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Seven cinemas install digital projection system

Rasheed Kappan

They can now show movies downloaded through satellite


  • New technology is bound to make film releases much faster
  • Digitally-mastered movie images are beamed through satellites directly to the cinemas
  • The whole system is encrypted to prevent piracy till the stage of projection
  • The software can be operated by a technician and does not require qualified professionals

    BANGALORE: "First Day First Show." Cinemas even in small towns can now scream this slogan aloud.

    Seven cinemas in the State have now taken the lead, installing digital projection systems to show movies downloaded through satellite. Watching a film on the very day of its countrywide release could not have become easier.

    Delivered by UFO Moviez, the digitally-mastered high quality movie images are beamed through satellites directly to the cinemas.

    "This facilitates widespread release of any film without any additional cost in prints for content owners," a spokesperson of UFO Moviez told The Hindu .

    The seven theatres now equipped with the technology include Galaxy Paradise in Hongasandra, Bangalore; Murali Chitra Mandir, Muthyala Nagar, Gokula, Bangalore; Sri Vinayaka Video Theatre, Chitradurga; Ameeth Theatre, Davangere; Sobagu Talkies, Doddaballapur; Basavaraja Talkies, Harapanhalli, and New Chitra Talkies, Mangalore.

    Faster release

    The technology is bound to make film releases much faster. Hitherto, cinemas in "B" and "C" towns had to wait for the prints to come from "A" grade cities.

    They had to be content with only regional language releases for first day releases. But even these had to be at exorbitant costs.

    Here's how the entire process works: UFO obtains a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the movie producers to digitise their films in MPEG 4 format, these are then uploaded to the central server in Gurgaon and later distributed online to the cinema halls equipped with the receiving systems.

    Hughes is the satellite partner for the project.

    The whole system is encrypted to prevent piracy till the stage of projection.

    A separate watermark appears on the screen, visible only on camera. "This can be used to track in-theatre piracy if any," explains UFO Moviez CEO and Executive Director, Sanjay Gaikwad.

    The format is available with a three-chip system for 60-foot screens and single-chip system for 30-foot screens.

    The server could store around 10 films simultaneously. "Each theatre can also schedule any film out of a possible eight to 10 films at any point without stocking multiple celluloid prints."

    The software could be operated by a technician and does not require qualified professionals. Each step of the process is password-protected.

    The cinema manager helps the cinemas to programme shows by alternating between different titles which make up the repertoire.

    High cost

    As things stand, due to the high cost of optical prints at Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 60,000 a print, distributors and producers rarely prefer simultaneous release of a film in more than 100 cinemas.

    Distributors do a delayed release of the films in "B" and "C" class cities. But by this time, piracy takes away 50 per cent of the market.

    So far, movies such as "Kalyug," "Ek Ajnabee," "Bluff Master," "Kyon Ki," "Aashiq Banaya Aapne" and "Ek Haseena" have been released in the new format.

    Tamil films "Sande Kozhi," "Majaa" and "Aaru" have been screened, besides songs from Kannada films "Preethse" and "Hero."

    Fifty-nine per cent of the cinemas in the country are now in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. UFO Moviez has proposed to convert at least half of these cinemas to digital cinemas.

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