We recently ran an article about Fluorescent Multilayer Disc (FMD) videodisc technology, and how it would be first showcased with the distribution of the upcoming movie Bounce. Well, we have a few more details about the event and we feel that it will be of definite interest to our readers for several reasons. If there are any lingering doubts that we’ve entered the age of mainstream digital media, they should be dispelled very soon.
On November 14, several companies will converge at a movie theater in New York City to usher in ‘The Theatre Of The Future’, with the first ever showing of a major motion picture via satellite. Members of AMC Theatres, Boeing, EnergyDigital, Miramax Films, actor Ben Affleck, QuVis, Texas Instruments, The Walt Disney Company and Williams Communications will be on hand at 11am Tuesday at the AMC Empire Theatres in Times Square, New York City for the premiere of ‘Bounce’, and the fact that the movie will be delivered digitally by satellite signals the beginning of a new age in theater delivery and distribution. How quickly the changes are felt in the many theaters across the world remains to be seen, but barring some catastrophic glitches, there can be no doubt that there is no turning back.
AMC Theatres has already outfitted two of its auditoriums in the Empire 25 Theatres in Times Square with digital projection, and now has installed a satellite dish and all the software and hardware to securely receive, store and then project a motion picture digitally. The company has installed digital projection in nine of its megaplex screens in the U.S. and Japan. Miramax Films is providing the movie. The AMC Empire will play the film exclusively in digital format.
Boeing will provide encryption and satellite transmission of the movie along with video segments and movie trailers via a new content management and transmission system. This open architecture system draws on Boeing’s extensive commercial and military satellite experience. It will allow secure transmission of movies to thousands of theatres simultaneously. EnergyDigital designed and orchestrated the event. It specializes in convergence of the wide range of companies, content and technologies needed to make digital cinema possible.
QuVis designed and manufactures the QuBit, the video server that provides three essential functions for this project including in-theatre storage, compression and control of digital motion pictures. Texas Instruments is providing the digital projectors that the company says outperform film for the first time—especially after a movie’s first week, when torn film, fading and scratches significantly reduce viewing quality. Williams Communications Vyvx Services is providing secure fiber-optic transmission for the digital motion picture through its network operations center and satellite uplink support.
As for The Walt Disney Company, Tarzan, Toy Story 2, Fantasia 2000, Bicentennial Man, Dinosaur and the upcoming 102 Dalmatians and The Emperor’s New Groove have been (or will be) digitally projected in 31 theatres in ten countries around the world via digital data discs shipped to theatres. In the future, cinema delivery will also be by satellite and by fiber wireline. At this event, Disney will outline its vision of where new cinema technology will take the movie business. It will also show digital footage that showcases the possibilities of live event programming on the big screen. Disney’s Motion Picture Group will show satellite-delivered trailers from several upcoming feature films.
…and things can never really be the same. Let’s just hope that Boeing doesn’t get their satellites crossed between the military and entertainment transmissions. ‘Hey, I didn’t know Armageddon was the second feature…’