Technology

D-Cinema Summit discusses investment, content and technology

SINGAPORE: The second session at the Asian D-Cinema Summit, at the Broadcast Asia summit 2006, was all about taking stock of the Asian scenario in the digital age. In some ways, the conference did touch upon interactive possibilities, along with new ways of storytelling in the digital age.


However, the main focus was to critically take stock of Digital Cinema, in terms of investment, content and technology; apart from offering a brief update on the regional scenario.


Starting of the discussion on the Asian scenario, Mediacorp Technologies CEO Mock Pak said, "It looks like a rather positive scenario in the Asian region, with most of the countries racing ahead in the digital race. Korea, China and India, with its vibrant Bollywood industry, will definitely lead the way further. In percentage terms, more than 44 per cent of the digital films are from Asia."


Quoting from her presentation on the Thailand Update, Golden Duck International Thailand‘s Yupayong Liewluck said, "Thailand has moved from 29 digital screens to more than 500 screens. In the future, the audience will have to pay more to enjoy the hi-end movie watching experience and from the exhibitors point of view it‘s going to be a more high investment proposition."


Liewluck was of the opinion that though going digital is a high investment proposition, it‘s still not known what the business model will be like in the days to come. Also, what‘s the reliability of the final product and what will justify the cost of the digital cinema.


So, the moot question is how digital cinema will justify the high investment though in terms of distribution it provides an excellent platform to keep the films running.


Moving on to the Japan update, the presentation took off from the example of Narnia which featured 2k digital cinema projectors. Media Networking Laboratory executive manager Tetsuro Fujii said, "In Japan, more than 50 screens have gone digital and more than 30 screens are DCI complaint with 2K digital cinema.


The country is going at a very high speed to comply with Digital Cinema Initiative, while maintaining the highest standards of 4k digital cinema which has been a rule in the country. Now, the second phase has seen the likes of 4k cinema as the country is almost ready with its broadband network technologies."


The Chinese film industry, on its part, continues to grow by leaps and bounds but steps are yet to be taken for a speedier development of digital cinema. Offering a slightly different perspective to the entire scenario, China Film Group chief engineer Chen Fei said the effort is really to maintain a cultural identity in the race to go digital. "After all, technology can sometimes destroy what culture has brought in."


Shaw Organisation Singapore senior manager Mark Shaw said, "More than 26 screens here have digital screens." What came across from the discussion was that Singapore is soon emerging as a hub in providing the support system for many Asian countries in going digital." Said Shaw, "The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA) are collaborating to develop the digital cinema industry in Singapore, riding on the combined strengths of both agencies. The IDA‘s efforts are also in the direction of helping out other countries to comply with the digital norms."

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