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With the Advancing Digitization of the Film Industry, the Berlinale Faces Complex Technical and Logistical Challenges
By Berlinale
Feb 13, 2013 - 11:03:56 AM

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GERMANY - In 2013, the number of films screening in the Digital Cinema Package (DCP) format at the Berlinale exceeds 50% for the first time. Only around 8% of the films are still shown in the classic 35mm format. The rest of the total of about 2,500 screenings scheduled during the Festival and the European Film Market are in diverse digital video formats.


Against this backdrop, the work processes involved in ensuring an optimal screening of the films have changed radically over the past years. All of the films submitted in digital formats have first to be put through complex testing procedures and, if necessary, converted so they can be played back without any glitches. Distribution of the films to the approximately 60 screens of the Berlinale is predominantly based on a digital transmission system.


To guarantee a consistent technical infrastructure during the Festival and to eliminate compatibility problems, it has been necessary to modify many of the Berlinale’s venues. The demand for digital projectors, high-performance server systems and fast data lines has risen enormously in recent years.


These challenges could not have been met without the support and expertise of several partner companies. This year, seven companies – Barco, Kinoton, Doremi, DVS, Dolby, Colt and ARRI – are supporting the Berlinale in the field of digital cinema as either official partners or suppliers.


Barco has been supplying the Berlinale with technical equipment for the last ten years. In conjunction with Kinoton, Barco has provided this year’s Festival with high-quality digital cinema projectors for 19 screens as well as overall technical service for these venues. At the Berlinale Palast, Friedrichstadt-Palast, Haus der Berliner Festspiele, CinemaxX, the Martin-Gropius-Bau and many other venues, these digital cinema projectors, as well as Barco’s and Kinoton’s comprehensive service and support, ensure audiences the experience of flawless digital cinema projections. In some instances, DP2K-10Sx projectors, which Barco conceived specifically for small cinemas, are being used for the first time. For example, within the scope of the “Berlinale Goes Kiez” initiative, Tilsiter Lichtspiele cinema has been equipped with one of these projectors.


Digital cinema servers by Doremi, an American manufacturer,   are now in wide use. To ensure a consistent server infrastructure and trouble-free operations during the Berlinale, Doremi has provided 20 of its ShowVault/IMB servers.


DVS, a German company, has supplied a total of three CLIPSTER® DI workstations for validating and standardizing the submitted digital files. In addition, with its SpycerBox Flex, a central media hub, DVS has provided a high-performance 30 TB storage system.


Hardware by Doremi and DVS is connected with 20 Gbit/s to the network supplied by Colt. Altogether, Colt has provided a bandwidth of 32 Gbit/s for transferring Berlinale films from the Film Office to the different cinema servers at the festival venues. Over the last years, the network has been continually expanded. Meanwhile, some 40 screens are connected via Colt fibre optic cables to the Film Office.


Dolby, which has a long tradition in the field, is also celebrating its 10th year of partnership with the Berlinale. Dolby supports the Festival with its innovative, future-oriented audio technology and Dolby 3D solutions.


ARRI, with its long-time expertise in the area of digital cinema, is supporting the Festival by generating keys (KDMs) for the different Berlinale venues. This year some 140,000 keys are being allocated by the Festival’s key management system and transferred via the Colt network to the digital cinema servers.


The following companies will be using this year’s Berlinale as a platform to present their latest technical innovations:

To introduce its new Auro11.1 sound system, Barco will present the 3D film The Croods ( Competition section out of competition) in a special screening: at 10.00 am on Saturday, February 16 in Cinestar 3.


Dolby is presenting its new Atmos sound system: from 9.30 to 11.00 am on Friday, 15th, Saturday, 16th and Sunday, 17th of February in Cinestar 7.


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