking hard for ghosting and found it only twice, once with a sword and once with Grendel's mother's snaking tail. Many scenes that hadn't worked before came together--one example being the flying gravel pushed by Beowulf's ship as it's towed up the beach--and I found myself relishing the depth of flying dragons and other subjects. Falling snow, driving rain, and blowing embers imparted a feeling of space, not mere distractions.

That said, I still had problems. Not once was I able to make sense of the clouds of sand billowing around an underwater dragon or the froth of bubbles seen in the lair of the monster Grendel and his mother. A chain moving through a pulley knocked me cross-eyed. I also had troubles with foreground objects such as cave stalactites or characters half off-screen.

3D movies: The future
Beowulf is set in Denmark during the sixth century, the darkest of the Dark Ages, but watching it is a view into the future of movie making. I was impressed by various clips, but now having seen what a director with forethought can do with the technology and what it adds to the movie itself, it's clear to me 3D isn't just the flash in the pan it has been in the past.

For me, the 3D movie experience ranged from remarkable to gimmicky, but at no time did I find that it had faded unobtrusively into the background. No doubt part of that is because it's a spectacle that movie makers are using to pack theaters and charge premium prices.

The three 3D technologies all share a common principle: alternate rapidly between two slightly different vantage points, one for the left eye and one for the right, so human brains in the audience can reconstruct the third dimension just as they do in the real world. To keep left-eye light out of the right eye and vice-versa, the audience wears special glasses; the cheap cardboard hand-outs with red and blue plastic lenses are long gone.

There are differences, of course, in the projection technologies. Imax 3D, with about 120 3D screens installed so far, uses the oldest approach--two separate but synchronized reels of film and polarized light to split the views--though it will start going digital in 2008. Real D, whose technology is on more than 1,000 screens, uses a digital projector passed through a device that polarizes light one way and another for each eye.

Dolby 3D, which just entered production and so far is only on 75 screens, uses filtering technology so that the left and right eyes see images composed of slightly different hues of red, green, and blue. That approach caused problems for me seeing The Nightmare Before Christmas, in which elements of even red were hard to look at because the right-eye channel was significantly more orange.

Beowulf's computer-generated images are based on the real movements of actors digitized with motion-capture systems. Although I can't stand the characters' resulting rubbery features and robotic hands, the technique is a good foundation for 3D movies.

With the in-computer virtual "filming," the camera's perspective can shift gradually or dramatically, taking the audience with it. With computer-generated movies, those radical perspectives are nothing new, but 3D adds a new element. For example, when the still-unseen monster Grendel shatters open the door of Heorat, King Hrothgar's mead hall, the camera slowly moves to the front of the hall, and the sense of dread is all the greater as the vantage point approaches the entrance where we expect a vile demon.

The movie, however, seemed adapted for the constraints of 3D display. One problem, for example, is that 3D movies are significantly dimmer, in part because each eye is effectively seeing black half the time and because necessary filters cut down light even more. In what was likely not a coincidence, Beowulf seems to take place entirely during the dark days of northern-latitude winter and is set mostly in wanly illuminated halls and caves.

Overall, though, the experience was engaging, even the third time around. And I recommend checking the movie out in whatever 3D format you can find. Imax's Foster makes a compelling point about the merits of 3D. And even though I'm not a big movie buff, I agree.

"What's happening is a lot of 15- to 30-year-old people were staying home, watching movies on 72-inch plasma screens and not going to the movies the way I was going when I was a 15-year-old," Foster said. "We need technologies to get them to realize they can't replicate the movie-going experience (found) in a movie theater."

By Stephen Shankland, CNET News

The Revival of 3D Movies

"Hollywood is making itself over again this time using next generation 3D technology to keep the moviegoers coming back for more. Want proof? By the numbers, this past weekend’s top ranking film Beowulf, took in over $27M, was shown at 3,153 locations with an average take of $8,727. By contrast, number two, Bee Movie screened at almost 4,000 locations with an average take of just $3,516.

What helped create the 2.5x delta between the average take of these top two movies was clearly the 3D showings of Beowulf. Only a one-fifth of the 3153 locations were in 3D, but theater owners can charge up to $3 more for the enhanced experience. A full 40% of the Beowulf revenue was earned from 850 3D screenings in both regular theaters equipped with RealD and Dolby 3D technology and Imax screens. Paramount general sales manager Don Harris said "Twenty percent of the screens produced 40 percent of the gross."

Specifically, the 850 3-D screens were in 742 locations including 84 Imax screens, which contributed almost $3.6M, or a whopping $42,619 per screen. "That’s 13% of the overall box-office" according to Imax’s Greg Foster. And the moviegoers most likely to see this flick - 60% male, with 50% of patrons under age 25.

"There was a great contribution from the 3-D screens, and it tells you that the audience is really interested in experiencing the richness and strength that the 3D experience gives you. It really gives us great encouragement going forward about what 3-D can do," said Rob Moore, Paramount’s president of worldwide marketing and distribution.

Our take is that economics is driving the 3D technology into the theaters as the number of moviegoers is dropping. For instance, Media By Numbers said this week’s ticket sales were off 3% and the gross from the top 12 films was down almost 30% from the same week last year. Overall, theater attendance is down 8 of the past 9 weeks, according to the group.

These numbers are no surprise as the trend in home theaters continues to grow. High-end systems have been around for years with dedicated rooms, but now large flat panel displays are becoming the norm in most US homes, with full HD leading the charge.

So movie theaters are turning once again to technology that goes beyond the home experience, (remember "CinemaScope," "Vista-Vision," or even "Superrama" and "Glamorama" wide screen experiences?) all created to lure moviegoers back into the theaters. But this is not a bad thing. Today’s HD standard may not have included the 16:9 format without the widescreen experience of the 1950’s.

But like full-HD bringing the movie theater into the home, the home 3D experience may not be far behind and even perhaps much closer than most expect."

By Steve Sechrist, Display Daily

First European Exhibitor Goes Fully Digital: CGR Signs with Arts Alliance Media

"Circuit George Raymond (“CGR Cinémas”), one of France’s largest cinema chains and Arts Alliance Media (“AAM”), Europe’s leading provider of digital distribution services, have reached an exclusive agreement for the deployment of digital cinema in 100% of the circuit’s 400 screens, throughout France. The rollout is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2008, with a target of 200 screens during the first year.

This agreement signifies the highly anticipated start of a widespread commercial rollout initiative across Europe which will enable exhibitors, distributors and the entertainment industry at large to reap the substantial benefits of digital cinema: consistently high quality non-degradable prints, new programming opportunities - alternative content and premium ticket shows, notably 3-D films and live satellite events (opera, concerts, sports, etc), as well as vastly reduced print production and logistics costs.

Under the conditions of the agreement, AAM will create a fully integrated DCI-compliant digital cinema network within the CGR Cinémas infrastructure. The agreement requires AAM to procure, service and maintain all digital cinema systems deployed, including projectors and servers, central storage servers and a Theatre Management System.

CGR Cinémas is a leading and expanding cinema chain in France. The company is well known for the success of its multiplexes in many mid-size cities across the country, for the efficiency of its cost management and for its profitability. By becoming the first European cinema chain to join the AAM initiative and go fully digital, CGR Cinémas is demonstrating that it is an innovative company, ready to embrace new technology to deliver the best possible quality cinema experience.

This agreement between CGR Cinémas and AAM shows that the VPF-based business model has now been fully adapted to meet the particular requirements of the European exhibition market. The VPF business model is a means of financing the conversion to digital cinema, where both distributor and exhibitor contribute over time towards the total cost of the digital projection and server equipment, funded up front by the rollout entity (AAM). The VPF model has been proven in North America, with over 3,700 digital screens installed to date.

AAM is the only studio-backed digital cinema rollout entity in Europe. In June 2007, AAM signed Europe’s first long term digital cinema deployment agreements with Twentieth Century Fox and Universal Pictures International for the conversion of close to 7000 screens, and in October, Paramount Pictures International also committed to supporting AAM’s digital cinema rollout in Europe. AAM is in active negotiations with European distributors and other Hollywood studios for further deals, and announcements are expected shortly

AAM completed the UK Film Council digital cinema rollout of 240 screens, known as the Digital Screen Network, on April 30th, 2007. The company is also participating in two digital cinema trials, one in the UK at the Odeon Surrey Quays multiplex, since February 2007, and the other in Norway, in various cinemas across the country, since April 2006. To date, AAM’s in-house digital lab has encoded over 200 digital cinema titles and shipped over 3600 digital prints."

Source: DCinemaToday

RED Releases Redcine and Native FCP Support

"Red Digital Cinema have released Redcine, a software tool to convert native REDCODE footage to any codec you have installed on the system. QuickTime Reference files link the source REDCODE Raw footage into a QuickTime movie so that applications like Final Cut Pro can use the footage "natively".

REDCODE Raw codec supports RT playback and editing of the QuickTime Reference movies generated in camera. Both 2K and 1K QuickTime Reference movies are supported in this release.

When you transfer media from your CF cards to your hard drive for editing, please be sure you take the native .R3D files, the QuickTime Reference movies and the Magazine Profile from the CF card. They should all live together in the same folder to allow for offline/online editing and finishing. After you have imported your QuickTime Reference movies into Final Cut Pro do not move the original files to another location. If you move the RED files and media after importing the QuickTime Reference movies into FCP you will lose the connection to the FCP master clips and will have to reconnect the files manually.

Depending on your system configuration, you may see less than full frame rate playback. RED recommends the current top end configuration of a MacPro with 8 cores, fast RAID 0 striped drives and a minimum of 4 gigabytes of RAM if you plan on editing the 2K QuickTime Reference movies. RED recommends for RT editing on a MacBook Pro that you use the 1K QuickTime Reference movies or smaller frame sizes that can be generated with the RED Alert! Program provided to camera owners by RED."

Source: Digital Production Buzz

Omneon Announces Server Support for Panasonic's Advanced AVC-Intra HD Format

"At Inter BEE 2007, Omneon has announced server support for the AVC-Intra high-performance HD format.

The new MediaPort modules for the Omneon Spectrum media server and the Omneon MediaDeck integrated server will provide realtime encoding and decoding of HD material using the AVC-Intra codec.

AVC-Intra is based on the advanced MPEG-4 Part 10 Intra standard and offers high-quality record and playout at roughly half the bit rate of MPEG-2 based codecs. With the new MIP-5600 line of MediaPorts for Spectrum and MediaDeck systems, incoming raw video feeds can be encoded in the AVC-Intra format in realtime, creating AVC-I formatted files within the servers’ systems that can be accessed and edited by non-linear editors that support the format.

AVC-Intra files can then be decoded by the MediaPorts for playout.

The MIP-5600 line of MediaPorts, which includes the MIP 5601 and MIP-5602 for the Spectrum system and the MDM-5601 for MediaDeck, is based on the AVC-Intra specification provided by Panasonic and is fully compatible with Panasonic cameras and recording equipment, both AVC-Intra 50 and 100 modes. Each video channel supports up to 16 channels of embedded audio or four channels of separate audio.

The new Omneon MediaPort modules also enable the direct transfer of AVC-Intra content from Panasonic P2 media to the Spectrum system and MediaDeck server for editing and playout. Non-linear editors that support the format, including those announced by Apple, Avid, and Grass Valley, will be able to mount the Spectrum or MediaDeck file systems to edit the content in place, reducing the need for lengthy transfers.

The new MediaPorts can be connected easily to existing Spectrum servers to add AVC-Intra functionality and can be mixed with other Omneon MediaPorts for SD within the same system. The addition of a new MediaPort to an existing server requires no disruptive upgrade procedure and in most cases can be done while the system remains online.

Omneon demonstrated playback of AVC-Intra video through the MIP 5601 of a Spectrum server. The complete MIP-5600 line will be available in mid-2008.

Source: BroadcastBuyer

vidIP Enable Live Broadcast Transmission Over IP Through Retail ADSL Internet Access

"vidIP has demonstrated ahead of competition a new capability of its TSS-110 and CDS-110 video routers, allowing live broadcast transmission over IP using retail Internet ADSL access.

A major breakthrough for the media industry, allowing the use of public IP access networks for broadcast quality video transmission. Highlighting vidIP’s technology advance on its market, this capability meets today’s requirements of national and local television networks, news agencies and media industry professionals, looking at reducing their transmission costs.

Now media industry professionals can rely on vidIP’s solutions to set up live video transmission using generally available ADSL-based public Internet access, not renouncing broadcast quality requirements. vidIP’s solutions will enable to set up on demand broadcast-class live video links with remote offices, local and special correspondents, temporary event sites, at a fraction of the cost of fiber or satellite based transmissions.

Real world testing
To ensure the reliability of this new capability, vidIP has realized real world testing of its products using retail ADSL Internet access from four major ISPs in France. With vidIP’s technology, these connections allowed repeatedly real time video transmission during 15 to 30 minutes nonstop using various bit rates (1 Mbit/s to 4 Mbit/s) and formats (MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 ASP). This has been achieved without any kind of support or specific setup from the ISPs, highlighting that vidIPs solution is out of the box compatible with off the shelves retail ADSL based internet access offerings.

Results are clear: vidIPs integrated systems linked through public internet over retail ADSL internet access have demonstrated their ability to meet broadcast quality standards, including an end to end latency below 1 second.

High level error correction functionalities
To meet the quality requirement of live broadcast video, vidIP has leveraged its link aggregation technology Gatherlink, adding to it several mechanisms to compensate for the imperfections of retail ADSL internet access. Specifically, vidIP’s performance relies on enhanced jitter reduction mechanisms and advanced lost IP packet rebuilding functionalities, implementing FEC (Forward Error Correction) standard. Theses enhancements enabled vidIP’s solution to aggregate four retail ADSL lines into a 2.8 Mbit/s virtual link.

Fast deployment and cost effective
vidIP’s Gatherlink technology has proven its ability to enable reliable live video transmission over xDSL and QoS controled links, including managed VPNs. With this new capability, Gatherlink also demonstrates that it is possible to use non dedicated and public ADSL based internet access to deploy quality live video networks. These capabilities allow media industry professionals to extend their network faster than ever, and at a fraction of the current transmission costs.

In addition to allow fast and cost effective transmissions for live duplex, delivery of news reports from remote offices or special correspondent on event sites, vidIP’s solution help to strengthen the security of existing live video transmission networks, providing a cost effective way to set up a fail-over backup line.

Live broadcast video over IP through Public ADSL based internet access capabilities are available immediately as part of the integrated systems TSS-110 and CDS-110 from vidIP."

Source: BroadcastBuyer

Corporate Report Card Roundup

"A survey of a half-dozen exhibition-industry fiscal reports released over the past couple of weeks reveals financial performances that run the gamut from strong profit growth to net income in the red. One constant, however, is that the effect of digital technologies is being felt across the board.

Access Integrated Technologies: The leader in the industry, AccessIT’s revenues continue to surge on the wave of the integrator’s digital cinema installations. With 3,259 systems installed by September 30, AccessIT nearly doubled revenue to $19.5 million in its second quarter of fiscal 2008 from $10 million during the comparable period a year ago. Net losses during the three-month period, however, totaled $9.3 million, or 37 cents per share, compared with $6.1 million, or 26 cents, in the same timeframe the year before.

For the six-month period, revenue increased 142 percent to $37.6 million from $15.5 million in the first half of fiscal 2007. Net losses were $16.1 million, or 64 cents per share, compared with $8.7 million, or 37 cents, in the first half of fiscal 2007.

The company attributed the sharp increases in revenue to virtual print, delivery and software license fees from its Theatre Command Center software as well as contributions from its Advertising and Creatives Services and Bigger Picture divisions.

"The second quarter and most recent weeks have marked an inflection point for AccessIT," said CEO Bud Mayo. "We've successfully completed our Phase One digital cinema deployment plan and are gearing up to provide another 10,000 screens to exhibitors in the coming three years. In addition to the expected ramp of revenues from our recently installed screens in our next two quarters, revenue opportunities in three of our four other divisions are also being realized, and The Bigger Picture is gearing up to provide a consistent flow of content beginning in the last quarter of our fiscal year."

National CineMedia: Still in the black after expenses in its third fiscal quarter was NCM. Revenue for the in-theatre media company with significant investments by AMC, Cinemark and Regal increased 60.8 percent to $97.6 million from $60.7 million during the comparable period the year before. Ad sales marked the majority of revenue with $91.3 million, a 66.3 percent increase from $54.9 million. Net income was $92 million, or 22 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $600,000 during the same timeframe a year before.

"We had another very strong quarter as our management and sales teams made significant progress in a number of key strategic areas," said Chairman and CEO Kurt Hall. "Most notably we increased our advertising inventory utilization by broadening our advertising base and expanding expenditures from existing clients and expanded our digital advertising and Fathom networks. This progress is reflected in our operating results as revenue and margin growth exceeded expectations. I am very optimistic about the growth of our business as we continue to benefit from the shifts in media spending towards highly effective and measurable digital media platforms."

Dolby and DTS: Although best-known in the cinema industry as audio firms, both Dolby and DTS have added digital cinema to their mix of offerings.

For the fourth quarter ended September 28, Dolby posted $129.0 million in revenue, up 26 percent for $102.1 million during the same timeframe the year before. Net income was $44.2 million, or 39 cents per share, compared with $25.2 million, or 22 cents. Year-end revenue was $482.0 million, up 23 percent from $391.5 million, with net income of $142.8 million, or $1.26 per share, compared with $89.5 million, or 80 cents, in 2006.

"I am very pleased with the hard work by the Dolby team in fiscal 2007," said President and CEO Bill Jasper. "We finished the year with increased profitability, a strong position across our core markets and with progress in our new initiatives, such as mobile, digital cinema, and video."

Meanwhile, DTS posted revenue of $10.7 million, up from $9.5 million, for the third quarter ended September 30. Net losses were $1.1 million, or six cents per share, compared with $898,000, or five cents, in the same period the year before.

DTS has been seeking a buyer for its digital cinema and digital imaging divisions.

"With respect to our digital cinema business, in response to the current economic environment and feedback from potential buyers, we have modified our sales approach to offer the assets of the cinema and digital images businesses together or individually," said Jon Kirchner, president and CEO. "We are pleased with the response to our change in approach and we are actively working to complete a sale over the coming months."

Ballantyne of Omaha: Although Ballantyne has experienced some depressed revenue, the company is poised to reap the benefits of digital cinema deployments scheduled for the coming months. Third-quarter revenue for the period ended September 30 was $12.6 million, down 3.5 percent from $13.1 million during the same timeframe a year ago. Net income was $100,000, or 1 cent per share, down from $400,000, or three cents, a year ago.

The results reflect fewer traditional film product sales and distribution. However, digital cinema projector sales increased to $1.1 million from $400,000 during the period.

"As expected, our Q3 results reflect the ongoing impact of the exhibition industry's transition from analog to digital projection technology," said John P. Wilmers, president and CEO. "Our digital equipment business grew over last year but from a small base, helping to somewhat offset the decline we expected in our traditional film projector business. As we progress through the transition to digital, we are actively looking at ways we can streamline costs related to our legacy film products business and improve overall operating performance while still being able to properly serve our customers."

Imax: Finally, even large-format film company Imax anticipated the effects of digital among its third-quarter results. The giant-screen firm posted $29.8 million in revenue, a slight depression from $31.0 million the year before. Systems revenue was $14.9 million, down from $17.6 million; film revenue was $9.5 million, up from $7.7 million; and theatre operations revenue was $4.4 million, slightly down from $4.7 million. Imax experienced a net loss of $7.5 million, or 19 cents per share, compared with $4.6 million, or 14 cents, during the same timeframe in 2006.

During the quarter, Imax signed agreements for 18 large-format systems compared to five during the year-ago period, and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix grossed $39.8 million on 142 giant screens.

In addition to a film slate that includes The Spiderwick Chronicles on February 15, Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Stones documentary Shine a Light on April 4 and The Dark Knight in July, Imax anticipates deploying digital projectors on giant screens in 2008.

"We are excited to be on the threshold of launching our digital projection system late in the second quarter of 2008, ahead of schedule," said Co-Chief Executive Officers Richard L. Gelfond and Bradley J. Wechsler. "Although we have experienced both disappointments and successes over the course of the past decade in bringing Imax digital to the cusp of reality, the company is now poised to benefit from the transition from a film-based system to a digital format. We believe our system will embody the Imax brand and experience and that this transition will have a very positive impact on the company's growth and on our financial performance over the long term."

By Annlee Ellingson, Boxoffice

'Beowulf' Largest 3-D Theatrical Release

"When it opens today in 1,000 3-D-equipped theaters, Paramount/Warner Bros.' "Beowulf" will be the biggest 3-D release in modern film history.

Since director Robert Zemeckis' Imax 3-D version of "The Polar Express" in 2004, the number of theaters capable of projecting 3-D films has exploded, with Real D leading the charge. In addition to Real D's expansion to more than 1,100 theaters worldwide, Imax has about 120 Imax 3-D screens globally, and Dolby recently unveiled its 3D Digital Cinema system in 75-80 screens worldwide.

Sony Pictures Imageworks was the ideal facility to turn the performance-capture CG "Beowulf" into three dimensions. "We've been down this road," says stereographer/3-D digital effects supervisor Rob Engle, who in addition to "Polar Express" includes 2006's "Monster House" and "Open Season" among the company's previous 3-D efforts. "Our job was to make Bob's vision into a stereoscopic film. We started at the same time as the bulk of the 2-D team. We were working in parallel with them, and we knew what the movie looked like from the beginning."

Engle and his team had to create a second eye from the source material and then work to converge the two images, exactly like our two eyes converge to see a single dimensional image. But it's far from a simple job. To get there, they had to deconstruct the original elements in each scene, produce a second set of them for the other eye and then recomposite all the elements back -- twice. "That allows us to tune the stereo image for each person and each object, tweaking each for its overall position in depth," Engle says. "It gives us a unique level of control."

The magic happens in Imageworks' "sweatbox," a 3-D theater equipped with a Real D 3-D cinema projection system. To previsualize and build the 3-D converged images, the team relies on Autodesk Maya animation layered with custom software that allows the animators to view a virtual world in stereo. "We bring up multiple shots from the movie, look at them in context and adjust the cameras in context," Engle says. "We're dialing in the 3-D in real time, and that's a tremendously powerful tool for experimentation."

The trickiest scene in the movie to transform into three dimensions is when Beowulf first meets the mother of Grendel. "Everything is very contrasty, and the mother is painted with gold paint, so she glows," Engle says. "One of the challenges in 3-D is that the technology isn't quite there to ensure that your left eye only sees the left eye movie. It's a phenomenon called 'ghosting,' and it's particularly problematic in areas of high contrast." It was a delicate balance between getting the proper depth without losing the sense of three dimensions, but Engle and his team aced it.

Is it worth the extra effort to see "Beowulf" in 3-D? Engle answers with an emphatic yes. "Bob and the producers of the movie think this is the way they want their movie to be seen," he says. "And it's the best ride you're ever going to have. You'll feel like you're in the movie."

By Debra Kaufman, The Hollywood Reporter

'Beowulf's' Bow Takes 3-D to the Next Level

"If you're looking to see Beowulf take on Grendel this weekend in 3-D, you have some choices. Paramount/Warner Bros.' anticipated "Beowulf," from director Robert Zemeckis, will be the first Hollywood feature to open simultaneously in Imax 3-D and digital 3-D. This looks like the beginning of a new trend. More 3-D features will open in both digital and Imax 3-D formats in 2008. Already scheduled are the U2 concert film "U2 3D" and Summit Entertainment's CG-animated "Fly Me to the Moon." Also, DreamWorks announced this week that its animated 2009 3-D releases "Monsters vs. Aliens" and "How to Train Your Dragon," as well as the 2010 opener "Shrek Goes Fourth," will be released in both digital and Imax 3-D formats.

The release of "Beowulf" will help expose the 3-D format to the widest audience to date. The film will open in 3-D on about 800 screens domestically. Stakeholders agree that this activity is good for 3-D. Says Richard Gelfond, co-chairman and co-CEO of Imax Corp., "The more 3-D the better it is for Imax because as films are produced in 3-D there's more content available." Still, Imax 3-D and digital 3-D represent immensely different economic models. In fact, even digital 3-D has variations, with vendors offering different approaches to projection and viewing. The industry will be closely watching how each of these 3-D models fare as the format evolves.

Digital 3-D is still young, having hatched in late 2005 with the release of Disney's "Chicken Little." This method is enabled by a 3-D system being installed in a theater that is equipped with a digital-cinema projector. About 4,600 digital-cinema projectors have been installed domestically, and many more deployment plans are being worked out. Current 3-D system providers include Real D, Dolby and NuVision. The content is typically distributed on hard drives.

Real D was the first 3-D system out of the gate and represents the lion's share of current installations. At press time, it was expected that there would be about 620 Real D-equipped auditoriums showing "Beowulf" in 3-D this weekend. Real D's technique requires the use of a "silver screen" and "circular polarized" glasses. It enables 3-D on screens maxing out around 47 feet high. For any system, screen size comes down to how much light can get to the screen from the projector.

Dolby recently completed its beta phase, and deployment has started. It expects to have about 30 screens domestically and 75 worldwide for the "Beowulf" opening. Installed systems support on average 40-foot-high screens. Dolby's system doesn't require a special type of screen, using those that are standard in today's theaters, but audiences would use special Dolby glasses.

NuVision also recently began U.S. deployment of its 3-D system, and the company estimated it would have six screens showing "Beowulf" in the U.S. and about 100 in Europe. It doesn't require a special screen.

Imax has been in business for 40 years. Its system is a 70mm film-based projection and distribution model, where the images are rendered on screens reaching from 50 feet high to 70 feet wide to as large as 80 feet high and 100 feet wide. Imax positions itself as a premium experience. "Imax 3-D is the first-class experience," Gelfond says. "Imax 3-D alows people to be 'inside' the movie. ... The screen goes to the peripheral vision of the viewer." He adds: "Digital 3-D has its place. Because of its footprint, it allows a lot of people to see features in 3-D where they otherwise couldn't."

Michael Lewis, CEO of 3-D provider Real D, says: "We feel digital is really the future of where 3-D is going to be. We've focused on 'how do we get this to every multiplex in the world.' "

Deployment costs and models vary. For digital, the projectors in many cases are installed via the virtual print fee model used for 2-D digital cinema by exhibitors -- a separate deal from that with the 3-D provider. Imax models include joint ventures and leasing.

"It actually is two different sets of economics," says Howard Lukk, Disney's vp production technology. "(For instance), the preparation of (Imax) prints is expensive. It's a lot more expensive than for a digital 3-D model." He said models also vary as to who supplies the glasses for digital presentations.

Adds Shindler of digital technology in multiplexes: "From an exhibitor's point of view, in digital, if a movie doesn't play well, they can move another movie in there instantly. In a megaplex, there are always going to be enough movies playing that they can move (a title)."

Shifting to boxoffice expectations, generally insiders predict that the per-theater average for "Beowulf" in 3-D will be two-and-a-half to three times that for the 2-D version. Some say Imax's average might go even higher.

With so many more theaters playing digital 3-D than Imax 3-D, digital would presumably have the higher total boxoffice of the two formats, Schindler says. "Imax can't complete with (about 85) screens, even though seating capacity in many of the Imax theaters is much bigger," he says.

Looking to 2008, many are eager to see what technological developments are on the horizon and what impact they might have on these models. Notably, Imax is developing a digital projection and distribution system for its format that the company expects to launch in June. This could prompt significant change in the company's economics.

As well, Real D has developed a technology it plans to launch next year that it says will allow its system to reach screens as high as 70 feet with a single projector, which the company hopes will help step up deployment in larger auditoriums. Newcomers Dolby and NuVision are only just starting to deploy systems, making them a factor to watch in the coming years.

Digital delivery methods also are likely to shift as more screens mean that distributors can take advantage of economies of scale. Explains Lukk: "It's going to be a hybrid world with some hard drives, satellite and networked fiber-delivery systems."

For the consumer, all of this simply means that there are more opportunities to view a motion picture in 3-D. Shindler points out: "There are a lot of consumers that are not familiar with 3-D, and they are going to go to whatever theater is most convenient for them."

Lewis looks forward to continued movement in 3-D. "Clearly, 3-D is where cinema is going," he says. "We've seen every major studio plus major film directors embrace it. It's going to be the platform for releasing tentpole movies."

By Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter

DivX Acquires MainConcept

"DivX has acquired MainConcept, a leading provider of H.264 and other high-quality video technologies for the broadcast, film, consumer electronics and computer software markets.

The acquisition is a stock and cash transaction valued at approximately $22 million with additional payments of up to approximately $6 million upon the achievement by MainConcept of certain product development goals and certain financial milestones during 2008.

MainConcept designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of high-quality video and audio technology based on industry standards. Its key partners include leading software, entertainment and consumer electronics companies. MainConcept's portfolio of video technologies, including its industry leading H.264 video codec, is expected to extend the DivX common media language to additional platforms and formats. The combination of DivX and MainConcept is intended to create a company with substantial scale and resources to deliver products and services that offer the consumer a powerful, yet seamless high-quality media experience."

Source: BroadcastBuyer

Beyoncé to Experience D-cinema

"Beyoncé is the latest recording artist to book a digital cinema date. "The Beyoncé Experience" will be shown on 96 2-D digital cinema theater screens nationwide for a one night-only engagement on Nov. 19. The distributor is The Bigger Picture, the alternative content distribution division of Access Integrated Technologies.

The Beyoncé concert film was lensed at the Staples Center on Sept. 2 in Los Angeles. The program will contain Beyoncé's full concert performance -- more than two hours of music -- and include performances by guest artist Jay-Z as well as that evening's reunion of "Destiny's Child."

By Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter

ETI and Panasonic Make Plans

"With an ever emergent 3D digital theatre expansion in 2008, award-winning company Edward Technologies (ETI) continues to fortify the marketplace with their 3D Digital systems. Through a valuable partnership with Panasonic, one which includes an exclusive 100% theater financing package, each group combines years of experience and talent in a variety of 3D projection and technology applications to deliver optimal digital 3D entertainment.

The goals of ETI and Panasonic are aimed at developing fully integrated production packages for digital cinemas while offering a variety of cost-effective approaches to meet customer’s needs to drive the out-of-home destination experience. From the large format theatre to smaller venues, each attraction is specially tailored and engineered to meet today’s advanced technologies.

Adding to this team’s list of accomplishments is the recent opening of the 3D/4D Theater at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, CA. This unique 130-seat theater has been developed to use leading-edge technology systems with enhancements for the full-sensory experience.

Edwards Technologies, a southern California-based technology solutions company, founded in 1984, specializes in audio, visual, show control, and digital cinema. ETI’s scope of services includes technical design, engineering, project management, programming and media content."

Source: Digital Cinematography

Imax Signs 4-Film Deal with DreamWorks Animation

"Imax and DreamWorks Animation have agreed to release the studio's first three 3D motion pictures worldwide in Imax 3D: "Monsters vs. Aliens" in March 2009, "How to Train Your Dragon" in November 2009 and "Shrek Goes Forth" in May 2010. A fourth DreamWorks title, "Kung Fu Panda," will be released in Imax's 2D format in June 2008. The films will be distributed by Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom.

Earlier this year, DreamWorks announced plans to release all its computer animated films in 3D starting in 2009. It was welcome news for all that had a stake in the emerging 3D film industry, such as privately held Real D, the leading provider of digital 3D projection technology. At the time, DreamWorks made no specific mention of Imax and its giant-screen format.

DreamWorks had planned to release the original "Shrek" movie in Imax 3D in 2000, but the idea proved to be several years ahead of its time. The release was cancelled due to financial issues gripping Imax and the exhibition industry back then.

But Imax is now on the threshold of a transition to digital, and the slate of DreamWorks 3D titles it announced Wednesday is expected to be among the first presented with its new digital projection system, scheduled to be launched in June. Gelfond said the potential of the new Imax digital projector "facilitated" the agreement with DreamWorks because the cost drops to almost zero compared to $45,000 for one Imax 3D print.

One exhibition industry source said the expense of Imax prints and the complexity of transporting them has long been an issue for Hollywood studios and commercial exhibitors, but should be addressed with the introduction of the Imax digital projector. "When it becomes digital, you're talking about a whole new model," the source said.

If the DreamWorks films are big at the Imax box office, that could be enough to lure other studios, namely Walt Disney, into the Imax camp as well, the source added.

While a 40-minute computer-animated film, "Sea Monsters," opened in both digital 3D and Imax 3D last month, the release of Paramount's "Beowulf" this weekend marks the first time a feature film is released in both 3D formats. The source said the overall results at the box office were modest, but sales at Imax theaters were "substantially higher" compared to the majority of digital 3D presentations.

"Beowulf" is expected to be the widest digital 3D release ever, in the neighborhood of 1,100 digital screens. By comparison, the film will open in 124 Imax theaters worldwide.

A film industry source said the Imax-DreamWorks deal shouldn't come as a surprise, as the studios want as many "eyeballs as possible" for their 3D films and Imax understands it's not alone in delivering 3D to audiences. Most studios see 5,000 screens as the magic number, and a pipeline of 3D content, such as James Cameron's "Avatar," together with the Imax-Dreamworks releases, should help make that happen by 2009, the source added."

CNN Money

$8 billion Digital Cinema Market Beckons: Half of All Screens Will Be Digital by 2013

"The conversion of the world’s cinema screens to digital technology is at last under way, opening up a potential $8 billion equipment market at today’s prices. As soon as 2013 half of all cinema screens worldwide could employ digital technology in place of traditional 35 mm projectors, according to the latest Digital Cinema Report by analysts Dodona Research.

After more than a decade in development, digital cinema took off in 2007 with 4,627 screens converted by September, approaching 5% of the global total. The beginnings of widespread adoption of the new technology has been facilitated by the emergence of third parties willing to finance the huge conversion costs. These so-called integrators typically finance purchase of the equipment, seeking to repay loans by levying an array of usage charges. While the cost of installation, maintenance contracts and sometimes content delivery charges are paid by exhibitors, the main source of revenues to support conversion comes from so-called virtual print fees. These are paid by film distributors out of their notional savings from not having to strike 35 mm film prints.

The report observes that, while most of the debate about digital cinema has revolved around film distributors and exhibitors, in practice these businesses will be relatively little affected compared to film processing laboratories and the film transport business. In particular, the $1.5 billion market for release printing will, the report predicts, all but disappear, while in the long run the film transport business will be superseded by delivery by satellite or over other digital networks.

With one provider, Access Integrated Technologies, responsible for 80% of digital cinema installations to date, it would be premature to judge how robust current business models will prove. In essence most participants in this market are seeking to develop networks of digital cinemas and then build revenues from providing a range of services such as mastering and delivering digital films, supplying alternative content, screen advertising services, and upgrades and maintenance of software and equipment.

After Access, the three leading companies in this area are XDC, Arts Alliance Media and Technicolor, each with a market share in the region of 6-7%. Equipment markets are also dominated by a small number of companies. Christie has a 77% share of the 2K and 4K digital projector market, followed by Barco with 14% and NEC with a little under 8%; in servers Doremi has a near 80% share of 2k and 4k installations, followed by Dolby with 9% and XDC, with 5%.

Digital cinema primarily makes sense in terms of networks, so installations tend to be concentrated in clusters. 78% of all digital cinema screens are in the United States, and 40% in the cinemas of a single circuit, Carmike Cinemas. The second largest number of screens is in the United Kingdom, thanks to the UK Film Council’s initiative in establishing the Digital Screen Network, while South Korea, where three exhibitors, Megabox, Lotte and CJ CGV, are committing to digital cinema to serve one of the world’s most tech-savvy audiences, is third.

The countries where the progress of the technology is most advanced, however, are Luxembourg, Singapore and Belgium. Half of Luxembourg’s screens are already digital due to the rapid embrace of the new technology by its leading exhibitor, Utopia. In Singapore the Eng Wah circuit was supported in converting to digital as long ago as 2004 by the city state’s development agencies, as part of a strategy to establish Singapore as a digital hub in the region. In Belgium, another initiative by a leading exhibitor, the Kinepolis Group, saw 10% of the country’s screens converted by September 2007 with plans to convert most of its circuit by the end of the year.

With more than 50% of the market soon to be digital in Belgium and Luxembourg, it is likely that there will soon be pressures to complete the conversion process, due to the high costs of so called dual-running of digital and 35 mm distribution systems. This could become a highly politicized process if, as is widely feared in Europe, smaller exhibitors are not able to access equipment at an affordable cost.

The main factor slowing further adoption, according to the report, has been the absence of any obvious source of extra revenues from installing the new technology. While cinema exhibitors have been quick to note the benefits to distributors of much lower print costs, they have been sceptical about the potential impact of alternative or non-traditional content, for example sports events or concerts, on their bottom lines. Although Dodona believes this scepticism is misplaced, seeing classic movies as a particularly promising source of higher revenues, instead there is a consensus building up that 3D will be the driver that takes the market to the next level.

Two rival systems from Real-D and Dolby have different advantages and disadvantages but Real-D, which was earlier to market, dominates in installations, with 423 in place by September 2007 and more than 1,000 expected for the North American release of Beowulf, compared to perhaps 75 to 80 Dolby systems by the same date. Barring mishaps, these numbers are expected to grow exponentially to 2009, when a number of high profile films, made explicitly to exploit the 3D medium, are due to be released, including Avatar from James Cameron, Monsters vs Aliens and the first film in a series featuring TinTin.

With at least 5,000 3D systems expected to be in place by 2009, this will clearly provide a considerable impetus to the digital conversion process, as these 3D systems need a digital projector to bolt onto. The Odeon UCI circuit, for example, has announced its intention to install 500 3D systems despite today having fewer than 100 screens converted to digital.

The consultants counsel against over-confidence in this market. Financing the equipment is complex and difficult conditions in financial markets could derail progress by making money more expensive and leading financiers to question future revenue assumptions more stringently. The report’s author, Karsten-Peter Grummitt notes the importance of game theory in understanding this market. The equipment manufacturers want to defray their R&D costs; the distributors want to make the minimum financial contribution possible to conversion; exhibitors wonder whether potential new revenue sources will justify the investment. “Nevertheless,” says Grummitt, “the next step in the market’s evolution is probably going to need a fall in the price of equipment, or higher virtual print fees, or bigger exhibitor contributions, or all of these. Strategies in this market need to move on from the ‘who pays?’ face-off of the last few years to focus on how to get this done.”

Source: Digital Cinema Buyers Guide

QuVIS Announces 3D JPEG2000 Support for the QuVIS Cinema Player

"QuVIS has successfully integrated support for the new DCI JPEG2000 3D format in the QuVIS Cinema Player. The DCI JPEG2000 3D format is comprised of two 12-bit 4:4:4 video streams, left eye and right eye, stored in a single image track file. During playback, the QuVIS Cinema Player decodes the image track file and separates left eye and right eye picture data into two separate synchronized output video streams.

The QuVIS Cinema Player can be used for 3D stereoscopic exhibition using either passive or active visualization technology. 3D Passive viewing is achieved by projecting two images onto the same screen using orthogonal (linear) or circular polarizing filters. The viewer wears low-cost eyeglasses fitted with the polarizing filters needed for that display type. In 3D Active viewing the viewer wears LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) shutter glasses that receive a wireless signal from the projector to open and close the lens shutters on the glasses in an alternate-frame sequencing method.

The QuVIS Cinema Player, the central component of QuVIS’ Digital Cinema Network solution, is an elite multi-format playback server that has been designed to meet the performance, security and reliability needed for years of faithful service. The QuVIS Cinema Player not only provides the basic Digital Cinema functionality (e.g. 2K and 3D JPEG2000 playback and local content loading) but also features many advanced server capabilities including: 2K playback of a 4K Digital Cinema Composition, Network-based content loading even during active playback, Secure Logging and Reporting, Forensic Watermarking, and full theater automation programming and controls."

Source: DCinemaToday

Real D Eases Path to 3-D for Theaters

"Digital 3-D system provider Real D has developed a technology with the potential to allow a greater number of digital-cinema-equipped theaters to offer the stereoscopic format.

"It will allow us with single projectors to reach much bigger screens," Real D president Joshua Greer said. "Where we've been limited to much smaller screens, we can now reach as high as a 70-foot screen with a single projector. We were typically maxing (out) at about 46 or 47 feet for scope."

The challenge has been the inefficiency of light in 3-D projection. "3-D is about sending images to your left and right eye," Greer said. "We basically divide up the light. Half of the light is conditioned to work for one eye, and half is conditioned to work for the other. Light that has not been passed from one eye to the other has essentially been lost in the past. Now we can be very efficient."

Real D CEO Michael Lewis said the challenge of light has until now resulted in missed opportunities, noting that the problem was keeping 3-D from being a viable option in about 15%-20% of domestic screens -- those being the largest.

Added Greer, "Now we get demands from our exhibitors saying that they want to be in the biggest house, and we have to say no because we want to make sure there is enough light on the screen."

Today, projection of 3-D imagery on larger screens typically is accomplished with two d-cinema projectors stacked one on top of the other and used simultaneously. But acquiring and maintaining two d-cinema projectors for a single auditorium is not practical for exhibitors.

Real D expects to have the modified 3-D systems for larger theaters and incorporating this new technology available in 2008."

By Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter

Dolby, Real D Taking on Another Dimension in Movies

"For more than 30 years, Dolby Laboratories has enriched the sound of movies. Now, the San Francisco pioneer is looking to revolutionize the visual experience as well, with newfangled 3-D films.

The company is marketing filtering technology that enables theaters to show high-definition, 3-D movies with the digital projectors they already use.

This week will mark the first real, albeit small, deployment of Dolby's new product, with the release of the adventure film "Beowulf." The motion-capture animated film, by director Robert Zemeckis and featuring Anthony Hopkins and Angelina Jolie, is at the vanguard of a new wave of digital 3-D movies backed by some of Hollywood's most talented directors.

Dolby's just getting started in the market, where its biggest competitor is Real D of Beverly Hills. About 80 theaters will be using Dolby's product to show "Beowulf," compared with 1,100 worldwide that will be employing Real D's technology.

Together, the companies and the studios are providing consumers with an experience that promises real visual immersion. It's more than gimmicks, such as objects being tossed at the audience.

"Digital 3-D is like high-definition TV," said Jeff McNall, cinema product manager for Dolby. "Once you see it, it's hard to go back to old TV."

Dolby is not new to images. Founder Ray Dolby started his career making videotape recorders. But his business primarily was dedicated to noise reduction, and later to high-quality audio technology now used in movies, CDs and video games.

A few years ago, the company began manufacturing video servers that allow theaters to store their movies digitally and decrypt them for playback using digital projectors, which started gaining popularity in 2005.

It's these digital projectors that are enabling high-definition 3-D movies to come to life on the consumer end. Instead of lining up two film projectors, theaters can use one digital projector and then convert it to 3-D using technology from Real D and Dolby.

Dolby has created a filter for projectors that breaks 3-D images into red, blue and green bands of light that are recognized by layered 3-D glasses. Gone are the days of the throwaway paper-frame glasses. With the Dolby glasses costing about $50 each, theaters will need to wash them after each viewing, and viewers won't be able to take them home as souvenirs.

The advantage of Dolby's system is that theaters don't have to install aluminized silver screens like they do with the Real D product. And theater owners can move 3-D movies to any of their screens, making room on bigger screens for new releases.

"This allows a multiplex to be able to use 3-D efficiently," said McNall. "They can open a 3-D movie on opening weekend with a large screen and then they can go to a smaller screen later."

The Real D system projects sequential polarized images onto the aluminized screen, which maintains the polarization so viewers can see the images on their glasses. Real D Chief Executive Officer and founder Michael Lewis said past projection systems have never provided a dynamic and consistent 3-D experience. The digital 3-D system, he said, is finally delivering on the original promise of 3-D in the 1950s.

"We're binocular beings. We see with depth, yet all our media is flat. We've tried with red and green glasses, but it's never been good enough until now," Lewis said. "We're using this combination of 3-D science and digital projectors to create a perfect experience every time."

Hollywood's biggest names are lining up behind 3-D. Director James Cameron of "Titanic" fame has been working for the past decade on 3-D cameras that are lightweight, incorporate two lenses in the body and are able to capture big action and close-up scenes, something older 3-D camera setups were unable to do.

The technical advances have excited the likes of directors Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg, who are collaborating on a series of animated films about a Belgian character named Tintin.

George Lucas is intrigued by the potential of 3-D, his company said, and is considering re-releasing his "Star Wars" movies in the format. All of the major studios have 3-D movies in the works, including a $195 million blockbuster titled "Avatar."

The first live-action movie to be shot in digital 3-D, as opposed to being animated or altered from 2-D, is next year's "Journey 3-D," a retelling of Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth." Beau Flynn, a producer on "Journey," said Hollywood is falling in love with digital 3-D now that the technical hurdles have been cleared.

"We're able to make a real story and not rely on 3-D gimmicks," said Flynn. "We owe it to the audience because we haven't really changed the theater experience in over 30 years."

For movie theater chains, digital 3-D is appealing on a number of levels. Regal Entertainment Group, the largest in the United States, will charge $2.50 more for a 3-D presentation. And they're popular: "Meet the Robinsons," a 3-D animated film released earlier this year, earned more than a third of its $98 million domestically from 3-D showings, even though only one-sixth of the screens were able to show the film in 3-D.

Dick Westerling, senior vice president of marketing for Regal Entertainment Group, said the company has outfitted 134 of its more than 6,000 screens for 3-D.

But he imagines that theaters could eventually deploy 3-D on about 20 percent of their screens because of its appeal with viewers and its money-making potential.

Chris Chinnock, president of Insight media, a market research firm focused on the electronic display industry, said the next few years will be big for 3-D, as digital projectors become more common and more creators see the potential behind 3-D storytelling.

"There are a lot of titles coming up in the next couple years that will build up to 2009. That's shaping up as a critical year for 3-D movies," Chinnock said. "If we continue to see good returns and enthusiasms from consumers, we should get some good hits from these movies."

Upcoming 3-D projects
- "Beowulf," the motion-capture animated retelling of the epic Anglo-Saxon poem. Nov. 16.

- "U2 3D," a 3-D movie of the Irish band's Vertigo tour. January 2008.

- "Journey 3-D," a remake of the Jules Verne story "Journey to the Center of the Earth". August 2008.

- Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson have plans to direct and produce three 3-D films based on Georges Remi's Belgian comic-strip hero Tintin. Expected 2009 release.

- Beginning in 2009, all DreamWorks films will be in 3-D, starting with "Monsters vs. Aliens," "How to Train Your Dragon" and "Shrek 4."

By Ryan Kim, San Francisco Chronicle

Half of Screens to Be Digital by 2013

"Half of worldwide screens will be digital by 2013, according to a report by cinema analysts Dodona Research.

This year has seen an explosion in digital conversion with 4,627 screens, 5% of the global total, switched to digital up to September.

Penetration is deepest in the U.S., home to 78% of the world’s digital screens. The U.K. and South Korea boast the second and third most digital screens.

Other advanced Euro digital cinema territories are Luxembourg and Belgium, where aggressive conversion led by forward thinking exhib circuits Utopia and Kinepolis, respectively, means almost 50% of both small markets are digital.

Report predicts upcoming slew of high-profile 3-D releases will increase exhib’s appetite for digital conversion.

Dodona points to the example of the Odeon UCI circuit, which has announced its intention to install 500 3-D systems, despite having fewer than 100 screens converted to digital at present.

Recent widespread adoption has been facilitated by the emergence of third party integrators willing to cover the large conversion costs, says the Dodona report.

These integrators typically finance purchase of the equipment, seeking to repay loans by levying an array of usage charges. While the cost of installation, maintenance contracts and sometimes content delivery charges are paid by exhibitors, the main source of revenues to support conversion comes from virtual print fees. These are paid by distributors out of their notional savings from not having to strike 35 mm film prints.

The report, although upbeat on the prospects for continued conversion, does identify a variety of hurdles standing in the way of the d-cinema revolution.

“The next step in the market’s evolution is probably going to need a fall in the price of equipment, or higher virtual print fees, or bigger exhibitor contributions, or all of these,” report author Karsten-Peter Grummitt said. “Strategies in this market need to move on from the ‘who pays?’ face-off of the last few years to focus on how to get this done.”

Source: Variety

2D Films Converted to 3D with No Up Front Costs

"San Diego 3D technology company PassmoreLab has offered to convert existing 2D films to stereoscopic 3D, for theatrical or television release, with no up front costs. In an unprecedented deal, PassmoreLab will take existing 2D content and convert it into stereoscopic 3D for a back-end royalty of 50 percent of moneys derived from the 3D release. All up front costs of the conversion will be paid in full by PassmoreLab using its facilities in South Africa and San Diego.

According to PassmoreLab owner, Greg Passmore, "The content owner provides us masters, we convert it to 3D with care and attention to detail and prepare the 3D masters for release. This allows legacy animation to be re-released and generate new revenue streams without any effort or cash from content owners. We especially love converting animation since this hits a sweet spot of 3D demographics."

This is a significant opportunity as 3D is clearly becoming a very popular and profitable format in the entertainment industry. In July of 2006, Columbia Pictures released "Monster House" in 2D and 3D. It grossed $22 million on opening weekend and more than 11 percent of that gross came from the 3D version which was only shown on 5 percent of the screens. Likewise, when Disney released "Meet the Robinsons" in standard and Disney Digital 3D in March of 2007, one third of its $88.4 million in box office receipts came from the 3D version which was shown on 11 percent of the screens.

Those kind of box office numbers make converting 2D to 3D a very attractive endeavor. PassmoreLab has already started conversion on a number of projects including Sunrise Productions "Jungle Beat" series. Sunrise Producer, Phil Cunningham, is excited about the opportunity to work with PassmoreLab on this effort, "PassmoreLab is an amazing partner to team up with. The work they do is cutting-edge, amazing."

Source: Stereoscopy.com

Digital Will Take Hold in 2008

"This week Access Integrated Technologies announced the completion of phase one of its digital cinema deployment and unveiled phase two, a three-year, 10,000-screen rollout that will commence in the first quarter of next year. Although the company’s release was short on details—which exhibitors and distributors would be participating in this second stage have yet to be revealed—the move is significant for a few reasons.

First, it solidifies what Boxoffice reported in the pages of its November issue—that 2008 is poised to be the year that a hypothetical chart of digital cinema installations goes into a steep curve toward complete conversion. AccessIT is the uncontested leader in North American deployment. Nearing 3,750 screens, the software firm and third-party integrator has digitized 10 percent of the U.S. marketplace. 10,000 more accounts for more than one-third.

Meanwhile, Digital Cinema Implementation Partners, a joint venture owned by top circuits AMC, Cinemark and Regal, is poised to pull the trigger on digitizing the 15,000 screens it represents in the first half of 2008. Technicolor Digital Cinema, another third-party integrator, expects to segue from its digital beta test to a larger deployment now that Digital Cinema Initiatives has announced a Compliance Test Plan for the integration of its technology specification. And Cinema Buying Group, a digital cinema co-op for independent exhibitors, met to discuss the responses to its Request for Proposals during ShowEast, with implementation possible as early as the first part of next year.

In 2008, digital will be coming more and more often to a theatre near you.

What’s particularly interesting to the industry about AccessIT’s announcement is that the new plan “will build on the valued relationships established with Christie USA and Doremi Labs Inc. ... while tapping into the substantial additional resources of other interested vendors.” When AccessIT Digital Cinema launched in June 2005 as Christie/AIX, the company had an exclusive agreement with its namesake projector manufacturer. Both firms deserve kudos for kick-starting the process, but the arrangement limited equipment options for exhibitors.

In my conversations with AccessIT execs over the past year or more, they’ve emphasized that Christie “has been and will continue to be a valued partner” but that the quantities of equipment that will be required for a phase-two deployment demand relationships with additional vendors. In addition, exhibitors may prefer to work with another supplier.

As a result, Barco and NEC, who, like Christie, are licensees of Texas Instruments’ DLP Cinema technology but have been shut out of the industry’s most aggressive rollout of digital cinema, may be able to join AccessIT’s deployment. And exhibitors may have the option of choosing Sony’s 4K-resolution projection system or Dolby’s 3D solution (versus Doremi-compatible Real D).

Note, however, that no additional vendors have been named yet.

Finally, AccessIT’s phase-two agreements with distributors, which use “substantially” the same virtual print fee model as in phase one, are “structured so they may be amended to international deployment as well.” The rollout of digital cinema overseas has been more challenging than in the U.S. due to more fragmented markets with less reliance on Hollywood studio product. That an international consideration has been worked into AccessIT’s phase two agreements indicates global digitization is one small step closer to being realized."

By Annlee Ellingson, Boxoffice

TDF Acquires T-Systems' Media&Broadcast

"TDF’s acquisition of Media&Broadcast will give rise to the leading European TV and radio transmission group. The two market leaders in France and Germany will be joining forces in a merger of equals and constitute a new group based on two strong pillars in these two countries. The TDF group already has an operational presence in 7 European countries. It will now reach a new European dimension with Media&Broadcast’s leading position in the German market.

Media&Broadcast, the leading TV and radio transmission company in Germany, posted 2006 revenues of €526 million. It is a highly innovative company, building and operating analogue and digital broadcasting networks including DVB-T, DAB, DMB and DVB-H networks. It also offers satellite, contribution and multi-media services. Media&Broadcast owns numerous TV and radio frequencies in Germany and holds the recently awarded DVB-H national mobile TV “frequency” license. It is also a pioneer in the development of digital cinema in Europe.

Pro forma, consolidated revenues of the TDF group will now amount to €1.6 billion (2007 estimate), backed by over 5000 employees in 8 European countries.

The merger of TDF and Media&Broadcast also represents an opportunity for the emergence of a strong digital market in Europe. Both France and Germany just adopted DVB-H as the main future standard for broadcast Mobile TV, opening the way for a parallel roll out of the service in the two countries with standardized handsets and applications. The merger of the two leading broadcast network operators will also foster the choice of a European standard for digital radio. In addition, the combination of TDF and Media&Broacast will help promote the roll-out of digital cinema in Europe.

About TDF
TDF Group is a leading terrestrial broadcast service operator in Europe, with a presence in France, Finland, Hungary, Spain, the Netherlands, Estonia and Poland. It offers a broad range of services to radio and TV broadcasters and telecoms operators.

In radio and TV, TDF is present throughout the value chain including capture and processing of content, contribution, play out, distribution, analogue and digital terrestrial transmission of radio and TV programs (including in HD and mobile TV). In telecoms, TDF rolls out networks, hosts the equipment of operators on its 7 800 sites in Europe, and performs maintenance. As a local loop network radio operator, TDF markets broadband services to internet service providers. As a key player in audiovisual/telecommunications convergence, TDF assists its customers in the digital world.

Source: TDF

Dolby Laboratories to Acquire Coding Technologies

"Dolby Laboratories has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Coding Technologies, a privately held provider of audio compression technologies for the mobile, digital broadcast, and Internet markets, for a purchase price of approximately $250 million net of cash.

This acquisition will broaden Dolby's technology portfolio and expertise for emerging low-bandwidth media applications. The acquisition is expected to close very soon and the closing mechanics are currently in process."

Source: BroadcastBuyer

Kulabyte Announces New SD And HD Live Encoding Broadcast Appliance Product for Real-Time Web Streaming

"Kulabyte will be launching a revolutionary real time series of broadcast appliances, Express GreenStream the industry’s first VP6 and H.264 live video encoding appliance for full SD and soon, HD resolutions.

This new solution uses Kulabyte’s patent-pending TimeSlice video encoding technology to deliver 2 pass VBR qualities in live encoding and streaming environments in a lightweight, ½ half- width, 1RU box with solid state storage and low power multi-core CPU’s. Express GreenStream uses only 50 watts of power at peak load.

The Kulabyte Express encoding solutions enable faster-than-real-time video encoding, providing noticeably better picture quality and significant bandwidth savings, while utilizing industry standard codec engines. Media creators can encode, and distribute digital content at speeds more than 12 times as fast as the industry-standard codecs alone, and deliver higher picture qualities in live streaming applications.

A three-year old start-up company, Kulabyte is developing its patent-pending TimeSlice video encoding technology for a wide variety of applications. The company has introduced early versions of the technology at previous NAB and IBC industry conferences, as well as at other industry trade shows. The company has announced engagements previously with leading microprocessor company AMD, as well as On2 Technologies, Adobe and BlueFish 444."

Source: BroadcastBuyer

REAL D Technology

"I am the chief scientist at REAL D and developed the REAL D system that is installed in more than 1000 theatres worldwide. There are several performance issues that deserve some clarification. This system uses an electronic polarization modulator (called a Z screen) at the projector which alternates between left and right circular polarization, and matching circular polarization glasses.

1. All the modulation systems (REAL D, or shutter glasses, or spectral division) have similar efficiency, which is driven by the fact that the projector output is time multiplexed between eyes (a 50% hit) and each system further divides the light through either polarization or color spectrum division - reducing an additional 50% of the light. This leaves theoretically 25% of the light available for each eye. In addition, more light is lost because the polarization or color splitting isn't perfectly efficient.

2. Polarization systems (linear and circular) require a silver screen. Silver screens have one significant benefit - they have gain, and will deliver more light back to the audience. A 2.4 gain silver screen will deliver an image twice as bright as a 1.2 gain silver screen. Light distribution from silver screens is indeed not as broad as a matte white screen, but the light distribution is significantly better on current screens than it was 5 or 10 years ago. (half gain full angle of 52 degrees). Correct curvature of the silver screen helps to deliver an even illumination to the audience. The silver screen requires less light to light it to the equivalent level of luminance, thus giving the opportunity to use less power or light a larger screen (or light it brighter) than a white screen. (In practice for a 40' screen, it results in electrical and lamp cost saving of >$1000 per year, and the electricity savings alone reduce the amount of CO2 produced annually by 3 tons per screen.)

3. Silver screens look a little different. They induce a slight shift in white (less than .005 in x and y). This is accurately corrected in digital projection through projector calibration so the color of intended images is correct. Silver screens manage light scatter in the theatre better than white, resulting in slightly higher contrast and slightly higher saturation in the image as viewed by the audience. (almost the difference between vision and vision premiere film.)

4. Ghosting does differ from system to system. The actual physical leakage through the system is higher in circular polarized systems than other systems - in practice is between 50:1 and 100:1 in the REAL D system. This can be mitigated by ghost pre-correction where the ghosting between left and right images is predicted by a model and pre-corrected for in the projected image so the image as seen by the eye is ghost free. In practice this moves the ghost image to 300:1 to 500:1 in most projected images on the REAL D system, leaving them visually ghost free.

5. Circular polarization allows the viewer to tip his head without inducing ghosting, and provides a significant advantage. Eyewear using high quality circular polarizers is sufficiently inexpensive (<$1.00) that it does not need to be collected and re-used. That said, refurbishment programs are in process to re-use eyewear which is refurbished at a central location, relieving the exhibitor of the need to manage the inventory (as is required with shutter glasses and color separation systems.)"

By Matt Cowan, CML-3D

'Hyenas' pose for first feature film shot in 4K

"There has been plenty of exploration in production and post circles about 4K -- four times the picture information in today's commonly used 2K resolution -- as an option for everything from film mastering and projection to restoration.

Developing 4K cameras also has fostered a good deal of conversation, and now one such device -- Dalsa's Origin II 4K digital cinematography camera -- has completed its first outing on a feature-length film.

LeVar Burton's directorial debut, "Tempting Hyenas," was recently lensed with the Dalsa camera in Los Angeles. Mark Wolfe and Susan Rodgers produced the AMediaVision Prods. film.

Starring Alfre Woodard, Seymour Cassel and Burton, "Hyenas" tells the story of Alvin W. Pierce (Cassel), who discovers that life can be worth living and more meaningful when he is forced to spend his last days with a new roommate (Johnny Whitworth) at the Jolly Roger Hospice.

"It sounded like a perfect project for the Dalsa, based on what they wanted to do," director of photography Kris Krosskove says. "I'm thrilled that it came together. It gave us a chance to work with the camera, and so far everything is going well."

Adds Burton: "The camera's image is fantastic; it's amazing what it can do."

The feature was lensed in 21 days, shooting indoors and outdoors. Images were recorded in a 4K uncompressed form to a Codex recorder. Observing on set, Dalsa president Rob Hummel says: "It's cool to see that Kris is taking full advantage of the resolution that is available, as well as the dynamic range."

Critical to the project was data management -- a key point in 4K evaluation -- which was handled by the team at Hollywood-based Post Logic.

When the cameras were not rolling, they were recording the material to Ciprico disk packs. These were sent back to the post house, where backups were made, while images were prepared in the appropriate format and sent to other departments like editorial. "We wanted to make sure everything that we shot is backed up and at our disposal," says Mitch J. Bogdanowicz, executive vp imaging science at Post Logic.

Post Logic vp software engineering Denis Leconte estimates that the feature -- including rough cut and original source material -- will total 20-30 terabytes of data, and the master alone will require about 8TB.

Leconte says that Post Logic intends to archive the original 4K footage, the master and at least one render, all of which he believes will total about 20TB of data, which will be stored on digital tapes.

Post Logic is handling the film's final conform and digital color grading.

Red's Red One is the only other 4K camera available. Insiders say additional manufacturers are working on such systems."

By Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter

EDCF Guide to Digital Cinema Mastering

The European Digital Cinema Forum (EDCF) has released an excellent Guide to Digital Cinema Mastering.

Access Integrated Technologies Announces Plans for New Digital Cinema Deployment Plan Targeting 10,000 Screens

"Further solidifying its global leadership in Digital Cinema, Access Integrated Technologies (“AccessIT”) today announced its intent to provide up to an additional 10,000 networked Digital Cinema systems to exhibitors across the United States and Canada. The Company has reached substantial agreement with several of the major movie distributors who fully supported its initial “Phase One” deployment of close to 3,750 screens, completed last month. Agreements are structured so they may be amended to international deployment as well. AccessIT also is in active negotiations with several exhibition chains that were ready to commit to “Phase One” but were unable to participate due to timing. This “Phase Two” deployment is anticipated to begin in the first quarter of 2008 and to continue for three years. While AccessIT has not yet executed final agreements, announcements regarding studio and exhibitor signings are expected shortly.

AccessIT’s new plan will build on the valued relationships established with Christie USA and Doremi Labs both domestically and internationally while tapping into the substantial additional resources of other interested vendors. Utilizing AccessIT’s unique vendor neutral software and systems architecture will aid AccessIT in providing approved choices of equipment for each theatre at the best possible terms. AccessIT has announced to potential vendors that it will entertain proposals for inclusion in the plan and anticipates selecting only those who meet AccessIT’s high standards of performance, reliability and service.

As with its earlier deployment, this plan utilizes a “Virtual Print Fee” or VPF model and is substantially the same as the one announced by AccessIT with the industry in June 2005 and commenced in November of that year. This innovative template has been used to financially support the installation of networked digital cinema systems to more than 10 percent of screens in the United States."

Source: DCinemaToday

OpenCube Signs Partnership Agreement with Digital Rapids

OpenCube Technologies has signed an OEM partnership agreement with Digital Rapids Corporation, which will integrate OpenCube’s MXFTk and MXFTk Reader into enhanced MXF options for its acclaimed media encoding and transcoding solutions.

In doing so, Digital Rapids will significantly extend the range of MXF capabilities offered to its customers. The MXF format has now reached maturity and its high level of interoperability is enabling the broadcast industry to significantly optimize digital workflows. In addition, the powerful MXF exchange standard provides all the tools required by encoding and transcoding solution providers for efficient media file exchanges and metadata management.

Digital Rapids is a leading manufacturer of innovative, multi-format ingest, encoding and transcoding hardware and software, with customers including leading studios, broadcast networks and post production facilities. The addition of OpenCube’s MXF technology enhances Digital Rapids’ current MXF support with new features including MXF writing, furthering the company’s reputation for products with outstanding format flexibility. The new MXF options will be available for Digital Rapids’ StreamZ, StreamZHD and DRC-Stream media encoding systems and the Digital Rapids Transcode Manager enterprise-level transcoding software. In addition to the MXFTk, OpenCube has added MXFTK Reader (Direct Show Filter) for instant and easy MXF-file reading. The bundle enables users to efficiently manage digital workflows, from manipulating MXF-file formats –whatever their essence format– to real-time play back and metadata updating.

Digital Rapids opted to incorporate the MXFT bundle because of the solution’s high performance and reliability. Another key factor was its flexibility and the fact that it could be easily integrated in a short period of time.

“The MXF format is a key standard for media interchange in acquisition, production and broadcast workflows,” said Brick Eksten, President of Digital Rapids Corporation. “We selected OpenCube’s tools not only for the quality of the MXF toolset, but also for the high level of expertise the company’s technical team was able to offer during our development, enabling us to implement the toolkit quickly and seamlessly.”

“We are very pleased at how rapidly the MXF file format is being adopted,” says Benoit Février, CEO of OpenCube. “After IBC 2007, we had many requests from broadcasting companies interested in OpenCube technology and in solutions that would allow them to integrate MXF capabilites directly and professionally. It is a privilege to be working with Digital Rapids, clearly a leader in its field.”

Source: BroadcastBuyer