New audiences for digital cinema via satellite
Digital cinema which uses satellite technology rather than the conventional analogue method is to get a boost. As a result of their ESA Telecom funded project E-Screen, Elsacom has entered into an agreement with Azienda Speciale Palaexpo (ASP) for the establishment of a Digital Cinema projection site at "La Casa del Cinema" in Rome Italy.
Located inside a recently restored Renaissance era building at Villa Borghese, 200 m from Via Veneto, Casa del Cinema will include restaurants, book stores, meeting and exhibition halls as well as a hall dedicated to DVD projection and a 124 seat movie theatre.
The agreement between Elsacom and ASP calls for the theatre to be equipped with a '2K DLP Cinema Projector' and accompanying technologies for reception and decoding of High Density (HD) contents. This will be used for both live and 'store & forward' data. The term 'store & forward' refers to the E-Screen networks' ability to store compressed Audio-Visual content for later transmission. 2K DLP Cinema technology is the only projection technology currently accepted by US studios.
The purpose of E-Screen is to act as an alternative to current distribution chains. Current content is distributed either physically or via terrestrial broadband networks. This distribution can, however, be only accomplished through a fibre-optic link to the theatres. Fiber-optic coverage is currently quite poor and, due to the high investment required for its deployment, is developing at a slow pace. Satellite coverage is, however, already available and can assure the establishment of a world-wide content distribution network.
The installation at Casa del Cinema is highly relevant given the personal promotion done by Mr. Walter Veltroni, the Mayor of Rome. It promises to become a focal point for Italian and international cinema with high-profile activities such as premieres, live broadcast of worldwide festivals, as well as training courses for new cinema technologies, and a centre for remote learning sessions. The site will also be open to collaborations with post-production houses that will benefit from the availability of a top-quality projection site. Casa del Cinema will be inaugurated on 18 September by the Italian President.
Not only will Casa del Cinema be the first 2K projection site in Italy, but the greater visibility of such a site is a major chance to promote the adoption of digital technologies associated with cinema. Silvio Borri of Elsacom and project leader for E-Screen Elsacom said, "We are proud of playing an important role in such a development. It is a sign of trust in the future deployments of Digital Cinema."
The Italian company Elsacom developed E-Screen in partnership with United Cinemas International and Screen Digest of the United Kingdom, as well as Marinastudios also of the UK and Cinecittà Holding from Italy as sponsoring partners. ASP is an Italian company controlled by the Municipality of Rome.