In 2010, an opportunity presented itself to venue A to access sufficient capital funds to support the installation of digital cinema equipment in its 200 seat full-time cinema. The venue offers a 7-days-a-week public cinema programme and occasional academic lectures. The programme mix includes crossover Hollywood and world cinema, with the bulk of the programme populated by contemporary releases, with occasional talks, Q and As and live cinema related events.
In recent years, the programme has consisted of 3 and 4 day runs of recent releases which appear in the programme between 6-12 weeks after the national release date. The venue is the only independent cinema serving audiences in its town and the surrounding area. There is one commercial cinema in the same town.
This options appraisal examines the implications of this development on the venue’s cinema programme.
At the outset, the venue recognises that acquiring digital cinema projection brings the following key benefits:
- Overall ease of operation compared to 35mm
- Established (DCI) standard across the industry
- Access to new theatrical release titles
- Design flexibility - the operating box can be remote from the projector
- Optimum and consistent image and presentational quality
- Reduced film transport costs vs 35mm print distribution
- Access to alternative content; interface to other digital formats
- Reducing capital costs - By autumn 2010, there will be a first round of used 2k DCI compliant digital projection facilities available in the market.
- Distributor/supply side cost benefits
All of these considerations are being made in the context of reduced public sector funding to support the independent cinemas on an ongoing basis, and no capital funds available from traditional arts/film funding sources.
Options being examined
The following options were identified:
Option 1: Do nothing
Option 2: Digital cinema to replace existing 35mm projection
Option 3: Digital cinema to be accommodated alongside 35mm projection
Option 4: Consider other additional aspects of digital cinema technology (3D/satellite)