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London—Dec 19, 2006
Odeon Announces Europe’s First DCI Compliant Fully Digital Multiplexes
ODEON & UCI Cinemas is announcing a ground-breaking step in digital projection. Two of the cinema chain’s larger sites – at Hatfield (Hertfordshire), and at Surrey Quays (London Docklands) – are having end-to-end, state-of-the-art digital projection systems installed in all 18 screens, to the industry agreed DCI standards. This makes them the first multiplex sites in Europe to be fully digital and fully DCI compliant.
Cinemas have traditionally projected using celluloid film. Digital projection means that the film is held digitally on a secure server at the cinema. The benefit to the audience is the improved picture quality on screen, which is maintained over the entire life of the film because the digital image will never degrade.
Digital projection not only provides increased exhibition efficiencies because a movie can be easily expanded to multiple screens (which cannot be accomplished with conventional 35mm film prints), but it will also facilitate the evolution of 3D cinema and other exciting new applications. Another clear advantage is that the film will be encrypted and watermarked, which will serve to help reduce piracy.
The decision to go fully digital provides ODEON and the rest of the industry with a valuable learning opportunity. This will include testing the working systems, the security systems, the content supply systems and the economic model. ODEON will also of course gather customer feedback. This testing and feedback will enable ODEON to prepare its future digital roll out plans, and agree these along with the economic model, with Film Distributors and technology providers.
The following distributors are already committed to participating in the two-cinema deployment: Lionsgate UK, Paramount Pictures, Pathé Distribution, Sony Pictures Releasing International, Twentieth Century Fox, and Universal Pictures International. More distributors and content providers will be joining during the course of the test deployment.
Technology suppliers Kodak, NEC and Bell Theatre Services will install and maintain the equipment at Hatfield, while Cinemeccanica, Doremi and Arts Alliance will support Surrey Quays, during the test.
To date, digital projectors have been installed on a limited basis. This is the first time a whole multiplex cinema has been equipped and is DCI compliant. This enables a digital master to be transferred from screen to screen negating the need for an analogue print to be present at the cinema and creating key savings.
Rupert Gavin, CEO ODEON & UCI Cinemas said; “We’re delighted to be leading the digital revolution - this is an exciting time for both ODEON and for the industry. Despite having digital technology for some time, this will be the first time we’ve seen whole cinemas going digital on this scale in Europe. This is an invaluable step if we are to make digital a reality for all our cinemas and deliver the economic benefits – something we hope to get right and implement over the next few years.”
Julian Levin, Executive Vice President, Digital Exhibition, Twentieth Century Fox, commented, “We are delighted to participate in Odeon’s beta test of digital projection systems in the UK and are equally pleased that Odeon has chosen to adopt the DCI standard which Fox considers vital to a successful roll-out of digital cinema and adoption of a single standard.”
About Odeon Cinemas:
1930 by Oscar Deutsch, ODEON is the largest cinema chain in the UK, with over
one hundred cinemas. ODEON entertains more people in the UK than any other
cinema chain accounting for nearly a third of all tickets sold in the UK.
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