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Gen Next urged to improvise technology to revolutionise cinema

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MUMBAI: The session "Cinema: NexGen" at the Ficci FRAMES 2004, began with the host CNBC TV 18 features editor Anuradha Sen Gupta introducing the distinguish line up of panelists - IMAX Theatre Systems, North Europe, Russia and Central Asia VP sales John M Schreiner, e-City Entertainment CEO Atul Goel, Hughes Communications' Shivaji Chatterjee, Mukta Adlabs Digital Exhibition Pvt Ltd CEO Dr Sunil Patil and Barco Digital Saurabh Malhotra.

Thereafter, Manmohan Shetty, giving a key note address, took over for a brief while to set the tone on how India needs to revolutionise cinema like Hollywood has. Generation Next must take up the cudgels in improvising technology, he opined.

Schreiner triggered off a long speech on how IMAX can do the trick. Since the session was sponsored by IMAX, the length of the speech did not come as a surprise. Neither did the contents which were full of praises for IMAX, which is in more than 235 theatrres in 35 nations. Schreiner further conveyed that Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azakaban will be released in June 2004.

Goel took it up to stress upon the need of cinema going digital. He said that this would allow the advertisers to choose a particular show to pitch in their products, unlike what we have now in celluloid cinema where the advertisers have to run their commercials for all shows on a booked day.

Chatterjee explained that digital cinema would reduce shipping delivery and assembly cost, enhance editing quality and introduce integrated billing. According to him, the key benefit would be better distribution, production per print would reduce from 50,000 to 10,000, distribution per screen would lower from $22000 to $450, and piracy would be controlled.

Patil elaborated on how the piracy would be controlled. He stated that, bu the time, the last print reaches in the B & C centres, seven to eight days have elapsed. This sets the tone for piracy. Why not have a system where all the prints are released in all the cinemas, simultaneously?

However when asked that why had the multiplexes not embraced digital cinema so far, the panelists had nothing more to offer than say that the rates they proposed were unaffordable to them. Thus, the million-dollar question: "How in India do you expect to reduce the ticket cost which is is the major most reason for piracy, if you are rooting for digital cinema?" remained unanswered.

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