NAB Means Digital Cinema Too


For a show that is supposed to be about broadcasting, NAB2002 offered plenty of discussion on projection and display.

Even before the show officially began there was a two-day "Digital Cinema Summit" which discussed issues such as standards, technology, marketing and business models for digital cinema and related electronic cinema applications.

Sony held a CineAlta Festival at the Orleans, out in the hinterlands of Las Vegas. Clips from "Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones" and from elsewhere around the globe shot with the Sony HDW F900 HD camera were shown on a large movie screen.

At the United Artist Showcase Theatre, Band-Pro showed footage converted from HD to film, showcasing the new Zeiss Prime Lenses.

A screening of the new JVC D-ILA projector was very impressive, especially when it wasn't showing Jay Leno.

But traditional methods of wide-scale distribution are not going to be adequate for the kind of market penetration needed to develop new technologies and revenues. New modes of distribution mean that those who have made their living in the electronic media business be flexible and keep up with technological trends.

Digital HD looks very impressive when projected and could be a killer application for this technology. Those involved in producing electronic content are wise to investigate projection and display as possible revenue streams for the content that they produce.


What is the difference between D-Cinema and HDTV projection?

D-Cinema is based on prototypical technology for which standards are still being set and large-scale market deployment is still years away. Lucasfilms was reported as hoping to have 1,000 digital theaters ready for the digital rollout of "Star Wars Episode II - Attack of the Clones" on May 16. CNBC reported on May 16 - he had to settle for 94, according to CNBC.

Digital HDTV projection is based on off-the-shelf technologies and relies on one standard, HD-SDI, and could be deployed on a large scale within the year.


"The Yellow Bird," a short movie written and directed by Faye Dunaway, is based on the short story by Tennessee Williams, who is featured with an archival narration. It was shot in HDCam on a "Panavised" Sony HDWF900 camera.

The movie was shown in February in HD at Panavision using an HD-SDI input to the projector. The effect was overwhelming - an excellent example of what could be done with the new digital technologies.

On April 18, "The Yellow Bird" was screened at The Walter Reade Theatre in Lincoln Center. The original HD had been converted to film, but it seemed the transfer to film failed to do the piece justice. The happy immediacy of the piece in HD became a more sedate presence when transferred to film. The piece still stood on its own merits, but it was more powerful as an electronic cinema piece.

At the United Artists Showcase Theatre in Las Vegas April 9, Band-Pro had a demo of the new Zeiss prime lenses for the Sony HDW F900 camera and showed footage, shot in HD and then transferred to film, demonstrating the lenses' capabilities. The results were astonishing, proving that HD can be successfully transferred to film.

The blending of these technologies obscures the original distinctions between them and is the cause for consternation among some die-hard resistors to the new technologies. But for the most part there is genuine interest. People are asking, "How can I use these new technologies to perform the tasks at hand?"