The Berlinale first went digital in 2004. Now, in 2009, it is about to take the next big step: 29 of its total 49 screens are being equipped with digital cinema servers for the upcoming festival. This creates a standardized system for screening the films of the festival and European Film Market that are available in a digital format. The Competition will, however, continue to use d-cinema systems for its digital presentations.
In 2008, there were almost 400 films with diverse video formats screening at the festival and European Film Market.
The “Bewegte Bilder Medien AG“ (Tübingen) is installing digital cinema servers in the festival cinemas. It has also set up an encoding studio, with three mastering stations and a central video server, in the Berlinale’s office for print coordination. In the future, festival films that do not arrive on conventional film material or in a complete d-cinema package will be digitised and stored there. During the festival, these film files will be transferred to hard drives and taken to the cinemas, where they will then be downloaded onto the cinema server. Once a film has been encoded, it exists only in encoded form; this protects it from unauthorised access.
Also for producers, this new technology has an advantage: films no longer have to be converted into PAL, the European format, to be shown at the festival.
“These new screening systems are crucial for the Berlinale, for the future lies in digital cinema. Though at the same time we want to remind our audiences of film’s legacy: this year’s Retrospective will present wide-gauge, 70-mm films. Celluloid meets pixel”, says Festival Director Dieter Kosslick.
December 19, 2008