Last week we launched our new training initiative, Technical Skills for Digital Exhibition with a Forum at BFI Southbank. Read on for a diary of the day and an introduction to #TechSkillsUK from one of our newly appointed Technical Ambassadors - Dave Petty, AV Technician at Cornerhouse in Manchester, who'll be available to advise independent film exhibitors in the North West Hub region as part of the scheme.
Over to our guest blogger, Dave!
The start of the launch at BFI Southbank
invited to the BFI Southbank is something any cine-literate tech geek was never
going to turn down. Well, provided you’re not a born-and-bred Londoner, in
which case the Southbank’s heady tourist pleasures may elicit less excitement. But being a newly-appointed Tech Ambassador for
the ICO's Technical Skills for Digital Exhibition programme, created in conjunction with the BFI Film Audience Network, time away from the
office with the prospect of soaking up a whole day’s worth of technical
knowledge in the company of my fellow technical peers, well – it was an
opportunity not to be missed. But I digress.
Tech Ambassador roles have been filled by around two dozen people,
hand-picked from the length and breadth of the United Kingdom to offer their
expertise and specialised knowledge of digital cinema and all its AV-related
trappings to those in need of a helping hand.
David Monk (left), CEO of the European Digital Cinema Forum, with Tech Ambassador Peter Knight of the BKSTS
Independent exhibitors, community
cinemas, film societies and festivals – all entities that may have been
comfortable with 35mm and domestic-level film exhibition (via LCD projectors et
al) but who may be struggling with the transition to digital. And with the
industry pretty much fully converted to digital-only exhibition, the Tech
Ambassadors will hopefully be an invaluable resource for any individual or
organisation that requires a peg-up onto the digital ladder.
some brief intros from Hatice Özdemirciler (ICO Head of Training & Professional Development), Tony Jones (Film
Hub Central East) and David Sin (ICO Head of Cinemas), it was over to Jim
Whittle from the Barn Cinema in Dartington, who outlined his prototype site visit to
CUBE in Bristol.
This visit provided a framework for the Tech Ambassador pilot
scheme to build upon. Jim’s extensive knowledge of D-Cinema gave CUBE the
opportunity to convert to digital safe in the knowledge they had someone on hand who
was familiar with kit, spec, and who crucially had worked with the handful of
companies that install everything necessary to exhibit digital films to
DCI-compliant spec. In a world of confusing acronyms and technical minutiae,
someone like Jim is exactly what the independent sector needs; expanding that
role to a fleet of Technical Ambassadors (of which Jim is one) will allow for a faster, more efficient flow of specialist knowledge for those who
most require it.
The national spread of Technical Ambassadors
on with the day, we had the pleasure of being bombarded with a whole array of
info from David Monk, CEO of the European Digital Cinema Forum (if you ever
need to know about colour spectrum separation, he’s your man) and Russell
Would, Content Supervisor at the BFI, who gave us a whistle-stop tour of DCP
(Digital Cinema Package) creation from the top level (Clipster) all the way to
free, open source software.
Even for someone familiar with much of the areas
discussed it was a lot to digest, but invaluable in terms of
both brushing up my own technical knowledge, and being able to offer this knowledge to those in need as a Technical
that remains is to be allocated sites across the country we will visit to offer
our advice – with the fleet ranging from freelance AV techs to long-standing
projectionists (and many technical areas in-between), it’s down to the ICO to
assess applicants' needs and fit an Ambassador to their requirements.
bespoke service is being offered, and I for one am relishing the
opportunity to help bring independent cinema into the digital age. For what
could be an intimidating prospect for those making the transition, we as
Ambassadors should be able to make the road travelled a little less bumpy.
Thank you, Dave!