News Review 2010

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by Peter J. Knight

At this time of the year most people will be reviewing theirs, myself included. It’s been a very good year for me personally and a rather interesting on for the cinema industry as well. Below I try to look back at the news stories which I have seen and highlighted through the News Headlines on the Mad Cornish Projectionist website and try to summarise them.

Without question 2010 was really the year when both 3D and digital cinema were experienced by more of the audience than ever before, helped on by Avatar. The number of news stories about cinemas committing to one supplier or another to provide there Digital Cinema equipment were countless and continuous. This was helped with the various Hollywood studios signing up to Virtual Print Fees. Technicolor were demonstrating their new 3D system for film projectors, while Sony’s 4K DLP projector sent waves through the industry, causing Texas Instruments to release their 4K chips for Barco, NEC and Christie. And 4K was a big discussion this year, helped on of course by the work I was commissioned to do for Barco and the release of their 4K projectors. However, Kodak also demonstrated a new laser projector in the summer that they had been working on. And of course 3D glasses are becoming a fashion accessory which will become more wider marketed in 2011. It was also ten years since the first digital cinema trials were taking place in Leicester Square.

Stories in the industry also indicates that more conversions would have taken place if the equipment was available. It was interesting to talk to projectionists of multiplexes who in 2009 only had maybe one projector now having 50% digital and expecting to be completely digital at some point in 2011.

Of course the other side of that story is that it became clear in 2010 that projectionists were really going to go the way of the lighthouse-keeper and Cornish tin miner. I think it is very unlikely that there will anywhere near the same number of projectionists in existence by the end of 2011 as there were in 2010. In fact today while I was looking at material on Google there were a number of different articles relating to the demise of the projectionist. I have also seen very few projectionists jobs even being advertised this year. On a regular basis I would be asked by people how to become a projectionist, and I would given them the information, but from the middle of this year that changed and I now tell them that there is no chance that they will ever become one.

However the number of alternative content stories increased for the first time this year along with delivery via satellite of this content and that of some films. It is easy to see that this will be the news story that we will see more and more stories about.

The cinema buildings themselves were also a large part of the stories for the year. The number of former cinemas that were being campaigned to be saved seemed to be high, but there were some good stories – like the cinema at St Albans which managed to raise the money to buy the building and is now big renovated. I think that we will see more these stories too in 2011.

The news that the Government was shutting down the UK Film Council created a number of column inches as people argued why it was either right or wrong that the body that represented Film in the UK should go. In the end it is going and most of it’s powers will be handled by the BFI. These changes will give rise to new stories over the next year to follow.

But there was some good news as Warner Brothers announced that they will building a new film studios at Leavesden Studios.

Not surprisingly there were also mergers, takeovers, and closers from with in the understory. The main on in the UK was Vue being sold, although there were also says of cinema chains in other parts of the world including the US. And then there was the announcement that Technicolor were closing one of their labs, something that I’m sure we are going to see more of in 2011/2012.

Just before the end of the year with the sale of Vue, rumours started to sound about a possible sale of Odeon cinemas as well. It is quite possible that this is likely to happen in 2011. I think it is safe to say that 2011 will see more of the same as in 2010, perhaps at an accelerated rate.I think there are going to be some challenges for all of us in the industry.

If you would like to see all the news stories I put up online, then you can see them here.

And don’t forget, I’ll be here writing material and finding headlines and other information of interest or relevance for you all via